Posts Tagged ‘birth’

Two years ago…

August 12, 2011

TMD rolls me into Labour & Delivery at 8 am. My stomach is stretched out to my knees, my shirt pulled into a shape it will never recover from. I am nervous, but happy. Excited, and scared.

I walk into a different hospital at 8 am. TMD’s dad is there with me, reading signs and pointing the way to the ward where I’ll get ready to go into Theatre to have my pain injections. We walk up to the reception desk, and for some reason when they ask my name, I say it like this: Pineapple. Penelope Pinapple. The rest of the day the main nurse will call me Pineapple, and by the time I realise she isn’t saying Ms. Pineapple it’s too late to correct her. The other nurses realise my name is Penelope, but they are unsure of themselves as their boss is sure it’s Pineapple. So everyone starts mumbling my name.

I was told I’d be the first birth, but upon arrival I’m told there is an emergency case and I’ll have to wait. I sit in a waiting room for ages, before finally being shown into a private labour room. TMD changes into scrubs, I am stuffed into two hospital gowns. We begin to wait. And wait.

I am hustled into a ward and the doctor immediately meets with me. ‘Here are possible side effects: heavy leg, bleeding, worsening pain.’ There are more. I don’t really take them in; he clasps me on the shoulder and says, ‘You will be fine. You’re young and healthy.’ Nurses put hospital bracelets on both wrists, then add bright red bracelets to warn people I’ll puke if I’m even in the same room as Morphine. There is no waiting. I am moved seamlessly from one section to another.

I look at the hospital curtains, so different from the curtains in the rooms I stayed when pregnant. I wonder what Snort and Coconut are doing right now. I hope I’ll be home so I can spend most of their birthday with them.

Finally I am wheeled into Theatre. My epidural/spinal takes a record breaking hour to get in. I feel every time the needles jab into me.

Finally I walk into theatre, ghosts of that terrible pain from two years still lingering. Today is a day to begin exorcing those ghosts. I am happy I am wearing a robe, because we walked through the whole hospital and…hospital gowns? Ass flashing.

A needle is pushed into my hand. I climb onto a table and lay facedown, a huge x ray machine over my head. The doctor is asking for x gauge needles, red tipped needles, green needles – and worst of all? A spinal needle. Jesus. Still, I’m not worried.

Then he begins poking and I flinch and he seems surprised the seditive has done nothing. I get another dose. I feel every needle jamming into my joint. By the time the third injection site is reached, the sedation has properly kicked in.

By the time they tell me they’re going to take Snort out, unreality has flooded me. My body is totally numb, but my heart is so full. He is held over the curtain, in those seconds I gulp him in. A minute later Coconut is held up but all I see is her little foot. The memory is burned into my mind.

The whole birth happened so quickly; it’s over so fast.

It’s over so fast. I was in theatre for no more than a half hour – and that’s at the absolute most – and I’ve been jabbed and poked and prodded. A lot. I am asked to roll onto a gurney and pushed back through the hospital. I think about what I have learned: my back left joint shows much more wear and tear than the right. I am cleared to begin Pilates. It will take fourteen days to feel the full benefit of the shots.

I am rolled into recovery and I begin to wait. My blood pressure is low.

My blood pressure has been creeping up the whole pregnancy, but it’s never mentioned as a possible issue again once my son and daughter are with me. The waiting is over. Life kicks into a hugely high gear. There is no time for anything, not even eating. When meals are delivered, we wait until they are cold and then TMD spoonfeeds me, as I use my hands to cradle two babies to my breasts. I am so busy.

I am so bored. The porters kept me waiting for a gurnney ride back to the ward, and once back on the ward I am still held captive with no clothes, no bags. I am in a room with four other women, and we slowly begin to talk and trade war stories. Four of us are there because we just had needles of every size and description pushed into our muscles and joints. One is there awaiting a surgery. We talk, we laugh, we bond in two hours.

There is no time to talk to anyone, and I end up in a private room. It’s full – so full – of all our stuff. My bite sized snacks. Nipple cream. Endless nappies and tiny baby onesies. So full of stuff but so little talking, because, my god, THE PAIN. My SPD is so bad I need a midwife, or TMD, to grab my ankles, hold my legs together, and lift them onto the bed. I cannot walk at all. Standing is difficult.

A physiotherapist tells me it’ll take 5-6 months to clear up. I am relieved she seems so definite, that this pain will go away, but worried it will take so long.

