Thursday, June 6, 2013

Harrison and Olivia's Birth Story

Our twins are here!

The babies that I have hoped and prayed for for so long are finally here. I am a mom.

Olivia Celeste was born on May 6 at 7:23 am weighing 6 pounds, 2 ounces and 18&3/4 inches long.
Harrison Rodger was born at 7:24 am weighing 5 pounds, 1 ounce and 17&3/4 inches long.

Everything happened so fast, I was amazed. But let me start from the beginning:

I slept literally only two hours the night before my c-section. I was way too excited. I spent most of the night looking at the clock, waiting for the alarm to go off. We had to be at the hospital at 6, so we got up at 5... well, the alarm was scheduled to go off at 5, at 4:45 I couldn't wait any more and woke Patrick up. We got dressed, I put on a bit of make-up for those first OR pictures with the little ones, we gathered the last of what we needed for the hospital, and headed out.

The streets were deserted at that early hour and it was a very surreal feeling, knowing that it was the last time it would be "just the two of us". Just Patrick and I. I mean, of course we'll have time alone, but from that day forward, we would always have two more people to love, care for, and worry about. It was an emotional drive for both of us.

The hospital was quiet. No one in the halls except the nurses and one wide-eyed, nervous-looking father-to-be with all the hospital bags, waiting to be allowed back into where his wife was. We didn't have to wait long to be taken back to the pre-op/recovery room. The hospital had recently changed their c-section protocol, moving all scheduled sections to the second floor, but multiples and emergency sections are still on the first floor, right next to the NICU, so we were the only ones in there. Seeing the incubators/warmers next to the bed and set up for the babies made it very real.

The nurse hooked me up to the monitors and started my IV. She had to go get a pair of scrubs for Patrick because the paper jumpsuit they normally provide was way too small. He thought he was hot shit for getting actual scrubs and he was making everyone laugh saying he was going to scrub in and help and that he was going to pretend to work there and see who noticed. 

At around seven the nurse called my doctor and the anesthesiologist because neither were there yet and she suspected they had gone upstairs. She was right, and both got there a few minutes later. That's when things really got moving. 

***Warning- some of this might be a bit upsetting/scary so if you're feeling particularly sensitive, you can skip the details and know that everything turned out just fine!***

They took me to the OR and sat me on the table (which is MUCH more narrow than I thought it would be!) Everyone was bustling about, getting things ready and my doctor came over to hold my shoulders and talk to me while I got the spinal block. I was really nervous about the spinal, but it really wasn't that bad at all. The shot to numb the site stung worse than the actual shot to numb everything and it was all done so quickly. I immediately felt the medicine "flowing" down my legs and everything got tingly. They were fast to lay me down while I could still move my legs, though I did need some help. They told me to lay my arms out on to the side, but thankfully didn't strap them down, and then started prepping me for the delivery. 

I started to panic a bit because I had always assumed that I would be completely numb from the spinal, but that was not the case. I could still feel my toes and feel the nurses and doctor prepping my skin and touching me. It all felt like tingly touches, but I was getting worries that I would feel them cutting me because I wasn't completely numb. Just as my anxiety was really starting to spike, my doctor asks, "Can you feel me pinching you?" and I felt nothing. I told him "no" and they called Patrick to come in. 

They started cutting before he even sat down all the way. I know this because I could feel it... but not in the way you'd think. It felt like my doctor was running his index finger along my stomach. It was WEIRD! A minute later the doctor asked, "Okay, who do you want to be born first?" The question caught us off guard and Patrick just blurted out, "The boy."

Well, Olivia had other plans. She's been baby A the whole time and she was coming out first, damn it! She had the cord wrapped around her neck twice, but it wasn't an issue and she cried right away. The moment I heard her cry I started bawling! They showed her to us and took her to the warmer to get cleaned up. She was beautiful and perfect and I cried even harder when I saw her.

Immediately after I heard Harrison cry. I looked over at Patrick and he had tears in his eyes, too. They brought Harrison over for me to see and they held him close so I could touch him before they cleaned him up. It was such a beautiful and amazing time! Patrick headed off to take pictures of the babies and watch them get evaluated.

I noticed immediately that Harrison was a lot smaller than Olivia. She looked full and plump, but he was skinny and looked so tiny! The nurses put the babies on the scales and called out the weights. We expected both to be over/around 6 pounds. Under 5 pounds is automatic NICU time. They called out Olivia's weight at 6 pounds, 2 ounces. There was a pause as they weighed Harrison. The nurse called out 5 pounds 1 ounce and everyone cheered that he didn't have to go to the NICU! Olivia scored 9 out of 9 on her APGAR and Harrison scored 8/9!! I was so happy!

Around that time I heard my doctor order for the pitocin to be started "full flow" and I started feeling very nauseous and a bit whoozy. I thought it was from the pulling sensation as they sewed me up and "massaged" my uterus back down. Patrick came over holding both babies and beaming like a proud papa! He held them for me to kiss and touch. The nausea was getting worse and I told the anesthesiologist. He gave me some Zofran through my IV and I immediately felt better but I was getting really tired. I figured my adrenaline was crashing after the excitement of the morning and the two hours of sleep was catching up to me. 

The nurses led Patrick and the babies back to the recovery room to show him baby care basics while the doctor finished up with me, but I joined them not even ten minutes later! My doctor works fast! I went in just after 7, got prepped, numbed, and draped, Olivia was born at 7:23, Harrison at 7:24, and I was back in recovery before 8!!! 

