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Chub-Chub and Miracle Man

Being pregnant with twins is not easy, for sure.  It is definitely different than being pregnant with a "singleton".  I remember finding out I was pregnant last year, only a few short weeks after I had completed the Goofy Challenge in Walt Disney World with Team In Training.  For those of you who do not know what the Goofy Challenge is, it is a half-marathon (13.1 miles) bright and early on Saturday morning (I think I had to meet my Team sometime around 2:30 or 3:00 am in order to make it to the starting line on time for the 6:00am gun).  Then, on Sunday, we ran the full marathon (26.2 miles), with a similar wake-up time.  So, basically that is 39.3 miles in two days.

Anyway, with that many miles and all of the training that went into preparing for such an event, I was in pretty great shape.  However, within a few weeks after finding out that we were, indeed, pregnant, I started to notice that my clothes didn't fit well ALREADY.  At first, I just chalked it up to the fact that I had already had a child and as such, my body was probably just showing the pregnancy a little bit earlier than the first time.  But then, some interesting things happened...

I had a dream that I was pregnant with twin boys.  Funny, how your body subconsciously just KNOWS something, even if you don't yet.

Then, of course this is just a random weird coincidence, but anyway, while playing the game of Life with some family members, Prince Charming (my dear hubby), kept landing on the spots for adding twins to his car.  Ironic.

And, Naturally, with two whole people growing in my body, I started to have morning sickness...A LOT of morning sickness!

The previous year had been a difficult one for our family.  We had gotten pregnant, but lost one baby at 13 weeks.  It was utterly DeVaStAtInG to me.  But, we tried again shortly thereafter, and lo and behold, were pregnant again...but this time it ended up being an ectopic pregnancy and I managed to get myself almost a week's stay at the hospital, right before Christmas.  They performed two surgeries at the time...saving my life.  Unfortunately, I did lose the tube on that side of my body. 

So, given my history, at four weeks pregnant, we had gone to the OB for an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy and make sure that everything was in the correct place...and it was all there...just so small...too small to notice that there were, in fact, two of everything in the correct place.

At six weeks, they brought us back in to *hopefully* hear/see a heartbeat.  Prince Charming and I were headed to our appointment after work, coming from different directions and while I was en route, it just all of a sudden hit me.  What if the REASON I had gained so much weight already AND was soooooo incredibly sick was that I was having TWINS?!?!?!  They do run on both sides of our families, after all. Of course, just because it runs in the family does not mean you really think it will happen to YOU.  Anyway, when I saw Prince Charming, I told him this "premonition", if you will.  And of course, he dismissed it...nooooooo that won't be the case, honey.  Hahaha!  The joke was certainly on him, because within minutes of that conversation, I was on the table with the ultrasound tech telling us, yes there was a heartbeat.  To which I replied, "Oh, there's a healthy heartbeat?!?!"  She countered, with, "Nope, there are two!" 

Shock and disbelief.  Shock and disbelief.  Elation!  Shock and disbelief!  Oh My God!  What are we going to Do?!?!  How are we going to do this?!?!  We already have ONE child!  Wait...that means...we're going to have...gasp...Three Children?????  How do we afford this?  We have no room in our tiny two-bedroom apartment!  What will Little Miss think?  Oh My God!  Hahaha!  No One is going to believe us (I have a habit of playing a few pranks every now and then)!  Yay!  And AHAAAA...No wonder! 

And that was just the beginning of Chub-Chub and Miracle Man.

The next several months were filled with more shock and disbelief, followed by vomiting, headaches, weight gain, bloating, and of course all of the joys of sharing our exciting news.  I had so much fun walking up to people, ultrasound in hand, asking them what they saw.  The reactions were GREAT!  And everyone that we know were so supportive and excited for us.

Of course, the biggest issue facing us now was our living space.  Weweresocrampedinourtinyapartment.  We needed to move...and soon!  So, we began the search for our new home and within a few months, by the time I was six months preggo, we were moving into our first home.  It was June and of course my belly was out to                                                            here.  But, we did it.  Naturally, we didn't finish unpacking everything...even to this day...but, well, the past few months have been HeCtIc!

