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the story of lincoln and vivian's arrival. part 3.

2 Nov

Part 1.

Part 2.

I grudgingly put on the hospital gown and made my way to the bed where Kenzie began strapping me into all kinds of monitors.  Now we’re talking, I thought to myself as graphs and images appeared on the computer screen to my left.  Within seconds the sound of the babies’ heartbeats became discernible, and we could see the steady rhythms on the screen.  A sigh of relief whooshed out of me, and I began to relax just a little.  Aside from the heart monitors, I was also hooked up to a contraction monitor.  Finally we were going to find out if what I’d been feeling all night were actually contractions or just something else insignificant.  After watching for what felt like forever, Kenzie confirmed that they were actually contractions.  But at this point they were not nearly as intense and were very sporadic.  She didn’t seem super concerned at this point, so neither were Jon or I.

After several more routine checks, I was told that they were going to check my cervix.  I had of  course had my cervix checked a number of times in the preceding weeks, so I began to gear up for what was coming.  After making a few last minute preparations, she checked me.  As she finished, she informed us that I was dilated to a 4.  I was very confused at first because she didn’t act alarmed at all, so I double checked to make sure I understood what she was saying.  I knew a 4 wasn’t like the baby was about to come out, but it seemed a little far considering I was only 32 weeks.  After calling the doctor back again, she calmly told us that we would not be leaving the hospital and that they were going to transfer us to another room.

To say I was surprised would be an understatement.  Sadly the details of what happened next are already a little fuzzy, but I know they immediately wheeled me down the hall and into a new room where they hooked me up once again to all the monitors as Jon and I sat in disbelief.  I began to think through all the things that were left undone at home…all the things I didn’t bring with me…and all the things I still needed to prepare before babies’ arrival.  But I was quickly realizing that none of that was really going to matter.  Shortly after arriving to my new home around 2 in the morning, we were told that in order to stop the contractions, they were going to put me on a magnesium drip.  The magnesium would slow down my entire system, and therefore hopefully stop the contractions, which were working to further dilate me.  I vaguely remember being told that the magnesium could have some side effects, but nothing could have prepared me for how it made me feel.  My whole body heated up like a furnace, radiating heat through my face, my neck…my entire body.  As it worked to slow down the contractions, it also slowed down everything else which left me unable to even lift my arms.  I couldn’t use my muscles or even focus my eyes on anything.  When someone would talk to me I would try to look at them, and my eyes would just cross, my eyelids hanging heavy.  I’ve never felt anything like it before.  While it left me feeling extremely miserable, it did in fact stop my contractions, and by morning we were all feeling much less alarmed about the babies’ coming.  I was only 32 weeks, and the twins were definitely not ready to thrive in the outside world.  At this point our goal was to keep them in as long as possible, whether that be another 3 days or 3 weeks.  Thankfully the babies themselves were doing great, and all the nurses kept bragging on them, which made me a really proud mama:)  And I got to fall asleep to their heartbeats every night, so if there ever was a plus to hospital bedrest that was definitely it.

Over the course of the next 10 days (day 2, day 5, day 6, day 9) the days became a bit monotonous.  I was in and out of labor, and off and on magnesium on a daily basis.  At one point, they gave me a little break from the magnesium and treated me with a Breathine shot instead.  Ironically, instead of slowing down my system, this sped things up, making my heart race and my body feel jittery.  Thankfully, Jon was able to take off work some as well as work from the hospital room quite a bit.  His office was a stone’s throw away from my hospital room, which was such a blessing.  I spent the days either trying to get through the pain or being mostly incoherent from the medication.  There were some easier moments that I would use to write a blog post or have a visitor, but almost every time visitors would leave, contractions would inevitably start back up, so we tried to keep people at bay.  I’m not much of a TV watcher, but OKC Thunder was in the playoffs during that week, so Jon and I watched our first games of that season on some evenings.

While it was the hardest 10 days of my life, it was also really hard on Jon.  He was trying to keep up not only with his day job, but also his side business, keep me company, communicate what was going on with me to everyone and take care of things at the house among other things.  I can’t imagine how he could have done more to keep us both sane and things running smoothly on the outside, while in that little hospital room it felt like life was on pause.  I really don’t know what I would have done without him.

the day before the twins were born

one of my favorite visitors:)

loved it when Jon brought these from home…I just kept staring at them:)

my view from bed

keepin’ it real

sweet gift from Jon’s aunts

the cafeteria didn’t quite know how to handle my vegetarianism, but they could make a mean fruit plate

never gets old

There were moments when our time in the hospital seemed like it would never end, and we found ourselves torn between wanting it to end and wanting it to last so that the babies could keep growing.  Mostly we just wanted to make sure they were going to be healthy.  But on day 10 we woke up early after a long night of contractions, having no idea that it would be the scariest, but most incredible day of our lives.

to be continued…

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the story of lincoln and vivian's arrival. part 2.

