River and Riley are three weeks old today! (Gestational age 32 weeks). Riv is growing like crazy, already 3 lbs 3 1/2 oz. By the end of the week they will let us bring in preemie onesies for him to wear! They moved his feeding tube to his nose because the little stinker kept yanking it out of his mouth. But in 2 weeks they both will start weening off their feeding tubes and gradually easing into bottle feeding. Yay! Riley is also doing well, she's still 2 lbs 6 oz- but we found out because of her bubble CPAP and her small size she is burning more calories than her bro, therefore not gaining as quickly. So I'm going to only kangaroo her once a day this week (as taking her out burns calories) to try and help her grow. But she is definitely doing better... No more dropping her heart rate and she is much more alert and responsive. One more week down... around 6 to go....
Fifteen years ago I had a breast reduction. I had these giant, saggy boobs that swayed with the wind and were not at all attractive. Or convenient. Finding shirts and bathing suits that fit right was nearly impossible and these boulders were killing my back on a daily basis. I was on the chubby side, but no amount of weight loss brought those suckers down even a smidge. My bra size varied between DD and DDD and my bathing suits were an E cup!
At 16 I had learned about breast reduction and really wanted it. I convinced my mom by marching into her room one night and putting different objects under a breast (because it would just stay there without me having to hold it). And we're not talking about a pencil. My demonstration included a purse, a ceramic statue and a large Kaboodle. **For those of you who are too young to know what those are:
So my parents took me for a consultation but I left scared to death at the thought that they'd have to remove my nipples. Of course they'd be putting them back, but to a 16 year old in my mind I was thinking all kinds of weird stuff. Particularly I was convinced the surgeons would accidentally drop my nipple on the floor and lose it, therefore having to replace it with a pencil eraser. What?? I was 16! So I decided to hold off a few years. By age 20 I was sick of my back hurting so I was ready for the reduction. Which ultimately was the best decision I could have made. Recovery was cake and I've had C cups ever since.
The one stipulation with that surgery was that I wouldn't be able to ever breast feed because they completely severed my milk ducts. And honestly my whole life I've been okay with that. Especially finding out I was having twins. Needing all the help I can get, this way my husband and grandparents could help with feeding. Plus with so many people saying what a nightmare breastfeeding can be, I felt like it was really the best case scenario. My OBGYN told me that I would get engorged and would have to bind my chest and not have any stimulation there for a few days, which could get painful so I was prepared for the worst.
Pan to a few days after giving birth. I noticed there was a little stain on my chest but I assumed it was from water I was drinking. But when I saw another stank later that night on the other side of my chest directly where my nipple is I started thinking something must be going on. This happened a few more times back and forth between sides so I knew I had to talk to someone to find out what I should do, if there was anything.
We talked to a lactation consultant at the hospital who was surprised the surgeons told me I could never breastfeed. That now-a-days they are careful with that surgery not to mess up the milk ducts, but 15 years ago they were hacking away. She said it would have been better had I started right away, but it was not too late and they rent hospital grade breast pumps downstairs in the gift shop. We were leaving for the afternoon but would be back later that night and said we would talk to another consultant to find out what exactly I needed to do. When my husband went down to get the breast pump there was a super helpful NICU nurse in the gift shop who overheard him talking to the cashier. She offered to come upstairs and talk to me and help me get set up. She reiterated the fact that I was behind the eight ball with getting started on breast-feeding but that was not too late. She said that it would probably take a solid week a pumping before I could even get anything and that would be every two hours round-the-clock. I was feeling very emotional about the whole thing because here I thought I could never do it and was perfectly okay with that so thinking there was some kind of opportunity really messed with my head. There was already so much going on with my ordeal in the hospital and coming to the NICU every day to see your babies, adding this additional challenge seem like a daunting task. Especially knowing that for a week I'd be pumping up nothing. The nurse sat down with me and showed me all the parts to the pump and how to use it. It was pretty complex but I figured I'd get the hang of it. I got started and couldn't believe my eyes when within a few minutes there was white stuff coming out! My sweet husband I was acting like it was the first snow of Christmas! He was so excited and encouraging and excitedly kept saying, "omg that's amazing! you're amazing! Is there nothing you can't do?!?" LOL. I got around a little less than a half ounce out of both boobs, which I guess wasn't so bad considering nothing should've come out. They said they would mix it with the donor breast milk the babies were getting in their feeding tubes. If ever there were a few drops, they would just swab it and use it for oral care which has been known to give them antibodies and still be of value even if it's a trivial amount. It wasn't all that fun and was pretty uncomfortable and knowing I'd have to keep this up regularly amidst all this other stuff going on seems exhausting, but my husband's support and enthusiasm was enough to get me on board. And because it will help the babies.
