Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

That's right, we had "double" the Christmas tree fun this year since we took the twins with us to cut down a tree at The Christmas Forest (for their last year! Tear!). It was quite a feat! Usually I hold the tree steady while Dan saws it down, but not this year! Who would hold the babies? Also, usually when we go somewhere we each hold a baby--simple enough, right? Not when Dan needs to cut down an 8 foot tall tree! Ha! So we found a solution--I wore Thing 1 on my back in a mei tai carrier and held Thing 2. Worked out great! And I was glad Dan managed to cut and carry that heavy tree all by himself! Here's a few photos from the day:




 Asher checking out our tree selection:
Eli enjoying a ride on my back:

I'm sorry I can't post pictures of the decorated tree because: we cut our tree on 12/9...and today on 12/13 it's STILL sitting under our carport! We can't figure out how to make it stand straight in the tree stand without toppling over! Help?!

.....and I promise I'll get around to posting Halloween pics and other happenings from the last 6 months one day, er...I mean soon!!

Love, Beth

Psalm 72:11 - All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

GREAT NEWS!

Asher had a wonderful Pediatric Gastroenterologist appointment this morning! Dr. Tyson was so attentive, even as I went into detail with every symptom and concern. She sat down and looked me in the eye as I spoke, rather than rushing me and forming her own conclusions in her head before hearing me out, as I have had other doctors do with Asher's situation. We were seen in a timely manner, and she was even giving me advice for Eli even though I only made the appointment for Asher. I couldn't have asked for a better appointment; our prayers were answered.

Here's what went down. Basically, she think it's normal but severe acid reflux. This is definitely what I think too; I don't think there are any underlying, more serious problems. However, of course she wants to look into other problems, just in case! So Asher has an ultrasound on November 9th to look for any thickness in the stomach that may be causing him to spit up so much. Immediately after, he has a modified barium swallow study, in which a speech therapist will watch how he sucks when he eats his bottle, to make sure something with that isn't causing him to gag and throw up. Like I said, I really don't think these are the problem, especially since Eli spits up the same amount but just seems less affected by the pain. Also, while Asher's growth is near the bottom of the charts, he still seems to be growing well and is otherwise gaining weight and healthy! He weighed 14lbs even at the appointment today. But, since we've come this far and even the strongest medicine out there isn't helping 100%, we might as well check to be safe.

In the meantime, we are to switch formulas. Again. This will be our eighth formula to try! It's Similac Alimentum, which is essentially the same as Enfamil Nutramigen, which we have already tried. However, we tried the Nutramigen before we knew the culprit was acid reflux, and we switched off of it as soon as we saw Asher's problem was not an allergy to his other formulas. Basically, Alimentum is worth another shot since we know more about what is going on now. This formula should be a little easier for him to digest, and we are to mix it with rice cereal to make it thicker so he's less likely to spit it up. This is pretty much what we already do by using Enfamil AR, but this will make the bottle even thicker and should give us better results. We're going to continue with the Nexium because it does seem to be helping as of recently!

We'll try these things and see Dr. Tyson back in 3 weeks, along with the results of his ultrasound and swallow study! I'm so pleased with the visit today, and can't wait to see more healing for little Asher (and Eli!) in the next few weeks! :)


This is a video of me trying to feed Asher on a bad reflux day. You can see how red his eyes are from crying from just trying to eat :( Notice how he arches his back in pain, classic reflux sign. Also, the screeching you hear is Eli, and yes, that is reflux-related too :( ! It's like he's trying to clear his throat or something to get the pain out of his chest. Makes it very hard to take them anywhere because they would do that CONSTANTLY before the meds starting working! This video was taken even after a week on Nexium :(
video

Hopefully we will go from this:

 ...to THIS soon, with help from Dr. Tyson! :)



 For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,” says the Lord.

Jeremiah 30:17

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spontaneous Fall Photoshoot

When the boys are being  fussy, taking them outside calms them down instantly 90% of the time. So one fussy afternoon, I took the boys on the front porch and put them in their bumbo chairs. Instant mellow-ness! I couldn't help but notice they had a fall "backdrop" behind them with our recently-made pumpkins, so out came my iPhone and we had us a nice little photo session :) Here are the results!

