I’ve been meaning to write this story down for a long time because I’m finding if I don’t write it, I remember it much differently than it actually happened. I’m over here like ‘when can we have another baby?’ because although I remember pregnancy being a bitch and those first 4 months being hell, I don’t really remember until I go back and read. Hormones are amazing, y’all. They really, really are. As we rapidly approach year one, I figure I better write this story down before it starts disappearing from my memory as well.
It was April 2, 2016. I had been on bed rest for a long time due to high BP (like, 200+/110+), it felt like 6 months but I think it was closer to 2. I was lonely, bored and SO uncomfortable that I could barely handle being in my own skin anymore. I was on the mend from prenatal depression (a story for another day) and finally really excited for my little babies to arrive. My c-section date had been set and I was counting down the days but also not because … #surgery.
Heartburn had become an every day thing but I had gone to bed the night before with the most intense heartburn I’ve ever experienced. Usually, I would pop 1tsbp of baking soda in 8oz of water, go to sleep and by the time I woke up an hour later to pee, I would be feeling better. Not this time. This time the pain was increasing and spreading. I kept quiet for most of the day thinking that it would go away and knowing that if I told Brandon, I’d be getting shipped off to the hospital immediately (because that’s what we did on a weekly basis by that point). By the time 3pm rolled around, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I knew if I called the Dr, they would tell me to go into the hospital and that’s probably where I would stay for 2 weeks to be monitored until week 37. I also knew if I didn’t call, Brandon would. I debated whether me possibly having a heart attack was serious enough for me to have to spend two weeks in the hospital. That’s how much I enjoyed my trips there….
10 minutes later, we were on the way to the hospital. No surprise there.. I’d learned that having severe chest pain is a quick ticket in. EKG showed nothing abnormal and my blood work was fine… well, it showed I wasn’t having a heart attack. However, my protein numbers were not so great. The dr. came in to inform me that I had officially been struck down by preeclampsia (something I had known was a more than likely possibility) and that if my numbers weren’t down by tomorrow, they would have to deliver. I’m not sure what about my history of unfortunate events didn’t prepare me to deliver but I thought ‘eh, we’ll be ok’ and kept looking toward my April 19th date. Idiot.
The next morning, April 3, shortly after my blood was drawn, the resident came in to explain my numbers and said “we’re going to deliver today”. She explained that because of my blood pressure, they would have to give me magnesium and I would have to stay in bed 24 hours post surgery. I’m not sure what the appropriate reaction to that news is but I started crying and throwing up immediately.
I WAS NOT READY. THEY were not ready. I had JUST passed 35 weeks and from our last visit, were only measuring 4-5 pounds each which most likely meant a NICU visit for them. This also meant that I was not going to be able to be with those babies after they were born. I was doing the math on their chances of survival because I had been haunted by my visit before 28 weeks where they broke down chances of survival week by week until 40 weeks. I know that sounds outrageous to most but trust me, after that pregnancy, I didn’t chance anything (except the fact that I would be delivering today). Idiot.
I had spent 8 months struggling through pregnancy, trying to accept being pregnant, trying to accept that there were twins and the new life I was headed for, gaining 45 pounds, singing to them, giving them motivating speeches and doing everything I could to cook them even a day longer and I wouldn’t even get to hold them first and the skin-to-skin that I was SET on wouldn’t be happening. I was devastated. I had a very real fear that I wouldn’t bond with my babies if I didn’t get to do that initial bonding. Good news to anyone who has to go through something similar: you’ll be just fine.
I immediately texted my mom who was on her way within minutes and whoever else was within the first 3 text conversations. I couldn’t even tell you who. The next hour is pretty blurry. The nurse I had was absolutely amazing. I wish I remembered her name, I just remember her tattoo (star on her wrist). She was so calming and reassuring while I was in full blown panic mode. From the day I found out I was pregnant, this was the day I was most terrified about. Couldn’t the boys just teleport out of me? I spent 8 months being scared of this moment but there I was… no stopping it now.
They wheeled me into the OR. I remember trying to make the best of it and stay excited about meeting the boys, finally and not think about being sliced into 3 million pieces and all of the horror stories people had told me for the past 8 months. I was surrounded by 10-15 people (at least, that’s what it felt like) while I was star-fished out on this stretcher like a beached whale. The epidural was nothing. I was so pissed that I had spent 8 months being scared of that thing. Maybe it was because I was so terrified about my babies being ok that nothing else really mattered or maybe it just wasn’t that bad – either way, I survived it and remember nothing of it. I started to lose most of the feeling all over my body but I was still convinced that I would feel the cut. I made the dr test it 3 times. It’s a hard feeling to explain. You can feel pressure but there’s no pain with it? Brandon finally was allowed in and I remember being mad that he didn’t tell me to get my nails done (they were a damn mess).
