Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Birth Story! Part Two: Getting On With It

So As you learned in Part 1, my babies lack of co-operation started early. 

(Missed Part 1? - Here it is!)

At 28 weeks they both decided that "upside down" would be the best way to hang out- and they stayed that way until the very end.

The specialist thought that for the safety of all three of us, that the babies should be born via a scheduled C- Section. It was scheduled for March 15th.
If baby A decided that they would like to flip back around before then, I would be able to try for a natural child birth.
I found this news beyond devastating- I REALLY wanted to deliver my babies vaginally. ... but more on that another day (maybe...).
My surgery was the first one scheduled for the day – 7:30am- and we were to be at the hospital for 6am. I was fine with the early time as I knew there would be no way that I would sleep the night before.

I was right, I didn’t sleep at all.

I laid awake all night (and early into that morning) rubbing my hands over my stomach and wondering "who" I was going to meet in a few hours time. I was excited, anxious and scared. The idea of the surgery terrified me and the fear that there would be something wrong with my babies made my head spin. 

5:30am March 15th - Bill cleans off the car before we head to the hospital.

Driving to the hospital was surreal and Bill and I did not say much to each other.
What was there to say?
We both had too many feelings to talk about anyway.
Once at the hospital we were more ourselves. Making inappropriate jokes and nervously passing the time before the doctors were ready for us.
Bill looked funny in his scrubs and we laughed that he needed the 'womans cap' to cover all of his hair- which we found pretty funny.

Walking into the operating room was scary.

It did not look like what I thought it would. It was much smaller then I imagined and not nearly as "cold" feeling as I feared it would be. There were so many people in the room (we had twice as many doctors because it was a twin birth). The anesthesiologist was beyond wonderful and he helped me to find the little bit of calmness that I had inside me. Everything was very real and completely unreal at the same time. Bill tried to keep the mood light by making a few jokes....but I could see in his face that everything was much more intense then he imagined that it would be. In the end- all he could really do was hold my hand- which was all I needed because I could not focus my brain on much more than that.

I was VERY nervous. I tried to be as brave as I could be- for Bill.
The tears escaped anyway. 
I couldn’t speak, I shook.
I was the most frightened I have ever been in my entire life.

I beyond feared the epidural. It was the last thing I wanted.

We had planned for a completely natural childbirth. I didn’t want any pain medication- and I did NOT want an epidural. To me it was just one more of my choices that was taken from me.
It was also a needle in my spine...which terrified me.
The epidural turned out to be not as bad as I feared. It sucked and it hurt- but it wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened to me, and I got through it.

Then it was time to lie down.

The hardest part was giving up my control; Lying down and just doing what I was told.
I knew that everything I was doing was for the best and for my babies- but it was still hard.
So, I just lay there, trying to remain calm and waiting for my body to numb and listening to the doctors prep around me.

I hear them counting tools.

1 "clink"

2 "clink"

3 "clink"

4 "clink"

One nurse hanging the sheet above my chest so Bill and I could not see anything.
Another reading numbers out loud from one of the many machines.
A disembodied voice of the doctor from the other side of the sheet telling me they were “going to start now”.

The surgery felt slow. I felt no pain- but could feel the pressure, the tugs and the pulls.
I tried to think of other things
Suddenly my chest felt painful and heavy.
I couldn't breathe.
It was a fight to bring in enough air to tell Bill what was happening.
My brain got fuzzy and the edges of my vision darkened.
I hear Bill in a very scared voice 

 "She can’t breathe..."

I hear the doctor repeating my name, telling me everything was fine and to try and take deep breaths.
It feels like forever, but eventually I am able to take a full breath again.
I find Bills eyes. “I’m OK”, I tell him. He squeezes my hand.

It felt like forever before I heard the cry of our first born. 

(Not really a cry- but a scream!)

Bug- our beautiful daughter.
Then, seconds later- our son.

We both cried then.

Not because we were happier for our son than our daughter- but because it was all so perfect.
We had gotten exactly what we wanted.
The blessing of it all was amazing. 

Every fear, every pain, every altered decision and every moment of those nine months came to ahead, and it was all worth it.

They bring me Bug, and hold her above me for a moment.
She is so beautiful; amazingly beautiful. 
I am shocked at how instantly and intensely I love her.
It is all I can say- repeating over and over again.

"Isn't she beautiful?"

Baby Bug (minutes old)
Both babies are taken to be cleaned up and checked over. 
Bill leaves me for a moment to be with them. 

"Are they OK??" - I'm desperate to know. 

"Yes-Perfect"- an unknown voice assures me

After a couple minutes Bill is back beside me with Bug and I am given Badger.
He is perfect.
I cannot stop staring at him. His cheeks are deliciously chubby.

Badger (minutes old and already fighting)

We have a few moments together - but things are getting fuzzy again- and I can’t breath- I have to ask to have him taken away- I could barely hold onto him.
Things level back out for me and finally (after what feels like ages) the surgery is done.

