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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lighten Up

After all my feelings in the last post, let's lighten things up around here! I think I know just the thing to do the trick...

How could you NOT love that Grayson face?!?

Or Audrey's sleepy smile?

Not to brag, but man I make some cute kids!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Having babies born 16 weeks early has changed my relationship with God.

That seems like a given, doesn't it? A "duh" statement, because something this big, something as life-changing and earth-shattering can't be without spiritual ramifications, can it? What has surprised me though, is how deep and complex my feelings towards Him have been.

I am angry. I rage and lash out and question His plans, because how could he do this to my babies?

I am heartbroken. I watch my tiny babies fight just to stay alive and I beg and plead with Him to save them, heal them, make them better.

I am weary, tired in every sense of the word. I cling to His promises like life perservers and there are days when I just have to say "this is as far as I can go today, Lord, I need you to drag me by the collar through the rest."

But I am also grateful. So very very grateful. There was a time, in those early days in the hospital, when it was questionable if I would even have babies to worry about. The fact that they are here at all is enough to bring me to my knees with thanks.

And I am hopeful. I believe, wholeheartedly, that He can save them, that he will save them. I believe in His miracles.

My grace is enough; it's all you need. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, April 25, 2011

One Month Old!


Birthday // One Week // One Month


Birthday // One Week // One Month

To my sweet babies,

Today you are one month old! Yall are going to read this one day and not get why one month deserves an exclamation point but it so deserves one, if not more than one - I'm showing restraint here.

Look at how much you two have grown since you were born! At one month, you are still on your vents (but there has been talk of trying you off them soon!), your feedings are being increased almost daily and you have both gained more than a pound from your birth weight! Your personalities are really starting to shine and it makes me giggle at how different you already are. Grayson, you are going to be so laid back, just like your daddy, and Audrey, well... they call you Sassy for a reason!

The last 31 days have been terrifying, stressful, wonderful, incredible... there are no words that can adequately describe how I've felt. But I will tell you this: the two of you have captured my heart, wholly and completely. You barely weigh five pounds combined but the weight of your presence in my life is undeniable - my universe has shifted, tilted, and is now centered entirely around you.

Audrey and Grayson, I am infinitely proud of you, of how hard you are fighting and how strong you have proven to be already. I cannot wait for many many many more months together.

I love you two, all the way to the moon and back-

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again -Jer. 31:3-4

Friday, April 22, 2011

At Long Last

Ladies and gentlemen, it's been four whole weeks in the making, but here it is...

The Lee Family, in our very first family photo!

My heart has never been happier.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Ode to Pumping

Who has two boobs and an infection in both??? This girl.

At first I thought it was a plugged duct. Then maybe it was mastitis. The Lactation Consultant said maybe a yeast infection. My OB cultured my milk, and it came back positive for an infection called klebsiella.

Ugh ugh ugh. Let me tell you all the reasons why this sucks so bad. First of all, it makes it really painful to pump. Pumping is about a negative 32 on the 1-10 scale of fun to begin with, so adding pain in the mix makes it EVEN WORSE.

(For those of you not in the know, pumping is an alternative to breastfeeding, except instead of a cute cuddly baby doing the eating, you hook yourself up to a machine that expresses the milk for you and stores it in bottles. The thing with pumping though, is you have to do it on the same schedule as a newborn would feed to establish your milk supply. Read: 20 minutes, every two to three hours. All day. All night. And I can GARUNTEE that waking up at 3am to plastic parts is not near as fun as waking up at 3am to that cute cuddly newborn. Buuuut they tell me that breastmilk is absolutely the best thing I can give my babies, so I pump my brains out anyways.)

(Wait, can it be considered an "Ode to Pumping" if I'm talking about how much I hate it?)

Reason numero dos the infection sucks: I have to dump all the milk I make until I finish up my antibiotics. I still have to do all the work, because otherwise my supply will tank and I won't make as much milk, but all my efforts are down the drain. Literally. And we're currently in the process of testing all the milk I have in the freezer to see when exactly the infection set in. We're all the way back to APRIL THE FOURTH and it is STILL COMING UP POSITIVE OMG. Everything that comes back positive has to be tossed. We're talking hours upon HOURS of work here, enough bottles to feed my babies for weeks, IN THE TRASH. It breaks my heart.