It’s been two years since the day they were born, and SPD has been with me every step of the day. I’ve lived in constant pain, though the intensity has shifted.

I’ve had these injections, this day in hospital, and I know I’ll be back for the second round of injections in another month.

As I love these babies so hard, I already know I want more. But I wonder if I’ll ever be back, if I’ll have more children from my own body. The risk may be too great.

Still, after five (seven?) days in hospital, I go home with these people accompanying me:

After less than five hours in hospital, I get to go home. I am shaky and find it surprisingly tiring and difficult to walk to the car. But my eye is on the prize. I get to go home to these people:

One day, and my life is changed so much. I’m a MOTHER.

One day, and I don’t know if it will change my life. I have to wait and see what happens, have to get more injections and physio before we can see how things are. But it’s also been two years, two years of kissing baby necks. Watching them learn and grow without me needing to try to teach them anything. Two years of dirty nappies and triumphs ranging from the small to amazing. Two years to get from babies to walking, talking, wonderous children.

The pain of pregnancy was worth it. It is worth it, I think, as I sleep every night with them beside me.

The pain of pregnancy was worth it. It was worth it, I think, as I watch my naked children screaming in joy and chasing each other around in the garden.

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Stages of grief.

November 7, 2010

I’m angry. Angry at myself for crossing the road where there was no crossing, when a marked crossing was so close. Angry at myself for not suing the fucking pants off the guy who ran me over. Angry at my flexible joints which reacted so badly to pregnancy.

If my SPD was no consideration, there would be – no questions asked – a third baby joining our family. I want that baby. I want Snort and Coconut to have a younger sibling. I want that baby to have the experience of a big brother and big sister who love him/her very much.

I want this:

twitterbirth.

October 2, 2010

If I had my new Smartphone back when I gave birth, I wonder what an impact that would have had on me. I do know that the crushing loneliness – and even fear – I felt when TMD had to go home each evening would have been lessened by being able to be in touch. I could have blogged, I could have tweeted, I could have chatted.

Of course I think about in terms of breastfeeding as well – would it have made a difference if people had been tweet-pressuring me (out of love)? I’m kind of glad it wasn’t an option. The more I read the more I am flabbergasted.

When milk first comes in your baby may have trouble eating because there is so much of it? WOW. I know when Aussie was first feeding Walnut here, milk was flying out of her boobs like a hose – it was awesome in the truest sense of the word, the power of her body to create and sustain life.

My boobs didn’t do that. I think what happened was that they made milk, but then all the severed milk ducts meant the milk had nowhere to go. And as my boobs were not regularly emptied by babies, my supply dropped rapidly as there was no ‘reason’ to make milk that would not be eaten.

All that aside, even when my milk did come in I never got engorged. At all. Yes, my boobs felt heavier and bigger – but nothing like the description of other friends I have. So maybe my boobs weren’t making a ton of milk anyway.

The interesting thing, to me, is that I can think about this without it hurting anymore. I am happy with the way we are raising – and feeding – our kids.

But still….I would’ve liked the constant flow of support the internet would have meant at 2 in the morning as I was crying in pain and too scared to try to make it to the bathroom without a wheelchair. Or at least the knowledge that if I wanted the support, it was there.

All of that aside, maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t have my lovely phone. Because my focus was totally on our babies and our family – and I know myself. If my phone had had all the superpowers it does now, I would have been up tweeting instead of sleeping. But maybe not….after all, I was sharing that hospital bed with two little wonders. It’s only when ‘well meaning’ midwives put them back in the fishbowl next to my bed that I felt less than happy.

Ah, how we see-saw. I guess there’s no way to really know what it would have been like. Perhaps I’ll get the chance to find out one day.

The Cesarean Secret.

September 10, 2010

Everyone talks about c sections like if you have one, you will be traumatized for life. That they are awful, horrific experiences that will cause you years of grief, anger, and depression. While I don’t deny that some women may have this experience – and I’ve certainly read of people comparing c sections to rape – I can also categorically say that c sections can be wonderful.

On Twitter, oh my pal Twitter, people are so against c sections that I’ve had women privately message me and thank me for mentioning that I had one and it was a great experience. They are afraid, they say, to speak out because they feel like they will be judged. Again, I’m sure no one would judge a woman who did have a genuine medical need for one (though many women have vastly differing ideas of what ‘need’ means), it doesn’t change the fact that some judgement would be attached. Not of the mother, necessarily, but of the doctors, midwives, etc.

