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Archive for May, 2008

I hope everyone out there enjoyed Birth Story Week! It’s one of those fun stories that nearly all moms like to share, especially with pregnant women (in the most horrifying detail possible, for whatever reason). Anyways, we hope it gave our readers an idea of the wide range of experiences out there. Everyone has their own story, a little different from all the others.

In so much as it’s a holiday, I pretty much forgot that it is indeed Monday and my day to post! Doh! I thought I might expand a little on the topic I touched on over at my personal blog today: photos.

I was always a photo nut, from my first plastic Fisher-Price camera with a little manual push/slide to advance the film and the flash cartridges I had to buy separately. This is not to say I’m any great photographer, and I’ve only taken one photography class in my entire life. But still, I really enjoy it. Especially now, in the digital age, when I can snap 100 pictures of the same thing and not worry about wasting film. And while I am, strictly speaking, taking a number of photos that is way above and beyond anything I’ve ever done before, I find I’m actually much worse at documenting “events.”

I never used to be able to pass up taking pictures at a party. I always had my camera in my purse, and whether it was a barbeque or a sorority formal, I had pictures. Maybe I didn’t document every second of the party, but there was some photographic record that it happened. I suppose that started to change a little in the post-college days, but still, I have some very highly-documented weddings in my iPhoto Library. Heck, my cousin Amanda’s wedding about a year and a half ago? 115 shots. Sure, plenty are of the same thing, which is an important technique in terms of getting a good shot, and is more practical with a digital camera than it was with film. But still, well-documented. Pictures of the whole family, pictures of the ceremony, pictures of the “kung-fu fighting.” (Don’t ask, my family is crazy.)

Fast-forward a few months, and I was pregnant. I was huge, uncomfortable, swollen. I’ve always struggled with my weight, so the extra pregnancy flab and swollen face and extremities did not make me eager to have my picture taken. I look back and regret it, but I have pictures of my pregnant self on literally only four different days. Less than 10 total pictures. Not a single one from the shower my friends threw for me, when they came up from Washington, DC and had a “Danger and Peril”-themed shower and one of them was also pregnant with her second child. Did I take advantage of that photo-op, the two pregnant ladies? Nope. Did I have M take a picture right before the babies were born? Nope.

My children, on the other hand, are frighteningly well-documented. In less than 10 months, I’ve taken nearly 2500 shots of my kids. Again, things made possible by digital photography. That does include things like their monthly birthday chair pictures. For instance, their 9-month photo session was no fewer than 65 frames in under 15 minutes. It includes plenty of “outtakes,” but means I’m pretty likely to get some really good ones to send to the family. So if you want to know what my kids looked like on seemingly any day in the last 9 months, I’ve probably got a picture within a 5-day range of that.

If, however, you ask me in a few years who was at my Memorial Day barbeque yesterday? I really couldn’t look at the pictures and tell you. Courtesy of my sister-in-law, to whom I handed my camera, there are plenty of super-cute pictures of my kids. And, um, no one else (I think that’s my friend Ryan in the background, but I wouldn’t swear to it, and am unlikely to remember, three years from now, that he wore a baseball hat that day). Gone are the days when I’d tell people to get close to one another so I could take a picture. No one is quite as into that anymore. Plus, I really do have my hands more full than I used to. Watching the babies, cooking the food, making sure everyone is having a good time… and, having a good time, myself. No time, apparently, to take pictures of my friends having a good time, my sister-in-law’s boyfriend on our swingset, my friend’s kids chasing the dog. It’s too bad, and something I keep meaning to do better. Each time I have a playdate, each time I have a barbeque, we swear we’ll take more pictures of all of us actually “doing” something. And each time, we take one or two and then forget. There are worse things than enjoying each other’s company and spending time with your kids, of course. I just wish, sometimes, that I had some pictures to say that I did something other than take photos of my kids (and no one else) in my backyard or my living room.

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Some of you may have already read our tale of meeting two babies. [It's in our book Twinspiration, shameless plug, shameless plug!] For those that haven’t, or for those who simply can’t get enough of twin birth stories (I count myself amongst your numbers!), here’s the play-by-play, with an illustration or two…

Dateline: September 4th, 2001. At 36 weeks and 4 days, we were scheduled for our by then weekly check-in with my Ob/Gyn, Dr. Rinehardt, and an ultrasound with perinatologist (high-risk pregnancy specialist), Dr. Troyer.

Both babies (A & B) at this point had been head down for a couple of weeks. Ultrasound weight estimations betwixt the two had always been fairly close, within a few ounces…until that Tuesday. On this fateful day, all skilled surveyors of the images were guesstimating approximately a one-pound difference between Baby A/Boy Child & Baby B/Girl Child. Whereas I thought, “How sweet! He’s a bulky boy & she’s a delicate flower of a girl,” Dr. Rinehardt was less amused. Although not too serious, a broadening weight discrepancy between twins can indicate a beginning trend toward one twin siphoning off more nutrition than is their fair share. 40 weeks is considered full-term for a single birth, 37 weeks for twins. We were pretty dang close. As a matter of fact, we were told should labor begin on its own after 34 weeks, nothing would be done to stop or slow the process.

Dr. R. said, “It’s time for us to start thinking about inducing these babies soon,” and he left the examining room briefly for a tete-a-tete with Dr. Troyer. [added note: We'd NEVER discussed the possibility of an induction or c-section prior to this appointment.] My husband, Scott, and I, heady with the reality of pending births, were discussing which birth date sounded better, when Dr. Rinehardt returned. Apparently “soon” is a very subjective term; he came in and chirped, “I’m on duty tonight. Go on home, get your bag, and let’s bring those babies!” Holy smokes! We must have staggered out of the medical building and gotten to our car somehow, but I barely remember it. What I do remember vividly is getting home, the two of us grinning like idiots, and making key calls to a few family and friends. As we walked out of the house to head back to the hospital, it hit me. The next time we crossed that threshold; we’d be a family of four.
What an indescribable feeling.

We got to the hospital front desk, carrying all our insurance verifications. Sure I looked ready to pop, but I was smiling. (Note: I wasn’t in labor yet!)

Now we loved our hospital, but our one negative experience came as a result of inefficiency (or lack of caring) by the individual who took our insurance information. My husband was suspicious right off the bat about how accurately our details were input into the hospital’s computer system. His suspicions were justified. Believe me, the last thing you want mid-labor is for your hubby to have to leave your side to “clarify” admittance details. In a nutshell, take every card, letter, verification, you have received from your insurance company to the hospital with you. We did, and we needed to show them repeatedly. Keep them in your “packed bag”, or the glove compartment of the car you plan to take to the hospital. Better yet, make copies and keep a set in both locations. Bad enough if your man has to leave the room when you are in labor, Heaven forbid he need to leave the building!

