Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Birth Story

Dear Hailey and Robin.
The story of your arrival starts a long time before you were ever conceived, but I'll keep it brief. Over a period of 22 months, we experienced the loss of three babies in the first few weeks of pregnancy. It was a very sad time with a lot of tears. But we kept hoping and believing in your eventual arrival, so we kept trying and saw some doctors to get some answers as to how we could get and stay pregnant.
On July 9th, I took a pregnancy test that was positive. I took another, just to be sure. I couldn't believe it, so I kept the news to myself for a couple of days. I began taking progesterone supplements, to support the pregnancy. I finally worked up the courage and told your Dad on a Sunday, and we were both very happy, but very cautious.
I was set as being due March 22. By the time I was only 7 weeks along I was already wearing maternity pants and unable to hide my growing belly. I saw my OB early in the pregnancy and booked ultrasounds at 8 weeks, 10 weeks, and then 20 weeks to follow along progress. Each ultrasound was wonderful reassurance that all was well, and finding out there were two of you was surreal and beautiful. We felt like we had hit the jackpot: two healthy, strong babies after so much heartbreak. I began feeling your movements at 11 weeks, very early, but this helped me feel better that you were in there, growing right along.
I grew very quickly and loved sharing the news of our pregnancy once we felt assured you were both growing and well on your way to being real, live babies. I was very calm and at peace for most of the pregnancy, and enjoyed it each step of the way. We found out you were girls at our 20-week ultrasound and knew immediately what names we would use for you. Hailey Lucile is a name we had held onto through all of our lost pregnancies and hoped to give to a baby girl one day. Lucile is your grandma and great-great grandma's name. Robin Gail is a name your Daddy came up with, and Gail is your Granny and great Aunt's name.
In the new year, I began slowing down. I grew 50 pounds, set aside many freezer meals and began preparing for your arrival. I hoped you wouldn't come too early, as that would mean flying out of Whitehorse down South to Edmonton. I also didn't want you to be born struggling or with any challenges.
On Feb. 16, I took your Dad out for a birthday meal at a fancy restaurant. We had a wonderful time and went to bed glad we had made time for each other.
At 5:45 the next morning, I felt my water pop in my sleep. I immediately alerted Rich and began packing my hospital bag very last-minute. We got a friend to come over and stay with Abby until she woke up and made plans for another friend to take her for the rest of the day.
We arrived at the hospital and called our doula Rebecca to meet us there. I thought you would be born quickly, but instead you took your time. I walked up and down the halls and the stairs, working to intensify contractions and bring you down, starting with Hailey, who was closest to my cervix.
We took a break for lunch and ate delicious sandwiches and fries. I made sure to drink lots of water. Rebecca asked if I wanted to take a break and nap through the contractions, which were not yet unbearable. I told her I wanted to meet you and bring you into the world. We got to work and soon the contractions started coming hard.
Through the tough contractions I held onto your Daddy's hands and moaned really deeply. The sound helped me focus on something other than the pain, which radiated around to my back. Rebecca kept applying cool cloths and running her fingers through my hair to relax me, then when a contraction came she would press on my lower back to ease the pain. I laboured standing up, over the toilet, and leaning against the bed when it was propped up. In the bed the contractions came fast and long. At some point, the room began to fill with doctors and nurses, who could tell by my moans that you were coming quickly. They had doctors on hand in case you needed help breathing, as I was only 35 weeks and things could go either way. I was nervous the whole time, hoping you were both truly ready to come, or whether we'd need to fly out to a hospital with a NICU.
Through active labour, which lasted about an hour, I just focused on getting through each contraction, pushing away the pain by focusing on my breathing. It was hard to catch my breath through the painful ones, but I kept in my zone. I rejected any pain drugs or an epidural because I knew I could do it and that I wanted to feel your births.
I was struck with a sudden urge to push, so I turned around quickly. I felt Hailey's head descend and start pressing to come out. Through Rebecca's and Dr. Avery's encouragement, I pushed through the pain, screamed, and then was told to pant slowly as your body was pulled from me. Hailey was placed onto my belly with her cord still attached, and you let out a big cry. I was so relieved that you looked healthy and could breathe on your own. They let you snuggle up to me and smile at your Daddy until your cord stopped pulsing. Then Dr. Avery broke Robin's water and she descended immediately, ready to come out.
I yelled out for someone to take Hailey from my arms so I could focus on pushing out her sister. I pushed once and your head came out, and your perfect little body. You were a bit blue, but you screamed nonetheless.
Both of you went to the warming trays to be assessed by the baby doctor and I delivered the placenta you both shared. Dr. Avery held up the two attached sacs and explained that Robin's cord had attached at a place where, had the water broken, you would have bled to death in me. I am so thankful you came out healthy and strong.
After a short moment, you were both given little hats and placed on my belly. Your Dad and I looked at your sweet little faces and were overjoyed that you were here and healthy. We snuggled for about an hour before you were taken to be weighed and measured. Hailey was 3 lbs 12 oz and Robin was 4 lbs 4 oz.
We stayed in the hospital for four days, and learned to feed you pumped breast milk and formula with syringes and bottles, because you were still too small to breastfeed. Your sister came to meet you and fell right in love. She loved to cuddle you, hold you, and sing to you. I was so proud of her and loved having my three girls all together.
I am so thankful you are here and healthy, and that after so much heartache, my two little miracles have arrived.

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful, amazing, wonderful, and exhilarating! All your friends have been rejoicing with you. Thanks for sharing the girls' story.

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  2. Congratulations Sara! I am so happy for you and your family that all went well a nd that you could welcome your new baby girls into this world.

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  3. Beautiful Birth Story! Tear jerker. I was waiting for it after your big announcement. I am so glad to you didn't have to fly down to Edmonton. Enjoy your big family :D

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