Full Moon Babies Part 2 – Another lucky full moon

Full Moon Babies Part 2 – Another lucky full moon

TWINS: Double the trouble, Double the love.

A million platitudes are out there for the pregnant mom of twins. My favorite was, “It must be TWINS.” when people ogled my giant belly. And honestly, it’s good practice for the flood of ridiculous things people say to the parents of twins (but that’s another post – ‘are they identical?’ ‘Uhm, did you even look at them? They barely look like they are brothers.’). Double the hormones and that can mean double or triple the pregnancy signs, complications, and monitoring. By my 16th week I had to pee every two hours because my kidneys were working over time. I NEVER imagined that having to pee constantly would start that early in my pregnancy. I figured that once I got past the 18-20 week mark I could relax into a very huge and tired pregnancy, that the fears of the early weeks were behind me. Nope. Wrong. I got two weeks. Two weeks of pregnant enough to look it and not so sick I could enjoy it.

Pregnant Belly Pic
By 18 weeks I could no longer see my feet. Flying to see my in-laws at Christmas was uncomfortable.

Complications

I wrote a very detailed set of paragraphs about the complications that arose in my pregnancy around 22-24 weeks. Honestly, it just made me sad to relive it all, so here’s the short version. It was the hardest/worst/most miserable 8 weeks of my life. Shout out to the many FB twin and pregnancy complication groups that held my virtual hand during this time – love you ladies so very very much. Reach out if you are struggling at all in your pregnancy. Someone was always there for me on FB. I had Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy that started in week 21. It’s when bile acids accumulate in your blood stream. It can be very dangerous for the unborn baby if untreated; but even treated it is misery for Mom. For 11 weeks the soles of my feet and the palms of my hands itched – all of the time and got much worse at night – nothing relieved it, no cream, no medicine, no oil, no amount of scratching. Imagine having itches you can’t scratch for nearly 3 months. Sleeping became nearly impossible.

Dog laying in a bed
My 120lb dog spent days laying in bed with me. He loved it completely and bonded so strongly with my Twins even before they were born.           

Even though I was on medication to protect my twins from the risks of cholestasis, one of our twins wasn’t doing well. He started failing. Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) they call it.  There wasn’t anything to do about it but monitor, wait, and hope. My doctor explained that bed rest wouldn’t change the outcome. But I was effectively on bed rest by this time from the combination of lack of sleep, pregnancy exhaustion, and anxiety. I couldn’t face anything baby-related. I had no baby shower. I had no registry. I stopped planning their nursery. I spent most days going to doctor’s appointments and laying in bed with my dogs willing my two sons to keep growing.

The last six weeks we drove 80 miles each way 2-3 times a week to a major university hospital for ultrasounds and non-stress tests (what a joke to call them that). The staff at the clinic were amazing. I cannot say enough nice things about them. They celebrated each additional day and week as much as we did. They were our constant angels. Even simple things like scheduling us for the last appointment of the day so we could more easily make the trips and immediately explaining things in compassionate and forthright ways. I felt their total love for my twins and for us.

A million Thanks

Our friends who live in the city invited us into their home three nights a week to comfort and console us. They cried with us and prayed for us. And all of this with their own newborn (!!), a perfect healthy beautiful boy, who I cradled against my pregnant belly whenever I could. Monica, Chris and Baby, I can NEVER properly express our gratitude. In retrospect, I am in complete awe of how you embraced our pain and worry during your first days home from the hospital and every time we came for weeks… heck, months. I love you three so very very much.

All of our friends were wonderful. While I was retreating they sent love and support and prayers. I am grateful for every token of affection that was shared with us. I am grateful for every prayer offered on our behalf.

Who’s in Charge Now?

Through all of this, the boys’ doctor used this imagery that stays with me: one baby was falling off a cliff, but the other was holding onto him. They were better together. Baby A was literally supporting Baby B by keeping space open for him, making it easier for him to keep his amniotic fluid and to keep growing. The Friday we scheduled a C-section for 34 weeks the boys’ doctor reminded us that they were in charge; we could schedule all we wanted, but they would make the final decision. Their birthday was going to be 4/4/16. It seemed auspicious to me.

