Today my sweet baby girls Brooklyn and Eliana turn one. Shortly after their birth I sat down and wrote out their birth story for myself because I never wanted to forget that moment. After waiting and fighting so long for these girls, July 25th, 2015 was a day filled with relief, joy, anticipation, and a feeling of “we did it.” Though I was incredibly proud of carrying twins I often felt terrible during my pregnancy and hid. Looking back I am filled with a sense of accomplishment of how I survived some hard challenges and that my body grew these two beautiful girls for 35 weeks and 4 days. I did my best and by God’s grace these girls were born healthy and beautiful. Today I am sharing never before seen pictures and their story with you my friends. You are invited to celebrate and rejoice in the story with us. Through my entire infertility journey I made a promise to God, not a bargain to get what I wanted, but a genuine promise that I would be open to share the story he was writing.
“May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory
and raise a victory banner in the name of our God.” – Psalms 20:5
Recently I heard it said, joy isn’t fully experienced until it’s shared… I want to share more of our story and fully experience the delight of joy with you.
“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” – C.S. Lewis
Around 31 weeks I began showing signs of preeclampsia and with my preeclampsia building I was constantly being watched by doctors which meant weekly routine admittance every Wednesday into the hospital for 24 hours monitoring of my blood pressure and of the babies . Around 34 weeks Baby “a” Brooklyn was 4th percentile for growth which was becoming a serious concern. Additionally I had 2 appointments a week, one at the doctor’s office and one at the hospital on Saturday mornings. On Wednesday July 22nd, I met with my Doctor for my 35 week appointment where we addressed my high blood pressure (which was staying around 160/105 +) and swelling. Dr. Barrett moved my C-Section date up to August 4th but warned me she didn’t know if I would make it that far. She was ready to admit me once again but I begged her to let me go home if I promised to take my blood pressure at home and stay on strict bed rest.
Saturday morning I woke up to head over to St. Vincent’s hospital for my routine NST appointment. Feeling very pregnant and swollen I was just done…. done feeling sick and heavy but feeling like I still had 2 more weeks left to go. As I was in my closet looking for something to wear since all my maternity clothes no longer fit, in the back of my mind lingered the thoughts if I’d be coming back home or getting admitted for monitoring. Though these questions lingered I left my packed hospital bag at home that morning as a statement of belief I would be back home… little did I know a Birthday surprise was around the corner.
Around 10am I waddled up to the 7th floor into Labor and Delivery where all the nurses and receptionist greeted me by name with joyful enthusiasm as they’d grown accustomed to seeing me in the unit. One of the nurses took me back to the triage room where I was hooked up to the monitors. The NST monitoring was going great, babies heart rates looked perfect and we were happy to know healthy babies were still growing. But as the nurse began talking to me finding out my latest symptoms and commenting on all my swelling, it was apparent they were concerned. They took several blood pressure readings where they all came back too high. Every 15 minutes the dinging of the monitor would sound off alerting us all that my blood pressure was reading high. The nurse began asking me weird questions about my birth plan which had never happened before when I was in the hospital. I began wondering why, becoming suspicious that today might be the day.
I remember laying in the room with Branden just starring at one another with curiosity. The lights were dimmed and the halls seemed eerily quiet, my room was filled with silence except for my monitor dinging. Soon the on call Doctor, Dr. Burkett, walked in and assessed my symptoms and high blood pressure readings and stepped out of the room….within moments she walked right back in and said,
“guess what? I think it’s time. Today is the day.”
I laid on the hospital bed in the darkened triage room in total shock. I couldn’t digest the reality that today was the day. I never imagined this day would come. Today would be the day I would meet my miracle girls. The girls I’ve waited and prayed for 6 years. The only reaction I could find was to cry… crying for fear of the unknown and yet joy to meet my babies.
Once the Doctor gave the go ahead it quickly turned into a flurry of phone calls to family in Spokane, paper work and decisions…. Did I want C-section or be induced for a natural birth?
My heart and desire was to do a natural birth. I had prayed the whole pregnancy for babies to have heads down and in fact, both babies were head down but my cervix was closed. The nurses fully educated me yet did warn me of a 2-3 day laboring process if I chose to be induced. I toiled and stressed over what the right decision was. There in the hospital Branden and I prayed for wisdom and peace to make a decision quickly. (we were given 10 minutes to decide) I didn’t have this strong clear direction laid before me but in my “gut” I just felt I was to go forward with the C-section. Once I called the Doctors in to inform them of my decision I still had doubts in the back of my head… but later I would come to find out I made the right decision.