(Warning: This might get long if I can't decide on which pics to use! ;)

TWINS TOGETHER:





ASHER MAN:









ELI BUDDY:








A LITTLE LAGNIAPPE:

just hangin' out :)

first cold weather stroll

HAPPY FALL Y'ALL!

 Fall is here, and with it brings cooler temperatures (on random days), fall festivities, and happy babies! The reflux has really made an improvement lately, and the boys are just like new babies! So happy and playful! These days, they love sucking their hands, holding their toes, and of course, ROLLING! Their laughs are getting stronger (SO cute!) Eli loves kisses and Asher loves peek-a-boo!

I have TONS of fall pictures already to share with you! First, the babies' first Halloween pumpkins! Check out this adorableness:


Fall-ish overalls :)


Getting our supplies ready:

Here we go!


That feels squishy!


Footprint on a pumpkin.....


(Asher's on left, Eli's on right)


.....Ghosts!!!


The 1st annual Hembree family of pumpkins


 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Reflux Monsters

The Reflux Monsters. Two live at our house. They live inside of sweet, smiling, happy babies and make them unhappy, screaming, hurting babies. They make babies cry; they make mommies cry.

Here's the whole feeding and reflux story, from the very beginning.
First, just the general chaos of feeding twins:

You can't imagine the challenges of twins, especially in those early days, unless you've had twins yourself. The hardest part in the beginning was getting both of them FED. Before I actually had Asher and Eli, it seemed simple enough to me: When one was hungry, feed him, and then wake the other to feed him, too. Simple, right? NOT. For starters, feeding just ONE tiny baby early on would take at least 30 minutes, sometimes as much as 45 minutes, since they were little and still learning to suck. So I'd get the "hungry one" up, start feeding him, and like clockwork, "the other one" would wake and start crying. Now what? I can't get to him since I'm feeding his brother! My solution was this crazy little dance, where I'd have a 7lb baby in one arm, holding a bottle in his mouth with my face, while holding a paci in the mouth of baby #2 with my "free hand", trying to hold him over (for up to 45 minutes!!) until I could finish feeding #1 (and start the 45 minute feeding process over with #2, even at 3am). Seems comical looking back on it, but I haven't forgotten how consumily stressful it was to do this every 3 hours of every day for the first month of their lives.

The moral of the story is, I can now very much appreciate how much those tiny babies have grown in these last 4 months! They are now experts at feeding themselves with the help of bottle proppers, and will soon enough be holding their own bottles. I can also appreciate the 10 hours at night where there are no feedings. Crazy to think that a few shorts months ago, they had 4 feedings in the time they now have just one! When we first brought our babies home, I recorded how much they ate to make sure they were getting enough nutrition and so we could report it to the pediatrician if we saw any problems. They ate about 1/2 an ounce at each feeding in the first week (and it took them 40 minutes)! They now drink 6oz in one feeding, only about 15 mins! Big boys!!

But, the reflux monsters are trying to ruin this progress for us.

The one thing that really hasn't gotten easier for all 4 of us is the acid reflux :( My poor angels. It's been a long road already, and they aren't showing signs of growing out of it anytime soon. This might get long, but I want to write down their story to keep as a record and to be able to share with anyone else struggling with a reflux baby (or two!), because I know hearing other peoples' stories is something that's really helping me get through it.

The first 2 months or so of feeding our babies was hard since they had trouble sucking, and we hadn't yet figured out how to feed two babies at once, as I described earlier; but all-in-all it wasn't so bad. However, starting around 2 months old, we really noticed some changes for the worse when feeding Asher and Eli. It started out as simple crying while being fed. We didn't think much of it, just maybe that since they were awake more that we were starting to see their fussy side. We didn't really notice it was only at feeding time since they were usually only awake long enough to eat and go right back to sleep anyway.

