Yesterday was such a wonderful day in my life. I can't even begin to express how much my world has changed in just a few short hours. Bob was so great in getting things posted to the blog so that all of you who have come to enjoy our journey to parenthood would be up to date, and so that I could see the whole event from his point of view. I guess it's time to chime in with my own version of things (since sleep continues to elude me).
When 3:30 arrived (which by the way, how perfect, 3:30 - gotta love my 3s), they got Bob and I on the road to the OR. The antepartum nurses told me I could walk to the OR, but Dr. Clark insisted on a wheelchair ride. As Bob and I left, it was crazy the number of flashbulbs that went off. I felt like we were famous (at least among our family). We arrived at the OR, and they left Bob in the recovery room to put on his Daddy Suit (which by the way made him look like a spaceman). Later, Bob told me that he was so nervous that he tried to put his leg in the arm of the suit. It was good to know that I was not the only one with nerves. It made me a little scared to leave Bob behind and enter the OR on my own. I sat on the side of the table, and then they had me turn around so that my legs were on the table and put my elbows on my knees. I have to wonder if they were smoking crack when they made that suggestion. I don't think the giant belly could have been disguised so much by my hospital gown that anyone would think I could perform that magic trick. The doctor (I know his name starts with a T and is really strange to spell, but that's about it) swabbed my back and stuck me in spine. Apparently, it took a while for me to get as numb as necessary because I'm so tall. The doc was constantly mentioning my height (as if I'm a giant - kinda strange since I don't think of myself as much taller than average), and then he pulled out these arm things that he spread my arms over and then put a warm towel on. I must admit that all I could think of were lethal injection scenes from movies like Dead Man Walking. Anyway, he kept poking me with this sharp little thing and asking me what I felt. Eventually, I was numb enough for them to put the catheter in. Bob is deathly afraid of said catheter, and as such, I was somewhat panicked by the whole idea. Thankfully, due to the lack of feeling in my lower half, it wasn't so bad. After the catheter, they sent in the troops. Dr. Clark and Dr. Moser plus a whole host of nurses from the NICU and Tammy - my nurse. It was so wonderful to see her amongst the crowd of faces, and she kept bossing Bob around since I was unable to do it. :) Along with the troops, came Bob. I don't think I've every been happier to see him (and I've been pretty excited to see him in the past). He looked so cute in his outfit, and they sent him to sit by my head. I was so relieved that he was there in his up-river position (no down-river viewing allowed). Once Bob made an appearance, things got hopping.
The sheet they drape over the table was so high the only person I could see was Bob. Dr. T was behind me, and everyone else was behind the curtain. The action started and at a little after 4 pm, they held up Baby A - James - to the curtain and Dr. T told Bob to stand up and take pictures (luckily, Bob stood his ground and did NOT take any pictures of my guts although he did stand up and I saw him bouncing around while he said "don't lock your knees" a couple of times - good advice from Gabes). James was so tiny, wrinkled, and grey and he started screaming so that his mouth was bright red amidst the grey it was shocking. Before I had time to process that first look, he was gone and Michael was in his place looking very much the same. I think that some of the blood from the surgery dripped on to the sheet at that point and started running toward my head. I didn't even flinch as they then lifted up Baby C. By this point, my brain kicked into gear and I said "Hello Ryan!" before he disappeared behind the curtain. I have to say - the first look was pretty scary. All that grey and red and screaming (all of our boys came into the world at full volume). It sounded like a herd of sheep bleating behind that curtain. After they were all out, Bob went around the room taking lots of pictures.
As my guts were returned to the place they belonged and things got sewn up, (which by the way, the part they put on your tummy to stretch it was apparently big, and Dr. M - a woman - commented something about never seeing one this big, and my husband took the opportunity to make a joke about his male appendage - even childbirth can't keep Bob from a good joke) the different nurses and doctors brought the babies around for me to see. Bob tried to get pictures of me and the boys, but it was so fast and furious, that I think he got a lot of partial heads. It seemed like just a couple of minutes then everyone strolled out with my children, and I told Bob to follow the boys while they finished me up. It was quite a time for reflection as I laid there and listened to bad music from my college days (you gotta keep yourself connected the writing's on the wall and if your mind's neglected, stumble you might fall...). I thought about Bob and the boys and how I couldn't feel my legs and wondered if Dr. Clark was sewing a straight line across my belly - please don't let it be crooked (I still haven't had the chance to study it in the mirror).
