Another week, another roller coaster ride for me and Mr. Skry. Peyton and Parker are 3 weeks old, but only 26 weeks gestation. That means, if I was still pregnant, I would be at 26 weeks (a normal pregnancy can last 40 weeks). Their life in the NICU can be quiet one moment, then chaotic the next. And that’s what happened on Monday. Parker was having a decent few days, but an x-ray came back showing some problems in his intestines. Doctors ended up doing surgery and it was the longest 2 hours of my life! Here’s a picture of Parker pre surgery–he was not a happy camper.
Doctors found several holes in his intestines and tried to repair them. Ryan and I were in the NICU waiting room for two hours. I now know what it was like for Ryan every time I’ve had surgery. The first half hour was fine, but each minute after, my heart would race a little faster. Parker is only 1 lb 4 oz. It’s hard to know if his body can handle being put under anesthesia and going through a big surgery. But he survived and is recovering (luckily with some pain meds!). They brought one of the holes to the surface and he’s now living with part of his organ on his abdomen. Doctors will let him heal and then in 6 weeks, they’ll try to reattach it and put it back inside. I’m truly amazed by modern medicine. I remember a nurse telling me that 10-20 years ago, a baby born at 23 weeks had no chance of survival. I’m so thankful that doctors and surgeons can do much more these days.
Peyton finally decided to join her brother and see the world. She loves to open her eyes, but is much more camera shy! Every time I try to take a picture, she shuts them…hence the winking picture I took. Nurses have nicknamed Peyton “Princess” and “Diva”..and she’s living up to her title. She has heart problems and medication didn’t do the trick. She may eventually need surgery, but she needs to gain a little more weight. She’s about 1 lb 7-8oz and she looks double the size of Parker. Those couple of ounces sure do make a difference! You can tell P & P are siblings. As their personalities begin to shine through, there are little mannerisms that they do the same.
(Peyton at 3 weeks old)
(Parker at 3 weeks old)
See their hands? I think we’re going to have thumb suckers. They both try to tug at their breathing tubes. That little thing in Parker’s mouth is a miniature pacifier. The nurse cut it down so it would fit his face.
As for me, I’m feeling pretty good. I feel like I should be back to normal after three weeks, but my husband and the nurses keep reminding me how much I went through. I had a blood transfusion when I was very sick, so I still get tired even doing little things (plus I was on bed rest for months). I’m trying to venture out more, but the two NICU visits a day are more than enough for now.
A lot of you have sent me emails and I’m slowly getting through them and writing back. I sort of went into hiding for the last few weeks. Other than my family, I have barely talked to anyone else. It’s my way of dealing with the pain and grief. I haven’t wanted to venture out. People don’t know how to act towards me, which is completely understandable. Do you say condolences or congratulations? We’re in such an unusual situation. While P & P have helped us get through the grief, we still don’t know their future. We hope they’ll get to come home, but as I’ve said before, we’re cautiously optimistic. Luckily, every passing day is a victory and gives them a little better chance of survival.
One more picture before I sign off. This is Parker with Ryan’s hand on top. If you look at Parker’s arm, you can see Ryan’s wedding ring. That gives you a good picture of how tiny our babies really are. This was taken when he was a week old. At one point, he dipped down to 14 oz…not even a pound. A lot of people have asked if we get to hold our babies. It’s a complicated answer. I walk around the NICU and get jealous of all of the babies that are 3+ pounds. They look SO big. While most other parents get to hold and rock their baby, we don’t. Ours are too small and hooked up to so many wires and tubes. Our days are spent looking through the incubator glass and just staring at the little miracles we created. I don’t get to feed my babies because they can barely tolerate anything. We don’t get to rock our babies because they can be too unstable. Some days we get to hold them, but that means sitting still and giving them that “skin to skin” time. It takes an army of nurses to make that happen and some days they are too sick to hold. But we keep our chin up. Some days are tougher than others, but we just remind ourselves that we’re lucky for every day we get to spend with them. While I would give anything to have gotten to hold Abby longer, we have two survivors that give us hope and make us believe in miracles.
This story was first published on my blog Skry’s the Limit at www.wandtv.com on July 17, 2013.