Thursday, April 12, 2012

Little Angels

Hunter Owen and Emerson James

I look at these faces and think a thousand times a day...
"How is it that I get the privilege and joy of knowing these sweet lives to be those of my very own sons." 
It's overwhelmingly wonderful and truly, my heart has never felt so full, so complete, so... satisfied.

Any moment away from them feels like a moment too long. Even when they sleep away from my arms I miss them. I just can't get enough of their snuggles and their smell... Something about their smell is positively heavenly!

Shawn helped me write out the events of the boys birth... I couldn't tell you what day of the week they were born until a couple days after the event. All I knew is that it was the 31st :)
I'm glad for his memory of their arrival, it's all such a blur in my mind. A crazy, happy, painful, life changing blur! {But seeing them for the fist time is as clear as today... I fell in love and tears poured from my eyes as I held them close}

Who would have thought that after posting all the belly pics last wednesday that it'd be my last time to share 'the bump'? Not me!

Thursday morning I woke up like most any normal pregnant day feeling sluggish and tired. I canceled plans to see a friend, and spent a few hours taking it easy. At 2 I had one of my weekly Dr appointments and went to that still feeling 'slow'. We listened to the boys heart beats and monitored their movement for 20 minutes or so, and like always they were doing fantastic. 
Secretly though, my body wasn't doing so well. Towards the end of my visit, my amazing OB put a few different things she'd noticed together {my heart rate was up a bit, still in a very good place, but for me, it was high... I'd also gained almost 4 pounds since my last visit, which was 3 days prior, my feet and legs were pretty swollen and she could tell I just wan't myself.} So before I left, she had some blood work done to check into the situation a little better.
After being home for 30 minutes I got a call from her and was told to go to the hospital where I'd stay the night and they'd monitor me for preeclampsia as well as a few other things. Basically, my body was shutting down, done with being pregnant and it was happening too quickly for comfort. 
Getting that phone call was... well, it left me speechless. Too many thoughts to even know what to think. I called a friend who took me to the hospital and I did my best to leave my heart and funny feelings in the Lords hands. 
"Would I be meeting Emerson and Hunter soon?! Was my body just being a little funky and I'd have the privilege of staying in the hospital over night for no reason? Would something really be wrong?!" All these thoughts were pointless to think, simply because I had no answers in that moment... all I could do was move forward and leave the wondering to the wind. I prayed and knew that no matter what, I'd been super healthy and had had a great pregnancy, nothing could change that. My life and the life of my boys remained in Gods care.
-I took this picture right before leaving home... Thinking to myself, this could be my last pregnant pic.

After getting checked into the hospital {around 6pm} I sat in the stiff hospital bed waiting for Shawn to show up, as well as my Mother who was driving up from Southern Oregon. We would play the waiting game together.
That night, I fell asleep quickly despite the anticipation of what was to come. I shut my eyes and woke up at 6:30am. Thirty minutes later I was told that my platelet count was continuing to drop, blood pressure was going up and a number of other things were happening that led to their making the decision to induce me. My body was done carrying these boys. 

This was it. The end of one journey and the beginning of another... And though it wasn't happening the way I thought it would {naturally that is} I was okay with that. Far more important than having a birth story that included as little medical intervention as possible, was my babies being safe. "Medical intervention, there are times for you." and, "Wonderful body and God given ability, you will have plenty of moments to shine in this life... sometimes we just need a little help."

I was told at 7am on Friday morning that I was going to be induced...
Emerson was born on Saturday at 12:45 and Hunter at 2:46. Little did I know what was about to take place over the next 29-31 hours.

This was the last prego pic of me... 
{silly me was thrilled that I was wearing a pretty black slip under my outfit that day! I felt beautiful going into it all, like a lady- it wasn't until early Saturday morning that I had to change into a hospital 'gown'}

First thing that took place, was getting an ultrasound of the boys to double check positioning as well as fluid and heartbeats. Still they were thriving. 

