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What were you doing five years ago? I can tell you exactly what I was doing. Five years ago today, on Friday, August 29th, 2003, I was writing a blog post about it being my last day as a mother of an only child. I was packing up my hospital bag, calling my friends, giddy about the fact that my doctor was taking pity on me and FINALLY going to induce my labor, at 38 weeks!

Five years ago today, my husband and I had lunch at Le Peep, and I specifically remember trying to find something on the menu that would

  1. Satisfy my cravings

  2. Fill me up, since I knew it would be my last actual meal for quite awhile, and
  3. Not give me gas, since I was worried about all the poking and prodding in my immediate future!

Five years ago today:

And five years ago tomorrow:

Paul and Laura with brand new Pablo & Mallory

Paul and Laura with brand new Pablo & Mallory

Five years ago, these two precious babies entered our world:

Five years ago, I knew nothing about parenting twins. I had no idea I’d become an expert on diapering. I didn’t know what Early Intervention meant. I never dreamed I’d soon be facing speech delays, occupational therapy, or an autism diagnosis. And I didn’t have a CLUE how much joy there would be in our family in the years to come!

Today, those little punkin babies are big kindergarteners!

It doesn’t seem possible that they’ve been ours for five whole years! Happy Birthday, Pablo and Mallory! You’re the light of our lives!

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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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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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I hardly know where to start with this post…there are so many thoughts swirling around in my head regarding the birth of Jonathan and Faith. But first, I think you need a little background info.

Due to infertility treatments, I knew I was pregnant with two babies almost immediately. And as soon as I could, I got my hands on some “Twin Books” and started reading. And planning. And hoping.

I had a very healthy pregnancy, but it certainly wasn’t pain-free! I had joint pain, nerve pain, growth pain and skin pain. Basically, anything that could hurt, did! But amazingly, it didn’t slow me down too much, until I hit about 31-32 weeks. At a routine ultrasound, the tech thought that she could see my cervix shortening. My OB placed me on modified bed-rest (lay around as much as possible), and so I did my best to comply. Around 34 weeks, the doctor realized that my cervix was strong and not shortening at all, so she lifted my restrictions. Apparently, the tech made a mistake, and I never had had any issues with pre-term labor.

The entire time I was pregnant, I agonized over the method of delivery. Over and over I said, “I just don’t want to do both.” The babies were constantly changing positions, but at 33 weeks, they switched to vertex/vertex. And at 36 weeks, they were back to breech/transverse, with enough fluid to move again. It was driving me CRAZY! I am a planner, and I wanted to just plan what we were doing, and have time to mentally prepare.

At 36w5d, I started having contractions. After a few hours of mild contractions every 5-6 minutes, we went to Triage to be evaluated. By the time we were in triage, hooked up to a bunch of machines (3 monitors, bp cuff and pulse ox) they were every 3 minutes, on the nose! We were getting pretty excited!

I wasn’t in any pain, just uncomfortable. The exams stunk, of course, but the doctors and nurses were all nice. Technically, I was still pre-term, so they gave me a shot of trebutaline to see if it would halt the contractions. It didn’t, but I did feel like I just drank a lot of coffee or finished a hard workout. Very shaky.

Next, I had to drink a liter of water, so see if that would stop the contractions. It didn’t. All of this was to see if I was in actual labor or not. Well, the deciding factor is cervical change, and mine wasn’t! So home we went! It was mentally very discouraging to think I was going to be not-pregnant soon, and then be sent home!

The doctors told me to come back when I was in hard labor or if my water broke. I was so overwhelmed when they told me I would have to go into HARD labor before they would do my c-section (they were still breech/transverse). That just did not seem fair!

Day after day, I plodded along. Even though I couldn’t sleep, and had a lot of pain, I was able to do a lot of things. I was huge and cumbersome, but once I was given the all-clear, I resumed cleaning, laundry and other chores.