But really, the absolute worst part of the whole thing is that I unknowingly passed the infection to my babies. They both have had blood cultures that came back positive for the klebsiella and I feel terrible. Really, I kind of feel like DFCS should just go ahead and step in and take them now because I'm obviously the worst mom in the world. IN. THE. WORLD. And I know logically that it's not my fault and that I didn't know and that there was nothing I should have or could have done different but still... I got my babies sick. My teeny tiny struggling fighting babies, who have it hard enough as it is, are sick because of me.

This "Mommy Guilt" is something serious, yall.

Luckily, they don't seem to be TOO affected by it. Their platelet counts have been low, which is easily remedied by transfusions, but they're both still active and their oxygen needs haven't changed much. The doctor said that he is really pleased with how the babies are handling it because this is an infection that has the potential to be kind of scary so we're hoping, praying, pleading and making deals with God that we've seen the worst of it and they won't get too sick.

When you say your prayers tonight, say a little prayer that my babies get better. And while you're at it, say a prayer that my boobs get better, too. We'd all appreciate it!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Time marches on

It's been a few days, huh? The babies are three weeks old now (well, three weeks and two days), holy moly! Which puts them at 27 weeks (and three days) gestational age.

Here's a quick update on my munchkins:

-We have a two pound baby!!! They weighed him yesterday and he was 2lb 11oz, but the paralytic he was on last week has made him retain a LOT of fluid and his nurse said he was probably closer to 2lb5oz or so. BUT STILL! Two pounds!!!
-And they were able to weigh him today because HE IS OFF THE OSCILLATOR!!!!!! His blood gases have been good so they tried him back on the traditional vent and so far he's been doing pretty well. (Minus an episode this afternoon where his lung secretions plugged his tube and he had to be reintubated. Scariest. Thing. EVER. to witness, at least from a mom standpoint. But I digress...) They warned me that he might have to go back on the oscillator BUT TODAY HE IS OFF. Hooray!
-He finally kicked his first infection but now they think he might have another. They repeated his blood culture and we're waiting to hear back from it... pray for a negative result!
-He's still such a laid-back baby. He hardly ever gets riled up but he makes the CUTEST faces. And I swear, he looks more like Chris every day.

-She's still my tiny girl, her last weigh in was 1lb14oz. Not far behind her brother, and she's knocking on the 2 pound mark!
-She was diagnosed this week with a PDA. A PDA is a heart problem that is common in premature babies. Before birth, a large artery called the ductus arteriosus lets blood bypass the lungs because the fetus gets its oxygen through the placenta. The ductus arteriosus normally closes soon after birth so that blood can travel to the lungs and pick up oxygen, but in premature babies it sometimes doesn't close. They can use a medicine called Indocin (which, ironically, is the same medicine that stopped my contractions) to close it. Audrey's really isn't affecting her too much right now, and sometimes they can close on their own, so the doctors have decided to take a wait-and-see approach with her. Pray that it closes easily and doesn't cause andy problems for our baby girl!
-Her oxygen requirements have been really low lately (which is good!) although the number of breaths she needs from the ventilator is still pretty high. We're going in the right direction though, hopefully she'll be off the ventilator sooner rather than later!
-Miss Thing is still just as sassy as ever. The nurses all get the biggest kick out of her, they'll position her just right with all these rolled blankets and gel pads and she'll wiggle right out of it as soon as they're not looking and get right into however SHE wants to lay. Usually, that's with her knees pulled up and her hands up over her head, regardless of any tube or wire that may be in her way. She's set off many alarms by getting wrapped up in her tubes. She's also discovered her feeding tube, and has pulled it out no less than four times in the last three days. Girl is a MESS.

