Seven years ago, in a bathroom stall of the four diamond hotel where I worked as a department head, I learned I was pregnant. Yes, very glamorous, I know!
In those days, I was a workaholic. Twelve to fourteen hour days were the norm, and so, the hotel was my second home.
I had been experiencing symptoms of pregnancy, so I sent a frantic text to one of my best friends from childhood asking her to bring me a pregnancy test immediately. She brought several.
All. Positive. As in, two lines in a matter of seconds. (You’ll learn why. Keep reading).
I broke the news to Rob (my now husband) and scheduled an appointment with my doctor. Confirmed. I was pregnant! Doc opted to send me upstairs for an ultrasound that day because my dates were inconsistent. The ultrasound tech was furrowing her brow and making weird faces. I silently worried the entire exam.
Back downstairs to the doctor’s office I went, where she met me at the door. In private, she told me that my pregnancy was a viable one thus far and that I either had a cyst or…. twins. T W I N S. We needed to wait a few weeks and repeat the ultrasound to confirm.
At this point, it was estimated that I was only about 7 weeks along. I asked Rob what he thought about becoming a father of two and he laughed, not convinced it was twins.
Fast forward to almost 12 weeks along and there we were, back in the ultrasound office. The tech did her thing again, and this time, we watched the screen closely. She pointed out several things, and then finally, we heard a loud, strong heartbeat. The most beautiful sound. Then she typed these words:
She moves the cursor.
I laughed, out of sheer nervousness. Rob had to sit down. I assume to keep from fainting!
Since this was a multiple pregnancy, I was deemed high risk moving forward. We were seen often by my wonderful OB and the maternal fetal medicine specialists. My pregnancy progressed very well until about 20 weeks, when my body suddenly tried to go into preterm labor. I was hospitalized and thankfully, it was a controllable labor. Fast forward to about 28 weeks, I was still working full time and pushing myself harder than I should have. When my doctor learned of this and grew concerned about tightness in my belly, she put me on bed rest.
I had been home on bed rest for almost 4 weeks when I was awakened one morning by a sudden gush of fluid. I knew what had occurred. My water broke. So, off we went to the hospital where the effort was made to keep the twins in my belly for as long as safely possible. I received steroid shots as we prepped for the unknown. The day pressed on as my body went further and further into labor, I was given magnesium via an IV to try to stop it.
At 4:30pm, the nurse performed an exam and ran out of the room to page the doctor. She felt the foot of Twin A in the birth canal.
Robert Reese and Riley Rae were born at 5:02pm and 5:03pm at 31 weeks and 5 days.
Reese was our heavyweight champion, weighing in at 3 pounds, 15 ounces. He was 16 inches long. Riley, a dainty little princess, was 3 pounds, 8 ounces and 15 inches long.
Both babies were born via emergency c -section because Reese decided to step out into the world feet first, literally! Everything was a whirlwind and the twins were immediately taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Daddy was able to follow and watched the doctors and nurses of the Bay Area NICU help our babies learn the art of breathing.
It was overwhelming and scary, especially for first time parents. The twins were put under bili lights for jaundice and hooked up to a CPAP respirator. Then they were upgraded to a nasal cannula and incubated.
The first two weeks were a roller coaster of emotions and health scares. Some of the trials they faced as preemies were: body temperature concerns, anemia, staph infections, bradycardia, moisture on the lungs, dramatic weight fluctuation and apnea of prematurity. The sweet nurse in charge of our son often had to tap him gently to awaken him, just to remind him to breathe. The twins were fed fluids, then small amounts of breast milk through a mouth tube as their tiny stomachs learned to digest. Finally on December 18th, it was time to try bottle feeding.
Reese tried first and grew tired pretty quickly, but we never gave up hope on our boy and he soon thrived. Riley tried and two days later took her first bottle in 7 minutes. The twins were suddenly moved to the level 2 NICU, which was very exciting. Then the same day, the roller coaster continued as Reese was put back on the nasal cannula.
On December 30th, 2008, exactly one month after birth, Riley came home. Reese was apparently not real happy about his sister going home without him, so he ripped out his nasal cannula, and began to breath on his own in perfect rhythm. He joined us at home on December 31st. They never looked back.
Reese and Riley are 7 years old today and are perfectly healthy. They are amazing, beautiful, smart, kind, loving and curious little creatures. We are so proud of their journey thus far.