All in all, we tried to get (and stay) pregnant for about a year and a half, which in itself was hard for me, because Xander was a first-month deal. I had two miscarriages in between having Xander and getting pregnant with the twins, and that was really tough. So I was pretty nervous, yet excited, when I saw that positive test again. (Actually I saw several positive tests. I took one every day for about a week or so.)
So anyway, I went to the doctor when I was 8 weeks pregnant, without Lucas because all they do at that appointment is confirm the pregnancy with a urine test. But - I asked my midwife if she could maybe possibly do a really quick ultrasound even though it wasn't scheduled. I just needed to see that heartbeat. She is amazing and supportive and said she'd check and see if the room was open. I know God ordained my appointment to be at that time, because it happened to be the staff's lunch break and the ultrasound machine was free. (Every other time I had an ultrasound - scheduled ones - I had to wait. Sometimes I even waited over an hour.) So she's looking on the screen with a frown (sort of a concentration face) and she just kept looking. And kept looking. I was mentally preparing myself to hear bad news, when her face broke into a smile. I sighed and said, "Do you see the heartbeat?" She said words that would change the rest of my life: "I see two."
I was in complete shock/denial. I remember telling her over and over, "Nope. No. That's not possible. Nope. Huh uh." She even had to call another doctor in (away from her lunch) so I could hear it from someone else. I remember just staring at the screen with unblinking eyes, mouth open, and kind of laughing in an I-just-escaped-my-mental-facility sort of way.
As I left the appointment I called Lucas and told him to meet me in the parking lot of where we worked. I handed him the ultrasound picture and he looked at it, squinting. He pointed and asked, "Is that the baby?" I replied, "That's one of them." He looked up and said, "Twins? Really?" and I nodded, wide-eyed with the zombie-like smile still on my face. His reply? Simply, "Cool." Sheesh.
|10 week ultrasound|
Anyway, I was super sick for about 14 or 15 weeks. Like, I couldn't get out of bed without my prescription anti-nausea medicine, and even then I felt sick. I was so glad when that stage was over.
In mid-March, when I was 22 weeks pregnant, I got what I thought was a wicked bladder infection. I went home from work early on a Friday and the pain got worse and worse. When I started vomiting that night, Lucas took me to the ER closest to us. (Luckily, Xander had already been planning on spending the night with my parents. More of God's timing.) They did no tests, I never saw a doctor, and the nurses basically told me to suck it up and deal with the pain - it was a bladder infection - big deal. So I went home. And didn't eat or sleep all night, all day Saturday, all night Saturday night. By Sunday morning I told Lucas we needed to go to a different hospital (where my doctors and midwives are part of the practice - about a 35-minute drive from our house). They immediately ran tests and found out one of the babies (the boy) had blocked my ureter so nothing could get out of my right kidney. I got a stent a day or 2 later, then got a spinal headache. The things you've heard about spinal headaches? They're true. It was so excruciating. All in all, I didn't eat for 6 days. No fun.
|24 weeks (and Xander in no pants, of course)|
After that I started having contractions pretty often - at least a few times a day. I missed Easter festivities because as I got ready for church that morning, I started having them every few minutes. By the time I was around 24 weeks, walking was painful. I had to cut work to 4 days a week. Then I had to stop altogether at 28 weeks and go on "bed rest" (although I still walked stairs at home to work on the nursery and do laundry).
When I was 33 weeks pregnant, I had a regular check-up appointment with my doctors. (Throughout the pregnancy, I had to see doctors in addition to my midwives - regular precaution because with twins there was a high chance that I would need a c-section.) Just getting ready and then driving there made me start having regular contractions. They sent me across the street to the (good) hospital. There, the doctors did a few things to try and stop the contractions, which didn't work. Then they put me on a magnesium drip. It was horrible. My body isn't crazy about medicine anyway, so of course I had all of the "there is a slight chance this might happen" type of reactions like nausea, dizziness, hot flashes, and a general fogginess of mind. I don't remember a lot of the rest of that day. After 24 hours (I think), the contractions had stopped and they took me off the drip. This was on a Friday. My baby brother was getting married the next day and I was so glad the contractions stopped so I could go to the wedding. They kept me Friday night and I had a few more contractions, but nothing major. But on Saturday, my doctor said that even if she sent me home, I couldn't go to the wedding. I had to be on for-real bed rest. Like, in a bed. Since my entire family was getting ready for the wedding or already at the church, my doctor decided it was best to keep me one more night. I missed the wedding. I didn't see my brother get married.
