Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Reflections: A flip of the coin

Now that the twins are not in imminent danger and life has calmed down a little bit, Kim and I have had a chance to look back at the road we've all been down and reflect on some of the events.

While Kim and I are very inquisitive and we feel that we ask for as much information as we can possibly get (& the Dr.'s give it to us), we may not always fully realize the magnitude of the situation.

Here are some of the things we've been reflecting on.....

The night that Kim was in labor, they had prepared the NICU that they may be getting a set of 24wk twins. The label 24wks is a bit misleading as they were only 2hrs into their 24th week and were really more like old 23 weekers. At that age, every minute counts, let alone days or weeks. Part of the whole preparation was for the NICU Dr. on call to come talk to us and basically explain the situation, the risks, and find out what level of care we wanted them to give our babies. During that consultation, he explained in detail what it meant for them to be so young and that they had about a 50/50 chance at survival (at best), and that IF they survived, they would face a 50/50 chance of severe disabilities. Despite those chances, he felt that they deserved a chance to prove their strength. We agreed whole heartedly, and felt that we should at least give them a chance at life.
As fate would have it, we delivered a few hours later. Jenna started breathing with a lil nudge, however Blake needed chest compressions and a little more push in the breathing direction. Despite the challenges, they were both breathing and doing pretty decent for their age/size.

At that point Dr. Su said that every hour they hang in there, they get a bit stronger. The next several hours to couple days would be critical. And so we visited them often and hoped and prayed that they would pull through this difficult time.

About 36hrs after birth, Blake had a major set back. We woke up that morning around 7:30 & called to check on them a short time later. We were told that they were working on Blake, he needed to be resuscitated and that they'd call us back when they had him stable. We told the nurse that we'd be waiting in the NICU waiting room. It was only about 200ft closer to where they were, but at that moment every inch counted.
After about an hour, Dr. Untalon came out to talk to us. We went into one of the consult rooms for some privacy, and he explained the situation. He basically explained that Blake had a pulmonary hemorrhage, and needed a jump start on the breathing and heart rate. This was a serious issue and the next few hours would tell if he was going to be able to pull through it or not. He was a strong boy and was able to stabilize after his ordeal. A couple days later Dr. Dekowski showed us the lung xray pics so we could better understand what was happening with our lil boy.

After recovering from that ordeal, about a week later we got the news that Jenna's head ultra sound came back with some troubling results. Jenna had a Grade 3 ventricular hemorrhage. They would be doing frequent ultra sounds to determine if the bleeding had stopped and to monitor for any damage it may have caused. If the bleeding stopped, then this would not be an immediate danger to her life, but could cause serious developmental issues. Again, one of those 50/50 chances type situation. I guess we were getting used to those odds.

So, those were some of the major issues these lil guys faced and overcame in their first few days of life. They have certainly bucked the odds and have come out pretty strong.
Now that we are no longer right in the middle of those situations, we are able to look back somewhat clearly and reflect. Also, now that we are out of the situation, we are getting some more details from the nurses and Dr.'s that really impress upon us the seriousness of the situation. A couple nurses have mentioned in conversation that the pulmonary hemorrhange is Very serious and that the greater number of lil premies do not make it through one. Often times all they can do is make them as comfortable as possible, give them some surfactant to help the lungs, and hope for the best. The nurses and Dr.'s try to give parents as much info as they can handle, but don't want to freak them out, so they sometimes temper the info they give.

We've also become more aware of the children that don't make it through birth or their first few days. Some even make it through the NICU, but aren't able to hold on. Having been sooo close to that same outcome ourselves, it completely breaks our heart as well as shows us how close we really came to only have one or neither of our lil ones. The flip of a coin. That is the chance they had that fateful night.

To look at them now, it's hard to believe they faced such dire challenges. They are getting soooo big and strong and making such good progress. We can't tell you how grateful we are for the amazing care they are receiving, all the prayers & thoughts from our family & friends, and to have our lil angels with us.

Now I know the pride a parent feels for his/her child. Glorious indeed!


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