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Jan 16, 2013
On June 19th, 2012, 10 days after checking into the hospital, I woke early after a long night of contractions, interruptions from the nurses and treatments to stop my labor. I was in pain. My doctor came in to do his routine morning check and I welcomed him, eagerly anticipating some kind of answers. I’m still not really sure what I wanted him to say, but whatever it was – he didn’t say it. “Well, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing” he responded casually as he patted me and turned to go. I knew he couldn’t give me answers because there were no definitive questions even, but it was still hard to see him come and go with no new news.
Soon after, around 8am when the nurse came in for her morning rounds, I told her that I was having contraction pains. She checked the computer to see what the contraction monitor was picking up, but didn’t see much action going on. This made me feel like maybe my pains weren’t really contractions.
As soon as she left my room, the husband came over and sat with me, letting me squeeze his hand through the pain and trying to soothe me. I recalled something I had heard once about submitting to the pain, and so I tried to embrace it. Feeling the wave come over me…slowly tightening over my midsection. Within minutes I was hurting badly enough that he insisted I call the nurse back in. After trying to convey to her again that I was really hurting pretty badly, she said she was going to call the doctor and see what he wanted her to do. Around 9:30 am, after what felt like hours but was really only minutes, she came back saying that he wanted to have my cervix checked to see if I had progressed at all. I vividly remember looking her in the eye and telling her that I thought I might die if she checked my cervix. I was already in so much pain I honestly couldn’t imagine adding another check. But there was no option. She brought in another nurse and after checking me she declared that my cervix was basically gone and all she could feel was the baby. I started to freak out..I think it was just the overwhelming emotion of thinking our babies were about to be here, the fear of whether they would be okay or not. It was just so much, and it felt strangely unexpected. Fortunately…and unfortunately the nurse quickly explained that she wanted to have someone check me again to make sure…so in came nurse #2 who the husband and I often refer to as Cookie but whose real name was actually Pepper. Pepper didn’t hold anything back, and the pain was almost unbearable. But she also came up with a much different result…I was still only dilated to a 5 and hadn’t actually changed much since 10 days before.
But after delivering this new piece of information to my doctor, he announced that he wanted to schedule a c-section for 11 a.m. After much agonizing over the last couple of months, I had finally accepted that despite my desire for a natural birth, a c-section was most likely in my future. Both of my babies were breech and with the new factor of being premature, a natural delivery just wasn’t in the cards if I wanted my babies to be safe and healthy.
Upon the nurses leaving the room to go get the anesthesiologist to give me an epidural, the husband and I were alone. And full of both joy and fear. He rushed to the head of my bed, grabbed my hand and with tears in our eyes he began to pray. I don’t even remember exactly what he said, but I know our hearts were both asking God for protection and safety for our babies.
He prayed for maybe a minute or two, and the moment he said amen, I felt something burst and water gushed all over me. Shocked, I looked at my husband and exclaimed “my water just broke!” In a panic, he raced out of the room into the hall, shouting “my wife’s water just broke!”
I’ve honestly never seen nurses move so fast. Suddenly everyone was in overdrive. The nurse wanted to check me one more time to make sure my water really did break…which at the time seemed completely silly. What else might it have been?? Of course it was my water! As several others rushed in around me and began unhooking my monitors and cords, I shouted random orders at the husband. “Get the paper for the footprints!” “Don’t forget the camera!” “Make sure the battery is charged!” He was completely freaked out. And suddenly time froze. And I said to him “honey, I need you to be sane right now.” And he was. He was so good.
After confirming that my water did indeed break (shocker!) they began wheeling me out the door and down the hall. Around a corner, through another door and into the operating room. I was alone now. They had to get me prepped before Jon could come in. I was still in so much pain, and when they asked me to roll over onto my side and curl into a ball so they could stick the needle in my back, I truly didn’t know if I could do it. With lots of help from the nurses, the anesthesiologist began poking around in my back asking me where I was feeling pain from the needle. On the left side. On the right. In the middle. What did this guy want to hear?? I wondered. Finally it was in, and I began to go numb. Jon was at my side now. Dr. K came in. I felt tugging in my stomach. Jon and I squeezed each other’s hands.
Crying. The absolute most unreal moment of my life. My baby boy’s first cries. I could only catch a glimpse of him, craning my neck to the side as they took him past me to the incubator. And then another cry. A different cry. My baby girl. Both of them born in the same minute. 10:06 a.m. My heart exploded with joy.
