366 days ago we arrived at unc hospital around 10:30pm. It all started while I was out in Wendell, nc working with little J. I had a session from 3:30pm-5:30pm and woulnd’t be home until 6:30pm at the earliest. As the day wore on I started to get a really awfule headache…the stress of everything I think had just boiled over to a point that it wouldn’t stop. Typically I would have waited till I got home to take anything for my head (and the heart burn that had started on my drive home) but angela had been texting me since around 5pm that she was having regular “irregular” contractions ranging from 5 to 7 minutes apart and lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. As I drove home I decided that this would be the day that I would stop at a drug store on my way home to grab something to take care of the headache and heartburn and dehydration….i stopped about two thirds of the way home to get some migraine meds, zantac and a gatorade…then I headed home.
Angela wasn’t really contracting much when I got home so we went for the first walk we had taken together since she was about 23 weeks pregnant (at this point she was 36weeks 4days pregnant) – it had been almost 24 weeks since we had spent time together enjoying the things we used to enjoy (such as walking the dog). When we got back to the house she still wasn’t contracting all that much so she returned to her chair the lie on her side since that’s what had been increasing the contractions. She wasn’t up for dinner and I wasn’t feeling so great either – we shared a grilled cheese sandwich. Around 9pm that night I called all the grandparents to tell them we might be heading to the hospital tonight – this only after angela spoke with the OB resident on call in Labor & Delivery. The OB told angela that she was having “double peaked” contractions and that she was sorry…hmm, usually not a good thing when an OB basically tells you that this is what your labor is going to look like and that’s just that. She did sympathize because her labor had been the same way.
By 10:00 I made an executive decision that we would be going to the hospital. Bags were thrown in the car, pillows and toothbrushes grabbed and the dog given a few minutes of love (and maybe a few treats). By 10:10 we started the grueling 2 mile journey to the hospital…yes that’s right, we live 2 miles from the hospital and it was quite possibly the longest 2 mile journey ever! By this point in labor baby B (who we would come to know as Caleb) was attempting to burrow out angela’s side…
When we arrived at the hospital we were escorted up to L&D and the stork valet parked the car…they signed angela in (after giving me a significant amount of attitude for trying to help her with paperwork) and we were rolled into a a triage room. The resident who examined angela was impressed with her dilation (approximately 5cm) and we discussed what we were going to do next. We were taken to a labor room where angela and I walked the hall until the family arrived and then we all walked the hall for a while…this is where things became interesting, this was the first time that angela’ and my families had ever met. Our mothers had spoke on a few occasions but I think I can count on hand the number of times their conversation had lasted more than 5 minutes. By 1am the epidural was in and labor stopped…angela could no longer walk the halls and things just stopped – they sat her up at a full 90 degree angle in hopes that gravity would help but nothing happened…not sure what time it was but they eventually let her lay down to try and rest….little did they know this would bring on a massive (massive as in huge, gigantic, major, any other word in the thesaurus that means massive) drop in her blood pressure – bells started ringing, doctors were paged, angela started passing out, nurses rushed the room, anesthesia was paged, and meds were administered all in the span of 3 minutes tops. Once they had her pressure regulated and she had recovered (in less than another 5 minutes) the resident looks at me and says “are you ok?” – this was the first time all night someone had looked at me and recognized that I was so much more than a friend who brought her to the hospital…the resident talked me down a bit and made sure to come back before she ended her shift to check in on us.
Around 10:30am angela was still only 5-6cm dilated (according to the new doc she was even less than that but “it’s not an exact science – we all measure it differently”) – she was maxed out on pitocin and the decision was made to break her water. Well wham bam thank you ma’am because shortly thereafter it was time to start getting Jared out in to the world. The nurse we had at this point was an older woman who was really just not helpful at all when it came to helping angela push. So it was up to the two of us to convince jared it was his time. To this day I’m not sure where either of us found the strength – and angela will be the first to tell you that I did actually do a lot to help her with her labor – by 1:30 it was an “oops maybe we should call the doctor moment” because she was basically crowning…
What most people don’t know about delivering twins is that most hospitals require you deliver in an operating room in the event of an emergent cesarean section. So we are rushed into an OR – I am right by angela the whole time but then massive amount of doctors, anesthesiologists, NICU staff, pediatric staff, med students…etc etc begin to swarm the room. The nurse and the rest of the room start arguing about whether or not to put angela on the OR table or let her stay on the labor bed…it becomes the most poorly organized circus I’ve ever experienced. The doctor finally arrives and we get to work – I can’t remember how long this part lasted but I remember there being a struggle to keep Caleb on the heart rate monitor – and then I remember Jared being here (2:19pm) and screaming his brains out…he came out peeing – and with the shakiest hands I have ever in my life had I was handed a pair of surgical scissors to cut his umbilical cord. I was taken with Jared and a nurse to a room outside the OR to examine him and clean him up – I remember not even checking his fingers or toes but just staring at his tiny little old man face. Less than 10 minutes later I was called back in to the OR for Caleb’s delivery – at this point they had lost Caleb’s heart rate so many times they inserted a probe to monitor his heart internally…he had flipped and was now laying horizontal instead of vertical…dr boggess made the decision to manually turn him…Caleb was born at 2:45pm less than 20 minutes after his brother. He came out sunny side up and with a full knot tied in his cord. I was given the honor of cutting his cord as well…he did not cry out and I held my breath (and tears) until hearing his first cry….the rest of that first day is a blur of time and space and people…our boys were here and that was all that mattered…our family was finally a family….
We would learn a lot over the next year – especially about finding ourselves again. Our relationship took a massive (again, insert synonyms over and over again) beating during the 3 year journey to pregnancy and then another 9 months of high risk pregnancy and bedrest. We struggled to find peace in our love for each other. Even during the first 3 or 4 months of the boys’ life we struggled. We struggled and fought – we fought the hardest battle we have ever fought and in the end it was so incredibly worth it because here we are today – 365 days after the first of our sons and we are stronger than we were the day we were told we were pregnant with twins.
today we are stronger than we ever have been and more in love than we ever have been