I was very bummed when my last website/blog disappeared on me because I had worked so hard and so long on it. I was most sad to lose all the blog posts I’d written, especially any blog post about my personal life. One of the first ones I mourned was my blog post including the birth story of my twins – Lukas + Eliza! Fortunately, Google came to the rescue and I was able to do some special search thing to find some of the content, and to my elation, one of the lost blog posts was this one! I quickly saved it, and here I am, sharing it again for all the world to see! 🙂 Through my searching, I discovered it on another blog I had started and failed to maintain. Oops! Either way, here it is for your reading pleasure! Lehigh Valley Family Photographer
— I wrote this on June 16, 2013 —
I want to write this post before I forget any little insignificant (but so very significant!) detail. My babies are here. I mean, they’ve always been here – just hiding in my womb. Now they are here – out & about for the world to see! I am overwhelmed with feelings…every single good feeling imaginable that I could be having right now. Never have I felt so blessed & in love (in a different way than I love my husband) & thrilled & thankful & excited & … you get the idea.
On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, I drove to the doctor’s office to have my weekly ultrasound. My appointments had increased to the point that I would have two per week – standard for twins at this stage of my pregnancy. I was 33 weeks and 5 days. This was my very first ultrasound + appointment without Tristin being present. We knew that I would be having them more frequently so we figured that it wasn’t worth it for him to take time off of work knowing that we wanted to save that time for when the babies arrived.
There had been no real complications up to this point. At every appointment the babies looked great, and the doctor noted that I was doing everything right that I could be doing. I did not mention my ice cream eating habit to him or the fact that I ate as many eggs in one sitting as your average body builder. Eggs are good. Ice cream and everything else I indulged in, probably not so much. This week’s appointment was a littttttle different.
Rewind two weeks ago to my last ultrasound… Our baby girl + baby boy both looked great. Our baby boy was smaller than his sister, but it wasn’t anything to be concerned about at that point. There was a 21% difference in their sizes which was not fantastic but not yet a concern. My doctor said that we would keep our eyes on the babies & see how they progressed over the next two weeks.
Fast forward to my appointment on Tuesday, June 11th… I had an ultrasound & the ultrasound tech wasn’t saying too much. After having had several ultrasounds over the past few months, I’ve learned how to decipher some of the hieroglyphics that appear on the screen, but mostly I just gather how big each baby is measuring. I noticed that our boy’s parts were all measuring between 27 and 31 weeks and our girl’s parts were all measuring between 34-36 weeks. I didn’t know how significant this discordance was. The tech was very quiet through the majority of the ultrasound, but I didn’t think anything of it because she’d been the quietest tech we’ve had up to this point.
After she finished checking the babies, she walked with me to the waiting room where I sat for a few minutes. I texted Tristin and said, “I wish you were here. Lukas is measuring so small. I haven’t talked to the dr yet so I don’t know weights or anything other than what I peeped on the screen but his head, belly and femur all ranged around 31 weeks. I’m almost 34. She ranged 34-36 weeks…”
I was called into the doctor’s office where I peed in a cup, had my blood pressure tested, and was weighed – all the normal things. I sat on the table waiting for my doctor to enter and mentally planning out the rest of my day. He came into the room and the first thing he said to me was, “So, you are going to have these babies today.”
He explained that at my last appointment there was a 21% difference between the babies, but at this point it had progressed to a 40% difference. This was too large a discordance between each baby, and they needed to come out for the safety of the smaller one – which is our boy. He instructed me to go right over to Labor & Delivery because they were already waiting for me. I asked if I could stop at home and get my bag so my husband could drive us to the hospital. He said that was fine, but I should really hurry over. I started to well up with tears, and my doctor reassured me that they both had a great chance of survival due to me being almost 34 weeks. It was strange leaving the doctor’s office without making another appointment.
I called my poor husband and scared him to death. I was sobbing at this point because my emotions were running full steam ahead, and I didn’t know what to think. I did an extremely horrible job of explaining what was going on to Tristin. All he got out of me was, “They are taking the babies now. Can you meet me at home so you can drive me to the hospital?” between sobs. I hung up with him and called a few more people…my mom and my best friends. After I finished speaking to my mom, I had calmed down some and my tears turned into laughter…albeit nervous laughter, but still laughter nonetheless…because that’s what I do.
I arrived at home, and thankfully Tristin and I had started packing a hospital bag the week before. My husband was so smart and had me write a separate list of things that we’d need to pack last minute, (phone charger, toothbrushes, pillows, etc.) so while my mind was in freak out mode I could still function and do useful things while I waited for Tristin to get home. (Just so everyone knows, we totally didn’t over pack and I’m super proud of that!) When Tristin got there he hugged me to calm me down, and I explained exactly what was going on.