Back to our story: 10pm. I was naturally 2cm dilated, and almost fully effaced. (Side note: words like “dilated” & “effaced” become so frequently used during your pregnancy that you’ll forget your non-pregnant friends and family may have no idea what they mean. Both refer to the status of your cervix, the membrane holding the babies in. Dilated is how “open” the membrane is; effaced is how “thinned” the membrane has become. For the metrically challenged, a cm is about the width of your fingertip.) Dr. Rinehardt was predicting we’d have our A & B before noon the next day. We were put into a Labor & Delivery Room, where monitors/sensor pads were belly-mounted to track Baby A, Baby B & Mommy– keeping an eye on everyone’s blood pressure & stress levels. An IV shunt was attached to the back of my hand to be ready for any/all drugs to be administered. Except for the epidural (the anesthesia shot that desensitizes abdomen, pelvis and gal parts), that one goes in your lower back, and much later in the game. After a short while, you feel like an octopus. Tubes seem to be coming out of you everywhere. A sensor was even attached through my vagina to the top of Baby A’s head. There is a great pulse point atop babies’ noggins. Even after your babies are born, you can often see their heartbeats through the top of their heads. The grandiose idea of having a “moving labor”, where you can walk around and maybe even shower for comfort seemed pretty darned impossible. Shoot, even shifting slightly in the bed could be cause for readjustments of sensor pads in all their various and sundry locations around my body. The best part? The nurses didn’t mind at all. Shift as you need to. You will want to do anything you can to alleviate discomfort, and if rolling to your side helps, do it.

After all our monitors and machines were attached, Baby A’s water sac was broken, labor-inducing drug, Pitocin, was administered through the shunt, and the contractions began. Pitocin is not a “slow build” kind of drug. The contractions begin rapidly, and magnify in strength quickly. As a first-time woman in labor, the big surprise for me was that my contractions felt like intense menstrual cramps. Of course at that point, it became obvious that I had been experiencing some mild contractions off and on the whole preceding weekend. The searing, knife-cut pains I had imagined, and that I had seen portrayed so vigorously on TV, didn’t exist. However, they do intensify…and come more frequently. After all our Prepared Childbirth classes, I knew it wasn’t advisable to get an epidural prior to a 4cm or so dilation. So I started riding it out.

Keep in mind, with a twin pregnancy, almost every Ob/Gyn will heartily encourage you to have an epidural. Even if both babies are head down when labor begins, after the first baby is born, the second, who all the sudden has some room, can go breech or transverse (side to side). Baby B can also go into distress for whatever reason, and an immediate C-Section may be necessary. My opinion (and it’s only that, an opinion)? For your health, your comfort, and for the safety of the babies, don’t be a hero. Get the epidural. As Vicki Iovine wisely illuminates in The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, no one is there to give out awards when the birthing process is done. You may as well be as comfortable as possible….and she is talking about single births.

Midnight. So there I was, at long last, laboring away, watching the intensity of each contraction form its individual bell curve on the bedside ticker-tape printout. Feeling pretty uncomfortable to put it mildly. I had to stay on one side or the other throughout the bulk of my labor. As we discovered when I nearly passed out in our Non-Stress Test, the weight of the babies and uterus contents was substantial enough to cut off my circulation if I laid on my back. So on my side it was. The only real relief I could experience was my husband pushing his fist with all his force into the small of my back during contractions Bless him, he tried to remember the exact placement between contractions, but the relief spot would move. One of my clearest labor memories is of me grabbing his fist and shifting it, perhaps a wee bit violently, to coincide with the pressure point. The romantic hand massages and eye-to-eye gazes I had imagined seemed ludicrous mid-labor.

1 am or so. Feeling pretty rough. The nurse offers me Stadol. She assures me it is a totally safe drug that will “take the edge off, and feel like I have had a couple of cocktails”. I’m game, and into the hand IV shunt it goes. A couple of cocktails? For me, it was like a bad keg party. Literally, I had bed spins. The edge of labor was off temporarily, but I was miserable. (Don’t use my experience with Stadol as your sole perspective. Most women I know were thrilled with the relief it provided…it just wasn’t good for me.)

1:30 am. The bell curves on the printout kept getting higher and higher, and coming more and more often. Determined not to be a wimpy “Give-Me-The-Drugs-Prior-to-4 cm-Mommy”, I looked at the clock, and was determined to hold off on being measured again until 3:00am. Looking at the clock became fixation on the clock. The “focal point” framed photo of Scott and me in Vegas never made its way out of our bag. The clock had my total attention. Our nurse had departed our room for a delivery in progress, and had other nurses checking in on me. No doubt you have heard it already, but labor and delivery room nurses are amazing, amazing women (and men). One of my “check in nurses” arrived to find me weeping slightly around 2:30 or so. Plus, I was experiencing uncontrollable shivers, the teeth chattering kind…but I wasn’t the least bit cold. (Unbeknownst to me pre-labor, nerves, adrenaline, drastic hormonal fluctuations, all can cause pronounced shivering/chattering. Don’t be alarmed if you vibrate mid-labor like I did. You’re normal.) She went back and told our designated nurse, who had at this point wrapped the delivery she was assisting, and was cleaning up. At 3am, they measured me, and I was 10 cm, ready to deliver! Dr. Rinehardt, rather than whisking us off to the emergency room as we had been told was protocol with twins, said, “We’re going to do this here!” Bless him. In came the double fleets of NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) personnel, isolettes (incubators/baby warming boxes), and delivery paraphernalia. We pushed a few times so I could feel the muscle groups required to do the job. The anesthesiologist was roused from his slumber at no doubt the most dreaded hour of the night to perform the epidural, which he did bleary-eyed, but marvelously. Yes, the needle is daunting. Yes, you have to be immobile, often during a contraction, to receive it. With the pain you will likely be in at the time the epidural is administered, the needle will look like nothing. Plus, you know it holds relief.

Between pushes, I had to roll on my side to ease my aforementioned circulation challenges. So I would push, on my back, to a slow count of 10, and roll over onto my side until the next contraction began. Be forewarned. When you push down in your nether-regions, all the muscle groups down there are next-door neighbors. With my first push, I wee-weed a parabolic stream that my husband still giggles about. Many, if not most, women poo on the table as well. Now is not the time for modesty. Believe me, your doctor and delivery staff have probably seen far worse than you are capable of, so don’t let that worry you.

Scott and I were starting to get a little giddy with excitement, thinking the 8 am status calls we had promised friends and family might actually become birth announcements. No such luck. After a few rounds of pushing, Dr. Rinehardt came back in. [Note: The doctor doesn’t spend all the pushing time with you. He/She will check in during the pushing, and will be there for the entry into the world of your twosome.] Looking at my cervix, he said it seemed to be closing slightly, and there was no reason to make Baby A push through quite yet. Out go the fleets of NICU folk. Into the shunt goes some more Pitocin. Epidural kicked up a notch, and encouragement followed from all to “try and nap”. We rested a bit; Scott claims he actually slept some. I enjoyed watching the contraction bell curves ascend to heretofore unseen heights almost pain free.

Around 9:30am, started getting a bit uncomfortable again. New nurse Ginny on duty measures & checks and we are ready to push again. Dr. Rinehardt agrees.

By 10:00am, we were pushing. And pushing and pushing. My right leg seemed to have collected more than its share of the epidural juice, and was so numb it had to be lifted into the stirrup each pushing session after I rolled onto my back. I was a comical sight.

After many of the pushes, I was offered oxygen. I think it helped. Even if it didn’t help physically, psychologically, the regularity of the roll to back, take deep breath, push to 10-count, exhale deep breath, roll to side, suck on oxygen seemed like a nice rhythm. The rhythm would have to do, since my idea of burning a vanilla scented candle was out of the question with oxygen tanks in the room. Who knew? Thankfully, my husband brought some of our favorite music to play.

