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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our Journey Part #9

I was 27 weeks along when I found out the worst news possible. Dr. Turnquest was flying out to California for an entire week! Holy Cow! I thought the world stopped when I became pregnant and the doctor lived and breathed for my successful pregnancy. That was how it all played out in my head anyway. I couldn’t believe it, the most important week of all and she is leaving me! I mean, my goal was 28 weeks and I had done fine so far. No problems what so ever.

By that time I was coming in every 2-3 days for an ultrasound and check-up. I was so thankful for that. So many babies in one little area and you wouldn’t know if one was in distress or not. So, I accepted the fact that Dr. Turnquest was gone and I would just have to stick it out with this new doctor. At least that is what I was telling myself until I met the doctor.

He and I did not hit it off well. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you his name. It was clear he wanted nothing to do with me or my pregnancy. He was completely hands off and basically did nothing. During my ultrasound with Courtney, we checked the umbilical blood flow for each baby. That was so we knew everyone was getting the adequate stuff they needed to survive. Baby E came back squirrelly and then C’s did too. I forgot to mention that I was already feeling AWFUL. Dr. Turnquest had put me on iron the previous week and it was killing my stomach. When this no name doctor didn’t care about anything going on, Courtney offered to call Dr. Turnquest for me. This is how amazing everyone at this practice is. After filling her in on the situation she wanted to talk to me. Thank The Lord! She told me that if I didn’t feel right about things I should go to labor and delivery and have them monitor me and see where things are.

Dr. Whatshisface found out we had talked to Dr. Turnquest and told me that everything looked fine and that he didn’t think I needed to go to labor and delivery. Well, I didn’t care. I went all the way home, and packed my bags. I was coming and I was staying. I was way too nervous to stay at home with things going like they were. I am so grateful that Dr. Turnquest gave me the comfort that it was okay to be checked out. I wouldn’t have wanted to do something she didn’t want me to. So, I probably would have just gone home and I don’t know what would have happened.

I met the fill-in guy on my way into the hospital. He again reiterated that he didn’t think I needed to come in. Once I got to the Labor & Delivery they were waiting for me. My same room as before and nurses ready to do whatever needed to be done. The first thing they did was strap a contraction belt on me. After 30 minutes of that they were all rushing around because I was having contractions every 2 minutes consistently. I couldn’t feel all of them, but I knew something wasn’t right.

After about 2 hours of magnesium I was completely loopy. That is the worst stuff I have ever been on. First off, you can’t eat when you are on it. They had me on it for 24 hours I think. That is what it took to get the contractions to stop. Dr. No Name came in twice to basically do nothing. Dr. Turnquest called to talk to me a couple times. She was so great. We did daily ultrasounds and contraction monitoring. They would come in every 4 hours and have to get heartbeats on all the kids. It took 3 nurses and me holding the monitors. That was nearly impossible. The goal was to find 5 different heartbeats at the same time for a 30 minute consecutive period of time. That NEVER happened. Every time one of the babies moved we would lose the heartbeat. We did the best we could. The nurses were great company. It stinks being in the hospital 45 minutes away from everyone who means something to you. I had lots of visitors though. I don’t know how those moms who are on bed rest for months at a time. One week was all I could take.

I think Dr. Turnquest came back into town on Tuesday. She came to see me and we tentatively scheduled the birth for Thursday the 15th. Things weren’t going great and I was starting to swell up and have blood pressure problems. Other than that, I was doing okay physically. Mentally was another story. I was just lonely and scared.

Thursday rolled around and I was ready for the big day. Around noon Dr. Turnquest came in and told me that everything was calming down and she wanted me to hang on a few more days. I know this sounds bad, but I was devastated. I was READY to have these babies. I was READY to not be pregnant anymore. I forgot about the precious cargo I was carrying and got selfish. I cried. I was just emotionally stressed out and tired of the unknown. If they were born I would know how they were doing. That was how I felt.

The nurses wanted to cheer me up so they brought in all the nail polishes and stuff they had. They gave me a foot massage and painted my toes. They were going to come back and do my fingernails next but we didn’t make it that long. Dr. Turnquest sent Rob home to go to work and I was settling in for another long sleepless night.

About an hour later I called the nurse to tell her I felt funny. I couldn’t explain it. I didn’t feel bad, but I felt like I was drugged. She took my blood pressure and it was 111/163. Dr. Turnquest had already told me that she didn’t want my numbers to go over 110 or 150. So, she checked it again and called the doctor. Things flew by after that. She ran down and told me we were delivering and I needed to call Rob immediately. Of course I didn’t have good reception and he couldn’t hear me. Dr. Turnquest took the phone from my hands and found a place with reception and told Rob to get down here now.

Everyone started flooding in and prepping me. There was this guy in a big blue jumpsuit that came in to start 3 IV’s on me. They were big too. It was so scary to be poked and prodded in an emergency. You have no idea what is going on and feel like everything is out of control. They assured me that they would not take me until Rob got there.

