Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Baby Story

Wednesday, March 10, 2010. The day God chose for Taylor Ann to make her debut into the world.

I started to have contractions just as preschool dismissal began, around noon. They weren’t very close, happening only about once every 10-15 minutes or so. Once I got home, I told TJ I wasn’t feeling well. He offered to take the afternoon off but since the contractions weren’t unbearable or close together, I assured him it was okay to go back to work and I would call him around 4pm to give him an update. Plus, Teagan has therapy on Wednesday so her EI, Crystal, would be here with me for an hour if something drastically changed and I needed to go to the hospital. He agreed and off he went!

During Teagan’s therapy, I mainly sat on the couch and relaxed because I just did not feel well. Every movement caused me to have a contraction and as anyone who has had children knows, they are painful! =) Crystal left about 2:30 and I loaded the kids up in the van and we picked up Th from school, returning home shortly before 3pm. I got the younger 3 settled in their beds for naps and helped Th with his homework. About 3:30 I went to lay down for a bit but couldn’t get comfortable. A few minutes before 4pm I called the doctor’s office to speak with the advice nurse. She said I could come in to be checked but I had to be there before 4:20 (which was impossible!). If after 4:20pm I still didn’t feel well, I would have to go to the hospital. As promised, I called TJ upon hanging up and told him I still didn’t feel well but that there had really been no change; the contractions weren’t any harder or closer together so it was probably false labor again. He asked again if I wanted him to come home and I again declined (since he’d be home in an hour anyway!) and with the fire that had recently happened, I knew he was extremely busy!!

After I hung up the phone, I decided to take a bath to see if that would help me relax. It did, and I felt a little better. However, once I got dressed and went downstairs to start cooking supper, the contractions started coming a little harder. I called my mom out of frustration of not knowing what to do and just started crying. She told me to call my friend from church and have her come over to stay with the kids while TJ and I went to the hospital. Her reasoning made sense to me (it was better to have her come over now since she could take the kids to church; if I got sent home again, I would probably be home in time to put the kids to bed; if it was true labor, it was still early enough in the day that we could make arrangements for her to spend the night). I agreed to call and hung up with my mom. At 5pm on the dot I called my friend, Mrs. J., and asked her to come over between 6 and 6:15pm. I had supper almost ready and by then the kids would be fed and ready for church. I then called TJ, who was on his way home by then, to tell him of the evening’s plans. I also paged the doctor.

After I hung up, I sat down to write down instructions for the kids in case we were at the hospital late. TJ came home, finished feeding the kids while I went to get dressed (after my bath I put on my pj’s) and finished packing my hospital bag. By 5:30pm the contractions were coming about every 4 minutes and the pain was intensifying. I told TJ to call Mrs. J. and tell her to come over ASAP! By 5:45, I could hardly stand up and panic began to set in. I knew I was in labor and was fearful my water was going to break (once my water breaks, delivery is only about 10 minutes away)! TJ called my neighbor to come over and stay with the kids until Mrs. J. arrived because we needed to get to the hospital!!! Thankfully, my neighbor was home and as TJ and I pulled out of the driveway, Mrs. J. pulled up to the house. The Lord’s perfect timing! TJ again paged the doctor on our way to the hospital because he still had not called back.

We arrived at the hospital and I immediately was put in a labor/delivery room. When the nurse checked me, I was almost 7 cm dilated! She paged the doctor for a third time and began to input my information into the computer. I was trying my best to manage the pain but I was fearful the baby was going to be face up like Teagan, so I asked for an epidural. I was told “no” because the nurse needed to get my information into the computer, an IV line hooked up, and blood drawn for lab work. She said the anesthesiologist was known for being very “by the book” when it came to giving epidurals, and without the results of the blood work, he more than likely would not agree. I was discouraged but prayed that the Lord would either allow me to deliver quickly or that the anesthesiologist would change his mind. Thankfully, the anesthesiologist “happened” to be on the unit in another room and came into my room to talk to the nurse. When I realized who he was, I begged him to reconsider. He did (praise the Lord!!).

Within 15 minutes I was a whole new person- calm, relaxed, and relatively pain-free. I’ve only had an epidural once before and by the time I delivered, it had worn off. I will admit this was a whole new experience for me, and I am amazed at how effective it was in pain management. Shortly after getting the epidural, I knew delivery was imminent and informed the nurse that it was time. She took one look at me and agreed, going into a frenzy to page the OB doctor again and prepare the bed for the baby’s birth. Once the OB entered the room, Taylor Ann arrived within 10 minutes. Face up. So glad I had the epidural!

