For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows grace and favor and glory - honor, splendor and heavenly bliss! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalms 84:11

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Our Birth Story

I've decided that perhaps I should start at the beginning. Hubby and I had tried for a year on our own to become parents before finally breaking down and using Clomid. For most people Clomid only results in one baby. But since I also have a very long family history of twins it increased our chances exponencially. After only one cycle of the drug I got those two little lines on my home pregnancy test that I had been praying for for a very long time.

So when the ultrasound tech said that we had 2 babies in my belly we were surprised, but we weren't completely shocked. We knew it was possible, even without the drugs it was possible.

The day before the girls were born I had a perinaitologist appointment. Several weeks prior my parents had decided that I could not go to any more appointments alone, and insisted that if DJ couldn't go with me then one of them would. This was quite a commitment for them because I was going to 2 NST appointments and 1 ultrasound appointment each week. By the end of my pregnancy I was threatening my Dr. to bring my sleeping bag and camp out in the waiting room. lol All of this to say, DJ was going to have to work June 11th, 2007, so my mom made room in her schedule and planned to go with me to the appointment. At the last minute DJ decided to take the day off work and go along as well, and since my mom had already planned to come I had TWO chaperones that day rather than just one. They both kept telling me that they felt they NEEDED to be there with me. I thought they were both silly, but when you're 34 weeks prego with twins your will to argue lessens tremendously. I pretty much threw my hands in the air and said something along the lines of, "Fine whatever, but nothing's going to happen! He'll just say everything's fine and then you will both feel silly for taking the day off work for nothing!" But somehow they just knew, even though I didn't.

Maybe it was because I looked like this:
Me at 34 weeks, day of delivery

In any case, the ultrasound tech that day took a lot of measurements. They were especially concerned about Ziva because she was so much smaller than her sister. But we also knew that they were fraternal, and there could be a natural disparity between them just like any other set of sisters born on different years. So I really wasn't worried at all, I felt like the doctors were making a big fuss over nothing. But I was thankful to be getting such great care, and I was happy to go along for the ride. There was one ultrasound several weeks earlier when they mis-measured Ziva, so the tech really took her time to make sure everything was correct. And then she got quiet, and left to get the doctor. I could see her heartbeat and everything so I knew she wasn't in distress, but her actions still made me nervous. DJ said, "Well, I bet it's time." My mom agreed. I said, "Psh.. you guys are crazy!"

The doctor came in and said, "Time to deliver!" And I said, "What?!" I was in total denial... which ain't just a river in Egypt! I thought for SURE that I'd carry them to at least 36 weeks! I had been visualizing it, picturing me taking home 2 healthy 6 lbs. babies as soon as I was released from the hospital. This was NOT my plan! Apparently Ziva had dropped off her growth curve, which meant that she would grow better outside rather than inside. He offered the option of checking myself into the hospital right then, or waiting until the next morning. I picked the next morning. I wanted to go home, do laundry, eat a normal dinner, pack my bag, etc.

So that's what we did.

The next morning we arrived at the hospital. They wanted to hook me up to the NST to monitor the girls, I helped them. By then I was getting to be a pro at knowing where the girls heart beats could be found. The nurse checking me in talked me through what would happen. Turns out she was an identical twin, so she had a special place in her heart for twin births. And then she got to the part of her speech where she explained that after the girls were born they would show me each girl, and then they would go to a little room next to the OR, and then they'd sew me up, and I'd get to spend a brief amount of time with each girl before they were taken to the NICU and I was taken to recovery. And that's when I broke down and cried. No, I sobbed. Because these precious little girls that I had spent every moment with for the past 8 months would now be taken from me in such a sudden way, and I wouldn't be able to share a room with them the way I had envisioned. It was terrible, just writing it now brings me to tears.

DJ right before surgery

And bless his heart, DJ just cried right along with me. They had to delay my surgery by 15 minutes just so we could pull ourselves together.

The surgery itself went without a hitch. I had the two best Dr's I could have asked for performing the surgery: Dr. Hutchinson and Dr. Gibbons. They were amazing! Ziva, who was breech, was born first, and then Anya was born 2 minutes later.

Here is what I wrote in a mass email once I got home that gives most of the basic details:

Well our girls arrived on June 12th and they’re both doing great! Ziva Lynn was 3 lbs. 9 oz. and Anya Jean was 5 lbs. 11 oz. Right now they’re both in the NICU and it will probably be a week or two before they get to come home. The c-section went without a hitch, the worst part of the whole experience was getting my IV placed which took 3 tries (ouch!). Both babies came out crying. Ziva came out with both arms outstretched like she was saying “Here I am!” Anya needed some help with suction at first to get all the fluid out of her lungs, but once that was done they were both doing fine just breathing room air. At this point Ziva has gained 3 oz. over her birth weight and Anya still has a couple oz. to go before she reaches her birth weight. They’re both doing great regulating their own body temperature, so today they took them out of the incubators and put them together in a crib. So we got some great pictures of them in the crib together all cuddled up. They seem to really enjoy it! The only thing that’s keeping them in the NICU at this point is that they need to learn how to eat. They both have feeding tubes and we’re working on breastfeeding, but I’ve been told that babies that are born 6 weeks early usually aren’t ready to eat on their own until it’s closer to their due date. The feeding sessions are going well and they’re both catching on but don’t stay awake long enough to eat as much as they need to.


What I didn't say in that email is that after they were born Dr. Hutchinson showed their placentas to DJ. Apparently Ziva's placenta was 1/2 the size of Anya's, which explains why Ziva was so tiny by comparison. Plus Ziva's umbilical cord had grown along the side of her sack, which means if my water had broken unimaginable things could have happened to her. So THANK GOD I had good doctors watching out for me!!! And THANK GOD they decided I needed a c-section! Because it could have easily gone bad and Ziva might not be here with us today.

Anya  Ziva

They stayed in the NICU for 2 weeks.

Ziva in front, Anya in back

They were very cute.

Daddy  Anya

Ziva  Mommy

It's amazing to think about how tiny they were.

Face to Face

I feel completely honored that God entrusted them to me.

6 comments:

Stacy said...

I loved reading your girls' birth story. IKWYM about feeling sad they wouldn't share a room with you. Lindsay was full term and healthy so she shared the room with me. I expected no less with Lathen and Leann but that wasn't to be. I was heartbroken. I'm glad too you had great dr's and both babies were born healthy and are thriving.

C-Wolf said...

That bottom picture is the best ever!

Christie said...

What a great story. The pictures of them sleeping next to each other are so adorable. I miss the days of my babies sleeping.

Lisa C. said...

OK... you had me in tears...

It brought back sooo many memories... Your girls are beautiful... and the blessings are amazing...

Thank you for sharing..

Genesis said...

What a great birth story, so glad everything worked out so well. I know how you feel about not being with them. When my oldest was born, he had a birth defect that they couldn`t handle at the public hospital (I live in Guatemala) and he was sent to another hospital in a different city. I couldn`t go with him because I had eclampsia and had to be monitored for 3 days after the birth. It was horrible.

Came here for the blog party and stuck around to explore a bit!

cat said...

Oh I love reading birth stories!

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