I think that about sums it up... we've been busy around here! It's still very two-steps-forward-one-step-backwards and it can be SO exhausting at times. I'm SO proud of my babies though, they are such little fighters. I'm a lucky mama!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The NICU Shuffle

A couple days ago the NICU was a roller coaster. Today it is a dance.

Two steps forward, one step back.

Grayson is doing MUCH better. Still not "out of the woods", but much much better than he was. His oxygen requirements are way down and his lung x-rays are improving. Turns out he has a little infection which is what was throwing him out of whack, so they started him on antibiotics and that has helped tremendously. The oscillator is also still working its wonders, as his blood gases have been almost perfect since he's been on it.

But like I said, he started off haaaating it and never got better, so they had to put him on a paralytic drug so he would stop fighting it and let it do its job. After a couple days he wasn't fighting as much so they let him come off it, but then he started trying to breathe over the ventilator. So he's back on it. And the paralytic messes with his blood pressure, so he had to go on Dopamine to help regulate that.

Like I said... two steps forward, one step back. Round and round.

We're just working towards our big finale number, where the four of us finally waltz OUT of the hospital and INTO our home.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Strap Yourself In

I've heard the NICU stay described as a "rollercoaster" more than once. And damn if that isn't the truth.

Grayson's doing ok. He still HATES the machine but they've been giving him medicine to keep him sedated so he's much more comfortable than he was. And the GOOD news is that the oscillator is doing what it's supposed to do - his oxygen requirements are still high BUT his blood gases have been AWESOME since he's been on it and they've already been able to wean him down a little bit. So that's a bright spot! Hopefully his stint on it will be short.

Thank you thank you THANK YOU for all your prayers... they are being felt and heard and answered.

And then the up... I got to hold Audrey today for the third time! And I got to hold her for A WHOLE HOUR while they administered her feeding! And her sat levels (the amount of oxygen in her blood) stayed perfect THE WHOLE TIME!!! She's really prone to de-satting when she's being messed with so that is a HUGE deal. Preemie moms always say that they're surprised at how light their babies are, but for me it's the opposite; I excpect them to be terribly fragile, like an eggshell or a Christmas ornament, so I'm always taken aback by how solid they really are. And having her against me, feeling her settle into my chest and wiggle and breathe is just... there are no words for it. And I am SO thankful that although the moments don't come often enough, they come.

I love my babies so much. And I love you all for loving them too.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tough Day

Grayson's having a tough day today.

His blood gasses (the amount of carbon dioxide in his blood) have been wonky today, and he wasn't responding well to all the normal interventions (raising his oxygen level, giving him extra breaths on his ventilator) so he had to be switched to a new kind of ventilator.

Here's a good overview I got from here
The sickest and tiniest babies and those who are no longer responding well to traditional ventilators are sometimes put on high frequency ventilators. These ventilators come in four types, but the one most frequently used in the NICU is the high frequency oscillatory ventilator, otherwise known as an oscillator. An oscillator uses a very high respiratory rate, typically between 120 and 480 breaths per minute, to move very small volumes of air. Babies on an oscillator appear to be vibrating from this rapid movement of air.

We're lucky really, this isn't a HUGE setback. It's not devastating news, it's not anything that he can't bounce back from. It's helping him, more than anything, and it's actually kind of a good thing.

It's just that he HATES it. He's fighting against it, and you can totally tell that he's not comfortable and REALLY not happy. They gave him some morphine to help calm him down a little and (hopefully) give him some time to get used to it.

In the NICU, the doctors and nurses all warn you that there will be bad days. You try to brace yourself for these bad days. You hold your breath, you say your prayers, you think you're ready... And then a bad day comes. And it hits you like a ton of bricks. And you realize you WEREN'T ready for it. There's no way anyone could every be ready for it. Watching your child in pain now nowthing there is NOTHING you can do to help him is the worst feeling in the entire world.

So please, when you say your prayers tonight, say a little one for my little guy. We'd all appreciate it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Honey

Don't get confused, I'm not talking about the babies!

