Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Twinkies Birth Story


  Travis and I were up at 4:00am ready to be at the hospital by 5:00am. I always like getting the first appointment of the day. It makes for an early morning but usually things run on time. We arrived at the hospital and the nurses got everything hooked up. IVs in, monitors on and then we waited. The nurses would come in and out thinking they were tracking the same baby on the heart rate monitor so they would move the monitors around trying to find 2 separate heartbeats. I didn't think much of it because the babies always had very close heart rates and they had been laying side by side for most of the pregnancy.

Sleepy, but ready to meet the babies


  The IPs arrived between 6:45am and 7:00am and I could feel the excitement grow. Finally, after 2 years with us plus their years of previous attempts, we were going to meet their children. I get rolled into the operating room where my doctor, Dr I and his assistant, Dr S start and then they have to wait a minute for both IPs and Travis to come into the room. Clovis Community has been so wonderful about letting 3 people into the operating room last time and this time.
  Dr I starts again, there is a lot more pressure this time trying to get both babies out. Then I hear the sweet sound of a baby crying and my eyes tear up. They say "it's a girl".  The next words out of Dr S's mouth changed our lives forever. "Baby boy....it's not good...I'm sorry." I could hear her praying and somewhere in there I heard "this is so odd, I don't know what happened...I've never seen this before". It was so surreal and I didn't really know what was going on. There wasn't a dry eye in the room and I can't even remember if anyone spoke. From what the doctor figured there was maybe a clot in the umbilical cord that cut off the supply to the baby. We just couldn't understand why just 1 week and 3 days earlier he was fine. The nurses took baby girl to the warmer and her mom got to cut the cord. They wrapped her up and brought her over so I could see her. She was perfect, 6 lbs 13 oz.
  After the doctors finished with me, Dr I walked around the curtain and said he was sorry. He also told me he had to stitch my uterus twice because it was pretty thin and that I shouldn't have any more babies. Oh good, let's add insult to injury. They rolled me into the recovery room (or wherever they take you after, I don't even know). The IPs went to talk to the staff and see their baby boy. I was able to nurse baby girl for a little while as the nurses did their routine checks. After having a baby the nurses have to come in and push down on your stomach to make sure the uterus is contracting and bleeding is not excessive. Let me be real, that hurts! After the first few times the nurse did it, I could see in her face something wasn't right. She had the charge nurse come in and they felt it was necessary to push on my stomach every 5 to 10 minutes. I wanted to punch them.

