Stalked by the Stork...a diary of raising twelve kids

Having twelve children is an amazing blessing and one heck of a crazy ride. Join us through all the joys, smiles, tribulations and trials as we navigate this fabulous journey!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Two Years Ago Today Part III (Sept. 30th)

Okay so this might be long...better grab a Snickers. Two years ago today, I was lying in my hospital bed wondering who in the world would ever WANT to have a C section. Alexandria was next to me and I was praying she didn't have Downs Syndrome as her pediatrician had suggested she might. Isaiah had been abulanced away to another hospital and I'd barely had a glimpse of him yet. Here is how the story unfolded.

On Friday the 29th, I woke up to an empty house as Albert had gone to work, the older boys had left for school, and Brice and Jackson had been shuttled to Albert's sisters house for the day. I had a midwife appointment and knew I needed to get in the shower, but before I did, I ate the rest of the pizza that was leftover from the night before (the one I had yelled at my husband for ordering). After consuming a couple pieces (it was thin crust...from Pizza Hut) I went to take my shower and while in the shower I felt a contraction. It was so mild that I didn't even pay attention to it, in fact, it only became significant later in the day when it occured to me that this must have been my first one! I got ready for the midwife appointment and lumbered out to the van.

On the way to the appointment I noticed more mild contractions. These had changed in nature from the squeezing pressure contractions that I was used to, to a more menstral cramp type of contraction. I looked at the clock radio in the van and noted that while not exactly regular, they were between four and seven minutes apart. For whatever reason, I didn't get too excited as I had imagined I might, but I knew that this was it and that labor was starting. I remember having a feeling of "oh, today's the day" and that was it.

About halfway to the office, my cell phone rang and it was Dr. Rob. I knew he was calling with results of Brandon's bone marrow biopsy. I quickly grabbed the phone and answered and was thrilled when he told me that Brandon was not only in full remission but that his bone marrow looked so good that it was functioning totally normally for his age. Those words "normal cellularity for age" are still among my favorites in the world. As soon as I hung up the contractions got closer together and a bit stronger as though my excitement had somehow amped them up. By the time I got to the office, they were very steady at between three and seven minutes apart...definately noticable but not really painful. Still, as this was the sixth pregnancy, I knew by the nature of them that they were indeed real labor contractions.

Oddly, there was only one other lady in the waiting room. She had overheard me talking to the receptionist and eagerly told me that she had delivered twins just five months before. Boy and girl twins at 35 weeks gestation (exactly where I was) and that her C section had gone well except the spinal had hurt really badly. She told me her name was Alexandria and I told her that that was the name we were probably going to use for our girl twin.

As luck would have it Tammy the midwife was running late. When I got back to the exam room, I was stuck in there forever, as the contractions got closer and closer. I briefly debated on comming out of the room and telling the nurses that I thought I was in labor but decided against it. I was only wearing the paper sheet in preperation for my exam and didn't want to make a spectacle by leaving the exam room wearing essentially...a piece of paper. I called Albert and told him that my contractions were regular and that he should make sure he kept his cell phone with him because I'd probaby be calling him..pending the results of my exam. He said okay but I could tell he didn't quite grasp the situation properly. I think he thought it was just more pre term braxton hicks contractions that were occuring too frequently. I can't really blame him, this had been the case for weeks now.

When Tammy finally came in and asked how I was I told her "I think I'm in labor...I've had a million contractions just sitting here." She said she'd do the exam and then probably send me over to Labor and Delivery to get monitored. However when she did the actual exam she said, "Oh, my. You are 4 centimeters with a bulging bag of water."

I, who was so sick of being pregnant said "Oh Thank God." I wasn't really grasping that 35 weeks was still a tad early even for twins.

I was sent over to the hospital immediately for a C section. I called Albert to let him know, but he didn't answer. I then called my Mom. No answer. My husband's sister. No answer. I began to panic. I was horrified at the thought of surgery...I had not wanted a cesarian and now realized there was no way out of it. Ahhh...if only I had known then what I know now...

Albert continued not to answer...hadn't I told him to keep his cell phone with him??? Finally his sister called me back. I asked to her to please pick up our boys from school and to try to locate her brother and let him know to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

When I walked into the hospital there were two nurses waiting for me in the hallway. I got to my room and put on the hospital gown and got on the monitor. Because of the adrenaline I had going, I never even felt any further contractions except for one more really strong one. Nurses were pouring into the room. I had nurse on one side drawing blood and a nurse on the other side trying to put in an IV.

I still couldn't get in touch with Albert. Then a thought occured to me. I bet my sister Ashley (who was also pregnant) could be counted on to be lying on her couch watching TV. I could ask her to call Albert's work to find him. I dialed her number and there she was...just as I suspected.

I told her what was happening and she immediatly starting calling Albert's work number to have him paged.

Dr. Gingrich came in at the same time as the anesthesiologist and they both began reviewing the risks of surgery at the same time, one talking over the other. I still have no idea what either of them said. All I ever heard was something about the risk of the bladder being injured and that it would require further surgery to repair. At this point I was beyond terrified. I briefly considered asking to be put completely to sleep for the surgery but refrained because I knew if I did this, Albert wouldn't be allowed in.

