(Disclaimer: I have not proofread this. Also, I have not touched up any photos of myself...I honestly was that beautiful. Hard to believe...but try.)
So...we had the babies! Yay!
Ha, my mom would kill me if that's all I posted. "They" always say that you remember certain days in your life more vividly than others. Well, duh, of course you do. For me, those days were...
1. The day I became a believer.
2. Graduation (high school and college).
3. The day I got engaged.
4. The day I got married.
5. They day they came out with Hershey's Symphony chocolate.
6. The day my children were born.
And even though those days sometimes seem like fuzzy (drug-induced) memories, I still remember all of it just like it happened 10 minutes ago...which is why I'm writing it down right now...so's I won't forget amidst the diaper changes, feedings, first day of school, etc.
So, here is what happened...
December 29, 2009 - 8:15 p.m.
David and I are both pretty competitive people. We like to have little challenges...see who can beat each other at something. (I usually [always] win.) So, on that Tuesday night, instead of doing our regular Mad Libs...yes, Mad Libs...whilst taking our showers, David challenges me to a typing test...to see who can type the fastest. Well, I'm a pretty fast typer. Growing up, Mom would make us type for 30 minutes every day using a tutorial. David thought he could beat my awesomeness. No one beats my typing. Not even QWERTY himself...itself. Well, he still wanted to try...so, I accepted the challenge. He takes the test while I'm in the shower. I take the test while he's in the shower. It was pretty close, I'll admit, but of course I won. We're done with our showers and sitting on the bed, head to toe in PJs, and David wants to do the test again. Fine, fine, I say...and lo and behold, I beat him again. Imagine that. While he's moping, I start feeling kind of funny and mosey on over to the bathroom. Things...happen...and I'm like, "Huh...interesting. Let's call the doctor." I call and they send a message to the on-call doctor...I just sit there and wait for him to call back. About 10 minutes later, the phone rings and it's Dr. From Way Up North. I tell him I think my water broke and he says to head on to the hospital. So, about as calmly as I can, I call my parents and tell them we're headed up to the hospital. I'm a little upset because I wanted to change clothes, put on make-up and do my hair. But nooooooooo, David is all rush rush rush to the hospital. We get to the hospital about 9:15 p.m. and park in our own fancy spot. I felt very special. It's about 7 below outside, so I'm shaking from he cold (I forgot to grab a jacket) and from the nervousness. When I get nervous, I shake uncontrollably. It's ridiculous.
We walk calmly up to the labor and delivery desk and they take one look at the watermelon I was smuggling and put me in Room 1. Sho nuff...my water had indeed broken. I get dressed in my fancy green gown and get up in my bed. Up until this point, I had just been having pretty mild contractions. Nothing major...nothing painful. But...wooo hooooooo...that quickly changed. I started getting uncomfortable really fast. Sweet David was being so calm and soothing, but I couldn't concentrate. And all of a sudden, I realized just how thirsty I was. I hadn't had anything to drink about...forever. The nurses Lesley and Beth came in (both very nice) and did an exam. WHOOOOOOA MOMMA...I did not like that...not one bit. I was a measley 1.5 centimeters dilated. Whaaat the mess? I immediately asked, "When can I have the drugs?" They both laughed and said, "When you get to 4 centimeters." I thought to myself, "Yeah, this doesn't work for me." I asked how many more exams they had to do and they said they'd check me every hour or so. Hmmm...that didn't work for me either. I had to come up with a new plan. They did an ultrasound to see how the kiddos were situated. Well, stinker pot Baby B (who turned out to be Harper) had rotated up a little bit. So much for my "perfect textbook head down positions for twins." She was still technically head down, but not in a super awesome position. They put heart monitors all over my belly and had to change them every few minutes because the girls kept moving...actually, they were literally kicking the monitors out of place.