My babies were crying, and I’d never felt so much all consuming happiness. Through the blur of my tears and swollen eyes I strained to see them. I ached to touch them. They were only feet away from me, but I couldn’t get to them. I was seeing them and feeling them through Jon’s eyes and hands. I was on my back, still being stiched up, and their incubators were behind me. I twisted my neck as much as I could, desperate for a glimpse of them, as I tried to breathe. And then suddenly, there was Linc. Wrapped in a blue striped blanket, Jon held him close to my face, and I touched him. I felt his face with my fingertips, and I tried to hug him to me as close as I could. He was finally here, and he was safe.
And then sweet Viv. She was lowered down to me in the same way, and I traced her tiny face with my eyes and hands, trying to memorize her delicate features before she was taken away to the NICU.
Lincoln was absolutely perfect. Vivian was beyond extravagant. If he seemed small, then she seemed microscopic. But they were both crying and pink and so beautiful and healthy. The most surreal moments of my life were when I laid my eyes on them. And then they were gone.
It was ten minutes from the time my water broke to the moment they were born. And then within another half hour I was back in my bedrest room. Quite literally alone. I felt my belly to see if they were really gone. Everything had happened so fast. Finally my mom came in, and then the lactation consultant. Something about how to pump was said, and as I tried to take in those details all I could think about was getting to my babies. While the doctor said I could see them in a few hours if I felt up to it, I died a little at the thought of waiting that long. Thank goodness for kind nurses, who offered to wheel my hospital bed through the NICU so that I could see them before I was taken to my new room.
While every detail of their birth is etched into my mind, the first moments I spent with them in the NICU are kind of fuzzy. I remember reaching through the porthole to feel their tiny bodies and let their fingers wrap tightly around my mine. And I remember the weight of my baby girl’s perfect little body as she was laid in my arms. Her fuzzy hair against my lips as I kissed her sweet head.
holding Vivian for the 1st time
Back in my room the hours seemed endless as we waited for the numbness to subside from my body. Again my doctor said if I felt up to it I could be wheeled down to see them, and I honestly thought he was crazy. Literally nothing could have kept me from being with them the first moment possible. Nothing.
And so began life with our miracle babies, Linc and Viv. I’ve never felt so thankful and blessed. They are tough little babies, and though our journey through the NICU was the hardest 17 days of my entire life, they were so strong and inspired me so much.
to be continued…
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Nov 2, 2012
I grudgingly put on the hospital gown and made my way to the bed where Kenzie began strapping me into all kinds of monitors. Now we’re talking, I thought to myself as graphs and images appeared on the computer screen to my left. Within seconds the sound of the babies’ heartbeats became discernible, and we could see the steady rhythms on the screen. A sigh of relief whooshed out of me, and I began to relax just a little. Aside from the heart monitors, I was also hooked up to a contraction monitor. Finally we were going to find out if what I’d been feeling all night were actually contractions or just something else insignificant. After watching for what felt like forever, Kenzie confirmed that they were actually contractions. But at this point they were not nearly as intense and were very sporadic. She didn’t seem super concerned at this point, so neither were Jon or I.
After several more routine checks, I was told that they were going to check my cervix. I had of course had my cervix checked a number of times in the preceding weeks, so I began to gear up for what was coming. After making a few last minute preparations, she checked me. As she finished, she informed us that I was dilated to a 4. I was very confused at first because she didn’t act alarmed at all, so I double checked to make sure I understood what she was saying. I knew a 4 wasn’t like the baby was about to come out, but it seemed a little far considering I was only 32 weeks. After calling the doctor back again, she calmly told us that we would not be leaving the hospital and that they were going to transfer us to another room.
To say I was surprised would be an understatement. Sadly the details of what happened next are already a little fuzzy, but I know they immediately wheeled me down the hall and into a new room where they hooked me up once again to all the monitors as Jon and I sat in disbelief. I began to think through all the things that were left undone at home…all the things I didn’t bring with me…and all the things I still needed to prepare before babies’ arrival. But I was quickly realizing that none of that was really going to matter. Shortly after arriving to my new home around 2 in the morning, we were told that in order to stop the contractions, they were going to put me on a magnesium drip. The magnesium would slow down my entire system, and therefore hopefully stop the contractions, which were working to further dilate me. I vaguely remember being told that the magnesium could have some side effects, but nothing could have prepared me for how it made me feel. My whole body heated up like a furnace, radiating heat through my face, my neck…my entire body. As it worked to slow down the contractions, it also slowed down everything else which left me unable to even lift my arms. I couldn’t use my muscles or even focus my eyes on anything. When someone would talk to me I would try to look at them, and my eyes would just cross, my eyelids hanging heavy. I’ve never felt anything like it before. While it left me feeling extremely miserable, it did in fact stop my contractions, and by morning we were all feeling much less alarmed about the babies’ coming. I was only 32 weeks, and the twins were definitely not ready to thrive in the outside world. At this point our goal was to keep them in as long as possible, whether that be another 3 days or 3 weeks. Thankfully the babies themselves were doing great, and all the nurses kept bragging on them, which made me a really proud mama:) And I got to fall asleep to their heartbeats every night, so if there ever was a plus to hospital bedrest that was definitely it.
