Thursday, August 22, 2013

Birth to 1 Month

     Today, August 22, 2013, Carson and Cole are one month old!  They have already changed so much in this time period.  It is so hard to believe it has already been one whole month since our "Sweet Peas" made their entrances into this big world.  Here are some memories of the boys over the past month.
     While in the hospital, many family members came to visit us.  Grandpa and Nana Herndon, Pa and Nana Alsup and Uncle Josh & Aunt Erin were present when the boys were born and made a few other visits to see us during the four days we stayed in the hospital.  Great grandparents, Uncle Chris and cousins Alexis & Drake also came to visit along with a few other family members.  We enjoyed our visits with everyone and enjoyed seeing their smiles when they saw and held the boys. 
Nana Herndon holding the boys.
 Nana Alsup enjoying time with the boys.

Great Grandpa and Grandma Alsup came to visit with the boys.
     Friday, July 26th we were discharged from the hospital.  What an exciting yet nervous car ride home that was!  The dogs were so happy to see us since we had been gone since the Sunday before.  They were excited to smell and meet Carson and Cole.  The first few nights at home were hard, but we were lucky to have help from our moms.  They each stayed overnight with us the first several nights to help us get adjusted to feeding and caring for the boys.  It didn't take us long to learn a schedule for feeding and sleeping. 
Loaded up and ready to head home!

 Daddy loving on the boys.

Mom enjoying snuggle time.
     Since being home, we have enjoyed many outings with Carson and Cole.  The boys have made trips to the grocery store, shopped for clothes, visited family and co-workers, and witnessed daddy eating the burger challenge at Cheeburger Cheeburger.  Carson and Cole enjoy swinging in their swings, lounging together in the Boppy Loungers, being read to, listening to daddy play piano, watching baseball, and most of all snuggling on mom and dad's shoulders.  They have experienced bath time several times.  During the first bath, Carson didn't seem to mind it too much, however, he did pee all over the kitchen sink, counter and himself!  Cole, on the other hand, spent the entire first bath time crying.  Subsequent bath times have been more tolerable for the boys:)
 All my men snuggling together for an afternoon nap.
 Carson's first bath.
 Cole not enjoying himself :(

 We love snuggling together!
     At the end of the one month mark the boys are each eating 4oz. at each feeding about every 3 1/2-4 hours.  They have tried out "tummy time" a few times and can hold their heads up about 5 seconds.  They are definitely becoming more alert and focus on our faces more when we talk to them.
 Trying out "tummy time".
     Here's a little about each of our men...
Carson Wade Alsup was born at 7:02PM July 22nd, 2013.  He weighed 5lb. 10oz. and was 17.75 inches at birth.  When we left he hospital he dropped to 5lb. 2oz.  At the first visit with the pediatrician (July 29, 2013) Carson weighed 5lb. 5oz. and 5lb. 11oz. by the second visit.  At his one month appointment on August 19th Carson weighed in at 7lb. 11oz.  He is our little "chunky monkey".  Carson definitely has a big personality!  He will let you know if he is not happy with something by giving you the Carson "grunt".  At times, he is a fussier baby than his brother and eats quite a bit faster than Cole.  Carson's favorite place to be is snuggled up on your shoulder.  Lastly, Carson has a sweet head full of hair that we can't get enough of.
Cole Warner Alsup was born at 7:03PM July 22nd, 2013.  At birth he weighed 5lb. 5oz. and was 18 inches long.  Upon discharge from the hospital, he weighed 5lb. 1oz.  He went up to 5lb. 2oz. at his one week pediatrician appointment and 5lb. 9oz. at the second appointment.  On August 19th, at the one month appointment, Cole weighed 7lb. 6oz.  While his brother loves to gulp down his milk, Cole is a slower, more methodical eater (like his mom).  From the first day of his life we have lovingly called him "Cole Man".  For some reason it just rolls off your tongue:).  Cole is definitely a more independent, self-soothing baby.  He loves to snuggle up in your arms with his pacifier.  We enjoy watching Cole's funny faces when he is falling asleep.
     This first month has been so much fun for us.  We have easily learned how to tell the boys apart.  Although the boys are still so young, their personalities are already becoming evident.  They seem to have grown so big already in the month that they have been in our world.  We are excited to see what the next month holds for the boys!  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Maternity Timeline

