I want to write the story of Caroline and Tyler’s birth while the memories of that special day are still fresh on my heart. I’m four days postpartum and our precious miracle babies are sleeping soundly together in the bassinet next to me. Caroline has the hiccups. :)
For years we dreamed of you, sweet babies, and to finally see your sweet faces and TASTE the completion of our journey from a party of two to a family of five… well, it was one of the best moments of my life. (Read our infertility story here and Brady’s birth story here).
After a very long pregnancy with six weeks of bed rest and pre-term labor at 31 weeks, we finally started to see the end in site after Christmas. We set goals to make it to 28 weeks… then 32 weeks… then 34 and finally 36. In our hearts we knew if we made it to 36 weeks we’d really have made it to a very safe and wonderful milestone. When 36 weeks rolled around on January 27 and I visited our high risk doctor for a bio physical ultrasound, I thought for sure the doctor would take one look at my enormous belly (and 48 extra lbs on my normally small frame) and request that my c-section date be moved up from 38 weeks. But he didn’t. Instead he told me that when the babies were ready, they’d make their appearance. I cried in the parking lot for thirty minutes. I was just so ready to meet them and so ready for them to be OUT instead of IN.
The next day, I went to a routine check-up. I’d been moved to weekly check-ups to check my progression and keep an eye on the babies. All the nurses laughed and patted me on the back and told me their birthday was near. My doctor checked my progression and sent me off to triage at 5cm and in active labor. I was in SHOCK. I called Bryan and he headed straight home to meet me there. Luckily Brady was at school. My Mom started heading our way from our hometown. I went home and took a shower and gathered the last few items for my hospital bag. I couldn’t believe it was THE DAY. Still I took my time and waited on Bryan to get home. We packed our bags into the car and as I was turning to get into the car, the first really painful contraction hit me. I laughed at all the times I “thought” I was in labor and got into the car. On the way to the hospital my contractions got tighter and more intense and it was clear I WAS in active labor.
Because the babies were breech (Tyler, Baby A) and transverse (Caroline, Baby B) we knew we’d have a repeat c-section. I was so surprised and thrilled to find out that my doctor – who’d delivered Brady – was on call and would be delivering Caroline and Tyler with another favorite doctor of mine from her practice. Everything from this point forward is so vivid to me. I knew this would be my last labor and my last delivery so I tried to soak in every little detail. We spent a few minutes in triage before lots of nurses rushed in to put a cap on my hair, get me into my gown, gather all the information and roll me into the operating room. Here is where I started to get nervous. Surgery is so very OUT of your control. I started to worry for the babies, for myself and for the things I’d miss by having to have a c-section again. With a few deep breaths, a successful spinal and a prayer as I laid down onto the operating table I felt my heart and my mind get focused.
Bryan took his spot next to my head and started talking to me about the babies’ hair, how long it’d taken us to get here and how proud he was that we’d made it. I knew he was trying to distract me from my fears and I was so grateful for it. Our nurse anesthesis was incredible. She called each baby by name (rather than Baby A and Baby B – which I really appreciated). She explained every step of what was happening.
I felt a couple of tugs at my hips, saw Bryan’s eyes get a little bigger as he watched for an update from the anesthesis and finally heard sweet Tyler’s little cry. My heart grew by about ten times in that moment and tears fell down my face. My sweet boy was here. They brought Tyler around the curtain for us to see him and got him cleaned up. “He’s beautiful and healthy,” said our doctor as she prepared for Caroline to be born next. I felt someone put a ton of weight on my ribcage as she’d scooted further up my belly during Tyler’s birth. And three minutes later, I heard sweet Caroline’s cry.
What happened next was my favorite memory of the day. I’d been a little sad that I wouldn’t be allowed to have skin-on-skin time with our babies immediately after their birth because we were having a c-section. But the nurses brought both babies to me, still laying on the operating table being sewn up, and laid them on my chest – releasing my hands so that I could hold them. It was one of the most incredible moments of my life. I saw their sweet faces, told them how much they were loved and held their little 6lb, 6oz (T) and 5lb, 11oz (C) bodies next to mine. It was beautiful. I’m forever grateful to have been given those moments with them.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur being wheeled into recovery and having some time to heal while Tyler and Caroline were taken to the nursery to get their blood sugar regulated. Once their blood sugar was high enough they brought them to me to immediate begin nursing. I’d resigned myself to the idea that nursing two babies was going to be very difficult. I told myself that if I couldn’t do it, for whatever reason, despite my best attempts, that I wouldn’t be hard on myself. Instead, my body took over and those babies nursed like CHAMPS. I still can’t believe the three of us are able to do it. As hard as it was with Brady, somehow my body knew exactly what to do this time.
The entire experience was beautiful. Just 48 hours after giving birth I was headed home with our babies. My Mom made it down that evening and Brady met his new brother and sister the next day. He wasn’t quite sure what to think at first and is still getting used to them, but he’s doing such a great job as a big brother. As much as I tried to PLAN out their birthday, God knew their birthday long before I even knew who they were… and He orchestrated it beautifully.
Now, we’re just getting used to our new normal and spending time soaking up these precious first days. Thank you, so much, for your prayers and well wishes. I still can’t believe this is real life. :)
(All images by Captured In His Image – with the exception of the operating room photo :))