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All I wanted was to be 100% prepared, birth two babies naturally, heal quickly, take an adorable picture of them together immediately, and bring them home with us from the hospital living happily ever after!
"Is that too much to ask for/expect?!" - me
Well, no one can ever realistically be 100% prepared - duh. I did indeed birth two babies naturally and heal rather quickly. However, I did not get to take that immediate picture of them together like I wanted or get to bring both babies home with us from the hospital (as soon as I envisioned anyway). We are indeed though, living happily ever after going on almost a month now with our two perfect boys!!!!!!!
Truth be told, it has been going 100% times smoother and "easier" (I use this term loosely obviously) than I imagined it going these past 9 months of pregnancy. That's not to say there weren't daily challenges physically and emotionally the following days after birth and still to this day. I want to say that mothering YOUR babies that YOU grew in YOUR belly for 9 months (or however long they decided to stay in there) comes much more naturally than one might think. I for one was worried that I wouldn't know what to do or how to handle them. Thankfully, they have been little angel babies for the most part making it a nicer transition for mama than I expected. I know it isn't realistic to think even for a second that it will last forever, but one can hope. Hehe.
I know 5 twin moms personally and I know of 5 or so twin moms through social media. Of the 10 of them, the range of deliveries went from 31 weeks to 37 weeks and 1 day - majority of which had their babies week 35. Some had identical and some had fraternal. Some had girls, some had boys, and some had one of each. Some had natural births and some had c-sections. Some had an epidural and some did not. Some are in their 20's and some are in their 30's. Some exclusively breastfeed, some exclusively bottle feed with breastmilk and/or formula, and some do a bit of both. Some had NICU stays and some did not. Each of their stories is beautiful and unique to them, just like mine is to me! I had in my head all of these ideas and thoughts and feelings of how things would go for me, but we all know no one can really truly know exactly how things will go. I for sure thought I would deliver these babies somewhere in the 31-37 week time frame just like all of those other twin moms I mentioned before. Each week that came within that time frame, I would think "This is going to be the week! This is it!" But no, my boys just kept hanging out and showed no signs of coming early, which was a very good thing, but also I was very pregnant and ready to have them on the outside!!! My doctor waits until 38 weeks with twins before inducing - a lot of doctors won't go past 37 weeks. Reasons being for safety and health of course. Anyways, I got to 37 weeks and the boys were still perfectly healthy as they had been the whole pregnancy and perfectly comfortable. Together, our dr and us decided to induce at 38 weeks if they hadn't come on their own by then. Well, we wound up waiting until 38 weeks and 2 days due to a holiday weekend and just plain convenience.
Preface: I have had anxiety and been a worrier majority of my younger years and throughout my pregnancy it came back to haunt me a bit. I would fear things big and small. Every step of the way I was completely healthy, never a single issue and same went for the babies - perfect. I was proved wrong each and every time and the actual day of their birth was no different. Everything could not have been any smoother of a process and I am incredibly thankful for that.
We arrived to the hospital at 5:30AM on Wednesday, September 7th completely ecstatic and wide awake! I was induced at 6:30AM on the dot and my doctor came in 5 minutes later and broke my water to get things going. Contractions began shortly after and became more and more painful as time went on. I had signed up for an epidural - mostly in part because if I didn't get one and something did happen to go wrong and I needed an emergency c-section, then I would be put to sleep throughout the birth and I certainly didn't want that. Where if I got the epidural, they would be able to just add more to it (or something along those lines) and I wouldn't miss a thing except the pain. Haha. I kept contracting and progressing and I honestly had zero idea when to actually say IM READY FOR THE EPIDURAL! The nurses kept saying "just whenever you're ready" but heck, this was my first time doing this and I had no clue. I did know that I couldn't wait too long if I wanted to assure I would be able to be awake incase something did happen! Anyways, about 7 hours into labor I felt ready, so we went ahead with the epidural. It was seriously no big deal compared to what I had heard from other moms or read online. I was consumed with the pain of contractions while it was being put in my back so I didn't even notice. Shortly after, my legs felt warm and then numb from the waist down, just like you're supposed to. It was a relaxing next couple of hours. At about 2PM (I think) I started feeling pain in the right side of my pelvis and got the feeling back in my right leg. I was not super excited about that obviously. The nurses helped to get it all evened out and it was smooth sailing for the next hour or so. At about 5:30PM I felt sick to my stomach and threw up a few times. The nurses came in and said "that is sometimes a sign it's almost time!" They checked me and sure enough, I was a 9! Omg omg omg. I was getting so excited but also feeling incredibly exhausted physically and emotionally. Within the next 30 minutes or so I started feeling sick again and yep, I threw up a few more times. The nurses came in and said "I bet it's time to go!" They checked me and indeed I was a 10!!!!!! I remember saying "THATS THE HIGHEST NUMBER WE GO TO!!!!" I want to mention that Jesse, my mom, and my dad were all in the labor room throughout the day getting me juice and ice and keeping me company. They were awesome and I'm so glad they were there!
