6/7/12

My Twin Birth Story

This birth story has turned into quite a long read but I wanted to get it down because many of my friends don't even know the story because I was so traumatized at the time.  I would ugly cry when I started to talk about the birth.  Now I can almost get through it with just some glistening.  So here goes..

I want to start with a little background.  Two months before I got pregnant with the boys Boogie and I were at the Vitamin store.  I was picking up a new multivitamin and as I was checking out Boogie told the man, "My mom is going to have twin baby boys".  The man told me "Congratulations!" and I awkwardly explained that I was NOT pregnant.  A few minutes later she told a Target cashier the same thing.  We had a little chat on the way home about how mommy was NOT pregnant and NOT having twins.

Obviously, Boogie got the last laugh.



Fast forward a few months and I am (surprise!) 9 weeks pregnant and telling Daddy that my belly looks way too big for 9 weeks even though it is my third pregnancy.  I say joking "Oh my gosh what would we do if it was twins??"  We die laughing.  Ahem..

I was telling my Doctor the above story about Boogie when I had my first ultrasound.  The Dr was moving the ultrasound wand on my belly and "looked" into one dark sac and then moved into another and got a shocked look on her face and said "Oh my gosh!" and I said at the same time "Wait!  What did you just do!??"  I knew.  I spent the next few hours on the phone trying to talk through my shock.  It took me about 10 minutes to convince Daddy that I was serious.



Apparently, being over 30 increases your chance of having fraternal twins.  Guess what else does?  Genetics!  And my cousin on my mom's side has fraternal twins.  Silly me...I never knew I was such a prime candidate!

I started praying every night that my babies would be healthy.  I knew that things were a lot trickier with a multiple pregnancy.  Emotionally, I was a wreck.  I had a few near panic attacks about having twins.  I have never wanted twins and I am pretty sure my exact words when I found out my cousin was having twins was "Better her than me!"

I decided that although I had always refused the screening tests that because I was having twins I would go ahead and do them this time so that I could be prepared if need be.   My Dr did the Nuchal Translucency test and the AFP.  We passed with flying colors.  An amnio was never even discussed because I was 34 and I'm assuming because I had twins.  I would never have had one anyway.

I was nervous at every appointment.  I got to see the babies a lot on the ultrasound (a perk to having twins) and I was always looking back and forth from the screen to the Dr's face to see if everything was going okay.  Looking back I feel like I knew something was coming.

One night, Daddy and I were watching "Sarah Palin's Alaska" (don't judge me.  It was only because we have family in Alaska and wanted to watch the scenery.  Plus it was slim pickings on tv that night).  They went to visit their cousins and they were explaining that their cousin also had a son with down syndrome but that she didn't know before he was born like they did with Trig.  I remember that totally freaked me out.  I kept thinking, "You can not know?"  And then I convinced myself that with all the ultrasounds I was getting for sure they would find something if it was there.

3 months pregnant

At 20 weeks the whole family crowded in the tiny ultrasound room for the "big ultrasound"  Daddy bet two girls.  I bet one of each because that seems to be most common with fraternal twins and Boogie stuck to two boys.  I don't think Baby cared.  When the Dr announced "The first one is a boy!" I let out a HUGE sigh of relief.  Finally!!  A boy!  Since I had my boy I was happy with boy or girl for the other twin.  When she said "And another boy!" we threw a party.  I looked at my girl and shook my head.  How in the world????

At another routine ultrasound appointment, I saw a very clear view of Bunny's face and I instantly heard "down syndrome" in my head and I froze.  I quickly looked at the doctor and her expression had not changed at all.  I talked myself down and told myself that the features I saw looked just like Boogie when she was a baby.  The round face.  The big eyes. Incidentally, I doubt that I saw anything that looked like down syndrome. I think I was just being prepared.

36 weeks
My doctor had told me to expect to deliver at the end of February.  I would have been around 36 weeks.  36 weeks came and went and I was still very large and very tired.  I was feeling cheated that I was not getting an early delivery even when I had twins!