The most damning judgment would be that the c section was probably unneeded – and definitely awful.

Again, I want to stress that I know a c section must be a scary experience for women who were actively planning a natural birth. To labour for hours, for your baby to be in danger, to have a crash section…I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

But it doesn’t stop me from saying: Hey, my c section was fabulous.

My hospital (a run of the mill normal hospital with all free care) had agreed that a vaginal birth was okay and safe with my twin breech babies if they came early. That point passed, and the babies continued to grow and flourish. In the end, we went full term and they were singleton sized. A c section was something I had wavered about, and certainly was nervous about, but then I’d been realistically preparing myself for the fact that it was probably on the cards. My babies were breech or transverse  virtually the entire pregnancy, so it was no surprise to me when we were pulling out our diaries and scheduling the birth.

I had literal months to get my mind around the fact that I would not be having a natural birth. But let’s be honest: my pregnancy hadn’t exactly gone to plan, either, and a vaginal birth would have put me at risk of permanent disability. I was of the definite mindset that I needed to do what was safest for my babies and my body/mind, and that flexibility was going to have to be part of that.

Was I shitting myself the night before the section? Sure. Was my section a bit delayed and I was freaking the fuck out? Sure.

Also true: everyone was so gentle and loving. All the staff came by my room, individually, to introduce themselves before the birth. They took the time to explain step-by-step what was going on. When the epidural/spinal seemed to not be working, they paged the top dogs and following births and pain clinics were delayed because they wanted to avoid knocking me out for the birth.

The staff rubbed my back, held my hands, put their arms around TMD as she supported me for the hour it took to get the epidural in. They did multiple checks in multiple ways to ensure I was properly numbed – and also to help reassure me that no one was going to cut me and hurt me. The doctors talked through every step, respecting my wish to know which baby came from which side (in case they were both boys, so I could know who was who!).

My wife cut the cords. The babies were pretty much instantly brought over to me. TMD held one baby next to my cheek, while a hospital staff member held the other on my chest. TMD and the babies stayed with me for the entire surgery. They were weighed in my view.The only time I was not touching or looking at them was about 5 minutes before I was wheeled into recovery, and TMD was there to continue to have contact with them the entire time.

The anesthetic assistant grabbed my camera and took amazing pictures – we owe our huge collection of family pictures taken seconds after the birth to this funny, sweet man. He even took pictures of the placentas in a bucket for us!

Everyone in that birth room acted like this was the first birth they had ever attended. They were so congratulatory, so helpful in ensuring that the babies were kept as close to me as possible, so pleased to include TMD in everything that was happening.

In recovery, I was assigned two or three amazing midwives whose only goal was to help start breastfeeding. They showed us how to latch the babies, and they were clear in saying they wanted babies on boobs as quickly as possible. I had one midwife per boob/baby, and a third offering to make me tea and toast. When I began to vomit from the morphine, I felt okay about it because they were so lovely – we even had a laugh. They kept me in recovery for longer than usual just to make sure the babies were feeding, and I was no longer sick.

Throughout our time in the hospital afterward, we were moved to a private room. I was given a lovely and thorough sponge bath the next morning.  TMD was allowed to stay well beyond visiting hours. I had midwives and assistants at my beck and call – remember I literally could not walk a step at this time. Midwives helped me off the toilet, pushed my wheelchair, paged doctors and pulled lines to get me gas and air for the pain. They came at all hours of the night to change poopy diapers and squeeze my nipples to help the babies feed. One midwife collected each tiny drop of colostrum in a minuscule vial to be given to the babies when they woke up.

When I cried about how breastfeeding was going, when TMD yelled at them, they stood there and took it all, and it was arranged for me to see a certified lactation consultant first thing the next morning.

Did I plan to have a c section? No. Did I worry I would feel like I’d had less of a birth experience? Yes.

But as it turned out, it was a perfect day. The love and attention showed to us and the babies in those hours surrounding the births made the day feel very special, supportive, and FUN. We laughed a lot, and everyone’s main consideration seemed to be making sure the babies were getting skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding, and I was doing well bonding with them.

I could not have asked for a better experience – I’m sure there are many ways to have a happy, healthy birth….but for these births, for my firstborn children, this one was pretty darn good. I’m thankful for that.

More info:
Welcome entry just after babies were born – pictures galore!
My birth story.

Unexpected joy.

