the sectioning of my cesarean

before i tell you the story of how my twin darlings were ushered into the world, let me share with you my initial observations as i look back on the situation. there’s no pop quiz at the end, but these observations will give you insight into my mind-frame and disposition as i became a mother for the second time…and just two minutes later for the third.

obstetric observations:
– cold arctic breeze
– seafoam green tile
– sterile silver objects and tools
– a padded crucifix
– worker bees darting about donning shamrock green scrubs, cafeteria lady shower caps, and bird flu face masks
– THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED! i wanted contractions, dilating, effacing, water breaking, breathing, pushing, screaming labor! i didn’t want surgery. boooooooooo!!!
– fear. unfathomable i-am-not-prepared-for-this fear

and so…
a c-section is considered “major surgery”. looking back, i can’t say that i actually realized that before being wheeled into an operating room. it was quite the experience! i’d hate to scare anyone or bias someone’s opinion, but it was downright unnerving. it gives me a little anxiety just to reflect on it. but, the outcome was phenomenal, and i’d like to share our story.

full term pregnancy is considered forty weeks. that’s from egg-to-sperm conception to uterine eviction. where folks got “nine months” from is a mystery to me. gestation is almost ten loooong months, and a woman feels it. almost all women hit a wall around thirty two weeks. our bodies have been through the ringer. we’ve braved and survived trimesters one and two and as we round third base headed into home — we are exhausted. thirty-six weeks is considered safe. an infant is fully formed, inside and out, and simply gains weight for the remaining weeks. for those of us lucky enough to be blessed with multiple gestations (twins, triplets, etc) it is estimated that three weeks be subtracted from the estimated delivery date for each additional baby. in my case, my actual due date was december 02, my predicted due date (subtracting three weeks for the additional baby) was november 11, and my doctor advised that i would not be allowed to carry past thirty eight weeks, which was november 18. the more babies, the less room, and the more opportunity for complications. no bueno.

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snipets from my BabyBump app.

i saw my doctor on the morning of the eighteenth. nothing life changing (or date changing) was taking place. my daughter, Margo (known as baby A) was still breech. she was actually sideways (transverse) and was laying inside my pelvis. my csection was scheduled for the twentieth at nine. i left the doctor, went home, had a meltdown, and set out on a massive cleaning mission. if you’ll recall, this (csection) was not what i wanted. it was not the plan i’d contemplated and devised all these many long months. i wanted to deny it. reject it. but i knew in my mind that it was a necessary evil used solely for the purpose of bringing two tiny lives into the world — hopefully problem free. my logic accepted, but my heart and soul were in denial.

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taken by my coworker. if i recall correctly, from left to right:
13 weeks, 20 weeks, and 27 weeks.

the wee hours of the twentieth came. i zipped my hospital bag, finished the dishes, cleaned the kitchen and eventually went to bed. i woke just three hours later. i was elated, anxious, scared, worried, excited and nervous. i showered, tied my hair up and dressed for the occasion:

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a gift from Tiffany. this shirt turned us into celebrities. everyone wanted to know if i was REALLY having twins, if they were REALLY a boy and a girl, and if they could take a picture.

just after sun up, i woke my son, prepared him for his school day and waited (extremely impatiently) for danielle to pick us up. we loaded up, dropped off my first born and headed for the hospital. i met my expectancy entourage (the twins’s dad and oldest siblings) in labor and delivery. as well, prayer warrior #1 mz. Imelda came and prayed with me just as the whirlwind of procedures began.

undress completely. put this on. opening towards the back. put your stuff in here. sit down. do you have good veins? what’s your name? what’s your date of birth? who’s here with you? we are going to do this, this, and this. then we will go over here and do this. let’s see. oops. i’m sorry. oops. i’m sorry. uh oh. lemme get someone else. ok. hi. oops. i’m sorry. uhhhhh….that’s not good. lemme try again. yes? no. uh oh. oops. i’m sorry. let me get someone else. ok. hi. oooohhhhh. um, ok. sorry sorry sorry. ok, we got it.

