"Live out of your imagination, not your history."
Stephen Covey

08 January 2012

Reese and Molly. Birth Story.

It's a story worth coming back after an almost 1-year blog break to tell ...

My pregnancy with Reese and Molly was so textbook I was sure I would make it to at least 36 weeks before going into labor. Little did I know that the girls, perhaps scheming with Riley was anxious to have them come out, had other plans.

A day short of 32 weeks, in the wee morning hours the day after Ryan’s first day of school, my water started leaking. After convincing the OB on call that I was not just losing bladder control, I set out to the hospital assuming I'd return in a couple hours. It was kind of embarrassing leaving a watery trail from the door to the front desk, where I rather conspicuously stuffed a towel down my pants so the janitor wouldn't have too much clean up. After getting up to a room, the nurse quickly confirmed that I was leaking amniotic fluid (after taking a sample from the puddle on the floor) and told me that I wouldn't be leaving until the girls were born. The OB visited and confirmed that I would be on bed rest at the hospital until 34 weeks (if I made it to 34 weeks), at which time they would induce labor because the potential complications of infection begin to outweigh the possible complications of preterm birth.

The thought of a 2-week hospital stay was overwhelming, but I didn't want the girls to come at 32 weeks so that's what I was hoping for. The docs thought that if I made it past the first 48 hours without going into labor, then I’d probably make it to 34 weeks. Those first 48 hours were a mix of phone calls to schedule childcare, tying up loose ends as best I could, visitors (both expected and unexpected), cable TV shows I never watch, and evening visits from my family. But no labor. It wasn't until day 4 that contractions started.

I arrived at the hospital early on a Wednesday morning, and that Sunday I awoke about 3 in the morning to serious but not too strong contractions about 10 minutes apart. They decided to transfer me back to Labor & Delivery, where I got an IV and the girls got continuous heart monitoring. (I love those monitoring belts ... especially two at once!). By 7, the contractions had picked up to between 3 and 5 minutes apart and I called Ryan. We figured we'd meet our girls that day. But by the time Ryan arrived, the contractions were back to 10 minutes apart and they were losing intensity.

The rest of that day, contractions came and went, but were never as close or as intense as they were that morning. We ate meals, did a crossword puzzle, tried to figure out what Reese's middle name would be, and talked about whether Ryan should go into work the next day (a Monday). By dinner time, I was having only light contractions every now and then. The OB said they may come and go for days. I was just hoping they would come during the day rather than the middle of my night again. But no, the same thing happened that night.

I woke up around 1am this time with contractions about 10 minutes apart again. Again, they hooked me up to fetal monitoring and again the contractions seemed to be getting closer together. But by 6, when I called Ryan, they had slowed back to 10-12 minutes apart and we figured the same thing would happen as happened the day before. Ryan went to work.

For the next few hours, the contractions held steady at around 10 minutes apart. Sometimes they'd get closer for a while, but then they'd lengthen out again. Ryan checked in and I told him that I wasn't making much progress. We both remembered my labor with Riley, which was 42 hours, and assumed that things wouldn't happen too quickly. If things ramped up, Ryan would certainly have enough time to leave school and be there for the last, most intense, part of labor, right?

Around 10, contractions picked up again, but not as intensely as the previous morning. My OB came by about 30 minutes later and decided to check my dilation (since I'd been laboring off and on for so long). I was 5 centimeters. This isn't going to turn around, she said, I'm calling the anesthesiologist. (I was planning an epidural because Molly (the upper one) was breach and we wanted to try a breach extraction with her.) You need to call Ryan, she said. While I still didn't feel like we were in the end stages of labor, the looked on her face was sobering and I called Ryan to tell him to come to the hospital.

While the anesthesiologist and I talked, I only stopped a couple times to breathe through a contraction. I didn't think we'd meet our babies until that evening. After he left, my contractions really ramped up.

I don't remember much of the next 15 minutes. Ryan was on his way and I was just trying to get through contractions. Nurses were trying to keep the monitors on the babies so we'd know if their heart rates started to slow.

Ryan got there just a couple minutes before they wheeled me to the OR (hospital procedure for twin deliveries because of the higher risk of emergency c-section). They asked him to wait outside while they set up. I was feeling a lot of pressure, like I needed to push, but there hadn't been time to get the epidural and my OB was still hoping to give it to me because of the breach extraction. Despite her best attempts to slow labor, we quickly realized that Reese was not waiting for the epidural. Ok, she said, this baby's coming now. They let Ryan in just as I was starting to push. In a few minutes, Reese was born, at 11:12 (less than 45 minutes after I'd called Ryan).

The anesthesiologist still hoped to give me something between the deliveries so that we could do the breach extraction if Molly didn’t flip when Reese came out. But I was losing too much blood and my OB didn't want to wait. Do you want to try the extraction anyway? she asked. It was either that or a c-section, so I said yes.

