After years of infertility and IVF, we've finally seen light from the other side. I knew it could happen, but certainly didn't think it would be us ... our new life with twins. Gulp.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

How it All Went Down (PART 1)

It was totally unexpected, but deep down inside, I think I knew, but was in denial. Throughout the entire process. I wasn't ready to have babies. Certainly not at 31 weeks. Thirty-five, yes, 31, hell no.

It was a regular Thursday. I was having another thrilling day, hanging out on the living room couch. On one of my morning trips to the bathroom, I noticed a little bit of wetness in my underpants. Not big - maybe the size of a stick of gum. I called the doctor and left a message with her nurse. When I spoke with her, I explained that I wasn't sure if my water was leaking, or if I just did a little pee in my pants. She thought it must be pee, and to watch and call her if I noticed it again. To be safe, I changed my undies, and kept an eye on the situation. And it happened again. Same amount. Same drill. Left message, returned call. Nurse reported that she'd spoken to my doctor, and thought it nothing by leaking urine. As I look back now, I realize that my back was a little achy, but why would that be a worry? I'd just had a doctor's appointment, and while my cervix was a little shorter, it wasn't dilated, and of course, I'd had the negative fetal fibronectin test. So of course, I wasn't in labor.

Early in the evening, my sister-in-law and nephew came to drop off dinner and visit for a bit. They left around 7:30, and no later than 15 or 20 minutes later, it happened. I shifted position on the couch, and all of a sudden, had a nice warm feeling inside. Kind of indescribable, but I guess I knew enough to head to the bathroom.

I pulled down my pants, and woosh! My pants were soaked, there was dripping into the toilet. I was despondent and devastated that this was happening. In between sobs, curses, and desperation, I called for J., and for the telephone. This time, a call to the answering service, and a return call from my doctor. I am so thankful that she was the one on call that evening ... I have been quite worried that she wouldn't be the one to see me through the end of this pregnancy. I didn't realize quite how important it was to me.

With the calm demeanor that only an experienced OB/GYN can muster, she talked me out of my toilet-top hysteria, and told me to get myself together and over to Labor & Delivery. She said that they'd keep an eye on me, but wouldn't check my cervix just yet, since every physical check is simply an opportunity to introduce more infection. It is also quite common, she said, to be able to keep a patient with broken membranes in the hospital for up to a week. However, if I was to deliver, she confirmed that I would have to have a C-Section, since Little Girl (baby B) was still breech. So, planning for another week of bedrest, I packed some comfy clothing and books. I'm a pro now, I think.

Just like they taught us in childbirth class, J. races up to the nursery and tears open the package of newborn diapers, bringing me a few to put inside my pants for the trip to the hospital. They were right - it works!

The ride to the hospital is now fuzzy in my mind, but I think it was full of tears and anguish. J was an ever-calming presence, but I wasn't really open to his "it's all going to be okay" attitude.

They checked me into L&D, set me up with all the paperwork, and a sweet young nurse, a newlywed "who just got a puppy!!!" !! !! I'm not totally sure she knew what she was doing. But she was real sweet. I remember asking if I should continue taking the Niphedipine that I'd been on 4x a day to help prevent premature labor. Oh yes, they assured me...we're just checking things out right now. Are you having pain, they ask? Oh no, I assure them ...these are the same kinds of contractions that I've been having for at least a month. I never feel them. I insist that J take a photo of my belly ... documenting the rest of this pregnancy.

The babies heartbeats are strong and tracking well. My contractions are visible on the monitor at the same levels they were on my previous hospital stays and doctors visits. But honestly, they don't hurt. I insist that I don't need any pain meds. This is normal. Besides, I'm not having any babies tonight.

J. hung out in the bedside chair. I thanked the nurse profusely for not requiring a catheter, and was pleased when she brought me the bedside toilet. Strangely enough, I remember wondering if it would be inappropriate to turn on some Thursday night TV. After all, I'm not having any babies tonight.

Hours go by ... I can't honestly be sure of the timeframe from this point forward, but I imagine it's about midnight or so. My lower belly and lower back are cramping, similar to really bad period cramps. I'm doing a little bit of whimpering and such. A repeated offer from the nurse for some narcotics (I can't remember the exact name of the drug) is met with my positive response. I'll just try it to "take the edge off." Off of what, I'm not sure. Noone has insinuated that I am having babies tonight. As far as I'm concerned, this is just par for the course, and it will slow down. When asked to rate my pain on a scale of 1-10, I classify my cramping as a 4, maybe. I haven't seen a doctor, so this must be no big deal. I'm not having any babies tonight. Maybe next week.

