Friday, February 5, 2016

On Becoming Mommy and Daddy Again: Kylene and Eleanor's Birth Story

The last time we "saw" the girls was Thursday. We could see their lungs literally breathing in and out. The nursery was full, all we needed are the two that live there. We spent the weekend waiting to see our girls.

I spent the weekend waiting to hold them and hear them.

Before December 21, 2015, I didn't know what a loud delivery room sounded like.

It had been 502 days since I held their big sister. I'd held Jessika's little girl, Piper, and my niece Lorelai. But each time I had to psych myself up. To hold a healthy alive baby always conjured up a lot of emotions for me. So while everyone treated us like celebrities because we were the ones having the twins, all I thought about that morning was hearing them, seeing them, and holding them.

We walked into the pre-op area and waited to be taken back so I could be prepped. It felt like we sat there FOR.EV.ER. ( said in my very best Squintz Paladores voice) and we finally were taken to Pre-Op Area #3. I got undressed and into my gown and the games began.

The thing about having a baby or babies in my case, is that I have to give a history about how many times I've been pregnant. Every person that came in to see me had routine questions. But when I answered this was my second pregnancy and that my first baby was a Trisomy 13 baby, they knew who I was almost immediately. (There are about 4 Trisomy 18 babies a year born at this hospital. Trisomy 13 is more rare and so when it happens, it's usually 1 or 2.) I was the one person in 2014 at this hospital. So for them to see me with a second pregnancy and two babies at that, I am almost certain that every person we saw that asked me this question, teared up.

One Last Belly Shot! 

Me looking not so glamorous.

My parents and siblings showed up at 8am. By then, I'd had my IV placed. My dad had bought new jeans and a sweater the day before for the occasion. It was funny and cute all at the same time. He wore green and my mom wore red. They were incredibly festive. We talked for a little bit. I don't remember what about, but soon my siblings came in the back.

This was particularly hard for me because the last time the five of us were together at this hospital, it was for Lily. If Jessi, Loren, or Will were thinking about it, they never let on. They were "right jolly old el[ves]."Right before they came in the back, I'd been given some pepcid which thank goodness because my acid reflux was STRONG that morning and another medicine I don't remember the name of, but it made me SUPER SLEEPY. And I repeated myself a lot. When I say SUPER SLEEPY, I mean, I was ready to take a nap right then. And if that doesn't let you know how sleepy I was, I wanted to take the nap and once I woke up, then I'd have the girls. I told anyone that would listen too. Jessi, Loren, and Will laughed at me. Brandon said this is what I'm like when I've been drinking. I repeat myself over. And over. And over. It's an endearing quality, I tell you. The nurse continued to prep me and soon it was time to go back for surgery. My little sisters and brother told me they loved me. We took one last picture, of course, flattering of them and not of me, but it's the name of the game at 9 months pregnant.

Now I have to pause and say that we'd been told Friday that Brandon would come in when I was fully prepped. He'd be in there for the duration of the surgery and then I'd go to recovery with the girls and he'd have to go back out front during that time. This was incredibly upsetting for both of us. For Brandon, this was as much his opportunity to be with his girls that weren't going anywhere and were healthy as much as it was mine. For me, it was hard because of his feelings, but also because he's my rock.

I was brave and hadn't cried until we got to the point where Brandon had to stay behind for a bit. The nurse was pretty funny. She said, "Now if you want to kiss her or anything, this is your time. If you cry, Samantha, I promise not to tell. But Brandon, I will tell on you." Of course, tears pricked my eyes, but we moved swiftly down the hall and into the OR. It was cold and I could tell this was going to be a somewhat swift process. So I didn't have time for a full on ugly cry, mercifully.

The nurses got me on the table and I got my spinal block.

Side note: I prefer a vaginal birth to a c-section all day. There are some women that claim that a c-section is better than a vaginal birth. I disagree. I'd much rather push my babies out.