During this whole time, I was very much aware of how thirsty I was...and it was getting worse. I asked for some water...I asked for ice...I asked for drugs...anything liquid-ish. Lesley said no water in case I had a C-section. Dr. North said I could have water, but the anesthesiologist, Dr. Drugs, said I could not have water...blast him. So...minutes pass by, hours pass by... they just monitor me...whilst I'm lying there, dying. Contractions are kind of not very fun. They got worse and worse. And you know, I always watch those baby shows and I'm thinking, "Come on, man up. It can't be that bad." Oh my gosh...it really is. It. Really. Is. The girls kept kicking, making it worse...I was sooo dadgum thirsty...David was being so sweet, running his fingers through my hair. I was trying to call my parents and give them updates. I couldn't distract myself. So, then the nurses came back in...still not bringing water with them...I was starting to resent them. They said that Dr. North let me know that a natural birth was still possible if I wanted to try for that...but I could have a C-section if I wanted and they would prep the OR. Well, gosh...you know how I am with decisions...this was a tough one. This is basically how they laid it out for me:
- I could get the drugs immediately
- No water at all
- A slower recovery
- Easier birth for the girls...because of how Baby B was situated
- I could labor for 8-10 more hours...about 4 more hours without drugs
- I'd have to have one of THOSE exams every hour or so
- A faster recovery
- I could have WATER!!
- A chance (as explained by the nurse and Dr. North) that the second baby, because of how she positions, would have to be delivered C-section...the nurse, Beth, had twins and that happened to her
December 30, 2009
I seriously seriously seriously pondered this decision for about an hour. David and I talked about it and discussed every aspect. The contractions were getting worse. I was almost dead from dehydration. I was so tired already. It was about 1:00 am. Basically, it came down to this...I wanted water like I've never wanted anything in my life before. I would have cut off my pinky finger if it meant I could have water. I also wanted the epidural...right then. Decisions, decisions...what to do. Then, I don't know what made me think this, I just kind of felt like the girls needed to get out as soon as possible...not for my sake, but for theirs. Like, that was the best decision for them. I didn't want any extra stress on Baby B while she was waiting her turn to head on out. So...we decided...C-section. No water, but DRUUUGSSSS....wooo hoooo!
Dr. North came in and said the girls were looking great...their heart rates were wonderful and he thought the C-section was a good decision based on their positions. He prayed for us and the girls right there in my room (I boo hoooed, of course) and headed out to prep for surgery. Then...wonderful, beautiful, amazing Dr. Drugs came in. If I could have gotten out of bed, I would have laid a huge kiss right on his bald little head. He had his tray of assorted torture devices, but I just averted my eyes. Also, around this time, sweet Malinda came to visit us...early in the morning. Such a dear. She and David had to head out of the room while I got the good stuff. I had calmed down, but I started shaking again. I had been told alllll sorts of stories about how horrible or how not horrible epidurals were. So, I decided it was going to be okay. I sit up on the bed and lean on Lesley...putting my head on her shoulder. Dr. Drugs said something about a quick pain and I felt that. Nothing major. Then he feeds in the big ole needle and tube...piece o' cake. It was really really really neat. He was explaining what he was doing and that my leg might jump right "now" (which it did) and that I might feel "this" (which I did)...it was fascinating. It was like Grey's Anatomy or something. No big deal at all. I'd get 'em all the time if I could. Anyways. I laid back down...it took about maybe 10 minutes for it to kick in and...ahhh, that's when everything got good. I was still thirsty, but no more pain. Dr. North came back in and said we had to wait a few hours because I ate some chocolate cake around 8:00pm the night before. So, boo...but it gave me, David, and Malinda some time to just chat. I was so happy. I was aware of my contractions, I could move my legs just fine, which kind of made me nervous, but nothing hurt. We made Linders leave because she had to work the next day and she needed to sleep, dear little blonde girl. So, David and I just hung out...we tried to sleep...yeah, that didn't happen.
About 3:45 am, Lesley and Dr. Drugs, dressed in their scrubs, come waltzing in and I asked about the fact that I could completely use my legs and I felt everything...no pain, just pressure. He said that was normal...I was pretty sure it wasn't...but he's the doctor. He did a sharp test on my arm and tummy...and dosed me up again. Wooo hoooooooooooo druuuuggsssss. My legs got a lot more numb this time. They felt awesome. I donned my fabulous nasal cannula and hair net thing and they wheeled me out the door...sans David. He had to get dressed in his scrubs and would meet me in the OR later.
