Sunday, November 2, 2014

The tale of twins

Well our baby boys made it safe into the world! The good thing about staying in the NICU was that I had a plentiful amount of time to write about things and work on our 2014 family photo book. 

DETAILS about their birth!

So after all that hospital hoopla the week before, I kind of figured that when I’d go in for my appointment on Monday morning with my doctor I’d probably still have high blood pressure and something would have to happen. Luckily it wasn’t too high that day and they didn’t make me go to the hospital to get induced at that moment. We’d set up an appointment for the following morning! We decided it was safer for me and babies to get these babies out than to stay in with such high blood pressure. It was just hanging around that borderline cut off range to be dangerous.

I was stoked you guys. The previous nights and days had just been so difficult due to contractions, back pain, bed rest, stomach issues, sleeping issues, a messy house, a cranky husband. It had gotten to the point of so dang hard! I was smiling ear to ear walking out of the office. I found the sonographer whom we had seen so many times and spent countless hours of ultrasounds with and told her the good news. She was so very excited for me. Walking out of that office I felt like I had graduated from pregnancy or something. BEST FEELING EVER. The ride home was wonderful too. It was just a splendid rest of my day.

Three wonderful friends came over that evening and helped clean my house spic and span to the utmost level. You guys, my house had not been THAT fine detailed clean in AGES, it was the most wonderful feeling ever. I love those girls. Thank you forever for that, ladies, you know who you are.

The rest of the night Casey played video games with friends as his “But Kimber, this is going to be the last time in a long time I’ll get to play” excuse and I worked on Casey and Maxson’s Halloween costumes. Figuring these babies were coming early and not knowing what was happening to us the next couple weeks I figured I may not be dressing up. We stayed up for forever because honestly I usually can’t fall asleep until 1 or so anyways no matter what time I go to bed at so I might as well make that time useful. And of course once we did go to bed there were those “1st day of school jitters” for the coming day for the babies to be born!

6:45 am We get to hospital (of course late for our 6:30 “appointment”)

7:15 The nurse finally comes in and busy work/small details begin, we start watching Friends. People come in and poke me like CRAZY. They could not find a vein in my arm. My nurse tried twice in my arm hard core digging around to find the vein, I begged her to try her hardest to find one in my arm and not my hand because I remembered from last time how uncomfortable it was to have to have it in my hand. I said poke as many times as you need just get it in my arm! Well she tried and no luck. So she brought the head nurse in to try. She tried my arm once, my left hand once, and finally got one in my right hand. So they had to do some mean pokes 5 times just to get it in my right hand of all places grr. AND THEN at the same time the vampires blood work people came in to draw my blood. Apparently a student tried first and totally couldn’t get it, then her mentor tried and he got it (luckily his first time). So in all I got 7 mean pokes in a matter of like 20 minutes. Did not feel good. I asked Casey to massage my left hand and arm from where all their needles hurt so much. Not cool, but also not their fault if I had some difficult veins to find.

8:15 start Pitocin. And now for all the next hours they would constantly be coming in readjusting the 3 monitors on my stomach: Baby A’s heart rate monitor, Baby B’s hear rate monitor and the contraction monitor. Both boys would constantly be wiggly so I felt like they needed to re-find their heart rates all the time. At this time they also check the baby's positions again to make sure they're the same as yesterday, Baby A is head down which is truly one that matters for a vaginal delivery. Baby B is breech but the doctors all say that that's ok and I can still deliver vaginally. There is however a 50/50 chance of that baby suddenly needing to have a C-section if something went wrong. After talking to Dr Bowers we all decided I would try for vaginally.

9:30 Dr Bowers comes in to break my water (actually baby A’s water sac.) Apparently neither had seen so much amniotic fluid come out of one sac in a very long time. They couldn’t believe how much initially came out and that it just kept coming and coming and coming out. Glories to not having had my water break at home or in the car. They tried 3 times to connect an internal monitor to Baby A’s head but no luck, eh all is well.

From here on out we kind of just settle in watching copious amounts of Friends, laughing, chatting, talking to nurses and waiting.

11:00 contractions start to become more painful but Friends kept me occupied luckily. They weren’t awful just a kind of annoying pain that I wanted to just go away. It was wonderful when they would stop, it was like instant relief.

12:00 I start questioning myself to get the epidural (I was planning on an epidural the whole time with these boys). The contractions were getting real hot and heavy and although I was getting through them they were not fun. I knew I could handle more pain but was it really necessary when the epidural was there available, just around the corner?

12:15 I talk to my nurse a little about my thoughts of an epidural. I told her my above thoughts plus that I thought that the longer I went without one, the faster I would progress. She said she found that wasn’t necessarily true and that the epidural would help lower my blood pressure (it was pretty high the whole time there thus far, 150-160’s/90-100’s) and mentioned as a nurse she’d rather get me the epidural than have to give me magnesium (I got magnesium and if you remember from last time, it is CRAPPY stuff. That stuff lowers your blood pressure too). That was reason enough and I was like YES. Epidural now. Great. Go. 