July 19, 2010

My pregnancy, birth, and post-birth experiences were not what I wanted. I pictured a blissful giant bump and myself, skipping lightly through fields. I imagined an all natural vaginal birth. And I certainly anticipated carrying on breastfeeding for longer than I did.

But for all my hopes and wishes, here I am with two gorgeous babies who’ve just turned 11 months – and everything is good.

I was signed off sick from work at 19 weeks (and let’s be honest, prior to 19 weeks I was working half days or calling in sick due to the extreme vomit fest). This was the best thing that could have happened. I was given months and months of unbridled napping, eating, and resting. All my energy went towards growing my babies, and I do credit the months of rest and weight gain for going full term with two very healthy and singleton sized babies.

My birth? A planned c section, since both babies were breech. It was the best experience of my life. Our surgical and midwifery team (and the other 7000 people there) did everything possible to make us feel welcome, calm, and in control. I laughed so much during the birth. And afterwards I was able to focus on our babies while they did their business behind the curtain. Staff were there just to hold the second baby close to me while TMD held the first. My c section likely prevented me worse injury from my SPD as well.

And the breastfeeding? I loved it fiercely, but you know what? I like formula feeding. Go ahead – shoot me. I was physically unable to breastfeed (though remain hopeful that all the nursing in the first few weeks will help my nerves regenerate and I may be able to breastfeed any following babies!) and SO UPSET about switching to bottles. On reflection, I am grateful.

Bottle feeding allowed TMD to feed her children just as much as I did. Bottle feeding allowed us more rest. Bottle feeding has grown my children strong and healthy, and I no longer feel torn up inside about not breastfeeding.

Nothing turned out how I wanted it to, but now that I look back, I am happy everything happened the way it did. It has got me to this point: two little babies smiling at me, cramming wraps and apples in their mouths, playing peek-a-boo with each other almost constantly.

There are few things in life we can definitely control – particularly in regards to possible pregnancy or birth complications. But we can control our reactions to these things, and I choose gratitude. Again and again, I choose to be thankful for every step that led me to a peaceful place where I have forgiven my body for not letting me breastfeed, for breaking down under the strain of a multiple pregnancy.

How can I not?

I am blessed.

I sit here, carefully watching my children out of the corner of my eye. One on each side of a giant toy, swinging from side to side to peek at each other and boom with laughter. One running from the other who is giving gleeful chase. My lounge is cluttered with toys, my heart is crowded with love.

This is how it was supposed to happen. I was supposed to be this happy, and I am. I will not stop giving thanks for this life, for these children, for the possibility of more perfect moments that I did not plan or expect.

Things you wish I never told you.

October 19, 2009

So, my first period after giving birth may or may not be over.

Man, that fucker was intense. Three days of bleeding so hard and heavy I didn’t know whether I was actually participating in a bloody sacrifice ritual in a parallel universe. I’ll tell you something gross, if you want. Lean in real close. (Or run away if you don’t want to hear.)

I take baths almost nightly. And two of these baths, during this bloody time of my life, well. The bath water was so full of blood that it went brownish grey and I COULD NOT SEE MY LEGS UNDER THE WATER.  That shit ain’t right.

Neither is the fact that I shrugged, added more hot water, and continued to stew in my own juices. Hey, in my defence, I was reading a really great book.

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Birth story. (Or, really, a love story.)

September 12, 2009

I always wanted to be pregnant, but never really believed it would happen – and certainly didn’t expect twins. I didn’t plan for a c section, either. But with all these things, I must say that I had an ideal birth. My wife and I laughed a lot, it was pretty relaxed on the whole, and I really enjoyed the experience. Here it is…

I slept surprisingly well on Monday night, but this might be attributed to the fact that I didn’t really believe my stomach would be cut open and babies pulled out the next morning. That sort of thing is surely science fiction?

We awoke very early on Tuesday, and got to the hospital at 7:50 (ten minutes early). We rocked up – well, I was wheeled down – to labour & delivery, who promptly apologised and said someone else would be the first section of the day. This person was an emergency section after a long labour, so I didn’t blame her too much. We were sent to the antenatal waiting room, where I spent some uncomfortable time sitting up in The Wheelchair of Doom, watching Friends, doing arrowwords, and trying to be calm. Eventually they moved us into the ward to be prepped, where I had to wear a giant hospital gown on the front of me and a regular sized one on the back because nothing would fit over The Bump ™. I was shoved into hospital stockings, filled in a questionnarie, etc. The lady across from us in the Waiting For A C Section section apparently recognised me/us from the week before when we’d been organising the section (it pays to be a lesbian couple with an earth-sized bump and wheelchair…makes you memorable).

