It was a dark and stormy night..No really, it was.
T arrived into town around 11 am on the 14th. We ran around, had some VERY spicy food, picked up my kids from school and then went to the park to play (and get this show on the road). After an hour the darkest clouds rolled in..the sky turned a strange but beautiful hue of orange and hail began to fall with heavy rain. We made it home just in time to avoid being pelted and I began to wonder if maybe just maybe all of this weather could bring on some labor...you know, like a full moon.
I was encouraged by my Dr. that these babies would be healthy and safe if delivered. We had seen signs that were indicative of impending labor so we thought, "hey, let's do this". The babies were measured via sonogram and it was estimated they both weighed approximately 6lbs a piece. Though I wasn't feeling anxious or even uncomfortable, I was on board with delivering these sweeties.
T, myself and my family hopped in the car and headed to Target and the Mall in search of little Christmas outfits for the babies. We were determined to wear me out so we walked and walked and walked...nothing. We decided to go and relax over a nice steak dinner and wait for tomorrow to see if anything happened. We laughed and joked with the kids and in my head I just kept thinking how lucky the babies inside of me are...I was sitting next to my most favorite man (Shane) but looking into the eyes of a man who had quickly climbed into a top 5 rank in my book. This man is so amazing with my kids and he has no reason to be...I knew that night that though he may tire, he would live every day giving his best and all his love to his kids.
Okay. back to that night. I said we were going to wait but then it's our prerogative to give it one more shot...of castor oil. Excuse me while I gag just a little...T assured me that if I swallow this most viscous (and trusted labor kick-starter) that he would take some too...he lied :-) I did find the most palatable way to get it down and then I thought "well, that's never worked before but we'll see". T went to bed (he drove nearly 15 hours the day before) and Shane and I decided to do the same. That was 11 pm. I finally drifted off by 11:30 for what I assumed would be an uneventful evening. WAS I EVER WRONG!!!!
12:47 am. I woke in the most excruciating pain. I tried to roll out of bed but was unsuccessful. I used a hand to stir Shane and at that time was crying out in pain. We have NEVER been through this before...my labors are generally pain free until 8-10 centimeters...What in the world was happening? I made it to the bathroom and sat down as Shane ran some bathwater. At this point I wasn't sure if I should wake T or not. I was in so much pain I couldn't count my contractions. I couldn't talk. I couldn't get in or out of the bath (my desired spot for labor). I realized my contractions were coming every 2 minutes and lasting around 1 1/2 minutes. That gave me 30 seconds to throw up in between...Now I have just finished my Obstetric rotation and though I had been medicated and not experienced this personally, I knew exactly where I was...I was complete! A 10!!! At HOME!!!
Shane knocked on T's door (Halle's room, next to ours) and he was awake. He heard the bath and his instinct had already kicked in. My mom, who was staying nearby, made it in 5 minutes and by 1:15 we got into the car. My water broke. We are 28 minutes into this thing and I am certain these little ones will be born in my front seat. I am doing everything possible to pant or breathe or whatever I can to keep from pushing though I knew that is what my body wanted me to do. I called the ER and told them we were coming and as best I could what I was feeling...
We arrived at the door of the ER at 1:30am. If you are counting that is 43 minutes from waking up with my first pain. They promptly wheeled us upstairs, T following close behind, and attempted to get vital signs on me and monitors on the babies. Again, I have never done this without drugs so the pain and urges were new to me. I kept insisting that they check me to see my dilation and Shane kept saying, "my wife knows her body put your stuff down and check her". (ps, I love him) The Charge nurse came into this tiny triage room, seeing my terror and hearing me scream that I wanted to push, she checked me..."You're complete. 10 centimeters ..I feel the baby and you CANNOT push." That was the mantra for the next round of contractions. "Breathe" "Relax" "You can do this" "The Dr. isn't here and we don't want to have these babies in here". 1:39am (roughly) I am breaking Shane's hand with every contraction and kicking T to the hall. I love him but my body took over and I didn't want him seeing me so out of control. 1:41 am Shane and T are both in the hall and I am being wheeled to the OR because that is where all twin deliveries take place in my hospital. The nurse tells the boys that as soon as they get me settled she will bring back some scrubs for them to change into...1:42am...My left leg and most of my right were transported to the OR table...my head is still on the other...1 push...1:43am... Catchen Courtney W. is born. 56 minutes after I woke up and now 13 minutes after my arrival to the ER "Baby A" is born. T and Shane heard the cry and thought there was no way it was me who had delivered. They missed it :-( So did the doctor!! A sweet nurse, Andrea, caught "Catch". How perfect is that? Finally, relief. I pushed and though it was a painful few seconds, she was out and I DID IT!! Naturally! I was thrilled. I watched as they laid her on my belly. She was little at 4 pounds 12 ounces, but feisty, pink and crying "I want my daddy". The Dr. walked in around 1:50am and just laughed :-) He broke my water and for a moment I was relaxed and pain free. I waited to feel the urge to push and within a few minutes it came. Pushing seemed much harder this time and we realized this baby was facing up (normally they face down). I gave 2 very painful pushes and at 1:57am Curtis Brooks W. was born. T and Shane were both here this time and I watched as everyone marveled at what had just taken place. Curtis was 5 pounds 15 ounces and was also pink, feisty and crying. T walked over to show me the babies swaddled in his arms but I became distracted...I was hemorrhaging and fast.
