Thursday, October 18, 2012

In Which the Twins Turn One

Tommorow morning, the twins will be one year old.  Last year at this time, I was trying my best to prepare to go the hospital in the morning to have my twins cut out of my belly.  My sister was here, and Brenna, Betsy and I stayed up late laughing and joking, and making videos of us being silly for the babies.  I was scared to death, but also ridiculously excited. 
For months, I had barely been able to walk, as my stomach was so huge and heavy, and my hips felt like they were coming apart at the seams.  My feet were hugely swollen, not that I would know, cuz I hadn't seen them in forever.  Everything on me hurt.  My back and hips, my stomach itself, my swollen ankles, everything.  I could barely eat because there was no room in my insides for anything but babies.  What I DID eat had to be carefully measured and carefully chosen, because I had gestational diabetes.  I had horrible heartburn, even with meds.  When I would try to lay down, it took me forever just to get up on the bed.  Then I would try laying flat, but there was so much weight and pressure on my internal organs, I'd have to change position.  Then I'd try turning on my side, which is what they generally tell pregnant women to do.  But when I did, my enormous belly would flop over onto the bed, and I could FEEL the babies, lying on the other side of my skin.  There was no position that didn't hurt.
I got up that morning and went on autopilot, getting everything packed and ready and into the car.  I was trying not to think too much, because I was so afraid inside that something would go wrong...that I'd bleed to death, or something would be wrong with the babies.  I couldn't even process all my emotions.  At that point, I just wanted it OVER. 
It didn't take long once we got to the hospital for things to start happening.  They start hooking up tubes and wires and getting everything ready, and then they led me down the hall, you have to walk yourself to the c-section room while your husband stays behind and puts on his little outfit and waits for everything to get started before they let him into the OR.  I had seen this all on tv, I knew how it would go, and I just did whatever I was told, trying to ignore my nerves.  The anesthesiologist came in and started the epidural, and then they strapped me down to the operating table.  I was so nervous about the surgery, but at the time, all I could think of was how good it felt.  It felt like hot liquid pouring down my back and into my legs, and then suddenly, NOTHING HURT.  It was the first time I had felt no pain in SOOOO LOONNNNG!  The Dr. kept asking "Are you ok? You're so quiet and that's not like you!"  I'm like "I'm just enjoying the lack of feeling!  This is GREAT!  I feel wonderful!"  He was chatting with me and joking around and I felt what I thought was him running his finger across the underside of my belly.  He was cutting me open.
They finally brought Charles in and I was so relieved to have him near me.  It's an odd, very helpless sensation when you can't move your body, and you couldn't run if you wanted to, but you're wide awake.  I was anxious to see the babies, but also semi-out of it from the anesthesia.  Almost like I was watching it happen to someone else.  Then I felt a "POP!"  and a huge "WHOOSH!"  Even with all the numbing and the lack of pain, just having him pull the first baby out felt AMAZING.  Like popping the biggest zit EVER.  A total release of pressure.  They held him up over the little curtain and he dripped on me, I knew it was "him" because 1) I knew it was baby "A" and that would be Weston and 2) His testicles were dangling inches from my face.  I heard him cry and felt another surge of relief.  Seconds later, another "POP!" and then they were holding up Aila over the curtain, also dripping.  Charles rushed around to see the babies better as they dried them off and checked them out.  The Dr. kept chatting with me as he was doing all the rest of his work.  I just kept thanking him and saying how good it felt to get them out!  He said he'd never had anyone tell him how great it felt in the middle of a c-section before. 
Soon, Charles was bringing them over to show me.  I couldn't use my arms yet or hold them, but he held them up close to my face so I could see them.  There were BEAUTIFUL.  I saw lots of hair, and I noticed that Weston had big juicy lips.  When they got me all put back together again, they laid both babies on my chest and wheeled me down the hallway to recovery, Charles walking alongside the bed.  That feeling when they laid both of my babies on me, I will never, ever forget that!  People passed us in the hall and looked at us and smiled, and I felt like I was holding millions of dollars or something.  As my sister put it, "Having twins feels like an embarrassment of riches!" 