Flash to a week later and things didn't quite work out as good as I'd hoped. My body apparently works the opposite of what it should. The more I pumped, the less I got until eventually I was coughing up dust. And my nips were killing me! I finally couldn't take it anymore. It was not only affecting me physically, it was wreaking havoc on my emotions. Now I know I should be grateful I was even able to provide a little bit, but when you see moms walking into the NICU with 4 full bottles it really plays on your ego. Plus I'm chock full of a ton of other emotions with the situation in general, postpartum hormones and my body healing from the double whammy delivery that this has been a bit too much to deal with at once.
So I stopped for a day and then woke up feeling guilty and tried again. Well wouldn't you know something finally came out. Granted it wasn't a ton, but it was at least something again. It took a few times of feeling determined and trying it throughout the day, but the same thing happens. After the first time it gets less and less to the point where nothing comes out. So I've just accepted it. It wasn't supposed to happen at all and I need to just get over the competitiveness that runs through my veins and just pump once a day to get the little bit out and at least they are getting a tad of my milk mixed with the donor milk. It's the best I can do and at least it's something. I wish I could do more, but it is what it is. I'll probably keep this up while they are in the NICU and then call it quits. But at least I gave it a shot!
So the babies have been here for 10 days already. It doesn't seem like it's been that long, but then again that may be because the days run together.
I stayed in the hospital for 3 nights after they were born. The day following my c-section I still had my epidural in, so anytime I started to feel pain I would press the magic button and it helped. They made me get up and walk a bit that day, but not a whole lot. I was at least able to walk to the bathroom but not without assistance. My hubby would help me out of bed (which was the hardest part) and I walked a bit like Frankenstein's monster. Who knew you used so many core muscles when walking?! Around noon I was finally allowed to eat after 36 hours. We took a few trips to the NICU to see the babies and I got to hold River for the first time.
And Daddy got to Kangaroo Riley! (They'd what they call skin-to-skin contact here).
Since they were so little, we could only Kangaroo each of them once a day. Which is SO hard because I want to hold them all the time. I feel like if I couldn't keep them inside me I want to at least have them in my arms. I know someday soon that will change, but it's not easy having to wait.
Two days after they were born, my blood pressure started going up. The nurses come in and check it every 4 hours, and each time it was higher. I am usually around 118/60 even up until I gave birth, but I was steadily going to the 120s, 130s, 140s.... and by Wednesday got up to 165/108. That freaked me out a bit, especially since the last once came right after kangaroo time and I was super relaxed. The doctor ordered labs for me to check for pre-eclampsia so they had to put a catheter in to get a pure urine sample and drew blood. At that point my husband left work and came back to hospital. He had gone back to work the day before because our line of thinking was it would be better for him to take a week off once the babies came home. But apparently his work people thought it was too soon and his boss told him he should take time to be with his family. (Which of course he wanted to do, he just was nervous about taking too much time) but his work was super understanding. So he came back and asked to take time off for thurs, fri and Monday (my birthday) which worked out because his parents were on their way down from upstate NY to spend time with us. Plus I really needed him that first week to get around, as I was still in a lot of pain.