We talked and laughed and breathed all the way to the hospital. There were so many emotions, but I remember a feeling of excitement and a feeling of panic being the two prominent ones. I arrived around 3:30ish, and met my nurse Katie. (Who was fantastic!) We got me checked in, and she asked me a bajillion questions while I laid on the bed waiting to get the ball rolling.
We found out that because I had eaten a stinkin’ Nature Valley granola bar right before my appointment that we had to wait for the C-section. You have to have not eaten for 6 hours because of the possible need for anesthesia, and I messed that up big time with that stupid cinnamon granola bar.
|Having a moment with my babies before they arrive|
The doctor that would be doing my C-section was Dr. Robertson. He came in to speak with me + Tristin, and his conversation made me feel approximately 1,000 times better. The first thing he said was, “Did you know that I have twins? They were born 6 weeks before your twins are being born, and they are both in college and doing great!” This was what I needed to hear. Exactly. He told me that he was so excited to deliver my twins and that he planned to make sure I had them before he finished his shift that day (8:00pm).
The granola bar almost set us back, but thankfully Dr. Robertson opted to continue with the surgery. I was about 5 hours food free by the time we were ready to get started, and seeing as it was just a granola bar, it had probably already worked it’s way through my system anyway.
|Tristin dressed for surgery|
The anesthesiologist, Dr. Vaughn, was also fantastic. He was so relaxed and made me & Tristin feel comfortable right away. He explained that I would either be getting an epidural or a spinal. This would numb me from the ribs down, and I should not feel anything during the surgery. He would stay right with me through the whole surgery. Dr. Robertson came in again and I had to sign paperwork saying that I was okay with getting a C-section and certain risks that were involved.
I was wheeled back to the operating room where I met a few other people that would be in the room during the surgery. I do not remember everyone’s name or everyone’s purpose, but I’m sure they were all wonderful. They tried to distract me while I was getting my epidural by talking to me about my hobbies. I hate talking about hobbies because it is always such an awkward forced conversation. Someday I should just say, “I like watching Netflix and sitting on my couch.” That is the largest truth I could possibly give, but it is an answer that really doesn’t open the conversation up for much. “Oh really, what are you watching on Netflix” would be the awkward forced response that I’d receive. I could start to list the TV shows and movies in my queue and explain that I have a hard time deleting TV shows from my queue because I want them to still be there when the next season gets put on Netflix. I don’t want to delete them and not remember the show exists, but I also hate having a cluttered queue. That would be a fun conversation for everyone, don’t you think? Instead I said I am a photographer, and I started talking about Tristin & hockey. His hobbies are easier to talk about than mine. This turned into a full blown hockey conversation, which I can proudly say I can totally keep up with. I’m becoming a fairly decent hockey wife. We talked about Pennsylvania and my dog and all sorts of things that they probably don’t actually care to know.
The conversation distraction didn’t work too well. I laughed when he put the epidural in which turned into another conversation in itself. He said, “Did you just laugh?” The nurse holding my shoulders to keep me still confirmed this. He told me that he’s never had anyone laugh while having an epidural put in, and I explained that I’m a strange bird like that. We talked about me being strange for a little while. I expressed that if at all possible, I’d like them to pull the boy out first because I wanted him to be older. They laughed at me in that “I’m laughing at you because you’re weird” kind of way, which I’m 100% okay with. If I’d had a birth plan, it would have said, “BOY FIRST. THANKS.” and that is all.
They moved me to a laying down position and strapped my arms down to the table. They prepped me for surgery which I’m thankful I couldn’t feel. Once they had my sheet up to block my view of my impending incision, they let Tristin come back in. It was a little noisy in there with all of the people, but I couldn’t see anyone except for Tristin.
|Strapped in & ready to roll|
There were 14 people in the room including me & Tristin but not including the babies inside of me. 🙂 The team consisted of 1 anesthesiologist, Dr. Roberston, another doctor (who didn’t introduce herself to me when I was getting my epidural which was a little weird..she also seemed like she was learning because Dr. Robertson kept telling her what to do), a lady named Esther who’s title I don’t remember (she helped with surgery), a NICU doctor, 2 nurses for each baby, my nurse Katie, another nurse that held my shoulders while I got my epidural, and 2 more people whose roles I don’t know because I couldn’t see them and I wasn’t introduced to them.