10 Sep

part one here.

The following couple of weeks were spent on our couch for the most part.  Ironically, we had made plans with several different people, so everything got moved to our house.  I spent the days shopping online for baby clothes, reading baby books and directing my Jon and my mom from the couch as they took care of things for the nursery – decorating, washing and putting away clothes a diapers, etc.  It was definitely challenging to not be able to get up and do thing myself. I wanted to prepare the nursery with Jon.  I wanted to wash their little clothes and organize their drawers.  I had looked forward to all of these things for my whole pregnancy, thinking I would do them as soon as school was out.  But while it was challenging and disappointing, I was so thankful to have people who were willing to step in and take care of things for me.

On Friday, the 8th of June, my mom came over to work on stuff, and I was keeping her company from the couch.  I felt especially tired that day and also just didn’t feel good in general.  We had plans to have friends over that night, and I was seriously thinking it might not be a good idea.  But in the end I was too excited to hang out after being sequestered to the couch for so long.  With all the fun brought by our friends, I seemed to forget all about the pain and tiredness of the day.

But that didn’t last long.

The next morning began bright and early with pains in my stomach.  At the risk of revealing TMI, bedrest and a recent increase of my iron supplement had me dealing with a little bit of constipation.  Okay, a lot.  So by late afternoon (and after an entire day spent on the couch), I was convinced that the stomach pains I was having were a symptom of that.  Around eight o’clock though, the pain had gotten intense enough that I decided to call labor and delivery (being Saturday night my doctor’s office was closed) and just make sure that they thought everything was okay.  After talking to a nurse named Kenzie, I felt even more certain that everything was just fine.  She gave me a few suggestions to try and deal with the constipation, and so I sent Jon on a chase to track down the remedies she recommended.  When he got back we settled into the couch and did our classic Saturday night activity – watching falling asleep to a movie.  Several hours later at about 1 am we woke up and moved it to our bedroom at which point my pain really started acting up.  As Jon dozed off, I laid beside him, moaning each time the wave of pain came over me (you see where this is going).  Sleep did not come.  About thirty minutes later, my husband, who thankfully is a lot wiser than I am, suggested we go to the hospital.  Not wanting to make a big deal out of nothing, and at 32 weeks assuming it was nothing, I protested, but finally agreed to at least call back labor and delivery and see what they thought about the fact that I was still in so much pain.

After a quick recap of the preceding hours, Kenzie casually suggested that we head up to the hospital, just to make sure everything was okay.  I remember thinking that it was so dumb to go, but I couldn’t shake the fear that my pain was somehow affecting my babies, and that was enough to get me in the car and on our way within a few minutes.  I had just taken a shower that evening and my hair was all a mess, I had no makeup on, and I just pulled on some yoga pants, a tshirt and some flip flops.  I didn’t even take my purse or my phone because obviously I was going to be back within an hour or so.

My plan was to walk in, get a quick ultrasound done to make sure the babies were okay and then be on my merry way.  Approaching the check in desk, I ducked my head as the nurse questioned who we were and what we needed.  I just felt embarrassed for some reason.  I was one of those girls. One of those who goes to the hospital five times before ever actually being in labor.  And I wasn’t proud of it.  Let’s just get this over with, I thought.  Besides, after riding in the car for 15 minutes and walking through the hospital, my pain had surprisingly subsided to the point of being just a dull ache, which of course only made me feel that much more silly for being there.

After filling out some paperwork, we were ushered into a room where Kenzie tossed me a gown and a cup to get a urine sample.  Hold up, I thought.  I do not need these things.  Just check my babies and let me go home.  I was baffled as to why I needed to put on an actual hospital gown.  Little did I know, I wouldn’t wear anything but that for another 11 days.

to be continued…

the story of lincoln and vivian's arrival. part 1.

14 Aug

I’m not sure where to even begin in writing the story of Lincoln and Vivian’s birth.  It will most likely not be eloquent or orderly, rather it’ll be a compilation of everything I can remember from the most intense few weeks of my life.

