Wednesday, September 16, 2015

eleven

 
Our twins turned eleven this week.
How'd that happen?
Is it wrong that I hate it?
Hate that the time is rushing by that is.
 I will admit too at being excited to see them blossom.
I will go to my grave regretting that I wished away
some of their little years because I was so dang tired.
I thought once they got older it would get easier.
Physically yes, mentally no way.
I laugh now.
Little people, little problems.
If I only knew then what I know now...

Isn't that always the truth?
My husband asked me the other day if I would do it all again.
In a heartbeat.
I would enjoy every delicious minute.
Even the ones where I thought I was losing my mind.
Lack of sleep will do that to you.
I'd nap more, clean less.
Enjoy the small things as much as the big milestones.
I've made it a point to tell new moms this.
Especially the ones in the supermarket with littles who are throwing fits
or when you see a parent and you can tell are at their breaking point.
Sometimes it just takes a little hand on the shoulder
or a little "mine did that too"
even a little smile and a nod a to say "been there, done that."
It's all gonna be ok.
Just breathe.

 
 
Before you have kids people will offer you advice.
It tends to go in one ear and out the other.
You may think to yourself "I got this."
And maybe you do.
We thought we were prepared.
Thought being the operative word.
We read books, umpteen baby books, too numerous to count.
We're nerdy and that's how we roll.
We took classes on safety and CPR and giving birth.
We even took one called "Marvelous Multiples"
hoping to glean tips on how to parent two newborns.
As if.
 
Mine was not a smooth pregnancy from the beginning...
horrible morning sickness 24/7 until month seven
and contractions that started around week 24 which was
around the same time my belly was measuring 40 weeks.
It was also when I asked them to stop telling me what the tape said.
{insert wide eyed emoji here.}
Every time we visited our high-risk ob doc it was bad news.
So much so that I nicknamed him Dr. Doom.
I'd take in his information, cry hysterically for a while,
and then remind myself he wasn't God.
God was in control of all this.
Not Dr. Doom.
 
Our regular obstetrician gave us a goal of making it to 34 weeks
and anything after that we would consider a bonus.
Long story short we made it to two days before our goal.
I felt horrible but I kept telling myself that I was pregnant with twins.
It had to be normal what I was feeling.
I was swelling but no big deal I thought.
We did our nightly monitoring where I'd have to lie down
and hook up to fetal monitors that would record uterine activity
then phone in the data...I'm sure this has changed in eleven years
and probably sounds prehistoric now.
But this was what we did for the last third of my pregnancy.
So this one Sunday night I phone it in.
This time the phone rings back
with a request from the nurses
to drink some water,
lay back down on my left side
and repeat the test.
I apparently had a crazy number of contractions.
A few during the test time had become normal...this time not so normal.
I admit my heart squeezed up in a little panic.
I hadn't felt good especially as of late but this was my first pregnancy.
I just figured it was what it was...two bambinos on board.
I told my husband I didn't think we should wait to retest.
We called my doc and told her what happened.
She said she was glad we'd called,
told us to head on over to the hospital.
She would meet us there.
I remember being on this street that runs behind the hospital.
We were hitting red light after red.
We couldn't get there fast enough for me.
I remember looking at my husband and asking him if everything would be ok.
He said of course they would.
I secretly hoped he was right.
I wasn't so sure.
That night is a blur now.
I just remember the next morning.
The doc on call telling me we were going home
to cook for three more weeks.
Think about a date they said.
We'll put you on the schedule for a C-section.
Funny because I'd always had this other birth plan in my head.
Twins were not in that original plan.
One baby, a doula and an acupuncturist were.
That was how my mind imagined it.
Yep...a peaceful Zen birth was my plan.
One transverse and one breech baby will have you rethink your options.
Surgery here I come.
I'll take the IV meds starting now please was my running joke.
Then my regular doc came in the room.
She's like a little golden angel, blond and petite, with a shining soul.
I love her to pieces and owe my family to her.
I really do.
So she comes in the room and says sweetly
"Hey. Are you ready at home for these guys?"
We laughed and said no.
We didn't even have a name for baby B yet.
He hadn't cooperated on scans before,
most likely because his brother had taken over the main domain
and had kept him tucked up sideways in my womb
smack dab against my ribs pretty much the second half of their stay.
Only recently had we been told it was two he{s}.
She said "well...we thought you could go home and cook some more
but we did one last little test and you need to deliver."
I remember thinking no way they're not ready.
She said the words HELLP syndrome.
I was like whatever, I'm not ready, they're not ready.
No way.
I'm so glad this was before my iPhone days and google.
I didn't know at the time what it all meant.
Turns out my liver and kidneys were failing.
To be honest I was only thinking about the boys
and what it meant for them.
Again I asked my husband if they'd be ok.
Yes.
Babies much younger than this survive all the time he said.
Marvels of modern medicine.
He tried to reassure me.
I still wasn't sold on the idea.
We made a pact with our doc.
Since we lived so close to the hospital,
since my husband is a doc,
since I was still on monitoring,
she would give me twelve hours or so.
Instructions were to go home, get in bed, and
tell him what I thought I needed to get done.
No nothing for me except get up to use the bathroom
or walk to the car to come back.
We drove home and stopped at the bookstore on the way.
My husband ran in and got three baby naming books.
We got in bed until the next morning with our books,
saying names we liked out loud and voting on each one.
Yes.
No.
Maybe.
No way.
My husband woke up early and said he'd had a dream.
He knew what we should name baby B.
I knew it was God's whisper to us.
We were ready now.
Or so I thought.
 