My water Broke Sunday Morning. Yup. The boys were in charge. 32 weeks. Still too early. I feel like so many birth stories gloss over this moment. So here’s the nitty gritty, feel free to skip it if you’ve been there or don’t want to hear it. We slept late on a Sunday morning knowing we wouldn’t have many more opportunities to do that. I got up to pee and came back to bed. I tried rolling over in bed (lol, you know how that was) and water gushed everywhere. My first thought was, I peed myself. Then I remembered I had just peed. Oh, shit. My water broke. I got up and went to the bathroom and debated putting on pants or not. I told my husband, voted for pants and pads and we rushed out the door.

It is completely humbling to have your body doing something you are not in control of at all. I was along for the ride. My body and my babies were doing their own thing.

I only had one job

Quote by LL Cool J
I’m old enough that the voices of my youth have become the wisdom of my adulthood. LL Cool J is the first of two unlikely men involved in my labor and delivery.

The doctors had made us promise to go to our local ER if this happened, so we did. On the way up to maternity I decided that I only had one job. To stay fucking calm. Being calm was the ONLY thing I could control. Getting hysterical was not going to help anything. Focusing on staying calm helped me avoid thinking about the worst case scenarios. We trusted the doctors. Nothing was going to change now. No matter what the babies were coming. I couldn’t change that; I could only press on.

They gave me medication to stop my labor and decided to airlift me to the University Hospital. No passengers allowed on the helicopter, so my husband jumped in his car and started driving the 80 miles north. The weather changed to a sleety foggy mess and they grounded the helicopter. The ambulance ride was ridiculous. The paramedic in the back immediately put her foot in her mouth by telling me an awful labor and delivery story. She was then so embarrassed she barely spoke to me for the entire hour and half drive. Awkward isn’t even the right word.

Maternity Floor on a Full Moon

We hit Labor and Delivery on a full moon. The house was packed – like people waiting in the hallway packed. My labor resumed, but since the babies were monitored and not in distress, I labored and we waited – the rest of the day and all night.

At one point my husband’s college roommate showed up. I kid you not. He had just been through this with his wife five weeks before. He had pro tips, he entertained us, and helped tremendously to keep us calm. A Daddy Doula, so to speak. If you can endure your husband’s best friend during one of the weirdest times of your life, I highly recommend it.

We spent the overnight hours listening to healthy babies being born. Somewhere around 3 am my husband sweetly suggested I might sleep. I didn’t. I couldn’t. Labor was getting stronger – I had been on my back for 18 hours, not moving to keep the monitors in place. Classic episodes of Law & Order were on for the rest of the night which was bizarrely comforting. It was 30 hours since I’d eaten. Because I was certain to have a c-section they would not let me eat. I was starving. I guess it gave me something to focus on. My husband snuck me ice chips and sprite. My prenatal yoga instructor gave us the mantra, “All will be well.” And even when all I did in prenatal yoga was lay on the floor with an amazing circle of women, I kept that in my heart. As my labor intensified, I wished it. “All Will Be Well.”

text
Shout out to all my prenatal moms who held me up. And to our instructor, Kristi at Coastal Retreat, who gave me hope (and occasional rides to the doctor).

My OBGYN  saw me first the next morning. She said, ‘We’re gonna have those twins now.’ And a whirlwind of activity started. I forgot to mention that I was in the worst, smallest, room there. Literally only enough room for the bed, one chair and the computer. When my doc called for the C-section suddenly the room was packed with nurses and students. People were actually bumping into each other. It might have looked comic to an outside observer. When a student made an error (possibly because it was so confused and packed) my husband ordered all the students out. It was the first, and only, time he lost his cool through the whole thing.

They moved me to an operating room.

Sitting completely naked in a freezing room full of people being asked to not move during contractions while an anesthesiologist tried to poke a needle in my spine sounds like super fun, right?. Two lovely nurses knelt in front and beside me holding the fetal monitors on my belly. Awkward enough to make me forget my fear for a minute and marvel at the intense intimacy that nurses are so adept at. They were so very sweet and laughed at my ‘buy a girl dinner first’ joke. I distinctly remember feeling weird there were windows looking out on the city in the operating room. I wanted someone to draw a curtain.

