Friday, January 13, 2012

My Princesses

We arrived at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center at 8:00 p.m. on January 5th, 2012. I stopped in front of the ER and helped my Karyn out the van. I parked and went in to meet her. She wouldn't let me get her a wheelchair. She's way too tough for that. We got her checked in and they put her in a wheelchair. Haha. We were taken up to labor and delivery. They took her in one room and I was told to go to the family waiting area and someone would come and get me in about 15 minutes. I'm sitting in here now and it feels like I've been in here for 3 days. I was chatting with the mother of a girl who was checked in at the same time. There was a family behind me laughing and joking about complications with birth so I got up and went into the hallway to wait. My heart is beating out of my chest. We don't know what the night will bring but we prepared. We held hands and prayed together on the way to the hospital. We put the evening in God's hands.

The lady I was chatting with pushed the nurse button and was let back into triage. I followed her in and asked a nurse where Karyn was. Triage room 2. I went in. They had the monitors hooked up to her belly, measuring heartbeats and contractions. They never came and got me and it's a stupid policy to not let me go back with her to begin with. I will always find a way to be there for her. The monitors were sliding off of the big ol round baby holder (belly). I called the nurse and told them. Then we waited for them to come. And waited. They weren't really in any kind of hurry. Maybe I'm just excited. I am VERY excited. The nurse came in and adjusted the monitors. She said they could see at the nurse's station that it had moved and would've came and and fixed them "eventually". Not kidding. Karyn decided she wanted the TV on in the room if she was going to be in here a while. I gave her the remote. We're sitting here listening to our princesses heartbeats and watching contractions. Waiting for the doctor to come in and examine her.

The doctor came in with a nurse and checked Karyn's cervix. It was a painful exam. They all have been lately. She said that Karyn is still dilated 2cm and 50% effaced. About the same as on Tuesday. However, since the girls are breech, they told us that she may not dilate at all. When the twins are ready to come, they will come. The doctor said they will continue to monitor and she will check back in a little bit. We're looking at the flow of paper coming out of the machines and hitting the floor. We want to see the contractions and monitor the strength ourselves. The nurse came in and I asked what was what. She showed us which ones were the contractions. It spikes a lot when she has a hard one but is it dilating her cervix? Would it since the twins are breech? We asked and they gave a vague answer. If a foot is down there, no. If a butt is, maybe. Still, not doing it like a head would. We're waiting to see. Karyn is uncomfortable but I got her an extra pillow for her legs and a extra blanket. It's about 12 degrees in this room.

We talked to the nurse a few times and was told the doctor would be back in a bit. The doctor came back in for another exam a little later and Karyn was dilated to 3 cm. They decided that tonight would be the night. We filled out some paperwork and K was admitted. I sent a text to Nana (my mom) and Karyn sent one to Grammy (her mom) saying it's time. We were taken up to the 6th floor. Labor and Delivery. The nurse asked Karyn a million questions and gave me scrubs. A shirt, pants, shoe covers, hair cover, and a face mask. I put it all on and stood there looking like a brain surgeon and feeling like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. The nurses really seemed to work well together and everything was going so fast and smooth. They prepared K for delivery and took her to the operating room. I had to stay behind for about 20 minutes while they got her all setup. That felt like an eternity. I was alone, waiting. Knowing my wife was about to bring my little girls into the world. I prayed.

The nurse finally came and got me and took me back to where my bride was waiting. She had already been given numbing medicine and couldn't feel anything from the chest down. She was alert and I sat down beside her head and kissed her. Told her how wonderful she was doing and how proud I am of her. I really am. She had a tight grip on my hand. Her knuckles were white. A nurse had to put an armband on her. She said she probably needed to get some circulation back in her hand. As did I. The anesthesiologist told me I could watch if I wanted. Audrey was about to come. I looked over the curtain and saw the 1st of my little girls born. Words can't describe the feeling. My heart filled with joy. She looked blue at first but started getting color almost instantly and when they stuck that suction thing in her mouth, she sprang to life. She was crying and was absolutely beautiful. I was crying as well but not as beautiful. It was Bailey's turn. Their mommy had a nice grip on my hand and the nurse told her again that she should let up a little to allow blood back into her hand. She didn't. Bailey was a little tougher coming out. It took several pulls but when she came, she was even more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed. They suctioned her to get all the fluid out and my girls were crying in unison. They brought Audrey to me while they got Bailey cleaned up. I tried my best to get her down next to Karyn so she could see and kiss her. I was crying my eyes out from the abundance of beauty. They brought Bailey over and put her in my free arm. I had to let go of Karyn's hand and she wouldn't let go at first. That would have been a great time to have 3 hands. I eased Bailey down to mommy while holding on to my newborns for dear life. How could I be so blessed? What a special moment in our lives. One I'll never forget. The day my princesses arrived.

