Sunday, February 10, 2013

On Their 4th...

The kids' birthday is an incredibly emotional day for me.  I'm so thrilled that they are thriving and happy and have enjoyed another year of life, but I can't help but be reminded of the trauma that was my pregnancy and their birth, which leads to the most significant emotion--gratefulness.  Grateful that our story turned out much different than expected.

A slightly shortened version of the story:  I had contractions from about 15 weeks on. I had to take Terbutaline around the clock, and spent a night or two in the hospital. At a 22 week ultrasound, we were told that Amelia had Trisomy 18, and that she probably would not survive to be born alive.  We grieved--oh, how we grieved, but we knew we had to get ourselves together for the other little one in there.  We had weekly ultrasounds to check on their growth, and at 28 weeks, I was admitted permanently because of some scary things going on with potential cord compression, not to mention the contractions. I spent the rest of the time on continuous monitoring, getting two ultrasounds a week, biding my time.  We talked to the chaplain and the NICU team, we planned for bereavement photography for immediately after their birth, we talked about things like "comfort care", in the event that Amelia was born alive.  We walked the shaky tight rope between the elation of meeting our son, and the sheer bitter horror of planning to lose our daughter. It was tumultuous, to say the least.

On February 9th, I had my final ultrasound. Anderson's growth had also completely stopped, meaning that he was not being appropriately nourished, and we planned for my c-section the next day--at 32 weeks, 2 days gestation.  That day was a complete whirlwind--I don't remember much about it.  I remember a nurse trying to go ahead and start my IV, and she missed my vein twice (I may have said some very, very bad words...if that's never happened to you, let me tell you, it is AWFUL), got upset with me for writhing in pain, and left.  I remember my regular nurse, Martha, coming in the next day and saying she'd do my IV--and I was terrified! This woman was an older former L/D nurse who had been retired to the antepartum wing--her hands were shaky; she dropped my pills all the time! I was terrified after the previous night's agony, and then she proceeded to perform the very best IV stick of my life.  I was given all the fun pre-surgery drugs, Marty was taken away to put on the oh-so-attractive husband c-section gear, and things got underway.

I remember thinking one thought--"please, let him cry...please, let him cry...". I didn't expect Amelia to cry, but I was just clinging to hope that at least HE would cry.  Amelia was born at 1:09 pm--she didn't cry, as expected, but she was breathing, they quickly let me know.  At 1:10 pm, Anderson was born. My boy didn't disappoint; he let out the tiniest cry I had ever heard (up until that time; Amelia would cry a few days later and the sound was identical to a kitten--so tiny. I cried every single time she cried.). They were cleaned up and brought over to us.  We loved on them briefly, then they began their journey to the NICU. I went to recovery and got some wonderful Mag Sulfate for high blood pressure (aka the torture drug--I've never felt so sick in all my life).

Fast-foward about an hour...I was up in my room, waiting for them to bring Amelia up to us.  The bereavement photographer was setting up her equipment.  I was alone with her, and thankfully slightly delirious (turns out they give you the good drugs if they think you're going to be having to deal with bereavement).  I remember this next part as clear as if it happened yesterday, though--it was an earth-rocking, life-changing moment, and no amount of drugs can keep someone from forgetting one of those. My sister and brother-in-law came running into the room. They were so excited...they'd been in the NICU with the babies and a geneticist had evaluated Amelia--and determined that she did NOT have Trisomy 18. She was recommending transfer to a better NICU.  I remember apologizing to the bereavement photographer, who of course was thrilled and not the least bit upset at having to re-pack and leave. They quickly transported the kids to U of K Hospital, and the rest is history.

There are no words to describe how the whole experience changed me, us, forever.  We are eternally grateful for Amelia and Anderson--they've already taught me so much about life and love and acceptance.  They are amazing.

And now...because I'm all up in Reminiscing Alley...some photographs from their first days and their hospital stay:

Amelia Rebecca--1 pound, 1 ounce.
Anderson Martin, 2 pounds, 8 ounces

Marty's wedding ring on her leg...

And for your entertainment...our "Happy Birthday" from today. The singing--we know it's bad.

Happy Birthday, Little Ones. My sweet miracles.


  1. Wonderful! Happy birthday guys, you all are an awesome family!

  2. so precious! I love those little ones! Your story always gets me...what an awesome miracle!

  3. An amazing story! And aren't four year olds so sassy?