Then, it started.
I remember is the anesthesiologist telling me what would be happening. I would feel like I couldn’t breathe but I could. I kept talking to remind myself that I was breathing, pretty sure I was saying “you can breathe” out loud like a crazy person. I remember asking my Dr. how much longer because the feeling of my insides being moved was UNPLEASANT. “Almost there” she said and then I heard him. My little Carter man was out, screaming the most beautiful cry I had ever heard. I saw him for a second before the nurse took him over to get stats. It felt like a lifetime before I heard the second set of beautiful tiny screams. I did it, they were here, pink and screaming and all I wanted to do was hold them. Then, I started getting put back together. Holy shit. The only way I can describe it was death. I literally thought I would die. The pressure, the chest pain (all normal), the feeling of my body being ROCKED. It’s what I imagine being eaten alive by a trex would be like, minus the pain. I told Brandon he better NOT move away from me, that I wanted my mom and I focused so hard on the little cries and reminded myself I had to stay alive for them (I’m so freaking dramatic!) And then .. it was over. I survived. What felt like 4 hours was actually less than 30 minutes and my babes were here!
The nurses put the boys on my chest and that, by far, was the weirdest feeling of all. It’s hard to explain falling in love with a stranger, let alone two. I immediately understood the term ‘mama bear’. I would kill for these boys but I didn’t even know them yet. I had talked to them for months but I didn’t know which one was which yet (we had decided the first baby to come out was Carter and the second was Lucas). No sooner had I gotten to look at them that they were both taken to the NICU.
I was wheeled up to my room where I immediately starting throwing up from the cocktail of drugs I had been given that day. That continued through my tears of not being able to see them until the next day. It continued through my first time pumping and the INTENSE pain I finally felt when the epidural wore off. THANK GOD for the hospital having NICU cameras so I was at least able to SEE the boys. Brandon went down to start talking to them to let them know that they only had 24 hours to prepare for the crazy train that is their momma.
The next day rolled around and as soon as I was cleared, I told Bran to RUN me to the NICU. I remember just staring at them when I finally got to them. The tiniest things I had ever seen. Luke’s lowest weight was 4lbs, big man got down to 5.2 I think? (Didn’t last long). I didn’t even know what to do with such tiny babies but like a lot of moms, I quickly figured it out. The motherly instinct I had never had was suddenly here, in full force. Every time I left that NICU, I cried. They were in their little tanning beds with their little felt goggles on, so little and so helpless, it was physically painful to leave them. We were waiting on their bilirubin numbers to get higher and while Carter was on a steady rise, Luke was messing around. They would go up and then come back down, go up and back down. We joked that he didn’t want to leave the nurses. (fact: Luke still loves nurses).
That week was rough. Brandon basically slept on the ground and forced me to walk even when I begged him not to but since he was LITERALLY bathing and pumping me, I let him get away with forcing me to do things I didn’t want to do. He did things for me that week that I doubt I could pay people to do. Horrifying things, actually, without a second thought. I’m convinced he’s Clark Kent.
Thursday came and I was released, along with Mr. Carter. By that point, I was able to walk, VERY slowly down to the NICU to pick him up and tell Luke that we’d be back so soon. It was a weird feeling to be happy to be bringing one baby home but completely destroyed to be leaving another one back. Carter was an extremely easy baby, from what I remember. We laughed that we would totally be able to handle this. NBD.
Lukey babe was released on Sunday, after realizing that he was too young for the nurses, and we FINALLY were able to all be together. Brandon and I sat on the couch with the tiniest little babies, looked at each other and said ‘now what?’
It’s hard to believe that (almost) a whole year has happened since that week. The amount of life change is more than I can describe. No one, ever, can prepare you for the amount of change that happens after a baby (or mutliple babies). I thought I knew but I truly had no idea. We have learned so much and survived way more than I think we initially thought we could. We have loved more than we ever thought we could too, though. I would struggle and go through all of that again for them, over and over.
Parenthood is the most insane thing and sometimes I still don’t believe it’s happening. Most days are hard and there are very few days that don’t feel like they are 42 years long, my csection scar still hurts and my body has been absolutely destroyed but I’ll tell you what, I forget all about that when I go into their room in the morning and see those two little smiley faces, screaming happy babbles to see me.
First birthday planning is in full swing although, it’s really more of a party for Brandon and I to celebrate surviving this first year mostly unharmed. Stay tuned for pictures of them eating cake, I have a feeling Carter may pass out from excitement..
and as always, wish me luck.