As in every delivery, the OB examines the placenta for any abnormalities. Upon examination of mine, he held it up for me to see and pointed out where Taylor Ann’s cord had been attached. It was off to the side, not in the center as is typical for a single birth. But, we know she wasn’t a single birth, and he pointed out where the other cord had been attached. It was a bittersweet moment but again confirmation from the Lord that there had in fact been two babies and I had the privilege of caring for one while He cares for the other. I am so thankful the OB did that as he didn’t have to, and I would have never known otherwise, but it meant so much to me. That is probably what stands out the most to me about Taylor Ann’s birth story: the time in explaining the cords and allowing me to see for myself where this little life once was. Yes, Taylor Ann’s birth is a celebration of life on Earth, but it was also a celebration of life with the Lord for her twin.

As I rock and nurse her at night, I find myself contemplating what my life would be like with two newborn babies. Difficult, to say the least, but how else would it be different? I don’t know, but God knows, and I trust His plan for life. I am thankful I knew about the twins and that I saw where the cord was attached. I have an answer as to what probably happened (the babies shared a placenta meaning one baby, Taylor Ann, received primary nourishment and the other baby received secondary nourishment. Taylor Ann grew and thrived while the other baby simply didn’t get enough to sustain life and stopped developing) and although it’s not what I would have chosen, it’s what God chose for me. I am thankful for Taylor Ann, and this entire pregnancy experience. Simply put, I am thankful. . .
Taylor Ann
6 pounds, 14 ounces 19 3/4 inches long Born 7:47pm

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Surprise, Surprise!

I have to share how good the Lord has been to TJ and I over the past couple of weeks. . .

About a month ago, I found out some friends from church were planning a baby shower for me. I was utterly surprised, to say the least. The shower was a couple of weeks ago and was wonderful! It was a scrapbook theme in which each guest decorated a scrapbook page, and at the end of the shower, I had a complete album for Taylor's first year. The scrapbook is gorgeous! Some of the pages are very elaborate and others are very simple; it is a nice balance and something I could have never completed on my own. The best part of the album is that each lady signed her name on the back so I know who created each page. I love it and will cherish it always! I will admit I got emotional during the shower simply at the thoughtfulness and planning of each person in attendance. Each guest not only created a scrapbook page, but they prepared dishes to share and just the fact that they came meant so much to me! The Lord has given us great friends who support us in so many ways that it is oftentimes overwhelming!

Then, last Thursday, I started to generally not feel well and have contractions that progressively grew stronger and more frequent. After calling the doctor for his opinion, he felt it was best for me to come in to be checked and monitored. After all, in the past I had delivered 2 children by that point in my pregnancy and the others only a couple of days after that. I called a dear friend from church, Mrs. J, to come over and stay with the children. Mrs. J. is who we called when I went into labor with Teagan and she has been in my kids' lives since I had Ta. They adore her and in fact, the boys were so excited she was coming over, they couldn't wait for us to leave! T.G. and Teagan were already asleep by the time we left for the hospital and T.G. woke the next morning, she was so upset that it wasn't Mrs. J. waking her up! The Lord has placed us in a wonderful, caring church that meets the needs of its members- we are so thankful! Although the contractions stopped and labor ceased, it won't be much longer before Mrs. J. gets another phone call from us!

Friday I attended a "mandatory" staff get-together. Or so I thought. It was a surprise shower from all my friends at the preschool. Again, the love and support that has been shown over the course of this pregnancy amazes me. Without having family help on a regular basis, friends fill the gap and assist whenever necessary. It is nice to know that help is only a phone call away, and even better, only minutes away.

With Taylor's impending arrival, my emotions have been very mixed. I am anxious to meet this little miracle who has been growing and thriving inside of me for the past 9 months, but I am saddened to know that with her birth comes the end of my pregnancy. Don't get me wrong- I do not enjoy being pregnant. But, since Taylor is a twin, I still feel connected to Twin A. When she is born, all the memories of this pregnancy will be just that- a memory. Thankfully when the scrapbook was created, a page was dedicated to the fact that Taylor was/is a twin. It is important to me to not let that fact slip away. Having twins in this way has greatly affected me and grown me spiritually; I cannot ignore that. I refuse to ignore that. God has shown me so much over the course of these 9 months, perhaps that is why Taylor has yet to make her debut. God still has something for me to learn about His character and I am ever-attentive to His teachings.

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth." ~Psalm 34:1