7.19.2012

Delivery Recovery & My First NICU Visit!

I'm wrapping up a recount of my delivery with the quadruplets and the day following. If you missed all the juicy details and are just dying to read about them, here's Part 1 and Part 2. And now, my dear readers, I must tell you about one of the most painful experiences of my life. I also hope I'm not scaring the life out of any fellow quad mammas who are reading this and are approaching their delivery days! But I felt inclined to share what the delivery of four babies was like and it'd be a crying shame to sugar coat anything now, so here goes...

I left off by saying I'd been taken to recovery where my husband, mom and step-dad were all at my bedside. I was shaking quite a bit from downright fatigue, blood loss and the shock on my system from the delivery. Taking out four placentas and four babies after your body has gone through one helluva fight to maintain them is a wee bit of a change! The shaking was annoying, but so was the pain that came with it—I was trying to keep from shaking and it caused my stomach muscles to tense (or attempt to anyway) and it hurt like the dickens. Plus, I'd puked after eating too many ice chips and that hurt like, well, whatever hurts worse than the dickens. Shortly after, they asked my husband and parents to wait in my hospital room for me while they wrapped up my recovery stay and got me ready to wheel back in. Oh goody, I thought, I can get back to the privacy of my room.

They got my IV bags all situated and checked my incision, which was sealed with some nifty stuff called Dermabond. There were no stitches or sutures, they'd basically glued me shut! My OB later informed me that within about six hours after the incision is closed it becomes waterproof and it took less than two weeks to completely heal. The scar turned out to be minimal and the glue was easily removed using alcohol pads and peeling it off. I was a bit of a chicken for the first couple days and didn't want to look at my incision, relying on the nurses to check it. It literally felt like it stretched from hip to hip, which is because my stomach was so big when I delivered. But as my stomach slowly shrinks, so does the scar and it's like a third of the size it was before. I'm quite pleased with the results!

But anyway, before the nurse could take me to my room she had to be sure there were no major blood clots remaining in my uterus. To do this, she had to press down all over my stomach with her hands, exerting enough force to dislodge anything left behind. This hurt so bad I yelled. I have never felt such pain in my life. Fresh out of surgery having delivered four babies with rearranged organs inside and muscles that had torn apart from becoming so distended—ouch! I thought I might pass out for a second but no such luck, and off we went to my room.

At this point my nurse gave me a limited dose of Morphine (I think), which thankfully relieved the pain and knocked me out for awhile. I groggily slept off and on the rest of the day with my husband, my mom and my step-dad going back and forth between my room and the NICU. I had a catheter from the surgery so there was no need for me to get out of bed, thank goodness, since I could barely move without intense pain anyway. Once the drugs started wearing off, I had to rely on pain pills to get the job done.

The next morning, the nurse removed my catheter expecting me to be able to make it to the bathroom within the next few hours. My day nurse had arrived and I told her my stomach was starting to hurt because I knew my bladder was full (I drank like a horse from a trough while I was pregnant with the quads, averaging four gallons of water a day!). In fact, I had a huge bulge on one side of my stomach as proof! But alas, I couldn't even make it off the side of my bed. I managed to sit up in a stream of tears and cries, but the pain was so overwhelming I couldn't push myself any further. This went on the rest of the morning and my doctor prescribed some injections for the pain to help me get past the "hump." At last I was able to get up and make it to the bathroom but couldn't go anyway and had to get the catheter back for another day.

During all of this, I was having a very difficult time connecting the dots. Reality hadn't set in that I'd had four babies because I hadn't really seen them. All I wanted to do was get to the NICU! But I wasn't even able to get into a wheel chair, so how was I going to manage getting there? The charge nurse that day was absolutely wonderful and had often stopped by my room to chat and see how I was doing during my pregnancy. She arranged for me to get into a smaller bed so they could wheel me upstairs and into the NICU. They actually squeezed my bed into the pod where our babies were so I could see each of them in person! (All this time, I'd be looking at pictures and video my husband was bringing back from his visits there.) The entire process was painful and time consuming, but everyone was so incredibly patient and accommodating and it meant the absolute world to me.



Remember our tiniest baby, Baby D, the last to be delivered? She was 2 lbs 6 oz at birth. Well, she surprised everyone by coming off her oxygen by the day after delivery and she wasn't attached to anything except her standard monitors for heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels. I got to hold her that very afternoon, on her second day of life. It was one of the most amazing experiences I'll ever have and it was incredibly surreal to cradle such a small living body in my arms. She was crying as the nurses gently maneuvered her out of her isolette and then she immediately settled down as they set her on my chest. A flood of emotions swelled over me. This is what all the struggling had been for, this is why I held out as best I could to carry four babies as long as my body would let me. This was the moment I'd been waiting for. It was all completely worth it.





