This is a mommy blog, so I’m going to start with how the story of how I became a mommy. I promise this blog won’t all be about birthing, but let me just get this story out.
It seems wrong to quickly sweep over my three year infertility journey, but I will surely post about it another day. After several years of heartbreak and loss, we got and stayed pregnant in July 2013. Ignoring the probably sound advice of the IVF doctor in charge of my transfer, we implanted two embryos. She advised: “If you implant 2 embryos, you will become twin parents” – and she was right.
I had an easy pregnancy, as twin pregnancies go. It was uncomfortable, but I embraced the challenge of growing my babies (3,500 calories a day? NO PROBLEM) and had a laid back attitude about the end game. I trusted my doctor fully, and often would get myself to sleep by repeatedly telling myself that “Dr. Chow can fix anything.”
As it turns out, he couldn’t really fix the problem at the end. At 35 weeks, uncomfortable and huge but still feeling good, I was told that I had protein in my urine, a clear indicator of pre-eclampsia. Dr. Chow said “I don’t really believe this because you seem so good” and sent me home with a pee jug.
My time with the Pee Jug brought bad news – I was for sure developing pre-eclampsia. Dr. Chow said that in a matter of days my blood pressure would begin to spike and my babies would have to come out immediately. I went into the L&D triage unit every other day to get tested, prepared to deliver each time..except for a snowy Saturday morning. My husband (we will call him Dr. H) and I were growing tired of getting our hopes up for babies and had decided that today wasn’t the day so we didn’t need to pack. Blood pressure…150/90. Alarm bells went off. I was having babies that day and fast.
I had given very little thought throughout the pregnancy about delivery. I figured that Dr. Chow would tell me what to do and I would do it. Twin A was head down and Twin B was a wiggly baby that was always moving around. We had talked about a vaginal delivery, but never really seriously. The day my BP spiked, Dr. Chow gave me a choice: be induced and deliver sometime that next 24 hours by the on-call doctor (which wasn’t him), or have a c-section with him in the next 30 minutes. I immediately chose the c-section.
45 minutes later (Dr. H asked for some extra time to go home and grab clothes), I’m strapped to a table and some nice lady with a Russian accent is talking to me. I had no concept of how long it would take, and was surprised when Dr. Chow told me “look over to your right in about 15 seconds” I had a quick glimpse of my son David, before he was whisked away to the neighboring incubator room. About 90 seconds Dr. Chow said “look over again” and there was Addy. As we discussed, Dr. H ran into the room to be with the babies.
Here’s Dr. H giving me a quick glance of my babies before running off – again I told him to do this, so let’s not hate him.
This is where the story gets a bit gloomy.
The next 20 minutes were unlike anything I’d ever experienced or want to experience again. It feels silly to be complaining about pain during my C-section…but I found the pushing and shoving of my organs to be quite uncomfortable. My new Russian friend talked me through it, encouraging me to breathe.
After being put together, I was wheeled out of the OR and into recovery. The recovery nurse (a nice midwestern girl) and I hung out, sans babies or husband, for the next 2 hours. I could hear, but not see, women around me who were meeting their babies. “Where were my babies?” I asked. Dr. H brought me pictures – but I wanted more.
Without my knowledge, my twins had gone from the comfy incubator room off the OR straight to the “Special Care Nursery” – a “step down” from the NICU (whatever the fuck that means) because they had been born at 35 weeks 6 days. They missed the cutoff for the regular nursery (36 weeks gestation) by just 12 hours. However, my recovery room nurse assured me that she had seen the babies and that my healthy babies would be released to the regular nursery as soon as I was released from the recovery. This is not what happened.
I was finally wheeled in a bed to the Special Care Unit and met David, amongst wires, beeping noises and intrusive nurses. My father in law was allowed back to the room before I was. My daughter was nowhere to be seen and was not brought in the room for hours. This is me finally meeting her and our first (oh so painful) latch on.
From that moment on, I had to fight to get my babies out of “baby jail” for the next 8 days. Every 3 hours I pushed my postpartum nurses to “let” me go down and nurse my babies. I was told to nurse, bottle feed, pump and repeat…times two. When I was discharged as a patient, I refused to go home (the thought didn’t even occur to me) and slept in a small room off the nursery.
Those 8 days were the hardest days of my life. I’m sure I just pissed some NICU moms off by complaining about an 8 day stay…but my babies DID NOT NEED TO BE THERE. I am fully convinced that our stay in the hospital had a detrimental affect on me and my children. They were healthy. They were small, and needed some help learning how to breastfeed, but they could have and should have been in my room.
This is me in that god-awful uncomfortable chair with the pump in the background.
But we made it home. My milk came in immediately. It was a truly wonderful day.