Labor & Delivery.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

My pregnancy went seamlessly and I enjoyed feeling all the movements. They were so active and kicking like crazy. I could easily tell who was who and loved every second of it. Although I was as big as a house, I cherished being pregnant because I knew it was something we almost didn’t get.

I was like a sponge. I couldn’t get enough information about being pregnant with multiples, laboring, delivery, and then all the fun that follows. Poor Jeremy. I dragged him to so many breastfeeding, multiples, and birth/baby classes. He was always such a good sport. He never was thrilled about going but I knew that when we got down and dirty, I would not remember how to breathe. I needed him. Looking back, he was the GOAT birthing partner. I could never have known how amazing he would be at that.

One early morning in November, just before the students arrived at school a frenzy ensued. What was this? A 7th grade teacher’s water broke? At school? My worst nightmare was coming to life. That would not happen to me though. I knew all the signs, I read all the books. When my bag of water ruptured, I would be prepared! Over Christmas break I was having the time of my life. I still had 6 weeks to go but everything was going great so they were saying I’d probably go to 39 weeks and they’d have to induce labor. I had no signs of pre-term labor, never any BH contractions, nothing! In fact, just 5 days before the twins were born we were down in South Carolina celebrating Christmas with my family and my OB okayed the trip. I would be a perfect textbook twin delivery. My BFF from France and her husband were in the States for the holidays and drove up to North Carolina to see us. We had a great visit. I noticed some clear leakage, but my sister said it was normal so on with my life I went. I hugged Darcy, Lauren, and Matt goodbye and as they left my house I too left and headed to my 34 week check up. IMG_4124[1].JPG

Jeremy met me at Dr. Callahan’s. We had a normal ultrasound, minus the fact that Sadie was being a little shy. I casually mentioned to the doctor that I was losing some clear fluid and that was new within the past 2 days. She asked if I wanted her to take a look. Sure, why not? Let’s see what this is all about. She took a swab and looked at it under the microscope and came back in. “Lauren, I saw some ferning on the slide and I want you to go to the hospital to have them run a more in-depth test. Just to be sure. No big deal. They’ll probably send you home right after.” I was only a little annoyed because I hadn’t eaten lunch yet. Anyway, we complied and went next door to Women’s Hospital.

I checked in and we went to a triage room where they told me my water broke 2 days ago. Pump the brakes. What? How did that happen? I was waiting on this dramatic experience like in the movies. A big gush of warm water that couldn’t be mistaken for anything else. But nope, me, the girl who read all the books, went to all the classes, asked all the questions, talked to all the people. Her water broke 2 days ago and she had NO. IDEA. Never even crossed my mind. Turns out it was Spencer’s bag of water that had broken and because he was higher than Sadie, it was more like a slow leak than the big gush I was waiting on.

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“Y’all I’m kinda scared to push two humans out of my body!”

Great. What do we do now? For the next few hours we got conflicting information. They did, however, admit me and said I wouldn’t leave pregnant. But no one could decide what to do with us. I was only 34 weeks so the best place for those babies was right where they were. But the chance of infection was too great to not begin labor. Because I was high risk, the OBs deferred to MFM. We came in at an odd time, it was between shift change for the 2 specialists. One was young and fresh, the other was more experienced. She wanted me to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks. He wanted to get things going right away. He won. They came in at 9 the next morning and said we were having some babies that day. Induction officially started at 11.

Wait. I’m not ready for this. I hadn’t even finished watching the second season of Fuller House. Their nursery wasn’t done (read: hadn’t even been started). Sub plans were not ready. I totally expected to walk back in my classroom after Christmas break. This was not good timing. At least my house was clean.

I told them to do whatever they needed to do to avoid a c-section which was a far cry from when we initially went back to Dr. C in July. I remember asking her if we could go ahead and schedule my c-section right then. Not anymore. I had psyched myself up and was prepared. I could do it. My body was made to do this. Many women had gone before me and were just fine. They started dripping pitocin at 1 and I was feeling great. I remember laying in that bed rolling my hair in the perfect sock bun and doing my make up because I wanted to be cute when my babies met me. Just like Kim Kardashian.