All the tests came back negative for pre-eclampsia but I did have postpartum hypertension. We thought for sure they were going to make me stay another night but several doctors said there was nothing the could do. That this is common, especially after my body going through so much trauma, and it could stay that was for the next 6 weeks. They told me to come back to the hospital if it goes back up to over 160 (which it was back in the 150s at the time). So... As long as the doctors felt confident, I was okay with that. It was a double-edged sword though. All week I had desperately wanted out of there but now that the twins were here I didn't want to leave.
We stayed in the NICU until 9pm and then was discharged. It was a tough ride home. I really hadn't had time to process everything that I'd been through. When we got home, I walked in and the moment I saw the nursery it opened the flood gates. It never occurred to me when I left home 11 days prior that I'd be coming home not pregnant anymore and without the twins. I regained composure and went to my room to change and another wave of emotion came over me when I saw the bassinet. My hubby held me and soon the tears stopped. I never expected to feel like that.
Shortly after my inlaws arrived so I really never had a chance to relax and unwind from such a tumultuous few weeks. (They are still here and leaving tomorrow). Plus we've had visitors coming to see them at the hospital, so it feels like it's been nonstop.
The twins are doing amazing! They have no health problems thus far and growing stronger each day. They are 12 days old, but technically they are 30 week fetuses. They both were on and off the bilirubin lights for a week, but Dr said it happens and they are both off now. And...they are both completely IV free!!! Go babies, go! The Drs and nurses are really impressed with how strong they are. Only Riley has her bubble CPAP on to pump up her lungs, but is breathing regular air. They both get dips in their heart rates (which is terrifying) but we're told as long as they keep bringing it right back up like they have been it's okay, it's common with preemies. They both had a skin reaction to the patch that was over their IV and poor River had a wound on his foot from it, but it healed quickly. They may just have lots of allergies like mommy and daddy, especially since they sneeze a lot. They lost weight in the beginning, which is normal. River got down to 2 lbs 9 oz and poor little Riley was at 1 lb 14 oz. They are now both about an oz above their birth weight. The best feeling was when I got to kangaroo them both at the same time! It felt like home. I let my hubby have the honor of doing it the next night and he was in heaven as I had been. Their very first feeding (which is through a tiny tube down their throats to their bellies) started at 2cc of breast milk. They are now maxed out at 24cc for River and 16 for Riley (it goes according to their size) and they are doing well! They won't up the feeds again until they grow a bit more. The nurses told me they actually get more than regular babies because they need to grow faster. River is apparently way ahead developmentally so they will be moving him to a less critical section of the NICU when a spot opens. Which is awesome, but sucky that they'll be in separate pods for a while. He is sucking on pacifiers and showing so much personality, the nurses swoon over him. As for Riley, she is blowing the nurses away because she is flipping herself over from her front to her back. These kids are crazy tough!
Now that I'm feeling much better (it was a torturous first week dealing with the c-section and getting in and out of bed was a nightmare) I am getting into a routine. Apparently they tell you not to drive for a month, but I don't play by the rules so I was back to driving 9 days after the surgery and am doing just fine with it. I can walk normally and don't need to sit every few minutes like the first week. I can finally cough and laugh again without bursting into tears from the pain. Occasionally I'll turn the wrong way and wince, and I have to gingerly get in and out of bed, but other than that I'm ok. Scar is still swollen but I suspect it will be for a while. I'm down 20 pounds since I had the twins, but since I gained 45 I have a ways to go. I'm sweating buckets every night soaking through my pajamas nearly drowning my hubby, but from what I've read that is normal during postpartum due to hormones and the body shedding water weight. Hope it doesn't last long, it's gross!
I have to say, the feelings that have come with becoming a mother are like nothing I've ever felt before. I feel so cliche saying this, but I finally get what everyone says about the love for your kids. I always wondered how it compared to that of the love for your husband, but it's not the same. It's a different kind of love that envelopes you from head to toe and gushes out every pore. At times it is overwhelming and when I'm away from them I feel constantly at the brink of tears, emotions brimming like a bubbling cauldron. Of course it has a lot to do with the fact that my babies are in the NICU and I have to leave them every day and can't hold them whenever I want. My hubby worries I'm at risk for postpartum depression with all this, which is true, but I'm determined not to let that happen. And I'm not feeling depressed, just emotional. Which I'm cutting myself a break because realistically I've been through a whole hell of a lot in a few weeks.
