Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 13, 2017

The twins are finally here!!  Thank heaven, too, because I literally could not have survived one more day of being pregnant.

Dr. Chalmers (bless his soul) induced me on July 13 - they called us to come in at 6:30 a.m.
 We got to the hospital and got all hooked up.  I was at a 2.5 when we got there.  Both babies were head down and in perfect position for a vaginal birth. They put me on the very smallest dose of pitocin while we waited for my epidural to get placed.  The anesthesiologist showed up around 8:30 a.m. and placed my epidural and it was seriously perfect.  It barely hurt and it just went so smoothly - usually the epidural is the hardest part of my labor because I'm a short girl.. that means a short spine.  They usually have a really hard time getting around my bones - that's fun ;)

But this epidural was a walk in the park!!  I relaxed and waited for the medicine to do it's thing.  But, it never did.  I could still feel my skin when I pinched it.  I could still feel my contractions even though they were a tiny bit less uncomfortable.

Around 9:45, the anesthesiologist came back, took the epidural out and placed it again.  He said that this one felt great and it should work no problem!  Again, I tried to relax and let that amazing drug do it's thing - but it still wasn't working.  My contractions were painful and the only part of my body that was numb was my left leg - about five inches below my hip down to my toes.

It was frustrating, but they were doing absolutely everything they could to get the medicine to work.  Dr. Chalmers came by to break my water again.  He'd stopped by twice before, but wanted to wait until my epidural kicked in.  By then, it was 10:30 and we decided to break my water and get this show on the road.  The epidural would kick in eventually... right?  I hoped it would and Dr. Chalmers broke my water.

I hadn't progressed at all from a 2.5, but right when Dr. Chalmers broke my water I immediately went up to a 3.5.  Thirty minutes later I was at a 5 and my contractions were hard.  Really hard.  I was on my right side to, hopefully, get the epidural to trickle down.  The anesthesiologist came back and moved the catheter a little bit, hoping to get the medicine to work.

I went back on my right side and then things got real.

I was in so much pain.  Every contraction was torture.  Most of the pain was coming from my catheter - not the epidural catheter...  My nurse decided to take it out and just that took probably half the pain away.  I think she said the balloon was blocking baby A from coming down the birth canal.

She was right.

Twenty minutes later I was bawling.  The contractions were so hard and fast I barely had time between to catch my breath.  Remember: I was planning a medicated birth.  I don't know how one prepares for what I was about to go through - but I don't think any preparation could have eased what was about to go down.

They checked me again and I was at a big 8.  The contractions were SO painful.  I can't even imagine how woman labor for hours and hours of that garbage.  I was crying like a baby and white knuckling the bed frame.  I couldn't breathe through them and it was just too much.

My mother in law is a doula - and without her and my mother there, there is no way I could have done it.  Both of them were amazing - pushing on my knees and back and trying in every way possible to help me through the labor.   I turned to my mom and said, "Mom, I can't do it."  I'm pretty sure she said, "You have to." Or something like that - I'm a little hazy on the whole thing, but right after that I told Ammon I needed a blessing.  I couldn't do it anymore.

The contractions leading up to that were miserable.  I kept thinking "I need the nurse to check me" because I could feel the pressure like the head was making it's way down and out, but I barely had enough time between contractions to catch my breath.

Ammon walked around the bed and the second he touched my head, I started screaming "I need to push! I need to push right now!!"

I was still on my right side at that point.  I flipped onto my back and my mom told me I didn't really push, just kind of yelled "Arrrgh!!" and then collapsed back on my pillow.

They moved the sheet and BABY A WAS THERE!! He was completely out, head to toes, and crying on the bed.  No one caught him, he just shot right out.


See the subtle look of panic? ;)

He was fine and crying and they set him on my chest.  The contractions - if they were still happening I don't remember feeling any.  Suddenly, there were twenty people in the room.  Dr. Chalmers missed his birth - that photo above.. that's literally who was in the room was he was born.  My nurse, Ammon and our moms.  It was crazy.

The NICU team rushed in along with the on call Doctor, Dr. Wong, and starting taking care of everything.









Before I knew it, they were wheeling me into the O.R. to deliver baby B.



I was a little emotional.

