Finally posting my birth story. Fair warning – it is not glamorous, nor is it very exciting. However, it is the story of how I met the two loves of my life!
September 12, 2016. This is the twins’ birthday and the day of my scheduled C-section at 36 weeks 2 days gestation. Due to the girls being mono di twins, it is highly recommended that the babies be delivered between 36 and 37 weeks. Once 37 weeks comes and goes, the risk of stillbirth greatly increases because the placenta begins to calcify and can no longer provide adequate nutrients to both fetuses. We received or surgery date just about 5 weeks in advance and the countdown begun!
About a week prior to my surgery date, I came down with either a cold or a virus. Whatever the diagnosis, it was nasty. I was extremely congested, my chest was full of phlegm, and I had a sore throat and earache. I loaded up on what meds I could – so basically Tylenol and some Sudafed – and really pushed the water and vitamin C in an effort to get well. As we edged closer to Cday (C-section day), it became apparent that my symptoms were not going to improve and I became extremely afraid that we would need to postpone delivery and that something awful would happen to the girls and their shared placenta (queue anxiety!). Fortunately, because I did not have a fever and was generally considered healthy (besides being VERY pregnant), we were able to move forward.
Delivery was scheduled for 8:00 AM on Monday, September 12 and my last day of work was Friday, September 9. We spent the weekend finishing up the nursery, checking our hospital bags, and enjoying our last few days as a family of two.
When we arrived at the hospital on Cday, we filled out loads of paperwork and were sent to a pre-op room where I was instructed to strip down and put on a hospital gown. The nurses drew blood and monitored the babies while the operating room and other items were prepped. My parents and in-laws showed up about an hour before surgery and were able to come in and visit to me. At 8AM, they wheeled me back to the operating room and Nick was instructed to wait outside while they got me ready. I laid down on a gurney and spread my arms out like a bird and the anesthetists began to administer my drugs. At this point my heart was pounding and my anxiety went through the roof. I was convinced that I was going to die during surgery and never have the chance to meet my baby girls!
As the anesthesia kicked in, I was asked several times if I could feel the poking and prodding they were doing to my stomach. When I was finally numb, (I didn’t find the spinal epidural to be bad at all!) they let Nick back into the operating room. He looked a little pale when he came in and sat down by my head. A sheet/drape covered from my neck down. The first incision was made and the delivery had commenced.
Because I was numb from my chest down, I was unable to cough and phlegm began to pool in my chest. I became dizzy, nauseated and could barely breath. Nick asked me why I didn’t seem more excited and I don’t even think I could answer him (at this point, the rest of the surgery and hour or so following is all a blur. I am relying on faint memories and accounts from others as to what happened from here on). The tugging and pulling at my abdomen set me over the edge and I began to vomit. I just turned my head and let it out. More anti-nausea medication was pumped into me but it did not help much. I continued to puke three more times into a little pan next to my head. Hardly the glamorous birth I had hoped for.
At approximately 8:36am, Lennon Jo Cranston was born, measuring 17.5 inches and 5lb1oz. Our doctor announced “we have Baby A”. Nick and I waited to hear that precious cry, but we heard nothing. For what seemed like an eternity. Finally I shouted “Why isn’t she crying?!?” and that is when we heard those first beautiful screams. Leni was taken back for cleanup and checkup, and less than two minutes later, at 8:37am, Rowe Emerson was born! Rowe weighed in at 4lbs8oz and measured 17 inches. She was quickly whisked away to join her sister, and Nick went back to watch the process.
It is at that moment I am pretty sure I blacked out. I don’t remember being put back together, or Nick bringing each girl to me to see and to kiss. The next thing I remember is being in the recovery room and being handed both girls in an attempt to tandem breastfeed (way to give a mom a minute to collect herself!!).
They were the most beautiful babies I had ever laid eyes on. Perfect in every way; from the tips of their tiny toes to the tops of their dark-haired little heads. That was the moment I fell in love and vowed to be the best mother I could be.
Thank God for Nick! He took video of the girls and pictures of me with them. I was able to look back at those and catch a glimpse of what I had lost in those moments. I will share some of those images below.
The girls scored 8/10 on the APGAR scale, and did not need any NICU time. My tiny little miracles were healthy and mama was ecstatic. We were to stay in the hospital for 3 nights for monitoring and as protocol for my C-section (more on that recovery another time); but we ended up staying for 4 nights. Rosie lost a little too much weight and they wanted to make sure she was gaining before we were released.
Nick stayed in the hospital with me and we had so many visitors! September 12, 2017 will forever go down as my favorite day. We went home on Friday, September 16 as a family of four and our world was forever changed!