Emmalynn & Aaron’s Story

Site created on September 30, 2018

Thank you for visiting our Caring Bridge site for our twins, Emmalynn and Aaron. We’ve tried to type a condensed version below of the events leading up to our pre-term delivery at Valley. Many people have so graciously asked what they can do. First and foremost prayers and keeping us in your thoughts. Beyond that, knowing that dinners are taken care takes a huge load off so that we can focus on the NICU, insurance, and all of that stuff (our sister-in-law, Abby, has graciously offered to set up a meal train for us at https://www.takethemameal.com/GBOG7021). Also, preemie clothes. Kylie’s were donated last time so we could use both boy and girl preemie clothes, and will donate all clothes again because it’s one of the biggest needs here at the NICU. Some people have very kindly asked about money and we are very fortunate due to savings and family, however, a donation directly to Children’s Hospital (they manage Valley’s NICU) in Emmalynn & Aaron’s honor will always mean a great deal to us (https://giveto.seattlechildrens.org/give). Words of encouragement and knowing that people are thinking about us and praying for us is most important and keeps us going.

While we had hoped to avoid the NICU this time around, we find ourselves here even earlier this time. It’s been quite the whirlwind. We consulted several doctors after Kylie, and were encouraged to try again. We were told about a 30% chance of repeat but also that we’d know what to watch for this time around. Given that we were hoping for a second child (we knew given the odds that we would not be trying for three), we decided to listen to the doctors and go for it. And, of course, we ended up with twins which kind of changed everything.

We were still lucky in some ways this time because some other symptoms brought us in due to an abundance of caution. We have the same hospital team that cared for us last time so they kept us, took care of us, and ordered some precautionary tests. Everything was normal and just when we were about to go home, Kimberly’s liver enzymes suddenly went up a little bit. So the doctors kept us for more tests, and soon they were convinced that she was in the early stages of severe HELLP Syndrome again. At 29 weeks, we were definitely in shock and a little scared.

We reached a point where Kimberly’s numbers were accelerating too quickly to wait any longer, so a c-section was scheduled. The same doctor that delivered Kylie was able to deliver the twins, so we were very happy about that. She took extra good care of us. Emmalynn was delivered first followed by her younger brother, Aaron. At 3lbs and 1oz, they were a good weight for twins at 29 weeks and actually weighed exactly the same down to the gram. Kimberly was awake this time around so she was able to see each baby before they were whisked off to the NICU where I went to be with them while mom’s second surgery was completed (a tubal ligation). We are definitely done being pregnant.

Don’t get me wrong, we are so excited for our twins and to become a family of five, but for Kimberly pregnancy is far too risky to attempt again. We are praying fervently for Emmalynn and Aaron as well as for Kylie during this time. We are anxious to get everyone safely through this process so that we can all be a family together at home. Kimberly’s hospital stay was extended due to liver enzyme numbers that climbed for a while before finally stalling and starting to come down. We were briefly sent home but found ourselves back in the emergency room at 2 AM due to high blood pressure, so the initial hospital stay will end up being closer to two weeks. We are grateful for everyone’s prayers for all of us and hoping to soon be 100% focused on the twins healing process for the remainder of their 10 weeks in the NICU.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Kimberly Ferguson

Three Weeks have gone by since we were able to bring the twins home from the NICU and they just celebrated being three months old (two and a half weeks old adjusted age)! We experienced the whole "actual age vs adjusted age" with Kylie, but the contrast is so much greater this time around. Aaron and Emmalynn look and act like newborns now (with a few classic preemie traits still thrown in the mix) while having achieved the age of a much older infant. It is so strange to care for them and realize they are three months old...and every time someone asks you how old your babies are you mentally calculate if you should give a simple answer or a complicated one. But this is just a day in the life of a preemie family.

Truthfully things have gone much better than we expected and we have managed to find a routine of sorts with the continued help of family lending extra hands when possible. Don't get me wrong, it is sometimes chaotic and loud with a flavor of Whack-a-Mole, but overall we are managing and even getting a little sleep. My amazing husband is getting up at night for every feeding with me and still working full time during the day. I suppose I am doing that too, but I don't need to write science curriculum and make any kind of sense! I appreciate his sacrifice in this so much because while the goal is eventually to feed the babies together (tandem feeding) they simply aren't ready for that as they eat and swallow like preemies, take extra time to feed, and need full attention given to them. The fourth morning we were home Aaron choked on his milk and stopped breathing for almost two minutes. It took me about five rounds of infant choking rescue (for those of you trained in infant first aid) to clear his airway and I was seconds from calling 911 when I finally got him breathing. I'm pretty sure I lost a few years off my life with that one.

The other big challenge has been severe reflux. Both twins have mostly silent reflux which is apparently not something that the pediatric community as a whole understands or knows how to address efficiently and effectively. We have been bringing up our concerns since well before the babies discharged and consistently get told that is normal for babies to spit up and all preemies have reflux...yes, we are aware of that, but it is not normal for them to swallow it back down, constantly burning their upper airway so badly that their breathing is compromised and they sound like barking seals or very similar to a baby with croup. Now that we finally have them medicated appropriately and on wedges they are more comfortable again and able to breath a lot easier and so are their parents! Not much is worse than seeing your children in pain and struggling to breath.

Kylie has done fantastic in adjusting to life as a big sister! She LOVES "her" babies and is so sweet and gentle with them. Of course she is still learning what is and is not appropriate behavior around a baby but we have been really impressed at how well she has done. We continue to be extremely grateful for my mom and Doug's parents who have made sure that Kylie gets some special time and outings just for her and my mom has been helping us 4 days a week caring for the kiddos which helps preserve our sanity and gives us some time to focus on each child one on one rather than simply surviving the onslaught of feedings, diaper changes, and toddler wrangling.

We appreciate everyone's support and prayers so much. We are embracing the journey and all of it's beauty and messiness. I am beyond grateful for a supportive network of friends and family and a spouse who is a fantastic Daddy and fabulous partner in crime. He even laughs at my stupid 3am jokes! We are beyond blessed, happy, and sleep deprived! Thanks for continuing to journey with us!
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