Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Welcoming our Twin Daughters: A Birth Story

February 27, 2014

The days leading up to our scheduled C-Section on February 27th, 2014 were full of emotions for our little family.  We spent our time finishing last minute details around the house, giving our dogs Colbie & George a little extra love, and despite everyones advice to "rest while you can!" my pregnancy insomnia & general discomfort resulted in sleepless nights in my recliner where binge watching episodes of Scandal kept my anxiety at bay.

I know I've said it before, but we really couldn't believe that we had made it to a scheduled C-Section. For MONTHS we waited for the doctors to give us bad news, but it never came.  Our hard work had paid off.. we were having our daughters on the scheduled date we picked 3 months ago, NEVER thinking we would actually make it to the date we picked.

February 26th felt a little bit like the day of our rehearsal dinner.  We were anxious, excited and in total disbelief the whole day. Trae was working, but getting off work early and came home with a lovely gift given to us from his whole office, celebrating the girl's birthday. Our parents drove into Austin & we all had an early, casual dinner together at our house: Lupe Tortilla Fajitas- our family favorite.  I spent the day relaxing in comfy clothes & watching my favorite TV show, Scandal to keep my mind at bay.

Everything had been done: our bags were packed & ready, camera batteries were charged, we went over the next days timeline with our family and all we had to do was relax, "get some rest" (yea, RIGHT!) , not drink or eat anything after midnight (for me)  and report to Seton hospital at 5:30 AM.

We took some last obligatory belly photos posed in front of our weekly chalkboard, celebrating our final pregnancy accomplishment- FULL TERM.  Trae and I got ready for bed, cried tears of joy as we prayed for the events that were ahead of us and thanked Sawyer & Tristan & God for helping us get to this day before Trae went to sleep in our bed and I went to relax in our recliner.  A short 4 hours later (and 3 Scandal episodes later) I took my last pregnant shower, Trae loaded our bags and we left in the cold dark morning to go to the hospital to have our babies!
Car packed with everything we need.. or think we might need! 
Typical new parents.. we didn't need half this! 
Walking inside Seton, carrying all his girl's bags!

It was a cold February morning as we arrived to welcome our daughters!

We arrived at Seton promptly at our 5:30 AM check in time.  What an AMAZING feeling it was, walking in, hand-in-hand EXCITED to be at the hospital! Everything was perfect: We were showered- even my hair was clean & curled, our doctor would be there to deliver our babies and our good friend Katie was scheduled to be our nurse anesthetist for our surgery- what could be better?!
Getting ready to meet our little girls!

We met our nurses and I was hooked up to the monitors within 15 minutes of arriving.  Each girl had a nurse and I had a separate nurse that would take care of me pre and post surgery.  As I sat in my hospital bed feeling the girls kick in my belly for the last times, I started getting nervous for the operation ahead. We met with the anesthesiologist, pediatrician, OB, surgery nurses and next thing we knew- Trae was putting on his scrubs and we were being wheeled back into surgery.
Trae ready for the Operating Room!

Trae was told to wait outside the operating room while I was administered anesthesia. I was walked into the large, cold, bright Operating Room where I saw 8 nurses, 2 infant beds, 3 Doctors, a surgical table and many silver surgical tools neatly laid out. I immediately started shaking- I was nervous!!  My nurse and Katie knew our history and had done a great job of filling in the staff with our story, so that everyone was aware to be vigilant in giving us every piece of information regarding what was happening during surgery and when the babies got here.  See, Trae and I understood that while this day was perfect in so many ways, it would likely bring up PTSD moments from Sawyer & Tristans delivery, and one way we could try to alleviate this was to be as comfortable in the situation as possible, which for us means giving us TOO much information, rather than having us ask if everything was ok.  The Doctors, nurses, everyone knew this and completely participated in our wishes- we never had to ask what something was, when something was happening, what options we had, nothing- it was all offered to us as information in advance- something we were so happy with.

We are nervous, but ready to meet our daughters!

