Monday, November 16, 2009


Neonatal intensive care unit is a very daunting experience for any parent. You feel so helpless knowing that there is not much you can do but at the same time your baby is being given the best possible care.

Each morning when I arrive at the hospital its a "I wonder how they did today".

The procedure is as follows:
1.) lock your personal belongings away in the lockers provided
2.) wash your hands
3.) enter the room where your babies are
4). Greet your babies and touch them - no picking up unless the Sister says you can. You want to minimise picking up as often they might have fed and too much movement causes them to bring up milk
5.) check the chart to see if there was a weigh gain (yay!) or weight loss (nooooo!!!)

The most important milestones in NICU for a parent is a healthy thriving baby, a baby that is feeding well and gaining weight.

Babies are not discharged before they weigh over 2kg.

Fortunately Wade was over the 2kg mark but needed to feed properly where as Erin needed to feed properly and gain weight.

Babies are fed approximately 28 - 34ml milk through a feeding tube down their throats or down the nasal passage over a 2 or 3 hourly period. It all depends on how well they can tolerate the milk.

Moms and dads are encouraged to interact with the baby as you would do at home and you also get to bath and feed your baby. All very well but its not the same because at the end of each day you go home empty handed.

I hated these two weeks because I was dependent on people for transport as after my c-section I was not able to drive. I had a set time at the hospital because once I was fetched it was not easy for me to get a lift back to hospital to see my babies.

It was during this time that I truely believe that the wheels were starting to fall off. Something was a miss and I was not sure what was wrong but I did not feel like I thought I would. The nine months were over. I had two beautiful bundles of joy but why did I not feel happy?

Going home

Its been nearly a month since my last post. What's been happening you are asking yourselves? Well each day when I think I will sit down and type something happens to distract me and oh of course OPM. I keep telling myself today I must blog and nothing. So I was going to dash off to buy the chocolates for my work yera end function but decided to rather post. Can get the chocolates later. Anyway would be tempted to eat one - Lindt - who can resist them? Anyone?

Let's continue...

On Thursday the day before I am due to go home my blood pressure is sky high. Secretly I am glad cause maybe just maybe the gynae will allow me to stay an extra day. Imagine that, someone who actually wants to stay in hospital?

Friday comes and I am going home. Its terrible. Taking home the flowers and all my baby things that I brought for the twins. To think I came into hospital with a stomach and now I am going home minus a stomach but nothing to show for it.

My birthing partner offers to host me for the weekend and I collect my stuff that afternoon and move in with her and her family. I cant stop crying. Its a terrible feeling and I cannot get my mind around the idea that they are lying in hospital on their own.

My friend asks me what is it that I am worried about. I say what if... something happens to them. Erin is so tiny with an incubator as her home. She makes this pitiful cry and it pains me to see her that way. Wade is not in an incubator and sleeps in the standard hospital crib. Both are not feeding on their own and have tubes down their throats to assist them. I cant watch when they put the tube down their throat. In someways seeing them actually upsets me more. I love seeing them but I worry what if their condition has not improved or they do grasp the feeding concept?

I now realise that I thought the difficult part was getting through my pregnancy and delivering healthy babies. Not so. Now the real worrying starts.

Strange that the moment you learn that you are pregnant you start to worry and the reality is that I will worry till the day I take my final breathe about these two beautiful babies I have created and that God has blessed me with.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hospital stay

Its normal for any c-section mom to remain in hospital for three nights and no longer unless their are complications. Fortunately for me I have no complications which means I will go home after 3 nights.

The day after my op I start to feel down. The phone calls although they are still streaming in, begin to slow down as do the smses as most people heard about the good news the day before. Visitors come slightly disappointed as they cannot see the babies. Strange but true when you are pregnant everyone worries about you afterwards, its the baby they want to see and mommy moves out of the spot light. Forget that you have had your stomach split open with your insides thrown on the table like a piece of meat at the butchers but hey your job is done.

I starting feeling very down but am told that this is normal to get the "baby blues". Your hormones are just so mixed up and in a few days you will be just fine. I believe everyone. It does not help that the rain is pelting down and the visitors dont want to paddle to the hospital. "You dont mind if we dont come do you?" No, of course not. I love lying in a hospital bed with no babies around me and being all alone. I love listening to someone elses baby screaming day and night behind the curtain that divides me from my "neighbour". I love not sleeping because this baby is been breastfed and loves its mommies boobies so much. I love all of this can no-one see that I am so happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My routine is simple. Wake up at 5:30 drink my cup of coffee and one rusk courtesy of the hospital's catering service. Shower, go and see my babies to chat to the paed. Walk back from NICU, into bed for breakfast. If visitor arrives they come after about an hour, back to the NICU before lunch. After lunch NICU then back in case any visitors should feel they will brave the weather to come and see me and only me. After visiting hours lie in bed and watch TV before supper then back to NICU. Its very depressing going to the NICU and yes you should be happy to see your babies but there is always the what if? The paed has picked up something wrong. What if they are not gaining weight but loosing weight. What if, they dont drink properly through a tiny tube so thin that you could swallow it without any difficulty. What if they die??? Okay so no-one has mentioned dying but leave any woman alone with her own thoughts it can be scary.