But the love I feel doesn't take away from the love I have for my husband. In fact, as head over heels as I was with him before, that feeling has far surpassed anything I could have ever imagined. He's been so incredibly amazing with his love and support through this whole ordeal... The way the love pours out of him when he looks at our babies... How protective he's been over us... It has brought things to a new level I never dreamed possible. I feel so unbelievably lucky to have all this love in my life. <3
I'm trying to adjust to a routine for now. This past week I was driving again so I would come to the hospital around 1230 and stay until 630 (the NICU closes from 630-730 every night for shift change) then hung out downstairs til 730 and my husband would meet me then for a few hours. As much as I have a need to be here as long as I can for the babies, I realized that's just too much to maintain. As hard as it is, I know I need to take a break to run errands, get the baby stuff organized at the house, and take some time for myself. Which really is the hardest thing to do... It makes me feel guilty, like I'm putting something before the twins. I worry they'll think I abandoned them. But I think that's more of my own guilt I'm projecting on to them. I've got to come to terms with the notion that Mommy has to take care of herself to be stronger for the kids. Plus we need to make sure the hubs and I do something romantic at least once a week; some time to connect. So I'm working on it!
Here are some pics from the past 10 days...
What a difference 10 days make... Top pics are from when they were born, bottom is now:
I had planned for a long time when I turned 35 I'd have a big 80s party. Then I got pregnant and figured I'd have to find something a bit more subdued, but still special, to do instead. Now here it is, the day I turn the big 3-5 and all I want is to be with my babies. What an incredible shift in thinking. The best gift I could have ever received is River and Riley (plus my wonderful husband and all the amazing support from family & friends). This birthday IS special because it's the first one I'm a mommy. And poor G is now going to spend his years in a house full of Scorpios! Ha! :-D
Whew... well a lot sure has happened since my last post. You're not going to believe this. It's all so surreal I still can't believe it... So just like I thought, exactly 72 hours later I went into labor again. I had been feeling pressure in my lower back earlier in the night, and I let the nurse know because now I was pretty much an expert as to recognizing the signs since this was now the third time it was happening. My husband and I went to sleep around 1am and within a half hour I jolted awake. The pressure had intensified and I knew we were in for another sleepless night, the third one of the week. The nurse told me to get her immediately if I felt any changes so I did. She quickly put the monitors on my belly to watch the babies' heart rates and keep track of my contractions. I could see every time I felt one come on the "toco" numbers on the screen would go up, a little more each time. I tried to remember to take deep breaths and my hubby helped in trying to keep me calm and relaxed. He really was an amazing coach, especially considering we had just looked up tips and techniques the night before. Anytime a contraction would come on he would talk softly, remind me to breathe deep and say things like, "your breathing is a pathway through the pain" and as crazy as it sounds, it really did help. Not that it stopped the pain, but his voice definitely soothed me. As the hours progressed, so did the strength and time between my contractions. Before long the pain became pretty intense and the contractions were two minutes apart. The doctor finally came in and checked me and I fully expected her to say I was still 3cm like last time. Much to my surprised I had moved up a notch and was at 4cm and River was sitting at +1, which means he had moved even lower. The pain was getting pretty unbearable with contractions lasting longer than the rest time between them, which was exhausting. They had given me fentenyl again, but it honestly didn't do much. Once again I was back on IVs of the pain meds and antibiotics. I was once again getting prepped to go down to L & D and feared it would be another 16 hours of having labor stopped and sitting in a room, unable to get up. With the contractions being so strong and me hurting so badly, they decided to give me Stadol- a narcotic to help with the pain. Within a few minutes