Finally, the doctors scheduled my c-section for May 15th, 2007. As 39 weeks pregnant, I walked into the hospital hugely pregnant, and walked out a Mama! I was incredibly nervous about the surgery, but even more so the epidural. I was so nervous, that I couldn’t walk myself to the OR. I was shaking too badly, so they took me in a wheel chair. Once in the OR, any sense of dignity flew out the window. I had already been shaved with a dull razor, and barely had any clothes on. Then I was asked to haul my giant self up onto the table, gown flapping open. The male anesthesiologists prepped me for my spinal, and it wasn’t fun. First of all, they asked me to sit cross-legged on a board the same width as a piece of paper! And on TV, a kind nurse holds your hand/head, but I was on my own. The numbing medicine hurt like hell, and they had to try several times to place the actual spinal. I know I was moaning by the end, but later realized that I had just been a guinea pig for a student doctor.

They laid me down quickly, as I was rapidly losing sensation in my lower half. They pinched me, and I felt it, and then I was totally numb. The next day, I had big bruises and sore spots where they pinched me with their instruments. At this point, they inserted my catheter, prepped my belly and brought my husband in. They started the surgery, and kept the draped close to my face, and didn’t allow my husband to peek. I heard all sorts of things, felt tugging sensations, but was strangely removed from the situation. When they delivered my son, they held him up over the drape, and I shied away from him because he was dripping globs of blood! My daughter was quickly delivered, but I don’t remember seeing her. My husband says they did show her to me. All I remember is hearing the doctor tell the anesthesiologist to start another IV, and I was rather focused on what was happening to me. They asked my husband to leave, and began working on me. I was losing a lot of blood, and my uterus wasn’t clamping down quickly. I heard this strange thud over and over, and I still don’t know what that was. Eventually, the resident finished fixing me up, but told me she wrenched her shoulder as she never had to work that hard to help a uterus clamp down before. My regular OB left before my surgery was completed, as she had to deliver another baby. Before she left, she did say that she though Jonathan and Faith were the biggest twins she had ever delivered at 7.12 and 6.12.

When the OR team was done with me, they asked me if I wanted to hold the kids on the trip to the recovery room. I didn’t even realize they were still with me, I thought they went with my husband. I was vehemently opposed to holding them, as I was totally numb and thought I would drop them! All three of us met up with my hubby and went to recovery. My parents, MIL and aunt were there to meet the babies. They all held the kids before I did, as I was still in shock, couldn’t feel my arms and didn’t feel ready to hold them. I was so focused on the trauma my body had just gone through, that I felt somewhat removed from the situation.

The nurses asked me if I want to try breast feeding, which I did, but we sorta had to prod my family to leave first! The rest of the first day is a blur. I know I felt like crap, wanted to vomit and had hot flashes. I know that I was overwhelmed that I had to start nursing the kids so quickly. After carrying them for 39 weeks, I was ready to share the workload withsomeone else! I was in bed until the next morning, with an IV in each hand and a catheter. I was on Vicodin and motrin once the IV drugs wore off. I had to remember when to ask for them, and that was hard to do. I was able to hold down some liquids the next morning, which meant frequent trips out of bed to the bathroom. There were some near-fainting episodes, but hour by hour, I felt better than the hour before. The very worst after effect of the c-section was the gas pain. My stomach sounded like it was giving off sonar-pings, and the air was moving so strongly that if I placed my hand on my stomach, it felt like there was another full-term baby kicking in there. I actually wondered for a while, if there was a third baby in there!

The kids roomed in with us, but I did send them to the nursery at night. I was so exhausted, and each mew and yawn they would make would keep me up. Unfortunatly, I was too keyed up and uncomfortable to sleep, so when we were discharged on the 3rd day, I was pretty exhausted.

We were so very blessed that our children were so healthy. The never needed oxygen, or intervention of any kind. They had no health concerns, and never left our side. I was intensely aware of how wonderfully the pregnancy and delievery had gone, and every day I am thankful that they are growing up to be strong and healthy children.

The only complication the kids have, is mild developmental dysplasia of the hip. Ironically, this was caused by their extreem lack of space in the womb!

In retrospect, I think I expected to be more emotional about their birth, like the women on TV who cry when they first see their children being born. But for me, I truly think I was in shock, and could only process so much at a time. I fondly look at their newborn pictures and video, and wish I could remember more of those first few days, but on the other hand, I have had a whole year of images and moments to fill my heart to overflowing. The birth was just the starting point of our lives together, and what a good life it is.

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