The numbing shot hurt worse than the pressure from the spinal block as it usually does. Then they laid me down and stretched my arms out. Dr. P came into the room. I had seen her a couple of times throughout my pregnancy. She was the on-call surgeon that day. When she came to see me before the c-section, she was so excited about the day. Told me she couldn't wait to see how big my girls were. The lead surgical nurse gave my case notes and it was game on. I couldn't see anything over the top, but all I kept thinking about was seeing my girls. Before I knew it, Dr. P. said, "Hey dad, we want you to come sit right here." Even now, thinking about Brandon grabbing my hand, brings tears to my eyes.

I knew we were incredibly close to hearing either a loud delivery room or a not loud delivery room. I know how pessimistic this might sound to some, but being in a situation where things are eerily quiet and it being the only thing I knew, I struggled with trusting that things were going to be okay until the very end. That's how serious satan is about stealing, killing, and destroying everything we have in this world. He had worked hard to steal my joy and wouldn't let go of the fight until the end. The NICU teams were standing by and we were just waiting for Dr. P. to pull Baby A out.

I want to add that my bible study teacher and mentor, Kathy, had told me she had been praying that God would bring the girls when it was time for them to be here. Not when anyone else wanted them here, but when He wanted them here.

Dr. P. said, "Okay, guys, here we go!"

And it was the most beautiful cry I'd ever heard. It was loud and strong. They showed me Baby A and I knew she was my Kylene. Tears just streamed down my face and I was smiling so hard at the same time. Dr. P. said she had some meconium in her sac, but it wasn't in her at all. I immediately thought of what Kathy had told me. She was there right on time just like Kathy had prayed.

Kylene Iris born at 9:27 am weighing 6 lbs. 13 oz and 20 inches long. 

Then Dr. P. said, "Okay now Baby B, you gotta come down here. We're ready to see you." True to form, my little Eleanor was feisty to the end of her time in the womb. She came out screaming as well, but it was much louder. The room sounded like the busiest street in Manhattan; the place was rocking.

Eleanor Kay born at 9:28 am, weighing 6lbs and 19 3/4 inches long

I kept asking if they were okay and everyone said yes over their cries.

It was loud and chaotic and wonderful.

I asked again and the lead on the NICU said, "They are wonderful and there isn't even a need for us to be here." 

They were busy cleaning up the girls to bring to me. (Yay for baby friendly hospitals and skin to skin during c-sections!) Unfortunately, that's when things went a little crazy. I could suddenly feel things. They gave me meds, but I still felt things. It hurt so bad and I just kept saying out loud, "I hurt," while inside, I prayed, "Lord help me." I could feel myself trying to have a panic attack because I was so frightened. They gave the girls to Brandon while they tried to get my pain managed.
If you look closely, you can see tears rolling down his face.
He told me that he couldn't believe it was for real and that they were okay until this moment. 

Finally, I went into running mode. When I run, sometimes, a run is hard. So I tell myself, you've done this many miles. You only have this much to go. A mental check list if you will. So I told the CRNA, tell me what I have left to do. Talk me through it like we're finishing a race/to-do list.

It helped, but it still hurt.

Thankfully, they placed the best distraction of my life on my chest at that moment, my girls. They were still crying, but they also seemed to relax when they heard me talk. They were so warm and bright pink. They were as healthy as could be. 

Me and my girls. 

Finally, they got me closed up and we took our first photo as a family of four.

They wrapped up the girls while they moved me to a different bed. I saw the placenta before they moved me. I know that might sound weird, but we had to monitor for TTS the entire pregnancy and I wanted to see the magnificent life source that God built to sustain my girls until it was time to come to us. It was massive. I actually told it, goodbye. The nurses laughed at me. What can I say, I like to keep things funny and yet inappropriate at times.

Once placed in my new bed, they handed me my girls. All three of us were snuggled in tight and we were out of there. I still hadn't seen their faces straight on, but I didn't care. I could hear them breathe and move and they cried and were calmed when I talked to them. They needed me and I was happy to be their momma.

We made it back to the recovery area and I spent some time just telling them how much I loved them. The nurses continued to check on me. We got warm blankets, more questions and the pushing of my tummy. It hurt so bad. It's one of the worst parts in my opinion.

