Before I start, I just have to put on a picture of the twins. Since they both are only on nasal cannula, I've loved taking pictures of their sweet little faces! And oh my gosh...they are SUPER identical! Look!
I took Jack's picture when the light was turned off, so their hair colors and coloring look different. But believe me...everything is the same! The one difference that the nurse noticed this weekend was that they have a different pattern of vein lines on their foreheads. Jack's show up better since the light was off, but they are definitely different! So we can use that (hopefully!) to tell them apart..at least until their skin thickens up and we can't see the veins as well! =)
Back to the rest of Will & Jack's birth story...
After Dr. Z had come to do a quick measurement in the morning where we found out my cervix was shortening, but not yet dilating, I took it easy the rest of the day. We figured that if it was shortening at the same rate as it had from the week before, I probably had another 3 days or so before it completely shortened. I spent the morning and early afternoon catching up on emails and facebook messages, but by about 1pm or so, I started feeling like I was having back pain and maybe some more contractions. The nurse put me on the monitor for awhile, but was really only seeing uterine irritations again. Seemed to be the norm for me at that point. The boys' heart rates were very strong, so the only concern with them is that Will's sac was bulging into my cervix, with his foot below his body. By this time, all the nurses and doctor's knew that we were going for the c-section if my water was to break. I just couldn't handle the waiting and hoping that we wouldn't have the same thing that happened to Jonathan happen to these babies.
By 5 or so, I knew something was definitely changing and not quite right. They had given me tylenol during the afternoon to see if it could take away the back pain, but nothing was cutting it. They still weren't seeing any contractions on the monitors, but my feelings were definitely getting worse. I guess I'm just one to have complete back labor, and the doctor was more willing to go with my feelings than what the monitor was saying. By 6, I was not feeling very good at all, and I was feeling exactly like I was when Jonathan's sac was completely bulging through my cervix. I won't go into details, but I knew that things were happening. I was honestly expecting my water to break, but thankfully, that never happened! My hospitalist OB, Dr. Perugini, wanted to do an exam at 6:30pm, but since we knew Dr. Z was coming back any minute to do a scan, I asked her to wait. Dr. Z had said it was better not to do any internal exams, just in case it might cause more problems. He got there at 7:15, and with Justin, my parents, my brother, 2 nurses, and Dr. Perugini in the room, the scan showed that my cervix was completely gone, I was dilated to a 6/7, and Will's little fist was now under his rear end and it looked like he was trying to punch his way out! (Dr. Z is going to give us a picture of that--it was too funny!) We all knew that it was time to go. They didn't want to take any more chances, and by 7:30, Justin and I were on our way back to labor and delivery to get prepped for the c-section.
We were moving quickly, but thankfully, it wasn't an emergency situation. The nurses got me ready to go into the operating room, and Justin got ready in his adorable outfit. I called him 'Highwater' as we were rolling into the operating room...the jumpsuit was about 4 inches too short on his legs, and since he had flip-flops on, he had to just put the booties right over his bare feet!!
Kind of a funny picture...You can see Justin in the back with his cute hat on, me in the bed really excited that this was actually happening, my brother in the front with a smile that didn't leave his face for hours, one of my nurses in the front pretty excited too, and then the labor and delivery nurse in the middle looking kind of confused at the paparazzi (my parents and my brother) that appeared every time the door opened!
Once in the operating room, I got my epidural, which wasn't bad at all. I can imagine it would be a whole lot harder if you were having major contractions at the same time, but luckily, I wasn't and it was easy for me to sit still and let them do it. Dr. Perugini just hugged me and cradled me to her chest, and it was done before I knew it! She was so incredibly wonderful, and of all the 7 hospitalists we had see in the past few weeks, I'm so happy that she was the one on call that night to deliver my babies! Before I knew it, Justin was sitting next to me, the sheet was up, and I felt a lot of strange movements on my stomach. It was all so surreal...I was completely awake and feeling much better now that the epidural had taken effect. All I could think of was all of the TLC shows I had seen of c-sections. Even though no one was giving me a play-by-play of my c-section, I felt like I knew exactly what was going on! As we were waiting, I was giving Justin advice of what to do after they were born. I wanted him to make sure that he got lots of pictures, and that he went with the boys and could ask lots of questions. I was so glad that he was going to be with them, even though I wanted to be! Then we just sat there, holding hands, in happy amazement that we were actually there, moments from becoming parents...finally!! There were a ton of people in the room...since I was 28 weeks 6 days with identical twins, it was definitely a major delivery. There were two warming beds waiting for the boys, and had a neonatologist, 2 neonatal nurses, and a respiratory therapist for each boy. There were also about 3 operating room nurses, the anesthesiologist, 2 OBs doing the c-section, and Justin and I! It was a bustling place!