Everything else faded away as I was wheeled to the bedside of each of my four new babies. They were all perfect in every way, beautiful newborns with strong little hands that gripped my fingers and squeezed my heart. By this time our little boy, Harrison, was already on a ventilator and went through a life-threatening struggle the following week—but my husband and I still treasured the fact that all the quadruplets had arrived safely and we were now proud new parents times four!


Our boy on the ventilator with a chest tube for air pockets outside his lungs.
Over the next few days, family came to visit and kept me company in my room when I was awake and spent their spare time visiting the babies in the NICU. I was the most exhausted I'd ever been in my life and was beginning the lovely stage of recovery, expelling tons of excess fluid I'd accumulated during the pregnancy (hello night sweats!), keeping up with my pain medicine and attempting to walk around a little more each day, visited my quads, began breast pumping milk every three hours and slept as I was able. After four nights, it was time to pack up my things and head home for the first time in two months. I thought I'd be ready to leave and would be dying to get in our car and get out of there, but it turned out to be quite the opposite. I was actually hesitant to go because I'd become accustomed to my life in my hospital room and having such wonderful nurses to take care of me, plus I was close to my babies! It scared me a little to think about going home, re-immersing myself into the real world and handling my recovery without nurses by my side. What if something went wrong?

But my incredibly supportive husband was right there alongside me and my mom, who'd been with us for a month now, helped me transition home and settle in. The nurse that admitted me when I'd first arrived to the hospital was, appropriately, the one to discharge me when I left. She, along with many other nurses at the hospital, had made such a difference in my stay. They were absolutely wonderful in their care and their support for me while I was there. They would often come in to chat when things slowed down for a few minutes, keeping me company on the long days that seemed to drag on forever and then keeping people away and keeping me comfortable on the bad days that were so hard to endure. I thank God every day for putting me in the right hospital with the right caretakers and the right doctor! I truly believe He guided each and every one of them to lead us to such a healthy delivery.

Baby girl A, Trystan on day two.

Baby girl B, Kailey. She was a tummy baby at first and didn't want to sleep any other way!
The first day home was an emotional one, nonetheless. I'd already cried on my nurse's shoulder when I left and coming home was like a tidal wave. I'd missed it all so much but it was almost overwhelming to be back again. Such an intense ordeal had left me drained, both physically and emotionally. Over the course of the next few days, I began to adapt better and better and also began splitting my time between the house and the NICU to see the quads. I had divided up our journey into three phases and couldn't believe I'd survived Phase 1 (the pregnancy) and was now in Phase 2 (the NICU stay) and would eventually reach Phase 3 (the babies' homecoming). After delivery, my husband had surprised me with a diamond necklace outfitted with three diamonds in a row. I think of them as a diamond for each phase and wore them nearly every day I went to the NICU.

The husband giving one of the babies a feeding through their feeding tube.
Now that I'm just reaching the point that I can look back on this experience in its entirety, it's become even more amazing to me all that I'd gone through and all that my husband and I had come to know during those long months. God saw us fit to bless with the challenge of quadruplets and I'm so humbled each and every day that He chose us. I wouldn't change a single thing and I can only smile (okay, and sometimes cry!) when I look around and see all four of our babies and realize how my life is forever changed.

9 comments:

  1. Such an amazing story and you are such a strong women/momma for all you did for your babies. Hope things are going well for you as you adjust to your little ones coming home. When things settle down in like 18 years. (LOL) I would love to hear the story as to why they use plastic bags on the babies. Were they zip-lock baggies. :) Have a great blessed day! Sherri

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  2. Good post, Amber! You two are an amazing couple and will do well raising this Quad Squad!

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  3. What a beautiful start to your story! I can't wait to read more and see how those precious children grow and become little individuals...you'll are going to be such great parents....what a blessing for all of you! A friend in East Texas, Pam.

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  4. Thank you so much for 3 beautiful posts. You are one amazing young lady. You went thru so much to carry those little ones as long as you did, the delivery/recovery the the emotions you went thru,and now the journey you begin as you bring each little one home.
    My prayers and thoughts will be with you, your wonderful hubby and those beautiful babies as you all begin a wonderful life together:)

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  5. AnonymousJuly 19, 2012

    I've been on the edge of my seat for the last few days waiting for the next intallment. Just a beautiful story, and what a wonderful family. My continued prayers will be sent to you and your famiy.

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  6. So amazing! We are getting really close to our d day, possibly Saturdat!

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  7. Amazing! We are getting really close to that point in our journey, maybe Saturday!

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  8. What's that dumb saying "no pain no gain" Bet a man couldn't survive the pain you just endured. You went through alot with Mike at your side and look what you gained 4 cute little Bells.
    Enjoyed the post.

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  9. hugs you all!

    I've been thru 3 C-section myself for my babies (oh no, not my triplets though, they are 2-3 years apart). For me, it's hard to take care one at the time, but you are a Super Mom with 4, Amber!

    Keep strong for your babies. Love them all!

    (Lisa's co-worker)

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