Most of my readers are already aware of what's happened in the last 2 weeks, but for any of my readers that aren't, here is the Cliff's Notes version.
We went in for the surgery early Friday morning. The nurses couldn't seem to find a heartbeat for Baby B. This wasn't terribly alarming because I knew they had a hard time finding it at the NST scan a few weeks earlier. They didn't seem too concerned, either because it's more difficult to find unique heartbeats with multiples.
They continued to prep me for surgery and wheeled me into the room right on schedule. At this point, I was trying to concentrate on every little detail. I wanted to remember everything. I paid attention to the songs playing on the radio. I made a note of Kevin's facial expressions. I even focused on the smells in the room.
After the first 10 minutes, I heard a faint wailing followed by Kevin squeezing my hand and telling me that our first baby was here. Tears came to my eyes as I listened to his screams intensify. I had a very calm sensation come over me as I realized I was - holy crap - a mom! I patiently laid there while I waited to hear a second cry fill the room. I waited. And waited. But nothing came. I knew the baby was out, but I thought maybe he was just taking a little longer to get his lungs going. I kept waiting. Then Kevin asked the anesthesiologist to check on what was happening, because there were so many people surrounding his bed he couldn't see what was going on. When he came back, he whispered something to Kevin that I couldn't hear, but two words struck me and immediately made my mouth go dry: No Heartbeat. Kevin squeezed my hand again and told me they were working on him, but he had a lot of gunk in his lungs and they were still working on him to get him to breath on his own.
I listened to the song on the radio as I tried to convince myself everything was ok, they were going to bring him back. Don't panic. But after what felt like an hour, they told us they had done everything they could and they just couldn't bring him back. They worked on him for a full 45 minutes.
After a whirlwind day of nurses, doctors, chaplains, and visitors, Kevin and I were left to deal with the realization that one of our babies didn't make it. The hospital staff was never really sure what happened. Baby B was 2 full pounds smaller than his big brother. He also showed signs of distress at the time of birth which made them think something had happened between our last ultrasound and the delivery. We'll never know for sure.
We buried our precious baby Oliver Wilson on Wednesday morning while his brother, Charlie Martin, waited for us in the NICU back at the hospital. We were so blessed to have so many loving people reach out to us and comfort us during what was the best and worst moment of my life. People we don't even know were offering condolences and helping us through our grief. We had neighbors making us dinners, volunteers bringing us teddy bears and hospital staff stopping by just to listen. It was overwhelming to see how many people cared and wanted to be there for us.
Charlie was admitted to the NICU mostly as a precaution due to the circumstances with Ollie. He was immediately treated with a round of antibiotics, then another round shortly after. He spent some time under the UV lights but was otherwise a completely healthy little baby. He was born at 5 pounds 15 ounces and was 17 1/2" - not bad for a twin baby!
He started breastfeeding immediately and caught on super quick. It seemed he knew what he was doing - I was the one learning what to do. My milk came in after 3 days and has been a waterfall ever since.
After spending a week in the NICU, he was finally able to come home. I haven't been able to let go of him since. I constantly want to hold, kiss, touch or otherwise interact with him (even if it's changing a poopy diaper!). Sometimes I share him with Kevin and let him hold him for a few minutes, but I still stare at him out of the corner of my eye, in awe that this is my child. I couldn't sleep very well for the first couple of nights, waiting to hear his breath, watching his blankets to make sure his chest was rising, touching his cheek to make sure it was warm. I'm sure this is common for most first time parents as it is, but especially after our tragedy, I am even more paranoid and cautious.
We took him to his first appointment on Tuesday. He is gaining weight and is doing great. He is such a brave boy! He rarely cries, even when his mom is dressing him up in his cute outfits and blinding him with camera flashes non stop. His body is so tiny and I'm afraid I'm going to break him. Holding him when he's naked is so strange - it's like holding a warm bag of hot dogs. His arms and legs are still so skinny but he has a big ol' pot belly. The black belly button thing fell off a couple days ago, so he's easier to bathe now. He eats about every 3 hours or so, sometimes longer. The nighttime feedings, although not something I LOVE, aren't that bad. It's kind of nice to spend some quiet time together, just listening to him breathe, rocking back and forth, letting his tiny hand wrap around my finger. Sometimes I'm too tired to put him back in his cradle so I'll just lay there with him and hold him while we sleep.
I miss my baby Oliver more than I can explain, but I feel so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to raise this beautiful baby. Suffering the loss of a child is not a pain I would wish on anyone. I know it's going to take time before I can fully accept and move on from the loss, but I truly believe Charlie was given to me as a way to help me cope with the pain and remind me of life's joys and blessings.