Following my c section, they wheeled my babies in one direction and me in another. I was hooked up to Magnesium - a beastly medicine that helps prevent seizures from preeclampsia.
A breast pump was set by my side, accompanied by an elderly Lactation Consultant who quickly gave me vague pumping instructions. (Luckily, after the LC left, my kind nurse stashed the pump in the corner of the room and ordered me to hold off on pumping for that first night so that I could get some much needed rest.)
The next 24 hours were hell.
I was nauseous, dizzy, tired, and unable to keep down any food.
My muscles were heavy and the catheter burned. The night was spent grasping Scott's hand in pain. All along I was counting down the hours until I could see my babies.
Finally, around 10pm the next night, I was finally taken off the Magnesium, and began the process of moving and getting up so that I could go to the NICU. I was naive enough to think I could immediately go see my babies - especially because it would take some time for the effects of the meds to wear off. First was simply moving my legs, then sitting up, and finally walking to the bathroom to clean up.
Scott was amazing. I'll never forget the loving look he gave me as I was hunched over, tears in my eyes, using all my energy to take each slow, pathetic step to the bathroom. He was there the whole way - helping me bend down to sit on the toilet and to get all cleaned up. I felt so defeated, embarrassed, and broken down, but he was there to hold me every step of the way.
Around 1am, and with a total of 28 hours after I birthed my two little babes, Scott pushed me in a wheelchair to the NICU. I was exhausted, but so excited. When we arrived at the unit, I was greeted with rows upon rows of isolettes and varying beeping noises. Our babies were in the farthest corner away from the front entrance (a good thing - means they were not in critical condition).
I saw baby girl first. Her tiny face was overtaken by the oxygen tubes. She had cords and tape all over her red skinny body, but she was the sweetest little thing. I remember thinking she looked so "soft." I went over to baby boy, who was curled up on his side. I opened an isolette door, and put my finger next to his tiny hand. He immediately grabbed my finger, and tears came to my eyes. After so many exhausting and trying hours, all of my emotions poured out. Sadness. Joy. Pain. Gratitude. Grief. Love.
I remember feeling like it was all unfair. It was unfair that we had to go through this with family far away. It was unfair that it was so sudden and I wasn't able to feel a little more prepared. It was unfair that I didn't get to see my babies and have that skin-to-skin bonding right after birth. It wasn't fair that they were strapped up to feeding tubes and I couldn't breastfeed them.
While looking back, so many varying emotions surface and I'm sometimes still filled with anger over how things happened. But honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I definitely do not want to ever go through that again. But through it all, I was stretched and pulled in so many ways, and was pushed into the person I needed to be for these babies. This was their birth, and no matter what, it was such a sacred thing.