Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Meeting Nathan and Micah

Due to H1N1, the hospital instituted visitor restrictions. About a week before I delivered, no kids, even siblings were allowed. The day I delivered, only 2 visitors allowed for the entire hospital stay. Thankfully the staff didn't really have all the details figured out and we were able to fudge around it, allowing for Shane plus Julie - to take some ab-fab pictures and be an awesome friend, Liz - because she came all the way from Boston, and Dori - one of my most fantastic friends and she could stay with me while Shane was home with the kids.

So when the babies came home from the hospital, this was the first time that the older kids got to meet them.

Precious moments.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Birth Story - Twins!

I know I need to get this done, not just to share with you, but to record it for myself. As time passes I'm sure I'm losing and forgetting details. I do this blog as much for myself and my kids as I do it to share our experiences with you!

This is the story of the birth of our twins.....

Sunday, October 11th arrived... I had made it to 37 weeks. With twins, since there are two babies, the risks are higher. Generally, twins are considered full term at 37 weeks, and their lungs are generally stressed more because of the increased hormones. I had been told from the beginning of the pregnancy that I shouldn't expect to get to that 40 week due date of November 2nd. There was even talk of inducing if we didn't go into labor on our own by 38 weeks.

I was feeling quite a bit like a house large sprawling mansion, seeing new stretch marks, being uncomfortable pretty much all the time, having to crawl completely out of bed just to roll over.... I was really ready to be done. Of course, I wanted the boys to have every chance to grow as much as they needed before arriving and be as healthy as possible. Not knowing exactly when that perfect moment would be, I was hoping for sooner than later.

Unlike my last 3 births, I hoped to go into labor naturally. I also hoped that would give Nathan a better shot at flipping to a vertex position (not breech) or at least to engage well into a frank breech (butt first, verses a foot first) position.

It was the week of the semi-annual consignment sale, Pass it On, which I have really enjoy being a part of in the past. I had all my items for sale tagged and on hangers by Sunday and hadn't planned on volunteering for any shifts. But when I started hearing the buzz of my friends heading out to work, I thought "what a great chance to get my mind off waiting, and maybe working on my feet for 4 hours would be just the trick to get things started". So Tuesday, I spent 4 hours inspecting other consignors' items for the sale. I came home exhausted and sore. Did I mention I have spent most of the last 4 months on my self-imposed activity restriction... couch bound. I don't think I was any closer to labor as a result, but it was fun anyway.

Wednesday, my husband told me that I needed to plan on being home on Thursday between 12 and 2 for a "surprise." I had planned on getting out and doing some shopping at the Pass It On presale, but I guess I could wait a few hours. I thought, "who knows, maybe he's planning on getting me a prenatal massage?" That'd be worth waiting for!

Wednesday night was a pretty typical evening. I ate dinner on the couch, watched TV, kissed the kids and sent them up to bed, doodled around facebook for a while. About 11 I decided to head up for a bath and bed. The bath was becoming a daily routine to help me relax enough for sleep. During the bath, I started to notice some contractions, which wasn't totally unusual. These were a little more uncomfortable, but not horribly, nor were they consistently spaced. So I figured I might as well get some sleep. If it was real labor, I'd wake up for sure!

About 3:30, I woke. Contractions were becoming more painful, but still inconsistent. Sometimes 2 minutes between, sometime 10 minutes. I decided it would be a good opportunity to pack my hospital bag. As I was working about the office, bedroom and bathroom collecting necessities, Zak came in, saying he felt like he was going to throw up. I had him sit in front of the toilet for a few minutes and gave him a drank of water before deciding together that he was probably fine and sending him back to bed. He returned again 5 minutes later, so I got him some medicine and a bucket. I told him he could go lay in my bed next to Daddy, but a minute or two later he came back and said "I want to watch you, Mommy". As sweet at that was, I knew he needed sleep and probably didn't need to see me randomly wincing in pain, so I took him back to bed, thankfully for the last time.

At that point, it was almost 4:30 and I decided we needed to head towards the hospital. I rattled Shane and told him it was "time!" But he didn't quite revive enough, mumbling something about doing a 10-man raid (a reference to the World of Warcraft game he like to play) and sinking back to sleep. Two more attempts were made, faced by a reluctant sleep-lover, but he did finally get up.

We called Shane's Mom and Ken to come and stay with the kids, but as their drive was a little over 90 minutes, we also arranged to have one of our wonderful neighbors come and stay with the kids until they could get here. I called Zelta and Bob about 5 times... knowing that they were home and I just had to keep the phone ringing to get them awake enough to hear it. Bob was actually already getting ready for work and heard the phone ringing as he got out of the shower. Zel was over with in a few minutes. It was a great feeling to know that we live around such wonderful people that they would come to the house in the middle of the night, so we didn't have to wake the kids and drop them somewhere else.

We took these pictures while we were waiting for her to arrive. We called the hospital and let them know we were on our way. By this time - about 5:15 am, although inconsistently space, the contractions were stopping me in my tracks, keeping me from being able to talk, and taking everything I had to breathe through them. Once they were passed though, I could smile, laugh, talk and you wouldn't have known I was in such agony a few minutes earlier.

