Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On the Day You Were Born (Part 1)

People say I need to write out my birth story before I forget it. I may have already forgotten parts since you were born 3 weeks ago and I haven't gotten a lot of sleep since then. But, here goes.

We have to start a little before the day you were born. At the beginning of my pregnancy, before I even knew you were twins, we knew my due date was May 21, 2012. Then when we found out you were twins, the doctor said you would probably be about 3 weeks early, so we went with May 1 as the due date. After a month or two of that, all of the sudden, he said you would probably be about 4 weeks early. We were surprised, but started thinking and telling people your due date would be April 21. I mean, wouldn't you think looking at these that you were squished enough to warrant early release? Kate is on the right and that is Pippa on the left with her own leg folded in front of her. There is some debate if that is actually your leg or your sister's, but that is what the ultrasound tech told us.

Daddy kept wondering if you would hold out until May to be born. He even asked the doctor,  who gave him a funny look and then explained that this conversation probably wasn't even necessary because you would probably be early, but that we would cross that bridge when we came to it. So, I got very used to the idea that you would be here on or before April 21. And if you weren't, it wouldn't be long before they would just do a c-section and get you out.

Luckily, you guys seemed perfectly contented floating in your amniotic fluid and growing and feeding on the inside. I showed no signs of early labor, no cervix dilation, no discharge or any reason to think that you would be making an early appearance. So, when we went to the 35 week appointment on Thursday the 19th of April, I expected to discuss scheduling a c-section rather quickly. Daddy and I were both shocked when the doctor said that the hospital didn't let them schedule a c-section until 38 weeks, so we scheduled it for MAY 8.  THREE WEEKS AWAY!!!! Daddy and I later discussed that actually, the doctor had never said that he would take you early, just that he thought you would come early. Still, it seemed to me, the incredibly pregnant with twins lady, that I had been running a marathon and a couple of hundred feet from the finish line, they moved the finish forward another mile. It wasn't that I couldn't do it, it was just that I had mentally prepared myself of April 21, not May 8th. So, I went home that afternoon somewhat stunned and even slightly demoralized. But, I quickly decided that there were hundreds of twin parents who would give their left arm to have been able to carry their twins to 36-38 weeks and I should be thankful that you were healthy and doing well. If I had to do this another three weeks, I just needed to pause and get used to the idea and then soldier on.

Friday after work, I went with cousin Ginny to the AMOM consignment sale. I bought you a package of hats and a bottle drying rack and some pink UT outfits that I thought Daddy would like. Cousin Ginny bought a yellow elephant rattle I thought was cute. While we were waiting to check out, I saw a pink one, so we bought matching toys. I did a lot of walking and everyone was amazed I was there as big and pregnant as I was. When I got home, Daddy and I went through the box of preemie clothes we borrowed from AMOM. We marveled at how small most of them were. Saturday, with no signs of labor, I bought a ticket to the UT baseball game Daddy was attending. People seemed amazed I wanted to go, but it seemed to me that getting dropped at the door and picked up there all rock star style made it no big deal. Plus, it was better to be in Austin with Daddy than stuck in Manor by myself if I did go into labor. A lady at the game saw me and said "I hope for your sake you have that baby soon." When I told her that today was my due date and I was carrying twins, she just shook her head.

The next day, Daddy got up really early and started painting the outside of the house. I decided to go to Georgetown and visit with Grammy and Pop. There I helped Grammy with her computer and I had lunch at a little Mexican restaurant. Grammy made me stand in front of the wall to take what ended up to be the last picture of me before going into labor.

 Late that afternoon I drove home. Daddy was tired from working outdoors and he suggested we lay down to take a nap around 5pm. Well, I laid down with him and he went to sleep immediately, snoring up a storm, but I couldn't fall asleep. I was just uncomfortable, so I got up and did a load of laundry and puttered around the house. I soon began to realize that my belly was getting very taut and uncomfortable and I wondered if I was having contractions. I immediately went in to the bedroom to tell Daddy. But, he was so tired from painting and working, he was in a coma. I shook him and said I was pretty sure I was having contractions. I expected him to start and get all freaked out. Instead, he rolled over and said "brain fog." I was surprised and tried again to wake him with no avail. So, I called Aunt Jody and Uncle Mikey on Skype. I was having pretty rhythmic discomfort and tightness. I wasn't sure if these were Braxton-Hicks or the real thing, but I told them and we all wondered if this could be the start of labor.

I downloaded a contraction timing app for my phone and timed them for about 20 minutes. I was just too keyed up to sit and time them for too long. I called Grammy. She didn't think this was actually labor. I was talking to her on the phone and she didn't think I would be able to talk through them if it was truly labor.I tried to wake Daddy again and decided it was so good that he could sleep. If it wasn't labor, then I wasn't wasting his time on a false alarm. If it was, he was going to need this rest because he wouldn't be getting any more for a while. So, I cleaned a little around the house and then settled on the couch to try to rest. I fell asleep for no more than 30 minutes and woke up uncomfortable and feeling a little heavy, the way I do when my blood pressure is high. So, I got up around 2:30 and took my blood pressure. It was 158/100. I began to worry that I was developing pre-eclampsia and was going to have an early c-section after all. I alternated between puttering around the house, finishing laundry, checking the hospital bags, laying down and resting. Around 5 am I got up to have a snack and heard Daddy get up to go the bathroom. When he came out into the kitchen, I was leaning back on the counter and I said "I think I am having contractions." His eyes got as big as saucers. Now this was the reaction I had been expecting. He came over and felt my belly and how rigid and hard it was. I told him about my blood pressure and he began telling me I should call the doctor. It was about 30 minutes before he convinced me to actually call the after hours number.

