I’ve been wanting to share this story since the moment it happened, but as I’m sure you can guess – life with newborn twins doesn’t leave you a whole lot of spare time… and the teensy bit you can carve out while they’re napping is usually spent with more important tasks – like showering for the first time in days, eating something while it is still hot, and/or finally sleeping yourself! haha
INDUCTION DAY ~ MARCH 8, 2016
To catch you all up – my doctors don’t want their patients pregnant with twins to go past 38 weeks because mortality rates and issues with delivery increase the further along you carry apparently – so when I still hadn’t had the boys by my 37 week appointment on March 3rd, we set an induction date with my doctor. We obviously wanted her to be the one to deliver, so we set the induction to start the afternoon of March 8th – the day before she was on call, so that I would hopefully deliver them on a day she was there. (We went to a practice where you could have any doctor in their group deliver, and we loooove and trust our OB so we really wanted her to be the one there with us.)
Going into the induction, the boys were both head down and the (supposedly) bigger twin (Twin A) was furthest down and ready to come out first in line. Because of that – I really wanted to at least try to deliver vaginally. I heard lots of reasons to skip the attempt all together and schedule a C-section – but I really felt like everything was set up for me to delivery vaginally (I mean, both boys were head down, which isn’t all that common from what I’ve heard from other twin mamas) – so I at least wanted to try!
Leading up to March 8th felt like the slowest days of our lives! I really thought they would show up earlier and was still holding out hope that I’d go into labor on my own before the induction date. (Spoiler alert: I did not. haha) During our time of waiting James and I made sure to go out for lots of little dates together, spent plenty of quiet cozy nights on the couch, and slept as much as our hearts desired. (In retrospect, I really should have slept even more! haha)
(The photo on the left is what my pillow situation looked like by the end of my pregnancy – and even with all that – I slept terribly! haha. The boys were just too big and no matter how I positioned myself I felt like I was squishing someone! See also – J’s date drink, and cuddles with our first baby.)
We did a little impromptu self-timer photo shoot of just the three of us the last night before the induction and I’m so glad we have these photos! You can see more in the original post of photos HERE. Also, in retrospect… man, Chloe had no idea what was coming! Poor spoiled girl is so attention deprived now!
I mean… look at our first (fur) baby!!! Awww. Sooooo spoiled.
I made sure to eat well leading up to the induction day, because I had heard horror stories about not being allowed to eat once you arrive… but again, in retrospect – I should have eaten WAY MORE before we got to the hospital! haha. I made us a nice dinner the night before, a tasty breakfast, and then I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and yogurt before we left for the hospital. (I should have had a half pound cheeseburger or something instead! haha)
The morning of the induction arrived and I was pretty amped up to say the least! I made all the final preps, double and triple checked my hospital bag, walked Chloe, and like a total mad woman – thoroughly cleaned the entire house because I figured it would never be this clean ever again (and I was right)! The induction was scheduled for us to arrive at 4:30pm, so we had a little time to kill before heading out, which was nice.
We arrived at the hospital, were set up in our room, and got ready to start the process! It was a crazy unseasonably warm day in Chicago for early March (we’re talking almost 80 degrees!!) so the hospital was also unseasonably warm since they still had the heat on and that large of a building couldn’t adjust to the unexpected temperatures very quickly!! Oh my gosh – our room was seriously 80 degrees… SO. HOT. I guess it came in handy that all I was allowed to eat was ice chips…. ?
They got us all settled in the room, I answered a ton of questions for the nurse, and they hooked me up to a million machines for monitoring. Then around 6:30pm they inserted the Cervidel, which is supposed to help your body start to dilate over the course of the next 12 hours. So we just did our best to relax and try to get some sleep that night before they checked me again at 6:30am on the next day to see how much I had dilated.
Needless to say, given the 80 degree room, the million machines hooked to me, the contractions that started shortly after they inserted the Cervidel, how HUNGRY I was since I last ate sometime that afternoon (I seriously have never been as hungry as I was during this process!!!), and James’ less than ideal pleather couch sleeping situation – neither of us got more than a couple hours of (very bad) sleep. (Not ideal for the night before one of the biggest, most exhausting days in your life – but hey… what can you do?!)
LABOR DAY ~ MARCH 9, 2016
The day started bright and early at 6:30am when they checked to see how the Cervidel worked over night and found that I had dilated 1 cm, which the nurses and everyone seemed really pleased with (even though to me that sounded like nothing). I was overjoyed when I found out they would allow me to have a liquid breakfast before we got things going… never in my life has chicken broth, apple juice, jello, and Luigi’s Italian Ice tasted SO GOOD.