I was feeling drugged up and loopy as hell. They told me it wasn't going to necessarily take away the pain, but would make the in between time more relaxing. Which is exactly what happened! I would go through the intense pain of a contraction and then in the down time my eyes would roll to the back of my head and I'd feel like I was going to zonk out. It scared the crap out of me! I don't like feeling out of control so when I would start to feel all out of it like I was going to instantly fall asleep, it would freak me out because I was afraid I was going to be unconscious or die. The nurses had left to get transport so it was just my husband and I left in the room for a few minutes and I was really out of it. The room was spinning. When the nurses came back I was telling them how I felt and they said that is exactly how you are supposed to feel on it. I definitely didn't like it. I was so out of it my nurse, who I just had a lengthy conversation with earlier in the evening about how she was going to try IVF in a few days because she couldn't get pregnant, I looked at her and said, "do you have any kids?" She laughed and said no and then I snapped back into reality for a second and realized who I said that to. I apologized and said, "I'm sorry, I remember now." Stadol is some powerful shit! They quickly wheeled me down to one of the labor rooms and the pain was getting increasingly worse. At this point I didn't care who heard me and what I looked like, it was pretty unbearable. When I got to the room there was one nurse and one anesthesiologist. Neither looked thrilled to be there because it was the night where we set the clocks back so they were working an extra hour in their already exhausting overnight shift. By this time I was death-gripping the handles of my bed with each contraction, which seemed like each one of them was rolling into the next one with barely anytime to recover in between. They had me roll over on my side and told me to lay very still in order for them to put in the epidural. This was not an easy task. But I also have heard stories of them sticking it in the wrong place because the patient was moving too much and I certainly didn't want to make matters worse. So I'd grit my teeth and do my best to bear it, letting them know when a contraction was coming on so they'd hold up a second. At times I thought I was going to tear the bed rails right off. When it got that bad all the breathing techniques pretty much went out the window, although I did try. I might get one deep breath in and out but the pain was excruciating. They started to put in the epidural and it wasn't what I had always imagined. Here I thought it was just a shot they gave you, but apparently it is something they stick in your back and it stays there. So in between contractions they were trying to insert this needle in my spine and find the "empty space" where it is supposed to go, which was no picnic. She kept asking what I was feeling and where I was feeling it, which was really hard to tell with so much going on with my body. She then told me I was going to feel shocks down my legs and sure enough I did. At that point between the agonizing contractions and being poked relentlessly with the needle, when I felt the shocks I just lost my shit and started crying my eyes out. It was just too much. They showed me the little joystick type thing and how I could press the button anytime I needed extra relief, which I could press 3 times in an hour (every 20 minutes). Relief finally came and I was able to relax for the first time in many hours.
When a doctor came down to check me a little while later, I was already 6cm. That really surprised me because I thought for sure I'd be stuck at 4cm. But, much to my chagrin the doctor said the plan was still to keep the babies in as long as possible. While I of course wanted whatever was best for the twins, I was also feeling a sense of "what are you crazy??" I mean, River was practically falling out if me! About an hour or so later my high risk doctor came in and said actually at this point because Riv was so low and my water was broken, it was more of a risk to keep him in because of potential infection. So... This was it. The babies were, without a doubt, going to be born by the end of the day. I was at once relieved, nervous, worried, excited... definitely an interesting mix of feelings. It was earlier than I ever anticipated but after all I had been through this week, I was ready. Delivery didn't even scare me because I figured at this rate if I sneezed he would fall out.