No, today's "happy birthday" goes to the man who gave me those beautiful babies. My husband, the man I love more than anything, the man I thought I couldn't love any more than I did... until I saw him with his babies. With OUR babies. And my heart grew ten sizes, a hundred sizes, and was filled with a love that words can't even touch.

It's been a long journey for him. There were many nights over the year it took us to get pregnant that I cried in frustration and he would stroke my hair and hold my hand. When I finally got pregnant, there was not a craving that went unfufilled or a sore muscle that went unrubbed. Then, when things took a turn for the worse, I clung to him, through the medicines and the contractions and scary statistics I clung to him and he was strong for me, when I couldn't be. And even now, that our precious little ones are here and fighting I still cling to him and he's still strong for me. Only he's strong for them, too.

He is an amazing husband.

He is an amazing father.

Happy birthday, honey. I love you.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The New Normal

There is an IV in my daughter's head.

Let that sink in for a second.

My beautiful, perfect little baby girl has a NEEDLE in her HEAD.

"Don't panic," the nurse said as I approached her isolette this afternoon (which of course, does nothing but make panic bubble up in my belly). I lifted the blanket that stays draped over her cover and I know my eyes gave me away entirely. "Every baby gets them at some point, it's totally normal" the nurse started quickly, "it doesn't bother her any more than the one in her arm or her foot did. That's actually a better place for them because she can't pull at it. Plus, look! She can kick both her legs now!"

It took me a while, but by the end of our visit it didn't bother me near as much, not any more than the other tubes and wires she's attached to. She's still my pretty little lady.

Though I will say, I never thought that my "normal" would include a needle in my baby's head.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Two weeks?!?

The babies are two weeks old today (and technically are 26 weeks gestational age) which omg, I can't BELIEVE it's been that long! Since now you now how they got here, let's see how the are...

NICU stuff
-Can I just say again that our NICU is so so so wonderful?!? Really, I am SO pleased with 99.7% of it. There's like, two nurses that aren't my favorite people in the world but really it's more of a personality thing, they ALL take fantastic care of my babies and THAT is what matters. The respitory team we've been working with is SO good, they really take time to explain everything to me and I am SO appreciative of that. NICU stuff is scary and overwhelming and having doctors that help me know what's going on really makes a difference. Seriously, they rock so much.

-Both babies have lots of tubes and stuff that are kind of scary but I'm getting used to them. They both have two tubes in their mouths, one that is a respirator that goes into their lungs and helps them breathe, and a feeding tube that goes into their bellies. They both had artery lines in their belly buttons at first, but those had to be removed after 7 days and then they each got an artery line in their foot. Those freak me out more than anything because if they get pulled out they will bleed really fast buuuut they have them pretty secure so I just try not to think about it lol, those are used for blood transfusions and when the nurses need to take blood for tests or whatever so the babies don't have to be stuck a million times. Audrey had to have ehrs removed though (it was turning her toes blue) so now she has lots of wires attached to her with little stickies, I like that she doesn't have the line anymore but they have to prick her heel anytime they need blood now, poor baby :( They also have an IV in their arm where any medicine they get goes. On top of all that, they have a pulse monitor that is just a little wire they keep attached with a sticker and a pulse ox monitor (that measures the level of oxygen in their blood)/blood pressure monitor that either wraps around their arm or their foot and looks like the teeniest blood pressure cuff EVAR lol it's so cute. Lots and lots of tubes and stuff, they look like little bowls of spaghetti lol.

-They're both getting little bits of breastmilk in their feeding tubes! They're not getting their nutrition from it yet (they have this stuff called TNP that they get all of their calories/eletcrolites/fat from) but the breastmilk primes their digestive system for when they DO start getting real feeds plus they get all the immune system benefits and all that from it. They get 1.2CCs an hour continuously through their feeding tubes, which is way up from the .3CCs an hour they started with, so yay!

-They have specific "touch times" in the NICU when the nurses go into their beds to give meds or feed or whatever, and if I'm there they let me check their temps and change their diapers. It's so fun and it makes me feel like a real mommy for minute.

