March 7, 2017

Luke & Addie's birth story

I can’t believe I didn’t write out the twins’ birth story last year. I kept wanting to, and I did start the story but never finished it. I could use the excuse of having twins to care for (and believe me, I was in a fog for at least the first 6 months), but the real reason is that it was just so hard to process it all. The intensity of what happened during labor and birth, the emotions, the wonderful impact becoming a mother has had on my heart and my life… it was all too much. Fourteen months in, I think I may have found the words. Or at least some words. And I want to get all the details down before I start forgetting.


On Thursday afternoon, I was busy getting things done around the house and my water broke in a not-so-obvious way while I was going to the bathroom. I called Michael and said, “I think my water broke but I’m not sure… but if it did I’m pretty sure I need to call the doctor” (I had tested positive for group B strep and knew there was a risk of infection once my water broke). I called the doctor and they said I could come in and confirm my water had broken, or I could just go into the hospital. It seemed so weird to go in when I wasn’t yet having contractions, but I knew we needed to go. At that point I was positive it was my water broken. I remember feeling frazzled but calm trying to grab my toiletries for my hospital bag and putting fresh sheets on the bed since I’d just washed all of those. What an odd feeling to know we were leaving the house for the last time of it only being the two of us.

I started crying on the way to the hospital just feeling the weight of all we were about to go through - I was terrified but more so excited. I just couldn’t wait to meet these two babies!

We got to the hospital and had to wait in the waiting room. Remember, I wasn’t having any contractions yet and felt completely normal (other than having the weight of 2 bowling balls attached to my torso). Then we went into the hospital room and they started hooking me up to monitors which I found terribly itchy and uncomfortable. I wanted to walk around and see if labor would progress naturally, but the monitors made me feel like I was chained to the bed like an invalid, while feeling totally fine. I really wished I hadn’t have had to wear those, or that I had the gumption to request to take them off to walk around for a bit. Of course there was more waiting and I think we were there for a few hours before we even saw the doctor. Baby A (Luke) was head down so we were still on track to go for a vaginal birth... however, still no contractions were happening so at 9pm they started the Pitocin to induce labor. My family, who had driven down from Virginia, arrived somewhere in there and came up to visit in pairs, as did my friend Jen who was freaking out more than I was which was hilarious. Later on in the night contractions still hadn’t started so we decided to get some sleep while we still could.

I think I slept for around an hour and a half before I woke up to contractions that felt like strong menstrual cramps around 12:30 or 1am, and I was pretty much awake from that point on. The contractions kept getting stronger and I started thinking I'm probably getting the epidural. I had wanted to try not to, but the Pitocin’s sharp contractions were SO intense. At some point my doctor checked me and said I was 6 cm dilated. I asked if it would slow down labor to do the epidural, and he said if I was going to do it at all I should do it now. I decided to go for it, and I was so glad I did. Immediate relief.

The next thing I knew, at around 6am they said I was 10 cm and it was time to push! This was where it started getting really hard. I pushed with everything I had, but Luke's head still wasn't coming down. When I got to a point where I was really feeling discouraged, Michael suggested having my mom come up for moral support. I never would have thought I'd have her in the room with me, but at that point it just sounded like a really good idea. I'm so glad I had her come in and encourage me! I kept pushing for what seemed like forever, only to find out we were hardly making progress because Luke's head was face up instead of face down. His forehead was just hitting my pelvic bone. As I pushed, the doctor tried to turn his head, but Addie was lying on top of him, pretty much pinning him in that position. Since I had already been pushing for over 2 hours, my doctor suggested that we think about doing a c-section. The thought of doing a c-section at that point was almost relieving. We prayed about it, I pushed a few more times, and then we decided a c-section was what we needed to do.

As soon as we gave the word, everything went on high speed. The anesthesiologist was telling me what to expect in the surgery, nurses were getting me prepped and the next thing I knew I was being wheeled into the OR. It was all really surreal. I have no clue why, but I was so nervous about feeling the surgery. I didn't think I would be that nervous about a c-section but when the time came my nerves were wired. The surgical team was so great - everyone talked me through it all and they were so assuring, especially when Michael was out of the room getting the scrubs on. The doctor walked in and said, “Well, are you ready to meet your daughter?” and I lost it (I guess he thought Addie might be pulled out first?). I don’t know if the drugs were already kicking in but just hearing the word “daughter” made it real. In a matter of minutes I was about to have a daughter and a son. When Michael came in I was so emotional and never felt that nervous about something in my life. I asked him to pray with me to calm me down, and that put me in tears (again) as well as all of the nurses. I’m so thankful God prompted us to pray throughout the entire process. To know the experience was covered in prayer and that God was with us through it all overshadows any of the bad parts. God is God regardless of the circumstances, and He was there with us in that operating room.

Once they started the surgery it was pretty quick - Luke came out first and as soon as I heard his loud cry I started bawling. They brought him around and I saw his little body and his dark hair and it was the most incredible thing. Soon after they pulled out Addie. She didn't cry right away, and I was saying, "I don't hear her crying - why isn't she crying?" (I was definitely freaking out). A moment later she let out her first cry. She was just a bit stunned! Then they brought her around for me to see and I remember exclaiming at how beautiful she was. Michael was able to go into the other room and meet them and hold them. I'm so glad one of us was able to do that.

The twins and their daddy! Born Friday, January 8, 2016

Luke David, 5 lbs. 10 oz.

Adeline Jane, 5 lbs. 9 oz.

After that they started trying to sew me back together, and all of the sudden I felt pain on my insides on the left, like the drugs weren't working anymore. It was so scary and I was acting pretty hysterical, so they started pumping me with more drugs and gave me laughing gas to calm me down. After that point I was pretty loopy and everything was a fog. I don't quite understand this part but this is what I was told - because my uterus had gotten so stretched carrying twins, there were a lot of blood clots lining my uterus that wouldn't come out and were preventing it from shrinking back down like it was supposed to. So they had to pull those blood clots out. Thankfully I don't really remember much from that part, but I do remember it hurting every time they pressed on my belly. After they finally got me stabilized, they brought the twins in and I got to hold them for the first time, but I was still pretty groggy. I remember trying my hardest to feel it and really soak in the moment but feeling incapable of being fully there. Such a weird feeling. We finally were able to go into our recovery room and I held those babies close on my chest and it felt so good to have some time with them just by ourselves. Soon after that our families got to come in and meet them. I was completely overwhelmed by the number of people and really wish I could have enjoyed that part more. I just felt so exhausted and drugged and like I could barely process what was happening.

The next day I still felt pretty terrible, and they checked my blood levels and I was really low - I was supposed to have 11 or 12 units of blood and I had 5.2. So they had to give me 3 units via blood transfusion. That night I felt a lot better and started to regain my energy and strength. Those first 48 hours after delivery I felt so terrible and weak and I remember wondering how in the world I would be able to care for these babies. The human body is an amazing thing and it heals so much faster than you think it would. I felt worlds different on day 5 when I finally went home.

Although the twins were in in our room with us the first few days, they both ended up needing to go to the NICU for monitoring. Addie stayed 2 nights and Luke stayed 8 nights. At the time it was so hard to have them be there and not have a normal coming home experience, but we got through it. Once they were home with us it just didn’t matter. Yes, our birth story was complicated and not how we pictured, and to be honest pretty traumatic for me, but does birth ever really go as planned? Our babies were healthy, I was healthy, and there’s nothing more we could ask for than that. They are the greatest gifts we've ever been given and I'm so, so thankful for them every day. They have changed our lives forever and we are honored to be their parents.

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