I'm actually typing this from the hospital on Nick's laptop. I will have lots of pictures coming of course. It's been a week that has gone by so fast. Monday night I went to bed and had my usual frequent contractions. They were inconsistent so I didn't worry much about them. They started feeling a little stronger and I started getting sharp nerve pain that I'd been getting on and off before. I let it go for 3 hours and couldn't sleep so I decided to call the doctor. I went to the hospital at 12:30 am on Tuesday, May 6th. I took my packed bag even though Nick and I thought this was another false alarm. We got there and they set me up to have my cervix checked. A nurse checked my cervix and said it was fingertip. STILL??? It was fingertip 2 weeks ago! So we prepared mentally to go home after being hooked up to a monitor to make sure the babies were handling the contractions okay. We sat on the monitor and the contractions were happening every few minutes. The nurse asked if I felt them all and I did but I was so used to them that it wasn't that different. They checked my blood pressure and it was really high. She said it looked like I may be having signs of preeclampsia. They asked me if I was having a headache and I was. My vision was a little blurry too. A doctor that I hadn't had yet was on call there and she came in to see me. She said well, it looks like you're going to have these babies tonight. I remember hearing that the only cure for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby and if that doesn't happen it can be deadly to both the baby and the mother. The doctor checked my cervix again. 3 cm dilated! WHAT? So they moved me into a labor room and they watched my contractions. My contractions started to slow down so they gave me pitocin to speed things up. They kept increasing the pitocin and I started having A LOT more pain. I had terrible nerve pain in my right side and my ribs were killing me every time I contracted. The nurse said she would get me set up with an epidural as soon as the doctor got out of surgery. She backed off the pitocin because of the nerve pain I was having until the doctor could come. Backing off didn't help at this point. The contractions kept coming strong and often without the drug. The doctor got there to give me the epidural. The first one didn't work. It struck a nerve in my leg and made it spasm. It was very difficult to stay still during the contractions...being bent over didn't help the crunching of my ribs. Nothing helped the nerve pain. They inserted another epidural which made my left leg numb but didn't relieve the ribs and nerve pain I really wanted relief from. The nurse had told me the epidural would allow me to feel the contractions but not the severe pain of them. The doctor upped the epidural meds twice and said that was all he could do. He couldn't localized it to the nerve I was pinpointing and he couldn't go as high as the ribs because I would lose the sensation to breathe. I realized this was as good as it was gonna get. The doctor on call left and said she thought she was gonna be able to see the babies but her shift was ending and Dr Unwin was coming on. Deb Brown was supposed to be with him but she had surgery so they had several residents help with delivery. Dr Unwin came in and checked me and I was fully dilated at 8pm. What a LONG day without sleep or food! I could only have ice chips! I was so thirsty for a fountain coke! They wouldn't let me have anything because of the likelihood of having to have an emergency csection. I moved to the operating room where they would be prepared for any issues. I started to push. I had two great nurses...one was a young girl who was so nice. She was with me the night before when I first came in and was surprised to see me the next night. The other one was an old school older lady who was funny. She really helped me figure out how to push. She also used a method we learned in childbirth class. She used a towel and pulled it like tug-a-war with me. She was pulling me off the table! lol Then I would slide back. It was helping with progress and Nick said to keep doing that. The nurse kindly told him if I kept that up I'd have nothing left. She said you can only do that a few times and you need breaks. I became very determined and I stopped waiting for the nurses to tell me when I push. I waited until I felt the contractions and pressure and started pushing whether they were ready or not. I can't believe what you're body can do! It's crazy. I'd asked for a mirror so I could see progress and it helped for me to see progress. When I saw Luke's head...it was on. lol They told me I could rest and I think I did once when a contraction came too fast but other than that I used every single contraction for pushing. 