It is amazing how quickly everything happened once they decided Feb. 1st would be the boys’ birthday. My call with Chris was not very long. The whole conversation consisted of “Just got off the phone with Dr. K and I am having the babies today.” And, just like that he was in route to the hospital. By the time I hung up, I had 2 nurses in my room. A hospital gown, hair net and socks were laid out on the foot of the bed, and they were gathering supplies to put an IV in my arm. For a few minutes everything felt very rushed. I hadn’t really had time to digest the news. When you go into labor you have hours not minutes before the babies arrive.
Chris made it to the hospital in record time and we called our parents to let them know. I could tell Chris was nervous and honestly so was I. I was, after all, only 30 weeks and few days along. But, I also had a strange fleeting moment of feeling nostalgic. This would be the last day I would EVER be pregnant. This was the last time the boys would be 100% dependant on me and only me to provide for them. As hard as my pregnancy was, a big part of me enjoyed my pregnancy.
Soon my doctor arrived in my room. She reassured both Chris and I that at the boy’s gestational age they would do just fine. She was excited because I had made it so much longer than she originally thought and because we were all about to meet the little guys. She was dressed like she was heading out to dinner not to an operating room, so she gave us both a hug and went to change clothes and get scrubbed in.
As soon as she left, the nurses were back in my room. They grabbed the cord blood collection kit to be sure it wasn’t forgotten about in all the excitement. They gave Chris coveralls, shoe covers and a hairnet and explained they were going to take me down now and they would be back soon for him. He couldn’t be in the room while I got my spinal, but would be there in plenty of time for the birth.
As I entered the operating room, it was cold, brightly lit and, it was bustling; lots of people making sure everything was ready and in place. I was expecting a lot of people, but thre must have been 20 people in the room. Seeing so many in and out of the delivery room made me nervous and reassured at the same time.
This was it, it wouldn’t be long now.
They had me sit on a hard table. The nurse anesthetist introduced himself and told me he would be right by my side the whole time. He was very calm and reassuring in the mist of all the chaos. The anesthesiologist came over and introduced herself and told me it was time to get started. She told me I would feel pressure in my back. She was right, that was a good way to describe it. I took one final look around the room before lying back on the table. There were 2 incubators now fully surrounded by doctors and nurses. All the surgical tools were spread out on a table. There were still many other nurses and respiratory specialists walking about the room. I laid back and they hung the curtain; for a brief moment I panicked. The curtain was so close to my face and I am claustrophobic. The nurse anesthetist, seeming inside my head, noticed and before I could react asked that they reposition it. I looked to my left as they were walking Chris into the room.
Before they begin they test the spinal. They rubbed a cold wet cloth on my arm. Then they rubbed the same cloth on my stomach. I feel the pressure but not the cold or wet. I took a deep breath and tried to relax, but in my head I knew there were so many unknowns.
Soon, I felt an odd sensation, it didn’t hurt, but I felt it. I could feel myself laying so still, intently listening to everything, waiting for some indication that the babies were okay. I began to get nauseous and immediately was given something to remedy that. I was also given something to make me relax. I heard the doctor say the amniotic fluid was clear. I assumed that was a good thing. She asked Chris if he was ready to stand up and take a look.
I watched him as he stood up, he just stared. “Take a picture”, I told him. He raised the camera and snapped away as I heard the doctor say he is out and he is a good size. Chris began looking a little pale so the nurse anesthetist advised he sit back down. I realized I was holding my breath. I had not yet heard the baby cry. Then I heard it, it was soft and distant, but still music to my ears and for a moment I could breathe.
Before the doctor moved on to baby B, she collected Landon’s cord blood and cord tissues. She didn’t think she was going to be able to get enough cord blood, but collected all she could. Viacord could let us know for sure, but these are preemies with cord blood flow issues.
Soon we were on to Baby B, my problem child, the reason we were in the delivery room. But, baby B, aka Nolan, was also my feisty baby. Again, I felt myself holding my breath as she confirmed the fluid was clear and there was plenty of it. Chris stood once again and snapped a few pictures. I heard the doctor say, “he is smaller, but not as much as I worried he would be.” Nolan didn’t make me wait as long to hear his cry. His was a bit louder as if he knew I needed reassured that was going to be okay.
