Life After Birth
Updated: Mar 8, 2021
As the girls reach their second birthday I've been reflecting for awhile on how to share this post. For all those Moms or Moms to be out there I hope this resonates with you. The day I found out we were having two babies I was in disbelief but also a bit excited at the same time. The first person we called was our roommate and good friend Chloe. Given she lived with us she was intimately aware of our general family plans and knew we were going for an ultrasound. Since the day I found out I was pregnant she had teased us about having twins and then it happened, pretty sure she though we were pranking her. My next few weeks were full of Google searches and planning because you know you can totally plan for what 2 babies and a toddler looks like and control it right? 🤣
Though at some point I began to realize my super committed planning brain couldn't plan this. This was a wildcard situation that I had very little control over. One thing I knew for sure is I wanted to be present during their birth. I had given up the idea that I would be able to have a "natural" birth with them and accepted the highly medical role that doctors would play. I had accepted that I had a high chance of having a C-section but was hopeful I would be able to follow through with birthing the twins "naturally". By naturally I mean in an operating room surrounded by 20 odd doctors, nurses and medical professional since that was the way multiple births went here. I had to give up a lot of expectations of how I wanted this to go and focused on going with the flow. One thing I knew for sure though was I was going to be there when they were born, I had control over that, or so I thought. March 23 started like any other day except for I knew it was going to end with our family growing by two. I went to the hospital with my bag packed, ready to welcome our babies. I had no idea how this would go, I just knew I was going to have that magic moment of holding my girls after going through the miracle of child birth (however that looked).
Things changed drastically though, one moment I was completely fine the next moment I couldn't see, I was disoriented and I didn't know what was happening around me. I just remember the doctor and midwife talking furiously about how they needed to do something right now. The next thing I remember was being wheeled down the hall with my midwife talking to me about an emergency C-section. I was sad but knew that this was a possibility from all of the conversations we had . About 2 minutes later after being injected with medication to freeze the lower half of my body I could still feel the touch on my skin. I was told, we are putting you to sleep and you will wake up to your babies. This I never planned for, this was never in our conversations or what if scenarios, being asleep while my babies breathed their first breath was never in the cards. Why did no one tell me this could happen? The next thing I remember was starting to feel my body again but not being able to move my arms or fingers. I remember trying to open my eyes and I couldn't. I remember thinking what happened? are they ok? I had zero control at this point and was terrified, I couldn't even speak to ask what was happening. None of this was how things were supposed to look. My amazing midwife came and told me that the babies were ok now, they were in the NICU and one was on a CPAP machine still. My mind knew that I could trust my medical team, my heart on the other hand was breaking, none of this looked the way we thought. I was of coarse grateful for the miracle of them being alive, but inside I was grieving and didn't even know it yet. Later that day I got to be wheeled down to the NICU to meet my baby girls.
I silently grieved the birth I never got to have, but maybe it wasn't the birth maybe it was the moment of connection when you first give birth that I was grieving. I kept telling myself how selfish I was being by even having these feelings and tried to muster up the strength to get through my days. By 4 days old the nurses were about ready to kick me out of my hospital bed and send me home, ok well not that dramatic but really they needed me out - I was physically ok. I recall the moment that I was discharged and we went to give food to the girls and walk out of the hospital without them. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I cried as the elevator door closed and we walked out of the hospital surrounded by other parents who were leaving their babies in the NICU as well. I walked into my house without my babies who had just been dramatically removed from my body.
Day after day I pumped at home and slept a couple hours while juggling being a mom to Abi. We drove back and forth to the hospital to feed and change our girls hoping the doctor would tell us we could take them home. Thirteen days later we got to walk out of the hospital and do just that. Those 13 days felt like eternity. Life at home wasn't easy (as you can expect with 2 babies) but it was our space and we figured it out. Many sleepless nights, diaper changes and cuddles later our girls are almost 2. It took me a good 6 months to emotionally heal from that day, from the grief of missing their birth, and from the disappointment of how it didn't go how anyone ever told me it would go. One day when they were 6 months old and I was just holding two babies I let go of the grief, the disappointment, the sadness and I had peace. It took a lot of conversations with friends, sharing and getting that all of these feelings were valid and ok. I also had to accept that holding on to resentment was only impacting my relationship and bond with them now and it changed nothing about how it went on their birthday.
March 23, 2019, miraculous as two bundles of joy entered this world, not because of how it happened or what role I played, but because they are miracles. I look at them every day and am present to love, to kindness, to fun and joy. I get to be their Mom and that's the best miracle I could ever be granted.