Thursday arrives and my mood is no better than the weather outside. I am given regular updates and told "you are so lucky to be in hospital. You dont want to be outside". WTF I dont want to be lying in a bed all by myself worrying about the wellbeing of my babies?

I cry all day. Every person that sees me be it the Sister, nurse or my gynae walks in on me crying. I am miserable and nothing anyone says can make me feel better. What I do know is that I will be going home without Wade and Erin with all the stuf that I had so carefully packed for them to a house with an empty nursery. I cannot bear this. Its too much and I dont sleep a wink that evening.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

7 things ...

Monz and Melanie gave me this Kreativ Blog Award.

Here are the rules:

1.) Thank the person(s) who nominated you for this award. Done

2.) Copy the logo and place it on your blog. Done!

3.) Link to the person who nominated you for this award.

4.) Name 7 things about yourself that people might not know.

  • I am an only child
  • My mom is deceased
  • I am afraid of flying
  • I have a National Diploma in Public Relations
  • I love chocolate
  • I have no pets
  • I have never been Overseas

5.) Nominate 7 Kreative Bloggers

  • Eve
  • Melanie (twin mommy)
  • Monz
  • Eileen
  • Hope
  • Jahni
  • Paulae

6.) Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate - done

7.) Leave a comment on each of their blogs letting them know they've been nominated - done

Friday, October 2, 2009

Birth-day continued

Okay so I decided I would let all my "fans" have another installment. It seems like I have a bit of a readership who like following my blog. I did not post anything yesterday so will give another installment today.

The day progesses with phone calls and smses streaming in. Despite the pethadine injection I dont sleep. There is just too much adrenalin pumping through my veins. I am a mother. Its a new beginning for me. I have no further updates about my babies but dont worry assuming they are in the nursery. In the afternoon a nurse from the Neonatal Intensive Care comes to see me and requests their dummies. "Please dont worry but your babies are in High Care". WTF!!! What is going on here. My gynae arrives and asks me if I have seen my babies. Not yet. Well he instructs the nurses to wheel me to NICU. Its not so easy. I cannot exactely hop out of the bed. Its so painful but I am assisted and put into a wheelchair drips and all. I am wheeled in my designer blue pj's (looking my absolute worst - no chance of meeting Mr Right today).

I dont know what to expect. No-one warned me about this. My daughter is in an incubator lying in only a tiny prem nappy. She has a monitor strapped to her foot which is hooked up to a machine to monitor her pulse. A tiny tube has been inserted down her throat. This tube is attached to a syringe through which she is fed. She is sleeping. Her dummy is too big for her mouth. My son is in a little bassinet lying next door to her. I reach out to touch him. They are so tiny and I start to cry. I was not prepared for this. Why are my babies not lying with my in the ward? I am told my son swallowed a lot of amniotic fluid and my daughter cannot maintain her body heat. They take her out of the incubator and wrap her in a pink blanket. I get to hold her for a few minutes. Tears start to stream down my cheeks. Its too much to handle. With no-one to comfort me I cannot bear to see my tiny little girl like this. My son I get to hold for longer. He is being fed minimal amounts of milk. After a while I am wheeled back to my room. I am upset and dont know how to handle this.

What I do know is that my babies will not be coming home with me when I leave on Friday. Something I know I will not be able to handle.


Tuesday, 23 June 2009

My c-section is scheduled for 7:30am. I wake up at 3:30am as I need to be at the hospital by 5:00am. I am scared and excited. I am about to meet two very special people but at the same time have major abdominal surgery. I wish I could have my early morning cup of coffee but that is not possible. I shower and get dressed. My days of waddling are nearly over. At least I will be a few kilos lighter by the end of the day.

All too soon its time to leave. I have packed my bags a few weeks before already. My best friend and I leave for the hospital. Its still dark as we are in the middle of Winter. The roads are empty and before I know it we are at the hospital. The day is shadowed with sadness as although I dont have a partner, the one person who I would have liked to share the day and the arrival of two special people with, is my mom. If only she could have seen her grandchildren but that was not to be.

Before I know we arrive at the hospital with a few minutes to spare before 5:00am. I check in at the admissions desk and am told to go to the Labour ward. They are expecting me. I am told to undress and put on the prescribed blue pj's and to supply a urine sample for testing.

I climb onto the bed and start answering a few sms's. The Sister comes to check the babies heart rates and all is fine. My gynae comes to check on me and says he will see me in a bit. I am told to drink some horrible antiacid which I swallow in one gulp. My bed is wheeled in and I climb onto the bed that will take me to theatre. My friend is taking "before" pictures, the last of my swollen belly. Then its time to go.

We arrive at the threatre and wait in a little room. I start to cry. Partly from nerves also because my mom is not here. The anethesist arrives and he is yummy!!! I check for the tell tale sign and yes he is married. I know I am about to give birth but you never know your luck in the big city. He is reassuring and answers all my questions. He takes a photo of my friend and I.

Her and I both laugh as we can only imagine what everyone is thinking - that she is my partner. In the hopes of dispelling these type of thoughts she has dressed in pink, with lots of make up and her wedding rings. Alas, this does not prevent the nursing staff from assuming that she is my partner.

