Our girls are here!
I’m reflecting… still processing what has happened in the last 15 days. That’s a little more than two weeks… two weeks since our whole life has changed.
Let me back up… on Saturday, February 25th we were at home getting ready for a fun night. My talented sister, Brittney, was in a dance competition fundraiser. My daddy, half mom (Disney ruined the term step mom), mom, and aunts were all gathering together to go cheer on Brittney and her dance partner. Both my dad and Doris were at our house and we were waiting on the rest of the family to arrive so we could carpool to the theater.
We were catching up when I stood to go to the bathroom and felt a huge gush… I immediately ran to the bathroom thinking “Oh, this is a new pregnancy thing – I JUST WET MY PANTS.” Except the water didn’t stop. It just kept going. I sat in the bathroom for a second… paralyzed with fear. I knew my water had just broken.
I was only 33 weeks + 2 days…. way too early for the girls to come. Once I gathered my thoughts, I called out to Kev. He sauntered into the bathroom, “what’s wrong?” He took one look at my face and knew ……”MY WATER JUST BROKE.”
Doris rushed in and began to calm me down. My daddy slept through the first five minutes. I began running around the house gathering all the things I needed but didn’t have in my go bag yet. Kev called the doctor and told them we were heading to Northside Hospital. I was in a panic.
What was going to happen? Their lungs weren’t ready. Would they be strong enough? Would I be strong enough? My c-section wasn’t scheduled for another three weeks… and that was even early. Would my doctor perform the surgery??? WAIT – SHE’S NOT ON CALL. CRAP! So, some other doctor I don’t know was going to perform my emergency c-section?
I climbed in the van (not before putting down a towel – but OMG the water was everywhere) and began to sob. Kev and my parents were doing their best to reassure me that everything was going to be fine…but I wasn’t so sure.
We got to the hospital in a matter of minutes…. and moments later I was in a high risk labor room – a trail of water behind me in the hallway (not even kidding, someone was mopping it up).
They hooked me up to several IV bags… and an adorable doctor (Think Mindy from the Mindy Project) came in and told me they were going to try and stop my labor with magnesium. They wanted to try and delay everything until the following Thursday – marking week 34 in my pregnancy. I was to remain at the hospital on strict bedrest with 24 hour monitoring. And we would be able give me a steroid shot to help develop the girls’ lungs.
The room finally stopped spinning. We had a plan. If I could just get the girls to hang on for five more days, I could have my doctor and the girls would be in a better place for birth.
The following days were filled with prayers, naps, IV changes, more prayers, constant monitoring with belly straps, really kind and loving nurses, more prayers…
There were a couple of close calls. Twice the girls’ heart rates dropped and they thought they would have to do an emergency c-section. Both times the drama died down with a change of position – this makes sense later.
On Wednesday, I was feeling really poorly – lots of pressure and just plain hurting. I knew the girls couldn’t hold out much longer.
I guess the girls KNEW that Thursday was going to be their birthday and they could NOT wait any longer because…On Thursday morning at 12:05 am the contractions started. I didn’t tell anyone because I knew my doctor wasn’t on call. I kept thinking, “If I can just hold on for a few hours, I’ll have my doctor.” By 3:00am, I was in excruciating pain and my cries woke Kev up. He was not very happy with my decision to keep my pain to myself. He made me call the nurse… who called the on call doctor. She pushed fluids and told me that should help buy us a few hours.
By 7am, the contractions were back and I was a mess. This time, Kev called the nurse. They agreed something needed to be done. They finally got a hold of my doctor (now on call) and she went ahead and sent me down to the OR prep room. I wasn’t supposed to have my C-Section until 1pm that day. But they decided to give me a labor epidural until it was time for my c-section.
Once I got that epidural, I was a new woman. I don’t know how you natural birthers do it. NO THANK YOU. GIVE ME ALL THE DRUGS.
One by one, my family trickled in to give hugs and their love. I loved having them all there. I’m sure the waiting room was quite the happening place with our crew anxiously awaiting the Twincesses arrival.
Around 12:45pm, I was given the C-Section Epidural. Whoa…. that was strange. I could feel pressure and movement, but no pain at all. Kev had to go get suited up.
We met back up in the OR. I was a bit out of it, but came back around a few minutes before the surgery began. He held my hand as Dr. Sun began walking us through what she was doing…
“I’m cutting into your abdomen now…”
“I can see Baby A – Evelyn”
“Happy Birthday to you… Happy Birthday, Dear Evelyn! Happy Birthday to you!”
Tears. Holding my breath in anticipation. IS SHE CRYING??
“YES! She’s good! She’s beautiful! Lot’s of hair. Let us get her cleaned up!”
“Alright, we are going for Baby B – Eleanor”
“She’s right there – hang on…”
“Happy Birthday to you… Happy Birthday, Dear Eleanor! Happy Birthday to you!”
Then I heard her little cry. And her sister was crying on the other side of the room.
They could breathe. And now I could breathe.
We now know that Evelyn had the cord wrapped around her neck… and Eleanor had a true knot in her cord. This explained so much, why Evelyn’s water broke early – why Eleanor was so much smaller – why their heart rates kept dropping while on bedrest. And we also know what a miracle it is that there were no further complications. If I had a vaginal delivery – or if they had stayed put any longer…. things could have turned out drastically differently. We are so very thankful.