I had a twin in each arm for 45 minutes to an hour. They had to finish up with Karyn and got us back to our room. Karyn was still weak and woozy from the delivery. She wasn't able to hold them on her own at first and I wasn't about to leave their side. I sat the babies on her and she gave them each some kisses. It was such a beautiful sight. The moment they were born, I knew I would die before letting anything happen to them. I thought I may have to be hospitalized after the way my arms felt from holding both of these beauties for so long. It was absolutely worth it. We let Grammy and Nana know that the twins had arrived. My mom (Nana) and my brother (Uncle Brian) were waiting in the lobby to get in to see us and help with the girls. There was some kind of emergency with another woman and all of the nurses went running. There was nobody around to let them in. I couldn't leave the room and Karyn wasn't yet ready to be on her own anyway. She looked so beautiful (and relieved) sitting there on that bed, resting. When I did finally see a nurse, I asked her to let our family in. A few minutes later, here they came. I handed Audrey to Mom and Bailey to Brian. I was finally able to rest my arms and take some pictures. I let the world know that the twins had arrived! The babies were surrounded with love. Uncle Brian took lots of pictures on his ipad and emailed them to me. That helped a lot because I was still very emotional and bit out of it. A little while later, Brian and Mom left so we could bond with our angels. We stayed in the recovery room for about another hour after they left.

They finally got Karyn and babies to a real room. We kept them with us until the nurse came to give them their baths and get them under a warmer. A nurse checked K and got her settled in. She was sleeping comfortably and deserved it. What an amazing job she did! I walked down to the nursery where my angels were. I stared at them for the longest time and cried my eyes out. I prayed. I thanked God that Karyn and the babies made it through perfectly and everyone was healthy. I asked God to give me the strength and guidance that I'll need to be the daddy and husband I'll need to be. I kept thinking about how I'm blessed way beyond what I deserve. If that's not the perfect example of grace, I don't know what is. There's nothing I could ever do that would be worthy of something this special. I thank God for the opportunity and challenges this next chapter of our lives will bring. I look forward to watching my princesses grow up. I hope they will always know how much they mean to me. How much our (not so) little family means to me. Karyn, Jason, Jay, Isaiah, and welcome, my princesses, Audrey Lynn (5 lbs 12.7 oz 19 1/4 in born at 12:22 a.m.) and Bailey Kaye (5 lbs 5.5 oz 18 3/4 in born at 12:24 a.m.)! Daddy loves you.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I've written no less than 3 half blog posts since the last one I posted. Every time I try to write one, something happens and I don't get to finish it. I think I may put the partial ones together for the babies book to show what a crazy time this has been. We are close to our new additions being here and it seems like I have less and less time for everything. I've still managed to get Jay to his Boy Scout meetings (2 days in a row) while timing contractions with Mommy via text. The church they meet at is only about a mile away so I'm still close by if needed. The meetings go from 6:30-8:00. They're important to him and we're trying to keep life as normal as possible for the boys. Right after work has been tough but we manage.

Happy New Year! 2012 has already started with a bang. Karyn is 2 days shy of 36 weeks, which has been our goal since we found out we were having twins. Remember when the doctor said "34 weeks is a big win and 36 weeks is a huge win."? Huge describes it perfectly. Mommy is huge. Bless her heart. The past week has been the most painful, by far. All of Karyn's pregnant weight is in her belly. If you look at her from behind, she doesn't even show. We think that has a lot to do with the pain. She's absolutely beautiful. I've been trying to take lots of pictures of her belly but she only allows it sometimes. I try to be sensitive to her wants and needs. After all, she IS carrying my princesses. I think... no... I know that I picked the perfect queen. I'm all about protecting her and my family and keeping my eyes on the prizes. This year is going to be a special (and challenging) one for the Smiths. I look forward to it. I thank God for the blessings and struggles of 2011 but I'm ready to turn the page.

We had been looking forward to today for a couple weeks. We knew this was a milestone and we would get another chance to see our angels via ultrasound. We knew that if we could get this far, our babies would both have a better chance of being healthy. It was an exciting day, to say the least, but lets go back a couple days first. Friday, December 30 was when my bride first started feeling these really hard contractions. Where she would lean back, with her hand on her belly, and cry out. We both knew she was getting closer. Every night this past weekend was pretty much sleepless. She had to pee more often. About every hour, on the hour. When she wasn't peeing, she was switching positions. Each time she moved, I woke up and asked if she was OK and if it was "Go Time". I think she got tired of it. She would sigh and say "I'm fine" or "I'm just uncomfortable". The morning would come and we both looked like we had been rode hard and put up wet (that's not a dirty reference, just southern). We were haggard looking (if that better "shakes your bacon"). We still had to go about the business of being parents to Isaiah and Jay. New Years Eve, we managed to watch a movie, kiss at midnight, then off to bed we went. No sleep though. More pain. More cramps. More unhappy Mommy. I hope my beautiful little girls read this one day and hug Karyn. She has been a trooper. We took down the Christmas tree and cleaned a little. Karyn did most of it. She is nesting and as long as there's no painting or furniture moving, go for it.