Minutes later, a very tired sounding doctor, called me back. She listened as I told her I thought I was having contractions and my blood pressure was up. She told me to go into the hospital to be monitored. When I told Daddy this, he sprung out of bed and started showering. He kept saying how glad he was this happened while he was at home and not while he was at work. And he felt just horrible that he had slept through me needing him. I told him I was glad he had gotten some sleep if this was the real thing. I called Grammy and she answered the phone immediately. I told her I was going in to be monitored and she said she would meet us there.

I got kind of nervous and worried I was going to forget something. I checked and re-checked the bags, packing the last minute items. I gatehered a bag of snack foods for Daddy and took a quick shower. The whole time, I worried that I was crying wolf and we would get sent home. I worried they would say, "oh, you silly girl, can't you recognize Braxton-Hicks?" I didn't want to get my hopes up about this being it if it really was going to be weeks more. It wasn't until about 6:20 that we got loaded into the car and took off for the hospital. I called Uncle Craig on the way there, hoping not to be waking him. He answered and said he was laying in bed after his alarm went off dreading getting up. I told him it might be a false alarm, but he sounded excited and said to let him know if it turned out to be more. I called work and told them that no matter what, I wasn't going to be logging in from home today and promising to keep them updated. I ate a granola bar and crackers in the car on the way. Daddy told me this was a bad idea and he was going to tattle on me if they asked. I made him promise not to offer up this information unless they asked and he agreed.  I was just starving and I knew false alarm or no, they weren't going to let me eat there. I couldn't imagine starving all day and THEN getting sent home.

We got to the hospital right around 7am. The shift had just changed and they were all ready for us. They took us to a triage room and a very nice nurse who seemed very bright and cheery for a Monday morning greeted us. She had a UT nursing student with her who was learning about OB. I got into the spiffy hospital gown and gave a urine sample and they hooked me up to a monitor and blood pressure cuff. Laying down, my bp was SLIGHTLY lower, but not much. And they were definitely seeing contractions. Once I realized that I was right and I wasn't imagining my symptoms, I felt so much better and relaxed.

Grammy got there about 30 minutes after we did and came to the triage room. As I lay in the bed, they started watching the monitor with the nurses and they would ask if the contracitons hurt or if I felt them. I was surprised that I didn't feel most of them. And the ones I did feel were the ones that went much higher on the monitor.  That made me feel like I wasn't being a big weanie.

The nurse spent a good long time trying to get your heart monitors set. She had a hard time finding you. Of course, you weren't where "normal" babies would be, so she had to search around a while to get the monitor on your hearts. Then, once she got Pippa's heart rate monitored, she had a hard time finding Kate's without picking up Pippa's again. She would get it all set and try to belt the monitor on and you would move and we would have to start over. She said at one point "I am really glad you are having a c-section. I can't imagine what a nightmare it would be to try to keep these babies monitored during a vaginal birth." Well, you weren't exactly cooperating, so what was new? The place she seemed to get Kate's the best was right up under that sore right rib. She worried that putting the monitor there was hurting me. It was uncomfortable, but it was bearable and I wanted to see your hearts and be reassured you were both ok.

Grandpa and JeJe arrived pretty quickly afterward and we all sat in the room and watched the monitor waiting to get enough data to let Dr. Phillips make the call. Grandpa and Daddy really geeked out on watching the monitor and seeing your heart rates track almost exactly the same most of the time. One would go up and the other would stay within about 5 beats per minute the same. They wanted to know what all the values were and they scrutinized the telemetry print out for what the biggest variance was. Several times one of you fell off the monitor and the nurse would come in and have to find you again. Dr. Phillips came in and said that my bp was pretty high and the contractions did look like labor and "those are two compelling reasons to have babies today."

The nurse came in to put in my IV. That was not fun. She had to try twice, but got it the second time. They started a bag of saline to hydrate me before the surgery. They told me that because I had eaten that morning, they needed to wait a while to do my anesthesia. I thought this meant afternoon time, but the nurse came back in and said noon.Whoo, everything was happening fast, but I was pretty calm. I had done the best I could for you and now it was time to let the doctors and nurses do their thing. It occurred to me later that we probably would have waited until lunch time anyway, as that was when Dr. Phillips had some free time and no patients to see downstairs. They came in and took the monitors off and I just laid in the bed and rested. I sent out the text message to all the people who wanted to know when we went into labor. I called Auntie Katie and Auntie Michelle and my boss at work and let them know that you were making your debut today. Daddy and I talked about April 23rd being the day! I laid in the bed under Grandy's patchwork quilt and posted a pic of me waiting for surgery on facebook. They also came in and took my fingerprints to put on your birth certificate. And I don't know how 4 hours disappeared so quickly, but it went by in a flash. They brought Daddy a paper jumpsuit, mask and hat and took him to get ready. Grammy stayed in the room with me. The anesthesiologist came in and asked a bunch of questions and talked me through EXACTLY what was going to happen. It was nice to know what would happen.  She seemed concerned that I was nervous and scared, but I told her that Pops is an anesthesiologist and I knew what was involved and was prepared for it. She had me sign some paperwork and they came in minutes later to start prepping me. And then, they came in and said, "Let's have some babies"! Daddy and I took a last labor picture and then we walked to the surgery area. Today was indeed the day!
I am about to take a shot of the most bitter medication you will ever taste in your life. It's something Pops gives all his patients and it is supposed to keep you from throwing up during surgery......well, it didn't work for me.

Minutes before you were delivered! Doesn't Daddy look funny?