-I've gotten to Kangaroo Care (skin-to-skin) with both babies TWICE now! It's seriously a HUGE hassle to get the babies AND their vents AND all their tubes out of the beds and into my arms but it is so so SO worth it! There's all sorts of research that says it's super good for the babies and the nurses really encourage it. They have me take everything off on top and put on a hospital gown and they stick the baby down in there so we're full skin-to-skin. The babies respond really well to it and it seriously is some of the best moments of my life so far, I bawled the first time, like serious huge crocodile tears!

-He is going to be such a good baby, seriously he is SO chill! The nurses poke at him and it doesn't even phase him, the only thing he really doesn't like is getting bathed. They can't cry because of the tubes in their throats but they scrunch up their little faces and it's SO pitiful lol, he makes the saddest faces when they bathe him!

-He looks SO much like Chris already, he has Chris's nose for sure and he has really dark hair but he has tiny ears like me.

-He makes the same big moves now that he did when he was in my belly, it's so funny. He's a big stretcher and will arch his back and kick his legs all the way out and he fans his toes out and it is SO cute.

-He's peed on me TWICE!

-His "bumps" have been pretty standard preemie stuff so far (knock on wood). He's had to go under the bili lights (the blue lights they use for jaundiced babies) a couple times. The lights caused him to lose moisture too fast though, which made his sodium levels go up which gave him some blood pressure issues for a little bit, but everything has leveled out now. He was having a hard time digesting his breastmilk at first but he starting pooping lol and they gave him a medicine called Reglan to help and he's doing AWESOME with it now!

-The only other major bump he's had is that his belly button line started to mess with his circulation a little bit, and some of the toes on his left foot turned really purple. They caught it pretty quick and actually had to move his line a day early, and they have been putting some Nitrogen something cream on it and it looks SO much better.

-When he was born he weighed 1lb8oz and was 12.5 inches long. Now he weighs 1lb 15.9 oz (I MEAN WE COULDN'T ROUND THAT UP GUYS?!?) and is 13.25 inches long. He has gained EIGHT OUNCES which is HALF A POUND and grown three-quarters of an inch in TWO WEEKS! My big boy!

-She is affectionatly known as "Sassy" around the NICU lol. When the nurses do her touch time she HATES it and she lets them know... she'll scrunch up her face and kick and wave her arms around and when she gets really mad she'll desat (short for "desaturation", when the amount of oxygen in her blood drops) and then she'll bring herself right back up... desats aren't funny but it IS kind of funny when she does it to the nurses.

-She looks a lot like my mom's side of the family. She has exact copies of my feet and she has my nose, but her hair looks pretty light for now.

-Girl is a wiggle worm! even when she is sound asleep she never stops moving. And she's gotten the hiccups a couple times which is funny to me because she was always the one that got them in my belly.

-Her eyes are open!!! Both babies had fused eyelids when they were born, and she opened hers on the 3rd. They're still kind of squinty and she's still so immature that the lights bother her, but she is SO CUTE omg.

-Her bumps have all been standard preemie stuff too... She needed the bili lights like Grayson, she had some trouble digesting breastmilk at first but got the Reglan and it helped.

-She had one bump though that, although everyone assured me it was a totally normal thing that happens, was TERRIFYING to watch... I had been holding her, and when the nurses took her from me to put her back in the bed all of a sudden all her vitals went wonky and all these alarms started going off. She started turning gray (WHICH OMG YOU GUYS) so they unhooked the ventilator tube and used the bag which helped but she still wasn't where she needed to be, so they called in the respitory therapist (there's always one on call there) and she said it looked like a problem with her tube so they had to pull out her breathing tube and reintubate her AND OMG IT WAS SO SCARY. Apparently what happened was they all have some junk in their lungs (because all they do is lay flat, and they can't cough or anything) and when the nurses moved her, some of the junk got knocked loose and got lodged in her breathing tube, which blocked it and made it hard for her to breathe. They all assured me it happens to almost every baby (as I'm standing there sobbing, in jeans and a hospital gown with my boobs leaking everywhere... I'm sure it was a sight to see) but seriously? One of the scariest moments OF MY LIFE. Once she got her new tube in though she was totally fine, slept the rest of the afternoon and didn't even desat. Like I said, Sassy!

