i’ve started quite a few posts. but they always get interrupted by a very cute (and demanding) hungry or wet or crying baby. or two. and well they take priority. or i decide i don’t really think i should say something. or i just lose track of what i am doing. so here are a few highlights.
- last week i met with a lactation consultant. incredible experience. probably the best health care related experience i have ever had. not that much has changed regarding my supply. still kinda low. or my nipple pain. still kinda high. but i felt like someone cared. and listened. and actually heard me. and was legitimately interested in helping me and my babies. she offered some suggestions on positions to feed the wigglers in. the most interesting one to me is called biological nurturing. essentially you let the baby lay across your body and instinctively move up to begin nursing. it was pretty powerful to watch my babies – with very little assistance – show me what was most comfortable and natural for themselves. offered up the idea of cosleeping with the wigglers at least for a while so we can all get some sleep. this is not something i would have considered previously but we were feeling pretty desperate. (we have since tried this and for the most part it is working out rather well – 4 hours of sleep trumps 2 hours). she also suggested getting more assistance to do everyday things. or to watch babies while i nap. or to cook food for us. all great suggestions. all rather difficult to actually achieve with no family in the area. i don’t even know who to ask for what at this point in time. but still i left feeling validated. like i am doing my best. and i am not failing my babies. and eventually it will all come together (possibly with the help of an rx to assist with my milk supply). since my appt she has called and texted multiple times to see how things are going. it is an empowering experience to feel recognized and cared about by a health care professional.
- my babies are growing! magoo is already up to 8 lbs 2 oz and cindy lou weighed in at a whooping 7 lbs. i was a bit sad when magoo stopped fitting into newborn clothes at just over a month old. not because i don’t want them to thrive and be healthy but because it all happens too fast. anxiously waiting their first real smiles. and giggles. and all other attendant fun. i could not be more in love with them. even when they are screaming at 3am after eating an hour earlier.
- yesterday i had my six week post partum appointment – a few days early but who is counting. all is well. i am seven pounds away from my prepregnancy weight though i don’t look like it. think belly that jiggles like a bowl full of jelly. i can run. or dance. or do whatever. and come back in a year for my annual appointment. it was strange to walk out of the office and know that i don’t have to go back anytime soon. and when i do my babies will be a year old. pregnancy with twins requires so many appointments. and so much oversight. and it gets to be comforting. there is a constant check in point for you and your babies. and now it is over. not bad of course. i don’t want to think about how i could still be going there monthly hoping and praying that this time an IUI worked or the follicles were on the correct side or any other IF related things. but all the same it feels strange to be losing a structured consistent check point in my life. i do realize this makes me sound ridiculous.
- i am in the process of realigning my expectations. i was clearly delusional about so many things before the wigglers were born. more on this later. but suffice it to say twins are hard. breastfeeding is hard. my stomach looks like a war zone. and the possibility of running in the short term seems, well, impossible. more on this later…
m went back to work this week. and we survived. I admit I was a bit concerned about how this would pan out. i mean two babies, two people is a much easier equation to solve. but with just me here it’s like a half a person for each baby. and while it doesn’t really translate directly that way it has definitely presented it’s challenges. someone always needs to be fed. or changed. or soothed. and we are only talking babies here – not me. there is virtually no down time unless by some miraculous twist of fate or divine intervention I find them both ready and willing to nap at the same time. it has happened and I have even attempted to yield to the sage advice of also napping during this time. wouldn’t you know though that my head on a pillow or lolling to the side has the power to wake sleeping babies almost without fail. somehow we managed to make it to Friday. i even ventured out with the wigglers three or four times. it takes nearly as long to prep for these ventures as we can possibly be untethered to the boob for. but notwithstanding that fact we have made it out into the snowy coldness. our adventure thus far have included getting birth certificates at the county service center to submit for the second parent adoption (because here in MN you receive no proof of birth unless you are willing to pay for it). and we made our way up to the second floor of hooks school multiple times to retrieve him at the end of the day. all of this is part of my fitness routine even if it was not planned as such. two babies – even small babies – in bucket car seats up stairs and over snow banks is likely to remove any upper arm flab that exists. i’m still trying to figure out how to make it flatten my stomach as well. it’s been a good week. a challenging week. a comical week. everyday I have learned a little more about these small humans who grew inside if me. and though I didn’t know it was possible I have found myself loving them each a little bit more every second of every day. even when they are engaged in a screaming contest. or exploding things out of their diapers. or covering me with spit up. or refusing to sleep at 4am. or maiming my nipples with a death grip latch. they each have these amazing little (or big) personalities that are becoming clearer and more defined each day. i am amazed by the changes i see and afraid it is all happening too fast. even through the sleep derivation i find myself trying to breathe it all in and savor it so as not to miss anything.
breast feeding twins is hard.