Upon arriving at the hospital, we were taken into the triage room and the nurses struggled to get both babies' heart beats on the monitor. Micah was always a little illusive when it came to the getting a good reading on the doplar and ultrasound. The doctor-on-call came in to check how we were progressing. I told her that we were expecting both babies to be in a breech position, but that if baby A, Nathan, was in a solid frank breech and well engaged, that Dr. Andrews was going to let us attempt a normal delivery. She checks and said "that MIGHT be a head, but I'm not really sure. Let's get someone from Ultrasound up here. You are about 7 centimeters."

NO WAY! 7 CM?! That's awesome! I'd barely felt like I'd labored at all, and I'm all the way to 7 cm already! The nurses were laughing at me. "I've never seen someone so excited to be at 7 centimeters before!"

Dr. Andrews was called, since it was going on 6:30, he would have already been on his way to the hospital to check on patients before heading to his office for the day. He always told me that even if he wasn't on call that he'd make every effort to be there for my delivery. And he has been the one to deliver everyone except Noah (who was born when I was seeing a different doctor).

The Ultrasound tech rolled in very shortly after the doctor had checked me. Amazing how quickly they move when they need to. Unfortunately she was not able to tell me that Nathan was head down, as we had hoped. In fact he wasn't breech either. He had shifted to a transverse lie, with his backbone facing my cervix. It would have been almost impossible to deliver him with out him deciding to do some major movement. Despite my desire for a natural delivery, I am incredibly thankful for the advances of modern medicine.

So we called my friend Julie, who was to be our photographer. Unfortunately, since I was going to be having a Cesaerian Section, Shane would be the only person allowed in the OR. Shane was given scrubs and we met the anesthesiologist, who's name happened to be Nathan. I told him,

"If you do well, we'll name the first baby after you!" No pressure...

I was wheeled into the operating room a few minutes before 8. Doctor Andrews was already there and I met another doctor, who would be assisting, and Dr. Gutierrez - the pediatrician, and a couple of nurses. One of the nurses looked familiar to me. It was Debbie, a lactation consultant that I had worked with after Hannah was born. Everyone was organizing trays and checking one thing or another. Nate came in and started to administer the spinal as I continued to breathe through contractions. Within a few short minutes, everything was numb.

Shane returned. I almost didn't realize it was him behind the surgical mask. He had Julie's camera. He kissed me and took a seat near my head. The drape was up and Dr. Andrews started to work. Not feeling anything, it seemed I was a bit like a sideline observer to the whole thing. After a few minutes, I smelled something that reminded me of popcorn. Turns out, it was me... the skin and tissue was being burnt to cauterize and reduce the bleeding. "Mmm, I smell good!" We all got a laugh about that. Although I would not have said that I was nervous, I think it is my tenancy to look for things to laugh about in these situations.

Before I knew it, it was 8:11 and there was Nathan. The nurses whisked him by for me to see and then off to the warmer for examination. A minute later, there was Micah. A few minutes later, the initial exams were done and they were taken to the nursery to be bathed, weighed, measured, etc. Shane followed with the camera.

Nathan David was born at 8:11 am, weighing 6 pounds and 4 ounces, measuring 19 inches long, 13 1/4 inch head and 12 1/2 inch chest. He had little hair, and it appeared to be blonde, maybe red.

Micah Robert was born at 8:12 am, weighing 7 pounds even, measuring 18 1/2 inches long, 14 inch head and 13 1/2 inch chest. He had a moderate amount of dark hair. We had seen some hair on the ultrasound.

One of the first questions everyone wants to know with twins is if they are identical or fraternal. We were already certain that they would be fraternal, but as siblings can sometimes look similar, we really didn't know what to expect. I assumed if they looked similar enough that I might have to mark them with a sharpie, like a cabbage patch doll. The Lord knows what we need, and he must have known that identical twins would have been to my detriment. Our twin boys are both beautiful, but thankfully, they are very different. Nathan very much resembles the Dedrick family and Micah is the spitting image of Shane.

After delivering the boys, I was sewn back up, taken off the spinal and wheeled back to our room. I suddenly felt very sleepy. It's hard to say if that was me or the drugs. I was, never the less, very anxious to hold my boys. They arrived from the nursery with their daddy a few minutes after.

The next few hours were something of a blur, as the medicines wore off and new pain meds wore on.

I still got my surprise, a visit from my sister. This is particularly amazing since she is attending law school in Boston! She was planning to be in Seattle for a conference, arrived in time to rent a car and drive down for a few hour visit. I knew nothing about it... it was a great surprise! She spent a couple of hours with us, enjoying her new nephews, and spent a few hours at the house with the other kids before driving back to Seattle that evening. What a treat! I'm so blessed to have her as my sis.

And so our new life as a slightly larger family began...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

I generally like to make my own costumes, but for obvious reasons, it just seemed like a good year to set aside such ambitions. Despite that, I think that the kids' were still incredibly cute! Maybe, they are just cute kids, regardless of what they are wearing!

