Colin and I have been married for 10 years. It took us a long time to decide that we wanted children, and when we did decide it took us about a year to get pregnant. We are so blessed, we got pregnant with twins naturally! We found out I was pregnant at 4 weeks and found out it was twins at 8 weeks!
We had a lot of scares throughout my pregnancy. One thing I learned when I was pregnant is that it is best to not worry when you get potential bad news, wait for firm results because I experienced a lot of times things resolve themselves during the duration of pregnancy. During pregnancy we had a nuchal translucency scare, kidney dilation and low lying placenta scare. Thankfully all of these things resolved themselves as our pregnancy progressed. Since it was a twin pregnancy it was considered high risk and my care was managed by my regular obgyn as well as by a Neonatal specialist with Duke. Despite those scares I had a great pregnancy, I worked through my entire pregnancy until I went into labor after work one evening.
Grey and Gable were born 5 weeks early at 35 weeks. At the hospital when I was in labor we discovered that I had pre-eclampsia which is gestational high blood pressure. Delivery went smoothly, I opted to have a c-section early on in our pregnancy and things went as planned with the c-section. Grey was born first and then Gable. Both babies were good weights, Grey was 6lbs 5oz and Gable was 5lbs 2oz. Both of my beautiful babies went into the NICU and needed CPAPS due to trouble breathing on their own. After delivery I had a postpartum hemorrhage when I was in the recovery room and lost 2 liters of blood on top of the 1 liter I lost during surgery. I went unresponsive and had to have 2 blood transfusions but thanks to Colin realizing something was wrong and the nurses and doctors working quickly I recovered.
Colin thought he was going to loose me which was so hard on him. He had 2 babies in NICU and had to watch his wife hemorrhage and go unresponsive. When I came to he had tears in his eyes and was asking me to come back to him. I'll never forget the look on his face. After I was stable they moved me to the postpartum ICU. Grey was only in the NICU for 48 hours before he was able to join Colin and I there, but Gable was also having trouble feeding and regulating his body temperature in addition to needing the CPAP, so Gable had to stay longer in the NICU. I was so excited when they told us Grey was going to come be with us in our room. It was incredible seeing them bring our baby in, we couldn't even believe he was ours!
The longer Gable was in the NICU the harder it got for us. He had the CPAP and a feeding tube. As soon as i was allowed to, since I was having complications of my own, I went to the NICU to visit my little sweetheart. It was really hard to see my little love laying all alone on the warmer in the NICU. My twin group told me to be prepared that my twins would most likely have NICU time, so I was emotionally prepared for that, which helped a great deal, but it still takes quite an emotional toll. One of the things I found most challenging was the fact that having another baby required my time and attention to be divided. Some people are able to spend all their time in the NICU, but I was not able to do that because I had another baby to care for back in my hospital room. The staff in the postpartum ICU and the step down area were amazing and so were the NICU staff.
Another challenge we faced emotionally with our experience was that I didn't really feel like Gable's Mommy. The NICU staff and doctors made decisions without informing me, we didn't know what his plan of care was, we didn't have any updates unless we asked for them, all of the things you would want to be a part of we didn't have the opportunity to be a part of. We weren't allowed to participate in feedings because with preemie babies after feeding for 30 minutes they loose more than they take in because of the effort it takes to eat, so he was always on a rigid schedule that they did not want to be disturbed. As I started to recover Colin and I had addressed the lack of updates so the NICU doctor came to our hospital room and explained everything to us. We had so many questions and wanted so badly to be a part of things, we were so thankful for him taking the time to explain things to us and talk to us about how Gable was doing. Gable was then moved to the step down unit which was the Special Care Nursery. I absolutely love the special care nursery, the doctors, nurses and PA's there were incredible! They provided the best care for Gable and they supported all of us too! The great thing about the step down unit is the babies have their own rooms and siblings are allowed to visit so I was able to bring Grey with me every day and spend the whole day with Gable! You can spend the night too, but we decided to stay from about 7am-10pm each day and then go back to the Ronald McDonald House to sleep. We felt it was important for the babies to be together as much as possible, twins have such a special bond we felt it was good for their development for them go be near each other.
