Twins, graduation, a trip to the ER, and Christmas cookies. We had quite the week!
They're here! Our twins came into the world last Tuesday morning, December 13, 2016. Carter James arrived at 7:48 after about eight hours of laboring, then Beckett Asher made us wait a whole two hours for his arrival at 9:32. I was 37 weeks and four days and beyond ready to go.
My main focus as labor started was getting to the hospital in time for an epidural. I wasn't about to try a natural labor with two big boys coming out of me. I knew that a c-section could happen with all the risks involved in delivering two, which I was hoping wouldn't be my case. But I made sure to stay flexible knowing what mattered most was getting two healthy babies out. My doctor, Dr. Collins from Centre OBGYN, was amazing. She was calm and cool and instilled a whole bunch of confidence in me. Throughout the two hour stretch between babies, she kept reassuring me that I was doing great and things were moving well. If I wasn't 100% sure that these were the last humans to occupy my belly, I'd want any other births to be captained by her. She even stayed way past her shift change to see my babies through the canal.
Thanks to Dr. Collins and her patience, it never came to surgery. The boys came out wailing. It was awesome having Stephanie Capps from Sacred Spaces Birth Support there to document the event. She's building up experience as a birth doula and photographer so a twin birth was something new for her too. She was there from beginning to end and always offering help and support. I had never worked with a doula before because my baby daddy is quite the coach, but it was great having an extra support system available, especially when Mark had to leave for that two hour stretch between twins. She also distracted me while I walked up and down the hospital stairs for a half hour. Stephanie is a wonderful person who becomes a friend the moment you meet her. If you are in the market for a doula or photographer, check out her work here. She also posted a blog about our birth here. I am all heart eyes over it and look at it multiple times a day. Make sure to check out Carter's "thinker face" in some of the shots...so cute!
My mom brought the older kids to visit the afternoon of their birth date. It was so amazing seeing them meet the boys who took over mom's belly for the past nine months. Evy really wanted to touch their heads and give them kisses. Levi was mostly focused on finding every button on the hospital bed and calling the nurses station over and over. We were pretty sure the nurses were happy to see him leave.
I think the image I'll treasure most from the group below is the one of our full family. My mom took this shot and whenever I look at it I'm reminded of the struggle I had to start building a family. It feels like such a miracle to have four kiddos to call my own. Thank you Lord for these beautiful babies!
We had some family visitors while in the hospital. The picture below is of Mark and his first cousin, Julia, holding the boys. "Jua" is always excited about family, especially new members to the clan, so she came ready to check out the little guys. Just like our other kiddos, the boys were smitten with her right away.
I was SO tired (and still am which is why this blog might not make any sense at all)...
Carter and Beckett ended up coming the same week as Mark's graduation ceremony from his Chemical Engineering PhD program. We knew this was something he couldn't miss so after a night of tending to screaming babies, he put on a robe and cap and headed out the door at 6:30 in the morning to take his place in line. I was really bummed I couldn't be there, but his advisor, Dr. Flickinger (in the middle of the picture below) took a couple shots of the event.
I am so proud of Mark. He has dominated the daddy role while working toward this advanced degree and taking on a new job as a Scientist for Novozymes.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I married up...big time.
The twins. Oh boy am I in love. I didn't know how I'd spread out love over four kids, but magically it just happens the minute they arrive. They don't look anything alike and their personalities already seem different, but it's obvious they love spending time next to each other.
We give Carter lots of chances to get back at Beckett for sitting on top of him for nine months. Here's one of their wrestling matches below...
Our pastor, Curtis, visited our house soon after the boys came home. We love friends who come with ready arms!
Oh yeah, while all this is going on it happens to be my favorite holiday. I just had to scheduled a neighborhood Christmas cookie exchange at our house three days after my babies arrived (of course!). My mom is such a trooper. She stepped up and made the most scrumptious Salted Caramel Cookies I've ever had. I eat about four (times four) a day now that I'm nursing two babies and not feeling a bit of guilt over what I consume. (Just in time for Christmas - YES!).
The night before this exchange, we ended up in the ER at UNC after a routine check up at our pediatrician's office. Carter's core temperature was slightly lower than normal (96.8 vs. a normal 97 +) which, just like a high temp, can indicate a bad infection. We sat for hours at the ER waiting to hear if the doctor would make us stay for two nights of intravenous antibiotics, monitoring, blood tests, and a spinal tap on our poor newborn Carter. I was a hormonal wreck needless to say. Any time the nurses or docs mentioned anything about antibiotics or testing, I completely broke down.
After hours of waiting and no real change in his temperature (we just needed .2 more!), the resident came in and said we were going to have to stay. We were devastated. Instead of being at home in these early days of life with the twins, we were going to be in another hospital setting while doctors administered tests "just in case". He looked perfectly healthy to us so it was hard to swallow this news.
Then after another half hour of digesting this information, the head doctor came in and told us we could go home. We had to be on high alert for other signs of illness, but at least we could go. I burst out crying tears of relief. I know so many parents go through hell in the early days of their child's life and this gave a small glimpse as to what that might feel like. I have no idea how anyone survives those stories. Watching a helpless newborn receive medical treatment has to be one of the most stressful things this world offers in terms of heartache. Thankfully, Carter escaped this fate and we definitely do not take that for granted.
When that whole scare ended, we got back to our twin routine. The picture below is me in survival mode. The boys love to serenade us with their cries from around 2 to 6 in the morning and Mark and I split that shift.
If I have to rock them to keep them quiet, then I might as well get comfortable, right?!