and i have had a rough go of it. when the wigglers were born virtually everyone who entered my room told us there would be a delay in my milk coming in due to c-section, twins, delivering at 37 weeks, major blood loss and super low iron. so i wasn’t overly surprised. the wigglers latched with minimal issues and cindy lou who seemed determined to make my milk come in. i am definitely getting more accustomed to it and i love being able to feed my babies. after experiencing rapid weight loss in the hospital the lactation consultant and the pediatrician both suggested adding a bit of formula. baby health was more important to me than the wigglers exclusively getting breast milk so we started finger feeding (with a syringe and your finger in their mouths). and weight started holding a bit more steady. upon discharge we were told to go for a weight check at the pediatricians the next day. and so began the parade of weight checks. tuesday. thursday. friday. monday. tuesday. and the following wednesday. more weigh ins than contestants on the b.iggest l.oser! eventually the wigglers started to gain at an acceptable pace. nothing like constant attention on the inability of your boobs to produce enough to make you feel like you aren’t really winning at this parenting thing… i keep trying to up my supply. i tandem feed, then i supplement with an ounce of formula, and then i pump. repeat 8-12x a day. i had always planned to pump so m and hook could bond and assist with feeding. admittedly though its not easy to find time to do it. and it doesn’t always yield much in the way of results. i am taking fenugreek and drinking mother’s milk tea. not sure they are helping but i am willing to try whatever. the concept of supply and demand makes sense in theory. after three weeks i would have thought it would be getting easier. most days though i’m just not sure its working so well. i am holding on to the hope that i can make this happen!
it has been nearly three weeks since the wigglers made their debut. time has functioned in fits and bursts. the days have been a strange and busy and fuzzy and incredible mix. everyday has felt remarkably similar and yet undeniably different. i simultaneously cannot believe it has already been almost three weeks and yet i feel like i have known my babies for so long. anyhow, before it all fades into the abyss of my mind i wanted to get their birth story down. and since today is their actual due date now seems as good a time as any. it was nothing at all what i expected but i would do it again in a second. without changing anything because this is their story…
a brief recap of the days proceeding delivery:
monday morning biophysical profile and NST. hook was able to join us for what would be the final ultrasound due to the weekends snowstorm and the cities inability to deal with it. wigglers still looking good. BP was continuing to rise. swelling in my legs was incredible – essentially i could make a hand print into my leg and it would stay there for quite some time. blood work taken for preeclampsia. doctor decided that holding off to December 23 is perhaps not the best idea. decision to induce on thursday or monday. 4cm dilated. and just in case wigglers lungs weren’t developed completely we should get shots of methylpredinose(?). personal escort to L&D where dr identifies me by wrong name to nurses. luckily m is paying attention and corrects him. shot on board and plan to return the following day. stop off for what would be our last meal out as a family of three at the original pancake house.
tuesday morning back to L&D for shot #2. in slippers. in 17 degrees. apparently a busy morning in maternal monitoring. waited a few minutes then was hooked up to monitors before receiving second shot. i asked the nurse to check my BP. high. and higher than day before. face a bit swollen. especially around my eyes. another round of preeclampsia blood work. nurse says I doubt you are leaving here today so I text mere to let her know to prepare. chat with my doc says to keep holding off until thursday for a medically required induction. until then observe strict bedrest. tuesday night after using the restroom I feel a bit of a gush. nothing big but something different. made a call to my dr and head to L&D. for the second time on tuesday. test for fluid. negative. 5cm dilated. 80% effaced. and decision is…home again. i was angry. at myself for not knowing my body well enough to know what was going on. and frustrated with the dr for thinking it too much of an inconvenience to just have me admitted and induced then. contractions observed at all junctures but still only feeling tightening and no pain. wigglers are still partying it up in utero. as we are leaving nurses discuss how crazy it is that i am being sent home for about 30 hours before scheduled induction.
wednesday m gets msg from my mom to call her. m is working and dropping hook off at school so she waits only to learn that my mom has unilaterally opted to buy a ticket to visit from thursday around noon until sunday. i was about to lose it – not because it’s bad but because i plan. and i know what i need when i need it. and honestly that really wasn’t it. but we resolved that all would be well and at a minimum mom could help with hook. spend rest of the day trying to relax and prepare for impending arrival.
thursday morning drop off hook and head to L&D. after calling to confirm that i was indeed expected and my arrival was anticipated. we arrived at 7:30a.m. and i have a room. and a nurse. and i realize this is all really happening. dr comes in before 8:00 to break magoos bag of water. goodness gracious it’s a gusher down there. magnesium sulfate iv. and pitocin. and antibiotics. nearly 6cm dilated at the outset. dr and nurse helen both suggest epidural at some point. definitely not required but i am up for whatever works best to meet my babies. just explain that often baby b needs to be manually maneuvered and this is relatively well, unpleasant (we have friends whose baby b was held in with a dr’s hand up her who ha for nearly 20 minutes before he was born). i was not opposed to the idea and figured i would know when i needed one. contractions started picking up as we watched the food network and chatted. around 11:30 or 12 contractions really start moving and expectation is that wigglers should be en route around 3 or so. nurse is able to locate the anesthesiologist to get things moving. she notes how muscular my back is and asks if i exercise. m tells her i am a runner and she says that makes sense. tough time poking through the muscles but no concern that it will fall out. essentially feel very little in way of pain for hours. time functions in weird shifts. mom arrives and sits with us for a bit.