Holding hands & praying while in surgery.
Wiping away tears as I heard Lyla for the first time

Anesthesia took no time and before I knew it, Trae was by my side, holding my hand that was stretched out and looking at me with his smiling eyes, assuring me that all was going to be ok. Some rough tugging, pulling, poking and prodding is all I felt, Thank God.. it definitely didn't feel like I was about to deliver my twin girls.  At 8:00 on the dot Dr Reue said "OK.. here she is.. Happy Birthday, Lyla... whoa.. she is LONG!!"  It felt like forever until she cried, but Katie continually reassured us (without us having to ask) that she was ok and they were just suctioning her out. Trae took pictures continually of her as she let out her first big cry.  I had dreamed about that exact moment of hearing my healthy baby cry and it was better than I could have ever imagined! Trae and I squeezed each others hand and tears rolled down our cheeks as we listened to Lyla's sweet cry.  She was dried off and brought over to us to meet her until we heard "Here is Baby B- Baby Nixon! Happy Birthday, Nixon- 8:01 AM!"

As soon as Dr Reue announced her arrival, the room was filled with Nixon's HUGE cries. We were all shocked to hear how little she was, when her cry easily drowned out her sisters!
Trae holding Lyla's hand as she is checked over

Looking at Lyla for the first time

Papa & Lyla

Papa & Nixon

Meeting Nixon for the first time & having skin to skin time
Both girls were weighed, given their perfect APGAR scores, quickly wiped & wrapped by the nurses and given quickly to Trae and me to love on & for me to begin to breastfeeding them.  Once swaddled, the girls stopped crying and were looking around the room and at us, as if they were taking it all in.  It was an amazing feeling to finally be holding our healthy daughters!  Once we were able to hold them together as a family, Trae and I thanked God again for our daughters and sons, prayed for our journey and began telling Lyla and Nixon about their big brothers.

Our First Family Photo
Lyla & Nixon bundled up together
Nixon Sawyer Schultz
Proud Papa holding his girls together for the first time
Trae & Dr Reue posing with the girls

After Nixon was born, it took about 30 minutes for Dr Reue & his staff to finish my surgery and close me up.  Prior to closing, Dr Reue explained that one of the two cerclage bands placed around my cervix (my TAC) had eroded through my uterus due to how large it had gotten during pregnancy due to my full term pregnancy, so he had to remove it.  I was so thankful that my surgeon had placed TWO mersiline cerclage bands in case we had twins again (which we did!) because without the second band doing its job, there is a good chance we wouldn't have made it as far into the pregnancy as we did.  I was and am so thankful for my cerclage(s).. they saved my daughters lives.

We were wheeled back into our hospital room where our family joined us quickly to meet the girls and learn their names for the first time before we had a few hours alone, just the 4 of us to recover from surgery and relax as a family.
Our Family coming in to meet the girls & learn their names for the first time
Mama holding Nixon for the first time
Loving on my babies shortly after they were born
Blissfully in love

We were transferred to our post partum room and asked how we wanted the them to assess the girls, in our room or in the nursery.  While we had been given sound advice from friends & family to allow the girls to go to the nursery at night so we could get sleep, we told the nursing staff that we didn't want the girls to leave our side unless completely necessary.  Call it PTSD, but we worked so hard to have our little girls by our side that we didn't want them to go ANYwhere without us, unless it was needed.  Aside from 2 assessments that had to be done in the nursery, our girls didn't leave our sides for the next 4 days we were in the hospital and we loved every minute of it!
Standing outside our hospital room door

