Knox Ranae and Lenox Joan birth story. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I have had some time to look back at my journey of being inpatient and the day that changed our lives forever- Tuesday, October 30th. Following the girls birth story is a blog entry that I had started last week before they were born- titled “The unknown and waiting”. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- “I’m proud of you.” Dr Boulis said at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 30th. That was it…. those four words changed me forever.
At 3:00 p.m. I was busy making bracelets with my sister-in-law Nikky when my amazing nurse Allie knocked on the door. (I need to give a proper shout-out to Allie… she is a rock star! I could write an entire blog about her. She is passionate about her job and it shows. She happened to be one of the first nurses that monitored the twins and had us multiple times during our stay… and she was there when I needed her THE MOST- October 30th!). At that moment I had the decision to do the monitoring now or wait a little bit and start in an hour or so. I decided that I would endure the process now since Nikky was here to chat with and take my mind off of everything. I made a quick stop at the bathroom, got all my pillows situated, downed some ice water and heaved myself up in bed. The straps were draped across the bed ready for me as I wiggled up the bed until I found the right position. 30-40 minutes later the two nurses were still trying to chase around the twins. They were able to get one heart tone but the strip was looking different than it had for the previous 2 weeks. I noticed. I didn’t say anything, but I noticed. Eventually, Allie said she was going to see if the sonographer was still around so we could do an ultrasound to locate the babies to get both heart tones tracing. At this point we are getting close to 4:00 p.m., and everything was “normal-ish”. This wasn’t the first time the ultrasound tech has had to hunt down these two gymnasts. The other nurse continued to search my belly for the heart tones and finally Allie came back in, then walked in the sonographer, and then the OB. That’s when I looked at Nikky and said, “you might want to text John, something doesn’t feel right.” At this point nothing was being said but everyone was watching as the sonographer was checking all the stats of the babies.
Another knock on the door and it was Dr Boulis, the specialist. I looked around and with some inflection in my voice said “Oh, hello Dr Boulis!” He usually does rounds on all the high-risk patients but he was here earlier then I had expected. That was when the OB told me she called him from the office to come over. Ok, no big deal…. false alarms happen in high-risk situations. They will find both of them and we will move along with our monitoring session. The sonographer had a few more pieces of data to get collected so Dr Boulis said he was going to go check on a couple other patients and circle back in a few minutes when everything is complete. That's when he put his hands on my feet and said “I’m proud of you.” That was it. Those were his words. I still had no idea exactly what that meant coming from him. Paraphrasing he also said, “you have carried mono mono twins for 29 weeks, that is really good since they are so risky…...”
After that he left the room to gather the data and come back. I texted John at 4:22pm “No update yet. Waiting for the specialist to come back in. I asked Mel to go let the dogs out so you don’t have to stop at home.” At this point, I still anticipated the sonographer to finish up and Dr Boulis to give me the ‘you’re OK’ signal. 10-15 minutes later my room was getting more and more crowded with people. Bracelet making was not going to continue anytime soon and I just laid there waiting for John to get here and everything to be fine. The doctors and nurses were all talking…. Not really to me and the babies, but about us. Finally, Dr Boulis walked in and said, “Alright, you’re going to have babies today.” Blah blah blah blah. I really heard nothing else but “You’re going to have babies today!” We’re going to have babies!!!!! So much changed in one hour! And so much more would change in the next hour!
The room got more and more flooded with people… and more and more chatter…. “Drink this _____ to help with ____ during the procedure.” “We're giving you a Mag drip to help with the babies brain bleeds since they are so little” “How tall are you?” “When did you last eat?” “You need to go change your clothes and put this on” “I need your IV port to start another bag of fluids” “How do you tolerate anesthesia?” “Who will be in the delivery room with you?” “Do you feel the babies moving like normal?”
My room was getting rearranged, my jewelry was being removed, a net cap was put on my head, John and Nikky were making the family phone calls, and I just laid there and stared. Wasn’t really sure how to process all of this. This wasn’t the plan. We had 3 more weeks here. Our goal was 32 weeks! 29w2d wasn’t the plan…. How did this happen??
