Friday, January 21, 2011

And Then There Were Two: Our Twin Birth Story

We made it through Christmas without me going into labor. I was so thankful. I didn't want to miss celebrating Christmas with my older children, and I most certainly did not want to miss celebrating Sam's 6th birthday that evening.

Sunday came, and all was fine. That afternoon, the contractions began. They were irregular but painful. I talked to my midwife, and she suggested a glass of wine to calm my uterus. I had half a glass, and they calmed briefly. I tried to rest just in case this was the real thing. The contractions continued all night, and I barely slept. They were not getting any more regular, but they were still painful, and my back was killing me. I would just about doze off, and then another would come, and I would time it, only to be disappointed that it was not regular.

I had made it to 37 weeks and 4 days. With twins, it is recommended that you make it to at least 37 weeks for their safety. I was nervous about going into labor, though, because we live 75 minutes from the hospital and the babies had not been in the right positions at the last ultrasound. My last labor with Lucy was about 4.5 hours, and it would be dangerous for me to go into labor with the babies in the transverse position (sideways).

I had an appointment that Monday morning anyway, so Dave loaded up the van with all our stuff--just in case--and we headed to Little Rock. My doctor's partner saw me (my doctor was on vacation), and she said I had progressed a little, but not much. She sent us to the hospital for observation.

I really hoped that they would do an ultrasound and discover that Felix was head down. I really wanted to hear that--if not, I had a c-section scheduled for Thursday. I desperately wanted to avoid it. Once I had experienced a natural birth with Lucy, nothing else would satisfy.

Dave wheeled me into labor and delivery, and I heard a mother screaming in pain as she labored. I was excited to hear someone delivering without drugs. A nurse at the counter said, "Don't mind the squealing." I was disgusted at her word choice and her obvious disdain for the patient. Another nurse chimed in, "Yeah, that's what you get when you don't have an epidural!"

"I think she's doing a GREAT job," said I, unable to even look the nurse in the eye because I was so irritated. How unprofessional!!!

Well, the unprofessional nurse turned out to be MY nurse. Ugh. I was a bit snippy with her and not very warm or engaging. I did NOT want to have my babies here!!! I did not want unsupportive staff! She hooked me up to the monitors and everything, and I was still contracting. My back was miserable. She began asking the pile of questions. I answered them. She then asked, "If you will be having a vaginal delivery, will you be having an epidural?"

"No," I replied.

"Have you ever had an epidural before?" she went on.

"Yes, with my first two children," I responded.

"Oh, so you went natural with the third?" she pried.

"Yes, I did."

I think now she may have had a clue as to why I didn't agree with their comments back at the nurse's station. She finally left us alone.

My friend, Marla, was in town for Christmas, and she wrote on my facebook, "You better have those babies while I'm in town so I can come see them!" I didn't even know she was around! I called her and told her what was up. She came up to the hospital and hung out with us while we were waiting around. I had no idea what kind of blessing she was going to be for me that day.

My doctor came in to check on us, and he decided to go ahead and do an ultrasound.

Both boys were BREECH. BOTH.

My heart sank.

This meant one thing only--a c-section.

Then, the doctor asked us what we wanted to do--have one today or wait the three days for the scheduled one? After all, the chances of Felix turning at all at this point were slim to none. I hem-hawed for a minute because I just couldn't say it. I looked at Dave and asked, "What do you think?" Neither of us wanted to say it.

Finally, I said it, "I guess we'll do it today."

After all, our kids were already being cared for, we were in Little Rock, I was approaching labor though I wasn't technically in labor. Labor with breech twins over an hour from the hospital was not a favorable scenario. We would just be turning around to do it in three days anyway.

It was the right thing to do in our situation.

But I still hated it.

And I was scared.

But, God had prepared a plan--a GOOD plan--in advance.

My midwife had flown to California to be with her daughter for a few days, and she planned to return in time for my scheduled c-section. Even though I wasn't having a vaginal delivery, I wanted her to be there so that I would have support while having surgery. She would stay with me while Dave was with the babies. But, since we had decided to go ahead with the early section, she would not be able to be present.

But Marla could be!

I asked her if she would stay for the surgery. She was ecstatic, and she said that she would. I encourage you to read Marla's story sometime, but suffice it to say, she was the BEST person I could have with me (next to my husband, of course!!!) during the surgery.

We were scheduled to have the surgery at 4:30pm. Around 4, Dave and Marla suited up for surgery, and I started to freak out. My mind was a playground for fear. It was overwhelming. I was so nervous about the surgery. I started feeling claustrophobic and anxious. I couldn't be still. Finally, close to 6pm, they came to get me. I had mentioned to Dave that we could just leave. We didn't HAVE to stay!