They still had to check my stats as I came out of anesthesia, and check vitals on the babies, etc... so for the time being, no one was allowed back to see us.  It was just the nurses, Charles and I, and our twins.  After the babies had been thoroughly checked out, they handed one to me, and one to Charles.  I remember I had Weston... and they gave us little bottles of formula to feed them.  We were holding the bottles in their tiny little mouths and we looked up at each other, and I said to Charles "Can you believe this?  Can you even believe this is happening right now?"  About that time, I noticed Weston was making funny little grunting sounds.  The nurses heard it too, and called the NICU.  He was having trouble breathing.  They came and took him, for what I assumed would be a few hours in the NICU, and it ended up being five days.  I was ok when they took him, cuz I thought for sure he'd be right back. 
Over the next few days, I got to know Aila like the back of my hand.  The smell of her, her cry, her schedule, how she liked to be held, everything.  I gave her little spongebaths in our room and checked her out all over, from head to toe.  I counted all her fingers and toes and made sure everything was as it should be.  But baby Weston was two floors down and down a long hallway, through a door you had to get buzzed into.  I had just had a c-section, and couldn't just run down there to see him.  I had to wait till people were there so that someone could watch Aila, cuz she couldn't leave our room, and then get someone else to wheel me down to the NICU so I could see Weston.  The nurses were not particularly friendly, with the exception of one, and it was very difficult to hold him and spend time with him.  He was hooked up to so many things and I had to ask to have them unhook him so that I could even hold him, and sometimes they just told me "No."  I would just stare at him in his little bassinette, struggling to breathe, and I was DYING to hold my baby!  Furthermore, I had spent all these months fighting to grow TWO babies, and they had not spent more than a few minutes together from the time they came out of me.  I wondered if Aila missed him, and if he missed her, and if they knew that the other was missing.  I wondered if she would sleep better once she had her brother next to her.  I was feeding her and holding her like you would any singleton baby, but I had been reading up on and practicing how to feed and hold and care for TWO, and it just felt so wrong, having them separated. 
Finally, after 5 days, they released all of us to go home.  We got them all dressed and in their little car seats and strapped everybody in, and I was beside myself with excitement, but also filled with trepidation, cuz I was taking home a baby that I felt like I didn't even KNOW.  And so far, I'd had no practice with TWO. 
We got home, and I got out the boppy pillow, and put them in it together, side by side.  As soon as Aila felt his skin touch her face, she turned to him and started sucking on his ear.  They cuddled up tight to each other, and I knew they were happy now that they had each-other near, and the happy tears started streaming down my face.  THIS was how it was supposed to be! 
Over the past year, I've gotten to know Weston, my little baby boy who I didn't know at all the day I brought him home.  He is demanding, bossy, funny, hungry all the time, LOVES animals, and grins just like his daddy.  I've gotten to know Aila so much better than I did.  How she's prissy, sweet, quieter than her brother, a bit more skittish, and loves to be snuggled.  They play together, fight together, refuse to take their naps together, and insist on having whatever the other one has, be it food, toys, or attention.  They are the hardest thing I've ever done and by far the most rewarding! 
I meet people all the time who tell me "I was a twin, the other one died during childbirth."  Or "My son was a twin, but the other one didn't make it."  It seems like EVERYONE has a story of twins where one of them died, or they both died, or they were born but faced horrible medical problems, etc...  People tried to tell me these stories while I was pregnant, but I couldn't bear to hear them.  Now, I listen to them, and remind myself, most people are not as fortunate as I am.  Many, many people want twins and never get pregnant with them, or get pregnant with them and then something awful happens.  Most people's twin stories do not have as happy of an ending as mine.  I never take for  granted my happy ending, and my two beautiful babies. 


