Monday, November 25, 2013

A Twin Delivery - Caris and Kinley

So at last I left you, I was getting wheeled back to the OR to have the babies :)

My evil plan to start labor is here. And then part II (laboring at the hospital) can be seen here.

The nurses wheeled me back to the OR and I was SHOCKED how many people were in that room. I think it was about 11 or 12.

- Me
- Troy
- Dr. Adashek
- MY labor and delivery nurse
- An ultrasound technician to check and see the position of the babies during the delivery. There was a possibility that Caris (baby B) could flip either breech or head down because she was transverse and the position she went in after Kinley was born would decide the next step of the delivery
- The anesthesiologist
- The NICU neonatologist
- 2 nurses per baby (total of 4 people)

Since I had the epidural, they used a transfer board to get me on the table in the room. Once I was settled and covered up with a blanket (it was freeezing in there) they let Troy come in and stand by my head.

I couldn't believe how CALM that room was. It struck me because Avery's deliver was such a nightmare of craziness. Everyone was making small talk and taking their time getting everything prepped. Dr. Adashek came in and put his ipod in the Transformers music this time, haha. The anesthesiologist did a quick check to make sure I couldn't feel anything in the event that Dr. Adashek had to do an emergency c-section. Yep....nothing.

I couldn't believe how many people tried to talk me out of a vaginal delivery. They kept explaining to me everything that could go wrong. And asking me "are you sure you want to do this?" and "we could just take them right out and there wouldn't be a risk of a vaginal delivery and a c-section," but I stuck to my guns and was like "NO WAY. We are doing this and it's going to be fine." In the back of my mind, I was TERRIFIED of having a c-section but I figured if, in my mind, a c-section wasn't going to happen and I just kept positive in my mind, there was NO way that I couldn't do it.

Once Dr. Adashek was all prepped and ready, 2 nurses held my legs while Troy stood up by my head. He asked me if I could feel ANYTHING when I had a contraction. Nope. NOTHING. No pressure, no pain, nothing.

He told me that the nurses would watch my monitors and tell me when to push. I pushed maybe 2 times before Dr. Adashek told me that he would need to use the vacuum on Kinley, which I really, really did not want. The way she was positioned, she wasn't straight down. Her body was nestled inside my left hip, at an angle with her butt coming up towards the ribs on my left side. Whenever I pushed, her head was going down at an angle towards my right side. Troy said that the vacuum was more like a hand pump and not as scary as what you would picture when someone says "vacuum." He said that Dr. Adashek placed it on her head and "pumped it up a few times" to make a seal with the crown of her head and when I pushed again, the vacuum helped her come out straight down, rather than towards my right side. So it was more like a directional guide than a vacuum. Which made me happy to hear afterwards.

Dr. Adashek lifted Kinley up and showed her to us right when she came out screaming at 2:11pm. I couldn't believe how much hair she had. I looked right at Troy and said "SHE LOOKS JUST LIKE AVERY!!" I'm not sure he heard me. He started crying immediately. I love that man. He really is so much more emotional than I am. I don't think I registered emotion yet because I still had a baby to push out.

The ultrasound tech had the wand on my belly almost immediately to determine the position of Caris. Luckily, she had flipped head down after Kinley was born...YAY! To keep her head down, the tech put her hand on my stomach and pushed her into my right hip so she didn't try and flip breech and run my vaginal delivery plans.

Dr. Adashek told me that my cervix closed ALLLLLL the way up after Kinley came out. Uh oh. So my doctor grabbed the forceps and used them to open my cervix back up and put his right arm INSIDE ME to more than halfway up his forearm. Thank God for epidurals. I cannot IMAGINE how that would have felt without drugs. He had to grab Caris's head and pull her down so that I could push her out.

I just remember laying there and looking at Dr. Adashek. Kinley was screaming her head off, but it still seemed SO calm and quiet in there to me and all I could do was look at him. He was concentrating SO hard. He was (literally) elbow deep in my body with his eyes closed, feeling around for her head for about 3-4 minutes. I felt like we were the only people in the room, he was so close to me. His head was almost right over my stomach. He had his left hand on my stomach to help move her from the outside and use as a reference while his right hand pulled her down. At some point during this, the neonatologist called out Kinley's weight at 5lbs 4oz. She was 19 inches long.

