Twins Birth Story and Update
It has been quite a few months since I have been able to sit down and write. I have a quick slot during playtime and the babies naps and I am jotting this down as quickly as I can! I thought I would share the Twin's Birth Story and a little update on life as of late.
I have missed writing, I have missed being able to process in words. But there has been no space for it. We've been in survival mode from pregnancy to delivery to now a family of 6. But the fog is slowly lifting, I am able to put sentences together a LITTLE more fluidly. I still don't know what day it is 95% of the time, but we are alive!
I'll start back to the pregnancy. That might have been the hardest physical toll my body has ever endured. I was growing exponentially by the day, caring for a BUSY Macky boy and toddler. On top of just keeping those two alive, I was also having to be cautious about my body and caring for the two inside me. The odds were not in our favor as far as making it to 36-37 weeks, but by the grace of God we did!
I leaned heavily on the help of family and my husband during the pregnancy... and learned a lot about trusting God with each day.... day by day was my motto. Slowly, day by day we were still pregnant, the babies were still growing, my hips were still unbroken (although they felt like they could split in half at any moment) Mack and Cade were still ok. God CARRIED us to our due date and we welcomed our little loves that we had seen on the screen and I had felt in my tummy for months. MIRACLE. Thank you God.
We delivered the twins at 36.5 weeks, farther than we ever anticipated. Our doctor even said as we were getting prepped in the OR that he had gotten nervous in the last few weeks but here we were! My C-Section experience was vastly different from Mack's. For Mack, I delivered at our small hospital in town, with my OR nurse being a friend from church who literally hand selected every person that would be in the operating room. The Holy Spirit was THICK in the room, with each team member being a Christian and starting the surgery in prayer. For the twins, I still had the comfort of my same OB that I trusted with my life, but here I was in a large, sterile room of a larger hospital, filled with 2 NICU teams for the twins...maybe 15 people were in the room & I knew NONE of them except my doctor. They were already running late for the surgery, the hospital didn't know I was having twins so didn't prepare accordingly until the last minute. I almost passed out during Pre-Op because they had me laying down and I had restricted blood flow. Then they rushed me to the OR already an hour late and got started. Stephen wasn't even in the room before they got my spinal block in and started cutting. Right as they began to operate, Stephen walked in and grabbed my hand. I desperately didn't want the babies to go to the NICU, but my OB had prepared me that they possibly could. Trey came out first screaming... tears flooded my eyes... He's breathing... thank you Jesus. I made Stephen go over and look at him, take pictures and give me the details from across the room. Then Chase came out screaming... He's breathing too... thank you Jesus. He was taken into another room and I didn't know what was happening to him. They seemed to be working on both of them to get them breathing a little better and quickly told me they would need to go to the NICU for some oxygen support. The nurses brought Trey over first, showed him to me for about 5 seconds and whisked him to the NICU, the same was then done for Chase. Stephen looked at me, still cut open on the table...conflicted on where to go. I told him "PLEASE GO WITH THE BABIES...make sure they're ok! I'll be fine!"
I sat on the operating table, alone, crying. Crying tears of joy...I couldn't believe they were here, alive and okay. But I was afraid. I was now alone. I was shaking and my emotions were high. When would I see my babies? Are they breathing okay? How long will they have to stay? Will they be able to eat? I hope Stephen is with them. WHAT NOW? Where's my mom?? How are the big boys? (Uncle Nate even took the day off work and held down the fort with those kiddos ALL DAY) My poor doctor (who is a Christian, praise God... and just a very kind man) started chatting with me as he was closing up and easing my nervous heart, he could tell I was all in my head. I headed to recovery alone. They thankfully let my mom in the room with me so I wasn't by myself... I remember feeling so alone and helpless until she got there. I am crying even now writing this because it's the first time I am processing everything that happened that day, yet I feel all those same emotions as I remember those first moments.
Stephen came in to tell me the babies were okay but needing some oxygen support. They were in separate rooms, so he was running back and forth checking on each one and then ran down to check on me. Again, outnumbered and helpless... but Stephen was so calm and I knew he was the best person to be with them.
I finally got into a room and I started to ask when I could go see the twins. They told me I couldn't go for 24 hours until I got my catheter out and could stand and walk. "Take it out then. I am going to go see them." They told me no, I had to wait and I kept telling them no, I am going to see my babies and to take my catheter out and put me in a wheel chair. They kept advising me to stay in bed and recover, but I ended up calling my doctor and having him give me permission to go see them. 8ish hours post C-Section I got up out of bed and had Stephen wheel me into see my babies. Partially drugged on pain medicine and adrenaline... we visited the babies the entire night. It was the longest, most painful and difficult night of my life to this day. They had the babies in two different rooms. I'd pump barely anything...but we scraped every last drop of colostrum and brought it to the babies. We went to Trey who was doing much better and was coming off the oxygen, got to hold him for the first time & feed him. Then to Chase who was doing a lot better as well. Held him, fed him, then went back to the room and pump, slept for 30 minutes and did it all over again for the entire night. I was determined to get them strong and out of the NICU. He carried us through that long night and I'll never forget that, and Stephen never complained after our 30 minute naps when I'd wake him up to start over again and wheel me out of the room with my 3 drops of colostrum in hand.
