Thursday, January 28, 2010
Life as a ginormously pregnant mommy was going pretty much as well as can be expected, the second week of January my mom flew in to help around the house and wrangling Kaleb. It was such a relief to be able to relax, sleep in and go back to sleep when I felt like I was ready to drop. (Even though the extent of my activity consisted of the occasional trip to the kitchen, frequent stops to the bathroom and a return trip to my beloved beast of a recliner after each small jaunt.)
A few nights into my mom's stay I walked the house at night attempting to find a comfortable position to sleep, and then when that proved impossible I simply searched for a position that would make the contractions stop--I knew the risks of premature labor and wanted to avoid facing those issues as long as humanly possible.
Almost as quickly as the contractions really set in, though Braxton Hicks contractions had been an almost constant companion for weeks at this point, they slowed to being bearable once again. After that I resumed my schedule of modified bed rest, limiting my activity wherever possible, however the reality had sunk in that these babies were on their way and soon. I did all that I could to continue the preparations for the twins arrival, and nagged away trying to get the things that were too physically involved for me to accomplish done.
My girlfriends set up a baby shower for me for Sat. Jan. 23rd and it gave me something really fun to look forward to, and I anxiously awaited my next prenatal appointment hoping to have a more defined timeline for the remainder of the pregnancy.
Thursday morning, January 21, I woke up early enough to shower and make an attempt to look passable as a human being for my prenatal appointment. Since I was rather out of practice I made sure that my mom snapped a few photos of me, in all my bulbous glory, before I walked out the door.
John went into work ridiculously early so that he could be back to pick me up so that he could come to the appointment with me because he wanted to make sure that we got all of the answers that we were wanting and that our plans were expressed so that we would all be on the same page for delivery.
The ultrasound went well, the babies growth was continuing on par with the previous measurements they were still overachievers. Once again the sonographer was empathetic and flabbergast that I was still mostly mobile despite the fact that Brooklyn's head was well below comfortable levels and Aidan's had now joined her and was crowding what little space was physically available in the birth canal. In this case, two heads were not better than one! As with the last appointment the weight measurements were known to be guesstimates because neither of their heads were fully visible because of their engagement.
After the ultrasound we returned to the waiting room before seeing the doctor, John and I talked about our predictions for when the would come into the world. We knew the ultimate goal would be to make 36 weeks, even though full term would give the best chances for the babies it would also begin to put me at risk because my strength and determination were fading a bit as it had been difficult to sleep, eat and even breathe at this point six more weeks would be almost torturous!
Larissa, the medical student who had assisted with an in-room ultrasound and had later seen me and been a savior by getting me flexaril and a support belt, was my care provider at this visit. In a way it made things easier because we had bonded earlier in my pregnancy and she had checked in on me frequently throughout the remainder of my visits. Again, we were told that all was well with the ultrasound and that everything was going fabulously. I approached the topic of c-section because I truly didn't want to labor with this pregnancy. That decision came in part due to the reading that I had been doing, but I also just had a nagging feeling that once Brooklyn was delivered that something would cause complications with Aidan. (This in part because of Aidan's tendency to spread out whenever possible and the sudden vacancy would likely cause him to celebrate and sprawl, but something just felt like it would be safer to have a c-section despite the additional recovery time this would cause for me.)
She was very understanding and told us that we would absolutely have that option to elect for a c-section but after discussing with a midwife and doctor she returned to let us know that we could schedule the c-section for 39 weeks. That seemed like a decade away, however it was at least out on the table and would be in the paperwork so that there should be no question should I go into labor prior to the date we would choose. We were about to leave when I asked about the contractions I'd been having, I wanted to know if they were having any effect on my cervix or if they had all been Braxton Hicks. Upon looking at my charts and recent ultrasounds Larissa realized that my cervix hadn't been checked in a good while because of how low Brooklyn's head was, it virtually wasn't feasible. So she performed a manual check and looked absolutely shocked. Apparently the contractions had been working! I was dilated to a 4, and 90% effaced!