He got Caris in position and told me to push again. Her head came out and he immediately told me to stop. I didn't know why at the time, but the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and he cut it off while her body was still inside me to make sure that nothing got too tight when I pushed her out. He lifted up Caris and showed her to us and handed her off to the neonatologist at 2:19pm.

And then I started freaking out. She didn't cry. And she didn't cry. And it was an eternity. I kept asked Dr. Adashek what was wrong with her and he kept saying "nothing, she's fine." I think that must've happened 5 times. She finally started crying and they told Troy he could go over with them. He basically ran.

The nurse and ultrasound tech immediately starting massaging my belly to help it start going down and get both placentas out. Hard. I could not believe how hard they were pushing on my stomach. Again, I'm glad I had the epidural, because that was like a dang deep tissue massage on my belly. Dr. Adashek told me I had a small tear and he started stitching me up. Caris's weight was called at 4lbs 14oz and she was 17 3/4 inches long.

While I was laying there, listening to my babies cry, Troy finally walked over holding Caris, all wrapped up so that I could see she was okay. He laid her on my chest and neck for a few minutes while I got stitched up. She was SO SMALL! I couldn't believe I had done it. I had both of my babies out and safe and sound. And I had a vaginal delivery. I was pretty proud. The neonatologist called for Troy and the NICU team entourage took my babies out in incubators to go get checked out in the NICU.

Not gonna lie, it really, really sucked laying there by myself in the OR as all the people dwindled down to just me, Dr. Adashek, and my labor and delivery nurse. I felt SO alone and my body started to totally freak out. I was violently shaking. Huge tremors. Voice shaking. Teeth chattering. Uncontrollable.

The labor and delivery nurse told me that it was "not an uncommon side effect" after delivery. She said it was a response to the combination of a sudden decrease in hormones, loss of the placenta, and the epidural wearing off after birth. And mine was amplified with 2 babies. I didn't feel cold, just completely overwhelmed.

The intense, constant shaking lasted about 3 hours. Troy was gone in the NICU for about an hour and came back in to check on me in recovery. He showed me a bunch of pictures he had taken during the delivery and in the NICU and then headed back down to the NICU to be with the girls. I was snuggled up in the blankets trying to calm down because the nurse said the more I tried to fight the shaking, the worse it would be and the longer it would last. I remember being super disoriented because the recovery room had no windows. And I'd been awake since about 6am the day before (up for almost 36 consecutive hours) so my body was exhausted but with no windows, I had no concept of time. I just wanted to sleep, but my body wouldn't stop shaking.

The nurse brought me in a tray because I kept saying that I was starving during the delivery and to "get these babies out so I can eat." The food was pretty good. Except I was having a seriously hard time feeding myself with all the shaking. I remember talking to Troy's dad and my teeth were chattering so hard, it was difficult to have a conversation.

I stayed in the dark watching re-runs of Friends on TBS, trying to eat, and wishing that I was with my family. The nurse came in and finally helped me out of bed to go to the bathroom. Once I was up, it was on. I'm pretty sure the nurse hated me. I was like, "YOU GET ME A WHEELCHAIR. RIGHT NOW!" Troy showed up in the middle of this and followed the nurse to bring back the wheelchair for me.

He wheeled me down to the NICU and I was pretty heart broken when I saw the nurses had them both propped up in the incubators, feeding them formula. I seriously started crying. I am a hardcore breastfeeder and Avery NEVER had formula and I nursed her for 14 months, when she decided she was done. Watching them hooked up to monitors and drinking formula from the nurses just made me so sad. They were so little I was afraid to ask to hold them. I felt like there was nothing I could do to take care of them.

This is Kinley. Her head was settled into the pelvic bowl THE WHOLE PREGNANCY. Her face was crazy crooked when she was born. The left side of her jaw was stretched and pushed to the right. All the muscle cords in her neck were really tight. We've been working on getting her to turn her head to look over her left shoulder and massaging her neck and jaw muscles to help straighten her out.

