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:
"Hi, I'm Beth Hembree, I'm 36 weeks and 4 days with twins, and my water broke."
"Ok, what was your name?"
"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 ;)
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!
(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
“Every good and perfect gift is from above.”
– James 1:17