Before I knew it, Landon had been taken down to the NICU, I never even got to see him. Chris was giving me a play by play of what he could see. I knew he needed to be in NICU quickly, but was sad I didn’t get to see him first. The nurse anesthetist was going to be sure that didn’t happen again. “Hey guys, over here, mom did a lot of work, she should get to see the baby,” he said as they were getting ready to head out with Nolan. They rolled his incubator over by me and one of the nurses lifted him up so I could see him. He was crying. All I could really see was a big mouth on a very small baby.
With a normal pregnancy and normal c-section the doctor would hold the baby up, get it slightly cleaned off and passed immediately to mom or dad. When they are tiny there is no holding them up and once they go to the NICU, hours pass before mom can visit. After all, the spinal has to wear off before you can feel you legs, and then they won’t let you sit up for another couple of hours. The nurses told me it was common for women not to head to the NICU for 12-18 hours after delivery.
I had never really thought about it until a couple of weeks before the babies were born. A friend of mine told me about her experience with a c-section and her babies going straight to the NICU. The whole way through my pregnancy I had known exactly what to expect, but this little detail caught me off guard. I was crushed at the idea of others seeing my babies before me. I did all the work.
When we got back to my hospital room, my parents were waiting for me. They wanted to make sure I did okay in surgery and my mom began helping pack up the room. It is amazing how much you can accumulate in a short time. My doctor stopped by and told me she went to the NICU before coming to see me to make sure all was well. “They are doing really good and they are bigger than I thought” she told us. Landon was the bigger baby around 3 lbs and Nolan was closer to 2 ½ lbs. She also told the nurses to keep me in my room, the room that had become home atleast until the following day. Standard procedure would be to move me within a few hours to the mom and baby ward. After my doctor left, so did my parents; they all agreed I should try and get some rest.
About an hour or two later my mother-in-law came to visit. By this time, the spinal was wearing off and I was beginning to feel my legs again. Before, I was in too much pain the nurse brought a pain pump in and I discovered morphine really makes me itch. To counter the itchiness, I was given Benadryl. To say I was out of it would be a huge understatement, pain meds and benadryl! My mother in law left for a little while to pick up some dinner for her and Chris, I was so tired and nauseas there was zero chance of me eating anything. Even though I wasn’t eating I do wish they had picked something other than shrimp fajitas, the smell and the nausea didn’t mix well. While they were eating my older brother stopped by the hospital to visit. It was a nice distraction from the nausea.
One of the nurses stopped in as she was leaving for the night to let me know she had stopped by the NICU and the boys were doing well. During the conversation, she realized Chris had yet to go to the NICU. He had stayed with me so we could visit them together for the first time. The nurse offered to take him down there and my brother and mother in law asked if they could join. I reluctantly said yes. I am not sure if it was because I was just so tired or not feeling well, but I didn’t stand my ground. I would now be the fourth person in the family to see my babies. I thought it would be a quick visit, but it was not. Over an hour past, then 30 minutes more; I laid in my bed and began to cry, mostly out of jealousy that I couldn’t be down there too.
When everyone got back in my room after the visit to the NICU they were talking about how little but handsome the boys were. I heard about how much hair they had and before anyone could say another word, I snapped. “I don’t want to hear about it, I don’t want anyone telling me about my babies, I just want to see them.” By this time it was after midnight, so my brother and mother in law headed home. The night nurse recommended I get some sleep, but I was not going to sleep until I saw my boys. So, nine hours after I delivered them, the nurses loaded me into a wheelchair and we headed for the NICU.
The boys were in 2 separate rooms; really the rooms were more of open divided bays. Both were in their Giraffe incubators, each with their very own nurse. We headed to Landon’s room first. They lowered the incubator as far as it would go. It was hard to see what he looked liked, but one thing was for sure, he was tiny. I needed a better look, so I attempted to stand up. As soon as I stood up, I began to shake and got very light-headed. The NICU nurse recommended I sit back down; after all, she works on babies less than 5 lbs not adults. I took her recommendation and slowly sat back down, but first I studied every detail of Landon. I couldn’t see his face because of the CPAP machine helping him breath. He was so little and thin that he didn’t even fill out his skin, but at the same time, he was perfect. He did have a lot of hair considering he was born about 10 weeks early.
Next we headed over to Nolan’s room. Once again, I needed a better look. I stood up, but only for a minute. I only thought Landon was small, until I saw Nolan. Nolan put small into a whole new perspective. His face was also hidden behind the CPAP machine, and he also had a surprising amount of very blond hair.
It was surreal seeing my babies for the first time. Even without seeing their face, they were the most beautiful sight, wires and all. My night was complete. Our family had grown by two. I could now get some rest.