As the day went on I was still feeling fine. Laughing, carrying on with the nurses and Jeremy. I was feeling pretty good about myself. Childbirth would be a breeze because I was a beast at this. Though I wouldn’t have turned it down, I had to get an epidural. The chance of an emergency c-section was too great. So when I was 6 cm around 6:30 pm, Dr. Clark told me to get it then. I was progressing fast enough now that when it came time to “need it”, it would be too late. So the anesthesiologist came in and administered the drug. I was still feeling great. My mama and mother-in-law were in there. Sweet Jeremy never left my side. Just as I predicted, when it got real I had no idea how I was supposed to breathe or what I was supposed to do to make this bearable. Insert my dear husband who breathed with me, reminded me of the soothing techniques we learned and kept me grounded. Like he always does. Like he always will.

Let me back up and add this part. Sadie was head down the entire pregnancy. Spencer was transverse and they were unsure what he would do when Sadie was born and he suddenly had a ton of room to move about. The doctor on call was young and by her own admission was not experienced in twin deliveries. More specifically a twin breech extraction. An older, more experienced OB in their practice agreed to be on call for our delivery to completely avoid a c-section. Remember people, I said AT ALL COSTS. And I meant it.

Then it got real. Contractions were getting closer and more intense. Between contractions though my sisters were FaceTiming me, my Family Group Text was asking for selfies, my precious sister-in-law, niece, and nephew came in to visit. We were having the best of times. IMG_4128[1]

As contractions got even closer, they wheeled me into the operating room. All twins deliver in the OR just in case of an emergency cesarean. It was so chaotic. By some mistake, the OR wasn’t ready for us so an intense contraction came and I was just laying on the stretcher in the hallway while they’re trying to prep the room. Then one of the surgical techs tripped over my epidural line and PULLED IT OUT. I didn’t even notice. Miraculously.

I was in the delivery room when two of my nieces were born. Both were such precious, sacred moments. I just knew my own delivery would be magnified and so special. It was a beautiful experience, but nothing like either of us imagined. Intense is the only word I can think of to describe the moments leading up to their birth. I pushed for a short 40 minutes and then our world changed. Forever.

When my sweet Sadie was born I was exhausted. I had to dig deep to find the strength for those last few pushes. As soon as she was born I pushed 2 more times. Spencer turned and was breech. Experienced Dr. Horvath rolled her sleeves up and was elbow deep in my uterus. 2 minutes later Spencer was born. Feet first.

Sadie Louise was born at 8:57 pm. She was 5 lbs 4 oz and 19 1/4 inches long.IMG_4136[1]

Spencer Michael was born at 8:59 pm. He was 4 lbs 9 oz, and 17 1/4 inches long.

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They were both perfect and we were in love.

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We knew they were heading straight for the NICU, so Jeremy went with them upstairs and my mom was allowed in the OR while they finished up with me. I lost an incredible amount of blood. Two times as much as a normal twin delivery. I remember at one point nodding off and being aware that I was losing consciousness. I heard my nurse ask Dr. Clark “Should I call a stage 3 hemorrhage?” “Not yet.” As always God was faithful and I recovered just fine.

I had done it. I delivered my two babies and they were perfectly healthy. Now the real fun begins.

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Pregnancy.

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5

I sure wish I had kept up with a blog when I was pregnant so I could remember every single detail. I’m having so much fun reminiscing though.

So June 2, the pregnancy was confirmed by (EXTREMELY HIGH) HCG levels. Because they were literally off the charts, we suspected there were twins. On Friday, June 24 Dr. Deaton visualized 2 strong heartbeats. It was almost surreal to see the flickering on the screen. Those were my babies? I was carrying two precious miracles? He went through all the logistics of a twin pregnancy (50% are c-sections, I will not make it to 40 weeks, etc.), gave us an “official” due date (I use that term loosely because it was simply when I would be 40 weeks. Not when the babies would be born. He guessed they’d come early January. He was only off by 2 days.), and sent us back to Dr. Callahan. It was so emotional, after seeing these people ALL.THE.TIME. since March we had grown attached to each other. They gave us these 2 onesies, we all cried together then went dancing out the doorway. We did it. I was pregnant. God’s grace had NEVER been more evident in my life than the moment I saw that ultrasound.