Lyla Tristan
Nixon Sawyer
Nana & Papi holding the girls
Nana & Pop-Pop
After 4 days in the hospital, both girls passed their hearing tests, Nixon's bilirubin was elevated enough to graduate from the light therapy she had been on for 2 days and Nixon passed her car seat test allowing us all to leave to go home together.  We dressed the girls in their special onesies we had made with their full names on them and pictures of both pink and blue birds that reminded us of their brothers always looking over their sisters as they carried their brothers' name as their middle name forever.
We felt so blessed and happy to leave with our girls on that cold day in March. It felt surreal to put them in our carseats that we had unpacked 2 months prior, then put them in our car we bought just for our growing family.. and finally to pull away from the hospital that brought us our 3rd and 4th children, only to head home to start our life.
About to head home with our beauties!
Home with our girls!
My Mom got us big storks with the girls birth details on them for our yard, to welcome us home. It was so fun to pull in our driveway with our sweet girls to see them there, Congratulating our arrival.  We would see people walking by and staring at them throughout the week and we felt so special and blessed!!

Colbie & George love their little sisters. We gently introduced them to them and any worries we had in the back of our mind drifted away very quickly as both dogs smelled the girls, sat by their side and gently kissed their heads.  To this day, the dogs want to be by their side all the time, but they are VERY gently with them.  It's a lovely thing to watch our sweet dogs love our little girls.

In a short month, we have learned SO much about parenting and we're continuing to learn a lot every day. Our little girls are great teachers to their naive parents!

Despite our lack of general parental information and learn-as-we-go mentality,  I can confidently say that while we have no idea what we're doing sometimes, we NEVER forget how lucky we are to have Lyla & Nixon home with us, happy, healthy and HUNGRY!! :-)

Friday, March 21, 2014

February 27th, 2014

February 27, 2014

Happy Birthday to our daughters:

Lyla Tristan Schultz
6LB 13 oz 18" Long
8:00 AM


Nixon Sawyer Schultz
4LB 11 oz  17" Long
8:01 AM

We love you more than you will ever know!

"A rainbow baby is a baby who is born after a parent loses a child.  It is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm.  When a rainbow appears, it does not mean the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with the aftermath.  It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover, but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope."

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

37 Weeks


It is with extreme joy in my heart, tears in my eyes and love in my heart that Trae and I can successfully say that we are now full term with our baby girls and set to deliver bright and early tomorrow morning at 37 weeks, 2 days on February 27, 2014.

This pregnancy has been exactly what our Doctors told us it would be: an emotionally draining, mental challenge with physical hardships to overcome... but we did it.  There have been MANY nights where I sat here fighting Braxton Hicks or was frustrated I couldn't move more than a few feet without it feeling like my pelvis or back was severly injured and I worried that making it this far, just simply wasn't possible.  But the days ticked on and the weeks forged ahead... and we couldn't be more proud of the fact that my body, the one we were so mad at a year ago for failing our boys.. has held strong with the assistance of my Abdominal Cerclage, and carried these girls to a healthy gestation.

While I'm so proud of my body and my personal sacrifices as a Mommy to these girls, I'm so proud of my Trae and all that he has done & sacrificed as both a husband and a Papa to our girls throughout our entire pregnancy.  Trae has made it to every. single. Dr's appointment I've ever had. EVERY ONE!! He has asked questions, when needed and been the perfect partner, supporting me through all the great times and hard times- never blaming emotions on pregnancy or weakness.  He has learned to cook (or pick up food) when I've been to sore or tired without complaint, spontaneously brought me home breakfast as a surprise when I didn't sleep well the night before and has runn 100% of our errands for the past 10 weeks or so that I've been on restricted activity.   Our marriage has endured more than one's 3.5 years should have to, but we can confidently say that we have come out more in love and more united than ever.. and we are SO looking forward to all the fun & challenges that come with parenting our sweet daughters together.  What a blessing! 

Tomorrow we go in at 5:30 AM for our 7:30 AM C-Section with Dr. Reue.   We will have our family in the waiting room for us, but we know how many friends & family we have praying for us & our girls.. excited for us & understanding what tomorrow brings for our family.. and we thank you ALL for that.

