Monday, August 9, 2010
Guest Bloggers - Asher and Nolan
Asher: Ok where to begin?
Nolan: Hmm. Well you are the big brother by one whole minute. I think that means it's your responsibility to start.
Asher: We're playing that card are we? I'm the older brother when it's convenient to you? Hrmph. Fine. Ok so I'm Asher. As you've already heard, I am the big brother by one minute. Although mom and dad aren't entirely sure if it's a "real" minute or if they just split us up by a minute for our birth certificates. We were coming so fast that they had to knock poor mom out cold and dad wasn't allowed in the room so they aren't sure what exactly happened. But, regardless, I'm Baby A, so let's just say I'm the older and wiser brother...
Nolan: Riiiight. You're going to go there are you? Ok. Well I think the saying goes 'age before beauty' doesn't it? So I guess that makes me the beautiful one.
Asher: You, the beautiful one? As if. We're identical dummy. Besides, if anyone's more beautiful it's me. I make animated faces that show my real inner beauty!
Nolan: Animated faces? You call scrunching up your mouth and googling your eyes 'beauty'? I am the more beautiful one because I am the strong, silent type. That's what the ladies love!
Asher: Are you done yet? Can I keep going?
Nolan: Fine. Go on Mr. Extrovert. Tell our story.
Asher: As I was saying, mom's unconscious, dad's out of the room, and we're coming so quickly no neonatologists can make it in time. Even the obstetrician that delivered us had to run in from another c-section, not believing it was us because he had just talked to mom shortly before! We won't tell you any more details about our labour and delivery, or the few weeks of complications leading up to it, because it makes mom too sad. But we were early, way too early, and way too fast. At 6:27 pm on November 1, I was born, 14 weeks premature.
Nolan: Don't forget me at 6:28!
Asher: Yes Nolan, like I already said we were a minute apart. I think people can do that math, let's give them some credit. Anyway, I was 2 lbs 1 oz and 32.5 cm long and Nolan was 1 lb 15 oz and 34 cm long. A far cry from our sister who was a mere 10 days early, at 7 lbs 10 oz and 51 cm! Clearly, we were not doing well.
Nolan: Not well at all. We scored terribly on our apgar tests and they had to intubate us right away as there was no chance we could breathe on our own. I don't remember much about it other than everyone was very serious and working very hard to get us breathing. Good thing mom was knocked out because I think she would have been really sad and scared. And poor dad - they wheeled us past him so quickly in the hallway...
Asher: Who's telling this story?
Nolan: Well out with it then! You weren't getting to the point!
Asher: Ok fine. Ya we got intubated. That was a given considering how early we were born. Thank goodness they gave mom steroids for our lungs at 24 weeks but still we were just way too underdeveloped to breathe without a machine. Anyway, once they got us stabilized they moved us immediately to the NICU and that is the first time we officially got to meet mom and dad. Oh those first few hours were not fun times.
Nolan: Ya, we were sick. REALLY sick.
Asher: Quit trying to hog the spotlight! You were just premature. Woopdy doo! I was the one with dangerously low blood pressure and metabolic acidosis! They were struggling to keep me alive dude!
Nolan: Fine, you were sicker. I was still sick.
Asher: Duly noted. As I was saying. That first while was touch and go. Thank goodness we were born in such an amazing hospital with our doctors and nurses. Obviously they saved our lives because things could have gone really badly if we didn't receive immediate care. Turns out though that I was even sicker than anyone realized because somewhere between my 1st and 3rd days of life I had a massive brain bleed. Well two actually, one reasonably small (on my left side) and one huge one on my right. Grade 4 to be exact.
Nolan: And I didn't have any brain bleeds! Booya!
Asher: Can you shut up please?
Nolan: Right. Sorry. Not funny.
Asher: Not funny at all. Mom and dad were worried sick that I was going to end up in a wheelchair, or even die. They were going mental. They still are in fact, but they put on a pretty good front. Anyway, turns out that when they tested mom's placenta it was infected. That infection passed through the cord and into me, hence why I was so sick. It was a matter of time before it passed to Nolan. I heard a rumour that had we not been born then I wouldn't have made it. So I did the honourable thing and ducked out early.
Nolan: Thank God! It's unfortunate that you had to drag me with you, but I guess in some way you saved our lives?
