Friday, April 29, 2016

Birth Story: Conor James and Caden Francis

I found the below birth story questionnaire on the Twin Talk blog. I figured since I never shared their full birth story on my blog...that it would be fun to fill out. And the boys will be TWO a week from today, so it's a good time to reminisce about their birth. I wrote a brief post about a week or two after they were born. But here's the full story from finding out we were expecting twins, through to when we came home. 

 
How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins? 7 weeks exactly. I went in for my first OB appt at UCLA and an intern did my first ever ultrasound. She finished, left the room, and said she was going to get the doctor. When the doctor came in, she was there for all of 5 seconds and said "so you know there's two, right?"   UMMMM. What? I didn't even really know for sure that I was pregnant! Oh, and I was alone during this appointment because Jim's truck broke down on the 405 (the main highway in LA...similar to 95 here in MA). 
 
My reaction seconds after leaving the ultrasound:
 

Any issues during your pregnancy? Let me preface by stating that I didn't believe morning sickness was really a "thing". I mean, I knew people had some nausea, but I honestly felt like it wasn't as bad as people made it sound. Plus, my mom didn't have any sickness with Chrissy and I - so I was expecting smooth sailing. But that, unfortunately, didn't happen for me. Zofran was my best friend. It made me human again for a little while at least. Then came the constipation. Wow - I know, TMI. But really, with the prenatal vitamins and iron supplements and pregnancy alone, the constipation is brutal. Then adding zofran to the mix? Pooping was literally impossible. That was it though. No real problems or diagnosis. And towards the end of my pregnancy I was put on precautionary bed rest due to a few minor contractions. I hated bed rest, because I felt like I had SO much to do and set up and buy and cook and prep. And plus, no position was even remotely comfortable.
 
Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant:  I loved people's reactions when I went to stores and walked around my office.  "Woah. Are you having TWINS?!?!" Like they had never seen a really pregnant person before. Even my family members were shocked at how big I looked (like my Uncle Dennis). His reaction always made me laugh. My mom took this about a week before I had the boys. We were outside of our place in Alexandria, VA.


Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self? SLEEP! Rest, relax, and pamper yourself as much as possible. Especially now that I am pregnant for a second time. There is no time to relax, barely any time to sleep, and certainly no time to pamper myself. I remember getting weekly pedicures my first pregnancy. I think I've had one this pregnancy so far. And I'm already 28 weeks. Also, I would tell myself to accept help happily and willingly. For some reason, that's hard for me, even now.

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 37 weeks, 2 days  

Baby A Information: Conor James  
May 6, 2014
12:17pm
6 lbs 11 oz

Baby B Information: Caden Francis 
May 6, 2014
12:18pm
5 lbs 5 oz

This was us arriving at the hospital, gowning up and prepping for my IV. These photos were taken about an hour before we became parents...and immediately became a family of four!



Did you have a c-section or natural delivery?  At around 34 weeks, my OB (who specialized in high risk pregnancies) said their policy was to not have me go longer than 37 weeks pregnant. That's considered full term for twins. Since Conor (baby A) was in a breech position, she said repositioning him was extremely unlikely and we should go ahead and schedule the c-section. We called the OR right then and there, and tried scheduling it for Monday, 5/5. She said it was all booked, so Tuesday, 5/6 at 10am it was! We arrived in the morning, and the OR ended up being delayed a couple hours. Therefore, the boys were born a little after 12noon. The c-section went extremely smoothly. The only real negative memory was the spinal. I hated it. But it was over quick, then I felt numb, and things began. Conor was out in what felt like 2 seconds. And then it felt like an eternity to see/hear Caden. It was literally only one minute. Lots of tugging and pulling and me moving on the table. So weird. Then I heard two whaling babies and I immediately felt relief. 
 
 
They sewed me up and off to recovery I went. Jim left me a little earlier to venture off with the babies. They stayed in recovery with us until we were all moved to our room.
 


 
After a few hours in the triage/recovery place in the pics above, we moved to our own private room...with two beds. One for me and one for Jim! Here are some pics of the boys and us in our room. We all stayed the night here (the boys in the hospital nursery, so we could get some rest), and at 4-5AM the next morning, Caden was swept away to the NICU.
 



Any NICU time? If yes, for what reason and how long? Conor didn't go to the NICU at all. Mainly because he was a very good size and he nursed/ate really well. Caden went to the NICU for the whole hospital stay, four days. He needed to maintain his blood sugars and also gain some weight. They were both little troopers, but I felt bad they were separated. I feel like I spent more time with Conor up in our hospital room and Jim spent more time with Caden down in the NICU. Moving around post c-section wasn't the easiest task. To this day, both Jim and I can't rave enough about the NICU nurses and entire staff at INOVA Fairfax Hospital in the Washington, D.C. area. They had so much sincerity and compassion and really helped us out a ton. 
 
Con in our room, next to my bed: 


The first time holding Caden in the NICU (I held him in my room initially, and the day after he was born he went to the NICU because of his blood sugar levels):


Did you have any complications after delivery? No complications at all. I healed up well, and had a great report at my 6-week post op appointment.

How long did you (the parents) stay in the hospital?  Four days. We were discharged Saturday - the day before my first Mother's Day.

Did your twins stay with you or in the hospital nursery at night?  Conor stayed in the nursery and Caden stayed in the NICU. I am a huge advocate for hospital nurseries and I'm so disappointed the hospitals in the Massachusetts area are doing away with them for the "mother/baby bonding initiative". Boston Globe article published here. I think the child and mother have a lifetime to bond, and Mom needs a few days of rest and help to recuperate after giving birth.

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital?  
Honestly, I loved having my slippers, my camera/phone, chargers, and my hairbrush. To be able to brush my hair was a big one. I felt refreshed. I didn't shower the entire time I was in the hospital, so brushing my hair felt nice. And of course I can't complain about the awesome pics we got of the boys when they were hours and days old. I also got a toiletry bag as a complimentary gift, so I didn't need to pack many things. A toothbrush is always a good option to have! The hospital stocks you up on pads and mesh underwear, so don't go crazy planning there. In my opinion, minimum is best because you leave the hospital with tons of formula, pacifiers, diapers, and babies! Haha babies (plural) in my case.

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital:  My hands-down best moment was holding them together for the first time, skin-to-skin after Caden was discharged from the NICU. I was only able to hold Conor in my room for so many days. Granted I visited Caden and held him, but then I didn't have Conor while I was with him. So my FAVORITE moment was holding them both at the same time - for the first time, comfortably in my bed. Oh, and another favorite moment was hearing on Saturday that we were ALL getting discharged and going home. That was a relief. 
 
Here we are, all three of us back together again. :)


 
Then we were gearing up to go home!
 
 
 
If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? Remember that no two stories are the same and the internet can be your biggest enemy! Don't over research and over read ridiculous articles and stories. Sure anything can happen and you have no control over it, but you are your own person and you come with your own story. Trust your instincts because they are usually right. Don't listen to anyone else. You were chosen to be their Mom, so be the best mommy you can be. Good luck, and enjoy it. It goes by so fast! :)
 
One week old:
 
And almost two years old:


xo,
Shaz