By 11:00am, I was back to fixating on that clock. Surely by 11:30am, our boy would be here. Surely by 11:45. Surely by 12:00 noon. Hadn’t Dr. Rinehardt said noon? My stamina was diminishing. Instead of pushing to 10-counts, we began pushing in 2 sets of 8-counts each contraction. Surely by 12:15. I was getting pretty tuckered. All the nurses and Dr. Rinehardt kept bolstering me up with how great each push session was. If so, why wasn’t he here yet? I leaned to Scott, and sought a second opinion. Was our boy’s head even visible? He assured me it definitely was. He saw hair, and it wasn’t mine. Dr. Rinehardt said our boy was wedged in there pretty good, and if all that pushing wasn’t getting him through, he needed to “guide” him out with forceps. No, it wasn’t scary. At this point, he needed to greet the world. Out come these much larger than imagined, but beautifully designed Williams-Sonoma-esque tongs. In our Prepared Childbirth class, we were told that a mirror is positioned to allow the mother a visual of the birth. In multiple births, not necessarily so. At no point were we offered a mirror to watch the births, and I am confident that was a good thing in our case. I do have a hyper-vivid memory of a reflection in the wall-mounted TV screen when the forceps were placed in the birth canal. Scott was a trooper. Hopping between views of the birth and reassurances to me. Pretty quickly it became obvious why the tongs are called “force-ps”, not “guide-rs”. Dr. Rinehardt used Herculean strength, and at 12:34pm, our son was born. Our boy was placed on my chest briefly, Scott cut the cord (which he said felt like celery), and our A-Child was whisked away to be cleaned up & Apgar* tested. (*a test administered to babies at both one minute and five minutes after their birth. The test gauges the baby’s color, respiration, heart rate, muscle tone & reflexes. The one-minute test assesses how the baby fared during the birthing process; the five-minute test determines how the baby is coping with the outside world.) We started to push for our daughter, also known as B-Child. My cervix began to start closing again! Then it happened. I began dry heaving. (You don’t eat or drink anything during labor but ice chips) Dr. Rinehardt said, “Go with that!” Apparently, my push muscles had given out. The miracle of creation provided a secondary set of muscles to get our girl. Dry heaving continued, and by 12:41pm, our daughter was born. Both babies were out, but we still had placentas and all sorts of uterine goo to extract from my gal parts. And of course, my ever-modest cervix really started to close when the babes were both out. My hubby, who wasn’t squeamish at all through the process, looked to see Dr. R almost up to his elbow extracting remnants of the birthing process. That got to him a bit. Another reason I heartily endorse that epidural. After mommy’s uterine cavity was cleared, the babies weighed and Apgar tested, Daddy and I finally had a misty moment. Realizing the magnitude and miracle of the birthing process is overwhelming. You always hear of “death-bed” conversions of faith. You can’t tell me that a “birth-bed” doesn’t inspire you to an even greater degree.

[*Yes, that\'s my knee...my legs are still in the stirrups!]
[Yes, that's my knee...my legs were still in the stirrups!]

Shortly, the two sweet, clean, swaddled, greasy-eyed babies were brought to us. Absolutely precious. Have your camera ready.

The night after our twins were born, a dear friend of ours took my husband out for a celebratory meal, and to get the real skinny on the birthing experience. His advice to her, “Stop watching ‘A Baby Story’! It’s more like an outtake from ‘Gladiator’.” Whereas I think his assessment was a little gorier than reality, by no means is the experience as pristine & clean as TV mini-documentaries would have you believe. (Writer’s Note: Let me say right now, I enjoy “A Baby Story”. However, don’t think for a second that you will be done and home with your babies in 30 minutes.)

Every labor story is different, single or multiple births. Aspects of my labor experience were picture-perfect. Others, obviously, not so much. Your story will have the same balance of pros and cons. Your labor story will be yours and yours alone. Share it with those who need to hear the positives. Share it with others so they’ll see you made it through the negatives. The end result (and in your case, results) makes it all worthwhile. You will never in your life be more convinced of, and feel an active part in, the miraculous cycle of life.

So you’ve read the unabridged version of a twin labor/delivery and want your partner to have some preparatory insight, but doubt he’ll plow through that lengthy description?

Here’s the condensed, “Breeder’s Digest” version:
We began with an unexpected induction, followed by the tossing away of predicted circumstances and environment, a surprising revelation of what contractions actually felt like, a determined not-to-be wimpy lady in labor, tears, bad drugs, good drugs, an ever-supportive husband, false alarm pushing, cervix closing, fourteen hours of labor (two ardently pushing), clock staring, a numb leg, laughter, oxygen, forceps, a son born, brief meeting, more pushing, dry heaving, a daughter born, brief meeting, cervix determined to close, hard-fought afterbirth retrieval, gynecological embroidery, cleaned/Apgar tested/greasy-eyed babies returned, full family hug and photo, and at last, more tears. Daddy passes two suggested names on a piece of paper to Mommy. Perfect. More laughter. Lives changed forever…in fourteen short hours.

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We had a very un-eventful pregnancy from the start. I found out at 8 weeks we were having twins…not only that but i knew at 8 weeks that they were identical twins. We found out at 14 or 15 weeks that we were adding 2 more girls to the mix. My 20 week u/s was fine…i didn’t do any other genetic testing. My original due date was Jan 20th…but my dr. said right away with the being identical we’d probably do a c-section around 37 weeks…maybe 38. Every appt was just fine..i know we were very blessed to have such a great pregnancy…less the puking that seemed to go on forever. I was never put on bed rest…but i put myself on it the day i found out i was having twins! LOL! I was already a SAHM, so i remember most days just laying around most of the day and eating(how else do you fatten up two babies growing inside of your belly?). I do remember that i was very very sad that we had to cancel our SECOND trip out of town with my, then, 21 month old…we had this awesome trip planned to go to Vegas, to stay at my favorite hotel(mandalay bay) with my parents. I kept thinking i’d start feeling better and we could go anyway…that just didn’t happen. I also remember cancelling on our sitter the night of my birthday(june 12th) b/c i was SOO sick and couldn’t quit puking. We didnt’ make it back to that restaurant until just a few months ago! :)

We had a planned c-section the day after Christmas. Knowing how hard it was going to be to raise twins and a 29 month old we looked into au-pairs for some help. Julia came to us, the October before the babies were due. She was able to get settled in, i was able to get some restand Hannah(our older little girl) had a play mate. It worked out well, for a while. The girls were born the day after Christmas via c-section. It was all planned..the girls were 36w4d and weighted in at 5.7 & 5.11. The dr. wanted to take them as early as possible due to them being identical and the risk of TTS(twin to twin transfusion syndrome). Although, he was pretty sure they didn’t have it, he wasn’t 100% sure. They did end up with TTS. It was so weird b/c they were alway within ounces of each other in weight, which is a tell tale sign of TTS. The only sign they had was that Sarah had bloody purple hands & feet and was very very bright red and Samantha was as pale as a sheep. We were very thankful that he took the girls when he did, otherwise the TTS could have progressed quickly and we could have had a bad situation. Since the life of a red blood cell is 120 days…it took about 2-3 months for one baby to lighten up and the other to darken up.