And yes, I still was answering questions about my first pregnancy. Finally, one of the nurses said to me, "I'm so sorry you have to answer these questions like this. What was her name?" I told her Lily. From then on, they referred to my first pregnancy not as a pregnancy, but my child. Bed side manner counts nurses and doctors. It counts. To be validated not only as Kylene and Eleanor's momma, but Lily's momma on that day was something that I will have with me for the rest of my life and it was because one brunette nurse stopped and took less than 30 seconds to ask me her name.

To my utter surprise, I suddenly heard the nurses talking about going to get Brandon. The CRNA brought him back and said, "I am so happy for you guys. Your story makes today even more special." I was doing skin to skin at that point. The brunette nurse told him that he could do it as well. So he did. The nurses thought it was awesome that Brandon was so hands on, no questions asked. He was in it as a daddy.

It was then that we officially nailed down who was who. We'd known names, but we wanted to see the girls first before we decided.

Baby A was Kylene Iris - Brandon's middle name is Kyle. I wanted to name a child after him because just about everyone in my family is named after someone. He loves that everyone is connected to someone, but still their own person. I do too. But this became a more pressing desire for me after Lily was born because he was one of the first peple that God used after Lily was born to show God's perfect love never gives up (see 1 Corinthians 13:8). Brandon's paternal grannie's name is Lorene. She's one of the sweetest ladies. Some of Brandon's fondest memories growing up include times at his PawPaw and Grannie's. So to keep her name feminine and very lady-like just like his Grannie, we added the second syllable from her name.

Iris is the Greek word. These girls are ​our double rainbow after the storm. ​When Kylene and Eleanor ask us about their names, I always want to tell them that God was faithful even when times were hard and He never forgot about us and on the day we found out God was blessing us again, He sent us a double rainbow that day. ​

Since you know we love nicknames - her possibilities are Kyleigh​/Kyle/Kit (her initials)​.

Baby B was Eleanor Kay - My paternal great mammaw was Nora Ella. She had a stillborn baby and the doctors told her that she shouldn't have any more. She ​didn't agree and told them as such but in 1920s words. She had one more​ baby​ and that was my pappaw. Without him, ​I​ wouldn't exist. I want my girls to be brave and my great mammaw is a good example of how you can come back from a bad situation and do it well. But we chose Eleanor because ​Disney's live action of Cinderella this year​ came out around the time we were discussing when we should have kids again and had a conversation as we were walking into the theater to see the film. ​At the beginning is a ​short film for Frozen and Anna had on a sunflower dress and there were sunflowers everywhere​ because it was her birthday and they are her favorite flower​. Then ​Cinderella ​began​ and butterflies were present. Butterflies were a big deal to ​B​randon like sunflowers were to me​ after we found out Lily's diagnosis and her subsequent death​. We both liked Ella and kind of knew that if we had a girl, she'd be an Ella​ in some form​. ​Lily James also happened to play Ella in the movie and when I pointed that out to Brandon​, it was almost too perfect for us.

 Kay is my middle name. It's also my mom's.​ So it's another family name. Plus both of us have K middle names and we wanted our girls to have a K aspect in their name as well.​ ​Kay means fire. I love that. I want our girls to burn bright in all they do. ​

Possible nicknames are Ella and Ellie. I also love the name Scout for her. (Think To Kill a Mockingbird.)

Lily, Kylene, and Eleanor's momma and daddy. 
We were eventually wheeled into our room. Soon after, our families came in and we introduced our girls to them. The girls had many visitors their first day on Earth and throughout their hospital stay.

It was the best day ever. The next day we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. We had hospital food and baby snuggles, the perfect anniversary dinner.

We took our girls home the 23rd, ahead of schedule because they were the healthiest in the nursery and celebrated Christmas and New Years shortly after.

My favorite Christmas presents ever. (Kylene in red. Eleanor in white.)

Life since then has been loud, wonderful, sleep-deprived, and just the best.

I now know what a loud delivery room sounds like. Doubly so, and my cup, it runneth over. 

Happy Friday friends!!

(Sorry this took so long. I've been busy with two very beautiful little girls.) 

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Hi y'all! The name's Samantha. You can call me Sam if you like. I am a lover to a boy I met at Falls Creek in the summer of 2005, that is a student of Jesus, a Sooner born and Sooner bred and when I die I'll be Sooner dead, Democrat by party, blonde to the core, and oldies but goodies kind of girl.
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