Our boys are here! Whitaker John (right) and Davis Ray (left) made their debut on May 9 at 2:46 pm.
My radio silence the past few months has been in part to the difficult third trimester and birth I experienced. I’ve been focused on healing myself and the rest of our family. What follows is everything that happened from the start of my third trimester until the boy’s delivery day, so bear with me.
In my last post I told you about how the second trimester of this twin pregnancy was routine and positive for me. Well it seemed like the moment I hit the third trimester, that all began to change. First, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. If you know me at all, you know I eat a very clean, healthy Paleo diet, so getting hit with diabetes was a big surprise.
Apparently GD is very common with twin pregnancies because of the increased amount of hormones being pumped out by not one, but two placentas. My gestational diabetes was likely due to this influx of hormones, because my diet was already very close to what they recommend. In fact, their main advice for me was to eat MORE carbohydrates. Also my fasting blood sugar was the hardest to control, so they put me on insulin to try to manage it.
A few weeks after my diabetes diagnosis, the swelling began. It started gradually in my feet, then I noticed my rings no longer fit, then I got carpal tunnel in my wrist and finally by the end, I was swollen all up my legs the the point where if you pressed my skin, an indentation would be left for a few minutes.
I also became increasingly uncomfortable. It was hard to walk for more than a few minutes without getting pelvic pain, rolling over in bed became an olympic sport, and my braxton hicks contractions picked up a lot of steam. I even found myself in labor & delivery at 28 weeks for non-stop 8 minute apart contractions. Thankfully after five hours, they ceased that night, but I continued to have contractions daily.
At 33 weeks I went to see my OB and my blood pressure was slightly elevated at 140/98. They asked me to monitor it at home and at my maternal fetal medicine appointment the next day. At that appointment, my blood pressure was up in the 160’s/100’s, so I was immediately admitted to the hospital for monitoring.
What followed was a week spent in the hospital and what was honestly one of the most physically trying weeks of my life. The first night there, they told me I would be delivering immediately because of my blood pressure. I was obviously totally freaked out at the idea of delivering the twins at just 33 weeks, so I pushed to just try to control my pressures with medication to buy myself some more time.
My doctor’s agreed and immediately hooked me up to magnesium in my IV. Magnesium helps calm your nervous system and prevent seizures in women with preeclampsia. It also makes you feel like your skin is burning off, you have a horrible flu and you are insanely thirsty. This was torturous considering I wasn’t allowed to drink anything – even ice chips – in case I ended up with an emergency csection.
Oh that’s the other thing, after weeks of baby A being head down and baby B laying sideways, both decided to flip to breech that day, so my hopes for a VBAC were dashed and I would definitely be having a csection.
After that first night, they were able to get my blood pressure back down into the 140’s/90’s and agreed to let me delay delivering if I stayed in the hospital for monitoring. If you’ve ever stayed in a hospital, you know that it’s not exactly the best environment to lower blood pressure.
Every hour through the night a nurse would wake me up to take my vitals, which meant I was severely sleep deprived. I had to lay flat on my back to have the babies monitored for about 4 hours a day, which any pregnant person knows is incredibly uncomfortable. Finally, I had a lot of doctors and nurses regaling me with tales of patients who died or whose babies died in my situation. Not the best way to lower my blood pressure!!
In addition to the preeclampsia issues, I also went into active labor two consecutive nights. My contractions were every 3-4 minutes and painful enough that I could not talk through them. So twice again I was wheeled into labor & delivery, prepped for a csection and not allowed to eat or drink anything for 12 hours. Both times my labor was stopped with a medication.
Throughout this whole time, Luke was by my side and my rock. He slept in a chair by my bed, advocated for me with the doctors and reassured me that everything would be alright. He even painted my toenails after I complained that I felt so gross and unattractive in the hospital.
After a week of this crazy emotional and physical roller coaster, my blood pressure spiked one more time to 171/110 and the high risk doctor insisted that I deliver the boys the next morning. By this time I was officially 34 weeks, the boys had had a round of steroids to mature their lungs and magnesium to help mature their brains, so everyone felt comfortable with their prospects post birth.