We arrived back at the hospital before our appointed time.
I was scared silly but didn't say a word about it.
They took us back and I got changed and the prep started.
My husband went with a nurse to get on a gown and scrubs
while they hooked me to an IV then escorted me down a hall.
Up on this bed they said.
I was wondering where the hubs was.
He's on his way they said.
Here, put your arms around this nurse.
We need to do your epidural.
I started to cry.
I needed the hubs.
The nurse I was hugging bellowed "histamine release" kind of loud.
Everyone started talking to me -
the crazy crying preggo trying to keep it together.
It's ok they said.
We just need to get this going.
We've got to get those babies out now ok?
Your husband will be here soon.
We just can't wait. Ok?
I'm thinking: No, not ok lady.
That's why I'm crying.
Throw me a bone and find my hubs.
 
The anesthesiologist was not a jolly man.
Dare I say not even a kind one.
He did his bit, got the needle in my back,
then proceeded to yell at me
to get my legs up on the table quickly.
I wanted to say do you not see this big belly in my way?
Ain't' happening buddy.
Capisce?
Instead I cried harder and a nurse helped lift my legs.
My husband came in after the first cut was made.
Wow he said.
They already started?
They couldn't wait.
I'm looking up at him and he's looking at me.
So happy he was finally with me.
I vaguely remember chit chat.
My husband said it was standing room only.
Two separate teams ready for the boys.
My doc and her team working on me.
I couldn't see anything because of the screens shielding my belly.
I remember straining to watch my ob's head.
Like when I'm on an airplane I watch the flight attendants.
I tell my kids that now too.
Don't be nervous about flying.
Watch the flight attendants.
When they freak out, that's your sign.
Until then don't worry.
So I'm watching her, glancing up at the hubs.
Back and forth like a tennis match.
Looking for signs of panic.
If everyone else is ok then we're ok I keep telling myself.
I remember her say she was going for baby A.
Get ready.
Here he comes.
Then the most glorious squawking sounds.
He's here.
Baby A.
She held him up for me to see before she passed him off to his team.
We were happy for sure but only half way there.
One down, one to go.
More chit chat ensued as they ask us for their names.
I'm still nervous...waiting for my baby B to be born.
She pulled him out to silence.
No crying.
She didn't hold him up for me like she did A.
I felt the tension in the room go up.
She passed him off to his team and orders started flying.
Time stood still.
Suddenly they started yelling to look to the left, look to the left.
A nurse passed by with him headed to the NICU next door.
She didn't stop.
Look, look, look they were saying.
Did you see him?
There he was!
My husband was struggling to take a picture.
I said something out loud.
What did you say? my doctor asked.
I think I'm going to throw up.
She called out for some medicine and I was out like a light.
 