Most everyone knows how long Jon and I waited for a baby and everything we went through to get pregnant.  It was such a long journey, and when we finally got pregnant, I thought the crazy part was over.  I expected to have an uneventful pregnancy and the birth I had always imagined, coming out with a perfect little baby in the end.  When we found out we were having twins, those expectations didn’t really change.  Despite the predictions of so many about preterm labor, I truly believed I’d carry the twins until they were full term.  At one point, maybe around week 25 or so, my doctor mentioned that he would want to induce me at 37 weeks if I hadn’t gone into labor by then.  Fully believing that these babies would stay inside me even longer than that I immediately began worrying about the idea of induction and researching the validity of such an idea, so that I could intelligently convince him otherwise.

As I expected, I did have a rather uneventful pregnancy.  Aside from a short scare about possibly having gestational diabetes (which I didn’t), every check-up went smoothly and every ultrasound was like a dream.  Until I was 30 weeks along.

It was May 23rd,  the last day of school for my students, and I was giving final exams and hugs all day.  School was buzzing with the excitement of summer, and knowing I wasn’t coming back I was saying extra goodbyes, accompanied by a few tears, and finishing packing up my classroom.  It was a crazy, busy, exciting and emotional day.

A couple of weeks before, my doctor had told me to schedule an ultrasound for the 23rd.  He wanted it done that week and the only day ultrasounds are done in his office is Wednesday, so there was no alternative.  Knowing it was my last day of school, I was stressed out because I didn’t want to miss saying bye to my kids.  After finding out it would be possible to move it to the next week, I debated forever about whether to do that or not.  Eventually (and with the input from Jon and my mom) I decided that seeing my babies was more important than being there for the end of my 2nd hour testing period, and I could just say goodbye to those students that morning before leaving.

So, that morning, I left school in a rush and headed to the hospital, suddenly so happy that I had kept my appointment and wondering how I could have even considered postponing it.  Jon met me there and we got to see our babies and ooh and aah over how perfect they were.  It was an epically smooth appointment just like all the others.  As part of the ultrasound, the tech was supposed to measure my cervix at the end.  After doing so, she told us that Dr. K wanted to check the measurements before we left, which had never been the procedure before.  So we waited.

About 10 minutes later, Dr. K’s nurse, Trish, walked in.  The moment I saw her face I knew something was not right.  She told us that the measurements showed that my cervix had shortened considerably and that I was to go home immediately, get into bed and not get out until the next morning at which point they wanted me to come back so Dr. K could check me himself.  I just sat there, dazed, for a few seconds.  At first I was just trying to process what she had just said.  Next, the fear hit.  How bad off was I?  Were the twins in danger of coming soon?  And last, all the crucial things I still needed to do to wrap things up at school flitted through my brain – finish giving final exams, grade final exams, pack up my files and such from my classroom, input and finalize grades etc.

After a few seconds of just staring at her, I explained that it was my last day of my job and that I really needed to go back.  With some persuasion on my part, she agreed that I could go back as long as I promised to stay glued to a chair and not get up and go home as soon as possible.  So that’s what I did.  Thus began my 2 weeks and 4 days of at-home bedrest.

To be continued…

never been more in love…

24 Jun

more details to come…

hospital day 9

18 Jun

Well the update since Saturday is not that exciting really.  It’s starting to seem like the same old song and dance day after day.  Have a partially good day.  Have a partially challenging day of discomfort and contractions.  Get put on some kind of labor stopping medicine.  Feel better after several hours.  Start the whole thing over again.

On Sunday I, just like usual, started having consistent, intense contractions sometime in the late afternoon or evening.  Instead of giving me the Breathine shot, which is what they’ve been doing the last few days, they went back to the magnesium instead, upping it to the highest dosage to get them to stop.  As usual, after having been on it for a little while, they drew my blood to test the levels of magnesium and make sure they weren’t too high. They’ve done this every time, and I’ve never had a problem.  But for some reason this time they came back at a level that was a bit concerning to my doctor.  So, they turned it down sooner than expected.  Thankfully, it had worked on me long enough that the contractions had slowed down, but unfortunately the lower dosage didn’t do the trick entirely so I pretty much woke up to contractions off and on throughout the night.

But by this morning, things had calmed down a bit, and I was only having sporadic ones that weren’t too intense.  After having been off all weekend, my doctor came by to see me this morning.  He decided to go ahead and wean me off the magnesium yet again.  He says that as of now he’s thinking we’ll just see what happens as I go off of it, and if the contractions start back up, he probably won’t put me back on it.  He thinks we’ll have our babies this week for sure!

I obviously have mixed feelings about this.  But he seems confident that they are doing so well and that at this point there will be mild issues to deal with in the NICU.  Even though I would rather them stay in there as long as possible, I am so excited to meet them!  Despite my fears, it’s impossible not to feel a little giddy at the thought of possibly getting to meet them this week.  I’m not sure if it’s right or wrong to feel that way, but I can’t help it.