My bed is wheeled into theatre and my gynae instructs my friend "not to touch anything or else I will chop off your fingers". She is positioned next door to me and the paed takes her camera in order to take the photos.

I am told to sit up (assisted at least) and my back is cleaned with poor alcohol. Its freezing! The Sister holds my left hand and talks me through the procedure. I dont feel a thing. Dr Make-me-feel-good has done a brillant job. Almost immediately I feel the sensation disappearing in my legs as they turn to jelly. My legs are forced open to insert the catheter. I lie down and immediately the room starts to spin. I want to get sick ill. The anethesist tells me my blood pressure has dropped suddenly and administers a drug into the drip to ease this feeling. My gynae starts to work and starts to cut my stomach. I feel nothing but nauseas.

Its minutes and then I hear my son wail. I start to cry. His first breath and sound is like music to my ears. Sorry for the cliche but it is so true. He is not happy that he has been removed from the comforts of my womb, a place he has called home for nine months. My daughter is even less impressed that someone has invaded her space and forced her to make an appearence into the real world.

Its amazing but at the moment that I first saw my babies, the overwhelming love I felt for them was instantly there. How is it that we can fall in love at first sight? My daughter is tiny in comparision to my son and she screams non-stop.

They are wheeled in an incubator to the nursery whilst I am stitched up. I go to recovery where I am checked on frequently to ensure that my uterus is contracting.

By 9:00am I am in the ward and the pain kicks in. I "order" my first pethadine injection and I start to feel wonderful. Smses start streaming in as news breaks of the birth of my son Wade Cooper weighing 2.5kg and my daughter, Erin Frances, a mere 1.880kg.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The journey

The weekend goes by and I remain in a state of shock. I cannot believe it but at the same time I should believe it. My first pregnancy would have been twins so why is this a shock to me? I try reasoning with myself telling myself it will be okay. But will it? I just dont know how?

Morning sickness kicks in and its terrible. Nothing prepared me for it. So it switches to evening sickness and I find myself going to bed around 7:30pm as a) I am exhausted but b) the yucky feeling just wont go away. Fruit seems to be the only thing that I can keep down and it becomes my new supper.

On Christmas Day I break my news. People are thrilled when I tell them I am pregnant but shocked and surprised when I say twins. Their immediate reaction is always "you are so
brave". I somehow think they are missing the plot. I did not choose twins. I only wanted one baby. Hello!!!! I walked down the aisle in Pick 'n Pay reach up to the top shelf and pick one baby boy and one baby girl. I dont think so. What dont these people understand. I did not choose this. God decided for me. I try reasoning with myself, almost willing it to be okay. Positive affirmations. But it does not work. Days roll into weeks. Before I know it its 13 weeks time for my Downs scan. I am nervous because it thought its twins I want them to be healthy. They are and one baby is a boy. Oh flip, I think. What if I have two boys? How will I cope as a single woman. My poor sons wont have a father. Oh please God let the other baby be a girl.

The 16 week scan and my gynae suspects its a girl but cannot be 100%. I will need to wait for the 20 week foetal assessment scan. Gee, more waiting. But before I know it its 20 weeks and its a girl!!!

Yay, at least I have a pigeon pair not that it matters I tell myself. As long as they are healthy. But I still have not excepted that it is twins and as I share my news I say it not fully comprehending what the implications of twins really are. I carry small and people are surprised that there are two babies inside my tummy.

Some days I can handle the idea of twins other days not and deep down I want to cry. I never tell anyone about my fears because everyone knew how desperate I wanted a baby. To admit that I am not thrilled as everyone expects me to be would be terrible. I should be happy. Its a blessing I am told. But internally I am crying. How will I cope financially, emotionally, mentally. I have a two bedroomed townhouse, a two-door car and no facilities for domestic help. Initially I believed I would cope with two babies on my own at night but then I realised it would not be so easy. I would have to have a live-in nanny. More expensive. It is a terrible thing to admit but all I could see was dollar signs. I wanted the best for my children when I used to dream about becoming a parent, as we all do I am sure. Private schools. Only the best. But now, its what I can afford that matters. This was not the picture I had painted. Where did it go wrong?

I suffer from depression and hence the reason I should have gotten help during my pregnancy. I had come off my meds in order to fall pregnant. Looking back my depression was slowly starting and the overwhelming negative thoughts that I was experencing was me slowly spiralling into the pit of depression. I was miserable instead of being happy. At 20 weeks my feet started to swell. It was terrible as I struggled to walk. Eventually I got used to it but around 30 weeks I started waddling. Not because of the weight but due to the fact that my son was pressing into my pelvis area.

Four days before I was due to have my c-section I remember phoning my friend crying saying I could not go through with this anymore. A bit late, my friend she said. I dont think I can do this anymore. I dont want to go through with it. Sorry my friend, she said. Its too late!!!

The night before my c-section I was happy, excited but on the morning of the birth I was sad but for two reasons. One it was time for reality and good-bye to my singlehood and two my mom would not be here to share my joyous experience.

The count down had started.