Asher: I did! As I said earlier, 'older and wiser'!
Nolan: He loves himself way too much. I'm going to take over for a bit here. So there we are in the NICU. Things are scary and horrible. Mom and dad don't even get to touch us. Big brother there got sprung from the vent earlier than I did so mom got to hold him. I was sooooo jealous. I'd just look out from that stupid isolette and wonder when it was my turn and finally one day I got sprung too. It was glorious.
Asher: Oh my God - kangaroo care! I forgot about that until right now. Wow, I would look so forward to those snuggles on mom's chest! So much better than dad's. What's with the chest hair?
Nolan: I know right? Bit weird. But I never told him that. It was still better than the isolette.
Asher: True that! So ya, there was a long time there when mom and dad didn't get to touch us as much as they wanted but they listened to the nurses because they didn't want to stress us out. And it was weird because as much as we liked being held sometimes it was really stressful. Like bradys and desats all over the map!
Nolan: Ya, there was this one time that mom was holding both of us in k-care and I turned blue and they had to bag me. And mom had to stay calm while they bagged me on her lap cause she was still holding you.
Asher: Oh my God, we are such jerks. How did she not have a heart attack right then and there?
Nolan: Dude, she saw us turn blue and get resuscitated like daily. She was used to it!
Asher: Fair enough. I think saying 'she was used to it' is a bit of an overstatement though!
Nolan: Ya, not sure she got used to any of it really, buy she pretended she did. You know that whole 'staying strong' routine she tried to pull off. Anyway, so other than the million apneas, bradycardias and blood oxygen desaturations per day, we had other issues. Like our PDAs. Both of us had valves in our hearts that wouldn't close. It took two doses of medicine to close mine, but thankfully I didn't need surgery.
Asher: It only took one dose to close mine!
Nolan: Ya but yours is still slightly open! They're just not worried about it.
Asher: Fine, you one-upper. Mine is still open and yours isn't. Aren't you special.
Nolan: I am! Ok so we've covered the PDAs, the apneas, bradys and desats, and your bleed. What else? Oh! Bleeds! Right, there was this one time I had this random pulmonary hemorrhage. That was weird and no one knew why it happened and then after a few days it just stopped!
Asher: Ohhh, that was a bad time. That was the time they had to call mom and dad in the middle of the night. Mom's never going to forgive you for that one.
Nolan: Oh they had to call them in the middle of the night for you once too Mr. Perfect. Remember when they thought you were having seizures and you had to have a lumbar puncture and an EEG? So zip it!
Asher: Oh wow. We had some issues! Speaking of issues - how about weaning us from CPAP! How long did that take? Like 4 months?
Nolan: Some ridiculously long time. And that was even after you were on the vent for 18 days and I was on it for 41! Almost 6 weeks that thing breathed for me! Anyway, I'm sure mom could look up the whole CPAP thing for us in our discharge notes but I think she'd rather just block out those memories. Off CPAP/on CPAP/off CPAP/on CPAP - those were some dark times for mom and dad. They were really sad and frustrated and they just wanted us to breathe on our own!
Asher: Well eventually we did!
Nolan: Well duh, of course we did. But you're getting a bit ahead of yourself.
Asher: Ya you're right. We had some other stuff go wrong in there too. Do we need to get into it all?
Nolan: Well we had lots of infections and took lots of really strong antibiotics. We had jaundice and needed bili lights. Oh and we had several blood transfusions each. Those sucked. Look at our hands and feet - scars everywhere from all the IVs.
Asher: I know, I HATE those scars. Do scars go away? Are we going to have those for life?
Nolan: How am I supposed to know? I'm 9 months old!
Asher: So-rrrrrrry. Ok what else. Well we got our eyes checked, lots. But thankfully they're pretty sure they're ok! And our guts were ok too. And all things considered, our lungs really aren't that damaged. Oh and then there's me not getting hydrocephalus and requiring a shunt from my bleed. Pretty miraculous!
Nolan: You want to talk about miracles? How about the fact that repeat head ultrasounds show that your bleed doesn't appear to have caused any brain tissue death. You don't call that a miracle?