And this is Caris:

The neonatologist came over and talked to us immediately and said that Kinley was doing great and would be released to come to our room on the mommy baby floor in a few hours. Caris was still needing some support and needed to stay in the NICU at least for the night.

They moved our room from recovery to the mommy baby room and put us in a room that was right across from the door to the NICU. Kinley came over around 8pm that night and I immediately tried to nurse. I started bawling when she latched right on and started nursing. I was SO happy.

Avery came and visited the next day and held Kinley and went and visited Caris in the NICU.

I gotta tell you. Recovery after this birth was a DREAM compared to after Avery. I didn't think my recovery after Avery was bad or super painful, but this was nothing compared to that. Maybe it was easier because I had done it before and knew what to expect. Maybe it was because they were smaller. Maybe it was because I had 2 kids in the NICU (they both ended up back over there) for a few days after I was discharged and had no choice but to drive and be dressed and be back and forth from home and hospital for a week. I dunno. But holy cow, it was so much better.

They are amazing little babies. They are so good. And Avery is doing so well with them and being gentle. She has only picked Kinley up one time without adult supervision and she even supported her head! We feel so blessed.

We could not have made it this far without the help of a lot of people while I was on bedrest:

- Our church small group for meals and babysitting
- Our military family for meals and babysitting
- My Mom
- My Stepmom
- Troy's Aunt Kathy
- Troy's Mom
- Kristen
- Taylor

And all the prayers from everyone. You guys are awesome. This was a seriously HORRIBLE and WONDERFUL year at the same time. We went through so much to get these babies here and home. I cannot believe that almost our whole year was consumed by getting pregnant and trying to keep these babies safe.

Today is their due date and they are almost 5 weeks old. We are so blessed to have so much support from my mom, who has been here since the day they were born. She is making sure I get a 5 hour stretch of sleep at night and encouraging me to nurse. She's making sure I eat and that my house is clean. And doing laundry. Oh. My. Lord. The laundry is crazy.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We have so much to be thankful for this year.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Real Labor? False Labor?

You can read part I here, where Troy left me in the shower to go to work at 1030pm.

I climbed in bed around 11 and attempted to get comfy. I guess I fell asleep. I woke up around 1230 and was having contractions. Normally, I'd ignore them and take my medication to stop contractions, but the day before, my doctor had taken me off those meds and taken out my cerclage. So I knew that any contractions could actually result in babies coming out.

I laid there for a few minutes and drank some water and positioned myself on my left to try and see if they would slow down. I had just downloaded the new Dan Brown book on my kindle and was having a hard time concentrating on the suspenseful nail biting book, so I knew that I should maybe pay closer attention to timing my contractions.

I grabbed my phone off the nightstand and went to the app store and typed "contraction tracker" into the search bar. I downloaded an app called "Full Term." You hit start when you feel a contraction begin and stop when it backs off and it tracks how long your contractions are, how far apart they are and gives stats and average times for everything so that when you call your doctor, you have actual data to give them. And I'm all about data.

Here's a screen shot of my data:

I tracked my contractions for about an hour and then looked at all my averages. I was having contractions about every 2 and a half minutes and they were lasting about 38 seconds. Eek. That's active labor.

For some reason, I really really didn't want to call my doctor. I was feeling guilty about calling him in the middle of the night. And I knew he would tell me to go get checked out at the hospital. And then I'd have to call Troy. And I really didn't want to do that in case we went to the hospital and they sent me home for false labor. And then his duty officer would be like, "your wife cried wolf" and then if I called again they'd be like, "oh great, she thinks she's in labor again." Just all the way around, I was afraid to call in case I wasn't actually in labor.

I mean, the contractions hurt, but I was still talking and breathing through them. It wasn't too bad. At all.

But considering the data my phone collected, I decided to call Dr. Adashek. At 130am. Ugh, I can barely type that.

So, I call and he doesn't pick up and I start leaving a message. Mid message, he is calling me back.

