Friday, October 21, 2011

10 Months Ago Today- Max and Addison's Birth Story

In honor of my babies being 10 months old today, I thought I'd write about their eventful entry into the world. Now, I have to admit I normally hate reading birth stories because they are always lots of dramatic descriptions of groaning and pushing and heads popping out and always seem way too graphic for me! So rest assured that since my babies were born via C section while I was under general anaesthesia, there won't be a lot of gushing about crowning or anything too awkward!

My pregnancy was in hindsight pretty uneventful. I guess compared to the last 10 months, almost anything would seem uneventful! But for a twin pregnancy, it went rather smoothly. The first 'scare' I suppose was when I was like 18 weeks along and my quad screening came back with an abnormal reading that could have indicated spina bifida. We had to wait like 9 days and go get a level 2 ultrasound and everything looked normal at that. The worst part of that whole ordeal was the 9 days waiting and worrying. The best part was the level 2 ultrasound was when we found out we were having a boy and a girl and that was one of the happiest days of my life. I think often about whether what showed up on that test was related to what was going on with their kidneys. I think that it probably was but given how obscure their disorder is, I don't see anyway someone could have put two and two together. And I am really very glad we didn't know. I would have worried so much for Max and Addison and been preparing for the worst and I am glad I enjoyed those last months of my pregnancy. If you had told me at 4 months pregnant what these last 10 months have entailed I would not have thought we could have handled it. Sometimes it's better just to face things as they come than sit and wait for them to come. So I am grateful for our uneventful pregnancy!

I ended up on bedrest around 28 weeks which for a twin pregnancy wasn't too shocking. My doctor did what is called a FFN test which is a test that indicates a possible increase risk of pre-term labor and the test came back positive twice in a week so I was on reasonably strict bedrest. A week later it was negative again suggesting less risk of pre-term labor so I was moved to moderate bedrest. I was concerned but never super anxious. My doctor seemed pretty optimistic I'd get to 34 weeks and while she was doubtful I'd make it past 36, I was okay with 34. In fact, the day Max and Addison were born I went to a doctor appointment and I was no more dilated than I'd been for a couple of weeks so I left really cheerful and thinking I'd make it at least a month more. I was 31 weeks exactly.

I went over to my parents brand new house that afternoon and felt really tired so I went to lie down. My dad came to check on me and was like 'get up... I want to hang out!' so I rested a bit longer and got up and went to hang out with everyone. I sat down on one of their brand spanking new (like seriously 5 days old) leather chairs and suddenly there was liquid pouring out of me. And my first thought was 'oh no, I have peed on my parents new furniture! oh no!!!' Then of course it dawned on me- my water is breaking! It was crazy and surreal because I really didn't see it coming. We loaded up the car, called Al who was home to come meet us and headed to the hospital. My mom said on the way 'maybe today is the day we will meet Max and Addie' and I was like 'no- it's too soon!'. I got to the hospital and they began this long procedure of checking that it was really my water that broke. They were like are you sure it's not blood or urinw? And I'm thinking- really I do know the difference between water, blood and pee. But anyway- there is a proper order to things. A couple of hours into this whole investigating whether my water broke or whether I really just peed my pants and created an elaborate lie to hide my embarrassment... I started feeling pain. I still was in enough denial that it really didn't dawn on me that I was in labor. I just thought I had a terrible stomachache. By the time they confirmed in fact my water had broken (or more accurately Max's water had broken), I was in a lot of pain and my contractions were coming really closely together and Max was like ready to make his grand arrival. Things happened really quickly at this point and they told me I couldn't eat or drink anything and they had to prepare me for surgery. I was really not a very good patient because I kept asking the nurse if I could just have one more Diet Coke and then I kept begging Al to sneak me one. I think I was just overwhelmed and a bit delirious! At one point Al was sitting in the room eating TWO Kulver's burgers quite cheerfully and I kicked him in to the hall because I was so enraged that he would sit there and enjoy the burgers when I was on food restrictions!

I have very little sense of time but at some point someone came and told me my platelet levels were too low so I'd have to go under general anaesthesia and all I remember was that my this point I was in so much pain I actually said, 'ok, great can you put me under NOW?' and he laughed and said it'd be soon enough. And that is about the last thing I remember. When I woke up, I was told Max and Addison were ok and Al had just seen them. He said they were little but not tiny and they were on breathing machines but that they were stable. I didn't learn all the details about their birth until much later but I know now they had to intubate them both pretty immediately after birth because they weren't breathing properly on their own. And so I think it was God's mercy that I was under general. I think it would have been terrifying for Al and I to witness that. They both responded well once intubated and by the time Al saw them they were looking good, all things considered.

Here are the photos Al took of Max and Addison that night:

MAX (above) and ADDIE (below)

I felt really groggy when I was awake and I think I just kept talking about wanting ice chips. I was in and out of sleep but frustrated because they didn't want me to come see the babies right away. Finally at like 5am, 6 hours after they were born, I got wheeled in my bed thing to go see them and it was pretty rough because I was so high on morphine that I just got really nausceous from the wheeling down and kept saying 'i'm going to throw up!' It was quite a meeting. But I got to see them and they were beautiful. I remember being scared when I was pregnant of having babies in the NICU because all the wires and cords seemed so scary and sad. But when they are your babies, you just see straight through that and all you can see is how amazing that little baby is. Now when I look back at the pictures I think 'oh they look so little and sick' but at the time they just looked like mine.
I stayed in the hospital until Christmas Day and then I was ready to go home. I was sad to leave without my babies- it was a very emotional few days. On Christmas morning Addie came off all breathing support and we got to hold this precious little baby girl and it was magical. Max actually had a pulmonary bleed on Christmas night which was a super scary awful thing. So it set him back a few days coming off the ventilator. He finally came off the ventilator after about a week and I held him for the first time on New Year's Eve. The perfect end to 2010.
So that was Max and Addison's big entrance. We really didn't have any idea then what was in store for us. We knew they were preemies and we knew it'd be a couple of months before they were term so we knew the NICU would be a part of our lives for a month or two. We had no idea they had a kidney condition- we found that out on January 17. And again, I'm glad for what we didn't know. It was already a lot to adjust to with two little preemies and all the wicked post partum hormones! God has revealed things to us as we're ready and he's still revealing things to us in stages. I kinda wish He was done revealing new things! But while there are still new challenges, there is 10 months of watching his faithfulness, of realizing how incredibly strong Max and Addison are and of seeing that you really can get through things you never would have thought possible.
So happy 10 months old to my amazing babies! 10 months ago we began a difficult journey that has been scary and sad many times but that pales in comparison to the fact that 10 months ago I became a mommy and fell in love with two little people who bring me joy, laughter, and purpose every single day. I'm forever humbled that God chose me to take care of them and so happy that my life changed forever 10 months ago today.
My sweet 10 month olds today:

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