She and her partner took turning sticking their hands in to try to find Molly's feet so that they could guide her out feet down. Time and time again, they could only find one. Finally, after almost 10 minutes, I said I needed a break. There was a pause. We need to do a c-section, she said. We need to get her out.

While I really didn’t want a c-section, I also didn’t know if I could handle any more hands in my uterus. My OB knew how much I wanted a vaginal birth, so I figured she’d tried as hard as she could and my blood loss was just too much to continue trying for the extraction.

So they prepped me for a c-section.

Sheets covered me, the OB had her knife, and the anesthesiologist said he was 10 seconds away from putting me under when I felt a little pressure and pushed. I think she just came out, I said. Wait, said one of the nurses, she said she thinks the baby's out. Someone quickly lifted the sheets. She is! Do I need to push again?, I asked. One more push, she said. So I did, and Molly squirted the rest of the way out. She’d come out butt first and sack intact, saving me from major surgery and weeks of recovery. (Too be fair, Reese had also saved me from a c-section by flipping head-down the previous week after a few chiropractor visits.)

Reese and Molly had to stay in NICU for almost 4 weeks, but they never needed a respirator or other interventions that most 32 week babies need. They were and are amazingly healthy and strong.

With Riley, I had planned a natural birth, and didn’t get it. With Reese and Molly, I planned an epidural, and didn’t get it. It’s quite a reminder that our bodies have a wisdom all their own and our children have minds all their own. My girls remind me of the second every day, and will probably need to continue to do that for some time, for I am a slow learner.

Thank you girls for most memorable births. You are amazing. Thank you for letting me feel amazing by bringing you into this world.

31 January 2011

Paring Down - Week 4

Ok, so our study wasn't quite this bad. Well at least not this obviously bad. We're better at hiding disorganization in unorganized files, "To File" boxes, and paper bags marked "Recycle," "Shred," or "Sort." But it's just a disguise, because our paper clutter is bad, has always been bad. Because I hate this part of organization. Sorting paper requires hours of work to get visible results. I'd rather wash the dishes. But I did manage to get through some of our files this week, resulting in a couple bags of recycling. I decided that counting them individually would be kind of cheating, so I just counted the bags, resulting in this week's total of:

1 unworking fan
89 office supplies
6 magazines
12 books
2 bags of paper

So my total for the week is 110 things, making my total for the month of January 423 things. I hit my goal! (And I didn't even get to every room of the house.) I feel good about that. But what's unsatisfying is that it only made me realized more clearly how many unused and useless things we keep in our home. 423 things gone and probably no one would notice except for Ryan, and maybe visitors who have poked around in our cupboards ;-) These uneccesary things only clutter our lives and take time away from things that really matter. Though we'll never live like this (thanks for the interesting article Teal), I do want to continue to take small steps towards getting rid of things that aren't regularly used and minimizing the constant flow of "stuff" through our home.

If you're interested in more minimal living, check out these blogs I've found helpful:
Rowdy Kittens
Becoming Minimalist
Simpler Living (this post is especially funny)
Miss Minimalist

29 January 2011


Helping mama wrap presents

Hanging out by the tree

If we did Christmas cards, this would be our picture

Passing the time painting with pudding

and watching planes

and putting on 3 skirts at once

and snuggling with dad

25 January 2011

Our Baby

At 10 weeks, our baby should have had ears, elbows, toes, and a beating heart. I don’t know if our baby had any, all, or none of those, but something must have been wrong because we lost our littlest child a month ago today. I wish I could have heard her beating heart (Ryan and I both thought it was a girl). I wish I could have known whether I lost a son or daughter. But I never will.

I miss things that were months away from happening: birthing her, seeing his or her face for the first time, nursing her, introducing Riley to her little brother or sister, cuddling on the bed with Ryan and our two kids and feeling amazed at the little family God created for us. And now part of that family will always be missing.

Even though I trust that there is reason behind miscarriage, I will forever miss meeting one of my children. When someone asks, “How many kids do you have?,” I will say one and think two. And I’m sure a moment of hesitation and sadness will flash across my face, and if they see it they won’t understand. But I will, for the umpteenth time remember the child I never got to meet and feel the scar that was left when my baby died.

23 January 2011

Paring Down - Week 3

Down to the wire this week! 4 1/2 hours to go and I just hit 100. This week I finished going through our room, and then focused on (but didn't finished) the study. This might be the room in our house with the most excess crap. It's truly ridiculous, like I was sorting through magazines that were 5-10 years old. And thanks to the mags, I hit 100 things in no time (which was good because it meant I got to share a bowl of Starbucks java chip ice cream sooner with my hubby). So this week I got rid of:

15 items of my clothing
33 of my books
3 more of Riley's books
49 magazines

Those items make a nice round 100 things for the week and 313 things total. 87 things to go (though I think the study will provide more than 87 opportunities to chuck stuff).