-She was born at 1lb5oz and 12.25 inches. Now she weighs 1lb12oz and is right at 13 inches long. She's gained SEVEN OUNCES and three-quarters of an inch in TWO WEEKS! She's tinier than her brother but she's holding her own!

-Can I start by saying that I am so so SO thankful I didn't get the epidural? And even MORE thankful I didn't have to have a c-section? My recovery has seriously been SO easy. I was up and walking like, 30 minutes after giving birth. I didn't have any tearing or anything (um, bright side of having super tiny babies?) and my bleeding has almost completely stopped already.

-Im only 5 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight already. I guess everyone was right when they told me I was "all baby"? Things have kind of rearranged though, I definitley have more of a pooch on my belly than before. I can get in my pre-preg fat jeans already but not all my pants. I'm ready for the next four weeks to go by so I can get back in the gym!

-Obviously I can't breastfeed at the moment (which is kind of sad for me because I was REALLY looking forward to it) BUT like I mentioned, they do have me pumping. And pump I do, I'm like a freaking machine lol. I have a love/hate relationship with it... I LOVE that it's something I can do for my babies, it makes me feel not so helpless but OMG pumping itself suuuuuucks lol. For the first month I have to do it EVERY. TWO. HOURS. All day. All night. And I know I'd be waking up like that with newborns too but, uh, my pump is not near as cute as my babies. I feel very farm animal-ish. BUT like I said, it's FOR my babies and I would seriously walk barefoot to the moon for them, pumping is the least I can do.

-I got the baby blues pretty bad for a couple days, but I don't know if it was all hormones or a combination of that and just the stress of everything. I feel a lot better now for the most part, I still have moments where it all gets really overwhelming but I don't think that's going to go away.

Whew, that was a LOT. I'm so proud of my babies!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The birth of Grayson and Audrey

This story was hard for me to write. It is not a typical birth story, and it is long and emotional. It is an experience that has rocked me, changed me to the core in ways I never imagined. It is bittersweet, the very best day of my life and the worst all rolled into one. I firmly believe though, that this story is just the first chapter in our version of a fairy tale, where Chris and I grow old together watching our miracle babies grow up, happily-ever-after.

I was admitted to the hospital on Monday, March 14 at only 22 weeks and 5 days pregnant. A routine prenatal exam took a turn for the worse whe my midwife peeked over the sheet with a concerned look and said the words that sent my world spinning in the opposite direction: "I think you might be dialating. I'm sending you to Labor and Delivery to be checked". Chris went home to change out of his uniform and I cried the whole drive over to the hospital. Four belly monitors and one ultrasound later, the official diagnosis was a funneling cervix and contractions 8 minutes apart. I was put on hopital bedrest, given 72 hours of Indocin and a continuous IV of magnesium sulfate and things seemed to calm down. We settled into a new routine, me finding ways to waste the hours in a hospital bed and Chris adjusting to a life that revolved around that hospital bed.

Friday, March 18 and we had just found out that I was leaking fluid. It was scary, but it wasn't that bad... we had suspected there was maybe a leak but no one wanted to do any more checks on me than what was absolutely necessary to reduce the risk of me getting an infection. We found out I was leaking when I got up to use the bedside potty and before I could do anything I felt the fluid. I thought it was my catheter leaking at first so I called the nurse back in and she checked it with an AmnioSure strip test "just to be sure" and it came back positive. Everything else seemed pretty stable though, and an ultrasound showed that Audrey's fuid levels were a little lower but nothing alarming, so we just stepped up the bedrest, they told me to stay as flat as possible and we'd just keep on.

