"Its gonna be a tough summer."
|Hanna & Ashlyn|
Once Ashlyn & Hanna got home, it has been a whirlwind....Very little time to breathe, much less write. No sleep, lots of bottles; lots of diapers......
Today, I feel compelled to re-open this blog, along with many of its painful memories. I spent some time reviewing some of the old posts from last March & April, including "The Junior Partner" & others. It brought back a flood of memories; Wow....what a scary and trying time indeed, and it some ways seems like a dream of long ago....
There is a compelling reason to write tonight; After an incredibly difficult summer, despite enormous difficulties, huge obstacles, and significant challenges. Despite all the ups and downs, the rollercoaster of emotion, the scary moments, the sleepless nights...The severe reflux, the feeding tubes, the oxygen tanks; The medication cocktails...Despite it all.....
This week we learned that our girls are healthy, happy, normal little girls. They are OK!
We visited Dr Rosenberg down at the special care clinic today, for the girls monthly check-up...He gave us the words we had been dreaming to hear for almost a year since this process started.
"Your girls are healthy, they don't need medications or oxygen anymore; In fact, you don't need to come see me anymore. Your next doctor visit is with your regular pediatrician. Congratulations, your girls have graduated from the special care clinic."
I sat in dumbfounded silence in the office, slowly understanding how incredible this news was. I don't think its fully sunk in. As Sara and I walked out of the hospital office in Aurora afterwards, the reality of what had just transpired started to unfold.
"Did he just say we're done?" I asked Sara. "We don't need to come back? Our girls are good to go?"
"Yep!" Sara shimmered with a smirk. "We did it....We made the right decisions, we were blessed. It worked. We did it!"
Although the weight of the experience still looms and has taken its toll on both of us, it feels as if most of the weight of anxiety, fear, sadness, and pain is falling away. Instead, new "normal" feelings of joy, wonder, amazement, laughter, and love are moving in.
It was a year ago this week that we were delivered the horrifying news that we were having momo twins; That this was going to be a rough ride; that the risks were huge; We didn't sleep knowing the next visit to the doctor for an ultrasound could find one or both of our babies dead in the womb. We lived in a world knowing we were going to have pre-mature babies, and were paralyzed by fear of the unknown outcomes.
That all said, we are not completely out of the woods. The girls are still at higher risks for contracting RSV this winter, and will be getting shots for prevention. There may be other obstacles presented in the coming months, its hard to know for sure. However, it feels like the worst is past.
With that unbelievably happy news said, I will try to recap the last 5 months on how far we have come and how we got here.
We begin with Hanna coming home in early June; She was on a feeding tube, and having real trouble eating. It was obvious that the feeding tube was bothering her ability to eat, and agitating her stomach, but she needed the nutrition and kept having severe reflux and aspiration.
About 3am one night, Hanna was in our bed and Sara rolled over; In the process she snagged little Hanna's NG tube literally ripped it right out of her nose and throat. I recall hearing a "whoosh" and then we both sat up in bed with an "holy crap, what just happened.!?!?" Once we realized what had transpired, we were wide eyed with shock but also giggled about it. Amazingly, Hanna reacted pretty well...she quickly starting feeling better, and the next day had some great feeds. From that night on, we never looked back....that was it...The tube was never replaced and Hanna learned how to eat.
Ann & Tony (Sara's parents) lived with us from June-August and were amazing. As previously stated, we would have been dead without them.
The nightly program was to make bottles, with all their various medications, mixing frozen breast milk with formula for the right concoction; Then feeding at 4 hour intervals all night, every night. Usually around 10pm, then again at 2am, then a 6-7am wake up call of a howling, hungry baby....As the summer wore on, Tony would take the morning shift and take the girls downstairs for the early am feeding, leaving us a few extra hours to sleep which was HUGE.
|Ann &Tony "On Duty"|
The lack of sleep was a killer....Walking around in a zombie state most of the day, I craved the opportunity to go on business trips so I could SLEEP. That, coupled with the madness of the twins + a two year old (Rylan) made and make for a pretty crazy household....Three kids in diapers at once is no small feat.
Anne & Tony departed in late August, and we were on our own....We fell right into the groove, and quickly realized we were going to need help. A neighbor had mentioned that had recently gotten an "au-pair", a family nanny/helper and that they were really liking it. After some discussion, interviews, and a few skype sessions to Europe, we found Anne. She is 21, and from "the country" about 3.5 hours Northwest of Copenhagen Denmark. She is from a small town named Soften which is near Aarhus. She has been a wonderful addition to the family....A responsible, fun, athletic girl, she is GREAT with the children; She cooks great meals and has been a fantastic addition to the house.
Anne (pronounced Ann-eh) arrived in mid September. I picked her up at Denver Intl airport, only knowing her by the few skype conversations we had. It was a big gamble for her and for us; I must say we have been very lucky. She is amazing, and fits in perfectly with our family.
|Anne the Au-Pair with the crew|
Which brings us up top the present day; With this weeks visit, Ashlyn has been officially cleared to be "off" oxygen. That resolves the only outstanding issue that we are aware of.
We have Healthy Girls!!!!!
While you're never out of the woods with kids, I feel truly ecstatic that we have made it to this point. I would have never believed that those tiny 2 lb babies, struggling to survive in the NICU despite a myriad of complicated medical issues, could ever turn out to be the precious little cute babies we have now. It really is a miracle.
Their personalities are starting to show as well...Hanna is the social butterfly; She is quite talkative, and can be very loud. I imagine her to be more like dad...Whereas Ashlyn is a bit more reserved; she will often observe the situation in silence for long periods of time, before laughing uncontrollably for a brief moment. I imagine her to be more like mom....
|Xmas is coming|
|Sara has her hands full!|