However, it progressively got worse, and I started to make the connection that it must be something wrong with their food. Gas maybe? So we got those mylicon gasdrops. This seemed to work for maybe a day or two, then right back to crying while eating. Although the "crying" while eating had now grown to screaming, pushing away their bottle, refusing to eat, etc. We then tried "gripe water" and "colic calm," both promising to soothe fussy babies, especially due to gas and tummy troubles. Neither of these helped, and I was just convinced that they had the worst gas ever. So we started switching up their formula. The babies came home on Similac Sensitive and some breastmilk (when I found time to pump- ha!). They seemed to do fine on both, but the more I switched over to formula, the more constipated they got. So we switched to formula #2: Enfamil newborn, which is supposed to be sensitive for the little newborn tummy as well. We didn't see a difference, so we tried #3: Enfamil Gentlease, promising to reduce fussiness and gas in just 24 hours! Woot! But, as with the other medicines and formula switches, we'd get a "honeymoon" period where we saw a change for the better for maybe 1-3 days, then it was right back to horrible crying and trouble eating. We tried burping them more (a LOT more, like after every ounce!) to elimiate the "gas," but little did I know, gas wasn't the culprit, so it was doing no good!

The pediatrician recommended trying soy formula because it might be easier to digest, but he swore up and down that it was the mysterious "colic" and could do nothing but promise it would disappear by 4 months. While I believed him, I also wasn't going to wait around for the next 2 months to "see" if it would go away. The fact was, my babies were hurting and I'd try anything out there to help them until the four months was up. Formulas #4 and 5 were Enfamil ProSoBee (soy) and GoodStart Soy. No luck.

I was doing some MAJOR Google searches at this point, desperate to find out what was "wrong" with my babies. Lots of crazy things went through my head during these hard times, being that I was in a desperate place. Why were my babies "broken," why am *I* the one with colicky babies when twins are already so hard as it is, what if I'm stuck in this "colic H-E-double hockey sticks" forever (obviously this wouldn't be true, but like I said, I was desperate, and it was hard!) I got the idea that maybe they had some sort of milk or soy allergy, so we switched to Nutramigen because we've heard from several people that this seemed to "cure" their babies. That was formula #6, didn't work a bit. It was just expensive and smelled bad. I scheduled multiple pediatrician appointments only to get told over and over that it was colic. I cried to our doctor, who just reassured me that my hormones were crazy at this time, and I was still adjusting to life with twins. While I knew something more was going on, he had been a pediatrician for 30 years and probably had seen this 100 times, so I just took his advice and took one day at a time.

A break came during one of my Google searches when I found a mom's story that was eerily similar to mine (although she was only going through this with one baby ;). Turns out, her baby had silent reflux! Same pain and feeding troubles, without all the spit up! AH-HA! This had to be it! Along with her story also came her explanation of how long it took her baby to get diagnosed because there were no real outward symptoms, just her word to her baby's pediatrician that he cried during feedings. The doctor kept proclaiming it was colic. That's when I knew I was in her boat; all this time I thought I was dealing with gas or "colic" and it was REFLUX! I did some more Google searches, and found that Dr. Sears believes most "colic" cases are actually mis-diagnosed silent reflux cases.

For our next step, I got a prescription for Zantac from Eli and Asher's pediatrician when they were around 3 months old. (Well actually, I broke down, cried, and Dan basically begged for Zantac even though our doc was still in the mindset that this was all just colic and stressed out new parents. And why would he not think this, since Eli was eating his bottle like a little angel in the office that day, of course! Luckily, our pedi just left the decision for meds up to us so it worked out). The FIRST DAY on Zantac we were noticing a difference, even though the medicine can take up to a week to work! PRAISE. THE. LORD! Seriously! I finally had normal, happy babies! We also switched to Enfamil AR, which is thicker for reflux babies, but mixed it with Gentlease to keep gas at bay as well (formula #7). Those first 3 weeks on Zantac and AR were awesome. Asher and Eli really started smiling and playing during that time, I could go places with them, and we felt like this is what things were *supposed* to be like with 2 cute, sweet babies.

However, as the days passed, the symptoms slowly crept back up. They crept up so slowly that I didn't notice it had gotten bad again until all 3 of us were having a meltdown during a feeding time, and I realized we were back to how it was a few months prior. And by now, the reflux was no longer "silent." These babies were now full blown "milk fountains" as Dan called them. The spit up just never stopped. So I called the doctor and got the prescription doubled. This didn't work either. I then called the get the meds changed to something else since Zantac was no longer having an effect. After being told that "there's nothing we can do for spit up," I replied that this isn't about the blasted spit up. I don't care how many times we go through outfits and burp cloths, we need some healing for these babies. After 4 months, who knows how raw their poor little throats must be. The babies are now on Nexium. It does seem to work fairly well most of the time, but they are still having trouble with grunting and always seem to try to "clear their throats" by screeching. I have an appointment with a Pediatric Gastroenterologist for Asher (his reflux is worse) in 3 weeks. While the Nexium is somewhat working, I'm not sure what this doctor will do. Maybe Nexium is all he can do for now until they grow out of it; maybe he can work some miracle and get them feeling even better. It's just been a super tough 4 months for babies and parents, so pray that we'll get some real answers at this appointment so we can continue to enjoy our happy, otherwise healthy babies!