If I would have had a working epidural, baby B would have be c-sectioned out of me in a heart beat. When baby A was born, and born so quickly, there was a vacuum effect that caused Baby B to turn breech when baby A shot out.  But, since my epidural wasn't working and the time between the waters breaking is usually less than twenty minutes, the options were 1) try to turn her 2) deliver her breech, or 3) put me under general anesthesia for a c-section.

Dr. Chalmers never once made me feel scared or that the baby or I were in any danger.  I could tell things were getting sketchy by the tones of voice everyone was using and how many people were in the O.R. with us.  I think Dr. Chalmers wanted to try and turn her, but I think he knew the water was close to breaking.  He was going to deliver her breech, hopefully in the sac. 

Then, her water broke.  And... a foot came out with it.

Then I was scared. 

When was the last time you heard of a baby being born breech vaginally? You haven't - because it doesn't happen anymore.

I don't know what happened down there (thank the Lord... I don't want to), but from what Ammon has told me, Dr. Chalmers couldn't find her other foot.  It was bent at the knee and tucked behind her back.  They kept telling me not to push.  It was torture.  I thought FOR SURE Dr. Chalmers gave me an episiotomy.  It felt like I was getting cut in half.  I've never felt pain like that before - and I'm sure the things coming out of my mouth were as far from ladylike as it gets.  I just know I was crying and screaming.  Ahh, the miracle of birth ;) 

Ammon told me that Dr. Chalmers pushed her foot back in, somehow looped his other hand around her stuck foot, and miraculously pulled her out.  I had to push her hips and then her shoulders out.  But, fifteen minutes after her brother, baby B was born.



Also - see that poor woman in yellow that I'm holding her arm? Pretty sure she has one massive bruise from me squeezing the absolute hell out of her... Sorry random O.R. nurse.. I have no clue who you are, but you took the brunt of my pain.  You're a true hero.

So, they put baby B on my chest and I thought she was dead.  She was grey.  She wasn't moving or crying.  I asked, "Is she alive?" and they assured me that she was before whisking her away to the NICU ancillary next door.   I was told later that her initial APGAR score was 0.  But, she quickly went up to a 7.  




I delivered the placentas pretty quickly and after that everything was fine.  Dr. Chalmers said I didn't rip or tear OR need any stitches... and people say miracles don't happen! :) 

Baby B went to the NICU for TTN - transient tachypnea of the newborn.  Basically - her breathing was short and sporadic and extremely fast.  They told me that babies born breech can go into shock because the labor is so intense.  That's what happened to our precious little lady.  

Before they took her to the NICU, they brought her in and let me hold both of them together.  Honestly - I don't even remember that this happened until I saw the pictures.




Ammon and my mom went with Baby B to the NICU and my mother in law stayed with me and Baby A.  I remember telling Lorri (M.I.L.) to take the baby because I was about to crash.  My adrenaline was wearing off and at one point, I couldn't even lift my arms to answer a phone call.  But, I knew both of my babies were healthy and safe and we all, somehow, survived that crazy half hour.  

Our nurse told me that no other doctor but Dr. Chalmers could have done that.  He honestly saved our lives.  My mom said, watching through the little observation window, that at one point she thought we were going to be planning a funeral.  I'm tearing up imagining how this whole thing could have ended so differently.  God is so good.  The next morning when Dr. Chalmers came to check on me, he told me that if baby B's water had broken one minute sooner - we probably would have lost her.   I can't even wrap my head around it. 

On my way up to recovery, Baby A and I took a little detour to the NICU to see baby sis. They took baby brother from me and stuck him in the incubator with her.  Her stats immediately started to improve (they were already going great, but a little contact with her womb mate helped even more).

At this point, I'm sobbing.  Seeing her all hooked up to the machines and everything just snapped my very fragile hold on my emotions.  The first thing I saw when they wheeled me in was her feet.  They were blue.  I thought "Oh my goodness.  She's so bad, she can't even get oxygen down to her feet."  Luckily, I was wrong.  Her feet and calves were bruised from the delivery.  I'll take that over the other option any day.

I don't remember holding both of them in the labor room.. so I thought this was my first time holding both of them together ;)  And I cried.  And cried and cried and cried.  I will never forget this feeling.  Both of these babies are mine.  I had both of these inside my body!  They are both alive. I'm alive!  We all made it to the other side of this pregnancy.

I cried some more.