The night before they were born i couldn’t sleep. Not that i could sleep very well the last two months, considering i was sleeping on the couch(it was closer to the ground and i could just roll off), but that last night was BAD. I was told not drink or eat anything after midnight, so i set the alarm clock in the living room for midnight, so i could stuff my face one last time and drink as much water as i could, before i was cut off. Sure enough, got up at midnight(i don’t even think i was sleeping anyway), had some deserts(it was xmas night, so we had tons of food in the fridge), had some food and a ton of water. AHH…much better.

We had to be at the hospital to check in at 8:00a so we got up early, packed Hannah up to go to my sisters house and left. We dropped Hannah off around 730a that morning and took the short drive over to the medical center. That was such a weird feeling…knowing when i got back in the car i’d be a mom of THREE! Oh My, was i really ready for this? We valeted the car and walked up to the 7th floor(labor and delivery). We rang in and they let us in…i got a room right away and got into my gown and the waiting began. We had lots of people coming and going…one for the dreaded IV…the one thing i have always dreaded since my first pregnancy with Hannah. Fortunately, the IV went in just fine. Then they monitered the babies…but only for about 20 minutes and everything looked fine. In between all of this, i was dying of thirst. I was begging and begging for water. I finally convinced the sweet little nurse that i HAD to have some ice chips or i was going to dehydrate soon. She argued with me and said that was what the IV was for…but i still didn’t give up. FINALLY, i sent my hubby out to beg for some ice chips…the lady brought in a cup of ice chips..but said “One at a time”. Well. little did she know that i was going to down them and beg for more. She gave me more but said…don’t blame me when you get sick. I said “i PROMISE i won’t.” LOL! Finally at 10a my dr. comes in and asks if i’m ready. Uh, YES, I’m ready! So, they came in and rolled me down to the OR. It was weird..laying on a bed and being rolled around like i was incapable of walking. Kinda fun..but made me feel helpless in a way.

The OR is weird and smells like bleach to me. It’s SOO bright and COLD! I laid on the bed while my dr. got out his handy dandy little voice machine and dictated a whole bunch of info about me(weight, age, health, date, time, etc). While all this was going on…i was lying there and Paul was getting his scrubs on. For some reason he had to wait out in the hall for a while…then they called him in as they began the procedure. So as they wheel me in to the actual OR they tell me to get off this one bed and on to another bed. WHAT? I had to pretty much roll off of one bed(the whole 200lbs + of me) and climb up the little step and up on to another bed. It was HILARIOUS and i wish it had been recorded…seeing a gigantic woman rolling from one bed to the other. What were they thinking? I crawl back up onto the other bed and the anesthesologist comes in for my epidural. A sweet nurse gets in front of me so i can lean on her(my hubby wasn’t in the room yet) so he could put the epidural in. Few pinches, some cold sensation, and it was IN! Ahh…that epidural can do some wonders. I lay back down and i remember very vividily that there was a nurse in there, really cute, young and SOOO sweet and she was talking to me the whole time. Almost to the point that i was annoyed..but she was just SOO excited…she said that she had twins that were 4 or 5..and that they she hadn’t delivered a set of twin in a while. I think most women that go down to the med center with multiples go to tx. womens b/c they have a level III NICU. The hospital i chose did not…but if there had been problems, they would have just rolled the girls right on over to Texas Childrens(through the tunnells)…so no biggie for me. Anyway, she kept talking and talking and was soo sweet. Finally, i see all these people gathering around me..and they brought my hubby in for the big moment.

First, they kept poking at me to make sure i couldn’t feel anything…they kept asking “can you feel this”…nope, just the pressure. I remember lots of pressure and tugging and i kept asking over and over “are they here yet”. My poor hubby just kept saying no…they are still cutting. Then i started to smell burning…YUCK! I guess as they cut, they carterize your skin so it doesn’t bleed so much. Then i hear the dr. say…”baby A is out”. I hear a loud SCREAM! Samatha was out. Then i feel a ton more pressure…Sarah was breech so it took a bit of pulling and tugging to get her out. Sure enough less that a minute later i hear another scream. Sarah was out! They wisked them off to get weighted and cleaned up..and i remember asking my hubby over and over…”did they look ok, did they have ten fingers and ten toes?” He said, yes they looked fine. I was a bit worried b/c i refused all the genetic testing b/c my dr. all along said that doing genetic testing on the girls could always lead to false positives and in turn lead to doing a amnio…which was not an option for me(i was only 30 & healthy).

After the babies were born they were wisked off to their little isolettes, cleaned off and checked out by the 5-6 people per baby(nurse, neo, etc). They said everything was fine and brought the babies back in while i was being stitched up. I remember this part all too well. I remember my dr. talking to another dr.(i guess there were two dr’s in the room doing the delivery..perhaps b/c of them being twins). The dr.s were talking about fishing and vacations and all sorts of fun stuff. I was thinking to myself the whole time: “are you serisous, are they seriously just chatting away while i’m ripped open, probably bleeding to death.” Ok kinda dramatic…but it was kinda funny. Here you are, laying on a table…just had two babies, there is blood everywhere and your insides are laying on the table and the dr’s are just chatting away about life. FUNNY! Then the nurses brought the babies back in…everything was fine. The nurse hands one to Paul…he brings her over to me to see…AHHH..relief…she is precious! Then she tries to hand the other one to me. WHAT? IS SHE CRAZY…i’m being stitched up and i’m totally out of it. I looked at her and said, “i can’t hold her i’ll drop her!” The sweet anestheologist said, “can i hold her for you?” I said, “Sure, because i can’t hold a baby right now.” So he held her for me and i just looked on…antoher precious baby. TWO babies…still amazes me today!! I just laid on the table and cried…and i have to say, i saw a tear or two in my hubbies eyes too(sorry hunny, i know i’ve just embarassed you b/c men don’t cry)! :)

Then they roll me into recovery. I was shaking and shaking. I was freezing and feeling REALLY bad. Paul went with the girls over to the nursery and then to my room to call everyone, so he wasn’t with me at all. I kept telling them..i NEED more covers. I think they may have put 5 or 6 of those warmed(in a big oven) blankets on me to keep me warm. I was furiously shaking and then it hit me. I was trying and trying to cough. I DID tell the dr. before the surgery that i still had the cough i had had for 2 months before the babies were born. He kept giving me meds..they just didn’t work. Anyway, the nurse in recovery said “you CAN’T cough!” “You will pop your stitches out.” I just nodded as i had to cough soo bad and i kept trying but i was so out of it, nothing would come out. Finally the lady went and told someone and came back with the MIRACLE “stop coughing” drug. I don’t know what they gave me…but i didn’t have to cough at ALL after that shot. AMAZING. Oh, but then came the puking. This is where the ice chips came in…all of a sudden, laying there, i kept trying to talk and tell them i felt something coming up. I was just about to puke all over myself and the nurse came running with a little puke pan and shoved it against my chin, as i puked and puked. Thank goodness for the puke pan…otherwise i would have been covered in puke…thanks to the ice chips i probably shouldn’t have eaten. I have to say, laying in the recovery room was so peaceful. Weird, but peaceful. You get to just lay there and do nothing. People are watching you…but you can nod off…sleep, dream about laying on a beach in a bikini, do whatever you want to do for a whole hour or two. It was weird..but nice and quiet!

