I'm reflecting today on what happened eight years ago....as I think about the events of that day, I remember being filled with fear, love, excitement, stress...and somehow a strange calmness. Here's what I remember:
Friday, February 15, 2003, Derrick drove me to the hospital around 8 am. We drove on icy, snowy roads, and to get to the hospital on a typical day took about 10 minutes. This day it took about 20 or so. It had snowed heavily the day and night before. So much that EVERYTHING had closed down. I remember being scared, and feeling contractions. I remember that before we left I made sure I showered and had a little something to eat-I had toast with butter and sugar. Derrick had pop tarts-in fact, I think he left one uneaten in the toaster oven. I was by NO means going to give birth without taking a shower...anyway, I digress. I remember I was wearing gray maternity pants and a red shirt. We got there, and walked in together. We rode the short (but it seemed like FOREVER) elevator ride to the maternity floor and checked in. As we were walking to our room, I could hear so much, but what stood out in my mind were the sounds of women moaning and crying out in childbirth pains. I was freaked! I knew an epidural was a must-in fact, I was so dosed up that if the doctor needed to perform a Csection, I would be ready for that.
And so it began. I got my epidural, and remember watching the snow outside, wondering if my parents and sisters were going to make it to Cincinnati in the weather. As I was laying in the bed, I wondered if I was having boys or girls...if I'd have to have a natural delivery AND a Csection for the second baby...lots of things going through my mind. My doctor came in and started pitosin. She wanted to speed up the process because she wanted the babies born on her shift...what a sweetie. She, the nurse, and Derrick would take turns moving my legs around to keep the blood flowing-I was feeling NOTHING!
The hours ticked by. My parents and his parents finally made it. Derrick's parents went to our house to wait out the birth, and my parents made their way to a hotel. My dad was teary as he saw me laying in the bed, ready to give him his first grandkids. He said to me, "Carrie, there better be some stems on those apples." Slowly, slowly..so slow in fact, that Dr. Bonar's shift was over, and Dr. Lee came on. No anxiety though, even though I had never met her. Of all the doctor's at the practice, she is one I hadn't managed to see during my prenatal check ups. She was great! As my delivery began, I recall the nurse beside me watching the monitor and telling me when to push as the contractions came across the screen. She was awesome-and we found out through the long day of conversation that she, too, was Lutheran :)
Suddenly, the room began to fill up. Derrick was holding my hand, the doctor was ready to "catch", the nurse was on my other side telling me when to push...there was a nurse for each baby, a bed for each baby, a pediatrician for each AND a neonatologist for each...so many people in that little room. At 7:59 pm., Matthew Alexander was born. He was so pale, he didn't cry, his face was sunken in...but I didn't notice that until many minutes after. Next, at 8:04, came Lucas James. He was red, crying, face filled out-he looked like a typical newborn, in comparison to his older brother. Finally, Matthew cried as Lucas was being born...and then the room was empty. It was just Derrick and I with these babies. Our families came back and took turns holding them, visiting with us, etc. I wanted Subway SO badly, but NOTHING was open. So I had to settle for a sub sandwich from the Meijer deli...funny the details that we remember, huh?
All of a sudden, we were a mommy and daddy. Our family size doubled in a matter of minutes, and we were "ready" to care for these sweet boys. It was amazing, wonderful, God-filled..all in a matter of 12 hours. Our first night was interesting. I sent them to the nurse's desk so I could sleep...and Derrick was trying to sleep in the room with me. Not easy, when he could hear me breathing, the nurses kept coming in to check on me, so the second night I sent him home to get some sleep.
Miraculously, we were ready to go home on Monday-President's Day that year. We came home to Derrick's family at our house-they had been staying there since we were at the hospital-and his mom had made us cookies. They stayed another night, and then headed back home. As they left, we stood at the picture window in our dining room, each holding a baby, and we BOTH cried..overwhelmed and on our own.
It was so hard at first...new parents, unsure, two babies-equal number of "them" and "us". We didn't outnumber our kids like most adults do with their first child...it was hard.
For the past eight years, we've grown into a deep love for Matthew and Lucas. The day we became parents-and parents of multiples for that matter-changed us as people for the better. Happy Birthday, boys. We love you.