Even with all of this, God gave me SUCH and amazing amount of peace during this whole process. All I kept thinking was that they boys were going to be so much better off being out of me. My body wasn't doing what it was supposed to do, and I just wanted the boys to be okay. Being born early is never good, and especially at almost 29 weeks, and this whole pregnancy I've wanted nothing more than to have them get to 36 weeks. But, for some reason, I just knew they were going to be okay! They had steroid shots about 1 1/2 weeks before to jumpstart their lung development, and I was trusting God He would give my tiny babies strength to fight! We had been told that at this age, once the boys came out, they would stabilize them, put them on CPAP (or ventilator if necessary), and most likely have them whisked out to the NICU in about 1-2 minutes. So we were so surprised when at almost 10 minutes after they were born, they were still in the room!
Will was born first and became Baby A. While they were trying to rotate his little body to have his head come out first, Jack decided that he was supposed to be Baby A and was trying to beat his brother out! After all, for the whole pregnancy until early August, he had always been Baby A! He was actually trying to stick his head out of the hole that Jack was already halfway out of, so they had to make the incision on my uterus bigger. It was a transverse (horizontal) cut, but then they had to extend it up vertically to they could get them both out. Crazy boy! Will came out at 8:20, and didn't really cry. Justin said he didn't move much when they got him out, but then started crying once he was on the warming bed. He was just exhausted from all that had just happened to him, and the fact that his sack was bulging through for the last week--poor baby! Jack came out crying at 8:21, and that is when I started crying. That is all I have ever wanted to hear...my baby crying...and it was the best moment in the world. One thing that the anesthesiologist did say to me is that they were little, but right after that Justin said they were big. I knew he meant in comparison to Jonathan, and that made me so very happy!
I could see Will's warming bed from where I was laying, once they scooted the drape back a little bit. I couldn't see too much with all the people around him, but I could see that they weren't rushing and that both boys seemed to be doing okay. They had them both wrapped up in plastic to help them stay warm, and Justin was able to go over and get close looks at both of them. I could hear him talking to the doctors and getting the good news that they were both doing pretty well. After about 8-10 minutes, I think, they swaddled both boys up, brought them to me for a quick peek and kiss, and then put them both into the incubator to take them to the NICU. Justin followed them out, and I heard later that my paparazzi was waiting in the hallway and very good looks and pictures of the boys! Here was their first official picture...Will on the left and Jack on the right.
Once all my boys left, they continued my c-section, and also spent a bit of time trying to figure out what had happened with my TAC. As Dr. Perugini explained to me later, the TAC had definitely not broken and was still intact until she snipped it at the knot at pulled it out. It had actually ripped through the left lower side of my uterus, and I had a hole about 1 1/2 inches long in my uterus where it tore through. She could actually put her finger through the hole and see it from where she had just cut in to get the boys out. This was where the big miracles were seen. During pregnancy, a uterus has double the amount of blood in it than it normally does. A ruptured uterus was the biggest thing that Dr. Z was worried about from the beginning, and the fact that my uterus had a big hole in it and I wasn't massively hemorrhaging was a HUGE miracle! I had been bleeding since the Friday before, but he told me the next day that he couldn't believe I didn't have major internal bleeding. He said that I was very very lucky. The fact that it didn't tear through the amniotic sacs or more adversely effect the babies is a miracle. Dr. Perugini said that she thinks the pressure of two babies on the tear actually stopped the flow of bleeding and kept us all safe. In a sense, they saved all of our lives! Miracle!! It is still unbelievable that all this was happening, yet we all are okay. God was truly in control and doing MAJOR miracles!!