So in case you've been wondering why I haven't blogged in the last 3 months, there's your answer! We've been quite busy and overwhelmed, but fortunately have managed to have some great times with the boys in the meantime. I'll be sure to make sure the next post full of happies and smiles and rainbows and....PICTURES, rather than this sad reflux business. But like I said, it's important to me to document this time so we can see how far we've come as a family and to possibly help others with undiagnosed reflux babies!

Love you all!

“O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You have healed me.” Psalm 30:2

(^ I chose that verse because, boy, have I done some crying out to the Lord over this reflux! And He continues to help heal my babies!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

The past 4 months....

At my last post, these little babies were 1 month and 6 days old. They are now 4 months and 18 days old. WHAT?!?! First of all, it's been too long since I posted; second of all babies grow up too fast!

On one hand, it's really sad how fast babies grow. On the other hand, I secretly cherish each day they get a little bigger because it's one step closer to my boys being more independent (which helps me a lot!) and hopefully a step closer to growing out of their acid reflux!!

I'll tell you just how much the boys have grown in these first 4 months of their lives:
Remember, Asher was born at 4 lb 10 oz, and Eli was 5 lb 2 oz. We brought them home when they were each less than 5 pounds at only 2 days old! :( At their 4 month appointment, Asher was 12 lb 9 oz and Eli was 13 lb 6 oz! My dad swears Eli's extra 13 oz is in his cheeks :)

MILESTONES: Asher rolled from his tummy to back the day he turned 3 months old, and Eli did the same the next day! Eli, however, was first with rolling from back to tummy, which he did a little before he turned 4 months. Asher didn't until a few weeks later, but he can now nearly out-roll Eli!

Both boys really are developing their own personalities! In the beginning, I thought I was "making up" their personalities in my head, and I probably was to some extent. But now they are becoming more and more of their own little people and not just helpless babies! Eli L.O.V.E.S. toys. Dan has to take them away sometimes because he gets too excited! He grabs at them, sticks them in his mouth, and kicks his legs everywhere at the sight of toys! Asher is much more subdued; I spend a lot of my day coaxing him to look and me and play. However, this gives Asher the nickname of the "sweet one," since he always looks happy, calm, and content, and never "too active." I also wonder if Asher will be shy, since Eli tends to smile straight at me waiting for more interaction, while Asher gives a small smile and turns his head away :) Both boys have given me very sweet giggles. They are so cute with their tiny personalities!

My favorite times of day with them are first thing in the morning, when they beam and giggle when I reach down to get them out of their cribs. Melt my heart. Also, I love their last feeding before mom and dad go to bed. They are fast asleep, steady sucking on their bottles. Their tiny hands wrap around my finger, their eyes flicker under their closed eyelids, and they make the sweetest sighing/breathing noises. I stare at them and rock them the whole time. I remember to get a good look at them, because they will never be that tiny ever again, even by the next morning. (Seriously, that's how fast they grow).

Well, before I tear up, I'll wrap this post up.

I want to say THANKS to just some of the best people ever who've been a major blessing during these first months!

Dan's parents-- Marianne and Dwight Hembree! Mrs. Marianne is always 1,000% willing to come help at the drop of a hat. She loves the boys just as much as I do (well, almost ;) - she delights in their every milestone and smile! She lets me go on and on about all of the hardships I've had in the early days. And Mr. Dwight was SUCH a trooper coming to spend the night with us in the first weeks of the babies' lives when I needed a b.r.e.a.k!

Melissa Eddy-- the best best friend in the world. What would I have done without you? I'm going to cry writing this; you were my everything during the most exciting and hardest time of my life! You got up at every 3 am feeding with me, you could feed those babies like a pro, you never ever complained! (Well, maybe about our hard couch, but I know you love it now!) You're the best Auntie Mel and we LOVE you!