We were then sent back to L & D, ahead of the other lady, much to my relief. TMD was told to put on scrubs (she looked HOT), and about a zillion doctors, nurses, midwives, etc kept popping in to ask questions and introduce themselves. I was a bit nervous at this point, especially because we had had all the extra waiting time. Then it happened – stupid ass lady from upstairs went into labour and got to have her section before we did.

At this point I grumpily climbed into bed and sort of drifted in and out of consciousness, because I had not had any water or food in so fucking long. We took some pictures, but mostly I kept snapping, ‘What time is it? Has it been an hour yet?’ We also laughed a surprising amount, and all worry sort of leaked out of the situation. Then a guy with bright red clogs came and said it was time to go!

TMD pushed me into the operating theatre, and the first thing I saw was the two infant heater/bed/resuscitation things – which made it more real. They also had little steps leading up to the operating table, and I said, ‘Uh, I can’t actually climb stairs.’ So the bed was lowered, I scooched myself on, and they put the steps backwards so I could brace my feet against them for the epidural.

The epidural is the bit on tv shows where a woman might grimace, but it takes about 20 seconds of tv time. In real life, it takes about five minutes (or so we were told, afterwards). In our life, no one could sort that shit out. The lovely anaethetist had several fails, so her supervisor lady tried and had a few more. What do I mean by ‘fails’? Oh, you know, where they jammed the needle in and it hit bone. And I sucked in my breath hardcore while helpful professionals (about 700, since it was twins) said things like, ‘Did that hurt?’

TMD was very reassured by the fact that every time I said I felt something, red clog guy was like, ‘An electric shock?’ And everyone else was like, ‘Did you feel it in your legs? HOW ARE YOUR LEGS?’ So yeah. Continual jamming into bone, continual me cheerfully telling them it was to the right of my centre line (followed by utter silences, which I broke by laughing nervously and saying, ‘Well, this would be a hell of a time to find out I had scoliosis’….followed by more uncomfortable silences.)

Eventually I went into a fugue state, which made everyone constantly ask if I was okay. Jeez, people, I needed to shut my eyes and CONCENTRATE, since everyone was always pointing out the fact that I needed to be very, very still…..the ‘or else’ being implied. They were ripping through the lidocaine, thinking this would ease the bone pain, and then more and more anaethetists kept showing up. We ended up with about four, finally, with the top guy in the hospital. Thank god they were so patient, although they started talking about just doing a spinal since the epidural was clearly fucked. I said a few times that I wanted them to do whatever it took, no matter the pain, because I very definitively did not want to be put under for the birth.

The whole while I was clutching a pillow, TMD’s hand, and bent over. ‘Just curl forward.’ ‘Arch your back like a cat.’ And my favourite – ‘Pretend you are a prawn.’ That almost made me laugh until I remembered the whole paralisation thing, and was also jammed in the bone by a needle again. (People kept getting longer and longer needles. TMD really needs to tell you about that.) I was hunching as best I could over my giant bump. Sweat was running down between my boobs and blood was running down my back.

Eventually when even the top guy failed to numb my ass (literally), he suggested I lie down on my side. Har de har har. This operating table was just about large enough to treat a wounded kitten, so you can imagine how delicate and poised I was. I mean, I was as graceful as a ballerina during pregnancy – why wouldn’t I be able to lift my legs onto a table, move back, and lie down on my side?

FOOLS.

It took about eight people. When I was finally on my side, they had to use a big fucking plastic sheet under me in order to shift me – much like the sort of thing I’ve seen beach rescuers use for stranded whales. When all was said and done, I overhung the table on both sides, but at least I didn’t have to curl up like a fucking prawn anymore, right?! It was around this time that the head numbing guy managed to slide the epidural and spinal in with barely a peep, and suddenly the left side of my body was just gone. It took a lot longer for the right side to kick in. I think the odd part was when they eased me onto my back, it felt like they had forgotten to take along my left leg. I kept asking if it was still bent and to the side. I think they thought I was quite weird (but also hardcore – remember this series of shananigans had taken well over an hour, causing the anaethetist to actually miss her clinic, and multiple people to refer to my ‘high pain tolerance.’ High pain tolerance? Bullshit. I am just a people pleaser and ass kisser when it comes to medical professionals.)