4 pushes per contraction. It was hard work. Labor. lol I remember them saying what I good job I was doing and I remember Nick telling me too...but I pretty much zoned everything out. I didn't talk, I just focused. The position they have you is is crazy as well. I didn't see a bed like this on Discovery Health. There were rests up high for your legs...the nurses each held a leg and pushed them back during contractions. Then their were handles for my hands to pull on. My hands were all brush burned, I don't know if it was from the towel business to just the handles. lol I wasn't one of those freak out screaming angry people....just focused. I wanted to see my babies. Two different times during the pushing Taylor's heart rate dropped to 70. 1/2 her normal rate. The look on the nurses faces freaked Nick and I out. They were trying to keep it light hearted by joking that Taylor was being a drama queen trying to get attention to Luke. They put oxygen on me and flipped me from side to side. Each time her heart rate came back up. I was thinking, please nooooo csection after all this. Dr Unwin had come in and said that he had a family emergency and it looked like Dr Johnson was going to get to deliver them. He came back in a few minutes later to say goodbye and said...wow...looks like I'm staying for a little bit. He brought in the entourage. There was 12 people in there and no one was behind me. lol It was a show! Unwin saw how much pain I was in with the nerve pain. After every contraction I grabbed my side in pain. He said "alright let's get things moving". He started pushing down on my ribs...it hurt so bad...the one time I grabbed his hand and pushed it off...I thought my rib was going to break. He knew exactly where to push. He was trying to move Taylor. A few pushes and out Luke comes!!! He came out screaming as soon as he hit air. What an awesome sound to hear when you know lungs are so important when they are born at 36 weeks. I took some deep breaths thinking I'd have a while to push Taylor yet. Next thing you know...Unwin tells the resident to get ready because she's coming...out seconds later...face up! She basically pushed her brother out! Feisty from the start. Nick ended up looking in the mirror when the nurse said, "look there's the head". I was really surprised that he did. He handled being in the room for the epidural and watched the babies come out...all without passing out. lol I was so proud of him. It was neat because Nick said he realized how hard physically it was, he was proud of me and it was sweet. What a busy few days in May. May 6th-birth of the twins--May 8th-Our Anniversary (3 this year)--and then Mother's Day! What an awesome Anniversary and Mother's Day present. The stats.
Luke Michael 5lbs 2.8ozs Born @ 9:25PM
Taylor Lee 4lbs 7.8ozs Born @ 9:26PM
It was amazing to see the babies. How in the world did both of them fit inside my belly? Nick and I kept saying that over and over. Unbelievable! They looked bigger than what I imagined. Healthier than I imagined. I get stitched up which is a story in itself. lol A girl was "learning" how to stitch on me. A guy was telling her exactly where to stitch. It was a little more information than I needed. It kinda made me laugh and made me a little concerned when the guy stopped her and said, no not "in the anus" ... WHAT? I was thinking....please don't sow my butt shut. Nick heard it too and looked at me with big eyes. I didn't really want to be the object of an experiment to see if she could stitch. Anyhow I went back to the labor room and they let my parents and in laws and sister in to see me. The nurse started pushing on my belly and took my blood pressure. YIKES my blood pressure was way up. I kept asking the nurse for something to drink and she STILL wouldn't let me. All the sudden I was seeing spots and getting a bad headache. She kicked the family out and lowered the lights. She said I couldn't drink because I might still have to have surgery. WHAT? Because of my blood pressure, there could be some remaining placenta in there that they may need to do emergency surgery on. They kept pushing on my belly and it started to drop. I went over to see the babies and hold them. I got to experience my one and only effort of breastfeeding. It was soooooo amazing to be able to see them and hold them. They just stared into my eyes. While I was holding Luke, Taylor was watching me intently from her warmer bed. It was amazing...my blood pressure came down. It felt so good to hold them. It is a love I never felt before. I know people say that but you truly don't know what that's like until you have them look at you. I can say that I know a little bit more about what God's love is like. God has entrusted us to raise these little miracles. What an amazing feeling. It was awesome to see Nick holding them. To see your husband holding your child is an amazing thing. Nick and I sat in the room with them from 1-2 in the morning. We then went to maternity for our room and they said the babies would be able to come to our room with us the around 9am after being observed for the rest of the night/really morning.
