It was Sunday, December 21, 2008 the last day Josh and I would be a family of two. We had made a date to go down to the Plaza and have our last dinner out at The Cheesecake Factory. Now I clearly was not thinking straight because the place was packed and I could not figure out why there were so many people out on a Sunday night. If I was thinking clearly, I probably would have realized this was the last Sunday before Christmas and people where out holiday shopping and dinner out. Obviously, my mind was else where this year.
So, there we were, out and about in the zero degree temperatures, I was freezing and mostly because I have not been able to zip my coat for months so my belly was out there for the frost to bite. We then had to stand and wait for a good 30-40 minutes while waiting for a table. We both enjoyed our dinner and ordered a slice of Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake to go. Before we left I went to visit the restroom since I had a lot of water and not much room to store it all. It was funny how many comments I received while in the restroom because of my size. To sum it up all the women in there learned I was having my c-section the following morning at St. Mary's in Blue Springs to meet my identical girls.
Once home, Josh and I put our feet up and watched some television. Around 11pm we pulled that slice of cheesecake out of the fridge and enjoyed every bite of it before my midnight eating curfew came. I double checked my hospital bag to make sure I had everything, even though I really had no idea what I all needed and did not at all feel prepared. We both got in our jammies and crawled into bed. I wish I could saw we both got a great nights sleep and were well rested for the following morning but that is not at all true. Neither of us slept a wink and before we knew it, 4:30 am rolled around and it was time to "wake up" and get ready to head to the hospital.
Monday, December 22 we had a record low temp for the season with -5 degrees and I think from the moment we got in the car I started shivering and it did not stop all morning. We had a short 10 minute drive to the hospital (no one else is up and moving at 5:30am). I was already registered so all I had to do is sign a bunch of paperwork and be shown to my room where I would spend the next 4 days. Josh and I were both given some highly fashionable hospital gear to put on, I was given an IV with fluids, although there was nothing I wanted more then a bottomless glass of ice water, I had blood drawn and then we wait.
Around 7am, Dr. Cobbinah, my OB, came into the room to say hello and see how I was feeling. I told her I was freezing, despite the multiple warm blankets my nurse gave me and we also talked about the mass amounts of contractions I started having as soon as I got in my gown. Pretty sure if I didn't already have my c-section scheduled for that day, my girls were ready to make their grand appearance that day with the contractions I was having. After she left the anesthesiologist came into the room to introduce himself and told me a little bit about the spinal I was about to have.
Shortly before 7:30am I walked with my nurse and Josh down the hall to the OR. I gave Josh one last hug before I walked in, he had to wait in the hall until they had me all set up and ready to go. Let me tell you, that epidural is not just a little poke like they tell you. I was sitting on the edge of the operating bed, leaning into a nurse while shivering and having contractions. I wanted nothing more then to bury my head into her chest and squeeze a tight grip on her shoulders, something I would do if it were Josh, but I had to remind myself this was a stranger and I should try to restrain myself. This procedure took many tries and it was not at all pleasant. The anesthesiologist hit several nerves which shot shooting pains down each leg in turn and caused me to jump, something I have not been able to do in months. Finally, it was done and I could feel nothing below my chest. This is the strangest feeling you can imagine, I had to remind myself to breathe. I was laying down, they put the sheet up in front of me and then here comes my rock, Josh. The moment I saw him, I was instant tears. This is the moment we had waited 37 weeks and 6 days for (that was my gestational age) but I did not feel at all prepared. I was wondering how in the world would I be able to take care of not just one baby, but two precious babies. As Josh was sitting next to me and tears still streaming, he started talking about all sorts of random things to try to keep my mind off of what was going on on the other side of that thin blue sheet. I did not feel any pain, but I did feel a lot of pressure as they pulled Lillian out at 7:48am, again I had to remind myself to breathe. I hear cheers as my baby girl started crying. It was such a magical sound. They lifted her over the sheet so I could see her. Okay, I am going to be honest here and tell you all that I did not think she was cute at that first moment. She was slimy, gray and smooshed and I thought I was going to be that women who everyone would have to lie to and say her baby was cute, but really cringe on the inside. Again I felt a lot of pressure and tugging as Claire was pulled out at 7:49am. More cheers and that magical sound of cries once again. Repeat with holding her up and those crazy thoughts of mine. Josh was in tears right along with me, gave me a kiss and went to meet our girls as they were getting cleaned up.