Whitney Zylks-- I may not always call you for help, but I always know I can call you for help, which is sometimes all I need! You're the best babysitter, and I seriously learn from you sometimes of how to take care of my own children ;)

Eryn Wax (I mean Unglesby)-- Thanks for just listening sometimes; you're the closest person I have in a similar situation to mine, and when I have no one else to tell how excited I am that my baby pooped or how upset I am that yet another reflux med failed us, I can always text you! :)

Annemarie-- You're one of the only other twin moms I know with twin infants, and just knowing that someone else is going through these exciting yet tough times keeps me going sometimes! I love being able to just talk the twin talk with you, no matter what it may be that day! Can't wait for our bundles of joy to meet!

Anyone and everyone who brought us FOOD those first few weeks!-- There were a lot of you so I can't name everyone, but it helped us SO MUCH. Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who has thought about us, said kind and encouraging words to us, checked up on us, prayed for us, etc! We love you!

Ruth 1:8... May the Lord reward you for your kindness ...
-Beth

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Naming our babies :)

If you're wondering how we came up with names for our babies, you're reading the right post!

As you probably know, we weren't sure if our twins were boys or girls, but we had two girl names picked out even before we knew we were having twins! It was super easy for us to agree on those names, but of course, it couldn't be that simple. We had boys instead! We only barely chose our boy names; I think we agreed on them just a few days before their birth!

To choose names, Dan and I both used iPhone apps. Our favorite was "Stork Drop." It was the cutest thing! It had a picture of a stork, and when you shake your phone, a few dozen names rain down. You can drag a name near the stork, and it will tell you the meaning of the name, the popularity over the last several decades, etc. After hours and hours of "playing" Stork Drop, Dan and I each had our own favorites in mind. Unfortunately, our favorite names were each other's least favorite names!! So we had to keep looking until we found names we agreed on. And those names were: Asher Luke and Eli James!

ASHER
-Asher was one of the names that rained down on Stork Drop! I stashed it under favorites because it was unique but simple to spell and prounouce. I definitely didn't want to give our babies names that were "too" unique! Asher was also the last name of one of my professors at LSU during my graduate year (the year I was pregnant with these twins!) While I didn't exactly name Asher after her, it's still a nice story :) And I didn't not name him after her I guess! haha. But anyway, I loved that I didn't personally know any boys with the first name Asher. After checking the meaning on Stork Drop, I saw it meant "happy, lucky, and blessed." Love it! Asher is also one of the tribes in the Bible. I also love Genesis 30:13 "Then Leah said, 'Oh, how happy I am! The women will call me happy.' So she named him Asher." And so Asher stuck!

ELI
-A few weeks before having the twins, still without names for boys, I was in church at the Ring, stressing about the fact that we hadn't chosen boy names yet! So instead of paying attention (sorry, Josh!) I flipped through Dan's Bible in search of names. I came across a few good ones that were already taken by friends (Judah, Jude, Jonah, Levi, Noah...). But then I came across a good one that wasn't taken! Elijah! Yay! From that moment, Elijah was added to both mine and Dan's list of possible names. However, I really wanted to officially shorten it to Eli, because when would I ever call him Elijah? So I wanted to just save the hassle from day one, haha. In the Bible, Elijah was a great prophet, and his name means "the Lord is my God." Perfect! (There is also an "Eli" in the Bible, who was a high priest, but that's not who our Eli was named after).

Middle names: LUKE and JAMES
-Middle names were definitely less important to me than first names, so they were much easier to choose. In my opinion, James is one of those "go-to" middle names for boys, sort of like "Marie" or "Ann" for girl middle names. I mean, half the girls you know are probably "____ Marie" or "____ Ann"! Same for boys, there's bound to be lots of "____ James"-es that you know. Anyway, we really like the name James, and Dan even suggested it as a first name several times. Also, the name James always brings me to back to my favorite book of the Bible and the girl's Bible study I used to go to at the Kwasny's house back in high school. So it was settled: Eli James :) To balance his middle name, I wanted another book of the Bible as a middle name for Asher. Why not one of the gospels? To me, "Asher Luke" sounded the best of the four choices, so we chose that.

....and that's how we named our two blue bundles of joy!

