When Andrea and I got together and starting talking about this blog, one of the things that was immediately evident was that we both had very different birth stories, recoveries, and just day-to-day mom experiences. As we started to plan out posts, we learned so much about each others experiences, and it was so comforting to have someone listen with such an open heart. Pregnancy is hard, labor and delivery is really hard, and motherhood is the biggest challenge we will face as women. But, it sure is nice to have other moms to share it with.
So, here it is. Layla and Marie’s birth story.
From pretty much week ten of my pregnancy, I knew I was going to have a scheduled C-section. It seemed impossible to have a vaginal delivery with identical twins, but to be honest, I am not sure my OB or my high risk doctors were to comfortable even talking the possibility. It was like they didn’t want to get my hopes up, and I’m sure I didn’t want to get my own hopes up. Or, maybe it was that I knew that if I really wanted a vaginal delivery, I would go to all ends to have one, and I knew that may not be best for my girls. I’m slightly stubborn, very slightly.
The oddest part about a scheduled C-section is that you go to bed one night knowing you will bring home babies the next day. But, being a first time mom, the experience was so foreign to me that I just went to bed as if the next day was like the day prior. I think it may have made it more “real” if I had any indication of the babies being ready, but I didn’t. I didn’t have a single Braxton Hicks contraction, not even the slightest cramp. I was just going to the hospital, and would bring home Layla and Marie.
My C-section was scheduled around eleven so we arrived at the hospital at 9:30. We filled out all the paperwork before hand so I really just remember sitting in the waiting room of Northside Hospital (AKA the baby factory) with my parents, sister, best friend, and husband. I remember us all being pretty calm, or at least appearing to be. My best friend lightened the mood to by gifting me alcohol test strips for breast milk as if I was going to need them in the recovery room. That was really the last thing I needed, but at the time, it gave me hope of enjoying that first glass of wine worry free.
Around 11:15, the staff informed us that an emergency C-section was taking place in the OR where mine was planned. That really threw me for a loop, and I began to hope they had time for us that day. I know it probably wasn’t a reality, but in my head I thought they might tell us to go home and come back the next day, and I didn’t want to be pregnant a second longer.
Eventually though, they called us back, I got my epidural, and off to the OR my husband and I went. The odd thing about a twin C-section is that there are a gazillion people in the room. I had a team of doctors working on me, and each baby had their own team too. It was alarming to walk into a room filled with that many people that you weren’t exactly expecting to see.
At this point, I just kind of did as I was told and tried to relax. Tried being the key word; there isn’t really “relaxing” in L&D if you ask me. Rodney sat at my head and held my hand. He is afraid of needles and hates the doctors, but you wouldn’t have known it on his girl’s birthday. On that day, and in that precise moment, he was the exact person I needed.
Everything seemed to be going to the doctor’s plan; they delivered Layla with no issue. But when they began to delivery Marie, I began to feel immense pain. The doctors had adequately dosed my epidural, and prior to the C-section I couldn’t feel a thing. But this I could definitely feel, and I knew it didn’t feel right. I clenched Rodney’s had so hard, and began crying and screaming. His prior calm suddenly became fear – “What is going on?” Can’t you do something?” The doctors told him no, and that the reason for the pain was trying to maneuver Marie out of my stomach. She was transverse, and very high in my abdomen where the epidural block stopped. Getting her out was the longest, most painful minute of my life. But once she was born, the pain quickly faded, the tears from the pain became tears of shear joy. Their first cries were everything I had hoped they’d be, and just reinforced that they were my little people, forever.
The next part of their birth story I only share because I was beyond unprepared. I wasn’t prepared for what happens after your C-section, and I did not realize I wasn’t going to immediately be with my new family. After the girls were born, my husband went with them to the transition nursery because they wanted to monitor the girls lungs a bit more. I selfishly wanted him to stay with me, and thought that my mom must be able to go with the girls. In the hospital, though, they band mom, dad, and babies together so he was the only individual allowed to go with them. I was taken to the recovery room alone, and I remember feeling more lonely and empty in a moment I expected to feel so full.
In the recovery room, I fell in and out of sleep, and a nurse checked my pad every few minutes to make sure I wasn’t bleeding too much. I was in a drug induced haze, but I do remember at some point the nurse brought me two photos – one of Layla and one of Marie. I remember this being one of the few times since in the past two years that I didn’t know who was who. It absolutely broke my heart. I was supposed to know, I was their mom, but I didn’t know their little faces yet. I was in that room for two hours, and when I finally got to go meet my girls, I was elated and put on my “mama strong face.” You mama’s know that exact face I’m sure.
When I got to my room, my entire family greeted me — my mom, dad, sister, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, all the in laws, really. I expected the girls to be in someones arms, but they were getting checked in the nursery. I couldn’t believe I had to wait any longer to hold them! But, my family kept me distracted, and a few minutes later a nurse walked through the door – “Do you want to meet your babies?” YES, YES, I DO.
The next few hours were ones of learning, figuring this whole mama thing out. I was absolutely exhausted and extremely excited at the same time. I think the hospital stay is a whole story in itself so I am going to end the girls birth story at this point, and share a swollen faced photo of me, my mama, and sister with Layla and Marie.