Jun 6, 2006 – 2:16am


The OR room was out of an episode of Grey's Anatomy. There were an army of people in there just to be ready for the babies. There were a team of 4 doctors ready for each baby in addition to the team that was there for me.

Then the surgery began. Everyone kept asking what we thought the sexes of the babies were and I said that they were definitely boys. 15 minutes later, I felt extreme pulling in my stomach and a baby came out. No one said anything but I saw them take the baby to get worked on. Twin B came out 1 minute after A and I did not even realize. No one even told me what the sex of the babies were until 5 minutes later. I guess they were too busy working on getting them to breathe. When I heard that they were 2 girls, I could not believe it. Tears swelled up in Josh's eyes and he kept saying "Babe, we have 2 girls. I cant believe we have 2 girls". He was so thrilled. One of the NICU doctors gave Josh a thumbs up and I then felt more relaxed. Twin A was born at 5:15pm at 1.79lbs and Twin B was born at 5:16pm at 1.61lbs. They took them off to the NICU and Josh stayed with me until the entire surgery was over. 

Josh gave the news to our families who were pacing all over the place. By then, my parents had gotten there, as well as Paul, Judd, Tara and Lauren Winer. They could not believe that we had girls!! So fun for it to be a surprise.

I was so relieved when I learned that both girls were doing well in recovery and I honestly never thought that anything could go wrong. I even got myself into a wheelchair that very night to visit them. No one could believe I had just had a c-section. They were more gorgeous then I thought they could ever be and I was beyond happy. 

Josh was thrilled but cautious about being too excited. I was so happy to have so many visitors, flowers, balloons, etc. And, I felt great.

We named our twins Isabelle Frances Levine (named after Josh's Grandpa Irving, Grandma Frances, and hebrew name is after my Grandma Betty) and Chloe Hope Levine (hebrew name is after my Grandma Elaine and the H in Hope is after Josh's Grandpa Harold).

Our girls thrived in the NICU until the next night, 6/1 when they both had pulmonary hemorrhages at the same time (a very twin thing to do). Isabelle's was worse and a NICU doctor came to wake Josh and I up in our hospital room. It was beyond scary and I thought it could not get any worse then this.

Our families rushed in on Friday, June 2 to be with us. Dr. Freyer in the NICU said that it was not good and he was not sure of their outcome. As he talked to us, Chloe had another bad hemorrhage and they just could not get her to breathe for a long time. I saw all of the nurses and doctors rushing into Chloe's room and I screamed to Josh from my wheelchair down the hall "they are not all going in there for Chloe, right?" Unfortunately his answer was "yes, they are". My stomach dropped as I ran to her room. They would not let us in as they were all working very hard to revive her, but Josh and I just knew at that time that it was all over. 

A few hours later our beautiful daughter Chloe died in our arms. I cried more then I have ever cried in my life and Josh held me like he has never held me in his life. He assured me that we would get through this together because there was now nothing we could not get through. 
When they took her away from us, I felt as if a piece of me had died too. I just could not understand why this happened, but came to realize that our little angel Chloe was just not meant to be in this world with us. 

We mourned for her, but decided that we needed to put all of our strength and energy into Isabelle. For the rest of our hospital stay, we stood by Isabelle's side and prayed for her to remain strong. It was not easy. We were so lucky to have our incredible families with us through our entire stay. There is nothing any of then would not have done for us and it was very comforting. 

It was very hard to leave the hospital and face the outside world but we did it. We had no choice.

We buried Chloe on Long Island on Monday, June 5. No one should ever have to bury a child, but we did it and now have some closure. Josh and I know she will always be our little guardian angel looking over us and Isabelle.

Josh, me, and our families' focus has now been on Isabelle. We pray for her and watch her grow everyday. She is feisty and strong, and is quite the fighter. We know that we have a very long road ahead of us, but we are prepared to take it all day by day.

Jun 7, 2006 – 12:41am

Today Isabelle had her PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus) surgery. This surgery is commom in premature babies. While most full term babies' PDA's close right after birth, premature babies do not and need to have it closed in order for blood to flow properly throughout the body. 

When I walked into her room this morning, she looked the best I have ever seen her. She was out of her isolette and in a warmer. Her blue Bilirubin lights were off and her eye mask was off and she looked absolutely incredible. Her beautiful eyes were open and her eyes followed me as I spoke to her. I cried I was so happy. Then I got out my camera and started taking pictures. Then I called Josh crying with happiness at how amazing she looked. I wish he could have seen her at that very moment. He would have been so happy.