Of Course we go in with baited breath and excitement to become parents again.. to hear 2 LOUD cries when born, long legs and healthy reports from their nurses, but we go in remembering their brothers Sawyer & Tristan who we are confidant are with us in that operating room.  We know they are overjoyed that we are getting the opportunity to be parents again and probably think its both silly and amazing that we were blessed with 2 little girls after our 2 little boys made such a profound impact on our hearts, forever.  They will be talked about, prayed for and thanked tomorrow... never forgotten, as they are THE reason why their sisters are here with us today.

We promise to show lots of pictures of our beauties in the coming days & weeks and look forward to all the fun times ahead as a family.

SO! A final pregnancy update:

How Far Along?  37 weeks 1 day

Stretch Marks? None! Just a pesky Outie that is VERY OUTIE that Trae likes to laugh. It's like my 3rd accessory (earrings: check, necklace: check, Outie: check)

Sleep? Sleep is almost non existant at this time. Laying down in bed is very uncomfortable and it takes more effort and pain getting out of bed than it's worth to get into bed.  Thank Goodness Trae bought me my trusty recliner- it's been my only way to sleep a few hours here and there!  George, our boxer has been very sweet in sleeping next to me in the living room throughout the night and making me feel a little more normal when I wake up and hear a friendly snoring in the middle of the night.

Best Moment of the Week? While I think the best moments of our week are to come in meeting these 2 little girls tomorrow, the best part so far has been enjoying our last OB appointment together and celebrating this pregnancy with our parents, who are both in town today.

Food Cravings? Pizza, Lime Water, Juice, Fruit, Scrambled Egg Whites (random, I know)

Genders? Fraternal Twin Girls

Symptoms: Ongoing SPD Pelvic Pain which is SO painful, Pregnancy Insomnia, Braxton Hicks that are off and on, leg muscle pain.  No crazy swelling or high blood pressure though- which our OB was REALLY surprised by!

Weekly Dr Appt:

After graduating from Dr Berry last week, we only had a final Dr Reue appointment to go to this week. It was so CRAZY walking in for the last time pregnant and all our nurses commenting how excited they were for us.

I have been losing a pound or 2 a week for the past few weeks, which Dr Reue has said is normal and I'm not complaining about!  I've gained somewhere between 40-45 lbs this pregnancy which considering my complete lack of activity, and 2 healthy sized baby girls, I'm very happy with.  Having that said, this Momma is going to have some WORK to do to get her body strong & lean again.

My Blood Pressure was completely normal and all my vitals checked out- so Dr Reue went over the details for our surgery, did a final Bio Physical Exam on the girls which they passed quickly and sent us on our way!  We didn't get the girls' measurements on sonogram, but the sonographer did mention Baby A looking larger than her sister, Baby B.. maybe up to a lb larger, so we will see!
The last weight guesstimate was done by Dr. Berry and he guessed Baby A weighing a little over 6# and Baby B weighing close to 7.

Any guesses?!  Closest Guess Wins! 

The last night with my babies in my belly!
Trae joking around with the girls, excited to meet them!


Monday, February 24, 2014

36 Weeks

Happy 36 Weeks!
Oh Gosh!!  How long have we waited to say "Happy 36 Weeks?!" We have 1 more week until we are considered "full term" for a twin pregnancy, but are starting to feel very confident that our little girls will have no need for a NICU stay when born, even if we don't make it to our scheduled C-Section date of February 27th.

Experiencing no NICU time has ALWAYS been the ultimate goal for us and we feel so lucky to have made it this far.  

How Far Along? 36 Weeks 5 Days

Stretch Marks? Nope! Just full belly button "outie" still!  Thank you Mom for great genetics, because these girls have certainly worked hard at growing and stretching this skin!

Sleep? Sleep has become very sporadic & challenging.  I start off in bed with a Hydrocodone to alleviate my SPD pain enough to go to sleep, prop up my body pillow & wedge other pillows under my back & usually fall asleep fast when ultimately comfortable. This initial sleep lasts usually 3-4 hours. I then need to turn & usually decide I need to move to the recliner in our living room, which wakes my brain up, then keeping me awake for an hour or so. I can usually pull another 3 hours in the recliner, but because I'm slightly upright, Baby A's head starts migrating under my ribcage & I start finding it very hard to breathe, which inevitably wakes me up.  It will be much more rewarding waking up to my sweet child's face than a pain in my ribs.. and I so look forward to that in less than a week!