After being wheel chaired to the 'labor room', they hooked me up to an iv of pitocen and slowly but surely the process began. With 3 belts/monitors wrapped with velcro around my belly to continue to check the boys heart rates and my contractions, I laughed to myself... This would be no water birth.
At 12o'clock I was 3 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced. Time to wait for contractions. Mom had a few movies in her car, Australia being one of them {which is a favorite} and we started watching that in order to keep distracted for a bit.
Quickly it just became noise in the background. Nurses were in and out about every 40 minutes or so {it felt like every 10}, I had to pee a lot, but each time I got up to go, I'd have to hang all the cords from the monitors around my neck and take the iv 'tower' with me as well. Using a toilet connected to so many cords and tubes was definitely a challenge. The next couple hours went by quickly, contractions were happening, but nothing too crazy. All I remember thinking at this point was how odd it felt being in the hospital, waiting for the 'magic' to begin... and thinking too, that it was taking a long time. When 6pm rolled around I began to really watch the clock... There was a new pressure taking place. I remember thinking at 7:30 that they were getting worse and by 9pm serious contractions were in full swing. That night between the 30th and 31st were the most intense hours my body had ever faced. 
I think we counted 11 different cords or tubes or contraptions connected to me, and with these came the difficulty of getting into somewhat of a comfortable position to deal with the pain my body was feeling. I'm not sure if I cried when I realized that it was going to be difficult or if I did so internally, but I do remember thinking to myself, I CAN DO THIS, even if it's not a part of my 'picture perfect' world. This is reality, and I had to step through it. The options given to me were to lean against the bed, sit on a birthing ball, which seemed practically impossible, as the ball was too big and my contractions were far too intense {I was scared wouldn't be able to balance and I'd fall off of it}... or sitting in a rocking chair. I chose the rocking chair... and the next 4-5 hours were spent breathing, crying, barfing, attempting to pee {holy cow that's hard to do while having painful contractions and carrying all the cords and the iv tower with you!!!!}. My body shook and mind over matter became my fight. "Thousands of women do this every day! If they can do it, I can do it! My body was made for this. If other women can do this, I can do this!"... I breathed, and I said to my body {within the quiet of my spirit}, Open Open Open. And I said to my babies, Down Down Down. 
At midnight, I was still only 3.5 dilated, but fully effaced. Honestly, I was angry, and knew that my body wasn't doing this naturally and that it would take forever to open the way that it needed to. Still shaking with pain and working through the forceful waves of contractions, I said I wanted an epidural. Shawn, following through with our plan, asked me quietly, "Are you sure that's what you want to do Babe?" I was sure.
Still though I had to push past another hour and a half of contractions before the epidural would be mine... 
Getting the epidural didn't hurt an ounce. At least for me it didn't... Probably due to the fact that my pain level was at its peek and it just met up with the rest of it!
The anesthesiologist said that it'd take a little while for things to start calming down. "Dear Jesus! Please speed things up!" I prayed. 
My legs went numb so fast, and the contractions, though still in effect, were soon taking place without my awareness. 
Never in all my life did I think that I'd have an epidural! Or twins for that matter! But I was grateful for it, and I still am. My babies could have stayed happy in my womb for weeks longer if it were up to them! and now we were trying to force them out... It was a fight between medication, body and babies. 

Phew... it was 2am and finally things began to quiet and calm. The world was dark outside, and my room was dark as well. Somewhere, between 3 and 6 I slept for a little while, shut my mind off while my body continued to work. Woke up nauseous and threw up again, this time all over myself and my pretty slip... I think I cried for a second at this point... feeling helpless and week. Really though, it was just for a second, and it was probably more of a whine than a cry... I was going to fight though this! 
At 7am I was still only 4 centimeters dilated, but thank the Lord, by 9 I was fully dilated! The fun was just beginning!!
They broke Emerson's water.
Since I'd had the epidural, the only pain I was expecting to deal with was the actual fact of pushing the boys out... In my case though, there was still much, much more pain to come. Apparently, my uterus' week spot is my right hip! And that's where Emerson wanted to come through. In order to get him out of my hip, I had to lay on my left side, which sent all the pain meds down with it {I never knew that's how it worked... that the meds went with gravity} So my right hip, was killing me! Oh horrible horrible achy pain!! I couldn't think of what to speak to it. No "down, down, down" or "open, open, open", I didn't know how to be strong in those moments and I shuttered and shook as I lay on my left side while the pain grew agonizing on the right. Someone in the room offered me more pain killers and I took it! They upped my dose of meds and it relieved just enough for me to get though the next couple hours.
All this time, the nurses were messing with the monitors around my belly, always making sure that they had the boys heart beats. This grew tiring. And much of my own attempts at getting comfortable {on my back} were denied as I needed to shift a bit here, or there, in order for them to get a better reading.
Looking back at it all now, I could have been so angry, so frustrated and so flipping annoyed at how little space I had or at how none of this was comfortable or 'natural'... But the thing is, I was grateful! Each nurse that took care of me, made me feel so very loved. I've told a few friends that I felt like the entire team of people that helped me bring these boys into the world were truly angels. I trusted them, and knew that they were taking care of me. Not a single person was rude, or belittling or made me feel like they were just doing their job. I felt like they were fighting for me, like they were fighting with me!
My Mom and my Love were both at my side through it all as well, and each of them did such an amazing job at supporting me. I'm not sure I'll ever look at Shawn the same way as I did before Hunter and Emerson's birth. He is my helper and my rock, and he stood up to the plate and proved his love to me in an absolutely beautiful way.  