We both had Monday the 2nd off and K tried to take it easy but the contractions were getting stronger and more frequent. As the evening went on, we started counting contractions. Which, I must say, I'm a pro at now. Mommy moans, I time it. 5-7 minutes apart and lasting between 45 seconds to a minute and 20 seconds. Oh my, they look painful. Someone told me that " They're worse than they look!" and I believe it. I felt, and still feel, so bad for her. She called the doctor on call to ask about the painful contractions, the shooting pains "down there", and a couple other things. The doctor told her that she thought she should come to the ER to be checked out but Karyn decided that she wanted to wait and see her doctor today. Last night (Monday) was the worst so far. We counted contractions until 12:30 and then she tried to lay down. I followed her to bed about 1:00. No sleep. Audrey flipped into a weird position, with my hand on Karyn's belly, and has been there since. She's lower and her knees (we found out via ultrasound) are sticking out her side and pressing hard. When we did doze off, it was just for minutes at a time. Our heater started blowing cold air and so I googled it and we got it to work for a little while then the cold air came back. This went on all night with the contractions. At several points, I thought about making a trip to the store for electric heaters but it never got cold enough for that. Thank God. I really didn't want to leave her side. In case. We're having the system looked at soon. Supposed to be today but never got anyone to answer their phones. My mom gave us a couple electric ones to use tonight until we get someone out here. Her van needs new spark plugs too but that will have to wait as well.

Karyn woke up at 8:00 on the nose this morning and, out of instinct, panicked. She said "Jason!" Scared the living crap out of me. I said "What???" She said " It's 8!" and for a second she tried to jump out of bed. Hahaha. It didn't work. Only a grunt then back to the pillow. That's what time I was supposed to be at work. We had decided to call the doctor's office first thing to see about an earlier appointment and they don't turn their phones on until 8:30. We were scheduled for an ultrasound at 3:00. We got it bumped up to 10:30. We managed to get up, get showered and dressed, and the boys ready. We took them to mom's since school was out one more day for the Christmas break. We made it right on time and I dropped her off at the front door to go sign in and I parked the van in a handicapped spot. I walked in with a limp so people wouldn't think I was just some lazy bum beating the system. I found her in the waiting room and joined her. I didn't even write during the visit. Too tired and excited to gather a reasonable thought. They called her name and we went back. Took a pee sample (she had plenty, I waited outside the door for her), and to the ultrasound room we went. This was another "not so favorite" ultrasound tech. Karyn was VERY sensitive on her left side and the lady kept pressing. Karyn had tears in her eyes and told the lady to stop pushing so hard. It was too painful. I told the lady that Karyn never complains unless she means it so it's REALLY hurting her. We flipped her to the left and we flipped her to the right. You couldn't see much. At this point, the girls are so bunched up, it's hard to tell who's who. We saw good little heartbeats. 122 & 136. We saw the girls practicing breathing. A... wait for it... mazing! They're getting ready! We got K cleaned up from the belly goo and were sent back to the waiting room. We were called back and the nurse came in. Karyn's blood pressure was a little high but the nurse said not to worry. The doctor came in and we explained what had been going on and he examined her. She's dilated to 2 cm and 50% effaced. The doctor wants the babies to stay in as long as possible but said when she's at 3 cm, the babies are coming out. We're to watch for stronger contractions or more frequent ones. He set an appointment for Friday the 13th for a c-section but said she is only 4-5 days away at most. Basically, next time we go in, the babies will come. Every doctor is different and there's a good chance that the babies would be here if we had went to the ER at the peak of the pains. We want to have a good balance of mommy's comfort and babies health. We want her to go as long as possible for the babies' sake but she's ready. When we were ready to check out, she was still in pain from the exam and I held her in my arms and let her cry. I asked if she wanted to sit down and let me take care of this part. Of course she said no. We came back home and got her settled in. Resting. Waiting. I went into work for a little while. Trying to get as many hours in as possible before my princesses are here. We're counting contractions again tonight and our blessings. We held hands on the way home from the doctor and prayed. For her and the babies safety, her comfort, and our sanity. I went into preacher mode and started talking about praying and faith until she said "Shut up. I'm calling my mom." That's my baby. We'll keep you posted in these final days or hours before delivery. Please keep those prayers going up. We need them now more than ever. I cried reading the last paragraph to Karyn. I told her it was funny. She said "That's not funny." Shrug. Love her.