The kids came to see the babies while we were there in the NICU.  It was so sweet and the love I felt just crashing out of my three older children towards their new siblings made me... you guessed it!! cry like a baby... again ;) 



My dad took the older kids home and Baby A and I went up to recovery while my mom stayed with baby B in the NICU.  We saw baby B two more times that night, and each time she was making great improvements. 




The next day she was doing even better.  In fact, when I made it down there around noon, she was off the CPAP and I finally got a good look at her face.



My gosh, she is so beautiful.


He is so handsome.. and the second coming of Cruz.

Ammon and I could not peg down names for them.  We were both exhausted after the birth and didn't wan to make any decisions too quickly.  I felt like I had bonded well with baby boy, but not with baby girl.  Once her face was clear of all the breathing stuff and feeding tube - I held her for about two hours with Ammon in the NICU and we decided on her and her brother's names.  Brooks Christian and Ryann Olivia.  

The kids came to see the babies again and got a chance to really hold them, now that Ryann wasn't hooked up to so many machines. 





My mom and mother in law were absolute angels on earth for Ammon and I during the two days we were in the hospital.


Lorri stayed with Ryann the night they were born for almost six hours - then drove to Parowan for a few hours of sleep and THEN went to another birth early the next morning in Cedar.  

My mom had our three older kids AND spent, I think, every second of her free time at the hospital with us.  We are so lucky to have both of our families live close by and be so willing to help us.  We couldn't have done any of this without them.  Jamie and Alise came and cleaned our entire house and stocked our fridge while we were in the hospital, too.  How did we get so lucky?

Random - but my feet and ankles were swelling like no tomorrow.  I have about twenty pictures of the chronicles of my cankles ;)  And this photo isn't even HALF as bad as it got.


The next day, Ryann was released from the NICU and sent up to recovery with Brooks and me. 



Little bruised feet.

We were released from the hospital on July 15 around 3 p.m.  I was so happy we all got to go home together.  I don't know if I could have left her.  I would have boarded at the hospital until they released her.  I couldn't have gone home without her.  Luckily, I didn't have to.  


The twins have been so great.  We really are spoiled with them.  They both have such calm dispositions and are alert and eat, sleep and poop like little champs.  




My happy place <3 p="">

We are so beyond blessed.  My mother in law stayed with us for four days once we got home and my mom took the older kids every day to do something fun.  The twins are amazing and I've honestly never been so happy.  I feel like our entire family is here on earth with us.  The kids have adjusted better than I thought.  The twins sleep better than I anticipated.  Things couldn't be going better.  I'm so in love with my little (kind of little) family!  This is what life is all about.  



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Oh, baby baby

Tomorrow we find out the genders of the twins!! Then... it will be real.  There will be two boys, two girls, or a girl and boy in there! Not just "the twins" or "the babies".

Deep breaths.

I'm beyond excited to find out what the little things are!! Then I can start to dwindle our savings buying all the stuff I want for them!!

I have had numerous dreams that we're having two girls.  And so many people tell me they think it's two girls.

SO!

It's going to be two boys ;)

Because.  Let's be honest.  The chances of a Bradshaw/Frei couple having, first of all, TWINS  and having them both be girls... that's like lighting striking twice!!  *which happened to my grandpa Frei... so don't count those twin girls out just yet!*

Cruz things they are two girls.

Parks thinks they are two girls... and a minion and a pirate.

Blair thinks they are gink and gink ;)

We'll find out tomorrow!!

---------------

So far, this pregnancy has been most similar to Blair's.  But, I think all bets are off when you're having twins.  Cruz - I was sicker than a dog.  Parks - didn't have on single sick day his whole pregnancy.  Blair - somewhere in the middle...  The twins are somewhere in the middle, too.  It could just be that I'm older, this is my fourth pregnancy, or my body has finally adapted to pregnancy hormones?  Who knows.  I'll never figure out being pregnant. It's always a different experience!

So, my dreams say two girls.  My brain says two boys.

We'll find out tomorrow!!!!!!!! CAN'T WAIT!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Guess Who's Back

WOW. Almost two years since I last blogged.  That's life with three kids and a work from home computer job.  The world already knows that I'm pregnant again - with TWINS!



Since my last physical journal entry is even longer than two years ago - I'm going to journal here (hopefully more successfully) for the twins' pregnancy!