I got prepped for the surgery, and I felt like I had been abducted by aliens. I'll spare you the gory details, but I will say that lying on a table for the world to see with bright lights above and a bunch of masked people around staring at you is definitely otherworldly and added to my fear and anxiety.

They had to keep giving me more medicine in the epidural because I still had some "hot spots" on my belly where I had sensation. That was a little unsettling! Because they upped my dosage so much, I began shaking uncontrollably, just as I had with my epidurals with Sam and Maryn (which was the first of many reasons I had a natural birth with Lucy). They tried to blame it on the fact that I was giving birth, but I knew better. I didn't have that awful full body shaking with Lucy. They tried counter-acting it with Demerol. I would get temporary relief, but then it would start up again. One anesthesiologist was super sweet and reassuring. I appreciated him.

The boys came out crying and healthy. I don't remember many details, but they did show me the babies. Thankfully, there are pictures that Marla and Dave took so I have proof! Dave said I seemed really subdued and not quite myself while I was in there. I kept remembering a story someone told me about a surgery they had, and unfortunately, his anesthesia didn't work. An angel (he supposes) appeared to him and said, "The kingdom of heaven lies within; go within!" I kept repeating the phrase in my mind, over and over, and just hid myself in the secret place with Jesus. I was so scared, but thinking about Him being with me calmed me.

Felix and Me

Milo and Me

Marla cried out, "NICU is leaving!" I felt relief wash over me to know my babies were healthy. Felix's APGAR was 8/9 and Milo's was 9/9. I was so thankful.

Felix and Milo

Marla stayed right next to me, distracting me while I was being sewn up. Dave stayed with the babies. I was most brokenhearted about not getting to hold my babies right away, next to my skin. But the next best thing was that their daddy was right there with them.

Before I knew it, everything was done, and they moved me to a bed to wheel me back to my recovery room. Evidently, I held the babies as I was wheeled back.

The next couple of hours is a blur. Marla says I kept telling the anesthesiologist that "I loved my natural birth," over and over. That makes me laugh! I don't remember it at all.

I did get to nurse the boys--at the same time, and it was beautiful. They were so alert, and from the start until now, they have been nursing non-stop! They were not sleepy like my other babies had been, only eating once or twice the first day--nope, they ate every 2 hours (or less than 2!).

I was glad when the fog began to clear for me, and I could enjoy my boys. Dave has been my true partner. I never have to wonder if he's going to help me with breastfeeding or diaper changes or soothing sad babies. He jumps in with both feet. I am so thankful he is a hands-on daddy.

The boys are growing SO well. They are getting big--FAST. In the first two weeks, Felix gained 1.5 lbs and Milo gained 1.25 lbs! They are not identical, and we have been able to tell them apart since the 2nd day of their life (the 1st day was a little harder!).

Milo and Felix

Felix (happy, blessed, fortunate) Josiah (fire of the Lord; healer) was the firstborn--smaller than Milo, but definitely a firstborn. He's been fussier than Milo and more tense. He has deep set eyes, and he makes the funniest face where his eyes move back and forth. We call him "Shifty Eyes." He is so sweet and has a tiny head. He is a BLESSING from the Lord, and he is part of the healing God has done in our hearts after losing a baby last year.

Felix Josiah

Milo (merciful and generous) Zane (God is gracious) was our secondborn. He is a chunk. Geidl babies are long and skinny, and we've yet to have one that is a roly-poly butterball. I don't know if Milo will be that baby, but he is getting heavy!!! His cheeks might weigh a couple of pounds by themselves! He's generally pretty content and quiet, but the last week, he has showed us he can scream with the best of 'em! His hair is reddish (not nearly as red as Samuel's, but definitely reddish) and he looks a lot like Samuel did as a baby. He is such a gift of mercy and grace--not just one baby but TWO!!! Milo was our second blessing in this pregnancy--the gift we didn't expect. He is a picture of restoration for us.

Milo Zane

Thank you for supporting us prayerfully in our journey. Please continue to do so!!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

They're Here!!! of two weeks ago. Sorry, blogging is not a priority at the moment. But, I figured I shouldn't leave you hanging any longer.

Felix (left) Milo (right)

No time for the birth story now, but I did have a cesarean birth on Monday, December 27th at 37 weeks, 4 days.

Felix Josiah
6 lbs. 12 oz.
19.5 inches

Milo Zane
7 lbs. 5 oz.
19.5 inches
6:36 pm

All is well. They are not identical for all who are wondering. We are tired, but we are happy and blessed. How could we not be???