Ok, step into my time machine, and let's all travel back to Tuesday, June 28. I was 33 weeks pregnant and here's what I was looking like just prior to my weekly ob appointment:
|33 week tummy shot|
My blood pressure was high, but if you remember that's why I was hospitalized for a week in early June. We were on bought time and hoping to keep the babies inside until 32 weeks, which we accomplished. Since my bp was elevated and didn't come down when I laid on the exam room table for a bit, I was sent (with Jamie of course) back to Christ Hospital "to be monitored". We had everything we needed in my bags. We made our phone calls and I kissed Greta bye, knowing I wouldn't come home until the babies arrived. I was instructed not to eat anything in case we had to do an emergency c-section.
I was admitted and the babies were kept on monitors 24/7. They were still looking fabulous, but I was dancing around with many borderline levels associated with pre-eclampsia. We were taking it day by day. I pleaded my case to my obs to keep the babies in as long as possible, as long as it was safe for them and for me. On Friday, July 1, my ob planned the section for Tuesday, July 5, unless something happened sooner that required immediate action. This put my babies at exactly 34 weeks gestation. I was happy with this!
I was first on the docket for surgery July 5. We jam.packed. the waiting room! My mom, dad, Nick, Brooke, Jamie's mom and dad, brother, 2 sisters, my aunt, and my grandpa were all there. My babies were going to be welcomed into this world with love beyond measure. Here we are about an hour before my babies entered the world:
|34 week tummy shot|
about 1 hour before my babies made their grand entrance
|Jamie was almost as nervous as I was, but beaming in his shirt!|
about an hour before he met his playmates
Jamie put scrubs on over his new dad shirt. I walked to the OR with my nurse and was given a numbing shot in my back, then a spinal. It was so overwhelming. There were so many people standing by- including 2 NICU teams, one for each baby. My bp was off the charts, but my wonderful ob told everyone to ignore it. He knows me well enough to know what was normal and how I respond to stress. I laid on the table and they put up a blue sheet so I couldn't see anything from my chest down. Once I was numb, Dr. Flosi started working his magic; when things got going, they brought in Jamie. I can't tell you how incredible my ob is... since we were going to be surprised, he let Jamie peek over the curtain to see the babies as they were born and *announce* if they were boys or girls! I felt pressure and tugging and pulling, but no real pain. Then Dr. Flosi told Jamie to have a look. We were both already crying, but he stood up, took a quick peek, sat back down by me and said "It's a girl!" A nurse announced her birth time of 8:34 am, and Flosi kept working. More tugging, a bit harder pulling and pressure this time, Jamie was given the go ahead to peek, and when he sat back down, crying and smiling he told me "It's a boy!" The nurse announce 8:35 am as his time of birth. To my right I could see loads of people hustling about taking care of my daughter and my son. I cried.
Gabriella Margaret weighed 4 pounds 4 ounces and was 17 inches long. She was actually my very active baby B, but was positioned transverse and therefore the first actual baby out. Benjamin Ryan weighed 5 pounds 7 ounces and was 18.5 inches long. My quiet, calm baby A, already a gentleman to let his sister go first.
Gabriella's nurse brought her over for me to see and give kisses to before she was whisked away to the NICU. She was beautiful and perfect and peaceful.
Benjamin's nurse followed closely behind with him. I kissed his sweet little face, too, before he left for the NICU. He was just as perfect and oh, so handsome.
They finished up on me, Jamie went to tell the fan club who the newest members of our family were, and I was off to recovery. Jamie, one by one, scrubbed in with each of our family members so they could meet Gabriella and Benjamin. After about an hour in recovery, on my way to my actual room, my bed was wheeled in to the NICU. The babies were directly across from each other. Later that night I got to go back in my wheelchair and visit. It was then that I got to hold Gabriella for the first time. I had to wait 11 days before I could hold my Benjamin, but we were able to hold his hands and touch him (most of the time).
We are beyond blessed with two amazing babies. My sweet little angels that I cried and prayed and begged for for years were finally here. It was a long road to get them, and the journey has continued with unexpected twists and turns so far. Some days it seems like they were just born- I remember every detail so clearly. But other days, it seems like they have been part of our lives for so long- they just fit right in and complete our family so perfectly.
Gabriella was in the NICU for 14 days. She had low billirubin levels and was on the phototherapy lights for much of the time. She also had feeding issues- suck, swallow, breathe is a tough concept! She was discharged on July 19th.
Benjamin was in the NICU for 31 days; exactly 1 month. We were ABO bloodtype incompatible and his red count was low, so he needed more plateletts the day after birth. Breathing was very hard for him. He was on CPAP, but needed to be intubated and put on a ventilator. He was intubated for 11 days, came off for almost a day, but then was re-intubated for 6 more. Apparently premature white boys have the worst time when it comes to respiratory issues. In addition to preemie lungs, he had pneumonia, pulmonary hypertension, an open PDA valve, and a slight heart murmur (from open PDA). He was discharged on August 5th and came home with oxygen and an apnea monitor, which we still have.
On August 5th, Gabriella came with to the hospital to bring Benjamin home. We needed two cars because I had to sit in the backseat with Benjamin, and let's face it...in a four door car with two rear facing car seats, this girl could not sit in the middle of them (I'd like to meet the person that could, by the way). My dad, Benjamin, and I were in one car. My mom, Gabriella, and Jamie were in another car. Both babies had their beautiful newborn photos taken that day at the hospital. We were able to take Benjamin's oxygen off very briefly for the photos.