The next morning they were moved into the same room, with the KINDEST nurse, Sue. She eased our nervous hearts, got them on a schedule that allowed for more than 30 minutes of sleep for me in between visits, and felt like a NICU Grandma... warm, caring, filled with the Holy Spirit. The babies were now off of oxygen support but still needed to be monitored. We spent the next few days in the hospital, pumping, feeding, resting, repeat every 3 hours until we were discharged. I hated to leave the hospital... the convenience of being across the hall from the NICU able to visit at anytime... but I knew the big boys needed us home too. My heart felt pulled in two directions at all times, the NICU and home.
We were so happy to come home to our big boys that afternoon. But had to shower, then quickly jump in the car to go to the last feeding of the night and meet with the twins doctor. We did our routine. Fed the babies, talked to the doctor and asked what we could do to continue to help the boys progress; pump and hand over the milk. I was SO TIRED that night and in SO MUCH pain. The night nurse was so sweet and asked if we had gotten a family picture yet. We told her no, and she grabbed her camera as we held the boys together for the first time since birth. I was so sad for them, they had been in utero together for 9 months, and now were separated and couldn't even touch. But one glimmer of progress, a photo of our family and the boys meeting outside of the womb for the first time. My mama heart was full in that moment knowing we were making small strides forward. We went home with pictures from the nurse after another long day. Once we left I remember my body just shivering uncontrollably because I was in so much pain. I hadn't stopped going since they were born and it was catching up with me. I walked in the house and it was all I could do to say thanks to Jordan for watching the big boys and I collapsed on the bed. I didn't know how we were going to keep this up. Being with our big boys, recovering from surgery, pumping, and going to see the twins as often as we could while they were there. But again, God carried us through.
After 10 days in the NICU, phototherapy for the boys because of jaundice, and many confusing conversations with doctors about when they would return home, a sweet nurse named Laura MADE IT HAPPEN. She got a plan in place and did all she could to push their departure from the NICU. They were no longer on IV's, no longer under the phototherapy lights, and were doing extremely well. She got us through all the checklists we needed to complete so they could come home soon. She also advocated for them to be in a shared crib. We left our visit with the twins while they had nurse Laura with them in a shared crib, snuggled up to each other sound asleep, knowing they'd be home with us within a few days. I am forever grateful for her. We were so discouraged the day we came in, but God placed her with us and encouraged us so much with her as our babies advocate. They came home a few short days later!
We were wheeled out of the NICU. For the last 10 days, it was kind of like they were our little secret. No one was allowed in the NICU besides Stephen and I, so it was so special when we were reunited with the big boys as they met their little brothers for the first time with the Grammies. We left the hospital with our FOUR kids. We were HOME. Together. A huge answer to prayer but also the scariest day of our lives!
Since then, we have adjusted day by day with the help of family, friends, a generous meal train and unexpected visitors just at the right time with exactly what we need. It's still an adjustment each day, but we are getting into a groove and learning what life looks like as a family of 6. Our friends probably hate us now because when we come it's like an army of children, diapers, carseats, and more... but it has been so fun to have these little babes start doing life with us.
They're growing FAST. CHUGGIN' milk like it's their job (well, it is their job) making strides each day. Mack and Cade ADORE them. Cade transitioned well into his role of biggest brother, and Mack didn't skip a beat... he welcomed them into the family with BIG, WET open mouth kisses NON STOP. He may steal their paci's as a game, and literally wants to lay on top of them to hug them, but it is just so sweet to see even a one year olds tender heart towards his baby brothers.
Stephen has been a rockstar, as always. He was up every night with me feeding them, changing them, and getting them back to sleep. They're starting to sleep longer stretches and he's still helping me out. We switch every other night who is "on" for feeds and it helps us both get some rest.
Not going to lie, it has been a really HARD transition too. The highs are SUPER high when you have 4 precious boys snuggling you and happy. But the lows are extremely LOW and will raise your blood pressure in an instant when 4 children are screaming with a need. It's sort of like triage...who needs what the soonest? Sorry... you're going to have to cry for a few more minutes until I get this brother what he needs. It's hard. I wish there could be 4 of me AND Stephen... but we will get to the end of a day, with all 4 in bed and high five... Thank you God, we made it another day.
Our moms and family have been a dream. Caring for the bigs AND the littles. Still giving us date nights or time to escape for a little bit. Their boys love them dearly and we are so grateful that in this season, they are close and able to help.
I have learned to accept and ask for help like I never have before. I said in a recent instagram post all the feelings I've had lately... and how I feel like this season of motherhood is opening my eyes to see the Gospel in a new lens. In short, I have NOTHING to offer Jesus except to faithfully wake up and serve my family each day. I'm not regularly in the word, I'm not leading any small groups or Bible studies... I'm just laying down my life as best as I can (and not perfectly) for my babies and husband each day. I'm not offering much to Jesus... yet he reminds me that even on my BEST day I fall short... but His grace is sufficient and is a FREE GIFT to me, even in my inability. Day by day I am relying on Him, and day by day He is carrying us through.
I hope to be on here more regularly sharing and processing through this season of life and all that God is teaching us. Thanks for following along and praying us through!
Photo cred: Valentina Glidden Photography