I remember looking up at Allie and feeling some relief knowing she was going to be in their with me. I knew there would be 5-10 minutes that I would be in the operating room without John and having someone familiar in with me made me “relax” a little bit. They got me all situated in my bed, got hugs and kisses from John, Nikky, Jill, and Mel and away they wheeled me off. Turned a couple corners, hit a few buttons, in through a couple sets of doors and their I was….in the Operating Room minutes away from meeting our babies.
Dr Amy Bingaman and Allie both held me as I was hunched over getting my spinal. Thoughts….. So many thoughts. It was really bright in the O.R., and it seemed a little cold, but that could have just been from my nerves. From what I remember the room seemed rectangle like, the operating table was off center, more away from the doors. I heard the surgical techs doing their counts from the table that was set up behind Dr Bingaman….. I’m not sure what the items were but they counting every single thing and documented all of it. Then the anesthesiologist tried talking to me but everything went black, my heart rate was plummeting and I couldn’t respond to him… I wanted to… but my mouth wouldn’t work for like 15 seconds. I heard him tell everyone to take their hands off me and eventually everything came back and I was able to keep my $#!+ somewhat together. The dividing sheet went up and scissor looking things were used to clamp the drape…. I have no idea why I remember that but I thought that was odd at the time, and I still do! I looked to my left and saw two isolette warmers and couldn’t wait for my little miracles to soon cry and be taken to their little beds to warm up! Along with the isolettes their were about 12-14 people standing along that wall. Each baby had a team of doctors and nurses ready to attend to them. Someone then asked me who I wanted to reveal the gender. I told them Jill, the photographer… which may seem odd, but John had originally told me he didn’t want to look at the surgery part but rather stay with me by my head (which I was thankful for!), so I didn’t want him to be put on the spot….. Sorry Jill for throwing that on you!! Finally, I heard Dr Bingaman announce she was getting ready to make her first cut, in came John and he sat directly to the left of my head and held my hand. Next, walked in Jill to capture every moment that I want etched in my mind forever! (Side note- if you want to remember the most amazing moment in your life and have it done professionally and by someone who understands and cares…. Get a hold of Jill, her ability to capture these precious, life-changing moments has been amazing!!) A minute later the anesthesiologist grabbed John by the arm and said, “oh, you go to see this” and pulled him to see over the drape. I was a tad concerned but to watch John look over the curtain and see our little miracles being born was SO AMAZING!!!
“It’s a girl!!!!” GIRLS, we just had twin girls!!! John sat back down to hold my hand as we watched an entire room silently work seamlessly together. No cries. My babies weren’t crying. Why?? I would eventually find out that Baby B had to be intubated immediately and Baby A put on air assistance also. John stopped counting once he got to 22 or 24 people in the delivery room… but they were a well-oiled machine. Not a lot of talk, some chatter, but everyone knowing the part they played and everyone just did it. It was amazing.
Dr Bingaman continued to work to close up my csection. She dictated her notes “Baby A’s cord was smaller than Baby B. Baby A stats were …... Baby B stats were…….” We now know Baby A as Knox and Baby B as Lenox. Next, her and her nurse were chatting about an upcoming run, the Hillbilly Half Marathon, that was when I knew things were fine with the csection. This was another day in the office for her and her amazing team… but for me, this was the day I got to meet my miracles. This was also the day Dr Boulis was proud of me.
The hours following the delivery are somewhat hazy. I made it back to my room and Nikky and Mel were there. John and Jill followed the twins to the NICU. Jill was able to bring me back some fresh pictures of my little peanuts. John came back and gave me as much of an update as he could. Soon after, grandma and grandpa Matthies got there, my aunt and uncle Kaven, and Mema and Papa Stamp. Everyone seemed to be doing stable at the NICU and I was trying my hardest to get feeling back in my legs so I could go see them. I was finally able to stand and they got me in the wheelchair. John wheeled me up to see the girls but unfortunately, due to the anesthesia and the overwhelming amount of stress and emotion my body couldn’t keep up and I got sick. I was only able to see Knox through the glass for about 90 seconds before I had to leave the room. I wanted to be there SO bad but knew they were in the best hands possible.