10am and Emerson had moved into place! Time to start pushing... 'Practice' pushing that it. This was the easy part for me. Shawn counted for me as I breathed and pushed and paused and started again. It's hard to know where time goes, but I guess we did this for 2 hours... At 12 Emerson's head was 'there', and they wheeled me to the Operating Room, where I'd push for 30 minutes. Emerson arrived at 12:45. Gosh it felt good to hold him!! I'm not going to even attempt to describe the sheer bliss that took place in those brief moments, it was a picture of heaven on earth, and I'll cherish those seconds forever. Round 2! I was ready to push my sweet little Hunter out and hold him as well. Only thing is, Mr. Hunter decided to hang out for a while without his brother squashing him. 2 whole hours actually.
Amazing Dr that delivered my boys, let me go back to the laboring room to have Hunter. Something she said she'd never done before. Hunters vital signs were perfect... he just needed some time to himself. {I am so so so proud of my boys!! Healthy and strong and full of beautiful life!} 
Back in the laboring room, Hunter went straight to my right hip! Again the pain got to me. This time my body was a lot more tired and it shook with adrenaline... turning me onto my left side proved to be far more miserable than before. I felt myself weakening and a nurse gave me oxygen. {Shawn said I was turning pale}. Contractions started up again and mentally even though my body was week, I was strong and fully ready and able to push my other baby out. Hunter arrived at 2:46! Tears filled my eyes as my arms were filled with baby #2. He was perfect. They both were perfect! We'd done it! It was over... it was over. 

Emerson weighed 5 pounds 8 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. 
Hunter weighed 5 pounds 4 ounces and was 17.5 inches long.
Both boys absolutely healthy and strong! 

God is good. And His power and might filled me in those hours of labor. I know without a shadow of a doubt that the timing of my initial Dr appointment on Thursday to the birth and health of my boys and I was perfectly in His hands. He was taking care of us! He is taking care of us!!

The boys are 12 days old and growing stronger each day. They blow me away with their abilities and I must say, that are pretty darn good lookin babies! They sleep, eat and snuggle like champs!

Now to get back to those snuggles!

the boys relaxing during a bit of tummy time earlier today 



echo said...

have I told you lately how amazing you are??? I LOVE YOU SO SO SO SO SO much!

Andrea {kerubo mama} said...

Ohhhhh congratulations, this is just so beautiful!! i love your story, God is definitely awesome! and that last picture, of your boys on their tummies is giving me severe baby fever! love love love it! xoxo

crenziee said...

OH! Amber! You are one strong and amazing momma! Praise the lord for providing you with the strength to get those boys out! I remember mckennas birth story, in fact it was very very very similar to yours. And almost as difficult of course I only had one baby to deliver I couldn't imagine two!! You truly are a super mom! Thank you so much for sharing your story. My baby girl woke up this morning at 245 and wanted to just snuggle, and as we were both snuggling up wide awake, enjoying each others company while the world sleeps, I decided to take a peek at your blog. Emotions over flowed and the memories of my labor came flooding back. I can relate to your birth story in so many ways! And I couldn't help holding mckenna and thinking to myself we are strong women! And these babies are not only our blessings but proof that sometimes surrender is necessary! :) I am so filled with joy for you and Shawn!!! I can not congratulate you enough!
One thing that you talked about that stood out to me was when you were telling yourself that 'if other woman can do this you can too' I told myself the same thing and I fought so hard not to get an epidural. I had to give in at 5.5 cm. People don't really realize how hard it is on your body to be induced and how fast everything goes your body doesn't have time to adjust to the movement or pain level. Its very difficult to deliver naturally without the relief of pain when your being induced. So good for you for not giving up but also good for you for not pushing your body past its limits!
I love you and I am so proud of you! I have so 2zwmany overwhelming feelings of joy and happiness for you! And I'm so glad to share the common bond of parenting with you. It truly is an amazing, exhausting at times, and rewarding experience. Again congratulations to you and Shawn both! And praise Jesus for the miracle that is childbirth! I love all four of you and I hope you take these next few weeks to yourselves a day at a time and soak it all in because it flies by!

deertale said...

awwwww! leaving you a sweet teary eyed comment full of love! How beautiful! thanks for sharing lady! what a major accomplishment, and those boys, swoon. So proud of you and papa!

Jessica said...

So happy to hear an update!! Congratulations to you and your husband! Thanks for sharing your birth story! They will love reading that one day :)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful birth you were able to share with us, emotional and real. So proud of you sister. I can’t wait to embark on my birth journey soon here. Like we have talked about, we can’t really plan what it going to be like- and your story is encouraging. Wanting to originally do a water birth, and now anticipating my “natural birth” in a hospital instead hearing the details of your story inspire me to give it all up to God and let him lead my strength and even if I do end up with an epidural- it will be okay. You did SO good! you are a strong woman! Love you so much, and ant wait to meet those boys once we aren’t sick!

Alexandra Joy said...

A beautiful story. Thank you for sharing you journey. It gets me excited (and a little nervous!) to experience this miracle one day too. Congratulations on your beautiful boys! Love and prayers to you as you adjust to life with your new family. xo

AnnaK said...

Congrats to you! I found you via instagram and have 10 month twins. It is just the best!