     Just a little something fun today.  I found all the pictures we took of my progression through the pregnancy.  It is fun to look back at them now and think about how I felt at that time and what was happening then.  I can't believe that 4 weeks have passed since having my boys!  Time really does fly by!  It is funny, too, because there have been times since I have had them that I sort of miss being pregnant.  It definitely was a special time for me that I will never forget:)

 11 weeks

 15 weeks

19 weeks 

23 weeks 

26 weeks 

29 weeks 

34 weeks

Monday, August 12, 2013

Welcome to Our World

     Midday Monday, July 22nd I was moved to Labor & Delivery.  Up on the previous floor an ultrasound had been performed to verify the position of the babies.  We were so excited to learn that both babies had remained head down.  This meant my OB would allow me to attempt a vaginal birth :)  I had so hoped for this to be possible.  So, down on L&D, things began to move very fast!  Family arrived, an IV was started (after 3 attempts), my OB broke my water, an epidural was placed and Pitocin was started to speed up labor.  This was all accomplished by around 1PM.  The staff was super efficient!  I was feeling pretty good at this time...although eventually my epidural had to be re-dosed.  I quickly progressed all the way to 9cm.  Everything had been looking good up to this point.  They started noticing that Baby A's heart rate kept dipping down into the 80's at the end of my contractions.  Not something they (or I) wanted to see.  This meant there was concern about umbilical cord compression and the baby not getting enough blood flow.  So, my OB came in and informed me that, unfortunately, the safest thing would be to perform an emergency C-section.  This, again, was not what I wanted to hear :(  But, we trusted her decision and ultimately, the most important thing was the safety of the babies.  The order was given to the staff and I was whisked away to the operating room.

 This was taken right before I was taken to the OR. 
You can tell I was feeling pretty good!

     So much of what happened next is still a blur, but I do remember some of the process.  Of course I had been given even more medication for the surgery, so I was going in and out of sleeping.  This was the weirdest thing for me!  I kept thinking, "How do you sleep through this?"  But I could not get myself to stay awake.  So many people would introduce themselves and tell me who they were and what they were doing but I could hardly comprehend any of it.  On top of this, I was so emotional that I was having to have a C-section.  Brad and my CRNA were so great at calming me down and helping me focus.  Without them, I would have been boo-hooing the entire time!  It seemed like forever before I finally got to hear one of my babies crying.  But when that time came, I could hardly contain myself.  I will never forget the excitement and relief that came over me upon hearing Carson (Baby A) cry his first sweet cry upon entering this big world at 7:02PM.  Immediately, tears of happiness came rolling down my face.  (I tear up now as I write this thinking of that moment).  Brad was able to watch the whole process of tending to him and cleaning him up.  Then, one minute later at 7:03PM, Cole (Baby B) made his entrance.  They were able to hold him up over the screen in front of me so I could see him.  Again, the flood gates opened and I could not stop crying. 
     Carson Wade Alsup weighed 5lb. 10oz. and Cole Warner Alsup weighed 5lb. 5oz.  These were great weights for twins born at 35 weeks!  Both boys were healthy, but Carson had some issues with paleness and feet and hands that wanted to remain blue.  He was monitored carefully, though, and was eventually stable enough for me to hold him and his brother on my chest.  This is another moment I know I will never forget.  The complete happiness and peace that came over me as I held my two miracles in my arms with my husband holding around me was unbelievable.  The staff was so nice to take many sweet pictures of this moment for us.  I know it will be one we will cherish the rest of our lives.  Welcome to our world Alsup boys!!