They sent us over to the hospital for further evaluation, but we now knew that we were in the batter's box and that there was a possibility that we would be having these babies sooner than we anticipated! I gave my mom a call, she was at home waiting for Kaleb's school bus, to let her know that we were heading over to the hospital and that I'd let her know as soon as I found out if we were being admitted or if they were going to try to stop the labor.
We were quickly taken to a labor and delivery room and I was hooked up to the monitors to document my contractions which were once again starting to cause minor pain and discomfort due to the new stress of possibly having these babies in the near future. We were admitted to the hospital at 11am, which I found ironic because with Kaleb we were admitted at 11pm so eleven is apparently my witching hour. After another quick manual check it was determined that I had advanced to a 5 and was fully dilated. The charge nurse let me know that we were indeed going to proceed with the c-section that day! I tried to psyche myself up for the inevitable, again this was on my terms just not my schedule.
A few minutes later Dr. Moore came in and introduced himself, he would be preforming the Cesarean and wanted to explain the procedure quickly and see if I had any questions. John asked if he knew what time we should expect the operation and we were both in shock when told a half an hour to an hour from that moment! John does not do well with blood, pain, etc. and being a witness to such was not in his plans whatsoever, so we had decided long before that my mom would accompany me if a c-section was going to occur. John was going to quickly run by and pick up my mom and Kaleb from our house so that they could be back in time for the surgery.
My phone rang, it was my mom, Kaleb's school bus hadn't dropped him off. She found a phonebook and called Barbara Ann's (the daycare that Kaleb had attended up until the 15th) and found out that the bus had dropped him off there. Luckily, they figured out that something must be going on with me and took him in any way until they could find out what had happened. They made him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and gave him some milk since we had not packed a lunch. When my mom explained what was going on Ms. Essie told us that they would keep him there for the rest of the day if we wanted. I let my mom know that John was on his way and that they could figure out how to proceed with that situation then but that she needed to get over to the hospital quickly because it was ON!
In the meantime they continued to monitor me, and began to prep me for the surgery. I was given a few shots, one of which made me extremely shaky and shiver uncontrollably, thank goodness the nurse prepared me for that reaction or else I would have literally thought I was going into shock. My mom stepped in and was given the O.R. attire and was there for the remainder of the preparations. I met Bob the anesthesiologist and Clint from the O.R. who I just remember being the gurney guy. I was transferred from my bed to a gurney and wheeled down the hall. Once in the operating room my nerves were really starting to get to me, well that in combination with the shaky drug weren't a fun combination.
I was once again transferred and now upon the operating table reality was staring me in the face. I sat on the edge of the bed and curled up to open up my vertebrae for the spinal block. There was a minor discomfort but an instant warming sensation that started at my toes and moved up through my body. Even though I was still physically shivering I was suddenly much happier. I lay down and again felt uneasy when they strapped my arms down out to the side so that I wouldn't interfere with any of the sterile areas. They put up the curtain to block my view and someone was sent out to get my mom.
At this point I was aware of a lot of what was going on, I still wasn't sure where John was or if Kaleb was with him or still at daycare. I knew that we would be beginning shortly but I truly didn't have any idea how long this procedure would last, or even that it had begun! My mom came in with the camera and did her best to distract me by taking photos. She had my camera and I'm completely overprotective of that thing, so it wasn't hard to keep my attention elsewhere.
At 1:53pm I heard a cry before I even was aware that the initial incision had been made! This spinal block stuff was good! Brooklyn, despite being baby B for the first 6 months of the pregnancy had been the first in the canal so her title had been switched to baby A because she would be delivered first, was a screamer! Her little voice was impressive and gave me so much relief, one down one to go. And then two minutes later, at 1:55pm, Aidan was officially delivered, he was not as vocal and the intensity in the room increased. There was just a change in the feeling of the room and I wasn't sure what exactly was happening but Bob was talking to me more frequently and my mom was snapping pictures like crazy. I then heard another voice, a much smaller wail but a cry nonetheless.