Here are the birth announcements I made for the boys to hang above their cribs. They each include the meanings of their names:




-beth

Friday, June 3, 2011

Baby Boys are Here!

Wow. These sweet baby twin BOYS have finally arrived! I can't believe it really happened! Here's the whole story:

It all started the night before our first wedding anniversary. Daniel and I were trying to decide what to do to celebrate. We had really wanted to stay in the Hilton hotel, but because we never knew when the twins might decide to arrive, we just never made reservations. So we went to eat at Tsunami, next door to the Hilton, instead. The couple we sat next to asked if we had our hospital bags packed and ready. I thought that was a weird thing to say, rather than just the usual, "Aw, is it a boy or girl? When are you due?" but I guess it was a big fat sign that we needed to get ready! After looking at the high Mississippi water levels and enjoying the view atop the Shaw Center, we ate a lovely dinner, took a short stroll, and went home. We had plans to eat at Bayou Bistro the next day for our actual anniversary, since they catered our wedding. But we never made it! Because....

Around 4:45 am on May 22nd, 2011, I made one of my usual late night trips to pee. Shortly after, Dan got up too, and he hardly ever gets up in the middle of the night. But it's a good thing he did, because after he got back in bed, I felt a small cramp. I was really hopeful that it was a contraction because up to this point in my pregnancy I had made ZERO progress (not dilated or effaced at all), and I was super nervous about having to be induced or getting a csection. I really didn't want a csection because both twins were head down at this point (Baby B FINALLY flipped one week prior), so I had all things going for us for a vaginal delivery. Well, sure enough, when I rolled over to try to determine if this cramp was indeed a contraction, I either heard or felt (can't remember which) a "pop," then a gush! This was it, my water broke!! Since Dan had just been awake, all I had to say was "UH...Dan? Uh...my water broke." "Really?" "Yep." "Well, call the hospital!" All I could think was "this is it, this is it...." It was about this time that Dan said "Happy Anniversary!"


(Dan snuck in a pic of the clock between my water breaking and us leaving for the hospital)

I had read that most doctors want you to deliver within 24 hrs after your water breaks to prevent infection, but I also thought I wouldn't deliver for at least 20 hours, since the average labor for a first-time mom is 12 hrs and, like I said, I had made NO progress as of a few days prior. I also really thought I would have to get pitocin to help my contractions along since they weren't very painful at this point. Dan had been scrambling around to find the after-hours number for my OB while I just stood in the shower, quite positive that my water had broken at this point, ha! Then I called (still standing in the shower, haha) and found out my OB wasn't on-call; the OB on the other end was Dr. Edward Schwartzenburg. Little did I know he would be delivering my babies soon!

When you call the after-hours number, you talk to an answering service first, who then gets a doctor to call you back. Here's how my conversation with the answering service went:
"Hello?"
"Hi, I'm Beth Hembree, I'm 36 weeks and 4 days with twins, and my water broke."
"Ok, what was your name?"
"Beth Hembree."
"And are you pregnant?"
"....my WATER BROKE."
Anyway, I eventually got my point across and got to talk to Dr. Schwartzenburg. I told him that my water broke, and he was all like "Are you sure?" I'm thinking YES, I'm standing in the shower cuz it's everywhere, I'm SURE! haha. But I just said "Yep. How long do I have before I need to be at the hospital? Can I take a shower?" He said oh yes, I had time, just take a shower, get things packed up, and come in when I'm ready. So I'm guessing he thought I had a good 20 hours to go as well. So we did just that: got packed up and headed out the door! Dan reminded me to weight myself one last time. Final weight gain: 25 lbs.


(This was my very last bump pic! Taken at my Master's graduation from LSU two days earlier)

In a matter of minutes, my contractions went from "Is that a contraction?" To "Ok, this hurts, we kinda need to go soon." By the time I was at the hospital, I was very uncomfortable, I had to walk around instead of sit and I was getting upset that the nurses weren't moving fast enough. I wanted to be in a labor and delivery room NOW. It's weird how even though my head was telling me I had 20 hours, my body just knew it was go time. But you have to go through admissions first. Even though the admissions process probably only took 30 mins to an hour, it seemed like an eternity. I just wanted my L&D room NOW so I could lay down, relax, and try to process what was going on. In admissions, I was told I was 2-3 centimeters dialted. Yay, maybe I wouldn't need to be helped along in labor by drugs afterall!

