Our miracle NICU twins: Finding joy outside of the birth plan
One afternoon, my mother-in-law and I were visiting when we got on the topic of expanding our family. By something I said, she thought I was telling her I was pregnant — I quickly responded that I WAS NOT! I was not ready for another pregnancy, as my son was one month shy of a year old.
The next morning, I had a thought in the back of my head that actually, I could be pregnant. I thought it would be too early to find out on a home pregnancy test but talked myself into taking one anyway to quit worrying and wondering.
And then….. BAM! Positive without a question! I laughed.
I was so shocked and not ready and in total denial. My husband was equally shocked but so excited. We had talked about trying for another baby when my son turned one but neither of us expected it to happen this quickly.
At eight weeks, we had our first doctor’s appointment. As my husband and I waited in the lobby, we sat in silence because we were both terrified. In 2016, we had our first pregnancy and lost our twin girls at 19 weeks. We were devastated. My pregnancy with my son was not easy either, as I was put on modified bedrest at 26 weeks after preterm labor.
When our name was called to go back to see the doctor, we stood quickly and anxiously made our way to the nurse. We were triaged and brought to the exam room where an ultrasound machine waited for me.
Although I was a nervous wreck, I was confident we would be okay because I trusted my doctor — Dr. Karen Patterson — who I worked with on a weekly basis as a nurse in the labor and delivery unit at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Hillcrest.
I had so many thoughts going through my head… Will there be a heartbeat? Will there be twins again? Or what if there are three heartbeats?!
I took a deep breath and tried to be strong. In the span of about eight seconds, Dr. Patterson’s face went from smiling to somber. She immediately said, “It’s going to be okay.” My husband quickly got up from his chair and marched over to get a look at the screen.
“Here is the first baby and here is the second baby,” she said.
Twins. Again. I cupped my face, hoping I was dreaming. I could not believe it. I wanted this but it was too much too soon. We walked out of our appointment still in shock and experiencing so many emotions.
I was due with my twins on April 16, 2020. I prayed from the moment we found out that I would be able to deliver vaginally. I knew as a labor nurse that having twins can be more complicated. My fear was having a C-section or having one baby vaginally and the second one by C-section.
Every appointment, my doctor reassured me she was going to take the best care of me. She did. Every time I went to work, my co-workers encouraged me and were always so positive. They knew my story and knew I needed the extra love. They were amazing at lifting me up.
My birth experience was a roller coaster, to say the least.
On March 19, I attended a baby shower that my coworkers threw for myself and two other pregnant colleagues. I had a good time despite being uncomfortable off and on for most of the shower, but I paid no attention to it as it had become my “new normal.”
I got home that night around 8:30 p.m. and had to breathe through a contraction as I sat in my driveway. I walked in immediately annoyed and went to bed. When my husband came to check on me, I told him I was hurting and just wanted to sleep. He stayed by my side and started timing my grimaces and breathing. After two and a half hours of this, he finally said, “I think we should go to the hospital.”
I hesitated and in a very labor and delivery nurse fashion responded, “They’re just going to send me back home.” He convinced me otherwise and we headed to the hospital to triage.
The doctor came in, examined me and said I was consistently contracting and was dilated to 3cm.
I was only 32 weeks pregnant. Mentally, I was preparing myself to be there for four more weeks as I stayed pregnant and the babies continued to develop lung maturity. Little did I know I was very wrong.
Two days later, around 8:30 p.m., I was being wheeled to deliver my twin girls vaginally in the operating room. Within 15 minutes, Baby A — Mia — was born as feisty as could be, weighing 4 pounds, 5 ounces. Then we waited for Baby B to decide when she was ready to descend.
After about 30 minutes of my doctor trying to rotate her and pull her down, the baby just would not budge. I was in so much pain and didn’t know how much longer I could tolerate it. Finally, Dr. Patterson called for an emergency C-section. Something was wrong. I could tell by how quickly my nurses were working and the sound of my doctor’s voice.
Baby B’s heart rate was decelerating and she needed to be born immediately. Almost an hour after Mia had been born, Baby B — Ella — was born as blue as a smurf. She didn’t cry, they didn’t show her to me and I could hear it in their voices that something was not okay.
The twins were taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). I don’t remember much after the delivery because I was so drowsy from the meds and exhausted from all the “what ifs” from the last two days.
My worst fear had happened. I delivered my twins vaginally and surgically. Although it was not how I wanted to deliver, I had the best care team hands down. Every detail of my delivery was carefully planned out. I never felt alone. I was confident in my team, before, during and even after delivery as our twins grew stronger every day in the NICU.
Our family is doing wonderfully, now almost six months later. My son, who will soon be two years old, is already an amazing big brother and has been a good helper since we brought the girls home. Best of all, he’s goofy enough to make them smile and laugh.
Although it wasn’t always easy, I would not have our story any other way. My family is truly my treasure and I am so blessed to call them mine.
My advice to expecting parents is to take it one day at a time. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the details and “what ifs” but it’s not worth it. God truly takes delight in the details and delivers in due time.
As for practical advice, make a schedule. It’s the only way you’ll stay sane. Let someone make a meal train for you. You will be too tired to cook, so let others spoil you and bring you the goodies.
Parenting is hard. Parenting is overwhelming. It’s easy to lose yourself in the process but give yourself some slack. It’s the most rewarding gift to have a small human look at you for all the answers, all the hugs and the reassurance that everything is going to be OK.
Finally, find your tribe and keep them close. You truly were not meant to do life alone. And make sure you have a care team you can count on, no matter what.
This story was contributed by Melissa Bourgeois.
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