At this point, the twenty other people in that room and the next started to stir into action. (Oh God, I want to remember the bee keeper type lady in the next room, her clear face shield and the way she jumped when I screamed, ‘Ow ow OW.’ The way they all just stopped talking and stared at me, all of us frozen in a terrible dance of waiting….waiting….waiting.)

I made a few nervous jokes about them needing to test I was actually numb before cutting into me. They whipped out this ‘ice cold’ spray and started getting all willy nilly with it. ‘I’m spraying your arm. Feel how cold it is? Okay, I’m spraying your stomach – tell me when you can feel it. Okay, you feel it – now, is it the same temperature it was on your arm?’

They also broke out what looked like a thumbtack and were poking away. I was like, ‘Uh, yeah, I guess I can feel it. It’s not actually sharp, is it.’ The lady fucking poked hard at my arm with it and I barely blinked (maybe I do have a high pain tolerance?). I heard her worriedly whisper to someone else, ‘Well, it feels sharp to me.’

Then they decided I was numb enough, but not too numb, etc etc. The blue curtain went up, TMD took her spot at my head, and we just looked at each other. ‘Babies,’ I said. (I seemed to say that a lot on the day.)

The anaethetist (one of the few who stuck around to witness the birth of twins from the fucked up medical marvel that was their epidural-resistant mother) was kind enough to let me know when they had started cutting. Oddly, this allowed me to fully relax because I then knew I couldn’t feel it. It seemed like a very short time – probably around five minutes – before someone said, ‘Okay, Existere, you are going to feel some pressure and pulling sensations now.’

It still felt odd, unreal, unbelieveable. Then someone said, ‘Here is your son!’ and held him up over the screen, so I saw his face for a few seconds before he was taken to the side and things continued. Exactly a minute later, they exclaimed, ‘You have a daughter!’ and I only saw her tiny foot over the screen.

I was still on this table, wondering what the hell was going on. Someone had grabbed TMD’s camera and took loads of pictures (we even got a nice shot of the placentas in a big plastic bucket!! They were MY kind of people, let me tell you), TMD was over by the babies, cutting their cords, and people were still apparently rummaging around in my stomach. Both babies were over at the baby tables for a while – being weighed, getting Vitamin K shots, being wiped off, making sure they were a-okay, etc.

Then TMD came over, a baby wrapped in a thick towel (neither of us can remember at this point who it was – is that terrible? I know they were worried about Baby Boy a little, and Baby Girl was fine from the get-go, but TMD definately was holding him and that is my memory…possibly faulty.)

TMD’s face was shining; she looked complete, radiant, knowing. Her eyes were sparkling with tears, and she held our child like she’d already done it over and over again in her dreams. Me? I felt a bit of panic, a bit of, ‘What? Who is this child? Can this really be our child?’ Then someone else came over with Baby Girl, and I reached out to touch the side of her face. Lying there, with two babies in front of me, my wife beside me (as well as the helpful Extra Baby Holder Lady), was surreal. That moment lasted forever, and also was over too quickly.

TMD and the babies were taken next door into recovery, while the staff kept congratulating us on how beautiful, big, active, and healthy the babies were. They acted like it was the first birth they had ever witnessed, and I am amazed and grateful about that.

Me? I hung around in surgery for maybe ten more minutes max while people counted cotton balls and knives, making sure that ‘whatever they put into me had come out.’

I was taken into recovery, and both babies were immediately given skin-to-skin contact and put to my breasts. One midwife held each baby with one hand, and a nipple with the other! TMD stood there watching and taking pictures. Baby Girl was a breastfeeding champ from the get go, while Baby Boy took a bit longer. I think that is when it hit me – how odd it was that this was not odd. I had two naked infants (in tiny, tiny diapers) pressed against my naked chest, and they felt like they were supposed to be there.

I still won’t say I was overwhelmed immediately with a crush of love. It was more like a steady, strong, obvious feeling that all of us belonged to each other.

Then I threw up.

And up. And sideways. And across. People looked at me, and I would smile cheerfully (see? a good patient) and say, ‘I’m fine now, feel much better. NO WAIT I AM LYING. Going to -‘ and then throw up violently green acid yet again. Ah, morphine. If I ever feel the need to go on a vomit bender, morphine will be my drug of choice. We stayed in recovery for a good bit of time, what with the vom-ing and all of us attempted to get two individual babies sucking on my nipples.

