PagesThe Hospital: Trying to save our babies, moment by moment --via Caring Bridge

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Exhausted.  I just want to hold my babies and kiss their beautiful cheeks.  Their mamma, my wife, says she can remember what they smelled like.  I was crying so hard and so stuffed up that I couldn't smell them and that drives me crazy.  I mean, it's on the list with the thousands of other things I don't get to experience with them.  I want my babies.  My heart is full of broken glass.

Monday, February 23, 2015

rules to live by

The day I delivered S was also the day that I began receiving a large amount of magnesium sulfate.  Ultimately mag depressed my breathing and gave me pulmonary edema.  Through the many blood draws and Hep-Locks I was running out of places that anyone could draw blood or put in an iv.  Regular nurses would no longer even try because a failed attempt would ruin yet another location - anesthesiologists had failed attempts.  My reaction to the mag needed to be monitored.  After a failed draw attempt the lab was called and a tech was sent down to do the draw.  After his first failed attempt he secured a vein that produced actual blood, a small amount before it stopped flowing, but enough.  He left with the vial.  We waited for the results.  In case not everyone knows what the mag does other than feel like the worst flu/lyme's disease/paralysis/constant agony, it is intended to prevent contractions and save the life of G.  I wanted the mag, I did not want my test results to cause a lowering or removal of the mag.  I hated the mag and tricked myself into keeping the iv flowing by telling myself I just had to live through the next 5 minutes and then I would ask to lower the volume. I am sure my wife and my sister shared this mixed feeling as I needed 24 hour attention, ice packs on my head and chest, ice chips every 2 minutes or so along with heat and blankets on my feet and legs. So we are waiting for the results and the nurse comes in and tells us the lab won't perform the test because the lab tech mislabeled the vial.  He put S's name on my blood.  What.  At 20 weeks S was so incredibly small she did not have the ability to lose any blood.  Our doctor tried to get them to change the label, she tried to order the test under S's name. No go. The lab now knew it wasn't my blood and I was the one who needed the test.  They refused.  Sometimes it seems like we as people have an inability to look at the totality of a situation, we just focus on our tiny piece of the puzzle and make up or enforce the rules associated with that slice of the world.  Only 5% of pregnancy's result in the death of a baby after 14 weeks.  Only 2% of infants are effected by chorio.  Until that was my puzzle piece I could not comprehend the totality of all the possible outcomes.

Read my stress, I dare you.

We super bravely decided we would do three things outside the house yesterday. 1. try to find non-maternity clothes that would allow me to leave the house with a bit more ease. 2. Buy arugula from grocery store. 3. Buy face lotion from mall - trying to avoid full on acne.

We managed to purchase a few things that I will hopefully take out of the bag and actually wear. I only cried in the changing room briefly.  I avoided yelling about my babies at the employee who would only let us take 6 items in the dressing room at a time (I do know she's just doing her job, my rage just doesn't really care). The grocery store was non-eventful - it was a small store we never go to with therefore had minimal chance of seeing another human we know.  The mall.  We tried to find the entrance closest to the Clinique counter.  Made it inside, to the counter, avoided looking at infant and mom already at counter.  Gathered and purchased vital lotion.  Then the sales woman offered us a serum, a "smart serum" that could read what kind of stress our faces have experienced and repair it.  We both laughed/snorted.  As if. We took the samples.

Pimples and Pants

Focusing on the vast number of tiny white heads appearing on my forehead seems manageable when nothing else is.  Solving the problem of pants, maternity pants no longer stay up and pre-pregnancy pants are a looong time from fitting, does not.

So, the pimples.  I have never had acne, even in my teen years, pimples came along and went --singles sometimes doubles but nothing of note.  During the month I spent in the hospital fighting for both my babies and then just my son--days and days without showering or even touching water--my complexion stayed immaculate.  The multiple cerclages, mass doses of antibiotics, unimaginable stress and the magnesium sulfate coursing through my veins (making me unable to even raise my arms for days) had no impact on my skin.  About a week after loosing G and three weeks after loosing S, through the haze of my unbearable grief, I started noticing a patch of white heads.  At this point my milk had come in so showering was almost impossible, the challenge of keeping my breasts out of the water and the constant physical and emotional pain combined with the sadness that is showering alone after five months of having the constant company of my babies with me at all times exhausted all my energy.  I did not focus on this change in my skin. As the fog has receded the awful loneliness persists but life starts creeping in, when will I return to work?  How will I talk to *anyone* who hasn't been with me through this whole journey?  How will I have patience and compassion for anyone other than my wife -- i.e. anyone who hasn't lost our two precious babies?  The pimples are a safe subject of contemplation.  Are they from hormone changes?  The shift in my oil production as I move from showering every few days/once a week to every day?  How long will they last?  Am I creating scars by picking at them?

Pants are particularly difficult because to deal with them is to deal with my stomach, the part of my body that was full of perfect, healthy, active babies.  The part of my body that did not keep my babies safe.  The part of my body that signals to the world--I'm pregnant.  Shirts are no picnic but a big shirt stays on my body, unlike big pants.  Being pregnant with twins I had read that healthy weight gain was one of the most important, controllable factors to having healthy babies in our arms.  We focused on healthy snacks, on trying to gain between 1 and 1.5 lbs per week as recommended.  My wife crated a "snack pack" kit that contained a wide variety of snacks that I could choose from each day before heading off to work.  The leftover snacks are still waiting.  As recommended I gained a little over 20 lbs. My closet is full of borrowed and purchased maternity clothes while all of my pre-pregnancy clothes wrinkle in their giant tupperware bins.  We went to a discount clothing store yesterday.  The night before when my wife heard me say that I am struggling because I don't believe that I deserve to wear clothes that fit after my body failed our babies she determined that we had to change something.  We did get two fairly awkward but wearable pairs and several work appropriate shirts that semi-disguise my smaller but still seemingly pregnant belly.  But clothes are not designed to not look like maternity clothes and yet fit a maternity shaped body.  How long will I look pregnant?  When will I stop desperately wishing that I could still feel our babies moving inside me?  Will I ever stop feeling guilty that I let an infection enter the one space in the universe where they should have been safest?  Will I feel connected to my body again? Will there ever be pants that fit me?