I think i finally got up to my room that day at 12noon or a little after. Then almost immediately they rolled the girls into my room. Again, OMG, there’s TWO of them. It hit me again…i was looking at these two precious babies…soo amazing. I had a feeling of being over whelmed. A good feeling….but i was still in disbelief of the whole twin thing…until i saw them both after the drugs had all worn off. They were beautiful..and soo tiny compared to Hannah who weight 7.4 lbs at birth!

Getting out of bed after getting back from recovery was bad. Now, again, i had gained 65lbs this pregnancy so i wasn’t one of those moms that just bounced back and lost the weight. I gained TONS and TONS of water weight from the IV. I have ONE pic of myself in the bed and a few of me holding the babies after the c-section that no one will EVER see till i die! LOL! I looked horrible. So, getting back to getting out of bed. Yeah, that was funny. I was sooo scared to move…and it hurt so bad i was pressing the button every 15 minutes for more meds. I don’t even know if they helped or not b/c the pain was still bad…but it was worth a try. I finally got out of bed that evening and walked like 10 steps and back. Progressively it got easier…but the first few days were really bad. I think they last day i was there(Friday), Paul & I took the babies for a whole lap around the maternity ward…with the babies in tow. THAT was our first day of feeling like a rock star. EVERYONE out in the hallways were talking about us and stopping us to see the babies. THAT was the first day, of the comments that will go on, until my girls are old enough to be individuals and try to not look alike…as i know i will face one day, probably when one child comes home with blue hair and purple nails! LOL It was amazing how many people walking to other peoples rooms looked on as we each pushed a baby down the hall. I was so proud of myself. I did it…i made two precious babies…and i got to keep BOTH of them and take them home with me.

As we were leaving the hospital that same day everyone we passed was staring at me. One poor lady was so nosey she came right up to me and told me her story(i don’t even remember it now), but just stood by me as i waited for the valet to bring our car around and just stood there and stared at my babies…one in each arm! (yes, that is really me…with cankles and so swollen i could hardly fit into my twin pregnancy clothes)!

The girls were able to come home from the hospital with us and while we were in the hospital we were very lucky to have my sister(who has a daughter that is 3 months younger than mine) keep Hannah. The best part was that she actually lived right across the street from the hospital and would drop Hannah off downstairs a few times a day to come see the girls.

Since i have been on both sides of the spectrum with a vaginal delivery with Hannah and c-section with the girls…i’m going to say that their are pros and cons to both. Hannah actually ended up breaking my tail bone b/c she was in my birth canal for soo long. I had to go to a spine dr. who gave me some anit inflamatories and pain pills but would not operate due to infection. It still, till this day, hurts when i sit on something hard. The C-section was awesome…i didn’t feel a lick of pain, but the staples annoyed me afterwards & I think it hurt pretty bad and was very itchy. Of course, i will always have a “battle scar”, but it’s turned out well b/c when Hannah asks how the babies came out i can show her my scar and not go any further into details.

When we came home from the hospital we had a nightmare on our hands. We had been in the process of remodeling our new home(but the bathroom add on was the major mess left) and the contractor had been acting kinda fishy prior to us leaving to the hospital. He wanted extra money and came in and showed us all the great things he was going to do to the semi-added on bathroom. He wanted an extra 5 grand and we finally agreed on 3 grand the day before christmas. WHAT A MESS! We came home to our bedroom opened up to all the elements outside…no nursery, the house was a mess & our contractor wouldn’t answer his phone and disappeared. It was cold outside and the bedroom wasn’t even closed in….the bathroom didn’t have sheet rock…we could see outside from our bedroom. We had to play musical bedrooms…and the whole ordeal was a nightmare! That is definitely a part of my birth story and coming home from the hospital that i really hope to forget one day. I just know karma will come back to bite that bad man in the keister for what he did to us. A mom always dreams about bringing their babies home to a beautiful nursery full of stuff…we brought them home to a pack n play and no cribs in sight as we were in the middle of such a huge mess that had been going on since Sept. The humorous part of this whole ordeal was that we thought as pay back we’d call the bad man everytime we got up to feed the girls in the middle of the night(12,1,2,3,4am). Of course he didn’t answer…but his phone was on b/c it rang. It really makes for some good humor in the middle of the night when your sleep deprived and freezing due to the big hole in the wall in the bedroom next door! :) I can laugh at it now…i guess if it’s the worst part of my birth story…it wasn’t that bad. My babies were healthy and that was always #1 on my list.

We had Julia stay with us through June and after that i was on my own. As much of a pain it was having a foreign person stay in your house, eat your food, party till all hours of the morning and just totally annoy you, Julia was a life saver since i didn’t have family that could come over and help on a daily basis. In all reality, i probably could have done it with just the twins…but Hannah needed a playmate. She needed someone to play with, someone to color with and someone to take her outside to get fresh air. In June, i fired Julia and took over. It was hard for a while…but you do what you have to, to make things work. Paul started taking Hannah back to MDO(mothers day out) and i kept the girls with me on those day. We didn’t get out and do much…but we did do a TON of walking up and down the street with the girls. Looking back…i just did what i could to keep my head above water. We had interviewed a few people after i fired Julia. BUT thinking about it…i decided it was easier for me to just do it on my own and not have anyone invading my space. I still feel like i made the right decision! And after Julia left i just had this feeling of peace come over me. Like i was able to get up and walk around in my pj’s all day…not brush my teeth if i didn’t want to…and not have to worry about another mouth to feed since she coudn’t cook for the life of her.

I can’t say this road has been smooth sailing for us the entire 17 months…we’ve had some bumps along the way, lots of colic and crying babies, sick babies, and sometimes i even felt like i had a touch of PPD…but the extent of my PPD was crying and telling my hubby a couple of times how much i hated my life(as my babies were crying and i was on the floor crying with them b/c i didn’t know what else to do for them). That is definitely all over with now.

Now that my girls are 17 months old…it’s a breeze. I still have some issues taking them all out together but it’s just a learning process. You learn what’s easy and what’s not so easy and you adjust your life.

My girls a few days after delivery, Hannah was 29 months!My girls at 17 months & Hannah will be 4, August 1st!

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Well since it’s finally starting to warm up and Memorial day is upon us, I thought I would go over some great outside toys for toddlers.

First of all, if you have a child that is walking and old enough to NOT eat sand, i highly recommend a toy that includes sand. We just bought one and it provides hours of entertainment for my girls. There are many different ones to choose from including a Sand table, sand BOX for the younger ages), water table, sand and water table and many different fun tables.

We actually had a sand BOX(they vary in prices and can run from 30-80 dollars), for my older daughter when she was younger..she loved it, but it was a MESS to get her out of it…and keep the sand inside the box. I always had to strip her down before we went in the house so i didn’t track sand everywhere. You HAVE to be very careful about keeping the lid on it closed when your not playing because you’ll find tons of bugs and ants inside if you don’t close it with the lid(also found surprise bird poop every once in a while..YUCK). Like I said, they are fun for the younger babies who can sit up and play…just remember to strip them down and brush off sand before entering the house or car.

