My babies aren't babies anymore!
Yes, they turn two today. Two times two. It's odd because their birth seems like it was just around the last corner, and it also seems eons ago. This has been a couple of the hardest years of my life, but in a deeper sense (way down there, some days) it has been the most fulfilling.
I had planned to show you some pictures of their actual day of birth, and then some more from their birthday last year, but I had a little freak out this morning, because I found that, even on my backup drive, all the pictures from December of last year are GONE! So this is a plea to the grandmas... I need any pictures you have from last December! I have lost the first birthday, AND the first Christmas! (Well, technically the second Christmas, as they spent the first in their little incubator boxes.)
So, I give you pictures from their birth day.
I had a natural birth, although it took place in the surgery because we felt it best to be ready for an emergency, and the side door went straight into the NICU. Unbeknownst to me, two teams of about 5 people stood by waiting for the boys, just through those doors. As the birth went on, things relaxed. The face masks got pulled down, the hairnets came off. It went very well, even though it was happening six weeks early.
Michael was a resident doctor at that hospital, and as with Noah, he delivered the twins, with our OB standing just over his shoulder. When Ethan broke free, he was handed off to the nurse who whisked him quickly to a table for his apgar score, and then off through the double doors to the NICU! I didn't even get to have him held near my face so I could get a good look at him before our separation. But I knew that time was of the essence and that he could be in trouble, and his safety was my first priority, so I didn't complain.
Luka decided, with room to stretch out finally, that he would relax and enjoy having a womb of his own. Most second twins come about 5 minutes later. Luka took a good hour and 10 minutes. At one point, I saw one of the male nurses peek through the window of the door to the NICU, catch my doctor's eyes, and point to his watch and do that shrug, as if to ask, "IS there a second baby??" The team was apparently getting bored back there.
But then he came. My littlest guy. And like the first, he was whisked away. I don't remember much from that day, as I had been doped up on Magnesium for 24 hours, trying desperately to prevent this birth. But I do remember a sense of loss, separation, fear because I was no longer keeping them alive with my body, and comfort because they were in the hands of a slew of people who knew best how to care for them. I had had this sense that my body was not a healthy vessel for months. Years, even. It had betrayed me a few times when it came to holding onto babies. My body had "attacked" my babies, previously. And in a sense, it was betraying me now, spitting out my children before it was time. So, I bit my tongue about not being able to be with them.
I thought I would see them soon, but one thing lead to another and it was a full two and a half hours before I found myself wheelchaired up to their isolettes. They had been bathed, and tubed, and wired and pricked and held by strangers. Would I just be another set of hands? How would they know me as anyone more special than all these other hands?
I guess it took the next three weeks for that. To get acquainted, to become partners, or a little team of three. I lived there in the hospital with them, in my own room, so I could come and make my feeble attempts at breastfeeding, learn to use the pump, to "scrub in", be trained in the sacred way of the NICU, of methods, monitors, and alarms.
But all in all, for all the tubes and wires, my boys were healthy. Even at just over four pounds. I was one of the lucky ones. Many around me were not so lucky that Christmas.
And now they are two.
Terrible two, they say. Its been hard. And I pray that they don't experience what a lot of kids go through in their third year on earth. But, even though I never really wanted three kids, and it's been more than overwhelming at times, I do feel blessed. And I can't wait to see how they grow and change, and interact with each other and their brother as they learn to communicate better and better.
Having twins is like constantly riding a roller coaster. And I feel like I am at the bottom of one of those hills, the car tick-ticking slowly up the track to the top. The "twos" are going to be a bumpy ride, I am sure.
But its going to be a blast!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
My babies aren't babies anymore!