I had to send our birth story in with our March of Dimes ambassador application. I cheated and just copied it from the blog, but thought I would share it again with all of you. We have come so far in the past 6+ years.
I will begin my story from the day I was put on bed rest with twins. After being sent home from the hospital on August 21, 2007, I was told to stay on bed rest until my next doctor's appointment on September 5th. I was almost a week into it and my symptoms were getting worse. On August 27, 2007, Ryan had jury duty. He was going to try to reschedule it, but how do you do that when you know that twins are arriving? Luckily, he wasn't chosen and he was sent home around lunchtime. He brought me a turkey croissant from La Galette. . .my favorite. Because he had the afternoon off that day, we decided to go back to the hospital. I didn't want him to take any more time off work to take me once again to the hospital to calm my fears that something wasn’t right.
Once we arrived and got settled in, my cramping had worsened and I was told that I was, indeed, having contractions. My mom soon showed up and I thought it was a little silly for her to be there. After they examined me, I was told that I was dilated 2.5 to 3 cm and they told me that this was my new home away from home. They had mentioned starting me on magnesium sulfate in hopes to stop the contractions. I was told to remain as calm and relaxed as possible. Soon afterwards, my dad and brother made it up to the hospital. I really wasn't expecting them to come, but having my family there was one of God's great blessings.
A high-risk doctor came in shortly to examine me again and I kindly asked my parents and brother to wait in the waiting room. It was then that I learned that I was over 6 cm dilated and 80% effaced. There was no time for magnesium sulfate or anything else. . . .we were told labor could not be stopped.
Now, when I was first became pregnant, I was carrying three babies. (I lost Baby B around 8 weeks.) I remember searching the internet for everything that came in threes. I came across a website and I learned about Cole, Paige and Kaylee who were born at 24 weeks. This is one of the reasons why we chose Paige for Olivia's middle name. I remember watching a video about the first three months of their life and sobbing uncontrollably. Kaylee, sadly, did not make it. No baby or family should ever have to go through all of that. It was my first real encounter with what micro-preemies experience and the first time I realized that some babies don’t get to come home. When I was told that labor was imminent. . .I knew that I was only 23 weeks, 1 day. In my mind, I kept saying, "Cole and Paige were born at 24 weeks. . .they were born at 24 weeks." I knew that every day mattered, but at least I had some gauge as to what was considered viable and what was not. Many places don't consider a baby viable until 24 weeks, but will resuscitate before that if the parents wish. We had prayed for these babies for so long and we already loved them with all of our hearts. They had to be okay.
Immediately following my second examination, my water broke. With alarms sounding, the room was immediately filled with doctors and nurses and RTs. . .and two little incubators. My contractions got very intense after that point. Ryan completely fell apart and I went into some sort of shock. I remember Ryan asking the doctors if I was okay and I wanted to respond, but what would I say? I was far from okay. This was the worst day of my life.
After my water broke, the doctor rambled off all the things that could go wrong with my babies. They had a 30% chance of survival and a 90% chance of a major disability. I didn't want to hear it. I didn't care. . .I loved my babies with all of my heart. I would handle whatever God would bless me with. I just wanted my babies. They kept asking us what we wanted to do for them. We just shouted, "Everything!! Do everything! Do what's best for the babies!" I don't know how many times we shouted that. There was nothing to think about or consider. We wanted our babies to have every chance possible. Another blessing was that I was at the hospital so that they could have immediate care. Had I been anywhere else. . . they wouldn't have had a chance.
I remember when they started telling me to push. I hadn't gotten that far in my pregnancy book. . .I mean, I had just passed the halfway point. So, I literally pushed like they do in the movies. Three pushes later. . .Olivia Paige was born.
She was born on August 27, 2007 at 6:18 pm. She weighed 1 lb 1.5 oz and was 11.5 inches long. She was bruised and battered, her skin was almost transparent and her eyes were still fused shut. They didn't wrap her in a blanket and hand her over to her anxiously awaiting mommy. We didn't even get to hear our baby cry. At 23 weeks, her lungs were not that developed. There were no first pictures together and no videos of our smiling faces. I didn't feel like the mother of a precious baby girl. . .I felt like a mother who had just lost her child. I caught a glimpse of her out of my eye before they rushed her away. Ryan said, "She's moving and she's beautiful." I kept those words with me.
I had to keep myself composed because I had another baby to deliver. Logan was breech, but they were going to try to turn him and deliver him as well. With Olivia no longer in the womb, Logan must have relished the additional leg room because he turned sideways. They said they would have to do an emergency c-section. And, just like that. . .they rushed me out of the room and Ryan was left in there all by himself. This was yet another reason that I was thankful to have my family there. Of course, my parents and brother had only stepped out of the room for a quick examination and were probably discussing my long hospital stay ahead. I would have gladly replaced my babies' hospital stay with my own. My family had to watch the alarms go off with the incubators and doctors rushing into my room. My parents didn't even know if something was wrong with me and they thought they were surely losing their grandchildren. I passed them on the way to the operating room. Again, I just stared at them. I couldn't reassure them and tell them that I was okay, because I wasn't. Ryan wasn't okay. Olivia wasn't okay and neither was Logan. This wasn't supposed to happen. . .they weren't due until Christmas and here we were in the heat of the summer. I wasn't expecting to go full term with twins, but I thought maybe Thanksgiving or, worst case scenario, it might be as early as Halloween.
I remember getting to the operating room and they placed a mask over me after another bad contraction. They told me that would be the last one I felt. . .and that's all I remember.
When I woke up, I was in a room surrounded by most of our family along with our pastor. I wasn't quite coherent, but I needed to know how my babies were doing. I guess I just kept muttering, "My babies. . .my babies. . .my babies." I would stop as Ryan would explain it to me and then I'd just continue muttering. . "my babies. . .my babies."
Logan William was born by emergency c-section on August 27, 2007 at 6:28 pm, just 10 minutes after his big sister. He weighed 1 lb 1.75 oz and was 11.5 inches long. He, too, was bruised pretty badly, but his skin seemed to be a little more developed than Olivia's. I was unable to see him until later that night/early morning when they wheeled me into the NICU. I remember seeing Logan, but I don't remember seeing Olivia. I was still pretty drugged up.
Many people came to see me in the hospital before I went home three days later. I think it was hard for people. . .they didn't quite know whether to congratulate us or tell us that they were sorry. I didn't quite know what I wanted to hear. It was very difficult to leave the hospital without my babies. I would still pat my stomach and then remember that they weren't there, but they weren't in my arms either.
Our sweet baby boy, Logan, passed away on September 28, 2007. He left a void in our hearts that can never be filled. Olivia spent 105 days in the NICU before she was able to come home. Over the past 6 years, Olivia has continued to fight and defy every statistic about 23 weekers. She is still small for her age at 35 lbs, has had 2 strabismus surgeries, wears glasses and her skin is still scarred due to her early birth. She struggles a bit with anxiety and gaining weight. But, after years of occupational and physical therapy, she entered kindergarten with no special services. This past year, she even added big sister to her list of accomplishments. Olivia is very energetic and has such a zest for life. She approaches every situation with such an appreciation for the life she has been given. She will never let Logan be forgotten as she talks almost daily about her twin brother in heaven. Olivia is so deserving of this honor and teaches us all about not only what micro preemies have to offer this world, but about the potential that exists within us all.