A SAND table is great for children from the time they can pull up or standup. The good thing about the SAND table is that it’s only sand…no water involved and your child is not sitting in the actual sand v/s a sandbox. So this is great for the younger children. The negative part of buying a SAND table is that it’s ONLY sand…so when your child is old enough to play with sand and water…you have to invest in a new one. The sand tables all run about 50.00 each. I do not recommend buying the Step 2 version of this…i checked out the reviews and most say that the lid is very flimsy and leaks. I couldn’t seem to find any other, well built sand tables…but i’m sure they are out there.

A Sand & water table is another option for younger children. We just bought the step 2 sand and water table and love it! For younger children i would buy this…add sand and plug the water side…then add sand to that side too! That is what we did, as i had first added water and both of the twins thought it was bath time and got drenched, in the two minutes i walked in the house to get their snacks. Mine was 80.00 and most sand and water tables run about the same. We had originally bought a portable step 2 sand and water table…but it was REALLY small and truly made for one or maybe two children. I wouldn’t recommend it for more than two for sure. The big step 2 sand and water table is great! The umbrella is actually big enough to cover up the children while playing in the sun and the cover is rather sturdy and doesn’t seem to leak at all. I would recommed moving it away from the house though…as i thought it’d be fun to put it on the porch but there was sand everywhere and i caught a couple of sneeky babies trying to get inside the house with bowls of sand! We moved it out to the grass and that seemed much better and they aren’t so tempted to bring bowls of sand in the back door of our house. :)

A water table is another great idea. I think this is more for older children…over 2 years of age. Most water tables run about 30.00 and should probably be filled and drained each time due to mold and algae. We don’t have one…but Hannah’s school has one and sometimes they’ll fill it up with water and bubbles and i hear it’s one fun sight to see!

We also just purchased a little tykes picnic table(the smaller version). My girls LOVE the table and we leave it outside..but have brought it in for snacks and my neighbor uses her’s for her children to eat their meals. My girls started using it about 2 months ago and they figured it out pretty quickly. It’s really nice to have outside and feed them snacks and drinks on while they are playing outside. It’s very sturdy and holds it’s color well even in the bright sun.

Another great outside toy for children is a playhouse. We had one for a while…i’m embarrassed to say we got it out of our neighbors trash on heavy trash day! LOL! It was nice but old and the front door had fallen off. The girls did LOVE it, as soon as they were walking. They would all run in and open and close the windows over and over again. We got rid of it because it was falling apart and since we bought the gigantic play system in the back we didn’t want to have one more thing for the poor lawn mower guys to move and/or mow around. These play houses can run big bucks(so i’d try to buy second hand or get ready to spend a good 400-500 dollars on one). The hard part about spending this much money on a play house is that you never know if your child will really like it or play in it. My sister(hope she’s not reading this) bought one and found out not to long after they went and spent big bucks…that her daughter was allergic to mosquito’s and so they can’t really play in the play house much. We, on the other hand, used our trash diver one, for hours on end.

For the smaller children they have the climb and slide toys. We also had one of these. We had the little tykes version and it was awesome! We bought it for our daughters 2nd birthday and we definitely got our moneys worth out of it. It’s worth the 200 you’ll spend on it, it keeps it’s color well, and i ended up selling to another/fellow MOM for half the price.

Of course, last, but not least are an infinity amount of ride on toys out there to purchase. We have a few ride on toys that are foot propelled that the twins really love(ours are all in the house.) My neighbor has the toddle coupe buggy and her kids all love it. We are thinking of buying one…but we’re waiting until we remodel our back patio for that. I did just purchase some really cheap foot propelled cars that have handles behind, so they can rotate and take turns riding and pushing. My were bought at walmart and are REALLY cheap and tend to flip b/c the plastic is soo cheap and the toys are soo light. I originally bought one because we had a little tykes one and they fought and fought over that one…then i bought the cheapie one and they fought over THAT one…so i went and bought another cheapo one…so now we have two cheapo flipping cars in the house…makes for lots of noise, crying and flipped cars…but the girls love riding them…so we’ll deal with the cheap part b/c that’s part of life when you have to buy TWO of everything.

Water toy wise we’ve had two toys my girls love.

One was a cool little sprinkler with hands that spray all over the place. This is great for anyone old enough to walk that loves water(make sure to put it in the grass). Most of these sprinklers are pretty durable and i wish i had bought one earlier…as we just got our first this year and all 3 of my girls love it. This is another toy that provides a good hour or two of enjoyment…and boy it helps them nap good or sleep good at night! It tires me out just watching them run around the yard.

Last, but not least, is a $7.00 pool we bought at walmart 3 years ago. It’s plastic and very very durable! You can add as much or little water as you’d like. The girls LOVE this pool. I also add some bath toys to it when they are playing…which also adds to the entertainment. The trick is how to get them all rangled back into the house after a fun afternoon in the pool. I strip them down into their birthday suit right in our back yard. Wrap them in in towels and dump the water. If the water is gone your children will be more likely to actually come inside. Of course for me, the twins follow Hannah where ever she goes…so i coax her to go in and then they follow…makes for less tantrums when it’s time to move back inside the house! :)

Hope this blog was helpful to all the mothers out there getting ready to purchase their first outside toy or toys. There are so many choices out there…it’s hard to pick. My best advice to you is to check reviews and ask around. I’ve learned the hard way over and over, as i’d just, on a whim, buy something and decided i didn’t like it later. Through all my purchases and mistakes, i’ve learned to check reviews and ask around.

One last final tid bit of advice…I just learned TODAY that if you do play with sand, have a sand and water table, sand table, or go play at the beach, baby powder is the magic potion that magically removes sand off hands and feet. It’s amazing and i can’t wait to take it to the beach because i really don’t like the feeling of sand all over your body after building sand castles and playing in the salty water…the baby powder should do the trick! Try it out if you haven’t already…it’s AWESOME!

Have a Safe & Happy Memorial Day!

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Compared to the other ladies at HDYDI, I’d say my birth story is, well..a bit boring.  Not that the birth of our sons, Finn and Reid, were anything but boring.  Because it was, hands down, the most memorable day in my life thus far.  But, there were no surprises on their actual birth day.  We came into the hospital that afternoon knowing full well that births (especially multiple births) rarely go as planned.  But, to our surprise…there were no surprises!  I arrived on time, the doctors arrived on time, the C-section went without a hitch, and the boys did just as well as our OB hoped they’d do.  I’d even scored the room on the Mother/Baby Unit that the nurses, for the past 4 months, had been saying they’d save for their “twin mama”. 

 

However, in the spirit of Birth Story Week here at HDYDI, I’ll tell you the nitty  gritty.  Even though I really think that it could just be summed up like this: “Two babies.  Bothbreech.  One diagnosed with IUGR.  Two Grade 3 placentas.  One scheduled C-section.  Two happy parents.” But, that wouldn’t be as much fun, now would it?  After all…who doesn’t like telling the story about the day that changed your life forever and made your heart swell with love, joy and pride?

 

Some background info

Both of the boys had been in a breech position since week 28.  At the 32 week mark, my OB said that the likelihood of Baby A transitioning into a vertex position was very low.  It was then that he dropped the C-bomb.  I had been planning a natural delivery since Day 1…no drugs, lots of deep breathing, visualizations, peaceful music, a belly dancer (kidding on that one)…you know, the whole nine yards.  Well, that went right out the window during the office visit.  It took some time and contemplation to come to terms with the surgery, but I eventually took comfort in the fact that I knew (approximately) when these babies were going to be born (my OB would not let me go into hard labor).  I was especially glad to know that I would most definitely not be pregnant forever.  As much as I didn’t believe it. 

