just_cyd: (andrew newborn)
[personal profile] just_cyd
Erica's birth story, from the point of view of Auntie Cyd.


for me, i'd say the birth story starts last week. on Friday, i managed to talk E into coming to stitch night at Keepsakes. the ladies there fussed over her muchly, and we all had good laughs over pregnancy, childbirth, babies, husbands, etc. it pleased everyone that she came out to visit, as they have been watching her since January, before she knew it was twins.

i stayed the night at her house,and saturday we had to run birth-related errands. she was moving VERY slowly, and was swelling a LOT. plus, her belly had dropped. before, she'd always had the pointing-out watermelon belly, but now it had dropped down, more like you'd see on someone really overweight. we joked that the babies would have to climb UP to get out.

we made four stops, and got some Necessary Birthing Items, and had grand plans of getting the birth stuff prepped and ready to go. we got the flannel for receiving blankets washed, and that was about it. that running around and the heat really did E in. I cooked them dinner and fed the kids, got the kids into bed and headed home.



Monday
monday night, on my way home from work, E called me. once we determined she wasn't in labor, she said "we need to talk about [this coming] Saturday". she sounded worried, upset, and a touch whiny. she never whines or gets all worry-wort, so i knew something was up. her lab values were going downhill, she was feeling worse, and she was SO done with being pregnant. she was to host SNB this coming saturday, but needed to clue in the other SNBers to where she was at baby-wise. i knew what was going on, but they didn't. she couldn't sit at the computer to email them, so she called them later that night. that was a huge weight off my shoulders, and for her too. she kept telling me she didn't want to inconvenience us by changing plans at the last minute, and i kept firmly reminding her that we TOTALLY understand the situation, it wasn't like she was ditching us for a better offer somewhere else. her and the babies' health was the most important thing.

Monday night, after getting my rear view mirror fixed, i had to make a grocery run. i remembered that they had not yet bought diapers, so i grabbed a pack of newborn pampers to take them along with the foam plates and yet-to-be-determined food. if anything, they'd have extras. with twins, i figured they could use them.

didn't hear much from her on tuesday, and i was out late for my nephew's birthday party. I knew that i needed to get my bag packed and in my car, 'cause it was going to be VERY soon that these babies came. i was really tired, and said i'd do it on Wednesday.



Wednesday
at 6am on Wednesday, my cell phone rang. i'd been keeping it by my bed overnight, and had actually forgot it that night, but ran back down to get it -- i had a feeling. i answered the phone, and Derek said "Good morning, sunshine. you're not going to work today". her water had broke, and she'd been in labor most of the night. T the midwife was on her way to assess the situation, and it was possible that she'd stall. i told him i needed a shower no matter what, so i hopped in the shower, and not long after that, they called back. it was time. E got on the phone, but she couldn't form a full sentence. she was able to get out that things were moving VERY quickly, and that we'd probably have babies today. she was out of breath, and could only get a couple words out at a time. she actually hung up on me, but it was clear that she was in labor, and i need to hustle.

i pulled myself together, notified my kitty-sitters, called into work and notified all of them, and then headed out. traffic was a bitch, 'cause i was just at rush hour. about 10 minutes out from their house, D called, asking for Red Bull for him and PowerAde for E. so i ran through Kroger. i called and asked if there was anything else they needed, so he gave me the list. :) it was all the stuff we hadn't picked up yet for the Birth Kit, including diapers and wipes! oops! i hustled through Kroger and got to their house around 10am.


when i arrived, most of the birth team was there. Katie (birth photographer) and Pam (apprentice) helped me haul in stuff and put food in the fridge and ice down drinks. they were in the process of moving E down from her bedroom to the basement, where there was a birth tub, a bed, and all of the other assorted things needed for the birth. her labor was pretty intense. Katie got the kids upstairs and out of the way by asking to see their bunk beds, and i followed and kept them up there.

E and i have discussed all manner of things birth related over the years. she's told me about the births she's attended, the birth of Grace, and so on. we've discussed many times how birth is a very primal thing, that the sounds are all very low and growly and gutteral. i thought i was prepared. i wasn't. she was shrieking and screaming and clearly, things were a LOT more intense than she was used to. we were upstairs, and could hear the higher/louder screams. Gracie seemed oblivious, but Gabriel commented on them -- not upset, just "oh, mommy must be really hurting". i tried to stay even, just reminding him that pushing out the babies is very hard work for mommy, while inside i'm assuming the worst.