I was induced with both of the girls.  Baby came very quickly once the party started so I guessed the boys labor would not take long.  I also had never gone in to spontaneous labor so I was nervous about how long it would or wouldn't take.  Daddy works about 45 minutes from the house and the hospital was 45 minutes away.  I knew if things happened too fast we would be in trouble.

Just to add to all the fun, Bunny (Baby B) kept flipping from head up to head down.  Because he was baby B it didn't mean I had to have a C section but it didn't rule it out either.  Now I laugh because it doesn't surprise me at all that he was flipping around in there!

Finally on March 10th I started to have some regular contractions.  I went to bed excited.  I woke up thinking that things would probably not happen but as Baby and I went through our morning I started timing.  They were definitely regular.  I decided we needed to go walk around Target and see if things moved along.  While we were in the store I started getting sweaty and that freaked me out.  I called Daddy nervously and said that I was pretty sure that I was in labor but that it wasn't too bad yet but maybe he should come home just to be safe. I think he got home in 30 minutes.

I kept second guessing myself on the way to drop off Baby.  I didn't want to go into the hospital and not be dilated and be sent home.  I was also really really hoping this was it.  I checked into the hospital at 11:45am.  I was 2 centimeters but was definitely having steady contractions so they told me to stay for awhile to see what happened.  The contractions weren't painful at all but I could definitely feel it.  Once they finally got me settled and iv-ed I walked and walked.  I was too embarrassed to walk by myself down the hallway (it's super short) so I paced in my room.  (Daddy was out getting food)

A couple hours later I was told I was a 4 only to have my Dr come in with her man hands and say "Nope she is still 2"  I was devastated.  I knew if they sent me home I would just be right back because I knew this was it.  The nurse fought for me and showed that my contractions were steady and close so the dr broke my water.  Things started moving then.  I think that was around 4 or 5:00pm because the Dr was done with office hours. 

Around 7 or 8:00pm I was ready for my drugs.  I like to wait until I'm in enough pain that the potential side effects don't freak me out.  I started to feel really icky as the drugs hit.  I remember telling the nurse I might barf (and then felt guilty because I had told her I wasn't a puker)  My mom pushed her way to the bed and said "You don't look good.  Something's wrong!"  I remember seeing her face and lots of stars.  It was my blood pressure.  It dropped really low and freaked everyone out.  They gave me a dose of something and I was back in business.  My mom's eyes stayed on the blood pressure monitor all night.  She did not like that little scare!
The Dr came in for another check around 11:00pm and said "Let's have these babies!"

Because Bunny was still head up we had to be wheeled into the c-section room.  The room was very small.  There were a billion people crammed into that room.  They had told me that Daddy and my mom would be able to watch but then changed their story and said she would have to watch from outside the room.  They just didn't know how it would go and didn't want any extra bodies.  I truly never thought for a minute I would have to have a c section and joked how cruel it would be if I had one vaginally and then one by c section.

Buddy was first and came out in 3 or 4 pushes.  They quickly rushed him to the side and gave me a spray of something under my tongue and there was a huge flurry of movement around the room.  I got to see a glimpse of dark baby hair and smiled because we figured the boys would have dark hair like their sisters.



Then they did an ultrasound and the dr found that Bunny had flipped into position.  He came out in about a push and a half.  (4 minutes after his brother.  They said it was the fastest twin birth they have ever had.  I do like to be efficient!) As he was flying out he was peeing all over the dr.  It was hilarious.  I was shocked to see blonde fuzzy hair on his head.  Daddy and I had joked that it would be funny to have one brown and one blonde hair twin but we had assumed that they would look almost identical as the girls look so similar. I have a vague memory of seeing his body passed to the nurse and seeing that he looked like a little frog with his little legs splayed.  Buddy was 6lbs4oz and Bunny was 5lbs7oz.  They were born around 11:45pm

At that point they handed me my tiny little Buddy and I immediately said he looked exactly like Baby when she was born.  I got lost in him for a moment and then asked how Bunny was.  Daddy was just staring at the isolete and he looked VERY nervous.  I kept asking what was wrong and if he was okay.  They assured me he was.