It's been awesome to have them in our room with us. We've had so many blessing since we've been here. I met the nurse who I'd been talking to online throughout my pregnancy and she made sure she was our nurse. She was so incredibly helpful. She herself has boy/girl twins who were born at 36 weeks. She kinda opened our eyes. We've been so focused on getting to 36 weeks with twins and that being really great that we forgot that they are a month early. They are preterm babies. They aren't full term and they should be protected as such. I never really thought about it. I mean I knew that by 36 weeks they should be able to breathe on their own. We didn't realize that we need to keep them "in the womb" for some time yet. Being twins their growth has been stunted. They don't have what they call "brown fat". This is fat that they need to regulate their body temperature. We saw a full term baby who was just born the other night and WOW...what a difference. Our babies have NO extra flesh. They are tiny little things. The doctor told us about not taking chances with their immune systems. They shouldn't be passed around because it increases the risk of them getting a minor cold that could be deadly to their respiratory systems. It is extremely stressful for them to be passed around and around loud environments. They need to be bundled up to keep their body temp up. Luke has had to go under the warmer several times to get his temperature up. That's one of the reasons he's been unable to come home. We have a long sleeve sweater wrap with mittens, sleeper with feet, three flannel blankets swaddled around him and another blanket on top. He has a knit hat and a thick woven hat on his head. Taylor is wrapped the same minus two blankets since she is warmer. When Luke's temp goes down we get heated up blankets for him. I can't wait until we can see them....they look like little Eskimos. It's almost a joy to change their diaper and see their little legs and bottoms. They also talked to us about how we shouldn't take them out in public except to the doctors for several months. I'm feel my mother mode kick in, taking in all the doctors are telling me and wanting to protect them the best I know how. The nurse with twins said it's so hard because especially with twins, people want to see them, hold them and touch them. She said you have to get firm about it for their safety. We use hand sanitizer before we handle them. It's just stuff we've never thought about before.
We've had some ups and downs since they've been born. They acted like the babies were going to be able to come home with us when I was discharged Thursday. That made me nervous and Nick was thrilled. Then we found Taylor was losing weight and Luke was having issues of low body temperature. They want Taylor to weigh 4lbs 8ozs before she goes home and Luke can't have any more temp issues. He's been a challenge to feed as well. He falls asleep and won't eat. Some of that was a cycle of low body temp making him exhausted, therefore he's too tired to eat and then gets no energy...Taylor dropped weight to 4lbs 5.1 and we're working it back up again. She eats like a champ and both of them have started sucking pacifiers which is great because their sucking reflexes at 36 weeks aren't the greatest. Luke seems to be just catching on to it. Luke has a heart murmur. He had an echo cardiogram earlier today which was sent to Hershey so we're anxious to see the results of that. He failed his car seat test the other day because his oxygen level dropped when he was in it. They are so tiny that their lungs collapse sitting in that position. Taylor has to be of weight before they even attempt to test her. Today they told us that if they can't pass it, we could borrow a car bed from the NICU to take them home in and use for docs appts. The doctor said it won't keep them from going home.
We've had such amazing nurses here. They have helped us learn how to bottle feed and burn preterm babies. Tricks to help them, how to keep them warm, etc. To me it's been invaluable to be able to stay here this week and learn from them. Nick and I laugh and the nurses laughed at us too because it took him and I a 1/2 an hour to chance their diapers. Nick did Lukes and I did Taylors. We change the diapers before feeding them to wake them up and we started that process at their feeding time making us a 1/2 hour late. lol We've learned A LOT. We've both gotten peed and pooped on. Taylor peed...I put another diaper under it, slide the dirty one off and she peed in that one as I watched her, I put a third diaper under that one and she proceed to poop on that one...continuing to poop as I wiped her and then kicked her feet in it and on her outfit and blankets. She has the some seriously kicking legs. Luke lays there all chill and laid back while she makes white knuckled fists and gets red in the face and kicks. They have their own personalities already. The nurses in the nursery comment on how different they look and how different they are personality wise. It's funny.
Physically I'm doing really well. I couldn't believe how many muscles you use during labor. lol I found out 2 days later! My stitches are sore and my chest is KILLING me. lol Really though, I can't complain. I'm really proud of how my body held up. I was afraid of physically handling labor after not doing anything but sitting with my feet up for the last few months. The nurses think I'm discusting with how thin I am and how I was all belly and how flat my belly is getting already. It feels weird not to feel the babies inside me anymore. It's a little sad but as soon as I look at them I'm over it. As soon as I deliverd, I felt so much relief. I could breathe! My ribs felt relief and the nerve pain was gone. I love cuddlling them and holding them close. It's so awesome how they know my scent and my heartbeat and how they feel at home in my arms. Nick cuddles them too and he loves them to death, it's cute to watch.