Georgia is born through my incision at 2:47pm. Calvin is born one minute later.
Shane and I spending precious moments with Calvin before he is taken to the NICU.
Shane and I spending precious moments with Calvin before he is taken to the NICU.
It's been a quiet day here. Everyone in our family is sick with H1N1 right now so it was decided we would celebrate Georgia's first birthday this coming weekend. We will also be marking Calvin's passing this weekend coming as well. Today wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, while I wish with all my heart my son was here celebrating his first birthday with Georgia, maybe it's because we haven't had the official party yet with cake and presents so it hasn't really sunk in yet. We spent a quiet day at home, I snuggled with Georgia and remembered her birth one year ago with warm feelings of love, for her and for Calvin. The day they were born was truly one of the happiest days of my life....
I woke up at 7:30am after a miserable three hours sleep. I joined Shane and Lorelei in the livingroom of our rented home long enough to eat a bowl of cereal and decide to go back to bed. Because Lorelei had just turned three and wasn't very good at leaving me alone when I tried to nap, I locked the bedroom door behind me and crawled into bed. About 9:30am I rolled over and felt a "pop" inside me and instantly started gushing water. Trying to sit up in bed, I yelled for Shane that my water had broken but it was coming out so fast that I couldn't stand up and the door was still locked. In panic mode, Shane grabbed a knife and popped the lock to get into the bedroom and was instantly and completely scared out of his mind. After telling him to grab me a towel and help me out of bed, I waddled to the bathroom to finish gushing over the toilet and I told Shane to call his parents. As I was getting cleaned up, he called his parents to start the long drive to Vancouver and then called our family friend Jane in Abbotsford to drive in to look after Lorelei. I got dressed and Shane and Lorelei then drove me to Labour and Delivery and dropped me off and then went back home to wait for Jane to show up to look after Lorelei.
At the hospital, I was admitted and given a gown to put on and led to a bed. Soon, a student nurse named Brock was in with me and he had been instructed to start my IV. I'm pretty sure he'd never done one on a live person before and he was so scared that he originally stabbed me with the IV needle only to yank it out again in horror and then as I started to bleed all over the place, he blushed, apologized profusely and went to get another nurse to help him. A gazillion questions followed as they hooked me up to the fetal monitors, "How do you know your water broke, maybe you just peed, sometimes that happens when you're this far along and the baby sits on your bladder...." Well, I know for a fact that I didn't pee and was a little offended that they figured that's what had happened but I continued to answer their questions and let them poke and prod me with needles until I had to get up to go to the bathroom. As I stood up to get out of bed, another gush of amniotic fluid came out and splashed down onto the floor and all over poor Brock's shoes. Still, the nurse grabbed the little paper they use and was dipping it into the puddles on the floor to determine whether my water had actually broken. Duh. Anyhow, it was not long after that they came and told me to call my husband because I would be going into the operating room in less than an hour. I called Shane who was just getting Lorelei situated with Jane and he was on his way.
Shane and I parted ways at the door of the operating room. He had to get gowned and scrubbed and I had to have my spinal anesthetic. As I hunched over, as much as I could with my enormous belly, the student anestheseologist tried repeatedly to get the needle into the right place in my spine. By her sixth try I was sobbing and scared and tired but thankfully, it went into the right place and within a minute of swinging my legs up onto the table, I couldn't feel anything from my chest down. Shane came in and then things started to progress very quickly. We had a team of sixteen people in the delivery room with us including doctors, nurses, the anestheseologists, ICU team, cardiology and a couple of students. It was crazy. I remember lying there and finally asking if we were going to get started soon when the doctor said, "Baby A is just about out, Shane get your camera...." Shane stood up and got a picture of Georgia being born through my incision. He was shaking when he sat back down next to me. The nurses were laughing over how big she was and how none of them had ever seen twins with double chins before. Georgia weighed in moments later at a hefty 7lbs 10oz. Hearing her cry for the first time brought me to tears. One minute later Calvin was born and Shane was up going back and forth between our two babies. It seemed like forever before I heard Calvin cry and I was starting to worry. We had been told he might be blue at birth, that we might not be able to hold him depending on how his condition was and we knew they would be taking hime to the NICU right away. Within about five minutes, Calvin was placed on my chest and Shane and I fell in love with our son. He was gorgeous and pink and looked so perfectly healthy you wouldn't know anything was wrong by looking at him. I kissed him and stroked him and told him how much I loved him and all too soon, the team collected him to take him to the NICU to stabilize him and get a cardiac echo to determine what condition he was born with. Shortly after they took Calvin away, I started feeling faint and then I started shaking uncontrollably. Shane freaked out because my lips were turning blue and as I turned to look towards the blood pressure monitor, I noticed my pressure had fallen from a sky high 201/155 to 70/45. Because I was still in surgery, the doctors were still working on tying my tubes and sewing me up, they became frantic to keep me conscious. I kept being given medicine to bring my pressure back up but within minutes I was shaking and my pressure was dropping again. The doctor kept telling me to keep my eyes open, talk to her, do not faint as they frantically got a pair of pressure stockings on me. Every 30 seconds, the stockings would inflate and squeeze my blood towards my organs, helping my blood pressure stablize. Finally, I started feeling better and the next thing I knew, we were headed into recovery, Georgia in my arms.
In recovery, I got to spend a couple of precious hours holding my daughter and bonding with her. I never had that with Lorelei who was twenty-four hours old the first time I ever saw her. Within an hour of my surgery, Georgia was being placed on my breast to feed and I was incredibly happy and in love with our babies. I was still feeding Georgia when Dr. S strode into the recovery room and introduced himself. He was the cardiologist in charge of Calvin and he had come in to give us his diagnosis. Truncus Arteriosus Type 3 he said gravely. Shane and I were under the impression that Tetralogy of Fallot was the more serious of the two so for a minute we were relieved until Dr. S explained that Truncus was far worse and Calvin's Type 3 was extemely rare. So rare in fact that in his seven years at Children's Hospital, Dr. S had never seen a case of Truncus Type 3 until our son. He explained Calvin would be having open heart surgery in a couple of days, that the surgery was necessary right away to prevent pulmonary hypertension and that without it, he would die. I was terrified. He told us he would talk to us later, once we were settled into our room and he left to give Shane and I some more time with Georgia.
On the way up to our room, we stopped at the NICU to see Calvin. He was huge compared to all the other premature and sick babies. It was hard to believe that my 6lb 13oz son was sick. I couldn't believe how still he lay as they poked his feet for blood. His breathing looked a little laboured and they explained he would be getting some help breathing once he was assessed. We went upstairs to my room and settled in to wait for the family. Shane's parents and his brother and his wife showed up a few hours later. There was the most incredible feeling of joy as we passed Georgia around, everyone taking turns holding her as Shane took them one by one downstairs to the NICU to meet Calvin. It was such a surreal day, so beautiful and full of love and wonder. I remember laying in my bed that night, holding Georgia and feeling like this had been one of the best days of my life. We had gone from a family of three to a family of five in mere minutes and the love I felt for my babies was so unbelievably strong. Shane and I decided in those quiet moments in our room later that night that we would not worry just now, that we would simply enjoy having our babies arrive safely, with no complications and that today was a day to celebrate their births and our love for each other and our children.
I leave you now with some pictures of our twins at birth and of Georgia throughout her year. It's been quite the year, nothing like I would have expected. Today I am at peace remembering that beautiful day one year ago, when my babies came into the world surrounded by love and joy. I will continue Calvin's story over the next couple of days...
Georgia Leigh Mayer born November 10, 2008. Pictures from Georgia's first year.