I was not able to see Lillian when they were cleaning her up, but Claire was right in my line of vision and I could not take my eyes off of her. She was no longer slimy and gray, but pink and beautiful. All I could see were those long legs of hers kicking around as she lay on the bed while getting her footprints done and weighed. Lillian weighed in at 6lb 4 oz and was 18.5 inches long. Claire was also 6lb 4 oz and was 19 inches long.
Josh carried one (I have no idea which baby, but I think Lillian) and the nurse carried my other baby (thinking Claire, but really no idea) over to me so I could see them both. Mind you the tears never stopped during this whole experience, but they seemed to double the moment I saw my girls all bundled and their squishy, but beautiful little faces.
Dr. Cobbinah came around the curtain, told me everything went great, congratulated me and then back to my room I went. The anesthesiologist never left my side through the surgery and followed me back to my room along with my wonderful nurse. While being wheeled back I started feeling nauseous and was certain I was about to vomit, but the trip was short and moments after my bed was back in position and I was given some meds the nausea went away. They both made sure I was feeling well before Josh and another nurse walked in with the girls around 8:30am.
I have not stopped shaking yet and that was very scary to me, but I was told this was just a side effect from the epidural and it would go away within the next few hours. So in walks Josh and my two baby girls, again tears streamed down my cheeks. My nurse asked if I would like to hold a baby, I was excited but terrified. I have been around babies almost my entire life, I have held many newborns before, but I was scared to hold my own babies. I didn't know who to hold first and how do I pick between them? How the guilt is already settling in, but Josh hands me Claire and then goes back for Lillian. It was amazing! These are my babies! I have been dreaming of them and this moment for so long, but it was all so surreal. These two little beings are now dependent on Josh and I and it is our job to not screw them up too much.
I remember sitting up in my bed for the first time and taking the first deep breath, I could feel everything shift back into place. I had not taken that deep of a breath in such a long time since the girls made themselves nice and comfy in rib cage. It was wonderful being able to breathe again.
Although neither of slept a wink the previous night, the idea of taking a nap was not even an option. I wanted to hold my babies and never put them down. Oh, but I did want water and lots of it! It was heavenly that first sip which then became draining my giant mug and there were many refills after that. So delicious! Around 11am the shaking finally ended as my epidural was wearing off. Bring on the drugs. I never once thought about turning down the pain meds and made sure to stay right on schedule with them.
Our pediatrician came that morning to check out the girls and told us they look great. They both scored 9 and 10's on their Apgar scores and their bilirubin was also perfect. He told us they would come back each morning we were there to weigh them and do whatever else it is they do. Boy, did we have the questions for him and now I have no idea what they even were, but I am sure at the time they were extremely important, or so we thought.
Really, most of the day was a blur. It went so fast and I could not believe that these two babies on my lap are mine. As I stared at them I could not figure out how they were able to fit in my belly just a few short hours before. I was also amazed at how quickly most of the swelling went down once my girls were born. I had ankles again! That night we had the nurses take the girls to the nursery so we could sleep and that was the best nights sleep I had in months. Of course when I woke up at 4am because my pain meds had wore off I was in extreme pain, but that handy call button brought my nurse and those magic pills right to my bedside.
I know this story is 14 months old, but I felt like I needed to share it with all of you and write it down so I would be sure to never forget the events of this day. My girls are amazing and I love them with all of my hearth.