Once Tristin was beside me, the surgery started pretty quickly. I was surprised how fast the incisions were made I could feel my belly being shifted around but there was no pain at all and it just felt like I was being poked and prodded. I had to ask Tristin to scratch my arms a few times because the epidural was making me super itchy, and I couldn’t scratch because my arms were strapped down. Tristin asked the anesthesiologist when would be a good time to take pictures, and he was encouraged to watch the procedure because it was really interesting. I was surprised that he did. He asked what I wanted pictures of and I said everything. Because I couldn’t see anything, I wanted to at least be able to see it or have the option to see it in still form later. 🙂
I have to say, I’m really impressed with Tristin’s photography skills. I know that I taught him pretty much everything he knows, but the man knows how to frame a picture & to focus on the important stuff. That’s all you really need to know during an intense photo opportunity like this one was, and I’m so proud and thankful that he did such an amazing job. It seems trivial, but I would have analyzed the crap out of the photos if they were poorly done, and I genuinely would have paid for the pictures that he took.
While I was waiting for the babies to arrive, I tried to take in everything that was going on around me. I couldn’t see much except for Tristin and the big blue sheet hanging in front of me. I couldn’t touch anything because my arms were strapped down. The room was clean and cold, so there was nothing at all to smell. All I could do was listen, and listen I did. I listened to Tristin quietly ask the anesthesiologist questions about what was happening. I listened to the two doctors communicating to each other about each step that they were taking. I listened to the doctors ask for tools from the nurses and those tools clank on the sterile tray. I listened to the nurses comply to each request made by the doctors. I listened to the other medical personnel having conversations in the background as they waited to care for my babies. The most amazing thing I listened to in the next few moments were my babies proclaiming their arrival into the world. Two tiny but strong voices shouting above the dull buzz of the 14 other people in the operating room. It was as if all the other noises became muffled to my ears and I could just hear their little powerful cries. They sounded so similar to one another in that they had loud little baby screams, but they were still so different in tempo & pitch. There was such a consistent sound coming from each of them, but there was no pattern or rhyme to their little cries being sung at the very same time. It was still so beautiful. I started to cry and laugh at the same time just like I did when I walked down the aisle to marry Tristin. I looked at Tristin and he was doing the same thing.
Lukas Reginald Chambers arrived at 6:59 pm, weighing 3 pounds 2 ounces and was 16 inches long. Eliza Kathleen Chambers followed him by only a minute and arrived at 7:00 pm, weighing 5 pounds 4 ounces and was 19 inches long. Everyone was impressed by her size for being 33 weeks and 5 days. Tristin took pictures and showed me the back of the camera so that I could see them.
|Lukas Reginald Chambers|
|Eliza Kathleen Chambers|
We found out after the surgery that the reason there was such a discordance between their sizes was because their two separate placentas had fused together. Because of this fusion, Eliza was taking Lukas’ nutrients! I will save your eyes from burning by not posting the pictures of the placenta (you’re welcome), but we were able to see the vast difference between their two umbilical cords. Interesting stuff.
The babies were quickly weighed and wrapped in little blankets. They brought Eliza to me first and I was able to kiss her sweet little face. Her head was round and her eyes were puffy and closed. She was so warm and soft. They brought Lukas to me, and he was so much smaller. He had Tristin’s nose and his eyes were wide open. He stared straight into mine, and I gave him a kiss before they took him away with his sister. Tristin left with the babies while I was sewed up.
I went to the recovery room where I had to wait for an hour. The nurse that stayed with me during my recovery time was named Elizabeth. Tristin eventually came back to the room and showed me pictures of the babies getting situated in their little incubators. Lukas still had his eyes wide open and he was breathing independently. Eliza, on the other hand, forgot to breathe at one point and the nurses rushed to care for her. This is normal for premature babies at this point in their gestational age because babies are just practicing their breathing skills at this point in the womb.
Once my recovery hour was finished I was rolled in on my bed to see the babies! They took me to Lukas first and I held him on my chest for a few moments before I was taken to Eliza and did the same with her. It all went by so fast, so I don’t honestly know how long I was able to hold each baby. All I know is that it wasn’t long enough.
I was wheeled back to the Mother Baby Unit and found out that my room number was 21 – my favorite number!
Before Tuesday, I had this fear that I’d struggle with PPD if I wasn’t able to go through the process of labor. I was afraid that I’d feel like I didn’t “birth” them and that I’d be emotionally displaced from the experience because they didn’t arrive at a time chosen by their bodies + mine. Thankfully, I was wrong. They arrived at the time chosen by God. 🙂 I know that I can still experience PPD, but at this point, I feel 100% thankful for my experience + the way Lukas + Eliza’s birth story played out. My doctor saved Lukas’ life by “taking him” when he did, and I surely cannot be depressed about that.
So that is the story. My babies are here. I am ready for the ride of my life. 🙂