Colin went to work every day and would come over to be with Gable, Grey and I after work. We would eat dinner in Gable's room, and then eventually go back "home" to the Ronald McDonald House. Having the 4 of us all together in the hospital room made us so happy, we just wanted to be together even though the circumstances were not as we would have liked, we were still together. At the special care nursery they allowed us to participate in Gable's care! They let us feed him, change him and bath him whenever we were there. I have never been so excited to change a diaper as I was the first time they told me I could do it! It made me start to feel like Gable's Mommy again, and gave us a much needed bonding opportunity.
Gable lost weight down to 4lbs 3oz, we watched his weight daily and some days were celebrations, other days were not. Every night before we left I would kiss him and tell him Goodnight, and so many times I would pray over him and ask God to heal him. He learned to regulate his own body temperature, but continued to struggle with feedings. The staff said that one day it would just click and he would start feeding well. They tried to take the tube out a few times to see if he could sustain feeding on his own, but each time the tube had to go back in.
Finally after 23 days and many ups and downs it finally clicked and Gable was finally released to home. On Wednesday May 29th at 4:30pm we put Gable in his car seat and drove him home. We are so grateful and thankful that our sweet family is together again and at home.
The support of our friends, family and hospital staff has been key, as well as our support of each other. Without a strong partner I don't know how I could have gotten through all that we went through. We are so grateful to everyone and to each other and now we finally get to enjoy just being together and the adventure ahead.
Things that were helpful to me:
Join a twin group
Listen to your body
Don't over exert yourself
By the time you start worrying it will be time for another doctors appointment lol
NICU and SCN are both wonderful places and as hard as it might you are strong enough to get through it!
So many people have much more difficult journeys than we did, we met a lot of them during our time in the NICU and Special Care Nursery, we are humbled, thankful and blessed that our journey was a successful one and only 23 days long. It was long to us, but we know that others go through much more than we did. Thanks to everyone who supported us and our babies. I hope our story can encourage others. Be Blessed. The Reddys
Update 9.24.19 Prayers for baby Grey! Our little darling is having heart surgery at Duke this Thursday. We know that the God who made the mountains made sweet baby Grey! Our hearts are hurting right now, but God's grace is sufficient and we will get through this and so will my darling baby Grey. Grey had a little cough so I took him to the pediatrician about a month ago and the doctor thought she heard a heart murmur, she referred us to a cardiologist at Duke. Colin took the boys and found out that Grey has a coarcted Aorta, which means that his Aorta is narrowed and it is hard for blood to get through to his lower body. Grey is doing well right now, but it is a problem that needs to be corrected because it can cause tissue damage or paralysis to the lower body if the blood flow is insufficient. The surgeons are going to go in from his left side in between his ribs, deflate his left lung, clamp off the left aorta, remove the narrowed part and re-attach the aorta. The doctor says we will be in the hospital for 7-10 days but it could be shorter depending how things go. They also noticed that his left valve is bowed and they think that the leaflets might be fused together meaning 2 leaflets instead of 3. So they will do a sedated echo cardiogram to check it out. They said that he could need a valve replacement in the future depending what the results of the echo show. They also said that when you have 2 or more defects on the left side of the heart you can have something called Shone's Syndrome so they will be doing blood-work to test for that. We are hoping and praying for the best outcome for Grey and for his medical team, we know God is good all the time, we know He has a purpose and we know that Grey was His before he was ever ours. 🙏🏻❤ These 2 little boys are our treasures, we have never known anything so perfect. Grey is our little sunbeam, he is such a happy, jolly, sweet baby, he just loves everything people and animals, he is such an incredible little guy. This will be very hard, but we are going to stay strong!! 💪🏻
Update 9.25.19 Baby Grey update. Thank you so much to everyone who is praying for our little love!! The outpouring of support from everyone has been so kind and encouraging. We went in for pre-op today and surgery is being postponed a few days. The surgeon doesn't want to operate tomorrow because Grey has thrush. He was on an antibiotic because of a double ear infection and because the antibiotic killed all the good bacteria the bad bacteria took over and caused thrush in his mouth. They dont want to intubate him with thrush and spread it further down, so he will be on medicine and have surgery this upcoming week. Day TBD. More info to come.