I ate my breakfast at 8:30am as contractions continued, and got to take a walk around the floor with James and shower before we really got things going. After that James took the opportunity to head out for a run to level off a bit, then attempted a nap, and the show got on the road at 10:30am when they started me with the Pitocin… which was not awesome, but also not nearly as awful as everybody said it was (though I’ve never felt labor before without it, so who knows?).
My parents arrived around noon and I continued to labor all day (and continued to be sooooo hungry). By the mid afternoon I had dilated 3 cm, which seemed awesome, but was still taking a while – so the doctor wanted to speed things along. Around 4:30pm they decided to break my water in hopes that my body would kick into gear after that. They warned me that once my bag broke I’d be feeling much worse contractions and oh my goodness were they right.
I knew I planned to do an epidural so that if partway through labor I needed to have an emergency c-section I would be ready to go and be able to be awake for it, so they suggested that I get that going shortly after they broke my water so that I’d be ready if things were going to start progressing. (Not to mention, the contractions were muuuuuch worse, so I definitely wanted the epidural soon after anyway!)
The photo below is one James took while they were putting my epidural in. I was taking the process very seriously!!! They told me not to move – so I did NOT move an inch. haha. Partway through the process (which takes quite a while!) I was hunched over so they could properly access my spine and had my head down looking at the floor – James, who was on a chair in front of me holding my hand, said, “Christy, look at me…” because apparently he was worried that I might be freaking out and wanted to make eye contact with me. But before I could even say “No” (because I was in the zone… i.e. imagining that I was jumping off a pier at sunset in Vieques… to keep myself calm… haha) the nurse and anesthesiologist both said in unison “Don’t look at him!!” because I wasn’t supposed to be moving at all and adjusting my head might mess something up. haha. (James was like, I just wanted to make sure she was okay! haha)
Once we got the epidural in they encouraged me to rest while my body hopefully continued to dilate. That way I would have some more energy when the time came to push. They monitored me every couple of hours and by 8:30pm I was dilated 4.5-5 cm. The doctor estimated that your body should dilate 1 cm every hour, so they thought I’d be at 10 cm and ready to have these boys finally around 1 or 2am the next day. I was mentally prepared for that and thought it was best I get some rest for a while and so I did my best to try to nap (though I never fell asleep).
They continued to monitor my temperature and blood pressure, and watch the boys’ heart rates throughout that time. Then around 11pm they came in to check me again and found that I had stopped progressing and hadn’t dilated at all past where I was a few hours prior, which was disappointing to say the least! Then my doctor came in and said that I had started to run a temperature and the boys’ heart rates had been elevated above where they’d like to see them for the past hour.
They worried that the Group B Strep I had might be transferring to the boys (even though I had antibiotics in an IV for this reason) because I had been in labor so long. My doctor was concerned about all those factors, and more importantly that I had stopped dilating any further – and suggested I consider doing a C-section. If I continued to not progress they would just have to up my Pitocin more to try to get things going – and the babies and myself were already under distress at this point – so they didn’t suggest it. James and I agreed from the start that we just wanted to do whatever was best for me and the boys. We just wanted them here healthy after this crazy journey we’ve been on. I have to be honest – it all scared me a bit – the moment she said the boys had elevated heart rates and that they may start to develop a fever as well – I just wanted to get them here as quickly and safely as possible. A C-section was definitely not the plan, nor was it my ideal scenario – but that’s just life sometimes (and don’t we know that already given the journey it took to just get us to this point)!
So we gave them the go-ahead for the surgery. They quickly got me prepped for surgery, which included upping the meds in my epidural to numb me from the chest down, and had James get into scrubs of his own for the operating room. I didn’t anticipate how freaked out I’d be by the whole situation and found myself near tears as I said goodbye to my parents before they wheeled me down to the OR. I was pretty scared, to be honest, but trusted all would be well – as I knew we were in more than capable hands with our doctor.
THE C-SECTION (I.E. MEETING THE BOYS!) ~ MARCH 10, 2016
Before I knew it I was wheeled into a giant and freezing cold operating room filled with what felt like 50 different medical personnel. James hadn’t arrived yet because he was still changing – so the team of doctors, nurses, and the anesthesiologist (who all happened to be women, which I thought was pretty awesome -especially just a day or two after International Women’s Day!) made small talk with me as they prepped for surgery. (Thank goodness for small talk, because I was freaking out.)