Then they started to wisk him away and I screamed "Don't I get to see my baby????"  The nurse brought him next to the bed and I just stared at him.  I couldn't figure him out.  He looked like a little old man and I couldn't figure out what was different.  I was so confused.  She said "You can touch him" and I stroked his face but she didn't offer him to me.  Then they took the babies to the nursery.

I was wheeled to my room and as they made me comfortable the labor nurse came in and asked me what their weights were.  I told her I had no idea so she called the nursery to ask.  The phone call had a lot of silence and "ohs" and she hung up and said "They are still getting them settled".  Then EVERYONE left me.  I was sitting there all alone with no babies and I was starting to wonder why no one was talking to me.

A few minutes went by and Daddy came in still in his gown and he beelined for the other side of the room avoiding my gaze.  I said "What the heck is going on???"  He looked at me and said "Well. um. They think Baby B might have down syndrome"  I screamed "WHAT!!!!  Get my mom!  Get my mom!  I want my mom!"  My mom was with the boys in the nursery.  I knew my mom would give it to me straight.  As soon as she walked in I knew that Daddy was not being dramatic and I lost it.

I kept saying "Why would God do this to me?  I can't even handle twins!  How will I handle twins and down syndrome?"  I'm sure they could hear me sobbing and screaming out in the lobby.  My doctor came in and held my hand.  She explained down syndrome a little bit to me and assured me that he would just need love like any other baby.  They couldn't know for sure that he had down syndrome (They use Trisomy 21 in hospital lingo) until the test came back but he had a few markers.  They would also need to look at his heart and check his bowels for complications.  If he had a blockage in his bowels then he would be taken to a different hospital for surgery.

I was so heartbroken and so overwhelmed.  At this point I had still only seen him for a second.  I didn't believe any of them.  I wanted to see him for myself.  So as they wheeled me to my room I insisted that I see him.  He was asleep and hooked up to a million things.  I looked and looked and was not convinced.

I cried all night. I wanted to leave the hospital and leave the boys behind.  I didn't want hard complicated life.  I wanted to go back to easy life with just the four of us.  I was so mad that this had happened to me.  I did not want this.

The thing that kept setting me off when I would finally calm down was my expensive twin stroller.  I pictured it sitting in the living room and how I had been so foolishly excited to push my twin boys around in it showing them off.  Now I figured I would never have that day (Ridiculous I now know).  I felt so stupid and ashamed that I had just assumed everything would be normal.

The next morning I woke up with that pit in your stomach you get when your heart has been ripped out.  I wanted to see Bunny.  I wanted to see these supposed markers so I could dismiss them.  I called the nursery and insisted I see him.  (For the record it still makes me furious that they did not have me hold him when he was born.  I know they were trying to get him stable and monitor him but he needed to be loved and know his mommy was there.  It breaks my heart when I think of him laying in his isolete all alone on that first night.  Ripped away from his twin and with no mom)


The night before Bunny had been sleeping but when I held him that morning he opened his eyes and looked at me and I knew he had down syndrome without any test results.  When I walked back into our room I burst into tears and Daddy said "Did he have his eyes open?"  He knew from the minute he saw him that something was different.

Honestly, the next few days were a blur of paperwork and doubts and tears and gut wrenching sobs.  One of my favorite memories is of a night nurse that was in charge of me on the second night I was there.  She came in at 3:00am and I was awake crying in bed and as she comforted me she told me that I needed to "take my thoughts captive".  I could not worry about the future.  I needed to take each day at a time.

The phrase meant so much to me because I had been helping my friend with group therapy sessions at church and that was one of her favorite lines to use.  I felt like God was sending me a message through this nurse.  I think that's where I began to turn the corner of acceptance.  I decided it was my mission to get Bunny healthy and home with his twin brother.  I could worry about the next step after that.  I did not need to worry about whether or not kids would make fun of him or how he would fit into our family for now.  I could take that as it came.