Dr: Hey Natalie, what's going on? (voice all growly, I can tell I woke him up)

I give him all my stats and ask him what he thinks because I really didn't want to call the office at Troy's squadron and have them send him home if I wasn't really in labor. It would be over an hour before he would be home and then we had to drop Avery at our friend's house and then go to the hospital, so we were looking at about 2 hours before we could even check in. I really didn't want the hassle if he didn't think I was in labor.

Dr: Natalie. You need to go in. Get checked in and they'll monitor you and call me with an update.

Me: Really? You think I should?

Dr: Go. They'll call and give me an update. This is your second delivery and you went CRAZY fast with your first. A lot can change in 2 hours. I don't want this to turn into a home birth because you didn't want to inconvenience your husband or your friend watching Avery. Good night.

Me: Okay, bye.

So then I called the squadron emergency number. My husband has a job where I don't talk to him during his whole shift. No phones allowed. There is a number we can call if we absolutely have to get them a message. Troy gave me a list of possible examples where calling this number is appropriate.

1. I am in labor
2. I am dying
3. Avery is dying

That's pretty much it.

So I was nervous about calling because technically, I thought I was calling under reason number 1, but it could have been a false alarm.

The duty officer picked up and I explained that I thought I was in labor and had already called my doctor, who directed me to go to the hospital. The DO said that he would go get Troy out of the seat and send him home for me as soon as possible.

Troy called me 10 minutes later. He had borrowed a car from a guy who lives in our neighborhood, you know, since he had taken the van pool to work that day and didn't have a car to get home. And his shift had JUST started so the earliest a van would be leaving to come back to the lot would be 6am. Thank goodness he could borrow a car :)

I woke Avery up and packed a bag for her. Avery was SO confused. I plopped her in our bed with her blanket and Bear Bear and a drink. I didn't want to slow my labor so I was pacing from our room to her room while she snuggled in our bed and kept asking me, "mommy, what doing, mommy what doing?" Well, I'm trying to make sure that this isn't a false alarm, so mommy is pacing.

Troy got home and packed a bag in about 2 minutes and loaded us all into the car. He had already called Nicole (a friend from church who was watching Avery for us) while he drove home and we headed over to her house. Nicole had set up the pack n play we gave her (in the event that I went into labor in the middle of the night) in her living room. Troy said "night night" and told Nicole that we would call or text with an update when he had one. Troy dropped me off at the emergency room entrance of the hospital and I started to walk in while he parked the car.

I stopped at the admissions desk and asked for directions to the elevator for labor and delivery. One of the dudes immediately insisted that I sit in a wheelchair and get pushed up. I refused. He insisted again. And I refused. Troy ran in to meet me then and the wheelchair dude informed me that 2 people had given birth in the elevator this year and requested again that I sit in a wheelchair. I said no.

We headed up to L&D with me standing in the elevator. I'm stubborn. They got us all checked in and in a triage type room with 4 beds basically shoved in a walk in closet. Troy and I were the only ones there. They got me all hooked up to the monitors and checked me. I was at 4cm. The nurse called and gave Dr. Adashek an update and he told them to let me labor for a couple hours, see if my contractions established a pattern and then check me again. I still hadn't called anyone. The only people who knew that I "could" be in labor were Nicole and all of Troy's co-workers. There was no way we were going to tell our parents unless it was the real thing.

So I labored from about 4am to 6am in the tiny triage closet. My contractions settled into a pattern, they checked me again and I had dilated to 6cm. I was so happy that I was progressing. I think I TOTALLY could have gone natural if my doctor would have let me. I was admitted to L&D officially (THANK GOD) so I could stop feeling guilty about waking up my doctor and pulling Troy out of work.

My official orders from the doctor were to be given an epidural and start pitocin AFTER the epidural to help speed things along. Which I was ok with because the epidural would have already kicked in so that I wouldn't feel that devil medicine doing it's work.