They finished up my c-section, and by about 9:30 or so, I think, I was back in recovery with my family. Justin came back from the NICU a little bit later, and brought the great report that the boys were stable and doing well! I was going to get to see them a little bit later on, once they were all moved in and settled in the NICU. Still all surreal. During the time we were all in the operating room, my family was busy spreading the word of all that had just happened in the past 3 hours. We definitely hadn't been prepared to have the babies on September 1st, so I'm glad they were all there to help spread the word! My parents and brother were able to go to the NICU to see the boys, and soon after, I could move my toes and I was released to be rolled up to see the boys.
|My first view of Will|
|Holding Jack's little hand|
I just couldn't believe how little they both were, but they were already doing very well. Jack was very strong...he never had to have any oxygen added to his CPAP and he didn't need an umbilical line. Will needed just a little bit of oxygen for the first few days, but by his 5th day, he was also just on room air!
The day I checked out 4 days later, I was feeling pretty good. I was amazed actually at how well I felt, and the nurses in the NICU kept commenting on it too! Dr. Perugini came in to discharge me that day, and again, she told us how amazed she was at everything that had gone on with us. I definitely didn't follow any of the rules or the expected norms, and she agreed that it was a miracle that I did so well. After finding out that my uterus was obviously weak--weak enough for the TAC just to rip through, I have a complete peace about retiring my uterus for good. Obviously something is wrong that doesn't allow it to be strong enough to hold a pregnancy long enough. The TAC worked, it was just my uterus that didn't. And now, with 2 major scars on my uterus, it would only all be worse and more dangerous for a baby and for me with future pregnancies. I've always said that I wanted to have two children and adopt two. Over the years of infertility, I just wasn't sure that would ever happen. But now, we have our precious boys, and if/when we decide we want to expand our family, I'm really excited to think about our future with adoption! And actually, after a 6 year roller-coaster ride of fertility, drugs, and agony of losing babies, I'm actually so happy and at complete peace to be at this point that we are done with the ride. We are ready to get off the ride! God knows our future...He knew all along that these boys were His plan for our lives at this perfect time...and He knows what is to come!!
So the birth of these two little miracle boys wasn't at all what we expected, but I'm just so thankful to God that He had a perfect plan and carried us through it! He is so good!
In the past (almost) two weeks of their lives, they are continuing to do so well! At first, Jack was doing great and we got to hold him early on. Then, he had a little bit of trouble digesting, and he had to slow down on his feeds for a little bit. After a rockier start, Will did a great job, and upped his feeds consistently and showed us he was doing great! They are both doing so well now. Both are on nasal cannula (Will 2 liters of flow, Jack 1 liter of flow), breathing room air, and just need a lot of time to grow!! I told Jack when I was holding him yesterday that he needs to work on turning his wrinkles into rolls!!!
The only issues that they are having right now are the typical preemie bradys and apnea episodes. Their little brains just weren't ready to have to tell their bodies to beat their hearts and breathe all the time consistently yet! No one is really concerned over it since they haven't had any major episodes. Most of them their self-correct, and occasionally we have to stimulate them a little bit to remind them to breathe again. It is kind of scary when you think about what is actually happening, but having the nurses there to explain it all, and come running if something major was going on, is very reassuring. I'm just having such a great time holding my little babies. I know that they are going to big babies before I know it, so I'm soaking up every single moment with them that I can!
Just a few more pictures from yesterday holding my sweet boys...
Will was Mr. Sleepyhead, and just wouldn't wake up at all. But that didn't stop Mommy from taking a bunch of pictures!!
|They still are hooked up to a lot of wires, but it isn't as bad as it could be! They just have their cannula, 3 electrode wires (to measure heart rate, breathing, and oxygen saturation), and a temperature probe.|
Jack was sleepy at first, but by the end, was WIDE awake! Check out the big eyes!!
|I think he knew he had a football on his cap, because he was doing the Touchdown signal! Too bad he didn't give the Cowboys more luck the other night!|
|A hint of a smile?? Probably not, but I loved to see it!|
|What a little angel...he has a lot of growing to do to grow into these eyes!!|