My absence for the bulk of last week was not intentional. Well…sort of. I guess it was all intentional in the end.
On Tuesday, January 15, I woke up knowing something was going to happen. I made sure before I left that things were in order…kitchen under control, bag packed, dog medicated etc. I didn’t know what was going to happen, I just had a feeling. I had my twice weekly biophysical profile and one of the babies did not pass fully. It wasn’t a big thing, really, that she didn’t pass on. It was just that it required an additional test–a non-stress-test–that is administered in labor and delivery.
When I got up there, I was placed in triage and they attempted to place the monitors on my belly to get the babies. The struggle to keep these kids on monitors was no secret to me and eventaully they had to lie me flat on my back. For the record–lying flat on your back at 36 weeks pregnant–twins or otherwise–is pretty damn uncomfortable. As they waited for the requisite 20 minutes on the monitors to pass, they took my blood pressure. The damn thing spiked like crazy. 190-something over 90-something, 180-something over 90-something…it wouldn’t drop. We eventually thought it was me laying on my back and tested that theory. It went down. Despite this, they had to monitor me further and started an IV as it was likely that they were going to have to give me blood pressure meds.
After the IV was started, the monitoring resumed and eventually we all passed the NST. I got up to use the bathroom and when I came back they tested my blood pressure again–sitting this time–to make sure it stabalized. Not so fast! It spiked again. The next 20 minutes or so were a whirlwind. At one point they gave me blood pressure meds. Then I was told that I was going to have a c-section that night…the girls were better off out than in.
Now, I had been reading about c-sections as it was an almost certainty the way the girls were positioned that I was having one. But I hadn’t mentally come to terms with it yet. In the flurry of activity between that moment and them wheeling me into the OR, I got EXTREMELY nervous. I asked the anesthesiologist about a million questions, which he was nice enough to indulge me on…even the repeat ones. In the OR, I made sure that they knew when I could feel something. I was terrified of feeling the whole thing. Once they let The Mister in, in his classy scrubs, I felt autopilot take over. As he held my hand, despite wanting to be in the moment, my mind checked me out. I remember them showing me with a mirror as the babies came out.
Emma Anne was born at 10:10 pm, weighing 5 pounds 14 ounces at 18 inches long.
Eleanor Idalie was born at 10:11 pm, weighing 5 pounds 10 ounces at 19 inches long.
After all of this time, my girls were here…I was a mother.
I saw some of it. They offered me some drug when they were out with the warning that I might forget the birth experience. I declined it. And then eventually I was stitched up, rolled onto a gurney and rolled into recovery. Emma was moved to the special care nursery for some observation. Eleanor was moved to NICU as she was breathing rapidly. I was able to see them both before they left, but Eleanor was in an incubator type transport.
My blood pressures remained high. I had to be placed on a 24 hour IV drip of magnesium sulfate to make sure I didn’t stroke out or have seizures. They tried various blood pressure medications to bring it down to safe levels, finally suceeding somewhat. But because of this, I wasn’t able to go to the postpartum unit. I had to stay in labor and delivery for 24 hours. This wouldn’t be horrible except labor and delivery nurses–who are great for labor and delivery–are not as skilled in mother baby care. When Emma was brought to me around 2 am, I tried to get her to breastfeed but the whole thing was kind of a mess. I was out of it. She was out of it. The labor and delivery people were trying to be helpful, but usually only saw babies for an hour after they were born and nothing more.
Because I was on the magnesium and had a catheter in, I wasn’t allowed to get out of bed for 24 hours. This means I couldn’t go see Ellie in the NICU. I sent The Mister up several times to see her and he brought me back pictures and videos. This girl was a fighter, that much was clear. She was alert and active and ready to take on the world…once her breathing stabalized.
Emma was a fighter too, but she’s also a thinker. I see her staring at me for what seems like hours at a time, trying to figure me out. At this rate, she’ll probably figure me out before I figure me out. Long before. She’s also a bit fussy and that gives my mom a chance to tell me how I used to fuss at that age.
Two tiny babies. Major changes. I was so excited to see Brooklyn and the kitties when we got home, but I was really nervous that they’d flip out. When we took the car seats out of the car, Brooklyn didn’t think anything. When we took the bundled up babies out of the carseats, I think she thought they were just stuffed animals. But when one of them made a noise, her head cocked to the side and was immediately intrigued. Spencer came around and watched. Lucy made an appearance. Pretty soon, it was clear that Lucy and Brooklyn were going to watch me and make sure I was being a good mom. Brooklyn will often lean over the edge of the pack and play to see if the babies are alright. If one is crying, she investigates. If I’m feeding one in the nursery, she’s in there with me. Lucy is often walking over to sniff the babies and make sure they’re thriving. Spencer…well, Spencer took a great nap with me yesterday and seems happy just to have me home.
The Mister and I are working out schedules. He gets three weeks off of work, but five days of that was taken up at the hospital. He’s proving to be a great dad. I try to not nag him as much as possible–it’s in my nature to be a perfectionist. And he tries to make sure that I’m resting. I did just have major surgery, after all.
It’s a long road ahead of us. I have no misconceptions about how hard it is going to be. But I also know that we can do it. I’m working on checking my emotions and my hormones as much as possible. I had one panic attack in the hospital that I think shook me pretty hard. I was also under the misconception that my milk would come in right away and breastfeeding would be easy. With two babies, several medical interventions and premature mouths, breastfeeding isn’t established and we have to supplement with formula–something I was NOT prepared for at all. But I need to learn to appreciate what we have and what we can do. It’s a good lesson for me…one in many that I’ve experienced in the past week alone.
Thank you all for your well wishes and love. These girls have no idea the love they find themselves wrapped in from around the world. They also have no idea how our trials and errors are going to be broadcast for the world to read…and hopefully enjoy.