Finally Albert called back amidst the hub bub of panic in the room (completely unnecessary panic in my opinion). I was so afraid that when the nurse asked me for my date of birth I burst out crying and said "I don't know! I can't remember!"

I also couldn't remember the number to the kids' school so that I could let them know that someone would be picking them up.

Albert's panic was almost as great as everyone else's. He was scurrying out of the building. Turns out he'd been paged to the phone by both my sister and his, one on each line telling him what was happening. He was very afraid that they would do the surgery without him and this was a real fear as the dr. had already warned me they could only wait a short while.

"How long can they wait?" Albert asked .

"I don't know" I said, " I guess until I'm ten centimeters."
"NO!" shouted everyone in the room in unison. The OB, the nurses, the anesthesiologist.

"Oh, they're saying no." I reported back.

"Well, make them wait!" Albert sounded so totally desperate. He promised he'd hurry.

A nurse leaned over me and whispered in my ear "I'll try to stall you as long as I can"

A few moments later they informed me that they could in fact, wait no longer and that we must proceed now. They promised that as soon as Albert arrived someone would bring him straight to the OR and let him in. I was so crushed. I felt alone, afraid and now Albert was going to miss the event we'd waited eight months for.

They wheeled me out into the hallway and there I saw him at the sign in desk asking where I was. I yelled for him and he ran over. In the end, they made him wait outside of the OR for at least 15 minutes anyway so I don't see what the big rush was.

In the OR I got prepped and got the spinal. I kept remembering what that girl had told me but when it came down to it, I didn't find the spinal to be that bad. Really, not even as bad as an epidural.

I kept asking for Albert and finally they let him in. I didn't feel like I was numb even though I guess I was. I kept telling the dr. to make sure she let me know before she started. I told them I could feel a sharp pain to my left and that I knew they were cutting. They told me they'd stop and make sure I was numb and then I proceeded into a five minute speech on how they should make sure they didn't continue until I said it was okay. Then...I heard a baby crying. I felt pretty stupid because obviously they'd been cutting hte whole time. And obviously, I was more numb than I thought I was.

I don't remember a lot after that other than asking if Alexandria was indeed a girl when they said "Baby B is out" and asking if anyone needed the NICU. The answer was not as of yet.

Pretty quickly the babies were taken to the nursery and Albert had to go with them. He attempted to stay with me but apparenly it wasn't a choice. I was stuck in recovery forever it felt like and with nurses that were not very friendly. I had only had a breif glimpse of each baby and I wanted to call to the nursery to make sure they were okay and still not needing to be transferred but the nurses weren't keen on making that call and just told me that they would "later"

When I finally got back upstairs, the nurse transporting me to my room stopped by the nursery so I could see the twins through the glass for about 30 seconds. My heart sank when I saw Isaiah with an oxygen mask covering his face. As they setteled me into my bed I asked if the babies could come to my room and they told me that Isaiah would not be able to unitl that night becuase he needed oxygen and that Alexandria would have to stay in the nursery for a few more hours because her body temp was not back up yet following her newborn bath. So there I was, hours after birth and still no babies to hold. At least Albert had been able to spend time with them and take pictures and be there for their baths and transitioning.

A couple hours later they brought Alexandria in and I held my baby girl for the first time ever. I waited literally a lifetime to have a baby girl. I couldn't beleive it was happening finally . She was so perfect. So tiny, but so perfect.

A couple hours after that, my phone rang in the room and it was the pediatrician explaining that she was sending an ambulance to transport Isaiah to another hospital with a NICU. The transport team would need to intubate him and they would bring him to my room so I could see him quickly before they loaded him onto the ambulance. She told me not to be scared of how he would look but it was hard not to be. When they brought him in, I was allowed to touch his hand through the glass porthole but that was it. Then he was gone. I still had never gotten a good look at him. In the transport incubator he was so covered in tubes and machine leads. I was very sad but very thankful that I had Alexandria and she was healthy.

The next morning the pediatrician came in to tell me that she recommended a test for Downs Sydrome for Alexandria because she had some suspicious traits. I had been so happy Alex was healthy and now that was in jeapordy too. It was a stressful time but still, God had given me a little girl and Downs Syndrome or not, I was so happy to have her and so proud of her. Still half of me was very sad that I didn't have my baby boy with me and it seemed that everyone else had gotten to see him except me. I couldn't wait to get out of the hospital and hold him.

So, that day in the hosptial was spent with a mixture of feelings. Elation at Brandon's bone marrow results, worry for Isaiah and Alexandria and sadness that I still hadn't met my son, but such happiness that our twins were here!

Now, two years later it feels strange to look backwards and realize how much time has passed. Our babies have grown to be so beautiful and strong and happy and healthy. Sometimes when I watch them together the "twin-ness" of them is so amusing and so much fun to watch. It still makes me smile to realize that there are two of them! It always seems like such a random miracle. I know we are very blessed.


L I S A said...

Loved reading about the big event 2 years ago. Hope you're doing well. We miss you!

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