That night I got maybe an hour of sleep…. Actually I will call it rest. I wanted to see my babies!! It is hard to think that these babies I carried for 29 weeks and 2 days were safer outside of me then inside. I am their MOM! I am their protector, their biggest fan, their number one supporter, and all of a sudden…. I wasn’t able to do that on Tuesday, October 30th. I wasn’t able to protect them from knotting up their cords, I couldn’t love on them because they weren’t with me anymore they were in the NICU.
I came to Methodist knowing this was the end goal…. Two babies. I will fully admit it came sooner than any of us had anticipated. I had full intentions of celebrating Thanksgiving in the hospital, having a few more ISU tailgate parties in my room, but these two miracles had other plans. As much as I wish I could have carried them longer, that is not what God had in mind. He had put me in the right place, at the right time, with the best team of doctors.
Wednesday, Dr Boulis stopped in to see us. He said now that the girls are here and safe he could share some stats with us… of course they were scary stats and he emphazed how risky mono mono twins really are. He then explained how their was the slightest change Monday during the BPP that initiated the follow up BPP Tuesday, coupled with the heart tracing with Allie at 3 that ultimately made him pull the trigger and want the twins delivered.
“I’m proud of you” John said those words Thursday, November 1st. Those words make me cry. He said I kept our girls safe for 29 weeks and now they are getting the best care they need. He was proud of me! And I am proud of him, too. He’s kept the household running, still working full time, coming down to see me at nights, cooking meals, bringing the dogs to visit, taking care of a cat that he doesn't necessarily care for, all while not knowing the outcome of all of this but excited to be a daddy.
To Knox and Lenox, I’m proud of you! You two little girls are such fighters! Tomorrow will mark one week in the NICU. In one week you have endured more than this mom's heart wants to think about. The NICU part of our story will have its ups, downs and even some side-steps… but you two have proven how strong you are already. I am excited for your future. I am excited to learn from you both! I am excited to watch you both grow!
But above all, I’m proud to be your mommy.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The unknown and waiting…. Monday, October 29th and Tuesday, October 30th.
“The God who made the moon and the stars and the mountains and the oceans, the Creator who did all of those things, believed that you and your baby were meant to be a pair. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be a perfect fit. That doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes. It does mean that you need not fear failure because you can’t fail a job you were created to do.” Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis….. Wow. I have been working on this book since I moved in and this chapter has been mind blowing and eye-opening. To be honest, I packed an entire suitcase of “entertainment” because I was going to have all of this free time and be able to read tons of books, watch movies, adult coloring books, all of it!! Unfortunately, I have had ZERO mental ability to really do those things. Usually my mornings are filled with nurses and doctors making their rounds, getting something to eat, making my laps in the hallway, chatting with whoever is out and about, multiple trips to the bathroom and then it’s already lunch time. I’ve had THE BEST people stop by and see me, bring meals or just some TV watching together…. Beyond THANKFUL and BLESSED to you all! We are currently on day 16 of being inpatient. To say we have had some trying moments is an understatement. I have ended up in tears a few times lately and even admitted to my rounding nurse that by the time my night nurses are opening my doors to do my final monitoring session for the day…. I am crying on the inside. I can put on my outward smile but internally I am falling apart. I want my babies to have the best start and being here is doing just that, so I know I am in the right place…. I just sometimes have to let down my “ok” exterior and somewhat fall apart. Yesterday, Monday, October 29th I had a regularly scheduled BPP (Biophysical Profile Ultrasound reading for the girls). Dr Drake, MFM- specialist, has these tests scheduled for every Monday and Thursday while I have been inpatient and growth scans every other Thursday in conjunction with the BPP. Dr Boulis, MFM- specialist, noticed an “off” reading of their brain blood flows during the scan so he has ordered a repeat scan for today, Tuesday, October 30th. When the BPP’s are done they take the place of one of my monitoring sessions. This is a blessing for me… maybe more mentally than anything! Seeing my miracles moving around is something I will forever cherish!!**
**This was all I got to write as of Tuesday, October 30th before our lives were forever changed.
Please pray for Knox and Lenox as they continue to fight. The NICU journey can be long and hard. We have already felt so much love and support from family, friends, and even complete strangers that it is overwhelming. We appreciate it more than you will ever know!