Carson Wade
Cole Warner
My boys!
My family :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Wait is Over

     July started off with a few fun things to celebrate July 4th.  On the 3rd, we went to dinner and watched the fireworks in our hometown with my parents.  It was nice to be able to spend the evening outside and fireworks are always something I enjoy watching.  Then, on the 4th, my parents came over to grill out for dinner...what else do you do for dinner on July 4th??  I so enjoyed time away from the bed to celebrate the holiday.
    The next Monday I was back to doctor appointments.  We went to the hematologist for a follow-up appointment.  He determined that I would need to come back for another iron infusion.  After the appointment, we went with my dad to the American Red Cross for him to donate blood for me in case it would be required after delivery of the twins.  The 11th of July I returned to the hematologist for a third iron (Venofer) IV infusion.  A couple introduced themselves to us while my iron was infusing.  The wife was several months into a pregnancy with their first child.  The husband said a month after they found out she was pregnant they discovered she had breast cancer.  She was receiving treatments as long as possible while pregnant and would require more after her pregnancy.  I thought my pregnancy was hard and scary until I met this woman.  She was so strong and had a positive outlook that I was motivated by her to keep my head up!
     After this appointment, we went to the next appointment with my OB.  This appointment was spent examining the babies complete physical profile, meaning they measure the head circumferences, abdominal circumferences, arm and leg lengths, and blood flow through the umbilical cords.  There was some dispute between a few of the measurements on Baby B, so they sent us upstairs to a maternal-fetal specialist.  They repeated the ultrasound and obtained a few better measurements.  Baby B was so far up in my ribcage, it was hard to get an accurate abdominal measurement and Baby A was so far down in my pelvis it was almost difficult to obtain an accurate head circumference.  In the end, they were able to determine that the babies were measuring fine and most importantly, the blood flow in the umbilical cord was excellent.  At this OB appointment, I also discussed with my doctor that I had been experiencing stronger, more frequent contractions at home.  She checked me and determined I was already 1cm dilated/60% effaced and determined that I should stay in the hospital overnight for observation of the contractions.  So, over we went to the hospital and I spent the night hooked up off and on to the monitor.  I was having several strong contractions fairly regularly.  The next morning, my doctor came around and said I was ok to be discharged but would need to take a medication, Procardia, to help slow down the contractions since at this time I was only 33 weeks and 5 days. Her goal was to get me to 35 weeks since the boys would more than likely not have to spend any time in the NICU after delivery.
     The next week, I returned with my sister to the American Red Cross for her to donate blood for me after delivery.  My OB was not convinced I would require any blood post-delivery, but wanted to be proactive and ready in case I did.  I was much more comfortable knowing that if I required any blood after delivery it would come from my own family and not a stranger.  The 18th, we were back at the OB for another physical profile on the boys.  The measurements, again, were great for the boys and I was now dilated to 2cm and 80% effaced.  I was able to go back home and would continue the Procardia until 36 weeks if I did not deliver before.  
    The weekend was long but relaxing until Sunday the 21st.  That morning I noticed I was having some upper right quadrant pain on my abdomen and a sharp pain to the right lower quadrant.  I rested and rested and it went away for a while.  However, that afternoon, it came back even worse.  Brad called the on call nurse and we were instructed to head on to the OB-ER to be checked out.  They hooked me up to the monitor and did some lab work.  The blood work showed that my liver function studies were elevated.  They were concerned about preeclampsia that could lead to pre-term labor.  So, I was kept overnight again for observation.  My blood pressure stayed slightly high overnight and when my OB rounded the next morning she informed me that the best plan of action would be to go ahead and induce me to deliver the babies that day.  So, the plan was put into action and once a bed opened up on the labor & delivery floor I was moved down there.  Wow! This was really happening!  I was really going to see my little miracles very soon!!  The day we had waited for over the last year and a half had finally arrived :)