Oh, the warm and happy feeling when those drug run through the IV and make contact with the bloodstream. I giggle and report that I'm having a happy little buzz ... it's a two-martini evening. Just for a bit, I'm happy and content. I watch the monitors and the contractions rise and fall, and I'm not concerned.

Up until this point, I was certain that, once in labor, I did not want to take any of the narcotics during labor. I knew that I was up for an epidural, once reaching the recommended 4 to 5 cm dilation. But in this instance, I didn't mind taking the narcotics, because I wasn't planning to have any babies. This was just a false start. So I vigorously rejected the repeated offers of epidural, since it didn't apply to my situation.

By this point, J. is dozing in his chair, and I'm clutching the side of the bed, attempting to breathe. On the nurse's next visit, I ask for another shot. Yea, it didn't work much.

Continued clutching, moaning, writhing. J still asleep, and I moan a bit louder to try and wake him up. But I am still IN DENIAL that this is actually happening. I'm not sure how this has happened, how I'm ignoring all of the obvious signs. I took the classes, I read the books. I'm prepared. But I completely fail to recognize that I'm in labor. What the hell? Still, I'd not had my cervix checked, so I didn't know if I was dilated or not. I think, perhaps, that if I'd had a number to associate with my pain, it might have snapped me into the reality.

The nurse checks in again, asks me to rate my pain, and I'm sure I give her a higher number. She and the others decide that it's time to check my cervix, and surprise! I'm 10 cm dilated. Can you believe it? I never planned to go that far without an epidural, and I'm shocked that I did.

Blurring, rushing, more people in the room, and J. is most definitely awake. I remember urgent voices instructing the nurse to call my doctor, to get her to the hospital ASAP. I ask if I'm having the babies now, and am told yep, that's what's happening. I happily accept the epidural, and it seems like the anesthesiologist is there in a snap. They did the epidural right there in the L&D room, and I found it odd, since they are usually done in the OR. I started out leaning over on to the Newlywed Nurse's shoulder, but when J. looked confused and lost in the rush, she asked him to replace her, and he held me steady. It was so hard to hold still during the contractions, but the anesthesiologist was patient, and J was strong.

J wasn't given scrubs to wear into the OR, but was presented with a white, one-piece zip up space suit. By that point, I guess the epidural kicked in, because I remember laughing at him, and insisting that I needed to take a picture of him. I think we sat together and said a prayer. But I'm not sure. I hope we did.

Somehow, I made it to the OR. It was full of people, and I wasn't surprised by that. There was a team for each baby, a team for me, the anesthesiologist, and a few other nurses. I think it was all women, except for the anesthesiologist, and they asked him for his help to pick me up and transfer me to the operating table. I asked where J was, deathly afraid that they were going to barr him from the OR at the last minute. Why, I have no earthly idea. He showed up soon, and I asked the doctor to please let me know what she was doing.

She told me to expect some tugging and pressure, and that she was going ahead to make the incision. ...

I Am

It's a rainy day outside, but my heart is full and bright, my optimism overflowing, and my thankfulness abundant.

I spent most of the day with my gorgeous babies, and am overwhelmed by the progress they are making. They are still quite small, and have yet to regain their birth weight, but it seems as though most major hurdles are passed. They are breathing on their own, they are both off the biliruben lights, and she is feeding voraciously while he is trying to catch up.

I am feeling more confident about my place as "mother," among all of the very qualified nurses and doctors. These are my babies, and I am their mother.

"Hello, sweetheart. It's mommy. I'm here to take care of you, and I love you so much. I am so proud of you, and of all the work you're doing. I'm your mommy."

I say this to assure them of my presence. I say this to assure myself of my new role in this world. I am your mommy.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It's Amazing

Friday, April 28 in the early morning hours, we met our little boy and girl. They are spectacular and amazing, gorgeous in every detail, in every possible way.

I'll get back with more details later, but here are the basics:

Born at 31 weeks
Baby Boy: 5:02 a.m. * 3 lb, 14 oz
Baby Girl: 5:03 a.m. * 3 lb, 3 oz

There was definetly some trauma involved, but both are muddling through nicely. Looks like they'll be in the NICU for a month or more ... we'll see.

I look at them, so tiny in their plastic bubbles, and can't imagine that they were actually inside me. And that, technically, they still should be inside me. I'm torn between wishing it hadn't happened, but delighted that it did, and that my impatient self was given the opportunity to meet my babies even sooner.

I'm amazed.