Jesse scrubbed up and they all wheeled me down the hall from the normal labor room (number 19 - my lucky number go figure) to the operating room! I couldn't believe it was actually time! I was about to FINALLY meet my babies! They had me deliver in the OR for safety purposes incase of an emergency. Thankfully, there was no such emergency. We got in the room, they put me on the operating table, and within a few minutes I had started pushing! The nurses got everything started while we waited on my doctor to arrive. Pushing is no joke! I felt like maybe my head was going to fly off of my body. The epidural started wearing off again in the same exact spot as before, so it was a little ouch as you can imagine or maybe not.. It didn't matter much to me at that point, I was focused and ready to meet my boys!!! I had pushed for maybe 10 or so minutes and the nurses stopped me because if I kept going even for a few minutes they said the baby might just come right out! WHAT?!?! I remember thinking "that was fast!" My doctor arrived just a few minutes later and again I started pushing. Just a few minutes later "baby A", now known as Alder Cannon Hancock, was pushed into the world! They put him on my chest immediately, gunk and all, and I loved him. I was shocked that he had such defined features and he was simply beautiful. I just couldn't believe my eyes! A minute later they took him to clean/check him. Suddenly it was time to push again! I began pushing with what strength I had left in me, and 8 minutes later, "baby B", now known as Rowan Gray Hancock, was pushed into the world as well! They did the same thing and put him on my chest immediately, and again, I loved him so much! Jesse stood with me the whole time and was extremely encouraging! Before the big day, he wasn't sure if he'd want to see it all or cut the cords, but in the moment he watched the whole thing and cut both cords loving every minute of it. They took Rowan to clean/check him. Apparently he had taken a breath a little too soon as fluid rushed over him and he swallowed some. (Not super rare apparently, so that was reassuring). He was taken to the NICU immediately to get it all out and taken care of. They put him on oxygen and that's the last I knew for a bit. They wheeled me back to my room with Alder following behind. We then all spent time holding and staring, holding and staring. I was happy and excited that I was done and finally had my boys out in the world with us! I was also incredibly emotional and sleepy and sore, so I napped. I did it! I made it! Wow. 12 hours of labor and pushing for a total of about 25 minutes with two babies brought into the world 8 minutes apart! Pregnancy and birth are truly a miracle and I will never forget my experience that day.
Rowan was in the NICU the whole time I was in the hospital (2 and half days in the hospital + 5 and half days of us at home). I was able to leave within 48 hours but I just didn't want to go home without both of my babies. Well, that wasn't going to happen and that had to be okay with me. I knew it was best for him. So on Saturday early afternoon, Jesse and I headed home with Alder to get this new life started! We visited Rowan in the NICU a couple times a day. Whew - exhausting but worth it. Rowan never had a single thing wrong with him besides not knowing how to swallow and suck preventing him from eating properly. They fed him through a tube his first day or so on the outside world, so he had to learn how to eat on his own. He had a set amount of milk he had to eat consistently for a 24 hour period in order to be ready to leave. They said it would just click in his brain since there was nothing else preventing him from doing so. IT HAPPENED! He did it!!!! We were so proud of him! 8 days total in the NICU and he got to come home! Longest 8 days of my life but every minute was worth having our two healthy babies home with us!
We are so blessed and we are so thankful. We were made specifically for these babies and these babies were made specifically for us. Jesse was the biggest help and just wonderful throughout my entire pregnancy, the whole day of birth, and now! My family has been incredible and has blessed us with many baby necessities. This is the life I have dreamed of and prayed for and here we are! I thank God for every smile and every cry and every poopy diaper and every bit of tiredness I feel.