Now, before you all start raising your eyebrows at Evan's middle name, no, he is NOT named after David Wenham. (That would probably qualify me for lifetime platinum membership in the Scary Stalker Club). Evan is named after my dear cousin David, who was killed by a drunk driver in January 2002. David was like a brother to me growing up, and losing him was like losing a limb. Right after the accident, I promised myself that if I ever had a son, I would pay tribute to my cousin by giving him David's name as a middle name. I want Evan to know about his smart, funny cousin who loved politics and spent part of his childhood in Sydney and how cousin David and Mom used to spend hours and hours writing stories together and illustrating them and cracking each other up with outrageous plots and characters. I still have some of those stories in a box in the basement. And if it reminds Evan to never get behind the wheel after drinking, so much the better.
So, the birth story (don't worry, I'll skip the graphic details).... We had a c-section scheduled for noon on Monday, due to Evan's being breech. Tom was head down and all ready to go, but my obstetrician said chances were good that even if I tried for a natural birth, we'd end up having to do a c section anyway.
As it turned out, my doctor got hung up in surgery, so we had to wait for the other OB on call to arrive. When you're nine months pregnant and haven't eaten or drunk anything for 14 hours, every minute seems like an eternity. There was endless paperwork, and they outfitted me with an IV and a lovely hospital johnny with inappropriate gaps, and a parade of nurses, anesthesiologists, and med students stopping by to introduce themselves. Then suddenly it was time and we were walking down the hall to the OR.
The OR was huge and brightly lit, and it looked like there were about 500 people in there. I was starting to wish I had sold tickets. I guess each twin had their own separate team of nurses, neonatologists, residents, etc. on standby. They got the spinal hooked up, and it didn't hurt at all (some people had warned me that the local hurt like bee stings). The most uncomfortable part was the anesthesiologist squeezing along my hips to find the ischial thingamabobs (as I believe the medical terminology has it). As soon as the spinal went in, my feet started feeling warm and tingly, then my legs went floppy, and then there was a lot of arranging of limbs and raising of drapes, and then the room went quiet while the doctor solemnly announced that the procedure we were about to begin was a c-section on twins. I was amused; it had sort of a ritualistic "play ball!" feel to it, and half expected someone to come out and sing the national anthem.
At first everything felt fine, relaxed and floppy, and I was almost enjoying it. But then I started feeling weird and dizzy, and the anesthesiologists keep leaning over to ask alarming questions, like "Does your heart often do that?" Apparently my heart rate shot way up from the spinal, so they gave me something to bring it back down, but then that made my blood pressure plummet, so they had to give me yet another medication to stabilize it, and then I had a really bad reaction to the Pitocin (trying to throw up with paralyzed stomach muscles is NOT recommended). In the meantime, there was a sudden flurry down at my southern end, and I heard a loud squall, and some oohing and ahing from the nurses. Then the drape was lowered briefly and I saw Thomas for the first time.
I didn't get to see Evan when he arrived two minutes later, because he was whisked off to the NICU for observation. Apparently he had swallowed some fluid and they wanted to make sure he was breathing on his own OK. They kept him there for an hour, and then he joined his brother in the recovery suite with Mom and 2500 other hospital staff members.
I honestly don't remember much about the rest of that day - it's kind of a blur of narcotics and elation and a general sense of "WTF just happened?" I vaguely recall the boys being brought over for skin-to-skin time, and that it took about 4 hours for the spinal to wear off. I felt like Wesley in The Princess Bride, when he's lying on the bed trying to convince Prince Humperdinck that he's not too paralyzed to move. Eventually I was able to twitch my feet, and then bend my legs, at which point they moved all of us to Mother-Baby Care on the 4th floor, accompanied by 37,000 of our new friends on the hospital staff.
The first night was pretty rough, because not only were the babies needing to be feed every 2 - 3 hours, but there was a steady stream of RNs, CNAs, lactation consultants, resident OBs, visitors, etc. Every ten minutes there was a knock on the door and someone else would come in to take vital signs, add meds to the IV, check my belly, latch the boys on, give me paperwork, and so on. I just wanted to be left alone to sleep. Eventually the stream of people eased up after the second day. I was pretty loopy with painkillers, plus they didn't tell me you're supposed to take oxycodone with food in order to avoid throwing up moments after meeting your new pediatrician. It's nasty stuff. How people get addicted to it is beyond me.
I spent the last two days wanting to steal everything that wasn't nailed down, including the nurses, who were incredibly kind, competent, and helpful. Part of me wanted to stay in the hospital until the twins turn 18, but the staff firmly pushed us out yesterday, and so now we're home, bleary-eyed and happy, trying to get settled into a routine and keep the diaper contents confined to a smaller, more washable radius.
Nothing in my previous life has compared to the joy of hanging out with Evan and Tom. They are so beautiful, like moonlight. I could watch them all day.
Both of them have opposite personalities. Evan is the more fiery and vocal of the two. He loves his chow, and he's got the most expressive little face. When he's nursing, he gets the most ferocious scowl, as if he's suspicious that someone else is going to horn in on his food. When he's falling asleep, he cycles through random facial expressions. One second he's smiling, then he looks puzzled, then he looks like he just ate a lemon. I think he's going to be one of those kids who wears his heart on his face. His upper lip juts out cutely, like a baby bird, and he seems to have inherited my ears. His hair is sandy blonde and his eyes are a deep indigo.
Tom, by contrast, is mellow and wise and dignified beyond his years. He reminds me of some sort of Old Testament baby judge. When you hold him, he looks quietly around the room, taking things in. He's got incredibly long legs. I was startled the first time he unfurled them. He has very fair eyelashes and platinum blonde hair that sticks up like a baby chick's. He certainly didn't get his coloring from me.
I hear stirrings from the crib. More later...