I've seen House and Grey's and all those medical shows, but gosh...the real operating rooms are SCARY. So many people...so many lights...so many sharp things. They plop me over to the table, that was funny. And I'm still a little nervous about the fact that I can totally move my legs and wiggle my toes. Nobody else seems to be concerned about this. They put up the screen so I can't see anything. Nurse Rick (at my head with Dr. Drugs) puts my arms out and straps them down. Whaaaaaaaat? He says it's to keep my arms from falling off...I'm thinking, "They ain't going anywhere. I promise I'll keep them still." But, whatever. I can feel every thing. Everytime somebody touched my belly or my legs...I could feel it and I let Dr. Drugs know this. He said it was normal. Still not 100% believing him. They start drawing on my tummy...if he had written a message, I literally could have figured out what it said. They brought David in and he stayed up by my head and talked to me the whole time. Then, all of a sudden, they got started...no big to-do or anything. I felt alllllll kinds of neat stuff. Not a single ounce of pain, though. The only way I knew they were actually cutting was because I heard and smelled the cauterization. Yeah...burning flesh. (With Dad being a doctor, Sara and I got to observe a few surgeries when we were in high school/college.) Nurse Rick kept saying I would feel pulling and pressure...which I did. You'd think they were playing tug of war with my lower half. Then, Rick said, "Alrighty, you're going to feel a big push on your chest, take a deep breath." Before I could take that breath...WHOOOOOO, that "big push" was more like they slammed an anvil on my stomach. Didn't hurt, just made it difficult to breathe. And out popped Baby A like a zit at 4:16 am. Yep. She was 6 pounds even. A moment out, another big push, and out popped Baby B at 4:17 am. She was 6 pounds and 15 ounces. Yes...ginormo babies. And then, the most beautiful noise ever...crying in unison. It was perfect. They showed me both babies...I got to kiss their amazing faces...cottage cheese and all. The nurses cleaned both of the gals up while Dr. North, Nurse Rick and the assisting doctor kept on and on about how well I was doing and how amazing the placenta looked and how great the cords were and how well I "grew" the babies, etc. Man, I was so proud...you'd think I won Person of the Year award or something. I was so high on ego...I just smiled and said, "Well, thank you." They had a monitor to my left and I could see the girls in their little cribs getting bathed and checked out. I thought, "Huh, they're a little more tan than I thought they'd be" and pointed that out to Rick, who assured me the color on the monitor was not right. I looked back toward my blue screen and saw lots of blood spatters, which was disturbing, but I figured my blood volume doubled while I was pregnant, so I could afford to lose a little. I was so jealous because David got to hold both of the girls and walk with them to recovery. He named them based on their personalities...Baby A was Piper Lee, the 6 pounder. And Baby B was Harper, the almost 7 pounder.
Also, I was super high...epidurals don't make you feel that way. I asked Dr. Drugs if epidurals make you a little crazy and he laughed and said, "No...I think that might be you." I think I was just delirious. I would say stuff like, "I know I'm naked, but I feel like I have pants on." Oh well.
They finished stapling me up...ugh, staples...and wheeled me off to recovery to join the party. Whilst in recovery...Lesley came in...AND BROUGHT ME ICE CHIPS!! OH MY GOSH!! I almost put her in my will. I had forgotten how thirsty I had been...due to all the cutting and blood and baby stuff. They got me a morphine drip...which was pretty fun. The gals were over beside me, getting checked out by a neo-nurse. Everybody's doing well, then horror of horrors...the nurse tells me that Harper is having a little trouble breathing...she apparently swallowed a huge gulp of fluid on the way out and it had filled her premature lungs. (They were born at 35 weeks and 6 days.) They wanted to put her in the NICU for observation and to make sure she was breathing okay. Of course, worse possible thing ever to hear, but I knew they would take excellent care of her. So, me, David and my cup of ice are wheeled to my room on the second floor. Piper Lee joined us a little bit later. It was aroundish 6:00 am by now. Sweet sister Sara was the first person to come and see us. I cried and cried. I was so happy to see her and so worried about Harper. My parents came shortly after. And David's whole family (his older sister and bro-in-law were visiting for Christmas and everybody was able to meet the girls!) came soon after that.