mMid afternoon cervix check around 2:30 is 8cm and magoos head has dropped. one side thinning out more than other. around 4 or so nurse says we should be good to go but i will labor down for a bit so pushing should be quick. at least that’s the plan. time keeps ticking as they clean OR (8 unplanned c-sections that day!). finally shortly after 5pm I am rolled in and told to start pushing with each contractions. 10cm. 100% effaced. +2 station. there are 7-9 medical type people in the room not including m and me. i can’t feel anything so the nurses tell me when to push. time continues. my contractions are strong but the internal monitor isn’t picking things up properly so they start requesting i push when a nurse feels the top of my uterus contract. dr leaves for a while since as he explains it “the nurses are way
bBetter at this whole pushing thing”. nurses stream in and out. two go on break. the people there to attend to the babies leave and then all return simultaneously. things seem to be taking a long time but i have no idea. i can’t see a clock but i feel like i should have been somewhere by now. crazy itching on my belly. so bad I am almost ripping my skin off. and i want to drink water. or eat the fantastic ice the hospital serves. the nurses give me a cold washcloth and m rubs it on my belly. at some point i can feel something and i wonder if baby boy is finally crowning. but it’s just blood and not because magoo’s head is there. no one tells me its blood but they are speaking in hushed whispers about how long it is taking and how things aren’t progressing. i keep waiting for someone to say baby is right there. feel his head. you are almost there. but he isn’t dropping any lower. and his head has not engaged down far enough. he can’t get under a pelvic bone or something. nurses tell me they can feel his hair. then dr returns and is trying to coax magoo to turn or shift or something. dr explains that he can feel his ear and his head but it seems to be tilted and not moving at all. heart rates on both wigglers are strong and there is no indication they are in any distress. just unlikely to move any further. so after 2+ hours dr explains that it seems unlikely magoo is going to get his head through my pelvis despite all of my best efforts. and the intentions of the medical team. magoo’s head isnt big just shoved in the wrong direction. so despite magoos determination to emerge head first via the escape hatch as indicated by his position throughout my pregnancy he will not be heading out the way he intended. dr cautiously explains that a csection will get my wigglers out safely. i am entirely calm about everything at this point. surprisingly so. i felt like i had done everything in my power so i was okay with this decision. and everything is suddenly a flurry of activity in the OR as things are changed over for surgery. plan is to try to give me a low spinal but if it is too high it can compromise breathing so knocking me out is mentioned. there are very few things i definitively wanted and didn’t want out of my birth experience and being awake was one of them so i tell them that i want to see my babies being born. the epidural seems to still be working but maybe not well enough. a few tests seem like i can feel some things so decision to try low spinal. but as i am hunched over things feel pretty numb so i say let’s just go for it. i’m not sure if i had convinced myself i was numb enough or if this is how i really felt. i was petrified that i would not get to see my babies being born. and next thing I know i am laying down with my arms out. and i am vomiting. and m is there. and i feel pulling and then there is my beautiful boy. and moments later my little girl. m brings over one baby. and a nurse brings over the other. they are incredible. and then things are fuzzy. and something happens. i can hear my blood and fluid dripping onto plastic. and I can feel a strange pain as they start closing. more than pressure. and i tell this to the anesthesiologist as m is sent out of the room with the wigglers. and then i remember nothing. until nearly two hours later. when i emerge from a haze briefly while in recovery. and i am overwhelmed by searing pain. and i have no idea what is going on. shortly thereafter i am in my room on a different floor with m and the wigglers and the nurses are asking about bathing the babies and whether they are going to the nursery and breast feeding and I have no idea what is going on. my babies are bathed in my room as m and my mom take pictures. i remember asking if the babies can go to the nursery for a few hours and they tell me that no they need to be breastfed. and i remember asking why my pain meds require me to push a button and can’t just be automatic. i have no idea how i am breast feeding all night but m keeps bringning me my beautiful babies and somehow
we make it to the morning.
the next morning the dr stops in to tell me i need a blood transfusion due to a massive post partum hemorrhage. i can’t stay awake. i feel narcoleptic. and confused. more magnesium sulfate. two units of blood. two unit’s of plasma. the entire day is lost. hook arrives to meet his brother and sister after school. he is smitten. and i can barely stay awake. i continue to zone in and out. and feed my babies. and be amazed that i grew them.
over the next few days we are told very little about what happened during the c-section except that every nurse and dr and pediatrician and lactation consultant who comes into the room comments on the major post partum hemorrhage. And the potential problems with breast feeding and the like. but the babies are thriving. while losing weight. the babies are amazing. and i am beyond in love. we are up most of the night. by mid-day Saturday i am off the IV’s and starting to resurface…very slowly.