If we have come to learn anything over the past couple years it is that making plans and expecting them to turn out the way you want is just plain silly.
First, in 2009 Addison was born two months early. Next, in 2010 I was laid off when my district faced low enrollment and budget issues. Later, in 2010 my mother unexpectedly passed away at the young age of 63. And now, in 2011 we have two teeney-tiney little boys who will spend the first part of their lives in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). We know better to plan out how we want things to go – we know that the big things in life cannot be planned, we know that God has the plans – our job is to be present in the moment!
So this is the attitude we are going with for the next few months. We have no plans for these boys, or how we, as a family, will deal with what comes our way. Instead our plan is NOT to plan! We have heard from friends who have been in our position, doctors, nurses, strangers on the elevator that the next few months will be really hard. That there will be major setbacks with babies this young, that there will be days when we will celebrate successes and days that will be overwhelming with issues. And we will be dealing with all of this times two!
So we delve into what we have been given cautiously optimistic, knowing that it will be hard and we will face really bad days and really good ones. We also know that we have faced challenges in the past and we came out okay – we in fact, danced in the rain to get through the storm. We will do it again.
From the moment I found out that I was carrying two babies my life revolved around keeping them safe. I went to my regular doctor every two weeks and then to a high-risk doctor on alternating weeks. I received ultrasounds every two weeks and stopped working at 23 weeks. I stopped working out, lifting anything over 20 lbs. (including my 2 yr. old), and sorrowfully cut back on house and yard work .
However, even with my life changes I started bleeding and cramping in my left uterus at 24 weeks and 2 days. This landed me at Women and Children’s Hospital for what became one of the hardest weeks of my life. I had “lived” in the hospital before when my water broke with Addison, I was prepared for the boredom and the lonely days ahead. But this past week was difficult beyond boredom in many ways.
My contractions never really stopped. Some days I would have painful contractions every 5 minutes for hours, some days they would be every 30 minutes. Most nights I would go into episodes of really painful labor symptoms that they could stop with medications and pain killers. Some days I couldn’t eat because they thought I would have to go into surgery at any moment, and I won’t talk about my bathroom restrictions! I got a UTI and bladder infection which not only added to the discomfort in general but also the uterine irritation.
It was a long week - but it was worth every day! The doctors tell me that everyday in my belly each baby gained about 30 grams – so I gave them an extra 210 grams of weight before they were born. Not to mention the days with the lung and brain stimulating drugs that got to do their thing during their 24th week in the wombs!
We went into the hospital thinking that “Lefty” ,as we called him in utero, was going to be the boy who caused the most trouble in bringing on the labor. Turns out that even though ”Lefty” was head down and contracting like crazy “Righty” was the little guy, who in the end, forced the doctors to take me to the OR for an emergency C-section. After a few hours of labor with the previously followed drug regimen not working “Righty” was coming out so it was off to the OR.
They had set up an OR just for me the day before to speed things up in case of emergency, and the doctors had been well aware of my needs. They were going into the C-section hoping to deliver only “Righty” but honestly unsure of what would happen once they started the procedure. There are no documented cases of a woman with my abnormality delivering two babies at two separate times via C-section. I ”fell asleep” under anesthesia not knowing if when I woke up I would have two babies or one, still pregnant with “Lefty”.
In the end, Griffin Parker Camp (previously known as “Righty”) was born at 4:14 am weighing 1 lb 8 oz. And after his water breaking during his brother’s delivery, Carter Jeffrey Camp (a.k.a. “Lefty”) was born at 4:21 am weighing the same as his brother. We were now parents to two 25 week old baby boys!