Peanut Butter and Jelly Turn Two
Two years ago today, at about this time of day, I was in the last stages of labor with Peanut Butter and Jelly. It was too soon for them to be born and they were too small. I was afraid and suddenly felt completely unprepared to take care of two new humans. I knew we would have a NICU stay ahead of us, but I didn’t really know what that would mean. I was also excited about the prospect of meeting these two little boys who had been kicking and poking at me!
The birth did not go as well as any of us would have liked. I remember very little after they wheeled me into the operating room. I had a vaginal birth and began bleeding heavily as soon as Jelly came out. I still don’t know why. As I was losing blood my pressure was dropping and I felt myself fading away. I know they showed me the babies but all I really remember was that I felt like I was saying goodbye to them instead of hello. I don’t remember much of the hour or two after that.
I thought I was dying but was not upset about it. I felt peaceful. As it turns out, I was probably not in much danger of dying. I didn’t go into cardiac arrest or anything and they called down for blood but ended up not doing a transfusion. I lost quite a lot but the doctor was able to stop the bleeding.
The boys had pretty good apgar scores but were sent to the level 1 NICU. It was about 4 hours before I was able to see them and I was still sort of out of it. I remember how very tiny they looked and how scary it was to see them hooked up to machines with tubes coming out every which way. They boys had their own dedicated nurse. She seemed so unafraid of handling them. It seemed like she was just tossing them around. I was afraid to hold them but she convinced me I wouldn’t break them.
I honestly don’t remember whom I held first. I do remember that the very first thing I tried to do was nurse. Neither of them were able to suck and that made me very sad (as it turned out, it would take them 3 months to learn how to nurse).
During those first couple of weeks, hearing the little squeaks that were their cries made me inexplicably happy. I figured if they could cry, they were ok. (oh how that has changed!)
They came home after 3 weeks and then the really scary part began.
But I survived the first year and now the second. The tiny babies in the NICU have grown into fun, active, (almost) normal-sized toddlers.
I’m still scared and often feel wholly unnprepared to take care of these two little human beings, but they generally seem happy and secure. My hope is that I can be the mother they deserve to have.