Right around the middle of July, I started to have, well, issues.  I was having contractions.  Too many contractions.  So, we began taking weekly trips to the hospital in the middle of the night, Little Miss in tow.  Crazy times.  Oh, and the heart burn!!!  I had terrible heartburn...the entire pregnancy...but the summer months were The.Worst.  I could barely even eat anything.  And sleeping...oh, I had hardly slept in months already.

So, the first set of oh-no-let's-go-to-the-hospital contractions were around 31 weeks.  I ended up on Terbutaline and bed rest eventually for a few weeks to try and keep those little guys a-cookin'.  But, we made it a whole 5 extra weeks!  And I am sooooooo thankful for that!

At this point in the pregnancy, the docs had me coming to see them twice a week, since it was considered a "high-risk" pregnancy, having twins.  And they would do an ultrasound and a non-stress test each time. 
So, like usual, on that Tuesday, at 36 weeks exactly, we went to our appointment and everything seemed fine.  I did notice that I had some swelling in my ankles...but swelling for ME, not swelling compared to everybody else they see on a regular basis.  My swelling was basically dismissed.

On Wednesday, I remember getting up for the day and I just felt AWFUL.  I had all I could do to move from the couch to the bathroom and back.  I was sick to my stomach and headachy...but I thought it was all related to my impending labor...since I had lost my mucous plug (sorry for the details) on Monday.  

Thursday was okay, but on Friday when my MIL took me in for my appointment, the nurse practitioner (LOVE HER!) noticed that my blood pressure was high.  She had the doc examine me (I was 3cm dilated...though you can walk around like that for weeks and not be *in labor*).  The doc sent me straight to the hospital, telling me I needed more of a work-up done and that I may have preeclampsia and might need to be induced.

Well, of course you can see where this is going, and sure enough, I delivered my twins that evening at 6:20 and 6:30pm.  And my body was in bad shape.  I had severe preeclampsia (thank GOD the nurse practitioner noticed the high blood pressure).  Chub-Chub was first, delivering naturally in the OR at 5 pounds 8 ounces.  Miracle Man, however, with nobody else around anymore to cramp his style, decided to enjoy the newly-found space.  He stuck his arm up and ended up getting stuck.  I will never forget the nurse screaming his blood pressure numbers as they went down and down and down.  So, shortly after Chub-Chub made his way into the world, the nurses and doctors scrambled and performed the emergency C-Section within 10 minutes!  They were AMAZING!  And Miracle Man was born at 5 pounds, 3 ounces. 

The first thing we noticed about this special little guy, was that he had a few "extras".  In almost every way, he was visibly "normal", with the exception of, one, two, three, four, wait...there are 6 fingers on his left hand.  And that sixth finger, is a full finger, bone and all.  And on his other hand, he has 5 regular fingers, but there is also another little nubby finger that hangs off the side of his pinky...no bone.  So Miracle Man, was born with 12 fingers.  They call this polydactyly...and apparently it is actually quite common.  The orthopaedic doctors that we met with told us that they see this kind of thing several times a week.  But for us, it was new.  And with that, we have been thrown into a world of medical jargon that we had no idea existed.  It turns out, that when extra fingers or toes are present, it *could* mean a genetic disorder...

And so, all kinds of doctors started coming into our hospital room and discussing our son with us.  We saw a geneticist and a whole team of orthopaedic doctors, just to name a few.     It.was.scary.     And I did it all by myself.  Prince Charming used his spare time from being at work back at our new house to try and get the boys' room ready...since they were here now...early...unexpectedly...before we could get to it.

Then...Chub-Chub...he was sooooo skinny back then...well, he ended up being jaundiced and needed to go under the bilirubin lights.  The nurses had come in and asked us if we wanted them to take him to the nursery and have him go under the lights down there, or if we wanted them to bring the machine into my room for him to receive the treatment.  At the time, I guess I didn't quite fully understand what all of it would mean, but they had told me he would need to be under the lights for 6 hours and I just didn't want him away from me for that long.  So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to have them bring the machine to me.  Big Mistake.  It was so scary to see my little baby in this big machine.  I think the fact that it was so modern and space-aged looking frightened me more just because of how fancy and medical it looked.  And the WORST part, was that they put these tiny little sunglasses on his skinny little face and they barely covered his eyes...but they warned me that if the sunglasses didn't stay on his eyes, the lights could burn his eyes...YIKES!!  And...if I wanted him in there with me, I HAD to stay awake...to make sure his eyes were always covered.  With so little sleep, hormones raging, and lots of worrying for my boys, I.was.overwhelmed.  And    crying   all   the    time.