After it was over, Lucas sent me a text asking if I was up for visitors. I felt totally fine, was having no contractions (and hadn't all day), so I said of course. I figured I'd see my mom in a bit. One of my amazing nurses, Shilohe, came in to take my vitals around 9:00 (I think) and asked if I had talked to my brother. I said no, but I didn't expect to. I mean, it was his wedding night! She sort of smiled and said, "Oh." I said, "What?" She smiled bigger and said, "Nothing!" then left the room. Then my brother and his new wife walked in - still in their tux and gown. It was the sweetest thing in the world. I couldn't - and still can't - believe they drove 35 minutes just to come see me in the hospital on their wedding night. I love them.
|Xander and my brother at the reception|
They stayed an hour or so, then I went to sleep around 11:00. At 1:00am, I woke up and had a contraction. I was used to that, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. At 2:00 it happened again. At 3:30 it happened again. And this time my water broke. I paged the nurses' desk and Shilohe answered. I said, "I think my water just broke." She said, "No it didn't." I said, "Ummm...I think it did." She came in, threw the covers back, and said, "Uh oh." She said they would have to send me to a different hospital that is an-hour-and-15-minutes drive from that one, because the other one has a NICU. My house is right in between the 2 hospitals, so I didn't call Lucas until we knew for sure when we would be leaving to go to that other hospital. After hooking me up to all kinds of monitors, Shilohe checked and found I was dilated to 8 already. I would not be leaving. But as soon as they were born, the babies would.
So I called Lucas. No answer. I called again. And again. I texted. I called again. For about 15 minutes straight I tried. By this time my doctor arrived and basically told me it was go time. So I called my mom (she answered immediately) and told her to get up, go to my house and wake Lucas up, send him to the hospital, and for her to stay there with Xander until morning. Meanwhile at the hospital I had dilated to 9 and was having hard contractions, so they actually had to give me a shot to slow them down while we waited on more nurses, a pediatrician, and an anesthesiologist to arrive. (Piper was breech so we had to do a c-section.)
Suddenly, it was time. Everyone was very concerned that I was "alone" without my family around - and someone even went down to the gift shop and grabbed a disposable camera, handed it to the anesthesiologist, and he snapped away. So sweet.
|I remember him taking this and I was trying to get him to stop. I said, "If I could move I'd take that camera away from you!" and he started laughing. Ah, emergency c-sections. Good times.|
We went to the OR and I was laying there waiting to hear some cries. At one point, my doctor said, "Are you okay? You're not talking or anything." I said, "I don't know. You tell me. Am I okay?" She laughed and said yes.
|Me and "my" nurse, Shilohe|
Soon after I heard a cry. Then another. I woke up with my water breaking at 3:30 and they were born at 5:01 and 5:02. "Baby Boy" (at that time - now Paxton) was 5 pounds, 1 ounce and 17 inches long. Piper was 4 pounds, 2 ounces, and 16 3/4 inches long. About 2 minutes later, Lucas rushed in the room.
I was feeling sick and "out of it" (of course - yay meds!), so for the next few hours I was in and out of sleep. But every time anyone came in the room - family, nurse, doctor, cleaning staff - I would ask when the babies were moving to the other hospital. At first the answers were "I don't know" and then "Not yet" and then, "They're not." They were breathing fine and never needed oxygen, which was a miracle. They did stay in the hospital for 2 weeks, but only because they had to learn how to eat and breathe at the same time. They were amazing.
|Xander's first look at his baby brother. I love his face.|
I remember all the nurses and doctors telling me that I was one of the most calm emergency c-sections they'd ever seen - especially since I was alone. My doctor was afraid I was internally freaking out, but I really was so calm. I had an unexplainable peace (Philippians 4:7). One of the amazing things was, I didn't feel alone at all. Because of my stay in the hospital a few months earlier, I had made friends with a few of the nurses. They just "happened" to be on call the night the twins were born, so they were there. Pretty cool. And, it was just the right time. Not my timing, but God's. I trusted that He had it all worked out, and He did.
|Holding both our babies for the first time.|
So there it is. If you made it all the way through that, good for you. haha I can't believe it's been 9 months since all of that happened. In some ways it feels like yesterday, and in some ways it seems like 5 years ago. Now I look over at my big chunky boy and my little girl scooting all over the place, and I'm just so thankful. So thankful for the doctors and nurses, and so thankful to God for blessing us. It was a very difficult pregnancy, but so very worth it.