The snowflakes are now three and a half weeks old. It is hard to explain how significantly our lives have changed in this span of time, one that has gone by in an instant, and dragged out due to exhaustion all at once, with building our home and our world around them. Things that once seemed important (getting to those bits of housework for instance) have fallen by the wayside, and instead have been replaced by 2AM feedings and skin on skin time and being stared up at by two sets of beautiful royal blue eyes. Eyes that are young, and innocent, and not at all "all knowing" like those that came before them were.
If I had written this post the first week, I wouldn't have noticed too many of the small joys of new parenthood. The exhaustion I felt from the anemia is something I can barely describe in words -like running in sand, or trying to breathe through a straw. I am grateful to be feeling a bit stronger in that regard with each passing day, and now that my energy levels are coming up, and my milk (Thank God!) has come in, the chaos that is my life raising newborn twins, and missing the older sister who should be here with them, has almost (dare I say it) started to settle into a routine. Well.. as routine as life without sleep can be, but in a good way.
I am no stranger to lack of sleep. Anyone who has read here for a while knows I am an insomniac, and have been since Peyton's passing, but this new lack of sleep - the wake up to change and feed and change and feed (and usually change again) is more physically, but far less mentally, exhausting than my nights have been these last few years, and for that I am grateful.
I used to wonder what I would do if the snowflakes arrived looking like Peyton. Now I have my answer. Our little K is so much her clone in looks that it threw me for a loop the first week or two. H, however, has a look all her own. I guess I am grateful that if one has to look like Peyton, it is K. I think seeing a little girl who so resembled her big sister would be hard on me.
We brought the babies up to Peyton's hill last week. It was a visit cut short by some not very nice weather, and paving happening at the entrance of the cemetery, but I felt it was important, to show them who she is, and to show her that she has not and never will be replaced or forgotten. I also wanted to go up there and offer her my gratitude, for the blessings and protection that I know she offered over her little siblings leading up to their safe arrival.
It's a funny thing, and one I know you have all read a million times on rainbow baby blogs, but I have to say, there is something so bitter sweet in seeing these babies do all that Peyton couldn't. This week they will have outlived their big sister, and while I am so grateful for all that they do, and the ways they thrive and grow and learn with each passing day, there is a part of me - the Peyton's mother part, that feels so sad for her and all that her siblings get to do, that she never was afforded the luxury of. Little things, like being looked at with eyes full of joy, rather than those of fear and sadness. I wish Peyton had been allowed so many things... and that's the reality of parenting a child gone too soon - no matter how full my heart and my life become I will never stop wishing for all that should have been for her.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
On Wednesday March 2nd, at around 7 pm, my water broke all over the kitchen floor. I was near the phone and called hubs who was at the store to tell him it was time to come home. I knew I would need an ultrasound to see if the babies were head down if I wanted to attempt VBAC, and had been instructed not to wait too long to come in, in case this was not possible. By the time hubs came home, my contractions were about 4 minutes apart. I hopped into the shower to clean up, we grabbed our bag, and headed the forty five minutes or so to the hospital.
When I got to the hospital my water broke again (I am guessing baby B's bag) and my contractions had really increased in intensity. They were quite painful and timing only about 2 minutes apart. It took a while to be seen at the hospital because multiple women had gone into labor at the same time, but once they hooked me up to the monitors, and the ultrasound, it was discovered that baby A was head down, but not engaged in my pelvis, and baby B was still transverse so we knew at that moment that what little chance I had had for a VBAC was no longer on the table.
I explained to the docs about how I felt I had "missed" Peyton's birth, and wanted to be sure that I was "present" for this birth. They promised me that I would be. They took some info, and asked when I last ate. I told them my last meal had been at lunch, but at dinner time I had had a glass of juice and a few handfuls of popcorn. The doctors started insisting that I couldn't have a regular c-section because I might aspirate my "meal" into my lungs. I reiterated that I hadn't had a "meal," I had had a glass of juice and a little popcorn. They started discussing a sedated c-section with us, where I would be under general anesthesia. I told them no, that I wanted to be awake for the birth, but it was quickly becoming apparent that there was no room for bargaining on this.
The worst part of this was the news that even my husband would not be in the room when the babies were born. I would have to be on my own in surgery, and he would have to wait in a separate room. I started to cry. I had "missed" Peyton's birth, and so needed to experience something beautiful in the birth of these little snowflakes for my own healing. I was completely crushed by the news that once again, I would not be "present" to see my little ones into the world.
My contractions were now less than a minute apart and the doctors started telling me they were concerned about chord prolapse (where the chord comes out of the birth canal before the baby.) They told me my situation was now an emergency. All of this happened within one and a half hours of my going into labor. They gave me some papers to sign, and wheeled me away from hubs and into the cold operating room.
I was in a great deal of pain at this point. Nurses began scrubbing my belly, and inserting my catheter etc. without any pain meds which made the situation feel worse. I was strapped down to a table and began to panic. I was panicking that the babies would not be healthy. I was panicking that the anesthesia would not work well enough and I would feel the incisions. Mostly I was just panicking because I was scared, and alone, and in a lot of pain, and people were talking around and about me, moving like ants in an ant farm, but no one was talking to me. I told them I couldn't breathe (they had me on my back) and they assisted me with oxygen. The doctor reached out and grabbed my hand, giving it a good squeeze. I appreciated that human contact, but wished more than anything to have my husband at my side.