The anesthesiologist arrived and gave me the epidural. BUT it only worked on the left half of my body. He had me lay on my right to try and distribute the meds to my right side for about 30 minutes but that didn't work. He tested it by using a cold alcohol swab on my hip, stomach, and foot. Sure enough, I could feel it. So he had to redo my epidural. Have I mentioned how much I HATE HATE HATE needles? LOATHE. I really hate them. So he restuck me and it worked that time. Such a weird sensation. But not nearly as horrible as the spinal for the cerclage.

Dr Adashek arrived to see me around 1030. He broke my water. He asked me again if I wanted a c-section.

NO WAY DUDE. Medical emergency only. I will not opt for a c-section.

He sat down with us and told us how happy he was that I made it this far. That I had done so well and it was a miracle to make it to 35+ weeks considering everything we had been through. That made me smile. So then he went over all the possible things that could happen during the delivery in more detail than we had in his office. The big unknown was what Caris would do after Kinley was delivered. She was laying transverse and we didn't know if she would flip breech or head down. So we talked through every possible scenario and then he went back to his office and let me continue to labor pain free (epidurals are amazing...I didn't have one with Avery so this was craaaaaazy different).

My Dr. insisted that I have an epidural, even after I told him I didn't want one. But because of all the unknown variables that could occur during the delivery, he really insisted that I get one for the following reasons:

1. I need a c-section and then they have to actually put me under anesthesia and I'm asleep during the whole birth, which I really didn't want.

2. He has to reach into my uterus to turn the baby and is elbow deep inside me and the pain would be too horrible to tolerate.

So I agreed to the epidural. Best decision ever because I ended up dilating from 6 to 10 in about an hour AND variable 2 actually happened.

After he left, I finally got a little nap and then the nurse came back in to check me. FULLY dilated. And I couldn't feel a thing. She called Dr. Adashek and gave Troy all his delivery gear. I had to deliver in the operating room just in case something unexpected happened and I needed a c-section (I swear they were trying to scare me to death with all the c-section threats) so Troy had to wear all the contact precaution gown stuff just in case.

The told me Dr. Adashek would be there in a few minutes and wheeled me down to the OR around 130pm.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Costco = Labor

If you read my last post, from monday, October 21, I had JUST had my cerclage removed. You know, that stitch to keep the babies in?

Well, I saw the removal of the stitch as official "permission" from my doctor to have the babies. Especially since I wasn't on bedrest anymore. Muahahahaha.

When we got up on tuesday morning, I decided that we needed to go to Costco to shop and have lunch. Being on bed rest, I had not been to Costco since mid July and I was having serious withdrawal. Every time Troy and Avery went in those 3 months, I would sit home and dream about the very berry frozen yogurt, free samples, book aisle, holiday get the picture. I would sit home and pout.

So, we loaded in the car and drove to Costco while I sat in the passenger seat, evilly tapping my fingers together, getting ready to execute my plan.

Which Troy TOTALLY called me out on when we pulled into the parking lot.

Troy: Did you make a shopping list?

Natalie: Um...nope.

Troy: Did you even open the refrigerator or the pantry to see if we needed anything?

Natalie: Um...nope.

Troy: Do you want me to drop you at the door and you can get settled in a motorized scooter?

Natalie: Um...nope.

Troy: I know what you're doing.

Natalie: (avoiding eye contact) I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just excited about getting cheap fro-yo.

Troy: Did you bring a change of clothes or a towel in case your water breaks in Costco?

Natalie: Um...nope.

Troy: Alrighty then.

So we walked in and got lunch first. I got pizza and a very berry frozen yogurt. SO GOOD. And not healthy at all. But I was on a mission, and this could be my last meal. It had to be good.

Normally, we have a list and are in and out in about an hour. We don't really shop. It's easy to get in trouble in there, buying things that I am convinced we need. Normally, I go in with blinders on to EVERYTHING in the store and just zero in on the items on our shopping list for the sake of our bank account. I just love Costco. People who try and say that Sam's Club and Costco are the same thing are liars. LIARS I TELL YOU! It's just like comparing Target to Walmart. Costco is just better.

