Wednesday, February 27, 2013

... as you all see, I do not post here anymore. I do plan on having a new blog someday - but I want to make sure I'll be able to update it more often than I did this one. :D

Those of you who know me, I can be easily found in Face Book. Please, do not hesitate to contact and befriend me there if you wonder how I am doing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A year... THE year.

Still quite small here -
the twins in a single babysitter.
It has been almost a year since the last post. The time has gone by so fast - and so slow at the same time. I have been busy, done a lot, accomplished very little and learned just to survive from moment to moment. The months have passed quickly, the minutes and hours - at times - very slowly...

The wonderful twins, named Vili Anttoni and Timna Karissa, are such sweet bunches of joy. They make every day worth living. However, it has not been an easy path up to this day.

First two months they spent in the NICU and we were there as much as we could. After we finallly got our whole family home, it was only some weeks that our much loved briard (dog) suddenly became very ill. We found out that he has suffered from a cancer (he had shown no signs what so ever) and there was nothing that could be done for him. So he had to be put to sleep. It had been less than 12 hours before his death that he had been barking and guarding the goats outside... The tears still fill my eyes, even now, as I miss him so much. Beni was the most amazing dog there is - and there has been times in my life that he has been one of the greatest reasons I thought I even should keep on living. Must sound strange to some, but that's how it was at one point.

Beni loved the twins. He stayed by them all the time.
Too bad, we did not know how little time he had left and did not take many pictures of them together.

The winter and early spring went as if in thick fog.

Vili was really ill and suffered from great pain in his stomach. It was really hard to watch him suffer when no help seemed to be available. I have mixed feelings towards the hospital and its staff in this issue. Some seemed to try to help and took us seriously. However, quite a few times I was treated as if I were just a tired mama who could not handle her baby's normal cry. Finally, they found out that Vili has severe milk allergy. It took too long to come to the conclusion, and Vili had stopped nursing (my milk had probably hurt him!) and was set behind in his physical development. He was so much behind that they suspected he might have CP! Since his allergy has been gotten under control, he has been catching up with great speed and an ultra sound of his brain showed no sign of any injury. The doctor who did the scanning was silent after the scan for quite a while and finally said, "this boy must have been terribly ill."

The more the twins learned to move
 on their own, the more they began
being in contact with each other. 
Timna never learned to eat from a bottle, so I have been breast feeding her all this time. She got home from the NICU with naso-gastric tube to help with her feeding, as she was still too weak to nurse all she needed. We also had an alarm system with us from the hospital so that we would notice if her saturation levels dropped while we were sleeping. She was very clingy and needed a lot of holding and carrying as well. So most of the time we both, Roope and I, walked around wrapped in a baby sling - one baby for each. Multiple times I have rejoiced of our country's social security system that allows dads also to stay at home for some weeks to take care of babies when twins are born.

I have not too many clear memories from that time - however, I am glad we have tons of pictures. :D

It was a HOT summer. Most of the days the twins spent naked or just  a diaper on playing on the floor .
 And they took their naps right at the same spot - as the best fan in the house blowed some air right there. :)
Summer came. It was one hot and lonely summer. Roope worked through it and I was stuck at home with the twins. We used to have two cars, but not so anymore this summer. So, I could not go anywhere and most people had already seen the "curiosity twins" and visitors became more rare. Everyone is so busy with their own life and we live far from everybody. The twins were fun to watch and I loved every minute with them, especially now that Vili was not ill all the time, they both had room to grow and flourish. :) However, there were times I could have used some adult company. I had to face the fact that even tho I know many people, and I have some people in my life I can call friends, they all either live too far away or are too busy... I have had to learn to survive with the feeling of being lonely.

In the middle of everything else, we saved five
great tit babies that jumped out of their nests 
because it was too hot there. First we tried 
putting them back, but they kept coming out,
so we took them in and took care of them
until a bird expert took them. All five survived
and were successfully returned back to nature. 
So that this lonely summer had not been too easy, we lost another of our dear pets. Our gorgeous Clydesdale mare, Clara, became wery ill. First it seemed she had "only" boils in her front hooves and an infection that could be treated. For 2 ½ weeks Roope took care of her day and night (luckily he was off the work)... trying to lower her fever by hosing her with cool water (it was an awfully hot weather that time), massaging her sore muscles, force feeding her flax seed porridge (to protect her stomach from the ill effects of the medicine) and rapeseed oil (to help her not to loose too much weight), cutting and carrying to her green grass and herbs so that she'd eat at least some, changing poultices in her hooves... Just to find out that she had boils in all four feet and those boils had destroyed her hoof structure in all of them in such way that there was nothing to do to help her. The day before it seemed she was getting her spirits up and she tried to stand a bit and go grazing... but it was just vain hope by the help of the strong pain killers. She had to be put to sleep. And I cry again writing this...

