Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Twins' Birth Story and Happy 7 months!

Seven months ago today, I woke up after weeks of regular (but fairly weak) contractions and I knew it was the day I would meet my girls. But...I had also been nearly convinced at least three other times in the previous weeks (seriously, ask my doula. Haha), so I was trying my best not to get my hopes up. Funny enough, I swore up and down after Nolan's labor that there is no way I would be fooled this time like I had with him (contractions for weeks and being so many times). After all, I was a pro. I had already been through it. I knew the intensity and the depth of feel of an active labor contraction. But in my defense...all the "if this keeps up, I think this may be it" times this go-round were just that. I would alert my amazing doula that something was going on and I that I would get back to her if it really got going, but I refused to fully commit to the idea because I didn't want to be disappointed. Haha. It was as if my body was ramping up just enough to make me think it could be the beginning and then it would slow back down without ever fully convincing me and then would pitter out completely, leaving me to wake up in the morning, still pregnant and sans contractions.

But the morning of the 15th of April, I knew it was on. I was making breakfast when it really hit me and luckily I was mindful enough to quickly make plans for Nolan to go to a friend's house for the know...just in case. I already had a dr's appointment scheduled for that morning for an NST (a non-stress test), so I didn't have to plan much. I finished my eggs and toast, ushered Nolan off with daddy and headed to the doc (yes, I drove myself...tricky on the way there...much trickier on the way home).

As I sat there on a hard-ish table, rather uncomfortably stuck with monitors on my belly, the contractions began the long, relatively slow process of strengthening. Anthony met me there after dropping bug off and he quickly became convinced that "this was it" too.

My doctor gave me two choices after checking my dilation - I was at 3.5 cm. I had done all the research I could to educate myself on birth and twin birth specifically. I had made peace in my heart with our choices and fought all the battles I felt that were worth fighting, though I must say, my doc is really awesome and was on board with close to everything I wanted (no induction, no interventions (not even a precautionary epidural), delayed cord clamping, immediately to my chest, etc). I was going to get to have my birth, the way I wanted it (obviously unless the health and well being of me or my babes was suddenly at risk). Anyway... The options.

*Option one: Head over to the hospital and wait. - thank you.
*Option two: Go home and walk. - Yes, please.

We headed home (in separate cars again) with me seriously thankful we lived only a mile from the doc and then we proceeded to walk. It was a beautiful thing really, Nolan was gone and Anthony called off work, so we just got to spend the whole day together, our last for quite a while I suspect (especially as we are celebrating the girls' seven month mark and it still hasn't happened again and probably won't anytime soon). 

We walked the 7ish blocks down the big hill from our house toward the ocean to lunch at our favorite pizza spot and I ate two huge slices of pizza with pesto sauce and extra basil on top (I wasn't taking any chances with this labor stalling. Ha) plus a giant salad. Contractions took another step up while we sat and ate. I had to stop what I was doing each time and breathe through them. They were about 3 minutes apart by now. We then traveled down the road to the ice cream shop where I got a huge chocolate cone, finished it and ate part of Anthony's. I was loading up for some serious work! Haha. 

Next stop was a little farther south to fish co. to pee. Fish co, for those of you who don't know, is where it all began. It is where Anthony and I met and worked together for about three years. The staff there are kind of like family to us, so it was great to see a few of them too. People kept asking me if I was ok as I stopped conversations mid-sentence, closed my eyes, held on to Anthony's shoulders and swayed. And I would reply, "Oh yeah...I'm just in going to the hospital as soon as we make it up the hill". And then we would giggle at their looks of panic. :) 

From fish co, we began the 3/4 mile trip back up the hill (the same hill I could barely walk up by 30 weeks of pregnancy without stopping and without starting contractions by the top). By now contractions were only about 2 minutes apart and lasted about a minute and half each...and I had to stop everytime. It took us a while to get home. ;) We even had to call a friend and stop by their house to pee (again).

We finally made it home. I changed, packed a few last minute things in my hospital bag and we headed out. From departure from the doc's office that am  to arrival at the hospital, roughly four hours had passed (maybe's been a while). I got all checked in, my amazing friend and doula, Mandy, arrived and they checked my dilation again. 7 cm and a bulging bag of waters! Yes! My walking had done the trick! All I kept hearing was how fast my labor was going to be. "Oh make sure we are ready once her water breaks, those babies are coming fast!" This was around 4:30pm...