Around 2:30pm the nurses came in and prepared me for the 3:00 C-Section. I was filled with nerves yet also overwhelmed with emotion. Branden looked a little frantic trying to get everything in order. He had run back home to let the dog out and grab some lunch. I remember being starving and was so upset when they told me I couldn’t eat anything for the next 24 hours. ( I was STILL pregnant with growing twins who made me very hungry all the time so food was serious business) 🙂
3:00 came and the nurses and doctor walked into my room so calmly where they came and got me out from triage to walk me down the hall to the operating room. Everyone was dressed in their scrubs and we were handed our lovely head caps. I remember the walk to the hall being silent. The hospital halls were eerily quiet as if were the only ones there that day. We got to the main entrance and they had Branden wait outside while I was taken in for my spinal. I was calm yet nervous. Everything was happening just so fast. My mind couldn’t grasp how quickly this was happening and fear of going into surgery was overtaking my mind.
I walked into the white cold room and sat on the edge of the bed. Dr. Burkett came around and held my hands and spoke so quietly and encouraging to me as the anesthesiologists did her work on my back. In that moment my doctor felt like my best friend, not my Doctor who was about to slice me open.
Immediately I felt the numbness take over and they quickly ushered me flat onto the table. Within moments Branden was by my side and I was being cut open. It felt like seconds when all of a sudden I hear them say they have baby “a” and her little screams echo out. Tears began rolling down my eyes as my head was leaned to the left side puking my brains out, looking into the eyes of my husband. Not how I dreamed celebrating the birth of my girls, but it was still magical and surreal. Little Brooklyn was here, 4 lb 12 oz 18.5 inches long born at 3:57. We learned why this little peanut wasn’t growing in the womb, her cord was wrapped around her 3 times, twice around her shoulders and once around her feet.
Within two minutes, 3:59, we hear the welcoming screams of sweet baby “b”, little Eliana Grace. 5 lb 11 oz 18.5 inches. I stared into the blue paper wall in front of my eyes waiting to see my girls. When they held them up I just let the tears flow as I held Branden’s hand. This did not feel like my life… It felt like one big dream.
Branden was taken over to the babies tables as I began getting sewed back together. Still throwing up and miserable I just wanted to sit up and end this surgery. I wanted to hold my babies close and the thought that a blue wall of paper was separating me from my girls was creating anxiety as the surgery was completing. I kept waiting for news of the girls heading to NICU but then Branden appears by my side holding one baby in each arm with a grin of pride and love on his face. A sheer miracle! 35 weeks and 4 days and these girls were healthy, no NICU time at all. I had done it… I had grown 2 healthy babies in this body of mine and by God’s grace I was looking right at them.
About 45 minutes later I was rolled into the recovery room where Branden and the two girls awaited me. They unwrapped my babies and placed them on my chest, skin to skin, we laid together and everything I ever dreamed of all came true in that perfect moment. Ten pounds of warm babies buried into my chest, snuggling close I smiled and cried as the love poured from my heart.
The 6 year wait was over.
July 25, 2015 my miracles were placed in my arms. A tangible reflection of 6 years of prayer. My answer to all my pleading, tears, and asking God for the gift of them were bundled beneath my chin where the thumps of their hearts beating was a sign of miraculous redemption. The sorrow and tears were redeemed in this moment and six long years faded fast away. I wanted to freeze that moment in time and bottle it up forever. The elation and joy overwhelming me was one of the best days of my life.
Throughout the year I found myself closing my eyes and reliving that moment over and over because I wanted to feel those emotions all over again, how sacred and precious their birth, that moment I first held them close was. I had never experienced that depth of a love and an overwhelming outpouring of joy over my soul before that I never wanted to lose that moment.
Here I am 35 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I was SO swollen and miserable. I snapped these quickly before we left for the hospital…as you can see on my face I am really feeling pregnant 🙂
*This last photo is my ugly feet, it was when I got home from the hospital… I was SO SO swollen! I honestly feel like pictures don’t do justice to the reality the swelling. I couldn’t walk, wear shoes, and I had to be wheel chaired to my follow up appointments. I was diagnosed with the rare occurrence of post-clampsia and had a terrible recovery for weeks.
Beautiful Katie! I cried as I read this. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Infertility is such a hopeless feeling and yet you persevered and trusted the promise God had given you! Happy Birthday to Brooklyn and Eliana
I LOVE birth stories!! Thank you so much for sharing! The pic of the feet crack me up, we have all been there! I remember a few weeks post partum taking a bath and looking down at my feet and saying, “oh, hello ankles!”
Happy Birthday Eliana and Brooklyn! You have such a beautiful testimony of Gods faithfulness. I’m grateful to have been able to share in this part of your life and have shared your story with others that have struggled with infertility. Miss you all! Come see us when you’re in PDX one of these times.