Name: Brandy Stoffel
Where do you currently live? Madison, Wisconsin
How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins? 8 weeks
Any issues during your pregnancy? No; it was perfect. JUST KIDDING!!!
I was 22 weeks and 6 days along when I was hospitalized with the threat of immediate labor. My cervix was funneling and Baby A's amniotic sac was buldging. This meant that it was extremely susceptible to infection, which would cause labor even if my cervix was holding on. Gravity AND infection became the enemies.
Because I was so early in the pregnancy, the neonatologist would not even come talk to me until I made it 24 hours to the 23 week mark. That was a long night, but things had not truly set in for me yet.
The next day the neonatologist went from head to toe of all the disability risks our girls would face at this stage, if they survived. We had to decide if we wanted the girls to be saved if they were born this week, and if we wanted to take the first round of steroids. Only two rounds are available, and they work best further along in the pregnancy. Their benefits only last a few weeks. The odds were just too high for too much at this point. My husband, Ryan, was at work, but we had discussed this matter the night before, and I told the doctor we did not want any life saving measures introduced if they were born this week, and we would wait to take the first round of steroid shots until week 24. When the doctor left the room, I was so glad to be alone. I cried uncontrollably. I cry now thinking about that moment. It's still incredibly vivid to me. I prayed. I stayed in that bed!
I stayed in that bed for 5.5 weeks, working part time on my laptop to keep my mind busy. At 28 weeks, the care team let me go home on bed rest. I made it one more week.
Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: 1) A co-worker announced she was having twins exactly two weeks apart from mine. Our office stopped drinking the tap water.
2) That time I left my desk to "run over for a quick ultrasound" and returned to work five months later.
Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self? Clearly, I would have told myself to ask my OBGYN about a cervix stapler or just some cervix duct tape very early on.
I would also tell myself to turn off my computer that day I left work for that "quick" ultrasound.
How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 29 weeks
Baby A's Information: Wrenly Elaine
3 lbs 1 oz
Baby B's Information: Harper Kay
3 lbs 1 oz
Are your twins identical? No
Did you have a c-section or natural delivery? Wait for it... I had BOTH. Baby A was born natural (no time for an epidural even) and Baby B was c-section. They gave me some pain shot in the stomach though, and I was so very grateful for that. They also gave me some anti-nausea medication, but it did not stop the throwing up. Don't let this scare you; the chances of this are astronomically slim.
Any NICU time? If yes, for what reason and how long? 64 days. Well, Harper came home over a week before Wrenly, but we still had to go back up to the NICU everyday for that last haul.
In the beginning, Wrenly had an infection, which is why the water broke and I went into crazy fast delivery. She had to have two forms of antibiotics and a spinal tap. It was sweet relief to hear nothing went to her brain.
There were countless other tests, including awful eye exams, and many very long days where I watched monitors and prayed. We RAN out of the NICU when we were finally allowed to take Wrenly home.
Did you have any complications after delivery? No, I just had to drag myself 18 miles, across a parking lot and a skybridge and up two floors to the NICU with a recovering body everyday while still pumping milk and having a 10-year-old at home. My husband stayed working because we would need him to take leave after I returned to work, considering we didn't have child care lined up for months yet.
How long did you (the parents) stay in the hospital? 3 days
What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital?
I wish I would have had my chapstick, my own girly pads (the hospital ones are awful) and my razor. I kept forgetting to ask my husband to bring them.
Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: Somewhere in the middle of the NICU visit, my husband and I were both there, but not my older daughter. I was tired and burnt out, and we were sitting in the recliners with the sun shining in the window. My husband said, "This is how our retirement will be, just me and you sitting in our rockers in the sun."
He was thinking of us, years from now, and past this crisis. It renewed my soul.
If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? There is no normal. Your journey is yours.
Brandy's Blog: Chattel Bug