We went for a walk around the hospital, but because I was having twins and because of our history and because we were in a hospital, we could only walk briefly before having to return for monitoring. Boo. Here is where my beautiful story gets a little irritating before returning to miracles and beauty and all that. ;) 

When I returned to my room, the nurses decided I should have my water broken. I figured, eh...what the heck, I'm already so far along, nothing is going to stop it now. Insert regret number one here. As I stated above, everyone was so concerned with the babies flying out of me and I was delivering twins in a hospital so immediately after breaking my water, they rolled me into the operating room to deliver (even though I was determined to do it naturally...this was one of the only things my doc required that I wasn't super stoked about...but whatever). Insert regret number two here. I DEFINITELY should have visited an OR before that very moment. Talk about terrifying to someone who was adamant that everything was going to be natural and easy and intervention-free! Bright lights. One million people. Baby warmers that weren't my chest. A bed transfer mid-hard labor to a terribly uncomfortable operating table "just in case". And the very worst part - a large cabinet of cupboards and drawers that were labled with all sorts of things...namely things like, "knife blades" and such. Cue sheer terror. Then there were the new really. Nina. I cringe just thinking of her. What a rudey. She was so overly obsessed with the monitors. You may not realize, but while laboring with zero pain relief on a crappy inch thick padded table, keeping THREE monitors (one for each babe and one for contractions) on is a nearly impossible feat. She kept pushing down on my belly and moving the damn things around mid-contraction to find the heartbeats of my baby girls that I knew in every fiber of my bones were fine. I asked her at least three times to give me a minute. She never did. Enter labor shut down. 

Finally the wonderful Mandy and one of my cool nurses fought to have me wheeled back to my dim room on my more comfortable bed. You know what happened? My labor almost immediately picked back up. You see, we mammals are not meant to deliver our babies in crazy bright uncomfortable spaces surrounded by unkind people and feeling totally frightened. There is a reason you can't ever find the momma kitty and kittens until you hear their sweet little meows. topic. So here we go again. Insert regret number three: allowing the nurses to check me 5000 times when I could have told them I wasn't ready yet. I felt no urge to push! Duh. So some time passes - no idea really how much. Time is very weird mid-labor. Minutes seem like hours and yet the hours seem to fly by. At some point in here as my labor was picking back up and I was really working during  each contraction, the lovely (note sarcasm) Nina declared loudly that my contractions "just weren't strong enough" to dilate me fully. After hearing her say this about three times and being pissed each time, I piped up and said loudly back to her, "I really don't need to hear that right now!!!" Shortly after my...uhm...outburst (?) she left the room. I was later told that she was irritated that I had a written birth plan and that it strictly stated that I did not want pitocin to augment my labor. Ridiculous. An aside: if you are so grumpy and rude about such an incredible experience, why in the world would you be a labor and delivery nurse? Sorry, Nina, that I didn't fit your one size fits all mould of come in, get epidural, have no opinion of what my body was built to do. Bleck. Anyway...

Before I knew it, my body just had to push...and some rude nurse telling me I still had a lip of cervix wasn't going to stop it. As my body was bearing down, somewhat against my will, I was yet again wheeled to that unfriendly OR and had to transfer beds again...pretty much mid-push. Wowsa. That was uncomfortable! At last Nina's monitor craze worked to my advantage. They kept moving off the heartbeats and she became worried enough that she told me to just push as my body so desired. Yes!! Glorious, glorious pushing. If you have ever had a natural birth, you know what I'm talking about. It was everything I had been working up to. Relief from contractions in a weird way and the best part...I was so much closer to meeting my baby girls!

After maybe a few minutes of pushing, my doc arrived. It is really so much of a blur at this point. It sure doesn't seem like I pushed more than maybe 5ish times before baby A (aka: Alice Isabella) crowned and then I quickly pushed her out. She was immediately placed on my chest. So little. So perfect. 

Her cord stayed connected until it stopped pulsing and then was clamped. Next up, my doc broke my second bag of waters and out gushed two rounds of fluid. "Enough to fill a bath tub," I was told. Haha. Alice was passed to a nurse to be dried, weighed, tagged ;), etc). Honestly...if it had been up to me, I would have kept holding her, but I understand how that isn't really an option while pushing. Haha. And doc felt around to determine baby b's position and sure enough, my little gal had flipped around and was coming out feet first! In all my research during pregnancy, I had read a fair amount about breech birth and felt completely confident in my body and my baby. My doc was amazing. He was so calm and reassuring. He closed his eyes, felt around and helped me guide her out safely. When ready, I pushed. Feet. Then body. Pause for doc to check her head and make sure everything was lined up alright and then another push (maybe two) and out came baby b (aka: Lilah Sofia). Again straight to my chest and cord stayed intact. 