Getting to nurse baby girl

  They finally called Dr I back in after giving me all of the medication they could to help stop the bleeding. He thought there were probably just some leftover clots that if he removed them it would slow the bleeding down. He did that in my room and said he would be close by if that didn't work.  (I have no idea the time frame for all of this.) In the meantime, baby girl was being snuggled by my sister-in-law while the parents were trying to process everything else that was going on. Also, I received a call from my Annie, she had left work and was about to get on the freeway to come up to Fresno (she's 4-1/2 hours away). I tried to talk her out of coming but as I was on the phone with her my doctor walked back in and said he had to take me back into surgery to do a d&c and place a balloon to help stop the bleeding. I hear "I'm coming" and Annie hung up.
  Back into the operating room, Dr I and Dr S are again working together and tell me they will place the balloon and then watch to make sure that stops the bleeding. If it doesn't then they will have to take out my uterus. I wake back up in my room and honestly can't remember much. I think baby girl is in the nursery and my siblings may have come in to visit me. I do remember the nurse lifting my gown  and me saying "Um...that's my brother at the end of the bed.". I guess there is no modesty when having a baby.
  The nurses were then regularly checking to make sure the balloon was working and the bleeding was slowing down. It did work, for a little while. Then Dr S came back in and said she had to take me back in to surgery to remove my uterus. The bleeding just wasn't stopping. They told Travis it would be about 1 to 1-1/2 hour surgery. They took me back in again (sometime around 3pm) and this time I was out very quickly. I remember opening my eyes and seeing my brothers and hearing Annie say she was my sister. I wanted to say something to them but I couldn't and then I fell back to sleep. The next time I woke up was the middle of the night, I was in a panic thinking I was choking and couldn't breathe. No one was in the room and I tried to call out to someone but I couldn't talk or move my hands. They were strapped down. The nurse came in and yelled at me to calm down. How could I calm down when I had no idea what was going on? She told me I had a breathing tube and my hands were tied to make sure I didn't pull it out. I finally calmed down and fell back to sleep. When I woke up again it was morning and my throat hurt. Again I felt like I was choking. I tried to sign letters of what I wanted but it was the same nurse and she just seemed annoyed and kept telling me to calm down. Dr S came in at some point and I just kept pointing to the tube to take it out. I hated it. She was finally the one who thought of getting me paper and a pen to write down what I needed to say and they let me have my hands free. The respiratory therapist came in about 10 to start the process to remove the tube. I had to breathe on my own with the tube still in for 30 minutes before he could take it out. I started choking and feeling like I couldn't breathe again and was terrified. I could even hear my mom getting worked up a little. I finally got through all that and he was able to remove it. That tube was the worst!
  I had visitors throughout the day and another doctor came in to tell us about the surgery. It ended up taking 3-1/2 to 4 hours because they couldn't stop the bleeding and they had to replace 11 liters of blood (according to him). After further discussion with Dr I and Dr S they had to have 4 doctors in the operating room trying to stop the bleeding. My body wouldn't clot the blood so any blood they transfused just kept coming out. Dr S said it was amazing though, the work of everyone in the operating room that through it all they were able to keep me stable. They did everything right and for that I am forever grateful. When Travis asked if it was life threatening Dr S said "absolutely". That was a difficult thing to hear.
  I spent the next few days in the hospital making sure my counts and vitals were good and then I was released to go home on Tuesday. It felt so good to go home. Everyone is now trying to get back into a routine. The IPs are spending time loving on their sweet baby girl along with grieving for their baby boy. I have had the opportunity to visit them twice and it does my heart good to watch them with her. Travis returned to work on Monday and I have been working from home.

Baby girl snuggles


  Thank you so very much for all of our friends and family that have blessed us with meals, cards, flowers and visits along with offers to help with the boys. Please forgive me for not responding to messages, I have read every one and appreciate the support and encouragement. We are also still trying to get answers, if there are any. There are days when darkness settles in my mind and I feel guilty...maybe this was my fault...what if we would have delivered the babies 1 week sooner...what if we missed something. Those days are difficult. People ask me how I'm feeling, I don't really know how to answer that. Physically, I'm doing better everyday. I'm up taking my kids to school and getting back to being a mom. I'm off the narcotics and only need to take Ibuprofen 1 or 2 times a day. And I'm pumping for baby girl, which is going well. Other than that, I don't know. We are just taking one day at a time. If you think of us, please continue to pray for healing and peace for us all, along with the staff at Clovis Community. I have heard that this has really shaken quite a few of them, one even decided to retire. Though we had much loss on that Friday we also have so much to be thankful for. There is a beautiful new baby girl who gets to be loved by amazing parents and God must have more for me to do here. Guess I better get busy. Love you all!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Reflection

One year ago I was recovering from a miscarriage. After 2 failed transfers earlier in the year we had finally gotten a positive blood test and we thought "this is it!" only to see an empty sac on the ultrasound. It was heartbreaking. We took time off to re-group, heal and decide what the next step would be. As I sit here tonight thinking back on the past 8 months I am so blessed and honored that they stuck it out and decided to try again.
This has been an amazing and completely different experience for me. When we looked on the ultrasound monitor and saw twins I didn't know if my body could do it. I had seen so many other women carrying twins end up on bed rest early on in the pregnancy and I thought I would end up there as well.  I warned my IPs not to get their hopes up because I had lost a twin before at 7 weeks. Each milestone came and went with the babies growing bigger and stronger and the excitement grew. With each milestone they felt more comfortable to share their news with a few more people. They were finally able to hope that this could be their chance to be parents. I am a surrogate because I want to give parents that chance. I have no control over what happens; only God is the maker of miracles and I want to be a part of that.
And now, we are just a few short days away from meeting the "twinkies". I am so excited. I'm excited to meet them but I am even more excited to see their parents meet them. Every test, pill, day of nausea, pound gained, stretch mark earned, tear cried and every tough day we walked through to get to delivery day is washed away by the overwhelming joy that comes from seeing intended parents holding their children. I would do it over and over again...it is worth it.
I know there is so much more to say but I just can't put my thoughts together, and I'm tired. Please think of and/or pray for us on Friday. The c-section is at 7:30 am. Also for the days and weeks following as the IPs transition to parenthood and I recover from surgery. We would greatly appreciate it.
So I thought it would be fun to guess the genders and the size of the babies. If you want to play just leave a comment on the blog itself or in the facebook comments where I will be sharing this. It will be interesting to see how close people get. Here is a hint...2 weeks ago at my ultrasound appointment they measured Baby A - 6lb 2oz  Baby B -6lb 6oz


