Has it really been 1 year already?? I honestly cannot believe how quickly time flies, esp when you're as busy as we've been the last year. It's been an amazing year, full of ups and downs....and leaving babyhood behind forever is bittersweet. I can't help but think where I was 5 years ago, childless and feeling hopeless. It's ironic because as I was getting dressed this morning, Bella came into our room (as she always does ) and she started going through my closet and she pulled out the memory box I've kept with all the momentos and keepsakes from my 3 miscarriages (God, I even kept the HPT's from each of those pregnancies). I haven't opened that box in a very long time. She had taken all the contents out and she was asking me about each picture and everything else and I couldn't help but get all teary-eyed because it's like God was saying "see, you've come full circle....you can see now why you had the trials and the tribulations, you can see that I had great things in store for you but you had to endure the struggle to get where you are today". At the time when we're in the midst of a struggle, regardless of what that struggle is, we don't understand why it's happening...it's so easy to think "why me?" but there's always a reason. You might not understand it at the time but in the future, you will. And I'd do everything all over again in a heartbeat with no regrets.
I posted Garrett and Landon's birth story when they were born but I wanted to reprint it in this post just for sentimental reasons. It feels like it happened just yesterday...it's still so clear in my mind. And now looking at them, they are healthy, pudgy, growing little 1 yr olds....they make my heart melt every time I look at them....
Birth Story....after many runs of false labor over the last 4 weeks, Garrett Ian and Landon Evan have finally arrived. They were born 7 hours shy of 34 weeks gestation...that's close enough to my goal!!! Here's their birth story and I also attached a link to a site where my friend Bonnie posted some pics she took of them in the NICU. The pics came out beautiful (thanks Bonnie!!!)I'll try to summarize in the most concise way so it's easier to read:
Friday, 3/9 - 3:30-5:30 pm Start having contractions every 8-10 minutes but I decided just to keep drinking fluids and stay on my left side and hope they start to minimize
Friday, 3/9 - 6:45-8:45 pmContractions are now coming every 4-6 minutes and I'm starting to feel crampy so I call L&D and the nurse remembered me from the week before (how BAD is that??) and said I better come in right away.....we call my sister and make arrangements for her to stay with the kids, thinking this is just another run of false labor and I'll get a shot of terb and be back home in a few hours
Friday, 3/9 - 10:00 pm I'm all set up on the monitors and the nurse, Natalie, is awesome...she says since the terb hasn't seemed to hold me in the past and the nifedipine obviously isn't holding me either, she'll just run a bag of IV fluids and see if that will slow down the contractions, due to possibly dehydration. At this point (being so close to 34 weeks), they don't do mag unless it's an extreme situation. If the bag of fluids runs out in an hour or two and I'm still contracting, they will just go ahead and do the c-section....Tim and I both look at her wide-eyed and say "REALLY??"...we were SO not prepared to meet our boys today!!!
Friday, 3/9 - 10:30 pm Natalie comes back and says Dr Mathis (OB on call) wants her to check my cervix...she does and says it's now dilated to between 1-2 cm. She says she has no doubt in her mind that I'll be having the c-section tonight and the OB will be in to speak with me.
Friday, 3/9 - 11:00 pm Dr M comes in to speak with us....she notes I'm having contractions every 4-6 minutes and I'm now beginning to dilate so she says they'll just go ahead and do the c-section and she'll start the paperwork....yeah!!!! They'll probably be able to do it around 2:00 am.
Saturday, 3/10 - 12:00 am In doing the paperwork, Dr M realizes I'm on Heparin and she would prefer I go a full 24 hours off the Heparin before she delivers. I just happened to miss my 8:00 pm dose that night b/c I was dealing with the contractions. Usually you only have to wait 12 hours for Heparin to wear off but she wants to be extra cautious. She explains she'll deliver me first thing in the morning, probably around 6:30-7:30 am
Saturday, 3/10 - All Night The contractions continue to run the course of the night, some being very intense and painful that I have to remember to breathe through them. Dr M suggest I take my nifedipine to hopefully ease them up for the next few hours, even though she knows it won't completely stop them but at least I wouldn't be in as much pain. Around 4:30 am, Natalie comes to check on me and she offers me pain meds through my IV but I decline b/c I told her if she's sure I'm having a c-section, I don't want to be all dopey on meds so I can be alert during the c-section. I tell her I can manage the pain the best I can for the next couple hours...
