Two years ago, on this night, my babies came into this world. Amidst crying, fear, worry, a host of doctors, nurses, nursing students, neonatologists, anesthesiologists, respiratory techs, and a bunch of other random people, my little, tiny miracles made their way into my heart, into my life.
Let me back up. I had been on bedrest for two weeks by January 19th of 2006. I had just started to prepare myself for the long haul in the hospital. I had a PICC line put in around one o'clock p.m., since they figured I would be there for a couple months minimum. I took a shower, unassisted, afterwards and climbed into my bed. I hooked up my sock thingys that were supposed to keep me from getting a blood clot, but really just prevented me from getting any good sleep, and got out a cross stitch project that my mom had given me to pass the time. I remember I had been re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series, and after reading nearly non-stop for two weeks, finishing them all again, and starting on a mixture of parenting books, marriage books, and random junk people sent me, I decided to try the cross stitch.
As I sat there cross stitching away, I realized I was having contractions. Not the usual Braxton-Hicks, these were a little bit painful, a little crampy. I told my nurse, which prompted them to turn up the magnesium crap I was on, which not only did nothing for the contractions, but had a wonderfully dizzying effect on me. Now, I was trying to cross stitch while my room spun at around 30 m.p.h. as well as ignore the horrible pain developing in my entire midsection. Quite the memorable experience. By five o'clock p.m., they turned the mag up again, gave me a shot of something in my shoulder for backup (which caused me to shake like a person with Parkinson's) and made me lie on my left side (of course). When none of this had helped by around 6: 30 p.m., they decided to check my cervix and see if I was dilated any further than the 4 centimeters that had landed me in there in the first place.
As soon as my nurse had her finger you-know-where, a horrible look came over her face. She turned absolutely white, and said to me, "Honey, you're having these babies tonight."
I burst into tears immediately. I was completely dilated. Not 9 centimeters, but 10 full freaking centimeters. I had just gotten off the phone with Carl telling him that I was sure they would be able to stop the contractions, no he didn't need to take off from work early, and to pick up a thin crust pizza from MacKenzie River once he pulled into Missoula. So I was quite relieved that when I called him he was already on his way. He hadn't listened to me afterall, left work early, and would be there shortly. He had, however, stopped for the pizza. :)
Carl walked in the door right at 7:00 p.m., literally as they were pulling down the sidebars on my bed and wheeling me down the hall to a delivery room. He walked with me down the hall, held my hand, prayed with me, and held me while I cried when we were in the delivery room.
I was told my doctor may not make it in time, but that he was on his way and I would have a fill-in doctor until he arrived. I was not happy to hear this, to say the least. I wanted Dr. McCoy, and I wanted him immediately. Lucky for the other doctor, he showed up in the next minute or two.
Dr. McCoy highly recommended an epidural so that my contractions didn't prohibit me from focusing 100% on pusing, because once my water broke the babies would have to come quicly so as not to put any more stress on them than need be.
They gave me an epidural (during which Carl nearly passed out - he hates needles!), and then I was able to relax for a little bit. The epidural and prep actually took around an hour, so it was 8ish by this time. After everything was ready, my doctor had to break my water, and the first baby's cord came out first. Since we knew they were so tiny, my doctor decidede to forgo the emergency c-section that would normally have followed a cord preceding the baby and allow me to try and push. It only took a few minutes of pushing, and little Avery Grace Hansen was born at precisely 9:00 p.m., weighing 1 lb. 14 oz. and was 14 inches long. She was absolutely breath-taking. After a short break, they broke the second bag of water, I pushed a few more times than with Avery, and little Caden Carl Hansen was born at precisely 9:10 p.m., weighing 2 lb. 8 oz. and was 15 inches long. He was exquisite as well.
What a rush! I have never felt such an adrenaline high in my life! I didn't get to hold Avery at all after she was born. They whisked her away to check her out, put her on the ventilator, and into an isolette. I was able to hold Caden for a few brief moments before he was put through the same routine.
I won't bore everyone with the gory details that followed, (stitching up, afterbirth, etc.) but I will mention somethine funny that happened in the middle of all that was going on.
Some babies that are born that early (they were born at 27 weeks gestation) don't have their eyes open yet. Their eyelids are still fused together, sort of like a puppy or kitten. Not the best analogy, I know, but it's true. Caden was born with his eyelids still fused together, but Carl was unprepared for this possibility. So when he walked over to where the neonatologist was intubating him, he noticed his eyelids and said "Oh no, does he not have any eyes?!" The neonatologist calmly explained what was going on, and Carl was quite relieved. But we have laughed about this ever since, because he was horrified that our son was born with no eyes! By the way, they opened the next day.
What a day. I was up all night, reliving the entire thing, and although they should not have even been out of the womb yet, I was thrilled to be a Mama.
I will probably re-live some of the events of the NICU in the days to come, but that's all for now.
Tonight we had a family birthday party for them, with homemade pizza and cupcakes. They had a ton of fun, but were exhausted tonight. I'll post some pictures of their special day tomorrow.
The last two years have been pretty crazy, but it's all worth it when I look at those precious little faces. Or when I say "I love you Avery!" and she says "Iyuvootoo, Mama!" Or when Caden gives a huge, sloppy open mouthed kiss. I could go on forever, just to say that being blessed with my two little twins lives is worth more than any gift I'll ever be given. Words cannot describe our thankfulness for them, and all that they have been through, all that they have overcome. They are a living testimony of God's goodness, graciousness, faithfulness and love. I'll never get over the wonder I feel at the sight of them, but then again, I don't want to.