There was a minor degree of chaos in the room and within a few short minutes Brooklyn was brought over for me to see, she was beautiful. I gave her a kiss on the cheek before she was taken away by the nurse. A moment or two later Aidan was brought over to me, his face covered by an oxygen mask I kissed his forehead and panicked a little not knowing exactly what the situation was on him. Suddenly all of the warnings and concerns of premature labor sank in and I felt my heart race. Someone told me that they were both doing well and that I had two healthy babies. I was somewhat in shock at this point, everything had proceeded so quickly, as they took Aidan away they also ushered my mom out of the room.
It wasn't explained to me then, but Aidan had been born with the cord wrapped around his neck twice. Even that morning during the ultrasound all had looked well, but again their heads were so low it was difficult to get a strong image of their heads. Aidan was born blue and the sense of urgency in the room that I had felt in the room was in direct response to this fact. He was never in a great deal of danger, because they were able to act immediately, but had I attempted to deliver vaginally things could have been significantly different. I am so grateful that I listened to my gut!
After the surgery everything was a blur, it seemed to take so much longer for the doctors to close me up now that the babies had arrived and were already out of sight, the recovery room seemed to take a great deal of time, though I believe it was just over an hour. When I was finally wheeled to my room I was ready to see my babies. John, Kaleb, my mom and a beautiful bouquet from our friends were there waiting; but the babies were still in the nursery. Things were going well with both babies and despite the fact that we didn't know for certain it looked as though they wouldn't have to be sent to Lubbock for the NICU. That was the best news! John told me that they had been on oxygen and that they were doing really well, they were just really small.
At 5lbs 1oz. Brooklyn was 18.5" and Aidan was 4lbs 15oz and 17.5" they were breathing on their own, they were both crying their 5 minute Apgar's had improved so they each ended at 9's. It seemed like forever before I was finally able to see them and hold them for myself. I drifted in and out of sleep biding my time, and sending my mom out to get pictures so that I could at least see the babies. The nurses came in each hour to kneed the heck out of my stomach to help my uterus return to a human size. Luckily there was some good TV on to help keep my sanity Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice were both over by the babies were finally wheeled in to see me. (Maybe I needed a little more 'medical know-how' before they would let me handle the precious cargo.)
We spent a few solid hours bonding with the babies before it was decided that they should go back to the nursery because I needed some serious rest. My mom spent the nights on the little fold out couch with me at the hospital and John took Kaleb home so that he could get some rest and have Kaleb ready for school. I can't imagine how new twin moms who don't have outside help can cope those first few days in the hospital!
The time in the hospital dragged on at times and flew by at others. We had wonderful nurses who shared our excitement with each milestone in the babies progress. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The days and nights blur but we spent four nights and were finally released on the fifth day, able to take our sweet babies home with us. This was truly a blessing because being born at 34 weeks gestation could have meant days or even weeks in the NICU unit had any problems occurred. We were by no means in the 'safety zone' as we have to carefully monitor the babies intake since naturally they dropped weight after birth, this becomes all the more serious given their initial sizes.
Each day we get to know their little personalities more, as they are able to wake up for longer periods of time. Initially they slept through almost everything simply because they burned through so many calories just to maintain their body temperatures! They are becoming more active each day and especially each night. For some reason I always have nocturnal babies! Aidan and Brooklyn are happy, healthy and more than I could have ever dreamed. Kaleb is so proud to be a big brother, he attempts to help wherever possible. Grandma has helped him adapt to the changing home situation and ensure that he has the attention that he craves even when mommy is busy feeding the babies.
We are so blessed to have been able to come through this experience and now have these two wonderful little people to share our lives with, as much pressure as that may be! Each day as I dress these scrawny little scrappers and laugh that the preemie clothes are so baggie, I am amazed at all that we have gone through and look forward to all of our future adventures!