Can I just say, I really had wanted to post this sooner but not only was it hard to put my thoughts to words but Blogger didn’t save it once I had! How exhausting. Either way, it’s finally done (for the second time) and I’m happy to hit publish.
I wanted to share a bit about our last few weeks to document our experience for my family… and I can point anyone who asks questions this way (two birds, one stone or something like that). We are so lucky that our babies had really minor issues and are doing great now- but no matter how small, having our babies away from us is the hardest thing we’ve been through. This is probably one of the longer posts I’ll write, so if you’re not in for a read- pass on over, friend! With that said, here it goes.
Friday the 13th (ominous, I know), I had some labour symptoms in the early afternoon and called the hospital to get an opinion. We had company from out of town coming and I really didn’t want to go in (labour? I had other plans… so it couldn’t be!). I was pretty much looking for the ‘okay’ to stay home. That’s sort of what I got… ‘we’re busy today, unless you’re really worried then today isn’t a good day to come in’. The nurse actually said this… she also told me it was her first day so she didn’t know what time the doctors shifts started (turns out, my doctor was there the whole time). When I asked if there was someone else I could speak to she told me it wasn’t her ‘first rodeo’ and I should be fine. So, I took it as my ‘you’re not in labour’ and we welcomed our company that evening.
We ordered pizza and when Shane was out picking it up, my water broke. I had no idea what to do… it was way too early to have this happen! I was supposed to have another few weeks to get things ready for the babies, and I had projects I was working on, and I just wasn’t ready. I tried to argue that this couldn’t be labour all day and then… there was no question: this was it.
Our *awesome* company helped me throw things into a bag to take to the hospital, so when Shane got back with pizza in hand, we were out the door. (They’re so awesome that they also cleaned out our fridge, took out the garbage, and washed our sheets! Best company to have.) Since my pregnancy was considered ‘high risk’, I had to go in to the hospital as soon as labour started. I’m glad I did, by the time I got there my contractions really kicked in.
In no time at all, I was hooked up to monitors and an IV. They did an assessment and decided the babies looked happy and healthy enough to try for a natural birth. I was only 2cm so I had a ways to go. My doula (so fantastic, if you can- get one) showed up with coffee in hand for Shane and we started our laps to work those babies out. After what seemed like forever it was time to start pushing. Three hours later, (after no luck convincing the doctors they’d have to find another way to get these babies out) our baby boy was born, weighing 5 pounds, 11 ounces.
A short 13 minutes later, our little girl came into the world, weighing 5 pounds, 5 ounces. She had some brief breathing issues, but I was able to hold them both almost immediately. It was such a relief to be able to hold both of my babies, they looked healthy as could be. The hours went by, doctors came in and did some tests and their assessments and we were settling in as a family- the shock wearing off. When the pediatric team from the nursery came in to our room to explain that our babies would need to spend some time in the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit/ nursery), that comfort disappeared pretty quick.
Aubrey had dangerously low blood sugars and they wanted to take Emmitt in for the night to monitor his as they were a little low. We watched the nurse take our babies away, not quite understanding where they were going or what low blood sugars meant for our babes. It was so heartbreaking to have our babies taken away after spending almost six hours with them, cuddling them and marveling at how beautiful they are.
It took a few hours before I pulled myself together enough to get out of bed and find the nursery. Our babes were sleeping so we had to wait until their next feeding to hold them.
She assured us this was to be expected for 35 weekers (something I would be sick of hearing long before we went home) and that she only needed to pat him on his back for stimulation to get him breathing again. None of this made me feel better, my beautiful baby boy had stopped breathing. This meant Em was guaranteed an additional five days in the NICU. Until then, we’d been expecting to take them home in the next day or two.
By day 8, things had started to turn. The babies were both gaining weight slowly and they were managing two feeds a day without their feeding tubes. The general expectation is that nursery babies feed 48 hours without the tubes before they go home. Day 10 they went all day feeding independently, we were so excited and our prayers were specific: that they not regress and we be able to go home in two days time. Nurses and doctors made sure we knew that even if they have a good day, not to get our hopes up- they’d probably be there until their due date (today).
They made it all day too! That night we hardly slept. We went home later and came in early. I think we spent four hours at home that night. We had a nurse we hadn’t met before that night and worried she would decide they needed more sleep and use their tubes… but they did great all night too!
We waited patiently for the pediatrician to do her rounds. It was a new doctor on duty, we hadn’t yet met her. When it was our turn, she was updated on Emmitt and Aubrey’s progress and decided she wanted to keep them another night to make sure they were gaining enough weight.