Well, this day was different. Not having a list, I totally walked up and down every aisle, browsing and touching everything, taking my time and making sure was enjoying myself. Looking at baby clothes, books and movies, all the small kitchen appliances, and beauty products. Things I NEVER allow myself to look at because then I buy stuff. The good news is, Troy didn't even say A WORD. He just let me browse and window shop and didn't try to hurry me.

Much to his shock and dismay, I even loaded some stuff onto the conveyer belt when we were checking out.

Troy: Seriously Natalie. I know what you're doing.

Natalie: Do I look like I care?

And then I grabbed some cash out of his wallet and got some chocolate fro-yo for the ride home while he loaded up the car and Avery in her car seat. Double fro-yo in one day? YES PLEASE! When I climbed in the car with my second serving, he just pinched his lips together and squinted his eyes at me, like, "really Natalie, is that necessary?" UM YES! Each baby needed one serving!

We went home and unloaded the car and put Avery down for a nap. And Troy went to bed. With him being on the midnight shift, he sleeps from 2pm to 10pm and then leaves for work. He stays up when he gets home around 9am so he can spend Avery's awake morning time with us before her nap.

I hung out downstairs and watched Ellen and stood up for a couple hours in the kitchen, cutting up all the fruit we had bought at Costco and putting everything in tupperware for breakfasts and snacks.

I got Avery up from her nap, we played Mr. Potato Head on the floor, and made macaroni and cheese for dinner. I gave her a bath and put her to bed.

I watched Project Runway on our DVR and headed upstairs at 10 to wake up Troy. He was already in the shower when I got up there. I got in the shower when he got out to started shaving his face. I was sitting on my shower chair feeling HUGELY pregnant. Seriously, my stomach covered more than half of my thighs. I had NO lap. It was not conducive to Avery snuggles. Or shaving. Or putting on shoes.

Troy opened the shower door and stared at me while I tried to wash my legs.

Troy: So I'm going to take the carpool to work tonight.

Natalie: Mkay.

Troy: Are you feeling any contractions....or anything to suggest you might go into labor tonight?

Natalie: Nope. Nothing.

Troy: Ok, because if you go into labor, I won't have a car to get home.

Natalie: I'm good. Seriously. Nothing is happening. I'll try again tomorrow.

Famous last words...I went into labor 2 hours later.

A Fairy Princess

SOOOOOOO sorry about that. I've been absent for about 3 weeks now. Radio silence. You all must know what that means...the babies are here!! I will be posting about that very very soon. As in, maybe tonight after Avery goes to bed and I can start writing. But in the meantime, I need to do a Halloween post, before it gets too far away.

Last year, Troy and Avery had coordinating outfits as Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat. You can read all about that here.

I looked back at that post and seriously, my heart was breaking. She is SO big and grown up now. And talking constantly, trying my patience. Thank you Jesus for making her cute because seriously, if she says "mommy" one more time I might kill her. This is my life right now:


For Christmas last year, her Aunt Taylor bought Avery a dress up box, but she wasn't really interested in it until about 2 months ago. Like, she lives in her Rapunzel dress. For us, it was a natural choice to let her pick things out of her dress up box to wear for Halloween. Oh yeah, and I was hugely pregnant and not really feeling like DIYing something cute or creative either. Pinterest mom of the year right here! And Caris came home from the hospital on oxygen 2 hours before Avery left to go trick or treating with Troy. We were ALLLLL about easy this year.

So Avery decided to wear her Rapunzel dress and fairy wings with her sparkly TOMs and be a fairy princess. And Troy wore his Uncle Si costume. He's getting good use out of that thing, huh? He said that more people were commenting on his costume while trick or treating and he felt a little guilty about stealing the spotlight from Her Royal Cuteness.

Here are the trick or treaters before they left. Avery was very excited because she got to wear makeup for the very first time! Grandma did a GREAT job with the eye shadow and blush :)

Here's a family photo (excuse the puffiness...I don't even look like myself...)

Here's a side view of Princess Avery's wings:

And here's one of Avery and me. Gosh, I love this girl. Even if she drives me nuts. Like I said...thank God she's cute.