After helping with the pushing and delivery phases, Daddy held Alice while Lilah was all checked out and I was delivering placentas (5 lbs worth!!) and being stitched up after a mild tear. Then Daddy got to hold both his baby girls while I was wheeled back to my room. Because we were in the OR, he couldn't do skin to skin like we wanted. Boo. Damn sterile environment. 

Because there was two of them and because I had to wait until I was wheeled back into my room, I had to wait much longer than I would have liked before I got nurse them for the first time. And I didn't get to just place them on my chest and let them bob around until they made their way to the "treasure". But when the time came and with a lot of pillow propping, they latched on right away and nursed like old pros!

All in all, inspite of a few hiccups, a nasty nurse and a couple things I would have changed if I could have, it was incredible. Intense. Definitely intense. But unbelievably incredible. And with two healthy, happy babies and a healthy momma, who can really complain all that much?

The wonderful Mandy helping tie up my (homemade for Nolan's birth) gown. Pretty pattern...not exactly flattering. Ha.
"I can totally fill this out"
"Uhm...wait...maybe not. Husband, help, please."
Getting all hooked up.
Contraction mid-hook up. Check out that profile! 38 weeks 5 days.
Me and my man.
This is me chillin' in the OR (the first time) pretty much asleep, trying desperately to get a little rest when my labor stalled.
The unfriendly OR and that damn drawer column of doom.
"I'm down here! Stop worrying about the silly monitors!" Haha.
Alice Isabella. 6lbs 7oz. Born 4.16.13 at 1:22am.

"Here we go again..."
Lilah Sofia. 6lbs 4oz. Born 4.16.13 at 1:28am.
Daddy and Alice
Daddy and his girls.

Me and Alice all hooked up.
First tandem nursing session!
My little cuddle bugs.
Alice and Nolan meeting for the first time.
Proud big brother.
Inspecting baby sissy Alice.

My world. months later, it is still intense and still incredible...every single day. Haha. Most days, I go about our business without much extra thought about the fact that there are two of them. But every now and again, I have these moments of shock when I think to myself, "Holy crap! I have TWO the same time! What!?".

They don't sleep much these days, but they still nurse like champs. In fact, at least half of this post was typed on my phone while rocking, walking, laying with and or nursing one or both of them. They think Nolan is hilarious and he tells me that he loves them so much that he married them. Their favorite toys are Sophie the giraffe, a wooden bead maze thing, a wagon of wooden blocks, an indestructible book and a plastic blue bird (gross), but what they REALLY like is  any toy that belongs to big brother. Alice is so incredibly curious, crawls and gets into pretty much everything. Today for the very first time she moved herself from a crawling position almost all the way to a sitting up position on the floor! Me thinks she's gonna be a tough one to keep up with. Lilah is still stationary, but is quite a chatterbox and says, "mama" all the time. Melt my heart. We still waffle back and forth on the question of identical versus fraternal, but are leaning back to fraternal these days. Lilah has her two middle bottoms teeth about halfway in. Alice's same two are cutting through. They go with the flow pretty well and thankfully LOVE to be in the ergos. That helps get Bug out the door more easily. They had their first taste of food the other day. Not solid, but something other than breastmilk. It was homemade chicken broth. Alice was pretty indifferent and most if it dribbled back out the other side of her mouth. Lilah thought it was pretty funny, laughed and then lunged in for more. They love to snuggle. They are raspberry blowing masters. When Lilah cries, Alice often goes to her and touched her hand or her head. When Alice cries, Lilah often cries along too. Alice definitely seems to have taken the "big sister" role...I mean obviously. Haha. Those six minutes are a big deal! Ha.
They are a total handful, but we couldn't love them more. 

Happy 7 months to my little ladies! Here are some pics from the past week.
Nolan loving on Lilah.
Alice scaling the bouncy seat to get to the silly blue bird.
Adventures of Alice. Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3. With cameo by sissy Lilah.
Me and my bubs.
And here are some from the morning of their 7 month birthday. Sorry some are a bit dim. It was pre-sunrise. Oy.

Sissies and one of their favorite toys. Watch Alice's hands in the next few pictures.
My baby girls are getting SO BIG! (pardon my hair. Early morning after a late night...and showers are often rare around here. Ew.)
Bug and Alice.
This is Alice...almost sitting up...with a huge snot bubble. Gross. And also super cute.
So close to sitting!
Adventures of Alice: Part 4.
Lilah and the blue bird.
Alice and blue bird. I told you, they love this thing.
Alice all tucked in for a nap under a blanket from my infancy. :)
Happy 7 months, sissies!
Happy sissies.

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