it took three people and at least seven needle pricks to get ONE i.v. into my arm. the bruises that occurred from the attempts lasted for at least a month. once the i.v. was in, the green light was given and every little methodical tiny detail was underway. i bid danielle g’bye, surrendered my phone (re.luc.tant.ly!), and was whisked away.

as i lay on the hospital bed, slowly being wheeled away, i lost the warm fuzzy and almost comfortable feeling i had in the pre-op room. anxiety stomped into my heart and i realized that there was a lot more going on than i was prepared to deal with. we turned a corner, turned another corner and approached a doorway. wait. hold the phone. are we going IN THERE? in therrrrrre?

ohSWEETlordBABYjesusSONofGODinHEAVENpleaseNO!

the doorway led to the operating room. a brisk sixty degree breeze came from there. somewhere in my unconscious mind i heard “it’s cold to control the germs”. (*shrug* that’s the nerd in me). seafoam green tile and sterile silver equipment lured my eyesight. there were a few people in there buzzing about. each of them glanced at me and i instantly began to cry. i’m certain i began to shake my head and whisper “no no no” under my breath. if i had been one iota more coherent instead of scared i would have put my feet up and held my hands out, in animated cartoon fashion, to deter my entering THAT room. tears. big whopping alligator tears and a belly shaking sob. sob sob sob.

what’s the matter? is she ok? are you ok? what’s going on? scared? are you alone? ok, we’ll get him. are you ok? are you sure? just scared? you’ll be fine. ok, we’ll get him. we need a second i.v. we are going to do this this and this. ok? ok? are you ok, honey? let’s get started. ok, we’ll get him. a poke. a big bee sting. a burning sensation. lift your leg. lift your leg. help her. hurry.

within ten minutes, i was strapped to a padded crucifix, affixed with a second i.v., given a spinal tap (the bee sting, burning sensation of a pain blocker that numbs you from the boobies down), gently pushed over (because i was mentally numb and then my body went numb and i didn’t move fast enough) and prepped for surgery. i cried the whole time.

the worker bees buzzed about and my nurse; julie said:

we have to count the instruments. you’re going to hear some loud tapping of metal objects together and counting. don’t be alarmed.

shitcrap. don’t be alarmed? that was one of the most unnerving portions of the whole experience. knowing they were counting instruments because someone somewhere had left something inside of someone that wasn’t supposed to be there. ugh. CLINK! one. CLINK! two. CLINK! three. better safe than sorry, i suppose.

soon i saw the familiar eyes of my doctor. he grabbed my hand and greeted me with his ever so familiar “hello dear”. i cried harder. he assured me that everything was going to be fine, move along as scheduled, and within moments i would be holding my sweet babies. he was right. the busy bees put up a curtain at my bust line. the only thing i could see was directly above my head or to either side. WonderTwinDad was finally escorted into the room. he grabbed my hand, kissed my forehead and cheek, shushed me, and took his place at my side. he never let me go.

my doctor inquired about what i could feel and not feel. he asked me if i could move my legs. you bet i can! see? did you see that? ummmm, no. i was certain i was dancing a jig. he was certain i was completely numb and my legs were as heavy as two redwoods plucked out of yellowstone national park. boom! surgery began. there’s something “out of body” about being operated on. i was numb, but awake and alert. i developed a sort of tunnel vision and stared only at the ceiling and at the eyes and hands of the man with whom these miracles were made. without the feelings associated with pain and nerves, one only gets a pulling and tugging sensation. it’s very surreal.

it’s hard to imagine being pregnant for thirty eight weeks and then having the children without the involved birthing. for the most part, my job was done. i arrived. everything from that point forward was out of my control. an incision was made, and the babies were retrieved from within my body. WonderTwinDad said “i see a tiny foot”. i cried. first born was Margo. baby A. they showed her over the curtain but my head was turned and i didn’t get to see her. it was 09:37am. just two minutes later, a tiny little man made his debut over the curtain. Miles. baby B. it was 09:39am. and there … within two minutes, my motherhood had tripled.

