We are trying to stay positive about today and shake it off but I'd be lying if I didn't say we had a really rough time. The last couple of days, both girls have had moments where the heart rate or saturation (oxygen level in their blood) dips down enough to set the alarms off. These have been described as normal events that they will eventually outgrow and as long as they continue to recover on their own with no assistance from us or a nurse, then it's not even anything they'll write in the log.
These little non-events have been increasing and making us feel uneasy. We asked our nurse during the day reasons why this was happening and if we should be concerned. She explained a lot of the things I just wrote to us and tried to assure us that it was nothing to be worried about. The causes can be anything from bearing down (pushing out some poo) to stress but again, as long as they recover on their own, it's considered a non-event.
Well tonight, we came in for our evening visit and Katy was in the middle of one of these non-events. It was starting to upset Lisa so she sat down and I walked around to try and calm Katy down and watch for signs of stress. I had one hand on her head and another over her legs and the alarms started going off. I looked over and the sat was as low as I had seen it. I looked over at the heart monitor to see that her heart rate had dropped down to 71. We've been told to watch the babies and not the monitors but that one was too much. It's hard to relive this.....
So I have learned that what they will initially do to get them back to normal is to stimulate them so I did that. I grabbed her hand and it was completely limp. Her legs were limp and I couldn't tell that she was breathing at all. Now I was concerned. I put my fingers on her chest and moved up and down to try and stimulate and that seemed to help for a split second but she immediately went back to being completely limp. Again, alarms are going off in the background this whole time. I moved my fingers up her chest again and this time she really seemed to come out of it and started moving around again. I was a split second from calling for the nurse who was never more than 10 feet away but she was handling another crying baby so she didn't see all that was going on...I have to admit that's a little disconcerting. She later told us that we should have called for her when we saw both the heart rate drop down and the sat level and not recover immediately.
When we talked about it with the nurse, she again reassured us that although this was a more significant event, warranting a log on their chart, it was nothing that hurt her or is uncommon. They will grow out of this stage. She then mentioned that the day nurse had logged a very similar event on her chart from earlier in the afternoon, shortly after we had left around 2pm.
This is a little difficult for me...well us, because I know there are families and babies out there that are much sicker than our girls but that was scary. That was very scary! We're not used to dealing with babies that stop breathing and have to be stimulated to remind them to start again. That was SO hard to see.
Lisa and I also were talking about how up until the last 24 hours ago when these little events started happening, not much has happened to make us nervous. This was a very real reminder that our babies are only 32 weeks gestational age and they are still developing right in front of us. They aren't ready to be in this world yet, not equipped to handle life outside of the womb.
We're getting to know a woman that works for the NICU to offer support and answer questions. She has that job because 2 years ago she had twins at 23 weeks. The boy passed away but his sister is doing great. We even got to meet this little miracle. It's stories like that that make me want to downplay our fears and make me think we're acting like big babies ourselves when every little alarm goes off...but I can't describe how fast MY heart was racing when I was trying to stimulate my little girl into breathing again. I know that I probably will...but I really hope I never have to do that again. I can't take that.
The good news was that all happened in the first 15 minutes of our visit this evening. The rest of the night went great. Granny and mom held the girls for over an hour and nobody had anymore events. They both worked on sucking their binkies and after a while I was making everybody laugh as we started relaxing and getting back to normal.
I just read this out loud for Lisa and had the thought that I might be a little over dramatic in describing what happened this evening. It's going to be hard for me to find that balance between sharing the ups...and downs...without the emotions coming out. I've mentioned before that I wear my emotions on my sleeve and this is one of those times. If someone asks me if something is wrong, and there is, I'm not going to pretend that it's all gravy and nothing is bothering me. That's what you're getting here tonight, some real emotion to a stressful moment in our life.
BUT all in all, the girls are doing great. Their IVs are both out now so they are getting all of their nutrients from Lisa's milk and some formula mixed in. They both have cute little outfits on and continue to amaze us at their progress over their first 8 days outside of the womb. AND, every day we get more compliments on how cute they are. It's funny because a lot of preemies don't even look like cute little babies. They are aliens...not our girls. They REALLY are cute. We're so lucky!!
Okay, pictures. These are some pictures from Micki's camera that I had to borrow during their first few hours.
This is actually the first picture taken of my baby girl, Kaitlyn. She was maybe 4 or 5 minutes old at this point.
First picture of Alyssa a few minutes later.
Katy's first closeup
Lisa seeing Katy for the first time.
Things finally settling down so we remembered to get a picture of the new parents about an hour and a half after delivery.