Three years and a few months ago…

Screen Shot 2013-07-12 at 7.49.12 AMThree years and a few months ago I went in for an ultrasound and it confirmed what I already thought – I was having twins. We were excited but also scared and if anyone gave me two of the same outfit I couldn’t hold them both at once without starting to panic a bit. I knew this was going to be wonderful, but also really hard. I already had two older children, so it wasn’t my first rodeo but two at once was a bit overwhelming.

A few months later I had another ultrasound. This time I had to go to a fancy place where they could not only measure the baby, but also watch blood flow and who knows what else. Very high-tech.

Anyway I knew pretty quickly that something wasn’t right. The technician took forever taking measurements and looking and re-looking at the babies. When she was done they moved me into another room where my husband and I waited for the doctor. I was not ready for what came next. The doctor told us that there was a large percentage/chance that one of the twins had Down Syndrome. She stressed that I should get an amnio test that day and went through stats of how it was more likely that I was carrying a baby with downs than there was risk that an amnio would harm one of the fetuses. I didn’t want an amnio – what difference would it make? I was having the babies no matter what; wasn’t this information enough to prepare me in the event one of the boys did have Down’s? She continued to state that if I was refusing the amnio that I should most definitely speak with a genetic counselor. {6 years ago I had already done that with my first son – there is some genetic history of disorders so I had been down that road – I knew that discussion wouldn’t make a difference either.} I refused genetic counseling and made an emergency appointment with my doctor. My doctor is fabulous! She spoke to us and she knew my history and that I would be delighted to have any baby no matter the circumstances and she agreed that this information was enough to prepare me in the event that one of the babies did in fact have a genetic disorder. She saw no reason to have the amnio and that was that.

Two weeks later I was back in my doctor’s office. This time with labor pains and they did a test to see if I was in pre-term labor. By the time my husband and I arrived home the phone was already ringing – yes I was in pre-term labor and could I please go to the hospital so that they could monitor me over night. I was given medication to stop the contractions, monitored overnight and released with strict orders of bed rest. I was not happy about being bed-ridden, but I knew it was best. I stayed down and it was really hard – like lose your mind hard. I still was working – answering phone calls and emails, which probably saved me from actually going crazy. I moved to the couch in the afternoon because my mom came to stay with us until husband got home from work. It went fairly well until the Thursday of Memorial Day weekend. I was 27 weeks and I was having some pretty big contractions.

This time they admitted me to the hospital, began monitoring me right away and put me on magnesium. That stuff is awful. It feels like they are setting you on fire from the inside out. You pretty much feel like you are dying and everyone just walks around you like no big deal. During the first twenty minutes in the hospital, my doctor made me transfer my care to a different physician since she would be out-of-town and she was pretty sure I would deliver that weekend. The head of the NICU came to speak to us and told us about viability, statistics of prenatal infants and what their lives are like. We toured the NICU and there were 25 week old twins I was not allowed to see because mine would be a bit more developed. I peeked a transparent arm as they quickly wheeled me past and my brain filled in the picture from books that I had read; that started the tears. Every bassinet we passed the crocodile tears just rolled down my cheeks. Those babies and those super moms – women of steel that we passed put me in utter awe. They were so strong, and brave for those tiny babies. I couldn’t even meet their eyes I felt so guilty I was crying at their sweet little ones.

I had to hang on 5 more weeks, there was no more if ands or buts about it. I had to hang on and I had to get out of that hospital. First step – get off the magnesium.

I accomplished that within about 48 hours and when they weened me off the magnesium, the very first night I was mag free, I had crazy contractions. I didn’t even feel them, the nurse’s feet running down the hallway is what woke me up. She was shocked I was sleeping through them. She gave me a shot of something – I got a shot of this about every other day for weeks, so I can’t believe I forgot what it is called, but I forget. Anyhow, it slowed and eventually stopped the contractions. I spent Memorial Day weekend in the hospital and on through to the Wednesday after. They checked me out, no major contractions so they decided to send me home, with VERY SUPER-DUPER STRICT orders of bed rest. I was bedridden for 5 more weeks.

During that time I was sent to the hospital every other day for non-stress tests. At one of these appointments in my 32nd week I started having major contractions again and they felt that the babies were still better off on the inside so they gave me another one of those lovely shots and stopped my labor. It was that day that I lost it. I knew (you know how you know – our mommy-sense goes off and you just know something isn’t right) that something wasn’t right and that those babies had to be born. I cried and cried. I didn’t speak to my husband for the rest of the day because he had said that I had to go to the hospital and would not listen to me that something wasn’t right and that the babies needed to be born . Luckily I had my last ultra-sound appointment the next day. I knew this would prove what my mommy-sense was telling me.

Sure enough they took forever again examining the babies. The doctor came into see me and he asked if I had any major plans for that night and I said,”just delivering these babies, no hot dates for me!” He smiled and said it was time. One of my little ones had stopped growing roughly 2-3 weeks ago and the placenta was just about null and void of helping him survive. So off I went to the hospital. Relieved, but still knowing that we were not completely out of the woods yet.

Another saving grace – we knew I was going into labor soon the day before and the very smart nurse I had seen gave me a shot of a hormone that would help my boys breathe on their own if they were born early. Thank goodness for that nurse. I was prepped for a c-section even though we would only go that route if necessary – my doctor just wanted to be ready in the event that was necessary. Things went very smoothly for the most part – as smooth as they can go in labor, right?! Both boys were delivered. C-Man was born first. They laid him on my chest and right away he sighed. His sweet little body let out the biggest sigh. He had been the very, very squished twin and was a whole pound smaller than his brother it would turn out. He also had no circulation to one of his legs for some time on the inside, the lack of circulation was so great because he was so incredibly squished the doctor was afraid he would lose that leg for the first few days of his life. Z-Man arrived 9 minutes later and he was screaming – he was so irritated that he had been born. No wonder, he had a totally different experience. He had been growing fine, getting enough food and nutrients and not in the least bit squished. He was small, but in all other areas a healthy baby boy.

That was the wonderful beginning to being a twin mommy. Today there are no remnants of that crazy 8 months, maybe traces of their personality differences, but no physical signs of what their prenatal life was like.

Being their mom is a blessing. While currently listening to two-three year old’s temper tantrums makes me think I am losing my mind and would be better off on bed rest, their “bear” hugs at bed time, cuddles throughout the day, silly faces and hilarious antics make all the whining tolerable. So for mama’s of twins – I have mad, crazy respect for you.



3 thoughts on “Three years and a few months ago…

  1. Again, your beautiful writing has tears of joy streaming down my face. I love you and all the little ones. The twins are “something special” for sure. Seriously, you need to write a book …. I think that is your calling. Awesome post!

  2. I so agree with your dad! You are indeed an excellent writer and you should write a book. This post too made me cry….so many moments remembering that scary time, but also the amazing love I felt as they became part of our family! I feel deeply blessed to have those two little guys in our lives. They are sooo precious! Thank goodness your strong will kept them inside for the time that was needed and they are doing very well!

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