The following four days weren't necessarily a blur...I remember each day very clearly. I can tell you who came to visit us on what day...how amazing my friends and family are...how much I cried...all of it. That entire first day, I was in bed...on a clear liquid diet.
Who knew beef broth could taste so good. All I wanted was to hold my girls and take a bath. I could hold Piper Lee all I wanted, but I missed Harps. My morphine drip was my good friend. I never was in any pain. They said I could push it every six minutes if I wanted. I probably pushed it about every 3-4 hours. They brought in so many bags of fluid, emptied my pee bag, gave me this and that...they could have been putting vodka into my IV and I never would have known.
Piper Lee was a nursing champ. That kiddo knew where the good stuff was. Never had a problem with her. I would also pump and send it on down to Harper in the NICU.
December 31, 2009
The next morning, New Year's Eve, I ordered the biggest, fattest breakfast ever. It was better than Waffle House. The nurse came in and helped me walk around. Whooo...that was an adventure, but I knew I had to do it. Then...wonder of wonders...I got to take a shower. Ohhh...shower, how I love you. Best bath ever. That night, David wheeled me down to the NICU to visit Harper for the first time. I had seen pictures of when Dad and a few others had gone down there to see her and I couldn't even look at them. They had an oxygen mask on her for the first day and an IV in her tiny little hand. It was awful. I would cry and cry. The nurses and neonatologist were so reassuring and wonderful and telling us this was a very common and routine situation, even though it wasn't routine for us and they took such good care of her. Later that day, they took her off the mask and put a cannula in her little nose and a tiny tube down her throat to help with the fluid still in her lungs. Anyways, that night was the first time I got to see her since she was born. I couldn't even stand it. I just cried the entire time we were there.
Which caused another problem for me...surgery gas. I didn't know this, but when you have surgery, air obviously gets inside you...when you're up and walking around, it moves. Well, it gets trapped up near your diaphragm and sets off a nerve up near your shoulders/chest and hurts like...well, it hurts. That was really the only bad part of the whole thing. Every time I would cry and take a breath, it just killed me. So, when I was upset and crying, I would breathe in, and it would be like this sharp stabbing pain and make it worse, which would make me cry more. I'd have to force myself to calm down. Anyways. It was an eventful New Year's and we went to bed earlier than we have any other New Year's before.
January 1, 2010
You know I love my New Year's Day meal...cornbread, black eyed peas, collard greens, hog jowls, and rice. I'll be...they had it on the hospital menu, minus the hog jowls...but no worries, because I have the most amazing sister and she cooked me some. That day, I got to hold Harper for the first time. It was incredible. She was looking better and better every second.
January 2, 2010
They took Harper off all of the oxygen stuff and took her IV out late that evening. Praise the Lord! Harper and Piper Lee got to see each other for the first time since they were born. Both seemed indifferent to the experience, but we were happy about it. Harps' sweet little face was still so swollen from the cannula and fluids, but it slowly went down and the gals started looking more and more alike.
My family on my Mom's side, along with my brothers, were able to come and visit us and see the girls. Papaw G. already started telling the girls the stories he told us when we were kids. They loved it!
January 3, 2010
Home with Piper Lee! I hated leaving Harper and I cried about it that morning, but we went down to the NICU that morning to find her getting a tan under the bili-light. She seemed to be enjoying it.
Then, we headed home with munchkin #1.
January 4, 2010 - Onward
The first night with Piper Lee was fabulous. She was so perfect the whole time. Of course, Mom and I were nervous wrecks the whole time, always making sure she was breathing. She ate like a champ, pooped like a champ...just a great kid. Every day, Sara would come and get me to go to the hospital to take Harps some food and check on the gal. She looked better and better.
Then, on Wednesday, David was able to get off work and we got to take her home together. It was a fabulous day. We had to watch these CPR videos and car seat videos and I had to feed her twice with a bottle (like I hadn't been doing that for my other one at home) so they knew I knew how to feed a baby. She had to sit in her car seat for the time it took us to get home so they knew she could breathe okay. Such an ordeal...but totally worth it because I knew it meant I got to take her home. All of the neo-nurses and the doctor said they loved her and said she was the sweetest, cutest baby...I had to agree. It's very true.