After another couple uneventful days, I woke up early Sunday morning when I felt a gush of fluid. I paged my nurse and asked her to check, and when she flipped my sheet back her response was "oh, no"... NOT what you want to hear. Apparently what I felt was my bloody show, and there was a LOT of blood. Suddenly there were two other nurses right there, my mom had been pulled out of bed and was calling Chris (who had gone home to sleep since mom had just gotten there on Saturday), and they were wheeling me down the hall back to the Labor & Delivery side. That's when I noticed the contractions, they had been giving me Ambien to help me sleep at night and I had been sleeping right through some pretty regular contractions. The got me into a room, the doctor showed up and checked me, and declared me 10 cm dialted and fully effaced. I was in LABOR, and I was only 23w3d which is NOT where I wanted to be. I was still groggy from the Ambien and I was TERRIFIED.

Luckily, Dr. C was AMAZING and did a Hail Mary attempt at stopping my contractions with a huge push of the mag and another round of Indocin (the 72 hour drug) which, combined with lots and lots of prayers, worked! Unfortunately I was still fully dialated and now had a baby with a ruptured bag, so they put me on total, flat-on-my-back-for-always bedrest in the Trendelenburg position and kept me pretty well drugged. Those are a hazy few days for me, I spent a lot of time sleeping and even more time praying. Chris has a video of me though that is SO embarassing but really funny, maybe one day I'll get brave and post it lol. Dr. C would come back every day to check on me and would say "Ya know, I've never seen anything like this before." I got two rounds of steroid shots and we all crossed our fingers that I could make it to the "viability mark" of 24 weeks.

I was able to hold off for 6 more days like that, putting me at 24w1d, when my contractions (which had been steadily getting more regular and stronger once I finished the Indocin again) picked back up full-force. Another of my doctors came by (there's 3 in the practice I go to, Dr. R was one I had never been seen by) and checked me, read my contraction monitor (I was having good stong contractions every 3 minutes), and decided that it was go-time. He said there was nothing more they could do to keep the contractions at bay, plus the fact that my bleeding was still pretty heavy (and had been since Sunday) which could signal an infection or something else wrong going on, all pointed to the babies needed to come out. Once the call was made everything went in fast-forward, they were pretty sure that Audrey had flipped head down so they were going to let me try for vaginal but Dr. R wanted to do it in an operating room just in case. Mom and Chris got into scrubs and off we went. I was still on my back and all I remember is watching ceiling tiles rush by and thinking "holy crap, today is my babies' birthday!" I was too stunned to be scared.

When we got back to the operating room there was already a whole slew of people in there. I had mom and Chris, my doctor, a nurse, a student nurse, an anasthesiologist (just in case) plus a nurse with him, and two NICU teams that included a doctor and a nurse for each baby plus a respitory specialist... it was a PACKED room. They sat the bed up which made me SO lightheaded, pulled my knees back, and Dr. R said "Ok, when yur next contraction comes I want to you push as hard as you can." And my response to that was "I never got to take a childbirth class, I don't know what to do!" I mean, really? My nurse was fantastic though and she coached me through the whole thing.

I was able to deliver both babies vaginally and naturally (I declined the epidural), which was SO aweseome even though it was kind of stressful because both babies came out butt-first breech. There was lots of pushing and tugging but thankfully I didn't tear. Audrey was delivered still in her sac and (although I didn't know it at the time because Dr. R was so wonderful and level-headed and calm) there was a little moment of panic because the ultrasound tech had made a note in my chart that the babies shared a placenta, but once Audrey was delivered hers came out right after her... apparently if they HAD actually shared, having it delivered before Grayson could have caused really bad complications for him so there was a HUGE rush to get him out. Thankfully though, the ultrasound tech was wrong and he had his own.

Audrey Kateri was born at 12:02pm, weighing in at 1lb5oz and 12.25 inches, and her brother Grayson Robert followed 2 minutes later, born at 12:04pm weighing 1lb8oz and measuring 12.5 inches. Both babies came out crying and kicking and were the teeniest, most beautiful things I have ever seen. They were swept away by the NICU team right away but once they were stable they wheeled the isolettes over to my bedside so I could see them and touch them before they took them to the NICU. There are NO words in the English language that can come close to describing that feeling.

And there it is, the beginning of my fairy tale. We have a long road ahead of us, but happy endings nver come easy.