Now that I'm home, each day revolves around when I can get to the hospital to see the girls. They are 'cared' for every three hours, and we have to coordinate our visits with that care if we want to take them out and hold them. The last few days we have been there for the 11am feeding. Jason will kangaroo with one girl, and I will kangaroo with the other.
Kangaroo care involves stripping the baby down to the diaper and having them lay upright against the chest, with their ear above the parent's heart. Research also shows that kangaroo care helps the girls grow faster: the parent's body temperature helps regulate the baby's temperature, the baby generally falls into a deep slumber which can help with energy conservation leading to faster growth, the skin-to-skin contact also helps with milk let-down and breastfeeding. Plus, it makes us parents feel better to be able to hold our babies and be close with them.
It is so difficult to see your little baby in one of the isolettes, with all those wires attached to them, one or two IVs running into them, and perhaps some breathing apparatus attached to them. Alarms go off periodically and a big monitor is displaying their respiration rate, heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. It is hardly a very comfortable to be in. And for Meorah and Tzelia specifically, I wonder if they miss each other. Some hospitals do co-bed twins (MGH does not) and the research does show that twins tend to grow faster if they are co-bed. However, given the risk of SIDS, MGH does not allow co-bedding. When the girls get stronger, I hope to be able to hold them together and let them 'remember' each other.
Currently I'm going once a day given that I'm still not allowed to drive. I am allowed to drive beginning next week, and plan on either spending one longer day there, or breaking up the day and spending the morning and the afternoon there. Zev is with Nicole (his nanny), and therefore I do not have to worry about him. Weekends will take more coordination since Zev is not allowed in the hospital because of the H1N1 regulations. But we'll work something out.
I am recovering much more slowly compared to my recovery with Zev. I am on a higher dose of percocet, and I am needing it longer: with Zev I only needed the pain meds for about three days after being home. I tried cutting back on the dose today and could definitely tell the difference. Of course, this situation is different: it is a second c-section, I am much more active compared to post-Zev since I am running back and forth to the hospital, and I am deconditioned due to 10 weeks of bed rest. Hopefully by next week I will be feeling better.
I am also experiencing a lot of edema, which I never experienced post-Zev. Edema following surgery is common, but I had also been given 24 hours of fluids and mag sulfate, which I'm sure is playing a role. My feet are so swollen they actually hurt and you can see indents from my pants up and down my legs. Jason is making me wear compression stockings, which does make a difference. I took a picture of my feet, which I'll have to upload here at some point. They are rather funny looking...
We'll end with an update on the girls: Tzelia is now off IV nutrition completely and is just taking fortified breast milk through her NG tube. Meorah was taken off the CPAP this morning, and we'll see if she can stay off of it. She had been able to previously, so we hope she can do it again. If she needs to be put back on it, that's fine of course...it is a minor complication. But obviously we'd love it if she didn't need it anymore...the mask is pretty big and I love seeing her face.