Finally, the family is all together and I couldn't be happier. These kids are amazing. I can't explain how great a feeling it is to be a mom to these two precious miracles. I am so grateful that God took care of both of them and they're safe and sound and in my arms and I can love on on them as much as I want. It's such an honor to get to be a parent to them and I know how incredibly blessed we are. I love David even more than I can say...for giving me these girls, for being so incredible and and for being my helpmate in all of this. Ah, I could go on and on.
My mom is staying with us for several weeks to help me...and oh my gosh, I couldn't do this without her. Or my sister, who has been here pretty much every day, helping us...letting me and Mom sleep. My family is amazing. I can't thank them enough. My Dad even drove 3.5 hours yesterday just to see them for the day. It's ridiculous how empty a "thank you" is for what they've done for us.
We had an outing to the pediatrician on Friday. That was such a day. It's freezing cold outside, so we had to bundle them in polar bear fur to make sure they stayed warm. They were like the kid in A Christmas Story (I can't put my arms down...you know). They checked out great. Piper Lee has PASSED her birth weight (she dropped some in the hospital, as did Harper). She now weighs 6 pounds 5 oz. And Harper is just a little under hers at 6 pounds 9 oz. Both are doing wonderfully. Sad news is...we can't have visitors for 6 weeks. :( The Dr. was telling us that if they got the slightest fever, they'd have to be in the NICU for weeks, maybe months, because of their prematurity and because of Harper's NICU history. So...stinks big-time, but totally worth it for the safety of the girls. I was sad to hear that, because these girls have a lot of hugs and kisses to give out. But, hopefully very very soon, they'll be able to share their cuteness with the world.
How do we tell them apart?
Well, thankfully, God blessed Piper Lee with a stork bite/angel kiss/whatever you want to call it over her right eye (on the left if you're looking at her). Problem solved! No nametags, no tattoos, no toenail polish. Woo hoooo! The pediatrician told us it would fade soon enough, but for right now, that's what we have.
So...now...GIRLS ONLY from here on out.
Oh my word.....breastfeeding!! So...I really really do like it. I didn't think I would. It's a lot of fun and suuuuuch a precious time. Right now, I'm giving them breastmilk. If I need to go to formula because it just gets too crazy, I'll do it in a heartbeat. And for some reason, the Lord saw fit to bless me with a cow's anatomy, apparently, so it's what I'm doing for now. But, mighty my goodness...so, the first two days, it was just the colostrum...slow and steady. But, on the third day, WHAAAAAAAAT...I woke up to a different body. It was incredible. I was like, "Hey hey...niiiice." But then, "OUCH!" Yeah. So...the lactation nurse came in to check on me every day and she brought a pump and one day, we had just fed Piper Lee 2.5 oz. from a bottle and the nursery people didn't believe us. Because, how had a first-time mom produced that much on the third day. The lactation nurse didn't believe us either. She looked at me and we showed her what was in the fridge and she said, "I'm so sorry...obviously, this doesn't happen very often. That's incredible." It is also the reason the girls have gained so much weight. Yay for big ones! So, basically, I could feed a small country. You should see the fridge. I pump into bags and store those in the fridge and we warm up bottles. I alternate that with breastfeeding to give the gals up top a rest. I have a feeling I'll be going to just bottles in the near future. It's been real...it's been fun...but gosh, who knew little critters with no teeth could make you want to punch your momma. But aside from that, free food, free weight loss...everybody wins.
I was a little sad that Dr. Mac wasn't the one who delivered the girls. He has been the most amazing doctor, aside from my dad, of course. :) He called me a few days after we got home to check on me and to tell me he had read Dr. North's report and was tickled to death with how well everything went and he wished he could have been there. And he said he was praying for us. He is fabulous and has been such a blessing to us. I'll be seeing him at my 6-week check-up, so I'll definitely take the girls to meet him. Not an easy task with two, but I have to have a picture of the twins with him, so it must be done.
Anyways. Sorry for the novel. It took me about a week to finish this post. I've had about an hour each day to do anything computer-related. I'll try to update with pictures when I can.
Oh, and Jamee...my sister got me a Belly Bandit (like the Taut) for Christmas...LOVE. IT.