Baby B -Look at that squishy little face



Because we don't know gender or names, I made them a basket of some of my favorite things. 
That book is my favorite "A family begins with a wish"


My last month of pregnancy bump pictures

             34 weeks                    35 weeks



     36 weeks                  37 weeks 




Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Our last few months..in a nutshell

  What have we been up to you may be wondering...because once again I've waited 3 months to write. Well, since we don't do anything simple, let me fill you in.
   For nearly 2 months we have had our kitchen under construction. We are so excited to finally have an open floor plan, a place to cook and invite friends over however, we still have about 4 weeks left but we are getting closer. Having no kitchen, kids home for the summer and being pregnant has been interesting but we're making it work. 
   As some of you may know, Travis and I are certified foster parents hoping to adopt someday. When we found out I was carrying twins we asked our agency to put our search on hold but that we would be willing to offer respite care for other foster parents who needed to find care for a few nights. We didn't want to take the risk of getting a placement and then me ending up on bedrest. Well, we got a text out of the blue on July 23rd from our matching social worker asking if we wanted to submit our home study for a newborn baby girl. We had previously been asked 3 other times during my pregnancy if we wanted to foster a newborn and we just didn't feel like it was right. This time felt different for both of us. The opportunity for her to be adopted was pretty high and we felt good about it so we said yes to submitting our home study. Waiting to hear back about a child possibly coming into your home seems like forever. Once we didn't hear for a few days we figured that we didn't get chosen and we received confirmation on Aug 4th that we in fact had not been. It was disappointing for sure but God knew it wasn't the right fit or the right time. I know there will be many more heartbreaks down this journey but I'm positive in the end it will be worth it.

Baby B is on top (profile picture). Baby A is on bottom (looking at us)



   Last week was a had another ultrasound and the babies looked perfect. They are weighing in at 4lb 10oz and 4lb 8oz which puts them in the 55th percentile. I'm a bit worried about how big they will end up if I carry them all the way to our c-section date. I did get a call from my doctor's office and we have an eviction date (planned c-section) of September 25th at 7:30am. Currently, that feels like forever away. I am getting to that point where nothing fits and I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable. I'm carrying over 9 lbs of baby which would normally be a pretty good size full term baby and my lower back is feeling it. I don't talk too much about the intended parents because they are private people and Fresno is small but they have been great. We get together every couple of weeks for dinner and catching up on things. The intended mother has made all of the ultrasounds which have been every 6 weeks with this pregnancy. I just love hearing their excitement grow as we get closer to delivery. They are starting to get the nursery together which they are doing in neutral because we have all decided not to find out the genders. It is going to be even more exciting at delivery.



  Since April I have been working on getting my real estate license. I took 3 online classes and have been recently studying almost every night for the exam. I took the test last Thursday and I passed!! So happy to be done with that. Now I just wait for the paperwork so I can file to get my license. Also, last week Travis and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary, went and met the boys' teachers and packed up our family to head to Shaver for a weekend of family camp. Travis and I both have been working full time over the summer and the boys have been attending a gymnastic camp so we thought this would be nice to get away before school started. We had a great time getting away, being out of the 100+ degree heat and disconnecting for the weekend. We made it home Sunday afternoon just in time to get ready to start school on Monday.



  If you read all of that, you're a trooper. That's been our life for the past few months. It's been crazy, but it's what we do. Now that the boys are back in school we should be settled into more of a routine...still crazy, but maybe a little more scheduled.