By the time I FINALLY got in my delivery room a short while later, I was 4 centimeters. I thought that was sort of fast, but maybe the people in admissions were wrong about me being 2-3cm. I was still thinking it would be late afternoon before the babies would arrive. It was about 7am by this time. Dan was trying to inform our family that I was in labor, but we weren't really concerned about getting the message out since it was so early on a Sunday morning. We figured we'd let people sleep and tell them later in the day, or let them wake up to a text message later on.


(in the delivery room, getting ready for babies!)

My contractions had really started to escalate, and the stress from taking so long to get into my room had really gotten to me. I was strong and didn't cry, but it was at this point I decided to get the epidural. The epidural was totally painless, I don't know what people are talking about when they say it hurts. Or maybe I was too distracted by the contractions. Either way, I was checked again a short while after the epidural and I was a whopping 7 centimeters! Looks like I wasn't going to need that pitocin afterall! This was about 8 am. I said to the nurse, "Well, I guess maybe I'll have the babies around noon or early afternoon?" And she said, "Oh no, honey, you're having them this morning." So Dan made a few final attempts to inform people I was in labor, but then he had to get suited up for the operating room! (So if you were one of the friends we couldn't get the word to in time, this was why! It was happening before we knew it! We're sorry!) All twins are born in a operating room for two reasons: 1) for the extra space since you have double the nurses and equipment and 2) there is a higher risk for emergency csection.

I got checked one final time 1/2 an hour later. I was a full 10 centimeters and was definitely feeling the need to push! It wasn't even 9am! Hadn't my water broken at home less than four hours ago?! I was overwhelmed at the speed at which the day was moving. I just wanted a minute to be calm and process the fact that I was about to bring 2 sweet babies into the world. This is where I become thankful for the epidural; I think that was the only thing that helped me smile and be excited about the fast pace and the events about to take place.

I now had my operating room cap on, Dan was in a full body suit with camera in tow, and I was wheeled a few rooms down to OR 25. This is where I met Dr. Schwartzenburg for the very first time. We shook hands and he said he didn't really think I was in labor when I talked to him on the phone because I sounded "too calm." I was just thinking 'I told you so...' haha. He said since he had to rush to the hospital for the delivery, he got to use flashers on his car and run two redlights, and said that made his day. I think that is just so hilarious ;)


(OR 25!)

Now it was pushing time! Right before I went to push, a nurse asked about our baby names. We realized we never decided which baby would get which name!! So we decided on alphabetical order: First boy would be Asher or first girl would be Adeline, the second baby would be an Eli or Chloe. Good thing the nurse said something! I didn't count pushes, but I think Baby A was out in about 10 pushes or so. And....

IT'S A BOY!! Asher Luke Hembree was born at 9:33 am, 4 lbs and 10 oz, 18 inches long. Hooray!!! Now we awaited our next baby boy! The nurse said, "Well, what if it's a girl?" after we already told her they were identical....haha. About 3 pushes later, Eli James Hembree was born at 9:36 am, 5 lbs and 2 oz, 19 inches long. My two baby boys were here! And I was doing a little happy dance about having my twins with no csection! Thank you Dr. Schwartzenburg for this amazing opportunity and for delivering my two healthy baby boys into the world!


Asher Luke

Eli James

(Side note: If you talked to me about my labor beforehand, you know I fought for my right to try for a vaginal delivery. Doctors really are too csection happy these days. People reading this who are having babies, especially twins, trust your body that God made to deliver your baby, do your research and know your delivery options, tell your doctor your wishes, then insist on those wishes or find another doctor who will support you! Csections are major abdonimal surgery that I think should be used when only there is danger to mom or baby. End of rant).


Meeting our baby boys!

As you can see from the above story, God's hands were all over my pregnancy and delivery. To make it to 36 wks and 4 days with prefectly healthy twins is not all that common. To have a completely complication free delivery of twins is another miracle all its own. Add to that no NICU time for the boys and having them home two days after birth is also nothing short of miraculous. Oh yeah, and this all happened on Daniel's and my very first wedding anniversary. :) Praise the Lord!


Very first picture of our new family <3


-beth

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.”
– James 1:17