Lifestyle

Postpartum life with Twins

It’s been 8 weeks since I delivered my two healthy baby boys. 8 weeks since I almost died being pregnant with twins. 8 weeks since my world has completely changed with the responsibility of taking care of two little lives. 8 weeks of being a mother to two tiny humans.

My stomach the day before I gave birth.
My stomach the day before I gave birth.

I went into the ER on April 16 for painful swelling in my right leg. It was so bad that if I bent it just a little, it felt like my thigh would rupture. But even with the intense pain, I felt like I could live with it until my scheduled delivery date 3 days later. Paul pleaded with me to go in and get checked. I’m glad I listened– my blood was drawn, and the results came back that my kidneys and liver levels were going crazy. I had pre-eclampsia, and the babies needed to be delivered via emergency c-section. If I had waited those few more days, who knows if I or the babies would be here today. Paul rushed home to get our hospital bags, and he came back in time for the delivery.

Both legs were swollen, but my right leg was extra swollen and in intense pain when I bent it.
Both legs were swollen, but my right leg was extra swollen and in intense pain.
My right leg also had a burning sensation 24/7
My right leg also felt like it was burning 24/7

In the early hours of April 17, the doctor popped my spine with the epidural (didn’t realize it would be so painful) and they sliced me open. Next thing I knew there was a baby crying. Brady. A minute later his brother came out pooping and gurgling. Cameron. I don’t remember much after that. My epidural had to be removed so I could get an MRI to scan for blood clots. I remember not being able to feel my legs, looking at my toes and trying to move them with no luck and panicking. With the epidural out, the doctors put me on large dose of narcotics for the c-section pain, so I didn’t remember meeting my babies after the delivery. Brady was sent to the nursery while Cameron was in the NICU, and I was sent to the ICU.

Smiling on the outside, but dying on the inside. Right after they pulled Cameron out, I developed a massive migraine and could not open my eyes. The intense noise of the MRI only made me feel worse.

I was in and out of consciousness when I first met Brady a day later. I didn’t know how to feel about meeting the little guy who almost killed me. He was a tiny, hairy, skinny, snorting monkey. It wasn’t until 3 days later that I spoke to him and he recognized my voice. I finally felt some sort of connection with him, but all the hormones and drugs inside me suppressed the joy, and I only felt anxiety, confusion, and sadness. A couple days later Paul wheeled me into the NICU, and I met Cameron for the first time. He was the tiniest, most fragile thing. I was afraid to touch or hold him. All I could do was stare and cry. I felt so useless as a mother. I couldn’t walk, I was hooked up to several IVs (which at one terrifying point a malfunctioning elevator door almost ripped out of me), I was in pain, and my muscles atrophied from being bedridden for five days so I had no strength to hold my four pound baby.

3 day old Brady. Excuse my terrible look. According to my family, I looked “great” here in comparison to how I looked on the day of delivery (when I looked like death).

For 37 weeks, I couldn’t wait to deliver my boys and be free of the difficult pregnancy that was destroying my body. I was in constant pain, and I thought getting them out of me would relieve everything. I imagined a seamless delivery, holding my babies and falling in love. Instead I was in more pain and emotional distress than I could imagine. The first two weeks postpartum was rough. I was crying everyday; mostly hidden from anyone because I was ashamed for feeling so sad. I was the mother of two perfect baby boys, but I felt like the world was crushing my chest and I couldn’t breathe. Paul’s been in super dad mode since the day the twins were delivered. In the hospital he divided his time taking care of Cameron, Brady, and me. His fatherly instincts kicked in immediately. From my hospital bed, I watched him interact with Brady, talk to him, change his diapers, feed and burp him. He made it look so fun and easy. In the NICU he did the same with Cameron. And when both boys were fed, changed, and happy, he took care of me. He was my angel. I am an extremely independent person, but in those moments I felt like I couldn’t live without him.

Was finally brave enough to hold my fragile Cameron while in my wheelchair.

I left the hospital seven days after delivery. We went home with Brady, and Cameron stayed a couple more days in the NICU for his sleep apnea. The first night alone as new parents with Brady was awful. We no longer had a staff of nurses at our disposal whenever we needed help with our newborn. And when we brought Cameron home a couple days later, we were so freaked out about his sleep apnea and if he’d have another episode. I tried to stay up and make sure his chest was moving. I kept holding my finger under his nose to feel for breath. I thought if I fell asleep, he’d succumb to SIDS. I forced myself awake even though I hadn’t slept for more than two hours at a time the past week (in the hospital, the nurses would come in every couple hours to poke my arm, and when the nurses weren’t in my room pumping my body with medication, I was up pumping milk for Cameron or breastfeeding Brady). I was beyond exhausted, but I had to stay awake in case Cameron stopped breathing. I stayed awake, but I cried the entire time.

All the bruises I got from IVs and shots. The one behind my arm bled nonstop for a couple days, and I had no idea until I was discharged and saw blood on my bed at home.
All the bruises I got from IVs and shots. The one behind my arm bled slowly nonstop for a couple days, and I had no idea until I was discharged and saw blood on my bed at home.

They say the baby blues last two weeks postpartum. On the 14th day after delivery, it was like a switch went off in my brain. That suffocating feeling almost all went away. I no longer had an extreme feeling of hopelessness and sadness. I still feel overwhelmed and at times sad, but I have an incredible support system. Paul is the best husband and dad, and my mom and his mom are the most selfless, loving grandmothers to my sons.

Paul and Cameron in the NICU
Superdad feeding Cameron in the NICU

Everyday I feel a little more like myself again, and everyday I love my babies more. Thank you to the doctors and nurses for keeping me alive and my babies healthy, thank you to my parents and in-laws for their support and love for not just the babies but for me as well, and thank you, Paul, for being the strongest most caring husband and superdad to Brady and Cameron.

Paul burping Brady (I swear he’s not choking him lol)

Update: 9/28/2020

I wrote this blog post over a year ago, but I didn’t publish it until today. I was too ashamed of my postpartum depression and that it made me feel like I wasn’t a good mother and didn’t love my babies enough. Looking back, I loved my babies fiercely, I just didn’t know it yet. I had severe depression right after giving birth, and I thought it pretty much went away after a month. But honestly, I think I had it up until the twins turned 8 months. I was constantly sad and feeling like I wasn’t a good enough mom. I had no idea what I was doing (I still don’t), and it made me feel inadequate not only as a parent, but as a person. I read articles that told me what I was feeling was normal, and that I wasn’t a bad mom, but it was too difficult to believe. I know better now. I am a rockstar mom and have always been a rockstar mom. And if you’ve read this far you’ve probably had a baby at one point, so you’re a rockstar mom, too. And also, who knew it would take having kids to realize your husband is kinda annoying (ha!) but at the same time the sexiest man alive when you see him with your kids.

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