Ringing in the New Year at the Hospital

I wasn’t sure what to expect for our first New Year’s Eve as parents.

Would we stay up to watch the ball drop?

Would we share a toast at midnight?

Would we just go to bed by our 9pm curfew?

The past three weeks have been filled with uneasiness because Scout’s throat has been filled with mucus and other nasty stuff.  Her breathing has been louder and more labored than our smushed-faced bulldog.  Not the end of the world by itself, but the choking and gagging fits that she would endure definitely had us on edge.

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Each night she would start gagging and choking on the mucus that was permanently residing in her throat.  Between 4-5 times each night, we would wake up to her gagging and coughing noises, which are the most terrifying sounds we could imagine as parents.  We would quickly pick her up, hold her on her belly, and slap her back.

Her eyes would water and eventually she would clear the blockage in her throat.  As you can imagine, it wasn’t so easy for her to go right back to sleep, so we usually spent the next 30 minutes calming her down.  Each instance brought me back to the second day in the hospital when she choked on some mucus for the first time (read about that here).  It scared me then and still scared me now.

The doctors said it was nothing to be concerned about.  Yeah right.  I was tempted to record her gagging fits to give them proof, but what loving parent would film their daughter’s gagging, rather than helping her?  Not this one.

We brought her to the pediatrician a few times because nothing was getting better.  They said that her chest was clear, so there was real concern.  Again, yeah right.

We had her sleep in more of an upright position, we were using the NoseFrida (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), and doing everything else they suggested, but the mucus wouldn’t quit.  On top of it, she wasn’t eating and she was losing weight quickly.

Finally, on December 30th, they sent us to the children’s hospital to have her monitored for 24 hours.  They wanted to make sure that her breathing was stable during these gagging fits and they would test her for a few viruses.

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When we arrived at the hospital, with two babies of course, they were confused because they expected one baby.  Ah, it gets them every time!

We explained the issue and the nurse told us that we were not bad parents.  Well thanks.  I hadn’t doubted our parenting at all, but now I wondered if I should have.

The doctors told us that her nasal passages were not wide enough to pass this mucus.  They said it was too thick to come up on its own, but too thick to go down on its own.

That’s when they broke out the big guns: Wall Suction.  They connected their hoses to the wall suction, gave her a bit of saline, and sucked a ton of nastiness from her throat.  She hated it and fought ’em good, but we were instantly relieved.

They sent the gook to be tested, which revealed four viruses in our sweet girl’s body.

After the suction, she was a different girl. She was talking up a storm and the rasp in her voice was gone.  We had Griffin join Scout in her cage, I mean, crib, and they held hands and talked.  Things were finally back to normal.

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They connected a bunch of probes to her so they could monitor her breathing and we waited it out.

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When she refused her next bottle, they decided to give her an IV of fluids because she was becoming dehydrated.

But working the IV into her little hand, (and her arm after her hand didn’t work) was impossible.  So they left her screaming and we hoped that she would eat on her own.

Griffin and I went home late that night while Mom and Scout stayed at the hospital.

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It was our first night apart and it was so weird.  Actually, it was downright easy to take care of one baby.  Those singleton parents have it so easy!

We were all reunited in the morning.  As we ate our nasty hospital breakfast, Mom told me that they sucked Scout’s mucus a few more times through the night and that things seemed to be improving.  What a relief.  We were discharged that afternoon with instructions to suck her mucus every three hours.

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So what would our New Year’s Eve celebration look like now?  It would look like an easy dinner and going to bed by 9:00.

The only celebration we had was the following morning, when we celebrated the fact that there were no more choking fits!

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Heading Home with Newborn Twins

Our homecoming day had finally arrived.

We somehow managed to accumulate even more baby stuff while we were in the hospital, so I started making trips to the car with all of our belongings.

One potential problem that could have thwarted things was the infamous car seat challenge.  Sounds like an 80’s board game, but it’s not.

You see, Griffin was still extremely small.  Because he was so small, there was a chance that our car seat, which was designed for normal-sized babies, wouldn’t get the job done safely.  So they had to do a trial run.

They put little Griffin in his car seat, which now included special modifications, consisting of strategically placed, rolled-up receiving blankets.  The blankets ensured a more secure fit in the seat.  After he was buckled in, they monitored his vital signs to guarantee that he would be ok in the seat.  My little boy passed with flying colors, and he was officially safe to ride in his gigantic car seat.

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Here we go!

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A member of the hospital staff came with the wheelchair and Megg hopped in.  She carried one baby in its carrier and her mother carried the other.  I bent over to pick up the diaper bag, and Megg’s gigantic, expensive camera fell from my shoulder onto the floor.

Awesome.

I was afraid to look up because I didn’t want to see the look she was probably giving me.  I picked it up, re-secured the strap on my shoulder, and tried again.

This time, Megg’s tumbler of water fell from the side pouch, and crashed onto the floor.

Awesome.

Because I had managed to drop everything I attempted to carry, I was convinced that every adult in the room was doubting my ability to raise these kids.  I was evening beginning to doubt it myself.

Somehow we made it to the first floor with nothing else falling from hands.  We posed for a few photos and headed home on the nicest, coolest day of the summer.  It was the perfect day to welcome these newborn twins to their new home!

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We arrived at home with the same number of living babies that we had when we left the hospital.  A small victory.

Our four-legged babies were so happy to see Mom and she was liberal with her kisses and dog treats.  When I came in the house with the twins, the pups looked at the baby carriers and probably assumed that someone with babies was visiting us, and that there was no chance those babies could actually be ours.

Before I knew it, there were two podsters on the coffee table holding our sleeping babies.  I suggested to my mother-in-law that we should put the babies in the office, where we had set up a “downstairs nursery”.

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My suggestion was shot down.

In my rational mind, the babies would sleep in their designated room, just like most people sleep in their room.  But there is no room for rational thinking with twins, I suppose.  I was informed that they would occupy the coffee table for the next few weeks because it was the hub of life and we could tend to them better if they were in the same room as us.

But the coffee table and living room are not for babies.  They are for us, and drinks, and food.

Not anymore.