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I was fearful that a twin pregnancy would be super hard. In the end though, we were so blessed that I never had any problems. I was considered high risk, but all multiple pregnancies are. I was sent to an MFM (Maternal-Fetal Medicine) specialist because of a history of blood clots. A quick scan and family medical history appointment along with instructions to take a baby aspirin every day cured that. At the very, very beginning I had a subchorionic hematoma which eventually dissolved on its own. At that appointment, I casually mentioned to the doctor that I was feeling a little nauseous. She gave me a prescription for Diclegis, which was a game changer. I took 4 (!!!!!!) of those a day and felt amazing. Then one day I thought I could handle it and didn’t need to take it anymore, I vomited all day long. So I didn’t do that again until I was in the 3rd trimester.

Late July, I got out my heat press and my Silhouette cameo and made these onesies. They were my first project on my 2 favorite crafting machines. All of these syringes, needles, medication, every bit of it was used to sustain this pregnancy. I was so devastated after the first failed attempt that I threw away everything from that cycle.

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I gained 27 lbs during the entire pregnancy and lost it all before Spencer even came home from the hospital. I never had any cravings, and was never uncomfortable. My feet were very swollen, but they never hurt. I did have some problems sleeping (I’m a belly sleeper and that was impossible after like 2 months). I remember towards the end I would have to run to the bathroom between EVERY SINGLE CLASS. Y’all, that means I was going to the bathroom every 45 minutes!

Because I was labeled “high risk”, we had several ultrasounds. I loved seeing my sweet babies. September 13, we had our highly anticipated anatomy scan. I wanted a gender reveal party and the only way Jeremy would agree to one was if he could find out the genders at the appointment. Fine with me. I squeezed my eyes shut and plugged my ears while the ultrasound tech typed on the screen what the genders were. I only had to wait until that Saturday. I usually HATE surprises. Like I’ll read the ends of books because I am so eager to know the endings. That Friday Jeremy went and got the bouquet of balloons and they were upstairs in our bonus room. I wanted to find out in front of everyone so I never peeked. Didn’t even want to. Who is this girl?

I opened Baby B’s box and before I let the balloons out, I peeked in. They were blue. When I saw Jeremy’s pink balloons flying out, it was just more than I could have ever imagined. A boy and a girl were EXACTLY what I wanted. The best of both worlds. Not only was God giving me the desires of my heart with twins, He was even giving me the genders I wanted.

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“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15img_3776img_3842img_3854img_4013

6 months.

The twins are 6 months old now and I have missed half of a year documenting their lives.

My twin mom BFF, Audi has a blog and she is able to keep up with everything. Any time I ask her how much they weighed at a certain point or when they started doing anything, she is always so quick to answer because all she had to do was refer to her blog.

Here’s hoping I can keep up. Let me do some backing up.

How did we get here.

In November 2015, after unsuccessfully trying for a year to get pregnant, my OB sent me to have a hysterosalpingogram test at the hospital. This is a dye that is inserted and watched through an x-ray to make sure all my tubes were working properly. It was the first step in getting some answers. It was also the last. The radiologist kindly informed me that one of my Fallopian tubes was completely blocked. The other one couldn’t even be detected. Ummm… ok. So now what? When my OB was sent the results she immediately called me. From her cell phone. On her day off. She knows me. I freaked out. What does this mean? What do we do now? Poor Jeremy. If he had known this, would he still have married me? Kind of ironic to remember this part of the conversation, but I told Dr. Callahan “Oh so IVF is my only option? That’s great! I’ve always wanted twins.” Her quick reply “Oh no, Lauren. They would never intentionally transfer 2 embryos. A twin pregnancy is considered a failure.” Side note: When I came back to her pregnant with twins, she just laughed. We both remembered that conversation.

So after the HSG, Dr. C sent us to a Reproductive Endocrinologist, Dr. Deaton. So many blessings in being referred to him as opposed to anyone else. Several of my friends who walked this journey were sent to another popular fertility clinic in Winston, some were even sent the opposite way to Duke. I was sent to the clinic that was 5 minutes from my school. At the time, that didn’t mean anything to me. I didn’t know that there would be weeks when I would have to go to the clinic every. single. day. for blood work during my lunch. Or right after school for ultrasound appointments. God worked out the minute details even before I knew there were details to be worked out.