I had no IV in place so no access for pain meds or emergency meds should I bottom out. The anesthesiologist started an IV in one arm and the nurse started the second IV in the other arm. I was quickly given injections to try to cause my uterus to firm up and stop bleeding. My Dr. was very vigorously massaging my uterus from the outside and inside (ouch) but I just wouldn't firm up. He kept looking at me saying, "Do you feel okay? Dizzy? Cold?" I didn't. I was still enjoying the elation of delivery and if he didn't mind, I'd like to get back to that instead. He called for 2 units of blood and said I would need a curettage (scraping out of the uterus with surgical instruments) and would need to be sedated for a bit. I woke up in recovery, blood infusing wondering what the heck had just happened to me.
I was weak but I just kept thinking of T and his sweet darlings. I wanted to see them together. I wanted to see if his face had changed now that he was a papa. I slept most of the morning and afternoon and by the evening I was up and around. T came to see me and updated me on the babies. They both had a drop in their blood sugar so they were taken to the NICU....this was my biggest fear and yet here we were. I went to visit over the next several days and saw these most spectacular creatures. They were strong and healthy and never needed any medical assistance other that blue lights for jaundice. I was so proud of what we had done. T, Shane and I were a great team.
Yesterday, just 6 short days after birth, T packed up his "mannyvan" with C & C and headed home to LA. I had such mixed emotions as I held Curtis and Catchen and as I hugged T goodbye. I cannot call it sadness or grief...I don't know if there is a name for "I've come to think of you as family, I love you and now your babies too...my family loves you..." This time last year we got a negative pregnancy test and yet here we are waving goodbye. Of course I cried and I will certainly cry again but this morning gratitude and satisfaction is what I feel. I was fortunate enough to be chosen by T to carry his most precious babies. He came to my town and stayed in my home and made a gingerbread house with my kids...In return I nurtured and grew C & C the best I could. I finished school. I grew even closer to the man I love and came to appreciate my children in a way I hadn't before...This journey was beautiful. The relationships formed ARE beautiful and C & C are worth it all!
T- There are no words to express to you just how much love we feel for you! You have been the most amazing IF and friend and we are grateful to know you. Watching you be a daddy this week makes me forget any pain or trial my family went through as we defended surrogacy. You are proof that love abounds in many different forms and fashions. There is no "right or wrong" way to make a family, LOVE makes a family! Thank you for choosing me to carry for you. For enriching my life. I am forever grateful for this experience and hope that we remain lifelong friends.
C & C- You are as precious as I knew you would be. You made this pregnancy SO easy on me. Thanks for your sweet kicks and hiccups; your squirms and stretches and for growing big and strong for your daddy. I will remember your tiny faces and all the love that surrounded you this week forever. You are the last babies I will ever deliver and you are so special to me.
Shane- You are my ROCK. My everything! Surrogacy is do-able but you made it wonderful! Thank you for your most tender words when I was weak. For foot rubs and back rubs and just holding me when I was exhausted. Thank you for taking the lead with the kids and not complaining. You sacrificed so much...things that people will never know, so I could fulfill this dream of mine. You are a gift that I cannot repay and you show love in it's most perfect form. I cannot wait for the rest of our lives.
Thank you all for reading and following. Thank you for your words of support and encouragement. Thank you to my fellow surro-sisters who compel me to grow and change. Love to you all!
|Daddy's chin :-)|
|Catchen 1 day old|
|2 days old|
|T kept telling us how to feed :-) So cute!|
|4 days PP, new hair cut|
|can't stop smiling at that chin|