The next step was to give me pitocin to speed up the contractions, which had slowed down with the epidural. Over the next few hours the medicine said exactly what it was supposed to, bring on the contractions and it did so with a vengeance. This time my parents were in there for them and as silly as it seems I felt bad they had to see me in so much pain. I was afraid to hit the epidural button because I thought it might slow things down again, and as delivery was definitely in the forecast I didn't want to delay things any longer. But after a while the pain became yet again torturous and the nurse told me the epidural wouldn't stop the contractions because of the pitocin. So I caved and pushed the button every 20 minutes. However, after a while the epidural wasn't really doing all that much. My contractions were now only 50 seconds apart and lasting 1-2 minutes, so the pain was longer than the down time. An anesthesiologist came in and asked if I'd like something to take the edge off. I agreed as long as it didn't make me stop feeling things or my contractions to completely stop. She told me no and it was on. Only I was totally misinformed! I reached down and felt some weird mushy thing I couldn't identify.... It was my freaking leg! I couldn't feel a thing in the whole lower half of my body! What the hell, lady, that was specifically what I didn't want! Well that numbness was creeping up my body and I started feeling lightheaded and nauseous. In a matter of minutes my blood pressure crashed extremely low and the nurses came flying in. They had to give me a shot of ephedrine to get my heart rate back up and zofran to take away the nausea. Could I BE on any more drugs?? Jeez! After about a half hour the meds wore off and I could feel my extremities again.
When the doctor came in to check me I thought for sure I'd still be stuck at 6cm. But I was wrong, I had moved up to 7cm and River had moved down to +2 which was one step away from being out of me. However, the doctor still said he'd be back to check in a couple more hours. Ugh... The contractions continued seemingly forever and the hardest part was them not letting me eat ANYTHING all day. The last time I had eaten was 20 hours prior and I was starving. Their reasoning was in case I needed a c-section, but my high-risk dr told me there was only a 10% chance of that. Made more sense to me to give me at least a little bit of nourishment (other than an IV of sugar water) to keep my strength up for delivery.
Finally, the doctor came back to check again and I had my fingers crossed I had dilated more but didn't get my hopes up. Amazingly enough, I was at 9cm! Only one tiny part of my cervix was covering his head. The doc said once that opened it wouldn't be long before the baby came out since I had been in labor so much throughout the week so he decided to move me to the operating room. This was it. Show time. I looked at my husband and our eyes met. He gave me a half grin along with a quick nod and had a look in his eyes that conveyed confidence that I could do this. I returned the half grin and nod to relay back to him that I agreed, I could definitely do this. My husband has a way of giving me strength just by all his support and love. So I was ready. I wasn't afraid. Only concerned that the babies would be okay.
My parents kissed me and wished me the best and I was wheeled into the OR, with my hubby beside me dressed head to toe in a yellow paper hospital gown, booties and a face mask. This was it. Memories were about to be made that would be permanently etched in our minds and hearts forever. The biggest event of our lives.
When we arrived in the room there were about 20 people scattered about. They looked at me briefly and then went back to carrying on their conversations. I would have thought they'd talk to me, but I also heard the L & D nurses weren't all that great with bedside manner. The anesthesiologist came in and started getting me ready for delivery. She promised she wouldn't give me as much as earlier, but would make it so I was as comfortable as possible. Soon I was back to feeling pretty numb, but I could still move my legs and lift my body. The nurses scooped me up and moved me to a flat bed in the center of the room. Just then a doctor walked in and I got a little worried because it wasn't the one that had been checking me all day. While I only met that doctor earlier, it was still better than having some random stranger pop in during the 11th hour. Luckily the other doctor came in just in the knick of time. I noticed for the first time he had a pin attached to his name badge that said, "keep calm and trust the doctor." So I did.