12:30 Epidural process begins. Over the next half hour I am beginning to have to really work to relax and get through each contraction: breathing a ton, leaning back towards Casey making him push on my back. Not fun. I am so glad I asked for the epidural when I did. Again, so happy for Friends, it was a nice relief to zone out on a funny show and even laugh between contractions instead of anticipate when the next one would be coming.

1:00 epidural begins to work. People talk about an instantaneous response but I never quite feel that. It’s more like slow tingling and realizing I haven’t felt a contraction in awhile. Once the nurse asked, “You’re having a contraction, do you feel that?” and I realized I didn’t anymore it was like halleluiah.  Now back to Friends watching.

1:20 She gets my catheter in and I mention how much I can feel from that. It’s not like I felt it all, but it was more uncomfortable pressure than I was expecting. She described how an epidural works mentioning the immediate medicine given is fast acting and not as strong and then there’s an overlap medicine that’s slowly added that’s deeper, that transition is more around the 2 hour mark or so. I’m cool with it. Contraction pain is gone so I’m good. She also checked and I was at a 7, “Woo, go me!” I thought, 3 more cm to go, so maybe a couple hours. (side note- after the epidural is good and working Casey asks the anesthesiologist what medicine they use- same as what they use in your mouth for dental work!)

1:30 Feeling tons of pressure down there- the nurse told me to tell her this because that meant I was ready. Nurse checks to see I’m a 9 and calls doctors. I couldn’t believe I had bumped up so fast and also totally stoked I didn’t have to wait a few more hours. I was thinking "I can't wait to meet these babies! It won't be much longer!" The next 20 minutes were the longest EVER. Although I had my epidural the pressure just kept building down there that it was it was to the point of uncomfortably painful. I was moaning and breathing through each contraction and I just kept thinking oh my heck, I’m so glad I have an epidural. I could still move my feet and legs a bit and had enough muscle control to move my body when they needed me to, pretty cool. Casey throws on scrubs they give him and we get ready to go!

1:40ish they rush-wheel me down the hall to the operating room (all twins are delivered in OR's in case of emergency) asking for my verbalized consent for c-section and a blood transfusion in case of emergency (hello, of course). My eyes are closed a lot of this time just trying to get through the contractions and all that mounting pressure. I couldn’t believe it was just increasing and increasing.

We get into the OR and it’s so sterile in there. White. Strange objects. No purpose in making the place look “cozy” for patients, all strictly down to business. I’m gripping the side rails for support through the contractions. They ask me to move to a new bed right next mine by shimmying over with shoulders, again I was so surprised with my amount of control of my body compared to my last experience. I’m laying on my side waiting to get this show on the road, still dying through each contraction that brought about incredible pressure. This is also where I begin crying realizing I could truly have one of these babies vaginally and the second C-section if plans didn’t work out for the doctors and me. I was remembering how much energy and effort it took to get Maxson out and I was fearing what lye ahead for this delivery. I couldn't possibly push for 2 hours! I kind of start to feel alone. I hear people, I know there’s commotion, but where exactly was Casey? How long was this going to go on for? This is when I remember, hello, Kimber, PRAY! And right then I begin praying in my heart and mind so heart for me and these babies to be safe, for the doctors to do their best, for a C-section not to be performed, for strength to get through these contractions, for this whole process to go fast. Tears are coming through each contractions due to both my fears and my actual pain level, when would this end?

 I hear someone say Dr Neri has arrived, soon after Dr Bowers comes in front of me to inform me she’s there too and we’re going to get these babies out!

Stirrups up and going, legs up, they let me know that with the next contraction I feel I can push and bare down. Apparently as soon as my legs go up you can see Baby A is right there.  I think I remember hearing this, which gave me a little confidence that this wasn’t going to be another two hour pushing session. Dr. Bowers directs me a little with breathing and pushing which was so great. It burns. I could feel a small portion what they call that “ring of fire.” I think I pushed 3 times with one contraction and felt the strangest sensation; it was like a giant wet fish falling out.

1:54 Bryson Woodruff Cutler was born weighing 5#10.8oz, 19 ¼ inches

I pull myself up and watch him. He cries after about 3-5 seconds. Arms and legs flailing. All the white goo all over him, I had never seen that before. I have no clue what the doctors are doing to him, I’m just watching him my little baby who is here, one has made it! They immediately put him on my chest, all dirty and everything, just what I wanted. They place a blanket over him and I get to just cuddle and hold this new precious baby. I couldn’t believe how happy I was. The pain leading up to this moment completely disappeared from my memory. I kissed his little baby face and just hugged him close to my body; so happy he made it to me!

At some point before Quinn is born they take Bryson to the NICU nurses on the side to be looked over.

Not sure if or when I’m holding Bryson through this next part but they then break Quinn’s water. Again a ginormous gush of water, more than anyone is expecting. And now begins TONS of pressure. This pressure is Dr Neri trying to find Baby B’s head and turn it head down. I think she keeps only being able to grab one foot though she keeps trying over and over again. Finally I hear her say “Ok I got 2 feet, just need to pull him down.” I am relieved, no C-Section!