Noah was Indiana Jones

Hannah was Tinkerbell

Zak was Yoda

Maggy was Cinderella

Just a little bit of neighborhood trick-or-treating with Daddy still resulted in a massive 2 1/2 pounds of candy per kid! We are cautiously trying to slowly ration the sugar intake!

Mom stayed home to great the trick-or-treaters, and feed the boys, who will probably fit into their costumes in a couple more weeks!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Nathan David and Micah Robert - born October 15, 2009

Introducing the new, bigger and better Vertner family!

On Thursday, October 15, 2009 we were joined by Nathan David Vertner at 8:11 am, weighing in at 6 pounds and 4 ounces, measuring 19 inches long, head circumference of 13 1/4 inches, and a chest circumference of 12 1/2 inches. Nathan has a scant fuzz of blonde hair and looks alot like his brothers, and thus also, like Grandpa Dedrick.

One minute later, followed his brother, Micah Robert Vertner: born at 8:12 am, weighing 7 pounds even, measuring 18 1/2 inches, head circumference of 14 inches, and a chest circumference of 13 1/2 inches. Micah was born with quite a bit of darker brown hair and looks JUST LIKE his dad did as a baby.

So happy together!

I will return as soon as I can to share more pictures and our birth story.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Needles and fire

from wikipedia:

(Chinese: ; pinyin: jiǔ) is a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using moxa, or mugwort herb. It plays an important role in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet, and Mongolia. Suppliers usually age the mugwort and grind it up to a fluff; practitioners burn the fluff or process it further into a stick that resembles a (non-smokable) cigar. They can use it indirectly, with acupuncture needles, or sometimes burn it on a patient's skin.

This is a picture of my feet and Kathy, an acupunturist with WCA - Working Class Acupuncture. Three days last week, I visited their new Westside office, paid a total of $45 (without insurance), chose one of the comfy recliners, kicked up my feet, and said a prayer. From what I undersand, this moxabustion technique reports a 50-70% success rate in turning breech babies. Apparently, the moxa, which is burned on a pressure point on the pinky toes, causes an increase in estrogen levels which can encourage fetal motility (baby movement, hopefully in the head-down direction). After burning the moxa cones - about 20 small cones - down low enough that I felt the heat, and then they'd be flicked off. Kathy then applied about 2 dozen needles to random places on my hands, feet, legs, arms, scalp and to finish it off - one right between the eyes! I have NO IDEA how they know where to put them.

double click on the picture to better see some of the needles on my hands and between the eyes!
Then I would push back the recliner and close my eyes and sleep for about an hour. It is really hard to say how successful my experience was until we get to see for certain at the ultrasound tomorrow. After the first treatment, I was out for dinner with my friend Julie, and a very decident coffee at Moonstruck

... and I felt a movement that was something like someone taking my gut and ringing it out like a wet towel. I can't say for certain that Nathan flipped, but since then, his movements have definetly been deeper and lower. Micah continues to float near the top of my belly, I wouldn't be surprised if he has moved to a transverse position (horizontal). This would be OK, as it would mean that he would be allowing for more room for Nathan to prepare for birth and we can worry about moving him, manually if necessary, after Nathan is born.

If Nathan is still breech after this next ultrasound, I can get moxa sticks from the acupunturist and still continue the treatments at home. Thanks for your prayers, I know God has this whole pregnancy in his hands. Keep praying for the right positions.

**For anyone who wonders, I do not buy into any of the mystical implications of Chinese Medicine, as much of it implies more power in "self", and really, the only power comes from God. I do believe that God created our bodies with so many amazing intricacies. Using pressure point in our bodies to find healing, gives glory to God as it acknowledges His amazing creation.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Experienced Mom in Nesting

As much as I have those nagging compulsive urges to clean and organize, physically, I am finding myself unable. Maybe I am just more aware of my body and it's limitations. Maybe I have been taking it easy and have no stamina.

Regardless of why, I am not nesting quite like I have in other pregnancies. For example:

When my in-laws were visiting and keeping the kids occupied, I decided to discard topless and dried out markers....which then let into disposing of broken and non-functional crayons, which then morphed into sharpening all the colored pencils; sorting out the twistable crayons; and before I knew it, I had a coloring book in front of me, completing a master piece. How do you think I did? I think I managed to stay in all the lines!

Despite my lack of energy to devote to household chores, there are certain things that don't need to be neglected.

Many wonder how I could manage, needing to keep my feet up for the health of the pregnancy and still care for the 4 other kids. Here's a secret.... it's actually easier with the other kids. I have someone to fetch things for me. They not only keep each other occupied, but also report on each other's poor behavior in need of parental correction. Tonight I even watched Hannah helping Maggy scoop up the last few bites of her dinner, get her plate to the kitchen, and getting her out of the high chair.

I don't want to assume that having twins would be easy, but no doubt, the Lord has provided for us every thing we'd need, including the extra hands. Thanks be to God!