We spend hours in recovery because my body temperature dropped so low due to blood loss. I was wrapped from head to toe in heated blankets (which honestly, was very cozy)It is at least 2 hours before I am allowed to even hold them (they didn’t want them to take any more heat from me- or me heat from them.
Establishing early skin to skin contact with us was important- so because I couldn’t, Bill took off his shirt and sat with them on his chest – all three of them wrapped in a blanket. It was beautiful and gut wrenching. I was beautiful watching my husband with our babies, but gut wrenching that they were so close and I couldn’t even hold them.

Finally, a new nurse comes on duty and declares me warm enough.
Bug is placed in my arms for the first time.
 I nurse her.
She is perfect.

Eventually I would have both of them in my arms, and for that, I have no words. 

Holding my babies together for the first time

I was in the hospital for five days, partly for them, and partly for me. 

But we are beyond lucky. 
Amazingly lucky. 
To have two perfectly healthy, full term twins. 

Our lives will never be the same.

NOTE: You may have noticed that I changed Turtle Man's name to "Badger". In his first few days we took to calling him Turtle Man because of the way he would purse his lips, tense his entire body and stretch his neck out (almost like a turtle peaking out of its shell). After we got him home he quickly became Badger (though we actually call him "Honey Badger") due to his ravenous appetite, grunty growls and his "take what he wants" attitude. I just didn't feel like I truly writing about him whenever I typed "Turtle Man" SO- I just had to change it!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Birth Story! Part One: False Alarms

So here it is, the birth story.
In two parts. 
I'm breaking it up this way mostly because it is long- but also because to me, it really is a two part story.

Bug and Badger were born on March 15th, but, their birth story begins on February 8th- a Wednesday.

I hadn’t been feeling “right” all day. Cramping and generally feeling gross.
By the time Bill got home from work I wasn’t feeling any better- so I eventually broke down and decided to call the nurses line and see what they thought.
They told me to come in just to be sure- I felt so silly. I figured they would just send me home. It turns out I was already 1cm dilated (which is not a big deal- you can be at 1cm for weeks). BUT they decided that with both babies being breech that it was too much of a risk to send me home- they wanted to keep me for 24 hours and give me two shots of steroids to help their lungs just in case they insisted on being born.
So, they admitted me.

My cramping got worse during the night and by the time morning rolled around I was having contractions every 5 minutes. They weren’t really painful...more just really uncomfortable, mostly just a lot of pressure.
I ended up having to stay for two nights and most of the third day. There was definitely a point where I thought they were going to make me stay until the babies had come (mostly because they said, "you might be here until the babies come").Thankfully though- they let me go home (on a modified bed rest) to be uncomfortable there.

Physically from here on, my pregnancy would be pretty uneventful (though I would continue to have mild contractions right up until the week they were!) it was the emotional side of things that got a little rough.

After I got home from the hospital- I didn’t know how to feel. I felt nothing like myself. All I could focus on was all the little things that needed to be done before the babies actual did come. I was so overwhelmed with the feeling that my days were numbered. I felt more and more like I was disappearing inside of myself- floating around in some sort of haze.
My thoughts would constantly swirl out of control. One minute hoping the babies would just hurry up and come and the next, dreading their arrival.

Moments of pure excitement followed directly by moments of fear.

I questioned if we had done the right thing; deciding to get pregnant?
Had I trapped myself into something I was no longer sure about?
I have always wanted children, to be a mother. I had always thought that it was the only thing in my life that I was actually meant to do.
...but, TWO babies?
 At once?

The reality of it all would crash down on me during the most mundane moments. Flooding towards me, un-expectantly, as I watched TV, brushed my teeth or made dinner.
My brain, filling with self-doubt and my heart crushing under the weight of it.
Was I really cut out for it? Was I really ready for my life to completely change? My head would spin with the things that I would have to give up. The freedom I would sacrifice....the identity I would lose.

I would try to talk to Bill- tell him how I felt. Hoping that maybe he felt the same way too. 
Hoping that he too, felt the same lingering doubts and would assure me that they were nothing more than nerves, and that everything would be just fine.

But, I could never find the courage to say the words.
Not really.

His enthusiasm for it all, the way he seemed to doubt nothing; instead of making me feel stronger, only made me feel worse.

Lying in our bed, in the coward-ness of darkness I would whisper to him;

"What if I hate it?"

"You won’t hate it...I hope you don't hate it"

(But what if I do......)

"What if there is something wrong with them?"

"Then we will deal with it" – his voice full of confidence

(I don’t think I could deal with it....)

My guilt only made worse with the realization, that my husband, was a way better person then I could ever hope to be.

Deep down I know that all of this was just nervousness, simply the fear of the unknown. Once my babies were in my arms all of the doubt would wash away. Despite every fear I had, I knew that if given the choice I would not change one thing. That a life where I did not have two babies growing inside me, created with the one person I loved more than I thought possible, would be a life that I would regret not having. 


(to be continued...)

25 weeks....still a long way to grow...