 

At week 34, a 25% discrepancy in weight between Baby A and Baby B was found.  It was decided that we’d wait another week and, if the weights didn’t equalize, the boys were going to be born no later than 36 weeks.  Another issue that was uncovered at the 34-week mark was the deterioration of my placentas.  It was determined that both placentas had enough calcification to be deemed Grade 3.  There was certainly time, but not much, before these puppies were going to cease supplying nutrients to our babes.  Not a good thing.

 

At 35 weeks, there was still a weight discrepancy, and Baby B (Reid) was diagnosed with Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR), so we knew that they were going to be born one week from that day.  However, I wanted to deliver at a hospital that was not equipped to handle babies with major breathing issues.  So, I was required to have an amniocentesis to determine lung maturity.  This was scheduled for January 25th at 8:00am.  My due date was February 26th, 2007.  Finn and Reid were born on January 26th, 2007…exactly 36 weeks.

 

I know this is a ‘birth story’ and not a ‘pre-birth story’, but I must mention something about the amnio.  It was beyond strange!  The only way I can describe it would be the sensation of being uncorked.  I felt like a bottle of wine that someone was decorking.  The pressure was intense, but the feeling was just plain weird. 

 

Regardless, after delivering the test tube of fluid in which surrounded my children to the laboratory, I was driven to the hospital to undergo my daily Non-Stress Test.  I was having some serious contractions, so they checked me.  I was still holding steady (from the morning ‘check’) at 2cm and 75% effacement so they released me after a couple of hours.  When a baby (or babies) is breech, there is risk of a prolapsed umbilical cord.  This is a obstetric emergency with a 11-17% mortality rate.  High enough that you don’t want to chance it.  And the more I was dilated, the more dangerous it was to send me home.  But fortunately, I hadn’t had any cervical change in almost 3 days.  Either way, I was to spend the next 36 hours doing nothing.  This was no easy task for someone who hates sitting still and furthermore, had a lot of stuff to do before becoming a parent!

 

Birth day

Fast forward to Friday, January 26that 3pm.  I showed up at the hospital, thirsty and starving, wearing the one and only outfit that still fit.  My husband and I were loaded down with our backpacks, pillows, Boppy, breast pump and diaper bag.  I got dressed in the hospital gown, took a dose of some crazy concoction to settle my stomach, got my IV and was hooked up to the fetal monitors.  The boys were very active and I was having some wicked contractions.  I think the boys knew that something was up because they were more active than they’d ever been.  Either way, after experiencing the contractions I was more than a little relieved that I had an automatic ‘out’ for having to deliver naturally.  Let’s just say I was very happy when the anesthesiologist strolled in.

 

After signing my life away on stacks and stacks of paper work, I had my father-in-law take a few pictures, one of which highlighted my cankles.  canklesbellyI felt like a big water-logged rubber ducky.  And, you can see by the extremely unflattering photographs, that I also looked like one.  After a few camera clicks, the nurses asked everyone to leave the room (including my husband, which I was surprised by).  I was asked if I needed something for anxiety (I declined, surprising even myself) and then told that it was time to be shaved.  For some reason, I didn’t even think that they would have to shave me.  Down There.  But, I guess it does make sense, after all.  :) The shaving experience reminded me of the time when I had the not-so-good idea to dry-shave my under arms one morning in 10th grade because I really wanted to wear my favorite tank top to show off my tan.  Yah.  Bad idea.  If I could do it again, I think I’d get a Brazilian wax done beforehand and call it a day.  It’s not comfortable and the nurses are anything but careful. 

 

After the shave, it was time to head into the OR.  I did a few stretches because I knew that I wouldn’t be on my feet for quite a few hours.

 

As I exited my room, I was greeted by my regular OB, my mom (she’d flown in from Oregon that morning), my in-laws and my husband.  I gave them all one last pre-motherhood hug and told them that I’d see them in a few.  Brook would follow me into the OR once my spinal was in place. 

 

It seemed that from the moment I entered the OR, I just could not stop shivering.  I know this is normally a side effect of the anesthesia, but I hadn’t even got up on the table yet.  I think it was just my nerves.  The thought of me being cut open (while awake!) was a bit much for me at that point in time.  I kept shivering and my teeth kept chattering as I laid on the table.  The anesthesiologist told me that I was going to have to stop shivering before he could put the spinal in–you know, that whole ‘precision’ thing.  I tried, but I couldn’t, so one of the lovely nurses gave me a warm blanket and that did the trick. 

 

The anesthesiologist sat me up and explained the procedure.  A nurse was in front of me to lean on as I hunched over and she also helped to quell my nervousness witha hand massage.  It would have been nice to have my husband there during the spinal, but I realize this isn’t procedure.  As the anesthesia entered my body, it felt as if someone dripped a cool, thick liquid slowly down my back.  By the time she laid me back down, I was numb.  The feeling of knowing that your body IS there, but not having any control of it from the sternum down, is classified as ‘creepy’ in my book.  Just for fun, I tried to pick my leg up, asking a nurse if, indeed, I had picked it up (she said, “nada!”), and then laughing because of the weird-ness of it all.

 

When I was fully numb and settled, they let my husband into the room.  He was told to sit to my left.  I remember him holding my hand, being comforted by his touch, and thinking, that in a few minutes, we were going to be responsible for two tiny little human beings when I barely even felt grown up myself. 

 

Let the show begin

With all 10 ‘team members’ in place, my OB said they were going to go nice and slow…that they weren’t in a hurry, so to just relax.  All I was concentrating on was whether or not I heard a baby crying.  I made him promise to clearly tell me when each baby was out. 

 

At 4:01 pm, they broke Baby A’s (Finn) amniotic sac.  On the video my husband shot it took precisely 1 minute and 11 seconds of tugging to get Finn out.  His brother and he were wedged in there.  Tight.  I don’t have to go over the, ummm, pressure that you feel as one surgeon is pulling a kid out, while the assisting surgeon is pushing on your stomach like he’s kneading a huge hunk of bread dough, because that was already covered in the other HDYDI  birth stories.  But I will reiterate that, yes.  It is in.freaking.tense.  I found myself making grunting noises as I was being pulled and pushed around.

 

At 4:02pm, Finn Andrew finallyenters the world, feet first (weighing 5 lbs, 6 oz.), after what seems like eons of them pulling, poking, tugging and pushing to get him lodged out from underneath his bro.  “Baby A, 4:02pm”, my OB says.  He doesn’t cry.  They suction him.  He still doesn’t cry.  The OB cuts the cord, hands him quickly to the nurse, who wraps him in a towel and gives me a very quick half-second glimpse of my first born son, and then hands him through a window that lead into the NICU.  I was scared to death that he wasn’t crying.  I’d watched enough Discovery Health to know that you want a baby to cry.  Crying is good.  Crying means the baby is breathing.  Finn was not crying.  I tried to stay calm, with the help and reassurance of Brook and the anesthesiologist, because I still had one baby left inside of me. 