Surgical Picture blurry

My husband came in and held my head. I cried. All will be well. I hoped.

The nicu staff was on hand. When Baby A was born they showed him to me before they took him. They took Baby B right away, but brought him back for me to kiss before they took him to the nicu. My husband left to wait with them. My family came to the recovery area to wait with me: a large room partitioned with curtains. We listened to other moms and their newborns. I pumped for the first time and the nurses took the colostrum to the nicu where the nurses swabbed the boys mouths with it on a schedule.

As I waited in recovery I could only focus on one thing. I was starving. Seriously. They wouldn’t let me eat until they were sure the spinal block had worn off. I waited. Rather than think about the fate of my sons, I tried to wiggle my toes so I could get some food. It was easier to think about food than what was happening in the nicu.

An eternity later my husband arrived. “They are both going to be fine.” He showed me pictures. The baby we had worried most about was breathing room air and appeared to have healed his in-utero compromise. The ‘healthy’ larger son was struggling to breath on his own, but things look more optimistic than we had dreamed to hope. I still can’t decide which full moon news was more surprising: finding out it was twins or finding out they had hung onto each other – That we were eventually going to take two children home. It’s a blue moon this month, and in their birthday month as well. Such luck signs for my boys who turn TWO this year.

Picture of Baby in Isolet
Our ‘healthier’ son, K, needed support to breath. He eventually spent some time intubated and on a respirator. Born at 4lbs. 32+1 weeks
Baby in isolet
Breathing room air, howling up a a storm. Our second son, J. 2 lbs 10 ounces.

Full Moon Babies

In another post I will tell you about the seven weeks in the nicu. And I will talk about our experience with physical therapy and specialists, follow-ups and surgery. But I’m probably going to delete that stuff when my guys get old enough to read. I’m aware that my boys will grow up as full digital natives, so I’ve spared them some details. They just don’t need to know, I know I wish I could forget it; not really, I suppose. Maybe just a little jealous of healthy moms, babies, and easy deliveries. The only story I’m planning on telling them is that they had a hard time when I was pregnant, were born early, and spent some time in the hospital to get strong. And that every time the full moon rises I think of them, because it’s they are my full moon babies.

 

 

Full Moon Babies Pinterest Cover Page Birth of Twins

We share in Fort Birthday

14 Replies to “Full Moon Babies Part 2 – Another lucky full moon”

    1. Hi, Brittany! Even the days before they we born we hadn’t dared to hope for such a good outcome. I am humbled and eternally grateful that we were so very lucky. Every single person who held our hands and offered prayers for us are part of our amazing story. One of our dear friends gave us a Statue of Ganesha, the Hindu god revered as the remover of obstacles and the god of beginnings. It belonged to her late Grandmother who she loved so deeply. This Ganesha will forever have a place of honor in our home.

    1. So many moms suffer quietly through stressful and anxious pregnancies. I found so much support in several Facebook groups. They were there for me day and night. I made one truly good friend half the country away who I hope to meet one day. I can’t wait for our twins to all play together.

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Wow, I’m so sorry that you went through all those hardships, but so happy for you that you’ve been able to experience joy on the other side of this.

    1. Next week will feature the details of our very soft landing in the NICU. We had to stay 7 weeks. I am so grateful for that part of our story.

    1. I appreciate that so much. Sort of like ripping off a band-aid. I count my lucky stars (moons?) just about every single day. Even when my already Terrible-two toddlers are driving me up the wall.

    1. No one expects or prepares for a difficult pregnancy but women endure them every day. I feel like many women don’t talk about it because it is so personal and so scary. I essentially went Radio Silent on social media when it happened and stopped answering my phone. I look back at some of the messages I got from close friends and my replies and it just about breaks my heart. It is amazing how alone you can feel when you are pregnant and I hope we all remember to be there for women dealing with the physical AND emotional challenges of growing a HUMAN BEING. Thanks. and Love.

    1. Please share it along. One of the reasons I feel comfortable sharing it is that I hope it will help give hope to families and support to moms.

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