Dr. Chen, one of the best neonatal cardiac surgeons performed the surgery and she did great. I was very nervous for her, but she was a trooper. She was out of it for most of the day due to the anestesia, but that is to be expected. I was so proud of her. It is incredible how strong this little girl is. They predict that she will get better quicker because of this surgery, so we are keeping our fingers crossed. Of course, I always worry that she will have another hemorrhage. I do not think I will ever not worry about that with her. 

My sister Alyson stood by me during the surgery and kept me distracted. I have NO idea what I would do without her. She has been my rock throughout this entire thing. There is just nothing she would not do for me, Josh or Isabelle and I love her so much for it. Josh went to work instead of being at the hospital, and I updated him via phone about every 15 minutes. It was probably better he was not there since he gets very nervous and makes me more nervous. My mom and Sharyn (my other rocks) were also there- of course. 

Dr. Chen came to talk to me after the surgery and told me that it was a very boring surgery since she was so easy- great news. I literally jumped up and down like my mom does when she gets happy about positive Isabelle news. He said that she would be out of it for a while. As he said, "the medication they gave her is like a 5 martini lunch and she is definitely a cheap date." I told him that her father would be proud. I was estatic that she did so well and that it was over. It was a huge relief. For the rest of the day she was pretty out of it, with her eyes closed and her tongue sticking out to the right (it looked pretty funny). The nurses reassured me that this was normal. They also gave her more pain medicine and a blood transfusion which is normal (she has already had 2 transfusions prior to this).

We went for dinner with my parents around 7:30. It felt good to get out of the hospital and have a nice meal.
Josh and I went back to the hospital and stayed until 12:00am. I was exhausted and kept getting yelled at by the nurses to get rest and take care of myself which I have no interest in doing. All I want to do is take care of our daughter. But, I know I have to be good to myself in order to get enough milk to feed her, which is ALL i want to do. I feel like that is is really the ONLY thing I can do for her right now. Josh never wants to leave at night. Even though she is in the best hands, with the best nurses, he does not trust anyone. He only feels secure when we are there with her, but I told him that we need to get our rest also.

We called Cosi, the nurse every few hours throughout the night/morning to check in. 

Jun 8, 2006 – 12:16am

We left around 7:15 to go for a quick dinner with my mom. As always, it was nice to get out.

We got back to the hospital at 8:30 and Judd and Tara were there waiting for us. They are great company and an amazing support for the two of us. You can tell that they are definitely going to spoil their little neice. 
Judd was also not going to go to Matt's bachelor party in Las Vegas this weekend because he did not want to leave us which I thought was beyond thoughtful. We told him that we would be mad at him if he did not go.

The night nurse was the same as last week's which made us nervous because it was exactly one week ago that Isabelle had her horrible hemmorage. But, as my mom said to me over the phone "lightning never strikes twice".
Isabelle had a few more D-sats before we left her but they said it was nothing to worry about. I just hope she has a good, quiet and peaceful night on the c-pap. 
I am sure we will call in to check on her even more tonight.

Jun 8, 2006 – 1:04am

I got to the hospital a little later today (12:00 instead of 11:00). Isabelle looked even better today then yesterday morning. Her eyes were wide open (as wide as i have ever seen) and she looked like a perfect angel. She was also very pink from the blood transfusion. She was still under the warmer, but was being transferred to the isolette. I happen to like her better when she is closed in in the isolette and I think she likes it better too. She does not seem to like loud noise and the light, so I believe that the enclosed space is better for her. 

Isabelle's stats were amazing and the nurse practitioner told me they were going to extubate her today which I could not believe. As good as that sounded, I was of course nervous since the last time she was extubated, she had her pulmonary hemorage. They kept telling me not to worry. I told Josh and he seemed more worried then me, but I told him that this was a step in the right direction.

Alyson came in soon after and could not believe how amazing she looked either. She got her camera right out and took the best pictures (see photo gallery). I think she has my nose but resembles a lot of Josh. She has the most beautiful lips and constantly licks her lips which is so cute. We still can not tell whose hair she is going to have- some days it looks wavy and some days it looks straight.

Maribel the nurse kicked Alyson and I out of the room so they could extubate her. When I came back in she had her c-pap in (the breathing device that goes into her nostrils). This is much less invasive then the breathing tube that goes into her trachea. So right now, she is basically breathing on her own with a little help from the machine. 
She also looks so cute because the NICU ran out of the small diapers so she is wearing a diaper that an 8lb baby would wear. It is almost bigger then her!
They also started to give her this caffeine medicine that is supposed to be good for her respiration.

All of the other nurses kept stopping by saying how they could not believe how fast she got extubated. It made me feel so good and VERY positive. Dr. Chen also came by to check on her and bragged about his good work saying that her extubation is a great thing. I think Josh would have preferred her to stay on the tube considering what happened last time she was put on the C-pap. But, we know that it is a step in the right direction. 
The nurse also told me that they were going to probably start feeding her tomorrow. I was shocked, but so excited. I want her to take my breast milk SO badly. 