James finally arrived (it felt like he was gone forever – it was probably only a couple minutes in reality – but I was starting to get worried they’d start without him). They wanted to test me to make sure I couldn’t feel anything before they started surgery. Yes, please. Let me just say – being wide awake on the other side of a curtain while you know doctors are about to slice you open is a completely out of this world scary experience (at least for me, though I’m aware there are WAY scarier things) and I started to freak out quite a bit. It probably didn’t help that it was freezing cold and that they had my arms straight out from my sides so that the curtain could go just under my armpits. Whatever it was (probably a panic attack) – I started shaking like crazy. I got so worried that my shaking was going to mess something up when they were cutting into me, but they assured me that I wasn’t shaking anywhere below the curtain. I also felt like I might puke and/or pass out (my body likes to shut down and go to sleep when it is stressed) – so they gave me some anti-nausea meds through my IV really quickly to level me off, which thankfully helped some. James sat next to me on my right and held my hand as they started the process.
The unnerving thing about a c-section is that while you are completely numb, you can still feel the pressure of everything they are doing – which to say the least – is totally freaky and not very pleasant. haha. At one point when they were getting ready to pull the boys out my hand started to shake like crazy, but then I realized it wasn’t me shaking – it was James! I asked him if his hand was shaking and he assured me that no, he was fine – I was the one shaking. (I believed him!) Turns out (as he told me later) – he thought they had already pulled the boys out by then, but we hadn’t heard them crying so he thought something was seriously wrong and was freaking out. I, however, knew that wasn’t the case – because I could feel they hadn’t yet pulled anyone out. (See prior note about pressure & being able to tell what they were doing down there!) If he had been honest and told me that HE was the one shaking, I could have told him that there was nothing to worry about! haha
Anyway, a minute or two later they warned me I’d feel a lot of pressure (and oh did I ever) as they pulled out Twin A (Gabriel). Just moments later we heard a loud scream and knew he was okay! James and I looked at each other with a sense of relief and before I knew it they were warning me there’d be even more pressure this time as they pushed Twin B (Micah) down from my ribcage and out the incision. I felt some crazy amounts of pressure, since he was a bit harder to get out, and then felt them pull him out… but I didn’t hear any crying. It felt like hours, though I’m sure it was only seconds… when finally we heard a wail!! I immediately felt such a huge sense of relief that both boys were out and sounded healthy – and I could not stop the tears from coming!! Our boys had made it! OUR BOYS!! I looked over at James and saw the tears pouring down his face as well. (James almost never cries. I’ve seen him actually cry twice in our 9 years together, so man did it hit me when I saw him overwhelmed with emotion.) We didn’t have to say a word to each other… we just smiled through the tears and squeezed each other’s hand extra hard. We had made it. We were parents. These were our children!! I still get choked up remembering this moment and the complete relief and joy I felt.
Then they asked James if he wanted to come cut the umbilical cords, which I didn’t think he’d want to do – but he jumped right up and went to it on the other side of the room (after making sure I’d be okay if he left my side, of course). While he was gone they suctioned me out (sorry… eww) and worked on finishing up the surgery (not a pleasant feeling), but I did my best to slow breathe through it and remember that the most important part had happened – our boys were here and they were healthy.
Moments later James rejoined my side, still emotional and swallowing his tears as he said, “Christy, they are so beautiful.”
We sat there and waited as they finished cleaning the boys up and then brought them each to me one by one to meet them. And James was right, they were beautiful. The nurse asked if I wanted to hold them, but I felt sooo jittery and crazy from the surgery still that I didn’t trust myself not to drop them – so I opted to just kiss them each instead.
(James managed to snag a photo of me meeting one of the boys below and the photo on the left was after the epidural earlier.)
They finished cleaning me up and took me to recovery, while James, my parents, and our dear friend, Jaime, went to the nursery to see the boys while they took their vitals and cleaned them up. I’m forever grateful to Suzy, of Simply by Suzy, who captured these gorgeous film photos of everyone in the nursery – because I wasn’t able to be there due to the c-section. I absolutely love seeing these moments! They bring tears to my eyes every time!!!
