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. . .