Did I mention, that I was also trying to breastfeed the twins in tandem, too?  And that the first day after they were born I was in an "intensive care" kind of unit due to my severe preeclampsia?  I was so sick.

But when I finally felt "better" (or at least wasn't in danger) and was in my "regular" maternity room and all of the docs kept coming in and telling me something else was wrong, I was just on pure overload.  On that night with the bilirubin lights, the geneticist had been in to tell me that Miracle Man looks basically normal (Yay!!),   but that we should wait and see how he develops over the course of the next year (gulp!).  One of my dearest friends came to visit me with her fiance that evening and I had all I could do to even stop bawling my eyes out for a moment as I processed the concerns over Miracle Man and watched Chub-Chub in his terrifying space-aged bilirubin light machine.  Anyway, Thank God for good friends...they totally understood and just let me go with my emotions.

We were discharged from the hospital late Tuesday night, with the caveat that we MUST visit the pediatrician on Wednesday to follow-up on Chub-Chub's jaundice.  On Wednesday, they felt he was doing a little better, but wanted to continue to monitor him closely.  On Friday, Little Miss came down with an illness...and we ended up at the pediatrician's on Saturday.  Come Monday, we had to see the pediatrician for a follow-up on Chub-Chub and he ended up sending us back to the hospital for the night because Chub-Chub's jaundice had increased. 

He went under the lights again and the blood work showed he had made enough progress that he could go home on Tuesday evening.  On Wednesday, we had to go back for more blood work, whereupon the pediatrician asked about Little Miss.  Well, Little Miss wasn't much better, so after going to the hospital for the blood work, we piled everyone back into the car and headed to the pediatrician's so that he could check Little Miss again.  This crazy day, only got crazier!  We ended up having to take her to the hospital we had just come from to get x-rays...and sure enough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia only a week after her brothers came home from the hospital.  Uuugh!  That was a craaaaazzzzzyyyyy day!

Chub-Chub's jaundice did return a little bit over the next week, but not enough to send us back to the hospital for the lights.

I guess the next major event that happened was on a regular check-up at the pediatrician somewhere around 4 weeks.  The doc thought she "might" have heard a heart murmur in Miracle Man and decided we should get it checked out.  She had me schedule an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist...just to be on the safe side.  She also noticed that Miracle Man had a tight upper frenulum...you know, the skin between your upper lip and your teeth...well, it was just too big and tight.  So, we ended up going to a special dentist who did a little minor laser surgery to Miracle Man's upper lip.  But he also noticed that our little guy was slightly tongue-tied, as well, and so did the surgery under the tongue, too.  While we were there, he decided to just take a look at Chub-Chub, too, since we were already there.  And of course, he ended up doing both procedures to Chub-Chub as well.

After a couple of weeks with appointments at the Dentist and me having to constantly push on their sore little mouths to keep the wound open (yes, that was painful for me, too), it was now time to head to the pediatric cardiologist. 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where we found out that our little Miracle Man had/has several heart defects.  The first and biggest concern the cardiologist had was that Miracle Man had a coarctation of his aorta...which basically means that his aorta was pinched, which was very dangerous for him.  The cardiologist then proceeded to tell us that he would need surgery...next week.  And as it turned out, it was a good thing that he had it right away.  His aorta had been approximately 87% blocked!!!  And yet, his little body had been working so hard, he had actually continued to gain weight!  He sure is a fighter!  The surgery went well and he is doing fine right now...but I will post another page about the surgery later on...

In any case, to make a long story short, naturally Chub-Chub gets his name from being so BIG.  I mean, the guy has rolls everywhere!!  He could open a bakery!

And Miracle Man gets his name from surviving...despite all odds.  And for the miracle it was that the pediatrician sent us "just in case".  Thank God for her.  She saved his life.

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