Best Moment of the Week? The best moment of this was graduating from our MFM appointment with Dr Berry saying how well we had done, over and over again. Trae and I left with our 36 week gold coin that we worked so hard for, hand-in-hand past the fertility clinic (that is located on the same floor as Dr Berry's office) that helped us have both Sawyer & Tristan and these baby girls and felt so grateful.  We drove home in utter disbelief, tears in our eyes and a full heart commenting over and over again how we couldn't believe how lucky we were & how excited we are to be almost full term with healthy baby girls.    We can hardly wait to meet them!!!
Our 36 Week Gold Coin "Award" given by Dr Berry!

Food Cravings: Pizza, lime water, fruit.. pretty much anything but meat.

Genders? Fraternal Twin Girls

Symptoms:  The SPD pain has gotten worse this week.  Walking is harder, sleeping is harder, shaving my legs has become something worthy of an Olympic medal, itself.  I'm very thankful for the hydrocodone that helps me get to sleep through the pain, but this week has been a fairly sedentary one due to the pain.

I've had a few days of Braxton Hicks this week that required one or two Benadryl to knock out. Almost any movement around the house causes them to kick in, so I've been spending lots of time on my recliner binge watching Scandal & other TV shows while trying not to think about all the nesting I wish I could be doing.  Thankfully Trae has been SO helpful in vacuuming when he knows it's driving me crazy several times a week, going to the grocery store & putting together anything I order for the nursery without complaint.

Weekly Dr. Appts:

Dr Reue:  Dr Reue is officially back from vacation, so I feel better already... aside from being 36+ weeks and knowing our girls are likely safe from any NICU time.  Dr Reue commended us for making it to 36 weeks, felt my belly and said "you sure aren't having small babies!" We all smiled, knowing this meant our babies were growing well & I was doing my job well.  My strep B test came back negative, Blood Pressure is still low and everything looked "great" according to Dr Reue. 

Trae asked if there would be any complications due to both girls being breech/transverse and Dr Reue assured us that the C-Section would be very routine (pending any unseen circumstances) and the babies' position wouldn't effect the difficulty or size of my incision at all.  

We see Dr. Reue for our last prenatal appointment next Tuesday at 37 weeks, where we will make sure we're still on track for Thursday and learn all the fun facts about what's to come on Thursday morning!! We're so excited!!!

Dr Berry:  Both girls passed their Bio Physical Profiles quickly proving that they were little movers & shakers and very healthy babies. Baby A's fluid had increased a little, but Dr Berry wasn't worried.  He just said to be aware I could be a little more uncomfortable in the next week since she is taking up a little more room.  While added discomfort is not an exciting thing to hear, I was just happy they were doing well & there were no indications that they would be here before our scheduled 2/27 C-Section date.

Dr Berry congratulated us for making it so far, gave us our well deserved 36 Week Gold Coin Medal and remarked how well we looked and were doing to be almost full term with very healthy-sized babies! We hugged Dr Berry and thanked him for everything he did to care for us and our family.

It had been almost a year, to the day to the first time we met with Dr Berry in his office to discuss our loss with Sawyer & Tristan.  He took his time to listen to us, care for us and put a plan together when we were pregnant again.  When we saw him pregnant with our 2nd set of twins, he put his game face on and said "let's do this! You can do this!" So to hug him and say "we did it"... it was a very special moment for us all.
Trae said "when do we see you next" out of habit and Dr Berry replied "next pregnancy, of course!!"  

We all laughed and I said "I'll start with bringing the girls by to meet you soon."

Although I'm uncomfortable with it, I know how much I'll miss this massive baby belly!!