Over the course of the next 10 days (day 2, day 5, day 6, day 9) the days became a bit monotonous. I was in and out of labor, and off and on magnesium on a daily basis. At one point, they gave me a little break from the magnesium and treated me with a Breathine shot instead. Ironically, instead of slowing down my system, this sped things up, making my heart race and my body feel jittery. Thankfully, Jon was able to take off work some as well as work from the hospital room quite a bit. His office was a stone’s throw away from my hospital room, which was such a blessing. I spent the days either trying to get through the pain or being mostly incoherent from the medication. There were some easier moments that I would use to write a blog post or have a visitor, but almost every time visitors would leave, contractions would inevitably start back up, so we tried to keep people at bay. I’m not much of a TV watcher, but OKC Thunder was in the playoffs during that week, so Jon and I watched our first games of that season on some evenings.
While it was the hardest 10 days of my life, it was also really hard on Jon. He was trying to keep up not only with his day job, but also his side business, keep me company, communicate what was going on with me to everyone and take care of things at the house among other things. I can’t imagine how he could have done more to keep us both sane and things running smoothly on the outside, while in that little hospital room it felt like life was on pause. I really don’t know what I would have done without him.
the day before the twins were born
one of my favorite visitors:)
loved it when Jon brought these from home…I just kept staring at them:)
my view from bed
keepin’ it real
sweet gift from Jon’s aunts
the cafeteria didn’t quite know how to handle my vegetarianism, but they could make a mean fruit plate
never gets old
There were moments when our time in the hospital seemed like it would never end, and we found ourselves torn between wanting it to end and wanting it to last so that the babies could keep growing. Mostly we just wanted to make sure they were going to be healthy. But on day 10 we woke up early after a long night of contractions, having no idea that it would be the scariest, but most incredible day of our lives.
to be continued…
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Sep 10, 2012
part one here.
The following couple of weeks were spent on our couch for the most part. Ironically, we had made plans with several different people, so everything got moved to our house. I spent the days shopping online for baby clothes, reading baby books and directing my Jon and my mom from the couch as they took care of things for the nursery – decorating, washing and putting away clothes a diapers, etc. It was definitely challenging to not be able to get up and do thing myself. I wanted to prepare the nursery with Jon. I wanted to wash their little clothes and organize their drawers. I had looked forward to all of these things for my whole pregnancy, thinking I would do them as soon as school was out. But while it was challenging and disappointing, I was so thankful to have people who were willing to step in and take care of things for me.
On Friday, the 8th of June, my mom came over to work on stuff, and I was keeping her company from the couch. I felt especially tired that day and also just didn’t feel good in general. We had plans to have friends over that night, and I was seriously thinking it might not be a good idea. But in the end I was too excited to hang out after being sequestered to the couch for so long. With all the fun brought by our friends, I seemed to forget all about the pain and tiredness of the day.
But that didn’t last long.
The next morning began bright and early with pains in my stomach. At the risk of revealing TMI, bedrest and a recent increase of my iron supplement had me dealing with a little bit of constipation. Okay, a lot. So by late afternoon (and after an entire day spent on the couch), I was convinced that the stomach pains I was having were a symptom of that. Around eight o’clock though, the pain had gotten intense enough that I decided to call labor and delivery (being Saturday night my doctor’s office was closed) and just make sure that they thought everything was okay. After talking to a nurse named Kenzie, I felt even more certain that everything was just fine. She gave me a few suggestions to try and deal with the constipation, and so I sent Jon on a chase to track down the remedies she recommended. When he got back we settled into the couch and did our classic Saturday night activity – watching falling asleep to a movie. Several hours later at about 1 am we woke up and moved it to our bedroom at which point my pain really started acting up. As Jon dozed off, I laid beside him, moaning each time the wave of pain came over me (you see where this is going). Sleep did not come. About thirty minutes later, my husband, who thankfully is a lot wiser than I am, suggested we go to the hospital. Not wanting to make a big deal out of nothing, and at 32 weeks assuming it was nothing, I protested, but finally agreed to at least call back labor and delivery and see what they thought about the fact that I was still in so much pain.