The weekly email I receive from BabyCenter was especially encouraging this week.  Unfortunately I’m not quite 34 weeks (I get these emails a little early) but I’m close enough that it still made me feel good!

Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like your average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers – which she’ll need to regulate her body temperature once she’s born – are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you’ve been nervous about preterm labor, you’ll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.

And now for a short list of the highs of hospital bedrest. Because there really are good things in every situation.

Highs:  the love we’ve felt from all the people who have reached out to encourage us, my amazing nurses, the fruit plates sent by the hospital cafeteria, gaining a refreshed appreciation for small things in life like showering, getting to hang out with the husband more than usual, updating my blog more than usual, getting to listen to the babies heartbeats 24/7, the anticipation of finally getting to hold my babies!

hospital day 6 – happy 33 weeks!

15 Jun

Well.  I don’t even know where to start with today’s update.  What I thought was going to be a slower day due to lack of visitors and and no magnesium turned out to be pretty eventful.

Yesterday my MIL and FIL came to visit followed by my SIL and my nephew.  I really enjoyed getting to spend time with them all…especially the cuddle time with my sweet Cooper.  I also got my room switched while they were here, so I got to see outside my room for the first time since Saturday.  It was thrilling really:)

I had been off the magnesium all day yesterday, which was really nice considering I was trying to spend time with people.  It’s always good to be able to see visitors without feeling like your eyes are crossing when you look at them, haha.  Everything had gone well, and then last night while Jon and I were watching the Thunder game, I started having contractions again.  It just seems like they’re never going to stop.  I think my body has decided it wants to have these babies and it’s going to keep persisting!   Thankfully instead of putting me back on the magnesium again, my doctor decided to give me a shot called Breathine instead.  It basically does the same thing, but with different side effects.  Instead of slowing down my system, it sped it up a bit, making me shaky and wide awake.  Just in time for bed.  Perfect.

So needless to say I didn’t sleep last night.  I was an interesting night of watching the big red, digital clock in my room in between hourly visits from my nurse.  It really could have been a lot worse as I wasn’t uncomfortable or anything.  I was able to do a lot of thinking.  I thought a lot about the twins of course…which I can never get enough of.  While the Breathine worked for the most part, by this morning it had started to wear off and the contractions were back yet again…so I got another shot.

A couple of hours after the shot, my doctor came by and was a bit surprised I think to find that my contractions had subsided.  He told me that he had come down with the intentions of moving forward with getting the babies out, but seeing that they had subsided, he of course decided against it.  I was completely in shock to hear him say that, and I couldn’t believe that we had come so close to getting the babies here today!  It was of course a mix of excited shock, but mostly scared shock…because I know they aren’t quite ready to be here yet, and I want so badly for my body to keep them in a little longer.

After my doctor left, we settled back in, and I was feeling fine for the most part.  Until I wasn’t that is.  Sometime around ten this morning I started having pains.  I partially felt like it was pain from my catheter, but I think it was pretty clear that wasn’t all it was.  Unfortunately, my contraction monitor had kind of come loose, which I didn’t realize, so I wasn’t getting an accurate reading.  I realize now that it was probably a combination of a little bit of catheter pain as well as contractions.  Just like Saturday night and in true Candice fashion I tried to endure the pain for a little bit too long (at the time thinking it wasn’t contractions because the monitor wasn’t picking any up).  The husband finally made me page the nurse, and by the time she got to my room I was really hurting.  After talking to me, she decided to page my doctor to see what he thought, and he decided to take out my catheter and also check my cervix to see if I had progressed any since last Saturday.  Wow, can I just say how much fun cervix checks are NOT?

My first nurse checked me, and I think she was trying to be really careful because I was hurting so badly.  After checking me for a few minutes, she announced that she didn’t feel my cervix at all and all she could feel were the babies.  But she immediately said she wanted a second opinion and left the room to go get another nurse.  I’m not going to try and pretend I handled this situation well.  Between the pain I was feeling and the overwhelming emotion of thinking they were about to wheel me in for my c-section (my babies are both breech right now), I kind of lost it.  The husband was right there, and he stayed so calm, telling me it was going to be fine and talking me through it…trying to get me to calm down my breathing.  It was a very overwhelming, hectic time.  Moments later the nurse came back in along with the second nurse, who was not quite so afraid of hurting me.  At the time I kind of thought I was going to die, but I’m definitely glad because she got a more accurate measurement and realized my cervix had not actually changed much since I checked in early last Sunday morning.  We are still praising the Lord for this news!