In the recovery room they brought me the babies to hold for the first time. The nurses unsnapped my gown and tucked the twins in on my chest, skin to skin. I started to feel really nauseous again and was having a hard time keeping my eyes open, but I didn't want to say anything because I wanted to savor these priceless first moments with my babies. 

Finally, I told them I was going to be sick. Patrick told me after that I suddenly lost all color in my face and he knew something was wrong. Someone brought me a bag and I started throwing up. My stomach was empty so it was just bile. My whole body was tingling and felt like it was pulsing. The nurse calmly said she was going to check me. She lifted my gown and I could see a flash of alarm on her face. 

"She's bleeding, someone take the babies."

Then all hell broke out. I don't remember too much because I started slipping in and out of consciousness at that point. Two nurses began furiously kneading my abdomen and they called my doctor back in. I caught a glimpse of Patrick standing frozen off to the side, a baby in each arm, with a look of terror in his eyes. My doctor came rushing back in and examined me. He's usually very funny and laid back, but I saw the serious, get-shit-done, DOCTOR side of him. 

I'm still not 100% sure what happened, but as far as I understand, my uterus was so stretched and was trying to shrink back too fast, causing me to hemorrhage and clot too much at the same time, and made my blood pressure crash.

My doctor said he was going to try to "pull the clot out", but when he checked my cervix it was only 1cm dilated. He started yelling for something to open my cervix and told them to get the anesthesiologist back immediately and re-prep the OR. Had I been more with-it, I would have been terrified. As it was, I was sad that I was losing that time with the twins and praying for the weird sensations in my body to end. 

They wheeled me back to the OR and the anesthesiologist put the nasal cannula on me. "This is just oxygen." Then I was out.

I woke up in recovery to Patrick hovering over me, still holding the babies, asking me if I was okay. I was so relieved to be feeling somewhat normal again! I think I asked what happened, and I think someone explained it to me, but I was still woozy from being put under so I don't remember very much of that day after the twins were born. I plan on asking my doctor at the next checkup. I know I had two to get two liters of blood and I think they did a D&C.

Patrick said it was the happiest and scariest day of his life. He told me he thought he was going to have to raise the kids by himself and everyone was so busy running around and taking care of me that nobody would tell him what was happening until he stopped one of the nurses and demanded answers. Poor guy. 

I was really swollen that night, but the nurses said it was probably from the IV. That night my blood pressure started creeping up and by the next day it was really high. They did a urine collection and, lucky me, I had post-partum pre-eclampsia so I had to go on blood pressure meds. I had ZERO signs of pre-eclampsia before the birth so my doctor was pretty surprised. Luckily my blood pressure regulated itself after only 2 weeks on meds.

Because of the complications, I had to wait until the next morning to have my catheter removed and to get up. They also had me on mega doses of antibiotics so I had to have my IV in for an extra day and a half and they kept me in the hospital for an extra day as well.

Since Harrison was so small he had to have more tests and prodding done. The first day he had to have his blood sugar tested three times (they poke the heel for a blood sample), both babies had to have their newborn screenings (another heel poke), he had his circumcision, and he had to do his car seat challenge test (we had to put him in his car seat and take him down to the NICU so they could monitor his heart rate and breathing for an hour and a half to make sure he could handle being in the seat so we could take him home. Since the NICU is busy during the day, we had to go down there after midnight!!) He also failed his first hearing screening so it had to be repeated the next day. Luckily he passed then. It was so sad to have my tiny little baby taken and know they were poking on him. Patrick went with him for every procedure and test, and when he came back to the room during the circumcision,  he broke down and we both cried for our little boy. BUT!... he passed every test and handled every procedure like a champ! Our boy is small but mighty!!

Both babies took to the boob really well! Olivia had a shallow latch in the beginning that was really painful, but the lactation consultants, nurses, and my mom worked with us and showed us how to do it right. Harrison was a breastfeeding pro from the start. It did take four days for my milk to come in and both babies lost over 10% of their birthweight so the pediatrician at the hospital recommended I supplement with formula the last day there, but I only supplemented one feeding. After my milk came in, I produced enough to feed them both.

I'm so thankful for all the doctors and nurses in the hospital! They were all wonderful and helped us so much. Despite the complications and surprises, the twins are healthy, happy, and got to come home with us. They are thriving now and we are so happy with our new little family! Even the dogs are totally in love!

Here's a picture of our lovies! (I blurred out Harrison's boy parts) ;)

Proud Papa

Happy family!

And for good measure... my last belly shot the morning of delivery. Excuse my haggard appearance... it was 5:30 in the morning and I'd only slept two hours.

Well, this post has taken me over a week to write/finish. Things are pretty hectic around here right now, but I will try to get another one up soon about what the first month with twins has been like!

Thank You, God for giving us these two precious little miracles!


  1. I've been waiting for you to post about the birth story! So happy for you that things eventually turned out okay. That must have been so scary to go through! I will be eager to read about how your first month has gone!

  2. OH So wonderful. How scary for you and Patrick, but so glad everything turned out just fine. My daughter was 5lb 1oz at birth too. She's grown like a weed tho and at 18 mos she's 20lb 11oz and 30 inches tall :) He'll catch up and probably surpass his sister :). Congratulations Mom! Your family is beautiful!