I push maybe once or twice, can’t really remember, definitely didn’t have to push as hard with this baby as I did the first but the same feeling again. I remember the point where I knew his body had gotten out except for his head, and I felt like this was the moment of truth: this baby had to come out with this push. The risk with a breech delivery is the largest part of the baby- the head- coming out last. I push with all my might and I feel the pressure release.

2:00 Quinn Woodruff Cutler was born weighing 6#2oz, 19 3/4 inches

Casey cuts the chord. They take Quinn over to the NICU nurses right away. I hear him cry. More relief, both babies are out and have cried their glorious sounds!
(below are my 2 doctors, Neri on the left, Bowers on the right. Casey is cutting Quinn's chord)

My placenta is uncomfortably delivered (aren’t they all?) She does more digging around making sure everything is out. I am given Bryson back all bundled up and I get to hold and kiss and cuddle him all over again. Lots of tugging and pressure going on down there, I figured some stitches, but who cared? I had enough energy to hold and love my baby right away, I wasn't tired one ounce. I was completely happy. I looked around for Casey and saw him holding our sweet Quinn. He was so small compared to Casey, I love seeing Casey hold our babies!
Dr. Bowers lets me know she’s done, I couldn’t believe how fast the stitches were done this time around, what a relief! She congratulates me and the room starts clearing out just a little. We take our first family picture of 4. I am just on cloud 9. Two babies, TWO BABIES here in our arms! Safe, perfect, no complications, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was!

It all just seemed so much easier compared to last time, I couldn’t believe how easy it seemed to deliver these boys! (It did help that they were 4 weeks smaller gestationally than Maxson…)

We give the babies back to the NICU nurses, this insane inflatable boat type mattress things blows up all around me and they move me back to my bed to be wheeled back to my room around the corner.

The nurses carry the babies back to our room with us. In my room I get to hold Quinn for the first time! I ask if I can nurse him and they say yes of course, go! Quinn latches right away and is a rockstar, it was like riding a bike, I remembered exactly what to do. It’s of course not just me, Quinn is really the one to take all the credit, he knew exactly what to do, I was a proud mama of that boy.

The second nurse comes over and says “Here how about you tandem nurse!” In my mind I was like “Uh…shouldn’t I wait on that?” But there comes Bryson, ready to go!

Bryson doesn’t latch on quite as easily but still goes, I work with him a little and then they both get on at the same time and I look down and I can’t believe it’s happening! I’m nursing my two babies together! That is a big hurdle getting the first latch from both and I’m so happy. They nurse away and I just can’t stop staring at them both smiling from ear to ear, such a wonderful feeling.

After 15-20 minutes we all agreed that they should be taken to the NICU, I felt so blessed I got to have skin to skin and nursing with them both essentially right away after birth, so so so blessed.

The rest of our “initial hospital stay” involved being wheeled by Casey back and forth from the NICU to our room multiple times a day (we were smart and asked for the closest room to the NICU, it did help). We stayed in the boys’ NICU room pretty much as often as we could. We went back to our room  mainly for meals and then at nighttime to sleep. Whenever we went back for meals the nurses would watch us and get as much done with me as possible (blood pressure, ibuprofen, tummy checks, etc) so that would make us stay a little longer.

Recovery has been incredible with these babes. So so so so so so so so so much better than my last. I won’t go into detail but it was way easy. A nurse mentioned to me that the moms with the quickest recoveries are NICU moms and smoker moms because they have somewhere to go. I can see the truth on both those situations. Even beyond what I have control over, my body is responding so remarkably well to the recovery process of birth.

Beyond the boys having to stay in the NICU for what felt like forever, 11 days total, it was a perfectly ideal birth and delivery and I'm so happy the way it all turned out. I daresay I can't wait to do this all again (of course not super soon ha).

Sometimes I still can't believe we have TWO little babies with us!

Thank you everyone for your well wishes!


Cherri said...

babies everywhere!

Melissa Phillips said...

AH. Great details Kimber. What a perfect delivery!! I couldn't stop laughing at the wet fish comment though. Ha!

Denise said...

Thank you for sharing your birth story, Kimber. I'm so glad things went well and your little boys are adorable!! I totally teared up while I was reading at work. I can't wait for my second baby boy to get here, now!

Lara Graham said...

Wonderful story! So glad that everything went well! Congratulations!

Andy Ballstaedt said...

So emotional with this whole story. I'm so glad you were blessed with such a wonderful experience. You deserved it Kimber. You're doing a great work and you deserve every single tender mercy you can get!

Jared + Carly Reid said...

YAY kimber!!!!!!!! so happy for you! they are beautiful!

The Blackwelders said...

Thanks for sharing Kimber. I'm so excited for you guys and so glad it went well. Twin births seem kinda scary but yours went awesome! I think it's hilarious you had your red lip stick on in your family of four photo. And it wasn't even smudged! Ha. Congrats Congrats Congrats!

D & C Larson said...

Gah! They are so precious! And you did wonderfully well Kimber! Congratulations!!!

Suzanne and Nate said...

What a wonderful birth story! Love that you shared it, and you have such great pictures too! Such beautiful babes, and momma!