Saturday, 3/10 - 5:30 amT he pain of the contractions is becoming pretty bad but I'm still so afraid of being dopey and nauseous during the c-section so I make Natalie swear that my c-section isn't too far off...she says Dr M has 2 other patients to deliver and then I'm next....Tim and I are still in shock that the boys will be delivered soon and we'll finally get to meet them!!
Saturday, 3/10 - 6:45 am Dr M comes in to check on me and she checks my cervix...it hasn't changed at all from the night before. Even through all the painful contractions coming every 4-6 minutes, she says it's probably just another run of false labor...she's not sure now that she wants to do a c-section b/c there is no medical necessity....in the middle of discussing this with us, another patient requires her immediate assistance and Dr M leaves us hanging....I'm near tears at this point, Tim is also just as emotional....having mentally prepared to finally meet our boys and then now learn that they just might send me home after a night of painful contractions is too much for me to swallow...
Saturday, 3/10 - 7:45 am Natalie has gone home for the day and my new nurse, Vanessa, comes in and says more than likely Dr M will send me home....I tell her what has gone on most of the night and she says that Natalie filled her in on all the details and she's very sweet and understanding about our frustration
Saturday, 3/10 - 8:30 am Dr M comes in to speak with us...she notices now that my contractions have actually slowed down and become less intense and with no more dilation, she explains that she can't perform a c-section at this point without any medical necessity. I'm on the verge of tears....and she's very understanding and says she wishes there was something she could do but she understands I'll probably end up back at L&D again tonight and maybe if I dilate further they can justify a c-section. Now I'm in tears....Tim is just downright angry.
Saturday, 3/10 - 8:45 am Dr M comes back in and says it just dawned on her that she's not sure what positions the boys are in and she'd like to do an u/s....if Baby A is breech and my contractions start back up again, enough to dilate me to 3 cm, she can do the c-section. She does an u/s and it looks like Garrett is breech but she's not completely sure so she says she wants to call in a sonographer to do a formal u/s and get an estimate on their weights and amniotic fluid levels. Tim ends up going home at this point, figuring it'll be awhile until they can find a sonographer to come in on a Saturday.
Saturday, 3/10 - 10:00 am The sonographer, Jori, comes in and does my scan right away. It takes about 45 minutes. She doesn't tell me much except that Garrett is breech.
Saturday, 3/10 - 11:30 am Vanessa comes in and gives me the basics of the results of the u/s...when she tells me the boys' weights (Garrett estimated at 4 lbs, 2 oz and Landon at 4 lbs, 14 oz), I become concerned and tell her that 2 weeks ago at my last u/s, Garrett weighed 4 lbs even....is it possible that he's only grown 2 ounces in 2 weeks? Either someone is way off in their measurements or we have a case of discordant growth. She's not sure but she'll have Dr M come talk to me....
Saturday, 3/10 - 12:00 pm Dr M finally comes in and says she's not concerned about their weights....she explains it's just an estimate anyway and can be off by a few ounces and chances are everything's just fine. She says I can get dressed and go home....I'm in tears AGAIN....
Saturday, 3/10 - 12:30 pm I call Tim to come get me...he's in a state of disbelief that we've been yanked back and forth constantly over the last 12 hours and he just wants it to be over with.
Saturday, 3/10 - 12:35 pm Dr M comes in....I'm already dressed and ready for Tim to pick me up....she says she was looking at the boys' weights on her charts and noted that Garrett is only in the 5th percentile, while Landon is in the 34th percentile (or something like that, she explained it in percentages). She says that is a pretty big discordance and she's not so sure now that she wants me to go home...she's going to call the perinatologist and see what she thinks....
