Well, it has taken me forever to write a piece about the birth of the twins, and the longer I waited the easier it became to keep putting it off. Hmmm, where to start?
In February of 2007 Brendan and I decided that we were ready to take the next step in our relationship and have a baby together. We'd been partners for nearly 3 years at that point and had done a fairly decent job of integrating our two families into one. Even though our blended family was very well represented with 5 special children, we had always talked about having "one more" somewhere down the road. We even bought our mini-van with one extra seat knowing that someday we'd have a new little one to fill it with.
When we finally decided to go ahead and start trying, I was instantly consumed with everything baby. I haunted the infant section at Target and tried not to buy anything. I read baby books and joined an online community (hello BabyCenter!) of other hopeful women. I started taking prenatal vitamins and trying new recipes out of pregnancy cookbooks. I researched ovulation cycles and concentrated more on fertility than anything else. I even bought some ovulation prediction kits (OPK's) and tested myself daily, the results were always negative. I began to worry that we might have a hard time getting pregnant. Everything I had read said that when you stop taking the pill it may take your body up to 3 cycles to start ovulating again, and since the OPK's said that I was not ovulating I began to prepare myself for a long wait. I also started taking home pregnancy tests a week before I got our first positive. I must have spent a small fortune on those darn Early Response kits.
On March 10, 2007 we got our big fat positive and although the line was very faint (so faint in fact that Brendan couldn't even see it!) I just knew we were pregnant. A visit with Dr. Chambers 3 days later confirmed what we had been hoping for and we were given a due date of November 16, 2007. I was in heaven. HEAVEN.
Everything went along very smoothly for the next 3 months or so. We told the kids in April and they were very excited about our news. We toasted the announcement with sparkling grape juice and talked about our growing family with enthusiasm and curiosity. Brendan came along to our prenatal visits and warmed up to Dr. Chambers instantly (honestly there isn't much to NOT like about either of them) and we got to hear the baby's heartbeat at around 10 weeks while declining any early ultrasound screening. Everything was going just as we had planned and we couldn't have felt any more grateful for all of it.
Then in my 11th week of pregnancy I began spotting. It was an isolated incident and after speaking with the on call dr. I felt assured that these types of things happen and are really no big deal most of the time. A few days later I began spotting again, but this time it was actual bleeding and a fair bit more than I felt comfortable with and so we went to the ER. It was of course night time when this happened, these types of things always occur after hours. I will tell you this, the ER is not overly competent when it comes to Obstetrics, and really why should they be? There is really not much to be done regarding first trimester loss and anything past that point they send up to Labor and Delivery. We just so happened to be right at the cut off (11weeks 5days) and so we had to stay downstairs with the ER staff who were not that impressed with a pregnant lady spotting a little bit.
They brought out what must have been the dinosaur of all fetal heart rate dopplers and attempted to find our baby's heartbeat. They couldn't. I was beginning to really panic at this point and couldn't focus on the fact that their antique equipment might be to blame, I was too scared. Finally the decision was made to send me up to radiology for an ultrasound. It was cold and dark, the hospital was eerily still. The technician was faceless and made Brendan wait outside the room. She kept the screen tilted away from me and didn't say anything at all, just performed the job with her eyes pointing directly ahead. We barely even spoke.
We went back down to the ER, and waited for the results to be faxed in. I think it is only fair to mention that during our wait, we watched some television to pass the time and thus our love affair with Scrubs was born. Finally, yet another dr. came in and said, and I quote, "Baby's heart beat looks just fine and baby is measuring right on target, take it easy and follow up with your OB tomorrow". And that was that. We went home, very relieved and I made a follow up with Dr. Chambers for Friday morning. May 4, 2007. I was 12 weeks pregnant.
When Dr. Chambers came into our room, the first thing he said was.....
"Congratulations, I understand you are having twins!".