The rest of the day was like a weird dream.
In and out of consciousness.
My husband came in to the recovery room.
A was in level two NICU.
B was in the more critical level three.
I could barely open my eyes
still I could tell my husband was beaming.
So happy to be a dad.
I held on to that as I lost sense of time.
I'd fade in and out, hearing bits and asking him to say it again.
He had seen them working on baby B
and was off to look for baby A.
He came back to check on me.
He couldn't find A.
What do you mean you couldn't find him?
He has to be here somewhere.
Right?
He said he guessed he was getting a bath.
Don't worry about me I told him.
Go find our baby.
After a while he said he'd found him.
Or rather the hospital had found my husband 
wandering around in the level two NICU.
They said why are you here?
We've been looking for you.
Why aren't you up in level three?
One of my sons is here he explained.
No.
He's up in three now, you need to go there now.
 
Their little lungs weren't quite ready.
They were both intubated and on breathing machines.
They didn't go over that in the classes we took.
What to expect when you have preemies.
I'd brought tiny clothes with us expecting to go home in three days.
We were so naïve.
 
I started waking up from all the surgery meds late that afternoon.
Of course the first thing I said was "where are my babies?".
My husband explained that baby A had pooped out.
He found him in level three struggling to breathe,
his tiny chest heaving like a hundred times a minute.
He kept trying to reassure me that they were where they needed to be.
They were working on them both.
They were getting the best care possible and while I knew that
I didn't really care about anything else except being with them.
I wanted to meet my babies.
He went to find help to get me in a wheelchair while
I tried to survey the damage to my body.
I was so swollen, I guess from HELLP, that I had morphed into
a huge hot mess...nothing normal except maybe my hair.
My body had not been my own for seven and half months.
Now it was alone again and it was staging a revolt of its own.
But I was determined to get to my boys.
I didn't care who I had to pay off or battle with
I was getting in a wheelchair one way or another.
My husband, my hero, made it happen.
 
I remember ringing the bell at the NICU door,
being led in and given a run down of protocols
as to how to gown up and wash hands.
We cleaned up and got ready.
Butterflies in my stomach.
He pushed me in.
I remember the sounds of bells and alarms
being so loud,
so overwhelming,
so on the verge of tears was I.
The NICU is a noisy place.
No one prepares you for that.
 
I remember seeing the boys,
one at a time because they were in different pods.
Each so tiny not even preemie clothes would fit.
It was hard for me to believe they were mine.
The same little souls who'd been moving and
grooving in my belly just the day before.
Here they were.
So tiny, so fragile.
With tubes and wires everywhere.
The only thing I could bring myself to say to them
was "I love you." and "Breathe. Just breathe."
I wanted to break down and cry.
But somehow I thought that wasn't right.
For me or anyone else there.
The tears came though don't get me wrong.
Oh how I cried.
Only silently as I stroked their leg,
whispering mama was here,
just hang on and breathe.
I told them that I would do the same too.
 
It took me five days in the hospital
before my body decided to get on board
with the recovery program plus another month
for the swelling to go down enough
to look "normal" again.
It took that long for the boys to learn the reflex
so that they could eat without a feeding tube.
I remember thinking that they would never eat 30 mLs of milk,
a requirement for them to get out of the hospital.
Like with most things in my experience in life as their mom
they did it on their own time table,
not mine or what the books said.
It felt like forever but they did it when they were ready.
We went home together as a family mid October.
The boys were on monitors and oxygen but we didn't care.
We were home together.
Then the real adventure began.
Ha!
Eleven years later they continue to show us their strength and fortitude.
They are growing into such beautiful souls
and dare I say kind, delightful, brilliant young men.
I don't know what I ever did to deserve them.
They are proof to me that a loving God exists.
I'm so thankful that now eleven years later
I know to embrace every minute God gives us and
when the going gets tough just to breathe deep
and remember...its all gonna be ok.
 
 


5 comments :

  1. On of my favorite quotes and I find myself saying it often. What a beautiful reminder to us all with this beautiful tribute to your twins…happy Wednesday, Nancy!

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  2. Happy birthday to your twins and happy day of birth to you!

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  3. So sweet! Brought tears to my eyes!

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  4. Beautiful post. Happy bday to your twins!

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  5. What a lovely tribute to your darlings!

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