My wife is getting ready to leave the house to enjoy an evening of socializing for the first time since our daughters were born. Being out of the house without the girls and me is a big step for her. It’s also a big step for me because it means it’s my first time taking care of the girls on my own. I know I’ll manage just fine because I’m a patient person and I’m typically levelheaded – two traits that are helpful when dealing with twins. Not to mention that my wife spends loads of quality alone time with these two girls when I leave the house each day for work (and she does great)!
By the way, you may remember me from my previous series here at It’s Conceivable, “Surviving my Wife’s Pregnancy.” Good news: I survived my wife’s pregnancy! More importantly, my wife and daughters survived my wife’s pregnancy, too! My wife gave birth to two beautiful girls on one unseasonably warm Friday afternoon in March. This breaking news, I’m embarrassed to admit, is 4 months late like the printed birth announcements sitting in a box on our dining room table waiting to be addressed and mailed.
So once my wife left the house, I fed the girls using the double bottle trick I learned from my wife and then watched them drift off to sleep in their little baby rocking chairs. That wasn’t too hard. I decided to just let them snooze here in the living room with me a little while before I performed the always-risky carry-the-sleeping-twins-to their-cribs move. Looking at them, I couldn’t help but think about that day in March when these two beautiful girls officially came into my life and made me their Momma.
It all happened pretty quickly. After a routine checkup at the doctor’s office, my wife’s condition became noticeably urgent with elevated blood pressure, a bad case of the shivers and intolerable swelling in her face, arms and legs. Next thing we knew, she was in a hospital bed across the street, diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and being prepped for an emergency C-section.
I waited in the hallway (suited up like a spaceman), while the anesthesiologist gave my wife a spinal block. For some reason, this took a long time. I kept thinking that her condition had worsened and they were delivering the babies urgently without me. But after what seemed like 5 hours, the anesthesiologist finally came to collect me as she had promised and seated me next to my wife in the brightly lit operating room.
Seeing my wife strapped down to the table was a frightening sight but the team in the operating room (all women) was so cheerful and supportive that I felt reassured everything would be ok. Plus, after skipping breakfast (and then lunch, too), I was really hungry and that was a small gurgling distraction.
A C-section from start to finish takes a lot longer than I thought it would. The part that doesn’t take very long, though, is pulling out the babies. That takes about a minute. That was the scariest, best minute of my life. Baby A came out first, followed by Baby B. Both were skinny, red little things (Baby B was alarmingly tiny) and they were meowing. Yes, meowing. Like kittens, but babies. Our babies. When I heard that sound, my eyes met my wife’s and we both beamed with love, relief, pride, joy, fear, astonishment and gratitude all in one quick glance. Our dream came true. We were a family now and things would be forever different.
I was quickly led to a smaller side room where the neonatal team evaluated the girls. I gave them their names. Baby A: Olivia. Baby B: Sara. They were weighed: 5 pounds 6 ounces and 4 pounds 5 ounces. They were crying. I was crying. I snapped 2 quick pictures. I admired their strawberry blonde hair. I held their tiny hands. I let the nurses get back to work and returned to my wife to report my findings.
Soon, I was holding two baby burritos bundled tightly – one in each arm and looking back and forth between the two tiny faces. I showed them to my wife. Someone snapped some pictures of us. Then after our first family meeting, the babies were swept down to the NICU for additional treatment.
Late that evening, Olivia rejoined us in my wife’s hospital room (a thankfully private and spacious room despite a booming weekend in labor and delivery!). Sara could not leave the NICU for another 10 days due to low birth weight, though. Leaving the hospital as three, not four, was heartbreaking. It was also a logistical nightmare to go back and forth to the hospital, leaving our precious newborn at home with grandmas, aunts and uncles so that we could visit our other newborn plus there was the additional challenge of coordinating those trips on my wife’s breastfeeding schedule.
We’re lucky that this transitional period lasted only 10 days and that everyone is healthy and happy. The girls are thriving and getting stronger everyday. My wife is also getting stronger everyday. She’s holding on to her sanity and trying to get back to her normal self (which includes getting out of the house occasionally).
It’s 10pm and my wife just returned from her big night out AND she brought me some ice cream. The girls are in bed sleeping soundly. I survived an evening with Olivia and Sara. Life is good for this non-bio mom.
Shannan lives in Philadelphia with her wife, dogs and cats. One day, Shannan’s wife said, Let’s Be Moms. It’s been a crazy journey ever since and she welcomes you along for the ride.
When she’s not writing, reading, rooting for the Phillies or engrossed in the contents of her DVR, she works as a marketing director for a telecommunications company.