Kev got to hold both of them – and he brought them over for me to see. I kept wanting to see their faces better, but couldn’t get in a good position as they were sewing me up.
Then Kev followed them up to the NICU. They needed to be fully checked out since they were so tiny.
Evelyn, 4lb 12oz and 18 inches long
Eleanor, 3lb 6oz. and 16 inches long
I was rolled into a recovery room and given pain meds. I was supposed to be sleeping, but all I could think about was my girls. Were they okay? I started calling Kev. I needed an update. He sent lots of pics and facetimed with me… assuring me that they were okay.
I was forced to stay in bed recovering for the next 12 hours. I can’t tell you how upsetting this was to me. My family was able to go up and see the girls – taking pics. They were so sweet to send them to me… .but it was dreadful that my whole family was spending time with the girls and I was stuck in a semi private room wishing I was with my girls.
All the women around me had their babies… I could hear them through the curtains. Huge tears fell from my face. I needed to be with my babies. The next few hours with filled with lots of emotional tears, Kev coming to give me updates, and lots of staring at my phone at pictures of our girls.
Finally at 2am, I was allowed to go up and see them in the NICU. They were so beautiful. And they fit in my arms perfectly. I stared at them for over an hour, memorizing every detail of their tiny little faces. My heart felt like it might explode.We made it back to our room around 4am and slept for a few hours.
The next morning we were told that our girls had graduated to a less critical floor of the NICU. They were doing really well… but because they were so tiny, they couldn’t regulate their body temperature, so they needed to go in heated beds. Both were also too small to understand how to nurse or take a bottle, so they would need feeding tubes.
Kev and I spent every minute we could with them… We would time our day around their schedule. We spent precious hours holding them and loving them – praying over them in the wee hours of the morning. We were so excited when they started taking the bottle a little here and there.
On Monday, I was discharged from the hospital. They were really kind and told us we could stay as long as we wanted. The thought of leaving my girls while I went home was horrible, but the time had come. We stayed until 7pm.
I cried the whole way home. And then I cried the whole night. I couldn’t get back up to the hospital quick enough the next morning. I spent 8 hours with them – and then cried the whole way home again. Leaving them there made me feel so guilty.
Would they think I had abandoned them?
Would they forget me?
Would they think we didn’t love them?
I knew (and know) they were getting the best care and needed to be there – but it hurt me in the depths of my soul.
Our girls have now been in the NICU for 11 days. We have a good routine down… I wake up at 5:30am and pump, call the NICU for an update from the night before including their weights and volume of food they consumed, and do their laundry from the day before. I am normally at the NICU around 9:30ish. I deposit my milk from the night before in the hospital fridge (they process it and fortify it with additional calories and vitamins). Then I head back to our pod where I put away laundry and start prepping diapers, outfits, and feedings for the day. At 11am I change Evelyn’s diaper then feed her – either nursing or bottle feeding whatever she takes. If she doesn’t finish, I alert the nurse and we tube feed her the rest of her volume. I snuggle her while she finishes her feeding… then I do the same process for Eleanor. I quickly grab lunch, then meet with Nurse Practioner briefly. I sneak in a pump session, then start the whole process over again at 2pm. Kev comes after work for the 5pm cycle. We head home around 7:30 where we quickly eat (thanks to our dear friends and the meal train they have setup) before I begin pumping and laundry again. I call before bed to make sure they are good… I wake up every three hours to pump and then begin again the next day.
Perhaps I’m a bit obsessive about the pumping, but I feel like it’s the only thing I can really do to help them grow. My milk provides them with the nourishment they so desperately need… so yeah, I take it pretty seriously.
We’ve had some setbacks. Both girls lost weight. Both are so exhausted they don’t have the energy to nurse or take a bottle every time, so they are fed through a tube much of the time. At one point, Eleanor was so exhausted she didn’t wake up for more than a minute for three whole days.
And we’ve had some great progress…But both girls have now graduated to a big girl bed! Over the past two days, Evelyn has gained a few ounces… and Eleanor has maintained her weight. Evelyn managed to nurse twice today, each time for over 30 minutes. And our teeny bird, Eleanor, woke up and was very alert this evening. AND she managed to nurse for 35 minutes.
Seeing the progress today was exactly what my Mama Heart needed.
Everyone keeps asking when we can bring our sweet girls home…. The truth is we don’t actually know. They need to nurse or bottle feed consistently – 6 feedings in a row and gain weight. We also have a checklist of things we need to complete. Our Infant CPR class is tomorrow, we have to give them a bath, take their temp – and a few more other items…
I can’t tell you how appreciative we are of the care and love we are receiving from our nurses. We are learning so much in this process, valuable info that will help us in the weeks to come.
And more than that, we are appreciative of the love, prayers, and care from our tribe. We have been truly humbled by those that have surrounded us and lifted us up. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You guys have shown us the support and encouragement that we desperately need.
Our story always seems to be one of waiting – but we are trusting and knowing that our girls will be healthy and HOME soon. He is a good, good Father. We are so blessed.
More updates soon. But for now, I’ll leave you with some pics of our little miracle girls.
And Evelyn and Eleanor