My doctor wasn’t able to deliver me until 2:00 pm, so again I spent another night with nothing to eat or drink past midnight + a nice big bag of nasty magnesium pumped into my IV. By the time I was wheeled into the delivery room, my body and spirit were so weak, I was just ready to have the boys out.
My surgery went well, and at 2:46 pm Davis Ray was born first with his brother Whitaker John coming almost immediately after. The doctor actually said she pulled Davis out and Whitaker reached his arms out after him almost saying “wait! come back!”
The doctor lowered the screen so I could see them both being born and they were brought over to me and Luke to hold and snuggle for a new minutes.
The boys were a great weight for their gestational age and for the fact that they are twins – Whitaker was 6 lbs 3 oz and Davis was 5 lbs 8 oz. Both had no issues breathing, maintaining their temperature or really anything else. However, due to their gestational age, they were immediately admitted to the NICU.
Probably the hardest time for me was after their birth. They were gone in the NICU and I was not allowed to be with them for 24 hours because I had to be hooked up to magnesium yet again post delivery. They would not allow me to do my magnesium up in the NICU because a nurse had to be with me at all times and they didn’t have the staffing to allow that in the NICU.
I was in an immense amount of pain post surgery and was begging the nurse for more pain medication. My body was shaking uncontrollably from the pain and shock of the surgery. Worst of all, I was alone for much of it because Luke was up with the babies. My mom came to be with me eventually. Those first hours in recovery were some of the most painful in my whole life. Nothing like my first csection. Plus I had no babies with me to distract me.
One thing I was at least looking forward to was the large pizza and chocolate milkshake I requested my Dad bring me. I hadn’t eaten barely anything for the whole week I was in the hospital, so this was a very exciting “first meal.” But wouldn’t you know it!? The nurse wouldn’t let me have any because she said it was “too rich” for me to eat while on magnesium. That one earned a few tears.
Finally after my 24 hours of purgatory were up, I was able to be wheeled up to the NICU to finally see my babies. The NICU at Toledo Hospital is nothing like I imagined. I thought it would be a big room with a bunch of sick babies and super stressful, but it’s actually very peaceful and quiet. Each family has their own private room too.
That first night I got to hold my sweet boys skin to skin and I finally was able to exhale and feel joy in my heart at the miracle of these two boys. After such a long, hard journey they were here. My heart sang!
They are the cutest babies too. Despite being twins, they look very different (to me at least). Davis looks a lot like Lila did when she was a baby, with dark hair and coloring. He also likes to stare at you a lot, just like Lila did. (Lila on the left, Davis on the right)
Whitaker has lighter hair, a rounder face and looks a lot like his daddy did as a baby. (Luke on the left, Whitaker on the right)
It’s been 21 days since their birth and Davis came home from the hospital two days ago.
Whitaker is still there working on taking his bottles better. Both boys biggest hurdle is just gaining their strength to take all their feeds. Whitaker is our sleepy dude who likes to snooze right through meal time, but we’re hopeful he’ll be home very soon.
As you can imagine juggling babies in the NICU, a 3 year old at home and me recovering from major surgery has been a lot to handle. Thankfully I am getting better and better each day and we’ve had a lot of support from family and friends, namely my mother who has been over nearly every day to help with Lila or the babies. She has been a godsend!
I am feeling almost back to myself. I lost 45 pounds in the first week alone after losing all the water I was retaining. What a relief that was to be rid of! I gained 60 lbs in total, so I have 15 more to go.
Another positive is that my milk supply has been ample. I am pumping enough to cover both boys feeds and overflow our freezer at the same time. What a blessing!
We are slowly settling into life as a family of five. Lila loves “her babies” and has proven herself to be very patient at the hospital and very loving to the boys. She showers them with kisses and head rubs while saying “coochie coochie!” or “awww they’re so sweet!” or “he’s sooo cute!” She’s going to be a great big sister.
I am beyond thankful my body stuck it out until 34 weeks and that these boys were born healthy. Although it was a tough road to get here, these sweet angel boys make it all a distant memory. I can’t wait to watch them grow up, develop that special twin bond and bring so much joy to all our lives.
Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us and sent us positive thoughts. We’ve also had a huge outpouring of local friends dropping off meals, running errands, mowing our lawn and bringing by presents for the boys. The support means more to us than you will know!!