 

At 4:03pm, they break Baby B’s (Reid) amniotic sac and he pops right out feet first…screaming!!  It was the sweetest sound I had ever heard.  I cried and laughed all at the same time.  For whatever reason though, they didn’t let me see the little guy.  He was the one they were worried about (though he was a plump 4 lbs, 11 oz.), so he was quickly wrapped and shoved into the NICUwindow with Brook on the nurses heals.  Once I heard Reid cry and then about 30 seconds later, the distant cry of Finn (finally!), I relaxed and settled into a post-birth happy/exhausted state as my OB started singing something in Russian.  I drifted in and out of this state of mind as Brook snapped a few photos and some video and came back to show me our new sons.  I asked him if they were okay about 1,000 times, in between gushing over the pictures and videos that were taken minutes before.    But truth be told, I really, really, just wanted a nap. 

 

I was given a shot of Demerol and, man, did this make me loopy!  The next thing I know, I’m in the recovery room being handed a cell phone.  It was my dad.  I really just wanted him to be there.  I didn’t want to talk to him on the cell phone.  I wanted him by my bedside, so he could give me a hug and tell me that I was going to be okay at this whole mom-thing.Gotta love the drugs

I was a mess.  I felt drunk.  I felt stoned.  I felt…not like a mom should feel.  I kept questioning my ability to care for two newborns.  Telling myself that I was already a bad mom.  It was horrid.  The nurses assured me that this was just a side effect of the Demerol and that I should just try to sleep.  I tried, but I couldn’t.  I was too full of emotion and, being that I had not drank anything for nearly 13 hours, I was exceptionally thirsty.  I begged the nurse for some ice chips.  When she brought me the cup full of icy bliss, I instantly felt better and my spirits were lifted.

 

While I was in recovery, Brook was still going back and forth between myself and the NICU…bringing me more photos and videos of the boys.  I couldn’t wait to get a good look at them, but I had to keep waiting…not exactly sure what for…but the waiting felt like a lifetime.  So, I tried to get a few winks in between the nurses poking and prodding me.

 

FINALLY!  It was time to meet my little ones.  The nurses were going to wheel me into the NICU prior to heading to my room in the Mother/Baby Unit.  When I was rolled in, they brought Reid over to Finn’s warmer.  The two of them together.  It was beautiful.  It was surreal.  I tried to touch them, but I couldn’t get as close as I would have liked.

 mama meets the boysThe NICU nurses said that they were doing great and that I’d be able to hold them within the hour.  I was then wheeled to my post-partum room where I again nodded off.  That was, until my husband decided that what I really could use right then was a stuffed monkey.  There were only two monkeys that I wanted to see…and neither of them were stuffed.

  Monkey

 

At 6:32pm, I was able to hold both of my babies for the first time.  It was pure love.  Times two.

double the love

I managed to breastfeed both of the boys and they seemed to do okay for 36-weekers.  It did, however, take forever for them to latch on and, once latched, they immediately fell asleep.  This was only the beginning of our breastfeeding saga, but we’ll save that for another day.  Although the boys were doing well, they did have a bit of a problem regulating their body heat, so they were constantly being whisked away to the nursery for check-ups.  In between check-ups though, we did a lot of staring.  Staring in awe of the two little miracles that we had created. 

brothers

 

Around 7pm, I was having some very intense pain.  I can normally tolerate pain fairly  well, but this…this was bad.  The nurses figured out that something wasn’t quite right when I answered “11″ to their question on my pain level on a scale of 1 to 10.  I had said it was a “2″ less than 20 minutes prior.  I was restless and agitated.  I kept hitting the button for more morphine, but it clearly was not working.  So a call to my OB was made and, within 20 minutes, I was given another (magnificent) cocktail that took my pain level back down to a “2″.  After that, it was alllll good. 

 

That night, it was a mix of visitors, phone calls, never-ending breastfeeding and cups and cups of (ahhhh...) water.  I felt as if I couldn’t get enough water.  And the best part about drinking all of this water was that I didn’t have to get up to go to the bathroom because I had the catheter!  I remember being hungry, but not really wanting to eat.  Although, as a side note, this all changed the next morning when I felt as if I would never be able to consume enough food.  I would order sandwiches to my room in the middle of the night and check the “hearty” portion on my room service menu.  I don’t remember ever being more hungry in my entire life as I was the first two weeks post-partum.  I guess making milk (or colostrum, rather) for two babies is hard work!

 

Something that I was not at all prepared for was the swelling that came post C-section.  Admittedly, I gained a lot of weight.  More weight than I should have.  And for someone who is 5′ 3″ tall (on a good day), add another 70 pounds to your body and it’s bound to protest.  My body protested by giving  me a horrible case of carpal tunnel syndrome.  Throughout my pregnancy, sure, I had my share of uncomfortableness and sleepless nights.  But nothing compared to the immense pain, numbness and tingling in my hands.  I couldn’t grip a pencil, let alone type on the computer all day for work purposes.  The nights were even worse.  I’d sleep withbraces on bothwrists and prop them up on pillows.  I’d watch what I ate, careful not to consume too much sodium (i.e. my most favorite Mexican food meal…it was a shame), as that just made the water retention even worse, which in turn aggravated the carpal tunnel syndrome.  I spent the better half of my pregnancy worrying about whether or not this would disappear after I gave birth. 

 

The night that Finn and Reid were born, I was graced with the worst pain, numbness and tingling I had yet experienced.  I felt uncomfortable even holding a baby because I couldn’t feel whether or not I had a good grip on the little guy.  Sleeping was out of the question because the medsthat I was taking for the post-surgical pain did not help the least bit withthepainfrom the carpal tunnel syndrome.  The nurse promised me that it would be better in the morning, that after the birth of a baby (or two), your body holds onto water like an industrial-strength sponge.  It was a rough night, but I made it (thanks to many, many ice packs covering my hands and wrists!).  And the next day, after getting up to walk, the swelling was considerably better.  However, it wasn’t until 6 weeks post-partum that I had the sensation back in the majority of my fingers again.  I am very thankful that I do not live with this on a day-to-day basis anymore.

 

Walking around the maternity ward, in between breastfeeding sessions, was my saving grace for a fast recovery.  Although the nurses and doctors advised me to slow down, I really felt that the more I moved, the better I felt.  If I didn’t have one or more kids attached to my boobs, I was out walking laps around the ward…often times pushing a couple of bassinets.  I went very, very slowy…but it was movement nonetheless.  I found that the Percoset they were giving me (after removing the Morphine drip) was making me tired and unable to focus.  I was having such a hard time withbreastfeedingas it was, I didn’t need the added complication of drug side-effects to make it even more difficult.  So, I told them to give me half of a dose.  I found that this was a good amount to limit my pain, as well as keep me aware of it so that I wouldn’t over-do it when I walked.  I was discharged from the hospital with a prescription of Percoset, but I never did end up taking it after the second day of being discharged.  I relied on regular doses of Motrin.  The twice-daily (very slow) walks around the neighborhood really helped aid in my recovery.  It’s important to stay on top of your pain management, but it’s also very helpful to move as soon as you are able.   

 

Wow!  For a “boring” birth story, this sure is a lot of writing.  And the life that I have right now is certainly anything but boring!

lots of energy

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