Pam came up a few times for various things -- to pump her own milk, to ask Katie about car locations in case of emergency transport, and then, at 11:30, she came up and called me into the hall. things had ramped up even more, and Erica had requested (demanded?) i get the kids out of there. things were so intense, and i think it was scaring her, and she was worried about scaring the kids.

so, i rounded up the kids and said "hey! let's go to lunch" and we did. while we got the kids' shoes on, there was a knock at the door. the scruffy redneck loser next door came over to ask that we cut out the screaming. i was about at my breaking point. i looked at him, blinked a few times, and calmly said "she's giving birth, so you're just going to have to deal with it. it will be over soon". he seriously back-pedaled and waved his arms and said "oh god! i'm sorry! i didn't know! carry on, carry on" and left. his wife knew about the planned homebirth, but he apparently didn't.

i did get downstairs briefly to them i was leaving, and i could tell by the look on E's face that she was in deep. i called katie upstairs to relay the story of the neighbor complaining, just in case it escalated. i thought someone there needed to know, but not D&E. i gave katie my number, and she promised to keep me posted.


i got the kids into my car, and we headed out to lunch. i learned later that within MINUTES of us leaving, the babies were here. still, i think i did the right thing.

their first pick, a steak place, wasn't open for lunch, so we went to Ruby Tuesday's next door. sit-down restaurant = lots of time killed. excellent. plus, i was starving, and the burger i had tasted SO GOOD. i let them dawdle all they wanted while eating, and i did my best to keep it together. before we left, i suggested we go to the pet store to look at fishies and birdies. they LOVE that. i thought Gabriel would explode from the excitement. so back into the heat and on the road.

just as i pulled into the Petsmart parking lot, katie called. the babies had come -- i could finally exhale!!! -- but they were not ready for the kids to come back yet. i told her i'd keep them out through dinner, and she said to do that unless i heard otherwise. neither D nor E called me, so i started putting together my plan. i made my calls from petsmart ([livejournal.com profile] bittersweet_jen, [livejournal.com profile] queensheba, Barbara at keepsakes, my SIL Penny). by then the kids were done, so i suggested we take a road trip. they liked that idea.

we hit the highway and i pointed the car to Enon, and my office. they both fell asleep, and we cruised in near-silence for the hour-plus drive. they were perfect angels in my office, and delighted everyone they encountered with their cuteness and their politeness, plus the novelty of having cute kids in the office mid-week. i'm not sure everyone knew what was going on -- i hadn't really told my people that i'd be out for a birth! they happily colored with markers at my desk while i did what i needed to do. i needed to hit the restroom, so i had gabriel wait outside, and i took grace in with me. she chattered at me the whole time, but managed to refrain from commenting on the size of my butt for a second time that day.

before we left, i promised them each a pack of their trading cards from Meijer if they continued to be so good. i mean, honestly, they were perfect angels, and considering what they'd been through they were handling it all really well. i know it helps a LOT that they know me well, and they like me.

on our way to the car, we stopped at the water machine my office has. i gave them each two quarters, and got them each a bottle of water. i poured part of each bottle into MY bottle, and we all had nice, cold water for the hot drive to meijer.

at meijer, we got frozen meals and milk for them for dinner, new jammies for each, a new movie to watch, plus new toothbrushes and toothpaste. the plan was to have them totally ready for bed when we got home, so all we had to do was toss 'em in.

they loved their movie, and it allowed me time to check email, make some calls, and straighten up a little. my kitchen table was such a wreck that they got to eat their dinners on TV trays in the living room. no tv on, though ... figured that was just asking for trouble!! by then it was getting late, so i got them changed, we packed up our stuff, and headed for home.


the kids were SO EXCITED to get home and meet their baby brother and sister. all i knew at this point was that the babies were here and everyone was fine -- no names, no weights, nothing (E had told me the names they'd picked, but i also know parents can change their minds once they meet the baby in person). the kids chattered the whole hour drive home, and nearly bounced into the house. we got there to find [livejournal.com profile] queensheba there holding baby Abigail, and Erica was downstairs with Nikolas. we fussed over the baby, and when we got the all-clear, we all went down to visit with Erica and the babies.

she looked great! she looked tired, but also VERY relieved. she was also hungry, so we kept the food and beverages coming. we sat and talked and passed babies and took pictures and had a really good time fussing over the new mom. she was really weak and have very little use of her legs. all the squatting, coupled with the strain on her tendons in her upper thighs/pelvis had left her like a limp noodle. she wasn't happy about that, but she was only 10 hours post-delivery. we tried our best to convince her she would get better.

we got the kids in bed, but they were too excited to sleep. i had to bark at them, but it worked. we got the bassinette set up and the air mattress inflated, and got everyone ready for bed. D&E and the babies stayed in the basement, and i slept up in their bed. it was WAY late when we finally all got to sleep.