For a second I got nervous because I wasn't feeling the contractions anymore. The doctor asked if I was and I thought maybe if I said I wasn't it would delay things more. I was so thirsty because they wouldn't let me even have water, I had cotton mouth so bad. I just wanted to get this over with so I could have some water! Just then, the doctor told me they were watching the monitors to see when I was contracting and they would tell me to push. Here we go. They had me put both hands under my legs and pull back, so I had to let go of my hubby's hand who was sitting back near my head. At that point I was on autopilot and was just doing whatever they told me. There I was, completely spread eagle and holding my legs, with at least 6 people around my bottom half. I'm pretty sure by that point I was pretty sure the entire hospital had seen my junk. A nurse called out that a contraction was coming and the doctor told me to push as hard as I could. I took a deep breath and did just that. I had let some air out in doing so and they told me to hold all my breath in next time. So I did. The way my husband describes it, I had a look of sheer determination as my face and arms turned deep red with each push. As I pushed the nurses all counted to ten. I'd push three times and then they'd have me break. I had no problems pushing and didn't even rest between. I had a job to do and wasn't going to rest until it was done. The second set of three pushes they were all telling me I was doing good. I had no idea what that technically meant but I'll take it. By the last push of that round they told me River's head was out. That was a bit nerve-wracking because I was afraid he'd choke or something! So I knew this next round I had to give it my all. Before I could think about it the next round was here. I pushed with all my might and they were coaching me to keep going. And by the last push in that round, I let out a grunt and he was out. My husband and I both asked if he was ok because we didn't hear anything, but then suddenly we heard the tiniest squeaks and we both immediately started crying. It was the most amazing, special experience I think we have ever, and will ever go through and are eternally a million times closer because we shared it. They brought River over to be weighed and asked daddy if he wanted to take pictures. He jumped up and followed and I heard him say, "I love you so much, River, and my heart melted. But it was back to business.
The doctors said Riley's head had shifted downward and was in position to be born. I was more ready than ever and relieved she cooperated. Within an instant the look on my doctors face changed and I could see a grimace in his eyes behind his mask. They were pushing on my belly like crazy and kept checking with an ultrasound. My doctor said to the other one, "what do you feel" and he said "Feet. Two feet, that's all I got. It's not gonna work." My heart sank as he said the words I feared most. "We're going to have to do an emergency C-section." Riley had flipped around and was breech. I instantly started crying and asked if they could keep trying. They said they tried but with her turned all the way around there was no way to flip her in time, as my cervix was closing. It was already at 6cm. I was sobbing uncontrollably as they told me if we tried to get her out vaginally she wouldn't make it. I looked up at my husband with terror in my eyes and he said, "you can do this baby. It will be okay." What choice did I have? He then said softly, "you are saving her life." And I continued to sob as they quickly prepped me for surgery.
It's one thing when you are undergoing any other surgery where they knock you out and get things ready. But this was different. I had already seen the Dexter-like table of sharp instruments and I knew what they were about to do to me. The thought of being conscious while they cut me open and pulled out my insides terrified me more than I've ever been. I begged them to knock me out but they couldn't. The anesthesiologists were super sweet and trying to calm me down along with my husband. Through the fear I felt embarrassed that I had just gone from being brave and strong to a hysterical mess in a matter of minutes. I thought they would let me know they were starting but in the midst of the chaos I started to feel tugging and pulling, which made me panic even more. They had numbed me up completely, but I could still feel them working on me, just no pain. But I did feel warmth and they told me it was water. (Which G later told me it was blood but the doctor probably didn't want to freak me out more). The whole time I was incoherently babbling for them to please stop over and over again saying "I don't want to die." Before long I remember them telling me to listen for a minute and I could hear the faint squeaks coming from Riley. She was out. After that I checked out. I wasn't unconscious but I think once she was out they maxed out my drugs.
The next thing I remember is laying there with my eyes open and coming into focus. For some crazy reason I had been in a half-dream state and was visualizing the end of Grease where they were racing. Lord knows where the hell that came from. I had already missed 3 full nights of sleep all week, with no naps to even attempt to catch up, and in that time had 40 hours of painful, exhausting labor along with a smorgasbord of drugs and a traumatic ending to it all. I was physically, mentally and emotionally done. As my eyes came into focus I could see the blue curtain in front of me and my brain was trying to figure out what it was. At first I thought it was some kind of water and I was floating. I even wondered if I had died. In a few moments I recognized that it was the curtain and I was still in surgery. I looked to my left and my husband was gone (he went up to the NICU with the babies), and most of the people who had been there during delivery were gone as well. I still felt tugging and realized they were sewing me up. Whoever was doing, they were chit-chatting about shopping just as casual as could be. It took a minute and a lot of focus, but I got some words out. "Are the babies okay? Am I okay?" I got a one word answer, "yes," and that was it. I felt so alone. I asked if they made sure to save one of the placentas (to get the encapsulation done as planned) and they said there was only one. I was confused. "No... There was two." They said the placentas had somehow fused together. What?? I had never heard of that with fraternal twins. Maybe this was why Riley had started not growing as quickly as River. I was baffled as to how with all the ultrasounds no one saw this. And what did it mean??
