if you do not want to read a story about childbirth then please stop here
The Birth of Two
“Dada, wake up.” “Dada, Buzz Lightyear.” “Dada, hug you.” That’s pretty much my daily wake-up call. This morning was no different, except that shortly after E came in Kristen said, “Hon I just talked to Emily they think I am starting labor and we need to go in and try and stop it…”
…and that was how my morning started.
In August, Kristen had been feeling “off” and we thought she might be pregnant, 6 pregnancy tests later we found out we were right. It was exciting our second child was on the way. It was exciting but scary. I had just finished working for the Census Bureau and was now for all intents and purposes, out of work, I had also just enrolled at Some College to get my EMT certification, and so money was tight. So began the chaotic task of enrolling Kristen for health care and the search for a midwife.
When we had E the search for a midwife had been easy because our criteria had been she had to work out of a birthing center, and in the Some Town area this narrowed it down to one choice. This time we had a plethora of choices. We found at least 8 Birth centers in our general area, many of them with more than one Midwife. Our Financial situation eventually narrowed it down to three, and we began interviewing. We eventually settled on one in Another Town in Another State, which was about 50 minutes away from us.
And so began our pregnancy routine, once a month to Another Town. Everything seemed to be going fine. Kristen measured right, weighed right, and felt right. The baby’s heart beat was very good. Kristen began to feel it moving much earlier than she had with E but figured it was because she knew what to look for this time. Our first Sonogram was scheduled for December 2nd about 19 weeks into Kristen’s term. We arrived excited knowing the we might be about to find out if we were going to have another little girl, or our first boy. Kristen got on the bed, I moved to be able to see the screen, and the sonographer, got all his stuff ready. He put the gel on Kristen’s belly and started the sonogram…
...Something was Very wrong! I had seen a sonogram before a time or two; I had a general idea of what it should look like on the screen. I was looking at two circles, unconnected, and side by side. “That is not what a baby looks like.” I thought. “It’s almost like those are two heads.” I continued to silently think to myself. The Sonographer looked at my wife and said “Are you in a good mood?” And then I KNEW! It was not a baby it was babies. We were having twins.
I had always thought twins came from the female, meaning if the female has twins in her family it is possible for her to have twins. My dad is a twin, but all that means is I can pass on the twin gene to my daughters, Kristen had no twins in here family… Or so we thought. Turns out we were wrong. Needless to say that day we spent most of our time in shock, the car ride home was one of our quietest rides ever. The Mid-wife had told us we couldn’t deliver twins at her center as she was not authorized for that. We felt our birth-plan was shot.
After the shock wore off the excitement began to build. We picked names the one on the left and in position to be born first was to be named D T, and the one on the right, F O. D Means Full of Goodness or Man of Prayer. F means Fair Warrior or Small Brave One. Their Middle names we took from Family. O means Peace. T was a different matter we like the name, but didn’t really like the meaning, all the name books say T simply means twin, accurate but kind of boring, so I did a small hermeneutical study on the word Thomas (oh well you might as well know his middle name..this would be too hard to edit) in the bible. I knew Thomas was a Hebrew name and so I began looking at the Hebrew root words it came from, there seem to be two that it could be, most scholars assume it is the Hebrew word for twin as the only time we see the name is for the Apostle Thomas who was a twin; but looking into Hebrew names that didn’t make since to me. Most Hebrew names seem to be associated with an action or inheritance of some sort, not simply with a state of being. They didn’t name their babies’ the word for sleep simply because they slept. So I looked at the other word and found it meant Honesty, Integrity and innocence. This seemed to fit much better, both with what I knew of names and what I saw in the character of the Thomas of the Bible. All that to say Thomas means Honesty, integrity, and innocence.