What? The ER had not mentioned anything about twins! I looked at Brendan skeptically, caught off guard, not really processing the words. And then to make matters worse, our Dr. chuckled (he is constantly smiling and chuckling, which is something I usually enjoy about him) and then he winked, he WINKED, at Brendan and I immediately thought he was just joking. Although, in hindsight I realize that OB's generally don't kid around about this type of stuff with their patients. At the time though, I really did think he was just joking and so I re-directed the conversation and began rambling off my list of questions. Remember, we were there due to some pretty heavy bleeding and I was feeling rather scared and quite somber about the entire affair. I was definitely not in a joking mood. Apparently, my placenta had begun to tear away from the uterine wall, which was the cause of the bleeding. Chambers was very optimistic about all of this and said that most cases heal up within a matter of days and that I would just need to go on bed rest until the bleeding had stopped for at least 48 hours. He reassured me that the condition, known as a Sub Chorionic Hematoma (SCH) was fairly common and since ours was measuring on the small end of the spectrum (2.6 cm) we should expect the best. He then paused, looked me directly in the eyes, and said....
"I just want to you to know that you REALLY ARE having twins".
At which point Brendan began laughing and I began sobbing, and I mean full out shoulder shaking, face crumpling sobbing. In case you haven't gathered by now, I'm a crier. Needless to say, both men were a little stumped and clambered about in an attempt to calm me down. Looking back, we must have made a fairly comical scene. What you have to remember is that I was there because I thought that we were losing our baby and even after hearing the optimism in our prognosis, I was still scared out of my mind. When I heard that we were having two babies I was instantly, INSTANTLY, scared for both of them. The love that I already had for our one Lima bean did not divide in that moment, it actually doubled and it did so immediately. That's the one thing about twins that I learned rather quickly, and one of the things for which I am most grateful and lucky for, the amount of love that they can bring into your life in a matter of moments.
And that is our story about the twins. The rest of our pregnancy went rather smoothly in comparison. I gained 80 pounds, drank a gallon of water every day, had a billion ultrasounds, didn't find out the sex of either baby, daydreamed all the time about the magical journey we were in for, read a dozen twin books, learned more about zygosity than seemed possible (or even relevant) and hoped and hoped and hoped for a natural childbirth experience.
Unfortunately, baby A was breech from around 32 weeks on. I held out hope that we'd get a flip out of that stubborn little thing but to no avail and it became increasingly clearer that I would need to have surgery to birth my children. Oh how I really let the flood gates open up for that one. To make matters worse Dr. Chambers said that he would not schedule a c-section for me, that I would have to go into labor on my own and then be admitted for one. The nerve of that holistic doctor! :)
By the time I reached 38 weeks, both babies were estimated to be well over 7 and a half pounds each and my body was not showing a single sign of stopping. No contractions, no effacement, no dilation, nothing, and I was reaching the end of my sanity. Finally he agreed to schedule the surgery for Monday November 5, 2007.
I won't go into the details of the actual procedure, but I will say this, in the weeks leading up to our surgery, I felt a great amount of sorrow over not being able to have the natural delivery I had hoped for. The sterile operating room was cold and I remember it feeling very strange that we were able to just pick a time for our children to be born, very strange indeed. After 2 completely natural and drug free deliveries, I was not prepared for the idea of having a cesarean. But you know what? None of that matters one bit. As soon as baby A was brought forth from my womb and the announcement was made, "You have a little girl" nothing about her delivery was of any consequence anymore. One minute later, when baby B arrived and we learned that we had also welcomed a son, the rest of the world and the staff and the tubes and machinery all faded away. I cannot put into words what I felt like in those moments immediately following their births. Seeing them for the first time was like poetry, like perfection. Welcoming them into our world was simply one of the best days of my life, incision and all.
Nuala Wassakwane (pumpkin blossom)
11/5/2007~12:59pm~ 7lbs. 10oz~21 inches.
Oscar Anowatin (the wind is calm)
11/5/2007~1pm~7lbs even~21 inches.