The race had begun for everyone else. I called my mom and that started the chain of calls. Everyone knew within 10 minutes I think. Everyone had to try to get down here before the big moment. I’ll never forget the trip to the operating room. Over 40 people packed into 2 rooms and I was lying on the table exposed to everyone like it was no big deal. It was awful. They gave me an epidural and laid me back. There was about a 30 second time period where no one was doing anything and I was laying there for the whole world to see.

Once my epidural kicked it was off to the races. The kids were born in 2 ½ minutes. Ethan, Peyton, Landon, Jenna, and Sydney. Every one of them cried when they came out. It was a miracle. I didn’t know this, but the nurse’s station turned on the speaker to the OR and everyone who made it got to hear the kid’s first cries. They also got to see them wheeled to the NICU. I am so glad they all got to be a part of it.

That’s where it all began. The next day was a complete blur. We had countless visitors and a press conference. Rob did that. I was so doped up on morphine and magnesium that I couldn’t see straight. I remember trying so hard to be able to see straight. The nurses wheeled my bed into the NICU sometime that day to see the kids for the first time. I don’t remember any of it.

The people kept coming and I couldn’t talk or anything. After 24 hours from delivery they took me off the medicine and I finally got to eat. Around midnight I made my first to see the kids. It was so weird. All this time I had prepared myself for the worst. Here they were in front of me and I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. I didn’t feel emotionally like I had just given birth. I was looking at someone’s precious babies but didn’t have any connection with them at all.

If I could go back and go anything over again I would change that. I would have bonded with them while I was pregnant. Instead, I built a wall up around my heart and mind and couldn’t break it down no matter how much I tried to convince myself. The next couple days were busy with visitors. I didn’t know what to do or how to act with the kids because they were so small. Ethan was 2lbs 9oz, Peyton 1lb 12oz, Landon 1lb 12oz, Jenna 1lb 10oz, and Syd 1lb. 13oz. They were covered with this plastic lid thing to hold the heat in. Their hands were barely big enough to wrap around my finger.

I started pumping and that was a complete disaster. That sent my emotions into crazy mode. I didn’t handle the transition home very well. I was a wreck to say the least. The problem was, I was no longer pregnant, didn’t feel like I had just given birth, and didn’t have anything to show for it. I am home now and somehow I have to start this entirely new life. I was expected to visit these babies I didn’t know or feel like were mine. Everyone was stopping by to visit and talk about it. I was pumping around the clock and it wasn’t working. I didn’t know how I was supposed to act. I wasn’t comfortable in the NICU because the kids were so small. I felt like I needed to act different than I felt.

Everyone expected me to be this glowing new mother who was head over heals in love with her new family. Instead I was lonely, scared, and confused. Rob went back to work because he had to save his vacation for when the kids came home. So, I was alone as soon as I left the hospital. I can’t help but wonder if I hadn’t built up a wall during my pregnancy maybe it wouldn’t have been so hard.

Eventually, I stopped pumping and I was a new person. Rob and I made daily trips down to see them. Rob was on 2nd shift at the time and would get off work about 11:30pm. We would leave as soon as he got home and drive down to see them. We would stop at IHOP or a Waffle House to eat breakfast around 2:00am. We slowly got to know them individually. As they grew and their personalities began to show, I couldn’t help but fall in love. I have to admit, the real bond didn’t happen until they all came home. This is where our journey as a family truly began. God has been with us every step of the way and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.


Metzger Mommy said...

Emily, what an honest recount. I felt the same way with the twins, and it took quite a long time to build that bond with them. I don't know if it was hormones or nerves or something else. I know for me, the times when my bonds with them strengthen the most are when I have them one on one. It's just so much easier to connect that way even though it's rare.

QuatroMama said...

Emily, this was the first time I have heard someone talk about such similar emotions and experiences. Thank goodness the NICU is behind us, and we get to enjoy our miracles every single day in our new "normal".


Jenny said...

Em, I LOVE your honesty in this post. Brought me to tears. It is SUCH a hard road---especially being pregnant with multiples. You don't get the "normal" pregnancy experience so you never really relax and enjoy it. And then it's over. I always have to remind myself that although i never got to experience a singleton pregnancy, i got to experience a quad pregnancy and most people don't get to do that. I still to this day miss feeling them all move inside me.
i love you! Hope to see you soon!


Anonymous said...

This is a story that so many should read. Most of us felt this way and never expressed our feelings due to fear other's wouldn't understand. I hope other expectant mom's read this and know it's ok to feel these emotions.

Expat Mom said...

My oldest was also in the NICU for a while and in another hospital. I had eclampsia and wasn't allowed to get out of the hospital and take the hour and a half trip to the capital where my baby was for two days. And when I did see him, it was such an odd feeling, like you said, like looking at someone else's kid. It took a while to bond with him.