One of the last photos of Clara still alive.
With boils in her hooves, she had to be sedated so they could pull her down
and treat her hooves.
She was not able to stand holding one hoof up, so sore she was...
2½ weeks from this she was dead...
Our donkey, Pelle, cried after his best friend. The donkey watched this great horse being buried and stood at the yard calling to the direction of the grave for days after she had died. He became depressed and tried to come into the house. We had to work out something - and almost as if given by God, we found him a companion. Little pony called Lordi. The pony's best friend, a goat, also moved to us and they added some life to the yard. I have had too little time to befriend these new additions to our flock - I wish to be able to do more things with them as the twins grow a bit more.

At the end of the day - something still going on between the two
even the parents think they are ready for bed  in their night overalls.
In some ways this has been an awful and very difficult year, a lot of deep buried pain has burned my heart. The way the twins were born was traumatic, now I can admit it. It has been terrible to be treated as over-reacting when my child was truly ill. It was tiring to be needed by Timna so much that I could not leave the children even for a little while. It was heartbreaking to bury dear animal friends. It has been awful to feel so lonely.

Yet, it has been the most amazing year ever. I have survived all those sad and hurting things, we have overcome, we have stayed together as a family, we are alive and hoping for better times. And the most awesome two little creatures live in our house. The twins, Vili and Timna, are just amazing. They learn new things all the time and have so much fun doing so. Their smiles light up the darkest days - and even early mornings are fine with me, when they wake me up.
Vili enjoying dad's best babysitting tric:
a whole box of toys poured on a floor. 
One more story before bed?
Timna seems to ask

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It could have been worse...

The twins were born November 29. at 0.58 and 1.00 AM. First was the boy, 1420 g, then the girl, 1485 g. There was no time to measure how tall they were at birth. After a few days they were 39,5 cm (the girl) and 40 cm (the boy). Babies were almost 2 months premature and will stay in NICU for quite a few weeks. That's the news. Wanna hear the long story? If so, keep on reading.
Our son, Vili, about 12 hours of age.

Our daughter, Timna, about 12 hours of age.

It was Friday November 27. when I thought I had caught a stomach flu. The day before I had visited the mothernity clinic in a local hospital. All was well with the pregnancy. My blood pressure was a bit high - as it had been during the whole pregnancy. Doctor gave me a prescription for the medication I already had used - now with a higher dose. Next appointment was to be after three weeks. So, I was not worried. However, I did call a nurse and told her my symptoms. She agreed that is sounded like a stomach flu.So I rested the day. In the evening I could eat again and the episode seemed to be over.

Next day I went shopping. I was feeling totally fine - puffy and swollen, yes, but that's how it had been for some time already.

Sunday morning came. It was the first advent Sunday when people sing "Hosanna" in churches here in Finland. We left for the morning service and after that went to eat out with my in-laws and some friends. When we got home, I had a little nap and left for a friend. We had what's called a "little Christmas party" here in Finland. Some women from the church gathered together to celebrate the Christmast time. All was just fine until it was the time to eat. I had nausea, but decided to eat little anyway. I blamed the lunch we had had and decided to pull it through without much hassle. However, my plan did not work; I ended up vomiting in the toilet and drew plenty of attention... Few people got really worried, I tried to assure them that I was fine.

During the evening I had said jokingly to an another pregnant woman, who was due in few days, "tonight is a good  night to give birth." I also worded my wish that our babies would not be born in December (as I am) - meaning that I'd hope them to make it to January... I guess one needs to be more exact in wording their wishes - you might get what you ask for. :D

While I drove home, I got a bit worried myself. A friend, who is a nurse, had been really worried about me when I left, so I decided to call another friend who is a doctor. She sounded a bit worried as well, but because I had no other symptoms but the nausea, she suggested that I'd just rest and if other problems rose (headache, problems with vision, upper stomach pain...), I should leave for the hospital. However, something - maybe it was the nurse-friend's worry - made me think of measuring my blood pressure. 209/119 was the highest measurement I was given - additional times gave me an error-message. That is bad. Really bad. So, I phoned the hospital. They told me to pack and come over for a few days, so they could follow how things are developing. I asked if we should hurry - and the answer was "no". So Roope took time to feed the animals and I packed some stuff taking my time. Right after I had called the hospital, phone rang; the doctor-friend had become worried and questioned about my blood pressure and was happy to hear that I was about to leave to see a doctor.