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a few moments passed. the worker bees were busy. i know they were putting me back together, but i was oblivious to what was actually being done. i soon heard “mom, here’s baby B for skin-to-skin”. just then, a female nurse laid the tiniest baby boy upon my chest. he was wearing a diaper and a beanie. i was stunned. this little person had been inside me for months and now, finally, i was able to hold him. the nurse reappeared and soon whisked him away. i questioned “where’s the girl? where’s my daughter?” she was in the nursery with the NICU team. she hadn’t wanted to cry and they needed to “stimulate” her. 😦

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moments later i was stitched and taped up and ready to move. within a blink i was in a recovery suite. a huge room all to myself. where’s my daughter? where’s the girl? were my only thoughts. upon setting the brake, WonderTwinDad and the SuperSiblings arrived. they’d been admiring the babies through the nursery window. is she there? did you see her? is she ok? WTDad assured me that all was well. moments later the WonderTwins were wheeled in. the nurse asked “are you going to breastfeed? who would you like first?” i was giddy! my babies! my babies! MY BABIES WERE HERE!!! “give her the girl, she hasn’t seen her yet” said WTDad.

Margo was laid in my arms and i said “OHmyGODshesSOprettyyyyyyyy”. within minutes, i was breastfeeding both babies and that scaredy-fraidy-cat-sissy-lala feeling was gone.

let me give you the vitals:
Baby A: Margo Rae; 6lbs 5ozs, 19.5″ long, born at 09:37am
Baby B: Miles Raymond; 5lbs 5ozs, 18.75″ long, born at 09:39am.

you might consider me a little biased, but i think they are perfect. newborn babies come into the world with their heartbeats and not much more. as the hours pass, you find yourself in awe of their majesty. their tiny bodies and miniature everythings woo you into a state of bliss. i was in a full fledged newborn induced coma. this thing, this surgery was not my plan, but who cares, right? look what i get out of it.

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miracles of maternity

“a miracle”, “a blessing”, “how wonderful”, “so beautiful”, “you’re glowing”, “you carry it well!, “AMAZING!”

these are some of the top phrases heard by most pregnant woman. each and every statement is true. even the most uncomfortable, miserable, painful and trying pregnancy is still a miracle. a God given, (yet man made) miracle. even the woman who is sick all day, on bed rest, completely uncomfortable in her body, unable to eat or rest and appears to be all of these things — still carries a glow signaling the phenomenal goings on inside her. a woman’s body is made to receive, grow, birth and nurture children. the human body itself is insanely complicated, but the inner workings of a woman’s intricate birthing center are remarkable. pregnancy is astounding.

this week, i am thirty-four weeks pregnant with twins. one boy and one girl. Miles Raymond and Margo Rae. two unexpected, spontaneously conceived blessings. i’m a lucky girl. I AM BLESSED. i have endured far more (emotionally and relationally) during this relationship and this pregnancy than with any other relationship or pregnancy previous. but I cannot look at the ultrasound, hear the heartbeats, see the profiles, faces, and limbs and not feel completely loved and in love. whatever come what may, no matter the hardships and difficulties that the future holds; the blessing of twins is miraculous. i am in complete acceptance of this gift, and i’m grateful.

it is almost five a.m. and i’ve just been awakened by the crushing of my bladder. who can say if it’s stomping, jabbing, or just pushing. either way, there is additional pressure alongside the already full bladder pressure. this is somewhere close to the twentieth time i’ve gone to the bathroom in the last twenty-four hours. it’s an hourly trip made whether i’ve got a full tank or a solitary drop. to me, it all feels the same and carries the same urgency.

as i return to bed and settle into my far too familiar left-side-leg-propped-up-pillow-hugging position, my swollen belly starts to dance. the little people that live in there are awake and active. this will go on for another hour. their motions are sometimes abrupt, sometimes mild but always alien. my stomach jerks and pulsates out of my control. often times I giggle, but other times i squirm and grimace at the shape of my fetal apartment. i am hostage to their whims. my physical person is their home. i have tenants.

