This St. Patrick’s day, the twins turn 13 (which I am choosing to believe will be a lucky number). I honestly can’t fathom that I now have teenagers and it’s flown by so quickly.
Yep you heard right, they were born on St. Patrick’s day which I believe makes them and me extra lucky! At first I thought “oh no, my kids were born on a drinking holiday!” That’s given way to realizing just how lucky I am that the universe choose me to be their mother.
Because I had focused on my career, I got married later in life, and had the twins right before I turned 40. People always wonder if we had help and the answer is no, not really, my husband likes to say he’s just that good. In reality, my Doctor put me on a very low dose of clomid because of my advanced age of 39 (yeah I know) the chance of us having twins was less than 3 percent. For most people it does nothing except make them bat shit crazy (which it did, trust me). But after just two months, I was pregnant. We didn’t know it was twins for a while. The day we found out I was getting one of those invasive vaginal ultrasounds. My husbands face was in his blackberry working on a deal, and I remember looking at the monitor and realizing I was seeing two images as the Dr. was saying the words “oh my goodness, you’re going to have two babies!” My first response was “Andy did you hear that?!?! Is that ok?” Not sure why I asked that, but we were of course thrilled.
Most of the pregnancy was fairly uneventful, it was one of the happiest times of my life, I really loved being pregnant…but at 30 weeks I was put on bedrest. So I spent the next 6 weeks trying to keep those babies in!
We assumed we would have a C-section so we never did any birthing classes (may have been a mistake on our part). The day I delivered I had been in active labor for about 24 hours at the hospital. My little body was beyond tired, and that’s when everything went wrong but also so right.
Because Elsie was already ready to go, we decided to push, and push I did for 2 very long hours. I just wasn’t strong enough and all of a sudden her vitals started crashing. That’s when everything became a blur. What was once a quiet room at Cedars was filled with Doctors and Nurses and what seemed like a team of people. They had to perform an emergency C-section, and that’s when it got really tricky, Elsie was stuck in the birth canal and they could not get her out. No one would talk to me and I kept trying to ask questions that no one would answer. Finally they got her out, but I didn’t hear any crying and I knew there was something wrong, still no one would talk with me. (To be honest, I am crying now as I write this, it really was the scariest moment of my life). I kept saying, “Why isn’t she crying? I know she’s suppose to cry.”
The Doctors never let me see her that day. She was basically born without a heartbeat and they had to revive her and whisk her away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). As that’s all going on there was still another baby in there! Thankfully the Doctors got Ben out without any problems, and were able to put him on my chest. That moment is forever frozen in time, those little eyes looking at mine, really time stood still…until they whisked him away to the NICU.
That’s when everything became really hazy, the delivery/surgery had been really tough on my body, but what worse was not being allowed to see the babies for the first 24 hours. It wasn’t at all what I thought my delivery would be like. I hadn’t planned on everything going sideways.
And while nothing prepared me for that type of delivery, nothing prepared me for seeing both my babies in incubators hooked up to every machine possible. Over the next few weeks the Doctors would explain to me that Elsie did everything possible to protect her body, that’s why she shut down her system during the delivery. They promised me she was already very smart and would in fact be the one holding Ben’s hand to cross the street. As for my sweet Ben, there wasn’t any trauma for him. He was just small, weighing only 4 pounds at birth, that weight dropped down to around 2 pounds as he was a slow eater. In the end, Elsie was the one who got out of NICU first, Ben just took his time getting comfortable with it all and then he was out.
I’ll never be able to repay the angels who worked in NICU, or the nurses who sat with me in my bed at night as I cried wondering what I did wrong to not be able to deliver two really healthy babies.
After 3 weeks we were all finally home, my OBGYN wisely told my husband I should talk with a therapist as it had been such a tough experience for me. Did I have postpartum depression? I don’t really know, probably, but I really just needed help understanding how and why everything happened. Plus I didn’t want to go back to work I was afraid to leave the babies. I eventually did and was thankful that even though I got up at 2:30 a.m. to go to work, I missed very little of the twins waking hours. I was home by 10:00 a.m. and really able to almost be a stay at home mom (sleep deprivation was just a state of normal for me, my coworkers would find me asleep under my desk fully dressed with hair/makeup/high heels & a dress in between shows).
My reason in sharing with you this story is really to say nothing in life really turns out how we expect it too, but in the end it’s always exactly what we need. Ben & Elsie have completed my life and really given me life. There’s not a day that goes by that I think, I can’t believe they are mine, and I hope I am sending them out into the world to do good and be a light for others.
Oh, and one more note from the NICU: Remember when the Doctors told me she would be the one holding his hand to cross the street? Well the first day they had to walk into Kindergarten without us, as we waited in the carpool line, Ben started to get scared and said he couldn’t go in without us. Elsie said: “Don’t worry Ben, I’ll hold your hand”, and with that they popped out of the car, and crossed the street holding hands.