Asher: Are you going to let me finish? Of course that's a miracle. A miracle of the biggest, best sort! I know it doesn't mean that things are going to be ok, but it sure gives me a better chance. Considering I'm not that far behind you on reaching my milestones, that seems like a positive sign.
Nolan: Sure does! That and all the prayers and positive thoughts mom and dad said we got while we were in the hospital. Apparently everyone they knew, and then probably everyone those people knew, were praying for us.
Asher: We are so lucky. We have so many people that love us. I guess we are pretty loveable!
Nolan: There you are loving yourself again and getting totally off topic. How did we go from talking about all our ailments to talking about how loveable we are?
Asher: Ugh. I don't want to talk anymore about how sick we were. We spent 152 days in the hospital. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TWO! I couldn't figure out how to breathe on my own and kick my caffeine habit until I was 6 weeks past term. It took us months to ditch the feeding tubes and actually take mom's liquid gold through a bottle. We scared the living s-h-*-t out of our parents a million times. Not our best memories dude. Can't we move on to the good times?
Nolan: Ok but you didn't even talk about your giant umbilical hernia and your strangely swollen groin!
Asher: Why would you bring that up? You think I want to talk about my belly button and my...ahem...crotch? It resolved itself, that's all that matters.
Nolan: Fine. I was only trying to embarrass you anyway. But how about our reflux! You didn't mention our reflux! You even had to have a barium swallow when they were trying to diagnose it! We had such bad reflux we were on two types of meds and had to sleep on a wedge and we had eating-related bradys all the time! Do you people know how uncomfortable it is spending every moment on an angle strapped into your bed? Thank goodness we finally busted out of that thing a month or so ago.
Asher: You said it! Now we sleep like normal dudes in our crib! Kicking each other in the face and stuff. It's awesome!
Nolan: I'm tougher than you. I have scratched your eyeball twice.
Asher: Nice one. You have. But I'll forgive you because sleeping together is worth it.
Nolan: Please don't go getting sappy on me.
Asher: You want to talk sappy?! Who finds his way over to snuggle next to me no matter where he starts? Who reaches out to hold my hand all the time? Who can't fall asleep unless I am beside him? YOU! What are you going to do when we're too big to sleep together?
Nolan: Please don't talk about that. I heard mom and dad talk about getting a second crib. I need to mentally prepare.
Asher: Oh you'll be fine. You can gaze lovingly at me through the rungs.
Nolan: You're my best friend dude, don't bug me. I'm just better at expressing it than you.
Asher: Fiiiine. You're my best friend too. In fact I don't know what I'd do without you.
Nolan: I've always got your back buddy. Do you know that for the last couple weeks in the hospital I was totally well enough to come home without you? Except I didn't want to, so I kinda faked it a little so I'd have a brady when the nurses were looking and they'd be forced to keep me there with you. Don't tell anyone though!
Asher: You did not!
Nolan: I totally did. Always got your back! I followed you out of the womb for God's sake!
Asher: I'm lucky.
Nolan: No I'm lucky.
Asher: No I'm luckier.
Nolan: Stop! When did this turn into a bromance?
Asher: Point taken. But life is just so good! We really are so very lucky. So we have a few hundred follow up appointments - mom loves those because everyone tells her how well we're doing! And so we have to remain oh-so-germophobic for another year (For the love of all things holy people, PLEASE wash your hands when you're near us! Just because we look healthy now it doesn't mean our immune systems can handle your germs!). We're eating solids, we're laughing and we weigh around 20 pounds! That's ten times our birth weight!! Mom and dad pretty much treat us like regular babies now and I know that probably makes them a thousand times more happy than it even makes us.
Nolan: I know, I know, you're right. Considering where we started, we've come a looong way. That reminds me - we haven't even given props to all the people that helped us get to where we are! Our doctors and nurses, the infant development program, the NICU followup...it's endless how much support we have. We're going to grow up to be big and strong thanks to all these people that are helping us. And then there's mom and dad and Rio! Seriously, have babies ever been loved as much as us?
Asher: I know, makes me get a little emotional when I think about it.
Nolan: Ewwww. There you go getting sappy again. I think we've rambled enough so whaddya say we wrap this up! Mom, can we be done now?
Yes boys, job well done.
There you have it, my brilliant boys! What a refreshing perspective to hear things from their point of view. Although wow, they sure natter at each other, eh?