After realizing this it was decided that I would not in fact be wheeled in to meet our babies, but instead my doctor decided I would be given another Breathine shot.  He came in awhile later to talk to us and basically said that since I have not dilated much further than last Sunday, he still wants to try to get me through to the middle or end of next week if possible.  That means that if I start contracting again, he’ll probably start me on the magnesium again to stop it.  While I’m not excited about this, I’m definitely okay with it.  Obviously I think it sounds like a great idea to try and get me through another week (the husband and I are secretly hoping for another 2 weeks:).

The ins and outs of bedrest are definitely wearing on me, and I can’t say I have a good attitude 100% of the time.  But I’m trying my best to see the good and be thankful for each day that the babies stay inside.  Tomorrow will mark one week since we checked into the hospital, and in less time than that my doctor thinks we’ll meet baby boy and girl.  Tonight we’re celebrating 33 weeks with the Wedge pizza brought be a very sweet friend, and we’re keeping in mind that this very well could be the last Friday night we spend just the two of us!

hospital day 5

15 Jun

Written on Thursday ~

Well, today is day 5 in the hospital, and I’m still pregnant, so that’s reason to celebrate for sure!  I’m wanting to keep updating every day, but it’s proving to be a challenge.  When this is all said and done, I want to be able to remember what happened each step of the way, so updates may get a little tedious.  Also, they’re wanting me to stay laying on my side as much as possible, which makes typing a bit difficult, but I’m working with what I’ve got.  Things are definitely getting interesting around here:)

On Tuesday morning they reduced my dosage of magnesium which was great, and I started feeling almost like a new person.  Unfortunately, sometime Tuesday evening my contractions started back up again.  I almost fell out of the hospital bed when the nurse told me that my doctor wanted to raise my dosage back up higher than what it had even been before.  I honestly couldn’t imagine what that was going to do to me, and I was pretty nervous.

My mom and sister had come up that afternoon and washed my hair for me (yay!) which was quite the process for sure.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty high maintenance about being clean and having my hair clean, so this whole “can’t get out of bed thing” is proving to be a challenge.  Praise the Lord for sweet nurses, husbands, sisters and moms who are here to help a girl out:)

Also on Monday afternoon, I had two other visitors – one was the girl who I ended up buying my newborn sized cloth diapers from, and the other was our Sunday school teacher’s wife who came bearing cheesecake!  Needless to say it was an epic afternoon.  Maybe a little too epic?  I don’t know if all the excitement might have contributed to the contractions starting back up again, but I’m being a lot more careful now.

So, back to Tuesday night.  They decided to up my dosage exponentially.  Jon and I spent the evening watching the Thunder game as the magnesium slowly made its way through the IV line and back into my body.  Tuesday night was pretty rough obviously as I was delirious and the nurse was coming in every hour to check on me.  Sleep was definitely not even a consideration for Jon or I.  But the good news – the contractions subsided again.  By Wednesday morning, my doctor decided to dial the magnesium down to a more normal level again.  It’s funny because when I’m on a normal level, I tend to forget I’m on it at all because it’s such an improvement from the heightened dosage.  So, yesterday I was on a pretty normal level and I didn’t have any contractions, and now today he’s dialing it down even more as he’s trying to wean me off.  He checked in with me early this morning and just said he’s going to let me go off of it and we’ll see what happens, but I may have to go back on.

So at this point it’s literally just a waiting game.  We’re praying I can stay off the magnesium (he’s putting me on a milder pill instead) and not have any contractions.  I’m trying to stay laying down and limit social interaction as much as possible.  I definitely have moments where I feel like I’m going to go crazy, but I just keep thinking about how bad I want our baby boy and girl to stay inside me.  Their heartbeats are a constant background noise in our hospital room and serve as a super motivating reminder of why I’m here.

Honestly, deep down I’m scared about what’s to come.  I’m scared about the unknown.  Mostly I’m scared about our babies coming early and having problems that I can’t fix for them.  But I’m really trying to focus as much as possible on what I have to be thankful for.  It sounds cliche, but I am so so thankful to have these two little babies inside me just waiting to come out.  I feel confident that one way or another they’re going to be okay, and that’s what’s keeping me going.  I’m praying constantly that God will help them grow and develop as fast as possible, but most of all that He will be glorified through all of this.  I know He has a plan for the each of our little ones, and this is just the beginning.  It’s hard to trust that this scary and difficult time is a part of that plan, but I know it is.

Thank you all for the sweet words of encouragement and prayers.  We are definitely feeling them as we go through this day by day, and we feel so blessed.