After what felt like several minutes - I was out.
When I came to I was crying, "I can't breathe, I can't breathe," but distant voices were assuring me that I could. The weight on my chest was immense and I could feel the flap in the back of my throat closing. "I can't breathe," I cried again. "Please."
I don't know if they could even hear me, or what, but the sense of desperation I felt at the time was immense.
My eyes were still closed/foggy, and they asked if I wanted my babies. I think I said, "no." I don't remember all of what happened here, but Hubs later told me that I just kept asking over and over if the babies had cancer. I kept asking if they were going to die, or if they were already dead. I don't remember this too clearly, because of being so drugged, but I guess my questions were just too upsetting for some because he also later told me that the scene had been too much for the doctor, and she started to cry.
The truth of the matter is that I went into the surgery scared, and I came out of it scared, and there was no editing that fear when coming to from sedation.
At some point the babies were placed at my breast. I saw Baby B - our girl, first. She was a tiny little thing and she looked up at me and I said, "Hello H." We had gone to the hospital expecting to name her Vivienne of Fiona, but she just looked very H to me, so HJ she was.
I turned to see Baby A - our boy - at my left breast. I was shocked at his appearance. He looks just like Peyton. Same eyes (though not the same look in them), same nose. He and Peyton would pass closer for twins than he and H just based on their looks at this point.
No name felt "right" when looking at him, so I told Hubs I wanted to wait until I was not in a drugged fog to think on his name. We had gone to the hospital expecting to name him either Simon Rhys or Felix Asher. Two days later, we decided he was more of a K, so we named him KA instead.
I have always felt guilty for giving Peyton a name that meant "little warrior" like it assigned her the battle she was forced to fight or something, so it was important to me that the names we chose for the snowflakes have some sort of blessings to them. For H it comes with her middle name - J - which means "gift from God" or "God is gracious." For our little K, his middle name A means "fortunate, blessed and happy."
I would lie if I said that missing their birth doesn't still hurt me. I know in the bigger picture, them being here healthy is all that matters, but there are some wounds that were meant to heal with their birth that just haven't. Birthing Peyton was a traumatic experience. Birthing these snowflakes, too, was a traumatic experience. Birth should be a moment of joy, not trauma, and I continue to feel robbed by this.
Anyway, our little ones have been keeping us very busy this last week and a half. My anemia issues still have me quite slowed down, but that situation is slowly improving and I am hoping that with time I will get some strength back. For those who asked, yes the immense blood loss was due to the subchorionic hemorrhages.
Hubs was told that when they were taking K out, I lost a tremendous amount of blood due the clot around him. That was the second one discovered, the one we were never able to get a real measurement on. Thank God it never affected his placenta being as big and bothersome as it must have been to cause so much bleeding.
I asked Hubs what he had experienced with their birth and he said basically he was walked to a waiting room. When he passed the operating room, a woman walked beside him holding up a sheet so he couldn't see me. Eventually someone rolled in two babies. No one told him they were his babies. He said all of a sudden it dawned on him to ask, "hey, are these my babies?" Not really how he had pictured their birth either I am sure.
So there you have it... our birth story.
Now onto the happy stuff... without further ado - I give you our little Snowflakes...
Here is Baby A- KA
And Baby B - HJ
They love hanging out together
(H inches as close as she can to her bro-bro when they sleep)
K is on the left, H on the right
Mommy and H
Mommy and K
(don't mind my super pale-ness)
Milk Drunk Babies
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
SO here is the short and the skinny of it.
I wanted a V-bac - that wasn't possible.
I wanted a c-section where I felt "present" - that wasn't possible.
I had to have a fully sedated c-section due to last minute complications.
During the surgery I lost a tremendous amount of blood (twice what they would expect they told me) and am still suffering just to have the energy to do anything (including type this) because this. My docs have put me on super amounts of iron supplements in the hopes that things will improve this week. if not then a transfusion will be necessary. I am feeling very frustrated by the way this has impacted my abilities with the snowflakes. I pretty much breastfeed and that is it, my hubs has had to pick up the slack everywhere else. Also, though it broke my heart to do so, we have had to do osome supplementation because my body is too weak at this point to fully keep up with their demands.
We named Baby A (boy) K and baby B (girl) H. He was 7 lbs. 2 ozs. she was 5 lbs. 11 ozs. I promise to get all the details and some pictures posted here just as soon as I feel up to it. To the many who have reached out with prayers and good wishes, THANK YOU!
Friday, March 4, 2011
Our little snowflakes arrived via emergency c-section Wednesday evening. They are beautiful and healthy. Thank you so much to all who prayed for their healthy arrival! I will update with pics once I get out of the hospital. Baby A was 7 pounds 2 ounces. Baby B was 5 pounds 11 ounces. They are beautiful! We are blessed!