We found a midwife, Molly, that would deliver twins, and so we went and interviewed her. There was an immediate connection, and everything felt right. She did not take Medicaid, but she did give a substantial discount to those who were on it, even more so if we would use her daughter Emily. We decided to use Emily. Kristen felt at home at their center, it was just a comfortable place to be. They were brilliant in their care of Kristen. Everything was going great, they had told Kristen to increase her protein intake and we had. Our first sonogram had shown that the boys where just a little bit small, by the time our second sonogram occurred under the care of Emily and Molly, they were exactly on target.
At 31 weeks Kristen’s body began getting ready for Labor, she was slightly dilated and had lost some mucus, she was told to stay off her feet whenever she could and do no more than small walks. By 32 everything seemed back to normal other than the fact Fin was now inline to come first. 33 weeks was the same. At 34 weeks she started losing more mucus in very small amount. Then March 21st came.
The night before we had been going through the boy’s clothes setting aside the ones we wanted to bring to the birthing center with us, and talking about everything we wanted to have packed ahead of time, just so we would be ready in the coming weeks. When I woke up the next morning everything changed. E woke me like she usually does, but Kristen was already up. Kristen told me we needed to go and so we gathered everything up. Dropped E off with dad and headed out with every intention of being home that afternoon. We did bring some clothes, the boys clothes, and other stuff, ”Just in case”, but neither of us thought we would really need it. Kristen’s contractions began getting pretty regular in the car on the way to the Center. When we got there Emily and Molly took her and checked her out, she was dilated 5.5 cm, they were pretty sure they weren’t going to be able to stop her labor at the center. They were able to slow it and check the position of the first baby, F; he was in a frank breech position, meaning he was butt first. They thought it best we go to the Hospital, but only due to the fact that boys born before 36 weeks often have lung development issues. We left for the Hospital to go to the Doctor they had recommended, Dr. Cummings.
Kristen’s Contractions began to get longer, and I began to drive faster, I half hoped a cop would pull me over and then escort us around all the slow trucks. By the time we got to a certain interstate I was pretty sure we weren’t going to stop this labor, when we passed the Speedway, where NASCAR races I remember thing they might hire me if they saw me driving now. We made it safe and sound to the Hospital about 2:00pm. Kristen was admitted, and I had to fill out all the admission paperwork, running from Kristen’s bed to the front desk and back.
Both Emily and Molly had come with us to the hospital and they were a tremendous help to Kristen and I. Doctor Cummings got there and said that they were indeed coming today and it was time to go to the OR. We were in the OR as a precaution due to their age. (Actually they only deliver twin babies in the OR just in case.) Kristen was outstanding and at 3:02 she vaginally delivered without any drugs a breeched little boy. F Cried almost immediately and I cut the cord, however I was suddenly torn my boy was with strangers crying, and my wife was still in labor. At her last pregnancy we had both held E within seconds after she was born. This time I could see him, but hadn’t even touched him yet. Kristen could hear him crying and was worried about him as well but another baby was on its way.
D had a Prolapsed Cord, which with almost any other Doctor, and almost any other patient would usually result in a C-section. Doctor Cummings is an amazing Doctor, and Kristen is even more amazing. The Doctor had to move the cord out of the way and around D’s head before he came out… there is only one way to do that without creating a surgical opening, and Kristen did so well, and stayed as calm as possible under the circumstances. Then the water broke (I'm pretty sure the water broke before he moved the cord...just sayin') and D came out head first, it was 3:12, only nine minutes since F and it felt like seconds or hours. F had had a little trouble breathing and was given oxygen and so they took him to the NICU, I was able to hold D and show him to Kristen, then he too was taken to the NICU.
D never needed help breathing, and F was breathing on his own almost as soon as he got into the NICU, nether got breathing tubes. Kristen was soon relaxing in bed, and around 5:30 she got her first look at both our sons. Their blood sugar was low, and as they were unable to eat enough at this point they were still in the NICU. As of this writing they are still in the NICU, but the only thing we are waiting on for them to get out is to be able to eat.
And so our family of three has gone to a family of five, and I love those little boys who I have only know in the flesh for less than 48 hours, just as much as the rest of my family.
The NICU is it's own story but for tonight I will end here.