My alarm was set for 4 am but I woke up at 3:30 feeling remarkably calm. One of the nice things about c-sections is there is absolutely no element of surprise. I took a long shower, curled my hair, and put on makeup (I was 38 weeks pregnant with twins, I needed all the help I could get). I'd set up the tripod the night before and we took one last bump picture and one last picture as a family of two before we drove to the hospital. We didn't say much to one another and I remember halfway there my nerves kicked in. Suddenly I wanted Michael to talk to me but I didn't want to respond. I just needed to know he was there.
Once we arrived we checked in fairly quickly and they took me to a prep room. I wasn't there long before they hooked me up to an IV, put three heart monitors on my stomach (it took forever to find Sloane's heartbeat and I had a small panic attack), and put the blood pressure cuff on my arm. I felt very, very hot and then very, very cold. I am positive the temperature of the room did not change. Not long afterward the anesthesiologist came in and made a joke about the epidural. I'm still not sure if I loved this about him or not, but it did calm me down a bit so I guess it was a good call on his part. I told him how nervous I was about the epidural due to the large curve in my spine. He took a look and assured me my scoliosis wasn't going to be an issue. They had me sit up on the stretcher and then bend over as far as I could. This was the most uncomfortable part of the entire day. My stomach was so huge and I felt like I couldn't breathe. The actual epidural felt strange but didn't hurt. And then the shakes began. My friend Karen had warned me about this so it didn't scare me but I wanted it to stop.
Michael held my hand until they said it was time and then they wheeled me into the operating room and told me Michael would join me in 20 minutes. The anesthesiologist and I joked around for a bit (I remember thinking I'd said some pretty funny stuff but I was so drugged at this point I'm sure I just embarrassed myself). There were also two medical students in the room who were about to watch their first c-section. They both talked to me and one put her hand on my arm because the epidural caused me to shake so much. I remember thinking it was very sweet but wishing so badly it was Michael's hand instead.
My doctor came in and then the room became very crowded with people. Michael walked in wearing scrubs and carrying the camera. They put the sheet up, he knelt down by my side and it was time.
Surgery started at 7:30 am. 10 minutes later my doctor said, "You're going to feel some pressure" and then it felt like someone was punching me in the stomach (although it didn't hurt at all). Michael looked over the curtain and told me later they basically were punching me in the stomach. At 7:41, they delivered Jude Sullivan. I heard a loud cry and then they brought him around the curtain and I saw my son. He looked big and healthy and then my eyes welled with tears so he became blurry. They took him away and started performing initial tests. I felt more pressure and at 7:42, they delivered Sloane Elisabeth. I heard another loud cry and my tears continued. Michael squeezed my hand as they showed us our perfectly healthy daughter.
In two minutes we went from being husband and wife to a dad and mom of two.
Someone came over to us and said they were going to take Jude to the NICU to monitor him for a bit. He wasn't "transitioning" as fast as they'd like so they wanted to keep a close eye on him. A lady knelt down beside me and told me it was not a big deal at all and very common with c-sections. I immediately felt nauseous and asked for something in case I threw up (I never did). Michael took some pictures of Sloane and then they brought her to us. I was so excited to see her and so sad she didn't have her brother right next to her.
After my doctor finished the surgery she leaned over the curtain and told me how proud she was that I made it to 38 weeks and delivered two healthy babies. She mentioned the positive attitude I'd had throughout the pregnancy. She didn't have to say any of this but it meant so much to me that she did.
They wheeled me to the recovery room and I suddenly realized how hazy I felt. I was like this for the rest of the day and it was the most frustrating feeling in the world. I wanted so badly to be present and remember every moment and instead I spent all of my energy trying to stay awake. I know I asked Michael the same questions over and over again and he was so patient with me and told me the same stories multiple times. We wanted to send a text to our friends and family announcing our news but they took Jude to the NICU before we heard his weight or height. We felt odd sending a message with all of Sloane's stats and a "TBD" next to Jude so we held off.
While we were in the recovery room Michael was told he could visit Jude so he left me for a short time. By the time Jude had reached the NICU he was perfectly fine so they only monitored him for the few hours he was there. When Michael came back he told me Jude was doing great and would be joining Sloane within the hour. It was the first time since I'd been given the epidural that the haze temporarily lifted--my entire family was safe and healthy. It was such a good feeling and I held onto that moment for as long as possible. Michael found out Jude's height and weight while he was there so he was able to send a quick text announcing their arrival.
The nurse brought Sloane to our room and then our parents joined us. Not long after that I was wheeled to the room where we stayed for the next four days. I tried breastfeeding Sloane and it went much better than I expected. And then the best part of the day happened: the nurses arrived with Jude and our entire family was together at last.
Random nurses visited our room to look at the "huge twins" and that made me glow with pride. All four grandparents spent the entire day at the hospital, which meant so much to us and is something we will never take for granted.
I don't remember all of the day's events (Michael had to help me write this) but I remember feeling so happy. I couldn't stop looking at my son and daughter. I couldn't stop thanking God for these two incredible gifts that made our family complete. I couldn't stop smiling.
(I will never stop...)