I've read a lot of birth stories where woman had a birth diagnosis of down syndrome and they were in love with their child instantly or within a few days.  It honestly took me about 2 weeks to fall in love with Bunny.  I prayed so hard for those first few days that God would help me love him and I know that sounds horrible and nonmaternal but I was so in shock and he was so unfamiliar to me.  Once I fell I fell hard.  I love my son so much.  I can't imagine him not in our family.

My Lovebugs


I used to think that God gave Bunny to us but now I just think that things happen and God allows them and His part is that he gives us the strength, grace and love to get through it when we ask him.  I prayed for two healthy boys and that is exactly what I got. 

15 comments:

  1. Shar, I love reading your story....sharing hopes, fears, emotions...so honest. You didn't have the confidence when they were born that you would be a fantastic mom to them, but you really are! You amaze me, that you manage your home and 4 little people so well. Not to say it's easy (duh!), but you do way more than just get through the days. Those little boys are precious, as are your girls, and knowing God has given you strength, grace and love is a precious gift as well! Love you! Aunt Ruth

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  2. Thank you for sharing your story! I feel the same way about my Ben. I wanted a healthy child and that is exactly what I got!

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  3. Sharla,

    Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story. It brought tears to my eyes reading this. I know I have told you before, but it is the honest truth, you amaze and inspire me. I remember when you posted that you were having twins and we had a chat conversation about how that would have thrown me into the depths of despair (to quote Anne). You take things with such stride, calm, confidence, and patience, I wish I could be one tenth the mom you are. Thanks again for sharing!

    Michelle

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  4. Sharla, thank you for posting your story! I know I'm nosy, but I really did wonder about how you felt in the early days after the birth. You are so strong and loving and so born to be a mother, that I wondered if you had any doubts or trouble adapting. It's a relief to read that you are human too! ;) I burst into tears when I read the nurse telling you to take your thoughts captive. Such a moment. I love you, girlie. I hope I get to meet your little giant family one of these days.

    xoxo

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  5. I remember how your strength and faith came through in those first days in the Facebook messages you were posting. I remembering feeling the love and excitement you had for the babies even in the midst of your shock and chaos. I'm so happy that you shared your story. I loved reading it!

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  6. Sharla,
    I too had to keep blinking the tears away to keep reading... anyone who has had a baby understands the emotions that come with childbirth so your words made me feel as if I were you.
    I think of you more often than you know..esp when I am having trouble coping with ONE!
    You were chosen for a reason...and you are doing an extraorindary job :)

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  7. I am so glad you wrote this all down! It is a treasure! I can't believe I didn't even know which munchkin was born first:) I think you are a great mommy and are doing a great job. Thanks for sharing such a momentous, amazing journey!

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  8. What a beautiful birth story! I think I cried all the way through it...It was just so close to my own, it brought up a lot of emotions. You have such a beautiful family...And Bunny is adorable :)

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  9. My son and his wife are expecting twins in January and I have been concerned of the babies health, after ready your story, I choose to quit being so worried and trust the Lord for His blessings. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Gos bless you and your family.

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  10. Thank you for leaving that comment. It means a lot to me. Those babies are going to be such a blessing to your family!!

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  11. What a beautiful story! We are so blessed, aren't we? Much love to your family, and looking forward to getting to know another twin mommy who has such a similar experience!
    Heather

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    1. Yes we are. I am so grateful for my boys!!

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  12. Thank you thank you thank you for your comforting and inspiring words!!! I have recently found out that one of my twin baby boys most likely has DS...am due in 13 weeks. Your blog gave me so much hope!!!!

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    1. Please feel free to get in contact with me with any questions or just to chat. My email is sharmadesigns @ yahoo .com

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  13. You have a beautiful family and your kids are gorgeous. You sound like a terrific mommy! I pray that God blesses you and your family and gives you the strength to keep being terrific!

    Much Love and God bless.

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