Saturday, 3/10 - 12:45 pm Vanessa comes back and says I should get undressed and get hooked back up to the monitors but I tell her until Dr M comes in and tells me I'm staying, I'm not doing anything....again, I'm in tears, just so tired and wanting this to be over with, one way or another....
Saturday, 3/10 - 1:00 pm Dr M comes in and says she spoke with the perinatologist and there could be reason for concern but they need Jori to come back in and do a few more measurements on the u/s, specifically an exam on Garrett's umbilical cord blood flow. So now I have to wait for them to get back in touch with Jori again....I still refuse to get undressed and hook back up to the monitors until AFTER the u/s and I know more of what's going on....after a few minutes, Tim comes to get me and I explain what's going on and he's just as emotional as I am....we figure we'll probably get sent home and we start discussing what we can have for dinner...we decide on take out from Black Angus since I've been having a craving for fried zucchini....I haven't eaten or drinken anything for a good 19 hours at this point b/c they want my tummy empty in case they do find a reason to do the c-section. Those fried zucchini was all I could think about at this point....Tim makes a joke that now that I'm so focused on having those zucchini that I'll probably have the c-section. I tell him to bite his tongue....I'm no longer teary-eyed, just irritable and tired.
Saturday, 3/10 - 2:00 pm Jori comes back and does the u/s....she doesn't tell us anything but says she's going to make sure she has exactly what Dr M has requested before she goes home again this time. Vanessa tells me that the next OB on call is Dr Dixon, my beloved OB from when I was pregnant with Cole and Bella. He didn't get to deliver them b/c it was an emergency situation so we're excited at the thought that we'll get to see him again and there is a chance he may deliver these twins!!
Saturday, 3/10 - 2:30 pm Vanessa walks into the room with a gown and says "Happy Birthday, Babies".....Tim and I look at her in shock...."you mean, we're having the c-section???"....we're both very excited but then it dawns on me that there must be a problem with Garrett's umbilical cord and that's the reason why the babies are being delivered. I instantly go from feeling happy and excited to being overly worried and very concerned that something is terribly wrong with Garrett. Vanessa explains that they did find there is some restriction in his umbilical cord but that one of the OB's would be in to talk to us about that in more detail....
Saturday, 3/10 - 3:00 pm I'm now hooked back up to the monitors and Tim and I are just waiting for a more formal explanation....I can't stop worrying about Garrett and praying he's okay and that we haven't caught this problem too late. Vanessa comes back in to check on me and I tell her I can't stand it anymore and I have to know exactly what's wrong....she says that they like to see the pressure in the cord at this point in gestation under 3 and Garrett's is at a level of 6 so his blood flow is being compromised. She says there is no way I'm going home at this point and if they try to send me home she promises she'll raise hell and bring up the issue of liability if they don't deliver....she goes to check with Dr Dixon and finds that he's just waiting on a formal report from the radiologist, and not just the interpretation from the sonographer, before he makes a final decision. Vanessa tells Tim he has time to go home and get the camera and grab a bite to eat so he leaves and says he'll be back within an hour.
Saturday, 3/10 - 3:30 pm Dr Dixon comes in and says he has to the c-section right away....that there is too much pressure in Garrett's umbilical cord, compromising him of blood flow and oxygen. He's not sure if it's due to entanglement, a knot or just running out of room and he can't make any promises that Garrett will be okay....he says we just have to pray to God that He'll be watching over Garrett and take good care of him. He's planning the c-section for 4:15 but then notices Tim isn't there...he says call him and get him back here right away. Again, I'm very emotional and start crying....so Dr Dixon relies on his excellent sense of humor and says "well, while we're in there, we might as well deliver Baby B too".....I manage to still have sense of humor left at this point and I actually found his comment pretty funny. I call Tim and say "get back here right away, we're having the boys today"....he has a mouth full of burrito but says he'll be there as soon as he can.