After a quick recap of the preceding hours, Kenzie casually suggested that we head up to the hospital, just to make sure everything was okay. I remember thinking that it was so dumb to go, but I couldn’t shake the fear that my pain was somehow affecting my babies, and that was enough to get me in the car and on our way within a few minutes. I had just taken a shower that evening and my hair was all a mess, I had no makeup on, and I just pulled on some yoga pants, a tshirt and some flip flops. I didn’t even take my purse or my phone because obviously I was going to be back within an hour or so.
My plan was to walk in, get a quick ultrasound done to make sure the babies were okay and then be on my merry way. Approaching the check in desk, I ducked my head as the nurse questioned who we were and what we needed. I just felt embarrassed for some reason. I was one of those girls. One of those who goes to the hospital five times before ever actually being in labor. And I wasn’t proud of it. Let’s just get this over with, I thought. Besides, after riding in the car for 15 minutes and walking through the hospital, my pain had surprisingly subsided to the point of being just a dull ache, which of course only made me feel that much more silly for being there.
After filling out some paperwork, we were ushered into a room where Kenzie tossed me a gown and a cup to get a urine sample. Hold up, I thought. I do not need these things. Just check my babies and let me go home. I was baffled as to why I needed to put on an actual hospital gown. Little did I know, I wouldn’t wear anything but that for another 11 days.
to be continued…
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Aug 14, 2012
I’m not sure where to even begin in writing the story of Lincoln and Vivian’s birth. It will most likely not be eloquent or orderly, rather it’ll be a compilation of everything I can remember from the most intense few weeks of my life.
Most everyone knows how long Jon and I waited for a baby and everything we went through to get pregnant. It was such a long journey, and when we finally got pregnant, I thought the crazy part was over. I expected to have an uneventful pregnancy and the birth I had always imagined, coming out with a perfect little baby in the end. When we found out we were having twins, those expectations didn’t really change. Despite the predictions of so many about preterm labor, I truly believed I’d carry the twins until they were full term. At one point, maybe around week 25 or so, my doctor mentioned that he would want to induce me at 37 weeks if I hadn’t gone into labor by then. Fully believing that these babies would stay inside me even longer than that I immediately began worrying about the idea of induction and researching the validity of such an idea, so that I could intelligently convince him otherwise.
As I expected, I did have a rather uneventful pregnancy. Aside from a short scare about possibly having gestational diabetes (which I didn’t), every check-up went smoothly and every ultrasound was like a dream. Until I was 30 weeks along.
It was May 23rd, the last day of school for my students, and I was giving final exams and hugs all day. School was buzzing with the excitement of summer, and knowing I wasn’t coming back I was saying extra goodbyes, accompanied by a few tears, and finishing packing up my classroom. It was a crazy, busy, exciting and emotional day.
A couple of weeks before, my doctor had told me to schedule an ultrasound for the 23rd. He wanted it done that week and the only day ultrasounds are done in his office is Wednesday, so there was no alternative. Knowing it was my last day of school, I was stressed out because I didn’t want to miss saying bye to my kids. After finding out it would be possible to move it to the next week, I debated forever about whether to do that or not. Eventually (and with the input from Jon and my mom) I decided that seeing my babies was more important than being there for the end of my 2nd hour testing period, and I could just say goodbye to those students that morning before leaving.
So, that morning, I left school in a rush and headed to the hospital, suddenly so happy that I had kept my appointment and wondering how I could have even considered postponing it. Jon met me there and we got to see our babies and ooh and aah over how perfect they were. It was an epically smooth appointment just like all the others. As part of the ultrasound, the tech was supposed to measure my cervix at the end. After doing so, she told us that Dr. K wanted to check the measurements before we left, which had never been the procedure before. So we waited.
About 10 minutes later, Dr. K’s nurse, Trish, walked in. The moment I saw her face I knew something was not right. She told us that the measurements showed that my cervix had shortened considerably and that I was to go home immediately, get into bed and not get out until the next morning at which point they wanted me to come back so Dr. K could check me himself. I just sat there, dazed, for a few seconds. At first I was just trying to process what she had just said. Next, the fear hit. How bad off was I? Were the twins in danger of coming soon? And last, all the crucial things I still needed to do to wrap things up at school flitted through my brain – finish giving final exams, grade final exams, pack up my files and such from my classroom, input and finalize grades etc.
After a few seconds of just staring at her, I explained that it was my last day of my job and that I really needed to go back. With some persuasion on my part, she agreed that I could go back as long as I promised to stay glued to a chair and not get up and go home as soon as possible. So that’s what I did. Thus began my 2 weeks and 4 days of at-home bedrest.
To be continued…
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Jun 24, 2012
more details to come…
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