I found out I was pregnant the day before Thanksgiving 2016.  I knew something was different from my other three pregnancies a few weeks in.  I was exhausted.  And, not just normal pregnancy tired.  Zombie, walking dead, narcoleptic tired.  I could barely muster the will power to get out of bed.  I would fall asleep while I was waiting to pick up Cruz from preschool.  I'd fall asleep sitting at my computer.  I almost fell asleep while straightening my hair one day... I had it bad.

My other pregnancies were nothing like that.  I vaguely remember Blair's pregnancy being a little different.  So, while I had this niggling in the back of my head saying it was twins, I just assumed it was another single girl.  Twins don't run in either side of our families.  It was completely improbable that I would conceive twins spontaneously.  And I mean, like one in a million... or a trillion.

I told Ammon I was pregnant on Christmas day.  I knew this would be our last baby and I wanted to do something special.  That month was SO long trying to keep it from everyone that I see on a daily basis.  I couldn't believe that I surprised my mom.  I totally thought she knew and wasn't saying anything.  I passed out on her couch on afternoon for like three hours and was eating less and less.  I though for sure she knew.  But, I got her good!! She had no idea.

Cut to January 9, 2017.  The earliest day my Dr's office could get me in for my first appointment.  I was almost eleven weeks along.  My ultrasound was first and Bobbi, the sonographer, asked how I was feeling this time around.  This was our fourth baby in five years... my doctor's office knows me pretty well by this point ;)

I told her that I was feeling pretty good, but different.  I said, "It's crazy because sometimes I think it's twins since I've been feeling so differently.  And I already feel huge.  Like pushing twenty weeks instead of eleven."  She very politely told me that sometimes that can happen when you have pregnancies so close together, and it can change with age.  All perfectly reasonable explanations.  I kept telling myself that I was just being crazy, as usual, and projecting my want for five kids on my pregnancy.

BACK STORY --  On New years, we were driving home from a family party and I was telling Ammon how incredibly bittersweet this pregnancy already was to me.  I knew it was going to be our last.  But, Ammon and I always pictured ourselves with five kids.  We would tell people that's how many children we wanted.  I remember saying that it must not be in the cards for us and that four kids was enough for us to keep our hands full.  Even though I was overjoyed to be pregnant, the melancholy I felt about not having those five kids I always pictures myself with really ate at me for a while.  Maybe we'll have a caboose baby in five or six years if I'm still able to have children by then, I told myself.  If five spirits were meant to come to us, then God would find a way to send them down to us.  Things always work out how they're supposed to.  Four kids or five.  We'd be a happy, very busy family.  BACK STORY OVER

So, Bobbi places the ultrasound wand on my stomach and I see the two black orbs staring back at me.  We both gasp and Bobbi pulls the wand off my stomach and I say, "Tell me those are my ovaries?"  Bobbi laughs, because I'm an idiot and my doctor's office knows that all too well.  She places the wand back on my stomach and says, very slowly and measured, "There are two of them in there."

I, of course, start crying before the words are out of her mouth.  My mind completely goes blank and I stare at the miracle growing inside of me - totally validating why I feel ginormous and how tired I've been.  My body was telling me what was going on.  I just couldn't believe what was happening.

Bobbi runs the wand over my stomach showing me my fourth and fifth children.  My heart felt like it was going to explode.  I knew five were meant to be ours.  It WAS meant to be.  Both of the twins were measuring perfectly ten weeks four days.  Exactly the same size.  Fraternal. Same sac size.  Each with their own placenta.

With my other babies, I had an anterior placenta - meaning my placenta was between my stomach and the amniotic sac.  It mad ultrasounds kind of fuzzy because the image had to go through the amniotic sac/fluid, the placenta AND my skin.  The twins have their placentas on the sides for now and I couldn't believe how much I was able to see of them.  During the 3D and 4D imaging, I could see their facial features that are forming.  I could see their fingers and toes and their bulbous foreheads.  It was so amazing.

I still can't believe I am growing two humans inside of my body.  I feel so incredibly blessed.   I can't wait to see and feel them grow.  I'm so excited to welcome them into the world.  How amazing is it that me, a woman who cannot get pregnant on her own, is carrying twins?  God is so good and blesses me and my family more than we deserve.  I can't wait to hold my twins in my arms (hoping I can do that soon... and not through the plastic of a NICU bed).  I want the next six months to speed by.  The shock has worn off and now pure excitement fills me up!

Bradshaw party of SEVEN is coming at you!!