Saturday, 3/10 - 4:00 pm Still no sign of Tim and Dr Dixon is becoming anxious, as he really doesn't want to wait any longer to start prepping. He says he'll have the anesthesiologist, Dr Cain, come in to talk to me in the meantime as they get the OR prepped and hope Tim walks in any minute, which he does fortunately. Dr Cain comes in a few minutes later and we talk about the spinal tap and he recommends using Demerol this time instead of Morphine since I had such a bad reaction to it with my last c-section. He says he thinks I'll do okay on the Demerol and they also give me an anti-nausea medication to cover the bases even more.
Saturday, 3/10 4:15 pm Vanessa comes in and asks if I can walk to the OR....she says "well, this is your last stroll as a pregnant woman"....she has been admiring my "beautiful pregnant twin belly" since she came on shift and has been telling all the nurses she can't believe I don't have any stretch marks after 2 twin pregnancies....I tell her if I wasn't already married to Tim, I'd want to marry HER!
Saturday, 3/10 - 4:30 pm Dr Cain gets me up on the table and starts working on the spinal....he's having a really hard time finding a good spot. He finally gets the needle in but can't get any spinal fluid...he draws the needle out and says he needs to try again in a different spot. I'm bent over, tight in a ball, with Vanessa standing in front of me reminding me to relax and take deep breaths....Dr Cain is pushing on my back so hard that I'm thankful Vanessa is in front of me b/c I fear falling off the table face first!! He does the 2nd spinal....again, he has the same problem...no spinal fluid. He says he's gonna try something else....again, he does it a 3rd time and has the same problem. 30 minutes has gone by and Dr Dixon comes over to check on the progress and says we need to get moving b/c he doesn't like me being all balled up in that same position with Garrett already having blood flow issues....they decide together that I need to be put under general anesthesia so they can get going....the minute I hear this I become very emotional and start crying a river....after all this, I realize I won't be awake when my boys are born and not only am I being robbed of that experience, but now Tim is being robbed of it since they won't let him come in the OR. But I quickly regain my composure when I realize it's more important for the boys to come out then it is for me to see them and hear them cry as they are born....I lay down on the table and Dr Cain puts the mask over me and says "early congratulations....we'll see you in a little while, Mama". Before I conk out, I hear one of the nurses talking to Dr Dixon about Landon's position in the womb and he says he may need her to push on my chest to push him towards the uterine opening....at this point, I'm thankful I won't be awake to experience that....
Saturday, 3/10 - 6:30 pm I wake up feeling groggy and with Dr Cain standing over me asking me how I feel. One of the nurses comes over and starts pushing on my belly and I hit her arms and tell her to get off me....I'm just so sleepy and I want to know how the babies are. Tim is sitting there next to me and telling me the boys are okay....Landon was very groggy and sluggish from the anesthesia and he needs oxygen but Garrett is healthy and appears to be fine, no affects from the umbilical cord.
He tells me the time they were born and their birth weights: Garrett - 5:21 pm; 3 lbs, 10 oz, 16.2 inches longLandon - 5:22 pm; 5 lbs, 1 oz, 19.5 inches long He shows me pics on the camera but I'm still kind of out of it and I don't remember even seeing them. As I continue to recover and wake up more, I see Dr Dixon come into the recovery room to do paperwork. He comes over and says that it appears that Garrett is doing well and hopefully will continue to do well. He mentions that his cord actually looked good so there was no knot but maybe just the positioning of where he was or just running out of room is what caused the problem. He also mentions that my uterus was paper thin and he had a hard time putting it back together....he says if I had stayed pregnant even another week or two, my uterus might have ruptured. We had decided to go ahead with the tubal ligation so he was happy to hear I'm done with future pregnancies, as he wouldn't recommend getting pregnant again. He said that between the 2 twin pregnancies, my uterus has been overly compromised and he's glad we put it into retirement.
I finally get wheeled into my post-partum room and by now I'm feeling awake and not loopy or nauseous at all....but b/c I have a catheter and I've been under general anesthesia, they want me to wait to see the boys until the next day. I can hardly stand to wait but I know they're in good hands in the NICU....Tim goes and checks on them one last time before we turn in for the night. They are both doing well....Landon is still on oxygen but otherwise both are hanging in there.