so far i’ve gained a little more than thirty pounds. i’ve outgrown my clothes, my first round of maternity clothes and my brazierre (an item that has not changed for more than TWENTY YEARS). i am the girl who ate a watermelon seed or swallowed a basketball beach ball. the thirty pounds appears only in my distended belly and according to spectators, i don’t “look pregnant from the back”. this is a compliment, i’m sure. ;D the rest of my body remains the same as it was thirty five weeks ago…

it is hard to see and feel the movement of a fetus and not be in shock. while contained within me, these two separate people are living their own lives. this isn’t to say that they don’t need me, only to point out that i hold them within but they do what they want. i am their life force. i provide the environment in which they will come to fruition, but they are essentially leeching nutrition from my being and energy from my soul. i am their guide to the universe. through me, they have their first everything. they are nestled amongst my relocated internal organs and are the sole disruption to my altered digestion. still, i cannot control their kicks, turns or hiccups. i belong to them much more than they belong to me.

it is in these times of quiet that i find myself most in awe. i share in the laughter and answer the questions of those around me when they marvel at my size, my shape, my glow. but as i lay here silently delaying my thirty eighth trip to the bathroom — i revel in the reality. what a wondrous time. they are dependent, yet fiercely independent.

ten months, forty weeks, or two hundred eighty days. during that time two microorganisms come together and create a life!! from invisible to visible, and on to touchable, holdable, hug and kissable. from the merging of cells comes the emergence of life. out of complete stillness comes a beating heart, breathing lungs, and blinking eyes. from pulsing blood and combinant DNA comes brain matter — that absorbs, transforms and consumes all it comes in contact with. the forming, growing and birthing of a child is a technology beyond all others. more advanced than any item of invention.

even the technological advancements that have allowed me to actually see the faces of my unborn children doesn’t compare to the fact that they are there. they are alive and everyday they become more alive, more aware, more beautiful, more prepared to tackle the world outside my body. and i will miss them so. as exciting as it will be to enjoy them with all of my senses, i will miss their presence within me.

perhaps this is also what makes pregnancy such an amazing journey. everyday that i am with child, my body morphs and changes to accommodate what is going on in my womb. the anticipation builds ever so slowly as does my size. my weight, moods, emotions, hormones and memory fluctuate in accordance with what my body needs. and i haven’t an inkling of control over any of it. a complete hostage, right down to my taste buds. something that i used to love may only bring disinterest or even nausea. and things i might not have ever liked seem appetizing. i am me, always, but now i’m a different me. forever changed.

i have turned the corner and moved from relatively comfortable to barely comfortable. my shape is awkward and “comical”. it takes time for me to move, as my center of gravity is shifted, my back and stomach are extended beyond their means and this makes me downright clumsy. all of my habits are modified. it won’t be long before i am unable to sit at work for nine hours. and soon thereafter i’ll be a mother, for the second and third time.

hopefully my sweet angel baby Little Miss Margo performs a miraculous acrobatic feat and turns her whole body around. as of two weeks ago, she was breech and blocking the door, while her smaller brother My Main Man Mr. Miles is smooshed into my rib cage. at least he is headed for the exit. either way, my doctor won’t let me go past thirty eight weeks (apparently every day past that can present complications for multiple births). that’s just a month from now. four weeks. in four weeks everything I’ve just written will seem like a dream — a vanishing memory that set in motion a new chapter in my life, my love, and my parenting. my heart is swollen with excitement, anticipation, anxiety, fear and urgency. before me lies the double edged sword of no longer being pregnant, but having to nurse TWO babies at the SAME time (say whaaaaat?). i long to see them, kiss their little faces and nuzzle with them in all ways. it will be nice to see what they actually look like and whom they resemble. but sadly, it marks the end of my pregnancy. don’t get me wrong, i don’t want to be pregnant forever (i’ve pretty much had my fill) — but i will certainly miss my little uterine terrorists. ;D

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