  1. I never take them for granted, either. While you were pregnant I was talking with a girl on Facebook who had lost one of her twins, & becoming aware of so many others. One baby is a blessing and two is an embarrassment of riches...but we were prepared for TWO!!

    So many terrible things that could have happened, and such a wonderful ending. I still don't know how I'd have felt about one child...would I have loved Weston as much if we only HAD the one tough guy to love? Would I have loved Aila as much if all we had was the fragile, skittish, ultra-feminine girl?

    I don't know. But together, the extreme differences, the pure-T delight of watching the little muscle-man boy and the dainty girl are just SO MUCH's kinda overwhelming.

    Since they've been born, we've both dealt with the question of who to pay attention to, even when they were tiny infants side-by-side. Don't want to miss a second!!

    Yep. Gotta count the blessings. And for starters, that you guys all got through it alive & healthy is a HUGE blessing!!

    1. Of course we would love them just as much as singletons! They would still be hilarious one at a time!

  2. I am so happy for you. Thank you for sharing that day. I don't think I was aware that Weston was in the NICU for 5 days.

  3. Yeah, that NICU part was just enough scare to make me really super-aware that soooo much can go wrong, and often does. I go on youtube sometimes and look at memorials people have made for their lost twins and just bawl, it happens all the time. Especially at my age! So I think the best way I can pay tribute to all the moms who lost one or both is to never, ever for a second take for granted having the two of them. Which is good, cuz it reminds me not to complain, even when they are horrible! Lol!

  4. Oh Shelly - thank you so much for sharing that day. I too didn't realize Weston was in NICU. Samantha was in NICU a lot longer than 5 days - she was SO tiny. And I never forget when I look at little Brody that there was also an identical Graham who should have been running all over that farm beside him. I can't believe they are already ONE! So happy for you.

  5. I tried to tell you how fun the two at one time thing is! See what I was talking about??? I don't think it's that you love each one more than you do a single child, but you do have that added element of watching thm interact with each other that is sooo much fun and it's also just that there two you're loving at the same time! Also, an advantage of being an "older" mom is that you are so very aware of how fast it all goes by and you know to just slow down and enjoy them while you can. Other things aren't so important and can wait, but babies don't wait...they just keep on growing up so unbelievably fast!
    I can't believe those two are running around! Well, at least Aila is! They are about to get into my absolute most favorite stage ... After they completely conquer walking, then the real conversational talking starts up. Nothing is cuter than that! That's super fun with twins too. Our favorite thing used to be to sit quietly by and listen to Kalli and Claire chatting it up with each other. Like one conversation we eavesdropped in on in the car when they were just 2 and Claire was calmly reasoning with Kalli why she really did need to obey her since she was the big sister because she was born 7 minutes earlier. Best of all was that Kalli agreed and said " OK, OK, what do you want me to do?" Priceless!
    So you have to keep up the blog so you can share all those little gems with us because there is so much more preciousness to come!

    1. Weston does the most talking. Today I walked in the room and he was holding Aila's hand and they were laughing. I said "What are you guys doing?" and he grinned and said "Aila!" I said "Have you got Aila's hand?" and he said "Yeah." I don't' know how much he really KNOWS or when he says things that are an accident, it's hard to tell. But I can't wait to hear what's going on in their weird little minds!

  6. Only you would compare the birth of your baby to the popping of a large ZIT! Hahaha! :)

    I didn't realize it was so hard to see Weston -2 floors down and all alone, my heart aches for any family that has to be separated like that. I'm so happy that your babies are so happy and healthy now. What a wonderful blessing!

    And of course they wouldn't be any less lovable if it were one of the other, it's just a double dose of love, stories, and crazy moments that make it a lot more entertaining for us all to hear about :-D

    Can't wait to meet my #3 in 4 months ~also a mixed dose of excitement and anxiety! I may have to have a c-section due to my placenta previa and I'm SO NERVOUS about that. i've been spoiled with my other 2 births, I don't know how to do a hard one!!

    1. Ooh, that can be dangerous, I didn't know you had that. But sometimes it resolves on it's own, right? C-section really isn't that bad. Of course you're gonna be nervous cuz you haven't experienced it before, but it wasn't as bad as I had envisioned. In some ways, easier than vaginal birth. I went to my first meeting after a week and a half, so recovery's not THAT bad... just gotta be careful not to strain too much with heavy lifting and being on your feet too much for awhile. And if you do have one, the moment they pull your baby out you're gonna crack up laughing now cuz you'll realize it does in fact feel like popping a big zit! Lol!