Sharyn came to visit with a bag full of gorgeous baby stuff from the store Spoiled Rotten. She bought her 2 beautiful pink blankets and a burp cloth. I got the chills when I saw it all- I was so happy and I knew Josh would be too. She was thrilled to buy them too. I think she would have bought the entire store if I told her she could! We put the big blanket on top of Isabelle's isolette and it looked amazing. It is definitely the prettiest one in the NICU. It makes me happy to look at too.

The nurses sounded so positive about Isabelle's progress that I decided to take a lunch break. Sharyn, Alyson and I had lunch in the cafeteria. It was a nice break.

Later in the afternoon Isabelle had a few D Sat's (i am not sure of the right term but it is when her breathing is off and her stats go down) and I got very scared. I kept calling for the nurse even though the alarms go off and the nurses come over any way. I was afraid that she would not last on the C-pap, but her blood/gas results were great and they said this is to be expected. Babies need to learn to breathe and this is what happens. She is supposed to be inside me so I could do the breathing for her, but since she is not, she must learn to do it on her own, and eventually without the help of a breathing tube.

My mom came in later in the afternoon and thought that Isabelle looked great. I was relieved that the day was almost over and Josh was on his way to the hospital.

Josh thought she looked great, but he did not like the way the c-pap looked- he was concened that she was not comfortable with it in her nose but the nurses assured us it was fine and her stats were great so we could not complain. I can tell that Josh grows more and more in love with her everyday and it makes me so happy. I truly believe that she lights up when he walks into the room and she hears his voice. My mom even said that Isabelle smiled when he started to talk to her.

(continued below...)

Jun 9, 2006 – 12:21am

Today did not start off on a positive note. When I spoke to Gina the nurse at 3:00 Isabelle was doing great. When I spoke to her at 5:00am Isabelle was not doing as great. When I spoke to the morning nurse at 8:30am, Isabelle was already back intubated. While I just knew this would happen, I was very disappointed. The nurse said she had a rough morning, was having a lot of trouble breathing, had a lot of D-sats, and did not look good so they had to reintubate her.

I was exhausted and did not want to get out of bed but knew I had to get to the hospital to see her. And, of course Josh wanted me there at 11:00 on the dot.

I got there at 11:00 and they would not let me in b/c the doctors were doing their rounds. They were actually all talking about Isabelle when I got there but they would not let me listen. Laura, one of the nurse practitioners sat me down and told me that this is all normal and she just got tired from trying to breathe so much on her own. She told me that they wanted Isabelle to rest today and they were not going to start her on breast milk for a few days (or maybe tomorrow). I dont want them to rush with her, but I am so anxious to have her eat and get bigger. But, I do know that the most important thing is to get her breathing better. Laura also told me that her lung x-ray came back looking better then her one last week. This made me VERY happy. It looks like those little lungs of hers are developing. They say that the dried up blood in her lungs from the hemorahage along with her swollen throat (from being intubated) has probably caused her to fail at breathing. The next time they extubate her, they hope to have less blood in her lungs and use medicine to control her swollen throat. They will probably not try this again until after this weekend. I was discouraged, but happy that there were reasons why she failed on C-pap other then her undeveloped lungs.

She looked peaceful in her isolette and seemed to sleep for most of the day. The nurses told me that she was probably exhausted. I felt terrible that this little thing had to work so hard to breathe that it completely wore her out. I was happy to see her sleep and I left her alone for most of the day in her dark isolette where she slept so soundly. Her stats were great and consistent. The doctor told me that they will try and extubate her again next week. I hope she is stronger by then.

Alyson came and brought the nurses Dunkin Donuts munchkins. We sat by Isabelle for a while and then had lunch. We also went to the blood bank to sign up for her and Josh to possibly donate blood to Isabelle. They will have to see if they are a match. I can not donate for at least 6 months since I just gave birth.

Dad came to visit. He took the train and Mom came in soon after. She had a bit of a cold so she did not come into the NICU. We met Josh for dinner at 7:30.

Josh and I went back to the hospital until 11:15. The night nurse told me that she was caring for a very sick baby also tonight and that Isabelle was her 'stable' baby. It was funny to hear, but sounded so nice. There was another baby brought in to the NICU with a pulmonary hemorahage and was not doing well. I felt for the family. I just hope that Isabelle being 9 days old keeps her out of the woods for another hemorahage. But, I guess you just never know.

We blew her kisses and wished her good night and I told the nurse I would call all the time. She said that she knew I would. Josh was even better about leaving her tonight.

I hope she has a peaceful night.