Because of my diagnosis, we went straight for the big guns: Invitro. Which was good and bad. We didn’t spend years on fertility treatments like some couples have to do. But it also meant that if IVF didn’t work for us, there were no other options. So after we had our initial consult with Dr. Deaton, got all the details in order, and were mentally prepared we were ready. We started March 4, 2016. Prior to that we had to go in for a baseline ultrasound and our medication teaching where I promptly told our dear IVF nurse that I would never inject myself, my precious husband would do it every time. And he sure did. I wish every woman who had to walk this road had a husband as steadfast as mine.

I just knew that IVF was going to work for us the first time. My body responded exactly the way it should have. Dr. Deaton extracted 20 perfect eggs from my body. 17 embryos made it to the 5 day mark. When we went in that Sunday morning for the transfer, there was not a doubt in my mind that in 8 days, I’d know I was pregnant.

On Monday, March 28 Jeremy and I were on our way to Charleston to spend Spring Break with my grandmother. On our way out of town, we stopped at the office to have my blood drawn. The whole way to South Carolina I tried to distract myself, but there was nothing I could have done to prepare for when they called, “Lauren I am so sorry, but you are not pregnant this time.” I still remember exactly where we were. At the end of I-26 passing the Citadel Mall, 15 minutes from Grandma’s house and I begged Jeremy to take me back home. Though my heart was broken I knew that God had a bigger, better plan for us. We chose not to do genetic screening on our embryos so I don’t know the genders of those babies, but I trust God’s sovereignty and am so blessed that He closed the door on that pregnancy so that we would get my precious Sadie and Spencer.

I have always wanted twins for as long as I can remember. My dad has twin brothers and I knew there was a chance that someone in my generation could have twins. I love knowing that even at such a young age, God was preparing my heart for our journey to become parents. When we went in for our first transfer, we had to sign a waiver that acknowledged we went against the RE and the embryologist’s recommendation. They wanted us to transfer one embryo. We wanted two. Twins were what we wanted.

We had to wait a few weeks before we could gear up for the frozen embryo transfer. Though I wanted nothing more than for Jeremy and me to be parents, I had to come to a point of complete surrender: if God chose not to give us biological kids, I was ok with that. My identity did not come from being a mom or a wife. It came from who I am in Christ. And that was enough for me. It had to be. So when we went in for our second transfer, I knew that no matter what happened I was going to be ok. Jeremy and I were going to be ok. Even at my lowest and most discouraging point, I knew that we would always have each other. Though I begged and begged God for a miracle, I knew and trusted that God was faithful and good whether the transfer was successful or not. The morning of our FET, I was reading my Bible and outside of my regular devotion, I was skimming through the Psalms and came across this verse:

I was so encouraged by this and knew in my heart that even if this transfer didn’t work we would one day be parents. Fast forward to June 2. We were right in the middle of state testing at school. I wasn’t expecting the call until that afternoon, so imagine my surprise when I turned my phone on mid-morning and saw a voicemail from Premier Fertility Clinic. I was so scared to listen to it. Somehow I mustered the courage to push play. Seems like it took Brooke forever to finally say “Congratulations Lauren, you’re pregnant.” I fell to my knees in my classroom and couldn’t stop crying, I ran down the hallway to find my school BFF, and then had to turn around because I forgot to call Jeremy! He didn’t answer his phone, so I called his work line. Apparently he was busy with someone because I cried “Jeremy, Brooke just called. Guess what? We’re pregnant!” His response? “That’s great to hear, ma’am. I’ll give you a call back as soon as I can.” Wait, what? I was too ecstatic to even care. How I managed to make it through the rest of that day, I’ll never know. That was over a year ago, and I am still so humbled that God gave us these amazing little blessings.img_2712

I wish you could see my view now. I’ve got my feet propped up on the ottoman and over the laptop, I can see my two precious miracles playing in their exersaucers. There are many days the sight of them takes my breath away. Today is one of them.