Micah still does this with his hand when he nurses (he’s very expressive with his hands – haha) and I love that he did it straight out of the womb too! haha
Then they brought the boys and everyone else back to recovery when I was all settled in and I got to really spend some time with the boys and hold them this time. It was simply amazing. I couldn’t help but get emotional. I’m just so forever grateful that these two boys made our dreams come true and made us parents!
Twin A – Gabriel Edward Tyler was born at 12:27am at 7 lbs 0.5 oz and 19.29 inches long.
Twin B – Micah David Tyler was born at 12:28am at 7 lbs 1.9 oz and 18.9 inches long.
Both boys were completely healthy and didn’t need any time in the NICU. We are so thankful!
(More photos below from the amazing Suzy!)
RECOVERY ~ MARCH 10 to the 13TH
By the time we got back to our room with the boys (so crazy!!) it was nearing 4:30am and James and I were both running on some kind of crazy adrenaline high that I can’t even begin to put into words. We just wanted to cuddle and love on these boys!!
Because of the surgery – I got to continue my liquid diet for all of Thursday (so I was going on no real food for almost three full days by the time I got to eat a real meal)! I got fancy and switched up my juice choice and jello flavors to keep it interesting. haha
The next couple days were a blur of nonstop nursing, constantly being checked on by nurses and doctors, a few visits from loved ones, and living in total awe that these little dudes were somehow OURS! Neither of us managed any sleep the day/night they were born (obviously) and were running on empty from the previous night of little to no awful sleep during the induction process. Couple that with having newborn twins in our room that we didn’t totally know what to do with… AND recovering from serious surgery (me) – I was at a level of exhaustion over the next few days that I have never before in my life felt. I would be in the middle of trying to text someone back and would fall asleep! I’d wake up to the most random jibberish on my phone and realize I had fallen asleep mid-thought. I did the same thing when I was nursing the boys and would wake up with them in my arms and not remember what was going on! Yikes.
I’m so happy I took all these (kind of crappy cell phone) photos though – because I can’t believe how teeny the boys were and how time has flown! We had no idea what we were doing – but we were so happy and just trying to soak it all in and do our best.
I cannot even begin to say enough amazing things about the staff and nurses at Presence Saint Joseph either. We were there for 5 nights and didn’t have one bad experience or bad thing to say about anyone we dealt with. They were all so wonderful with helping me navigate breastfeeding twins, gave us tips for taking care of the boys, and just were so kind and encouraging to us through all of it.
(Finally eating real food! A burger from Kuma’s!! YES.)
(My sister and her husband brought their family down to meet their new cousins! The kids were obsessed with the boys!! So sweet!!!!)
Recovering from the C-section was really difficult for me, especially in those early days. I had trouble walking or doing much (though they always told me I was doing great apparently). I just wasn’t used to having no ab muscles to use – and handling two babies when I could barely get out of the bed by myself was really tough. The few times I was standing and needed to pull my hair up (or once in the shower when I was washing my hair) – I nearly tipped over because I wasn’t used to not having to compensate for my huge belly anymore and leaned back more than necessary! haha. Then I had no ab muscles to recover from my overcompensation and nearly fell backwards more times than I’d like to admit! haha.
It was such a strange adjustment to go from all belly to jelly belly (and still is) – but my body is recovering incredibly well. It really is amazing what the human body (especially women’s bodies) are capable of! And oddly enough, I was thankful for the extra days recovering from the C-section gave me in the hospital because it gave us more time to adjust to our new reality and we got even more knowledge and information from the nursing staff there. That way by the time Sunday came and we were prepped for discharge, we felt like we were ready to get home.
Below are our last photos at the hospital – the teeny boys on a big hospital bed, and me with the boys in their going home outfits before we headed to the car! (I was bummed we didn’t get a family photo of this – but James had already headed to get the car so he could pick us up downstairs, but a nurse was kind enough to offer to take a photo of me with the boys!)
Looking back it all seems incredibly surreal. I can’t believe this was already almost 8 weeks ago!! The boys have changed and grown SO MUCH since then – I could cry! haha. (But if you can’t tell – I could pretty much cry about everything mom related now. haha)
This dream of ours took 6 years to come to fruition and we couldn’t be more humbled that after this long and often painful & emotionally draining journey that these beautiful boys chose us to be their parents. Thank you all SO much for your support and love throughout this process as well. We are so incredibly grateful for the community that rallied around us when we shared our infertility journey with you all and I wholeheartedly believe your love and prayers helped us get to where we are.
Thank you from the bottom of our big ol’ sleep deprived hearts. XOXO