I was happy.

It’s a month later, and I still am.

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You bookend my life. Thank you.

September 9, 2009

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On the day you were born,
we brought some music into the room. On
a fluke
the evening before, we added the song
‘Beautiful Suprise’ to the CD.

And you are.

A beautiful surprise, I mean. The first moment
I saw you, I was flat on my back
with my head turned to the left,
your mum looking at you like
she’d known you her whole life. And
she looked at me
like I was a miracle for
making you.

Little boy, with your soft
deep gold hair, your heavy bottom,
your soft soft skin.

Little girl, our coconut,
with your rosy perfect lips
and tiny curled toes.

How could I have known this, known you,
imagined what it would be like?
Every day I learn you, get
to know you, watch you watching me.

I hang suspended in these moments,
in no rush to lose them to
walkingandtalking,
just here for this exact time,
in this exact way.

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Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on my entry yesterday. Last night as my breasts let drip after drop fall onto my stomach, as I looked at them in the mirror before gently tucking them back into bra, I wondered for a moment if I was crying. Your comments kept me sane on a sad, sad day. I read them each about twenty times, and no doubt will go back to read them again and again in the coming weeks until I come to terms with how things are.

But you know, having this son and this daughter,
I am grateful.

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And then there were two.

August 31, 2009

Due  to how jacked up WordPress is behind the scenes, I only just realised (20 days late – our babies are 20 days old!) my sister wrote this. Sticking it up for posterity’s sake…

This is blondie writing to say that my sister is safe & sound and both of the babies are doing great. I won’t give away anymore details because I’m sure she wants to let you know the rest. However, if you were as worried as I was I thought you’d want to know she’s happy & healthy!

Thirty-eight weeks. (Or: today is your REAL due date.)

August 26, 2009

Thirty-eight weeks ago today – exactly – my eggs had been collected, and the two embryos that would become our son and daughter had already been mixed with sperm. We would find out three days later that all our embryos had done well, but two were absolutely perfect in every way, and these would be placed back into my womb for a loooooooooooong  journey.

‘Thirty-eight weeks’ sounds like so short a time, so little space occupied in the expanse of a life. But in that time you went from a few cells to  beating hearts to hiccupy madness….to real people.

As we hold you today, you are already both so different than you were two weeks (and one day) ago. More alert, more awake time. Tummy time times two, hanging out on beanbags, beginning to make little baby noises. You both hold your heads up so well.

And while you look so different (to us, anyway – medical professionals keep asking if you are identical, which is a little offputting because you would think the whole penis-vagina thing, not to mention medical training, would clue them into the fact that you are non-identical twins), you make such similar facial expressions.

Little girl, you are hungrier than your brother. You have just had your lifetime record of 150 mils, and now you are blissed out in the beanbag while we watch you for signs of abrupt vomiting of this gluttony. You wake up quiet and wide eyed, and you go to sleep the same way. You like to curl up like a prawn, and maybe that’s because you were that way in the womb. Poos make you scream.

Little boy, you are much noisier. You pee everywhere, including on your sister (who also is a champion at peeing on people). You have a little bit of a tongue tie, and are a lazy feeder, and that makes mealtimes…interesting. And long. You kick, kick, kick while you sleep, you squeal, you stretch. You snort. You are a poo deceiver, appearing to be asleep while it still pours out of you.

So far, you’re both just the way you were in the womb. You sleep together at night, but during the days you mostly hang out in your carrycots attached to your Super Pram ™ and don’t seem to mind too much that you are having some alone time. You are both very easygoing, happy, and relaxed babies. Touch wood.

I know I need to write your birth story, but I sort of want to do that when I can be sure I’ll have enough time. Only today did I finally hear TMD’s version of events, especially as she experienced things quite differently than I did. I still have a huge numb spot on my ass (like my whole right cheek), but as a permanent reminder of that experience it could have been worse. Our other reminder is the scrubs I made your mommy steal because she looked so hot in them.

Yes.

Okay, time to go now. I am utterly stinky and tired, and this appears to be a very rare calm spot in the evening hours. I don’t know if I even care about showering (but the itching, oh, the itching), but I do know that should I decide to shower, you will both begin screaming the second I do so. It happens every night, and TMD is left bouncing, jiggling, getting peed on, and singing.

All this to two little eggs that came out of me, exactly thirty-eight weeks ago.