When we left, I vomited just before entering the car. Then the head ache began. A bit later I began feeling as if someone tightened a belt around my upper stomach. It was about 10 PM when we got to the hospital. When we got in, the nurse welcoming us took a look at me and seemed quite worried. First, we took the heart rate of the babies. It took a while to find the other one and I found no comfort even the nurse said it is normal that it takes a while to find the beat. However, babies' hearts sounded ok. They drew some blood from me, in order to run some laboratory tests. The doctor came at some point to check me. Blood pressure was still that super high. I was given some pills, which I vomited right after. So, I got another pill, chewable one, for the blood pressure. While waiting for the lab test results, the babies were checked with ultra sound. And they seemed to be ok.

After my lab results came, the doctor was ready to send me to the mothernity ward for monitoring. The mid-wife/nurse questioned her and suggested another set of lab tests. We were lucky that the doctor was the kind who can accept advice. They took another set of blood and we went into a dim lighted room to wait. My reflexes were over-reacting when tested. That, they told us, was not good. And we waited. And waited.

When the test results came, it was about midnight. The doctor told that we'd leave for a C-section right away. She returned to speak a few words with Roope while I was already wheeled in my hospital bed to the operating room. My husband was told that the babies were ok, they had nothing wrong. It was the wife who was in a life threatening situation... I had a massive pregnancy poisoning that had appeared and forwarded really fast. I was at the edge of cramping and it was not certaing that the veins in my head could handle the blood pressure and the operation... I had no clue that it was I who was at the edge of life and death. I was worried about the babies and could not figure why we had to go into C-section, as they had seemed to be ok. But I trusted my doctor and did not question their choises.

Before they began operating, I was promised that I'd be shown my babies - even only very shortly. However, that did not happen. I only heard the calls, "A-baby, 0.58, a boy" and "B-baby, 1.00, a girl". I heard how the lungs were suctioned and I heard both babies cry loudly... but not a glimpse... That was scary - they had promised...

But how wonderful can it be, when someone does more than required! The fairly young, male anesthetist came to me with his cell phone. He had gone after the babies, taken a picture with his mobile and showed me a photo of the two little tiny babies with hats on and people taking care of them. The photo was very small and the babies in it only a few millimeters... but they were my babies. No words can tell how much it meant for me that he had done such a thing! How did he even THINK of taking that photo?

I was then sewn togehter and taken into a intensive care unit in order to be monitored over night. Roope was given a chance to go and see the babies first and then he came to see me. He had been so worried - yet, he did not tell me yet, how serious it had been.

Early next morning I was told I'd be trasferred shortly to a mothernity ward. Around 9 AM, the doctor (the one who had taken the photo for me) came to see me and asked how the babies and I were doing. He took an interesting look at the nurse, when I answered that I had had no news about the babies yet. The nurse vanished quite quickly - and right after the doctor had left, she returned to tell that they had called NICU and that babies were fine. From that moment, it took about two hours and I was at the mothernity ward - and shortly after, I finally was taken (in a bed) to see the little ones.

Here you do not see the pause I had in writing... thinking of that moment... no words for it. *sigh*

Vili and Timna, 10 days old, together for the first time since the womb...

They were so small, yet they did not look as bad as I had feared. Actually, even with the puffiness and machines, they were the most beautiful little creatures in my eyes. Vili, our son, had a few monitors, cannulas and CPAP (kind of "whiskers" in the nostrils that provide pressure for the lungs to keep them open) to aid with breathing. Timna, our daughter, was doing a bit worse and she had needed a ventilator, the tube going through her nose into her lungs. But they were alive. They were beautiful. And they were being taken care...

It was only in that afternoon that I realized how close to death I had been. However, before that I had already heard that it could have been much worse. After the birth they had found that Timna's umbilical cord was attached to the placental membrane. That is something that could not be diagnosed before birth, as it does not show in a ultrasound... As fas as I understand, the worst case scenario is that the umbilical cord could have ruptured in the womb, meaning death for all of us. In the best, it would have hindered her growth and we would have ended in C-section before it was too late. Another chance yet is that the babies could have been full term and while giving birth the cord would definitely have been torn and Timna would have suffered from a serious lack of oxygen, leading to a serious brain injury.

So, I must humbly admit again, Someone knows better. And that Someone is watching over my little babies and He is able to take much better care of them than I am. I will do my share. My husband does his. The multitude of family and friends are supporting us and praying for the little ones. The hospital staff is working hard and doing all that is possible in the medical terms. But in the end, only God KNOWS and His choises we should trust.