My first 'big' goal was to make it to 35 weeks - Sunday, July 21st. That's one of the first things I remember my doctor telling me - if anything began to 'happen' after 35 weeks, they'd 'take' them because it was a relatively 'safe zone'.
I'm a worry wort. Usually anxious of things I have absolutely no control over. But their entire pregnancy, I only had a few moments when my nerves would get the best of me. And to be honest, it was almost always when met with someone else telling me what to expect with their birth, raising 3 girls under 2 years old, etc.
"How will you do it?"
"Will you have help?"
"You know they'll go to the NICU, right?"
"Such & such I know had twins &..."
It was an exhausting 8.75 months & it's really made me reevaluate how I talk to people. It was draining trying to not let words sway my excited feelings or my gut instinct that everything was going to be perfectly okay.
My prayer life increased dramatically. I'd find myself constantly talking to God about their well being, about them joining our family, about Prater becoming a big sister, about the affect two more children would have on our marriage. Come to find out, I wasn't the only one. I learned late in my pregnancy that my husband, the father of my children, was fasting on their behalf until their safe arrival. I'm not sure that I've ever been more proud of anyone, honestly. I am so honored to call him my husband - the way he loves us, how he leads our family is so admirable & encompassing.
Not to mention all of the prayers from family, friends, & our church family on our behalf. I know it's the reason that I remained calm during the pregnancy - we were covered constantly & my inner being just knew that they'd be okay. They were cared for by the only One who could do a better job than me. And that peace was immeasurable.
The week of their arrival, I went about my business. Counting down the days until their scheduled arrival at 37weeks & 2 days gestation. Running errands, cleaning house, doing laundry. I started marking things off of my to do list - hair color & cut, picking up their coming home outfits, finishing packing all of our bags, picking up last minute necessities. I even treated myself to a few things that I won't be enjoying any time in the neat future - pedicure, manicure, a massage (a friend had sent us a gift card, seriously - we are surrounded by the BEST people ever). I joked that Aaron was 'nesting' in his own way, taking a day off to spend it with Prater - they went swimming & to see our horses. It crossed my mind that their delivery could be near but the thought passed & I went back to my to do list.
We had dinner at our kindred spirits' sweet southern home on Saturday night - it was an amazing (as usual) meal & lovely fellowship. Prater had an absolute ball feeding their fish & picking apples for our horses from their trees.
By 3:45 Sunday morning, my tired body had already been up too many times to count to empty a bladder being beaten by two tiny ladies. I had grown so weary in the last few days.
A pain in my back was awfully familiar to a pain I had felt the morning Prater Ellis was born. I tried to convince myself that it was only my imagination & since it was time for my medicine anyways, the contractions would stop within 30 minutes. When 5:30 rolled around, I was laying on our couch & called Aaron's cell phone that was on his nightstand in our bedroom, next to his sleeping self.
We sat in the living room for a while & decided it would be best for us to head to the hospital, just in case. Aaron's mom came to stay with Prater & I called my mom to fill her in.
Once at the hospital, they were able to stop my back labor & contractions over the course of a few hours. The nurse left the room to get our discharge papers with directions for me to call my OB first thing the following morning.
I stood up to put my clothes on & called my mom. Talking to both her & Aaron, I shared my heart of wanting the twins to stay in as long as possible but also being very exhausted with the pregnancy. Trying not to cry, I felt a trickle & when I couldn't stop it, I knew my water had just broke.
It was go time.
The nurse returned to our room with discharge papers for me to sign & once we filled her in, she helped us get everything in order for my c-section. Within 30 minutes, I was sitting on go, just waiting on the OR to be prepped. My mom arrived 5 minutes before they rolled me away - grabbed my purse & her soiled flips flops I was wearing when the event happened. You're welcome, ha!
While the team was prepping me, physically, the NICU doctor came in the OR to tell me the procedure we'd follow once the babies were born. If we were lucky, I'd get a look before they'd leave for the NICU. I questioned if it was a mandatory trip to the NICU for 35 week twins & he seemed annoyed when he answered that it was expected. When he left the room, I told all of the doctors & nurses that I was expecting them to be fine.
As they were beginning my surgery, I had an overwhelming desire for my Daddy. And soon began a prayer of declaration that they'd be perfectly healthy. That they would show all of the people who said to expect them to need assistance, for them to be too small.
Minutes later, at 12:33pm, both girls were born screaming! The NICU doctor left the OR without saying a word. Aaron commented on how big they were - both 4lbs13oz & 18inches long. Both had hair & both seemed to be perfectly fine. I started crying, naturally. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness for their precious little lives. Our tiny miracles.
The doctors said they wouldn't be old enough to know how to nurse & naturally they did lose some weight in the hospital. But they're already on their way to being back at their birth weight by their 2 week appointment & are tandem nursing champs. They both were jaundiced & Hatley even had to be admitted to Athens Hospital for 24 hours of intense phototherapy but was released after one session of treatment.
If that's the worse we have to deal with, I'll take it.
We've been home a week now & things really couldn't be going any smoother, I believe. They are such easy babies, they remind me so much of Prater Ellis as an infant. I truly believe they'd sleep 6 hours at night of we didn't have to wake them for feedings. Prater Ellis loves them so very much & after a few rough days of temper tantrums (which I believe was more of her routine being out of whack than the twins' birth), we have our sweet, helpful babe back who loves to help care for her babies.
Aaron & I just look at all 3 of them with awe. How did we get so lucky? Why are we entrusted with so much goodness? How close I came to almost missing them & the blessing they all are. I have a college degree, I wanted a successful career, who knows what the future holds - but I've found my life's calling the last place I'd ever have thought to look. I love being their mother, Aaron's wife. It fulfills me & makes me happy.
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