When they were all done, Dr. Clark asked if I had any questions. I asked about A & B being identical, and he said that he couldn't be sure but that he thinks they are. He said that the pathologist would know for sure, and we could find out the results when those tests came back. I'm still not 100% sure since James & Michael are such different sizes that it's hard to decide if they look alike or not (I think they all look very similar - like a combo platter of Bob and Angela). Once that was handled, Dr. T, John (one of my old nurses), and Jen (I think that's her name - my L & D nurse) transfered me from the table to my comfy old bed from antepartum then wheeled me into recovery.
The recovery room was set up so that I could see the clock very well, and I started the countdown for an hour so that I would know when I could see my babies. 4:43 meant that around 5:45, I could see my kids. It was a long hour. I had lots of good conversations with Jen and Tammy. We all gushed about how cute the boys were, and Jen was on her first day back from 2 months of maternity leave, so she showed us a picture of her son. Very cute. I was bleeding a lot, and kept freaking out as I tried to move my legs and couldn't. It's really strange to feel like your legs are miles apart and then to know that they are touching from hoo-ha to heels. Bob showed up in the middle some time and told me that the boys were all doing well, and that none of them needed breathing equipment (yet). He told me he'd seen our family and that he could start bringing them to meet the boys (he said that it was a little unfair that they got to meet the kids before I really got a chance to see them, but it ended up working out just fine). With the blessing of the pope, oops, I mean my blessing, he took the grands in to meet the kids while I continued to try and wiggle my toes. Luckily, I could move my knees, so things were getting better.
Once recovery time petered out, Tammy and Jen began to prep me for the move. Unfortunately, I was too woozy to sit up in the bed, but they did get me up far enough to see the babies without getting sick. They brought me in the bed to the NICU. I'm pretty sure I cried as I got to see the boys and spend a little time with each one. I saw Ryan first and got to hold his little hand. Then I saw James, and the NICU nurse let me hold him & wrapped us both in my blanket for warmth. Then I saw Michael (who I've since come to figure out is our own version of Johnny Drama from Entourage). They were just so small and cute. So tiny yet so perfect. It was GREAT. I couldn't have had a better introduction to my kids.
They rolled me out and the family was all there, and the party atmosphere was catching despite being tired beyond belief. Once I was back in good old room 213, people started to head out for dinner. Jim and Kathy went with Melanie to Hooters (where they picked up dinner for Bob) while Stephen headed out to a pick up game of some sort. My parents took Faith and Joseph out to dinner so that he could get back on the road to Oklahoma. That left Bob and I a few minutes to catch our breath and to revel in the fact that we are now parents. I was pretty settled in to the bed and was excessively swollen, but oh so happy. At 8 pm, Bob went down to the NICU to participate in touch time and get some pics of the boys with Lain while Riley and I watched Sponge Bob. Sue and John Paul showed up during this, and I sent them down to the NICU so that they could maybe touch the babies. Not too long after that, Jim & Kathy returned and so did Mom. We all were so happy and talked a mile a minute about the boys.
About this time, the morphine itch kicked in. It is pretty intense and I couldn't tell if it was leftover colystatsis or not. I called out for pain and itch relief, and Bob came back in with Sue & John Paul. It was really nice to visit and the pain/itch killers did the trick. Bob went to the 11 pm touch times, and I think that the parents went with him. I am sure that Faith kept me company. Bob told me to get some sleep, but the nurse told me she'd be right back with some meds. Faith started counting sheep outloud and I had to make her stop before I passed out. After the touch time, I think or maybe it was before, I got hooked up with the pump for the first time. I got a pretty decent amount of nothing for a first try, but I have been trying to pump since and haven't been as successful as of late.
At 2 am, Bob and I did a round in the NICU for touch time. I got to feed Ryan and see James get a bath. Michael was quite vocal about getting his temp checked, but he was having a hard time breathing so they put him on CPAP machine. We stayed the full hour and a half, before returning to the room. It was a complete relief to me as I was jonesing to see my sons. After we came back from the NICU, I passed out, and Bob sat in the chair next to me doing something on the internet and uploading pictures. I was down for the count and didn't make it up and out for the next two feedings.
As I woke up this morning, I was feeling pretty emotional. Mom came quickly and helped me get back on the pump (which is starting to hurt a little more than I'd like). Bob did not leave until very late - after the 5 am feeding, and he was visibly exhausted, so he went home to rest. I visited the NICU with mom at 11, and things went well. Bob was back at the hospital for the 2 pm feed.
I would finish this story, but I can hardly keep my eyes open and the computer is about to run out of battery, so I guess more to come later. Good night (for a few hours).