We found out we were having twins at 6 weeks - this was definitely a surprise.
They were spontaneous, so no medications used to potentially cause us to have twins!
They each were in their own sac and each had their own placentas. So does this mean fraternal or identical? To be honest you don't know if they are identical until you have a DNA test once they are born.
On 12/21/17 I went to Maple Grove Hospital as I was having a lot of discharge and it just didn't seem right.
When I got there they did multiple tests including fetal fibronectin test (this determines if you are at risk for preterm labor), an Amnisure Rupture of Membranes test (this test is a new method to diagnose rupture of the fetal membranes - AKA water breaking).
For both of these tests I was positive.
Once results were back the room filled up with doctors, nurses, EMTs, etc within seconds.
They gave me a shot of Betamethasone (steroid), which is used to help with lung development for babies.
I was started on oral and IV antibiotics right away.
I was also started on IV Magnesium (this is to help slow contractions and help with neurodevelopment (brain development). Magnesium is not something that you want to be on. It just makes you feel icky.
Next thing I know I'm in the ambulance on my way to Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
The ride wasn't so bad like people make it sound.
My struggle was the lady in the back with me. She kept talking and talking and would not shut up.
Very nice lady but wasn't up for talking at that point in time.
They got me to my room on the antepartum unit where I would hopefully be spending a lot of time.
The nurses I had on this unit were incredible!
They taught me a lot about birth, nursing, pumping, and what to expect as time goes on.
They told me they wanted to keep the babies inside me until 34 weeks. At 34 weeks there is more risk of keeping them in than delivering.
While on this unit I was poked and woke up a million times.
On Christmas morning around 0215 I started having intense contractions. Seriously they do hurt like a mother!
By 0330 they told me I was going to be having Christmas babies.
This was extremely hard as I knew it was too early.
They said that I would be having them naturally which also freaked me out because we had discussed having a C-section.
I was wheeled into the OR (operating room) where I would deliver.
At 0347 Baby A was born.
She was taken right away to a team of 4 people, where they whisked her away to the NICU.
She weighed 1lb 9oz and was 12.5in long.
We named her Ava D Barland. Middle name is after her grandma Smith - Deb, and yes her middle name is just the letter D.
Ava was born with a little bit of brown hair.
She has a funky toe that is lower than the rest of her toes. If they are identical we can tell them apart by their feet.
Ava likes to kick and kick. I think she will take after me and be a swimmer.
At 0403 Baby B was born.
She was also taken by a team of 4 people, where they also brought her to the NICU.
She weighted 1lb 8oz and was 13in long.
We named her Evie K Barland. Middle name is after her grandma Huso - Karen, and again her middle name is just the letter K.
Evie was born with a little bit of light brown hair and blondish looking.
No funky things on her, but she sure does look like her daddy!
Evie is our sensitive one.
Both girls started out with pretty much the same symptoms.
They were both started on conventional ventilators, both on antibiotics, and both had a pneumothorax (collapsed lung).
They both had chest tubes placed on their left side which were in for a few days.
Both did well with the chest tubes but of course were happy to have them out.
Ava has been a rockstar!
She is now receiving breast milk thru an NG tube (tube from her nose to her stomach). Her feedings continue to increase.
If I don't have enough milk, she is getting donor milk.
Ava is on a jet ventilator (gives 420 breaths per minute). She is doing well on this and her O2 (oxygen) levels have slowing been decreasing.
Ava loves to lay on her stomach.
Overall she has been stable thru all this.
Evie on the other hand is very sensitive with her cares and anytime someone goes into her isolate.
She had emergency surgery on 12/31/17, as she had a hole in her intestine.
They removed about an inch or so of intestine (this is ok as she has a lot of intestine).
She now has a stoma (part of her intestine outside her body where poo comes out).
She will soon have a bag put on this to collect her poop.
Evie also has a heart murmur which may require surgery. This is still up in the air, just monitoring for now.
She is not currently getting any breastmilk. She is NPO (nothing by mouth) until she settles from surgery.
She is currently on a jet ventilator (gives 420 breaths per minute). This is gentle on their lungs vs. a conventional ventilator. Her O2 levels are still elevated.
Both of the girls get what are called hand hugs. We cup them in our hands and just hold them while they lay there. We have not yet had the chance to hold them; they are just too fragile.
Both love the hugs from mom and dad. They calm right down with us just touching them.
We get to help with their cares which include, changing their tiny diaper, taking their temperature, checking their pulses, etc. The nurses are wonderful in letting us help. Nothing better than getting to care for them in some way!
For myself I'm recovering well.
Still a little slow but that's to be expected.
I will hopefully go back to work sometime in the near future. I want to go back early to save some of my time off for when they get out of the NICU and get to come home!
I tell you what, its very hard leaving the hospital without my girls!
Matt has returned to work.
He is finding this hard as all you want to do is be with them in the hospital.
The girls will most likely be in the NICU until at least April; at that point they will be considered term at 40 weeks gestation.
Depending on how they are doing, one could come home before the other or they may go home at the same time.
We will cross that bridge when we get there!
That is a quick summary of our life the last couple weeks.
Its been a whirlwind.
We have a long road ahead of us, but we are staying positive and holding strong.
This was just the start of our journey!
We have several updates to share from then until now!
Our family is looking for help with medical bills!
The girls will be discharging for the hospital hopefully (fingers crossed) sometime in April.
We have already received several bills from medications to surgeries the girls have had to just having a room x 2!
Just having a room in the NICU is 5k per child per day!
This does not include the medications they get, the nurses, the doctors, the equipment to help them breathe, the labs, the X-rays, and the list goes on.
When you start a go fund me page you have to enter a goal. We put 50k but we know this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. What we want you to know is that we appreciate anything that you can contribute!
We can’t say thank you enough in advance for the help we receive!
Our girls will forever be thankful as well!
--Kayla & Matt
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