The tears began rolling down my face and the dark thoughts rolled in. I felt like I was scarred for life from the experience and I would never be the same. Like I lost a part of me in that room. It was not a good feeling.
They wrapped up and brought me out to meet my husband in a recovery room. I couldn't look at him and the tears were still flowing. As soon as the nurse left I immediately started spilling all my dark thoughts. I felt like something was wrong with the babies. That I lost my soul in the delivery room. That I had PTSD and needed help. It was bad. My husband stepped out and I heard him talking to the nurse about having someone talk to me about postpartum depression. He wanted to get me any help I needed. It was in that moment I started snapping out of it. It's not like me to be so doom and gloom. I'm tough. A fighter. When adversity comes, I kick it right in the ass. When I'm told I can't do something, I make sure I do it tenfold. I think it was going into a traumatic experience all drugged up. When I came out of it, still dosed up I was in a bad place. But as the drugs wore off I came to my senses and talked myself out of the black hole I had fallen into. Before long, I had shaken off all the negativity and was able to think clearly again.
After an hour I was brought up to the NICU with my husband to see the babies. It was pretty shocking. We both started crying when we saw them. They were alarmingly small (River was 2 lbs 11 oz and Riley was 2 lbs 2 oz). So frail and fragile with wires and bandages and IVs all over them. It was frightening. I know we were both terrified they wouldn't make it.
After a few minutes they brought me to my room (a new one on a different floor) and helped into bed. The pain hadn't hit me yet, but I also still had my epidural button I could press every 20 minutes. And as time passed and the numbness wore off, I certainly needed it. My parents were still there and it was the first time I had seen them since before delivery. They stayed a while and then headed back to stay at my house. They really were great this whole week coming out at the butt-crack of dawn multiple times when I was in labor and keeping me company while the Hubs was working. I am lucky enough to have a great support system.
Having been up almost 24 hours, we were exhausted. Before going to sleep my husband came over and knelt at my bedside. He stroked my hair and told me how much he loved me. With tears in his eyes he got all choked up and thanked me for going through all I had to bring our babies into this world. It was a precious moment I will treasure for all time. I told him that even if the doctors would have said from the start that Riley was going to be born via C-section I still would have opted to go through all I had to have River vaginally. In a way I felt it was a right of passage. Birthing him was so beautiful and was truly the most special experience between my husband and I, one I wouldn't trade for the world. And while the trauma of the emergency C-section to get Riley was terrible, I feel lucky I at least had the chance to have one of them in a peaceful way.
So... I'm a Mommy now. Way sooner than I ever imagined. I was 28.6 weeks. Skipped all but two weeks of my third trimester. When I had said I hoped to be out before my birthday (Nov. 11) I didn't mean at the expense of my babies. While I was going stir crazy and afraid I'd be stuck in the hospital for weeks on end, I would have done anything to keep the growing in me. So that they'd be big and healthy and we could take them home right after. I had been so healthy throughout my pregnancy with so much energy, I never saw this coming. But they are here now and if they are anything like mommy and daddy they will be fighters. And oh boy, they are Scorpios just like Mommy! Poor Daddy! LOL. From what we are told they are in good health, they just need to grow. But that means they'll be in the NICU for at least two months. Which means that will be my life for the next two months, and I'm okay with that. Already my mommy instincts have kicked in and I'm ready to do anything it takes to get them home safely. Our wish is that they are home for Christmas or at least New Years. But it's a waiting game. And wait is what we will do. Anything for those babies. Our family...
Last belly shot. 28 1/2 weeks
Hubby kissing my belly goodbye before going into delivery