i got up after hearing Derek come upstairs, and i left the kids playing happily in their room and went to check on Erica. she was up and nursing babies, and really hungry. i made us poached eggs for breakfast, and she gobbled them down quickly. i kept the food and the liquids coming, knowing that she needed them. i got the kids fed, and then Erica said she wanted to get upstairs. T and Dr Jack were coming after lunch, and she wanted to get a shower.

it took quite a lot of time and fierce determination on E's part, but she managed to shuffle across the basement to the steps with help from a backless computer chair on wheels. then she slowly climbed the stairs, and at the top she crashed into the chair i'd set for her. after a brief rest, she hobbled to the bathroom. from there, she got to the couch in the living room and rested for a while. i started bringing up the babies, who were sleeping peacefully in the basement. i set them in a laundry basket (it was handy), and helped E up the stairs and into her room. i brought the babies up in the basket (SO CUTE!) and then i helped E get her shower. i didn't have to get IN the shower with her, but i stayed in the bathroom with her and handed her things, and helped her get in/out of the tub. she was making great progress, but she still had a LONG way to go.

all cleaned up, we got her and the babies into bed, and they rested while they waited for Dr Jack and T to show up. they got there at about the same time, which was perfect. T checked everyone out, and Dr Jack worked on momma and babies, and whatever he did to the babies was amazing, 'cause they were happier and ate better when he got done with them.

the rest of the afternoon was spent just fussing over babies and playing with the kids. i threw frozen meals at them for dinner and got them into bed early, and blessedly, they passed out immediately.

Derek had to run errands, so E and I used that time to bathe and dress the babies. we put the baby tub in the bassinette, and tag-teamed it. that worked well, as it allowed us both to sit, and we had everything we needed on the bed. Sadly, there were no photos of this because we needed all four hands to bathe them. the both screamed bloody murder, and who can blame them? Auntie Cyd didn't quite get the water warm enough! they're both so tiny that they just don't fit in the newborn Pampers or the 0-3 month outfits. they seemed quite happy to be dressed in sleepers, and we got them set up in the bassinette again.

Derek brought us back Skyline for dinner. bless him -- i just didn't have it in me to cook. E's nursing appetite had kicked in, and she was ravenous. we inhaled our food and checked email/lj and just hung out. it was nice. kinda like old times, 'cept the babies were there. D&E are fun to hang with, and i'm glad they tolerate me. ;-)

D had laundry cranking all day long. my god, i didn't realize how much laundry a big family generates. just the towels and clothes and bedding for four people and two babies (plus the birth) was overwhelming. they're going to need not a nanny, but a housekeeper!

after dinner, i started to crash hard. i took a shower, and then went to bed. i took the bed in the basement, and it was nice to be so secluded. everyone else was upstairs, and i thought they could use the family time.


This morning, i woke up with a start, and it was later than i'd realized. i went straight upstairs to check on E and the babies, taking her food, and we realized we needed to get a move on!! katie was coming back today to take photos of everyone. E showered while i fed the big kids. i sent them upstairs after breakfast to get bathed and dressed, and i cleaned up downstairs. as the time for picture-taking neared, we also realized we needed some essentials. things they've forgotten about kept popping up! we made a list, i took orders for lunch, ran through target and wendy's and got back as quickly as i could. i fed the kids and we looked at the birth photos katie took. she's really good. local (cincy) peeps, if you need a birth photographer, call her. srsly. she's great with kids and babies, plus she's a good photographer! her birth photos caught the stuff E wanted, but weren't unnecessarily invasive. she knew when to NOT shoot as well as when TO shoot. Erica was very pleased with her work. i was relieved there was a dedicated photographer there, 'cause there was no way i could've done it AND taken care of the big kids.

the babies were happily asleep, and we didn't want to disturb them, but the clock was ticking, so we fed them, stripped them naked, and cleared a spot on teh floor to shoot them. K had all manner of cool backdrops, like a fuzzy white bear rug, a deep red loopy thing, and some silky fabrics. she did individual photos and both babies together, then we got them dressed and calmed down, and brought in the big kids for family photos. she shot some candids, too, like me holding both babies at once.

the excitement wore the babies out, and it was getting late. D took the big kids out for some daddy-time, i got E set up with food and water, and i headed for home.


I'm really glad that i could be part of the birth of Abigail and Nikolas, even though i wasn't there for the birth itself. i'm glad she trusts me with her kids, to take them all over creation and not lose them or hurt them or sell them to the gypsies. being a part of their family and sharing in this big life-changing event means so very much to me.
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just_cyd

June 2009

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