Written on the blog December 10, 2009 (8 days after delivery):
(sadly, this is like the only photo I have of my entire pregnancy! 23 weeks, a few days before being admitted.)
It began in the morning last Wednesday December 02, 2009. I had been in the hospital for three weeks and a two days. During those three weeks, I had been given NST’s twice daily for an hour each, and my babies heart tones were being checked every few hours.
For the duration of my hospital stay, Garrett and I prayed so diligently that if something were to happen, that it would happen while I was actually on a monitor. God is incredible. I know He listens to each of us, and answers always.
So…I went down for my NST Wednesday morning, and within 20 min, we started seeing “decels” in Blue’s monitoring. This had happened numerous times during my stay there, and even a few times, they had sent me down to the “Labor and Delivery” floor, where I was monitored continuously for 12 to 24 hours and not sent back upstairs until they were sure everything was fine.
But this time it was different. Her little heart went from 180 to 30 beats per minute. As a mom, there is nothing I can describe like sitting in a room and watching a graph on a computer screen dip, and then being able to hear your little girl’s heart beat slow from the sound of a humming bird, to a slow steady drum. It stayed down for about three min.
With each second feeding your heart and mind with not only death, but the realization of brain damage and disabilities increasing with each moment she’s lacking oxygen.
They immediately stuck me in a wheel chair and had me on more monitors in “labor and delivery” within five min. Over the next two and a half hours…. I think every nurse, doctor, and resident was watching my monitoring ready to jump at a moment’s notice. What an amazing team of people we had working with us! Blue’s heart rate dipped again repeatedly another eight or nine times in the next three hours. It was always this gamble of knowing which was the riskier choice, delivering them so prematurely, or subjecting them to oxygen loss and risk of death by staying in the womb. That was our greatest prayer…that the doctors would be inspired as to when. When exactly the moment was that my body became more a danger to these girls than not. Emotionally, when your only job in the whole world is to GROW these tiny, perfect, HUMAN BEINGS inside of you… although it is unfounded….feelings of guilt and shame for not being able to provide what they need are ever present.
Eventually my doctor came in and said, “This is why you’re here. This is what we’ve been watching you so closely for. At this point, I wouldn’t feel safe ever taking you off a monitor. And if we choose to not deliver you now we are risking her heart dropping and never coming back up. How soon can your husband get here?”
He had found the when.
Of course, I immediately started sobbing, not daring to believe that we only made it to 27 weeks, and also sobbing because we had made it all the way to 27 weeks!
The next hour or so..or day or so…were quite a blur. I do know that within 30 min Garrett walked into the Operating Room dressed in a marshmallow suit just in time for me to get my epidural. I felt very relieved when he walked in, and also much more nervous, because the reality of what was about to happen hit me.
Besides the fact that I hated being awake, hated not knowing what was going on, hated not hearing my babies cry or knowing if they were alive… The surgery went well. Garrett got to stand up and peek over the surgical curtain and see our girls. Their umbilical cords were not knotted, however they were twisted tightly all the way up like a garbage sack tie. Remmington’s cord was about the size of a garden hose, while Blue’s was only as thick as a piece of penne pasta. This confirmed our suspicion that there might have been Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, meaning one baby is getting too much blood, while the other one isn’t getting enough.
He looked back at me with the type of smile you would only see on a brand new dad’s face and said with so much faith and sincerity, “They’re beautiful.” And then made some joke about one of them having a mustache like Tom Selleck.
We welcomed our two baby girls into the world at 1:28 and 1:30 pm.
Blue weighed 1 pound and 12 ounces, while our whopper Remmington weighed 2 pounds and 4 ounces. And measured at 12 and 13 inches.
There was a team of doctors ready for each one of my precious daughters. Literally dozens of people ready and waiting to take my TINY girls into their arms and GIVE THEM LIFE. I am in awe as I type this. What God has made possible on this Earth is beyond any greatness man could ever achieve on their own.
Blue was not breathing and we were told later it took three full minutes of CPR to resuscitate her. Both were immediately intubated, given PICC lines, and every other tangible need was taken care of.
Garrett got to go see them first and brought me some pics while I was waiting for my epidural to wear off. There is absolutely nothing in the world like getting to look at your baby after feeling them grow inside of you. (even if it is on a tiny camera screen.)
They are now only 8 days old and every day is filled with testing, IV’s lots and lots of medicine, hours in the NICU, watching nurses touch the babies in ways that Garrett and I would die to be able to do, lots of tears, scares, ups and downs. But I can honestly say that these past eight days have already been the happiest of my life. I understand God’s plan so much better now. I am so thankful for my little family.
I hope to find the time to update this blog often and let everyone know how they’re doing. Garrett and I are so grateful for everyone’s prayers, and service towards our family. Thank you all for caring so much about us. The girls are doing really good. I can’t say too much at this time, as the first few weeks are so vital. Everything changes by the hour. But they are both stable and moving in the right direction. I think they miss being together, but I know that day will soon come.
(I look at the quality of these pictures and just cringe. Luckily-we had a friend come take professional photos later in their journey- so at least we have some good ones!)
(These are the diapers they wore in the NICU. These are actually a size Medium though! The ones they’re wearing in those pictures are even smaller. Not sure if this helps understand how small they were…but it’s the best I could do!)
Added May 11, 2017:
In retrospect, I realize how naive I was. I did not yet know motherhood. And God protected me from not fully understanding that all encompassing love.
I had no idea what a newborn looked like. I didn’t know how big they were “supposed” to be. I didn’t know the feel of a brand new soul being placed on your chest after delivery. None of my siblings had kids yet. And Garrett had only one nephew at the time.
I knew nothing.
And I’m so grateful.
If this experience had come after I had other children, I do not know if my heart could handle the pain, the suffering, the little lives hanging by mere threads. My heart has experienced joys and daggers I could have only imagined in these last 7 years of being a mother. And I still have no idea what’s in store…how much more my girls will stretch me and fill me.
It has the capacity to change everything we never knew we always needed to become.
(stay tuned for more of their NICU journey..)