Thursday, July 31, 2014

Twin Birth Story: Cassie Parker

If you'd like to contribute your own twin birth story, CLICK HERE to fill out our questionnaire!
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Name: Cassie Parker


Where do you currently live? Kansas City, MO



How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins19 weeks 5 days

 
Any issues during your pregnancy? No. I was very lucky to not have any complications or issues while pregnant. My pregnancy was pretty easy and I feel very blessed. Toward the end, my blood pressure was a little on the high side but nothing to be super concerned about. It just meant that after each of my NST's I had to lay on my left side for a bit before they let me go home. Other than that, uneventful - and that's the way I wanted it!


Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: Well, finding out that you're having twins nearly half way through your pregnancy is pretty memorable! I'll never forget that day. Our ultrasound was early that morning and before we left the house I said to my husband, "Just for fun, what would you do if they told us there were two in there?" His response was, "I think that'd be cool, so I'd be fine with it." My response was that I thought I would have a heart attack. And that's exactly what happened. He was so excited and super chill about the whole thing while I was freaking out about having a whole extra person in my body and not even knowing! I felt like I was on I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant With An Extra Baby.

It was a lot of fun to tell our families and of course, they thought we were all joking. It took some convincing before everyone finally realized we were serious and then it was a blur of tears, laughter, screams and lots and lots of support! 


Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self? Chill out and be present. I obsessed over the most trivial things and I agonized over our baby registry. I was constantly worried that we were getting the wrong stuff or not enough of something. I put 5 different strollers on our registry before I settled on one. I'm sure I drove my sisters and mom crazy with all of my questions and research. But looking back, it was all fine. Everything was fine. The world did not collapse if I didn't have organic baby mattresses and if we found that we were short on something, we ran down the road to Target and got it. So I would tell her to calm down and focus on enjoying your pregnancy and not focus on all of the potentials. Just be present.

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 38 weeks, 2 days


Baby A's Information: Albert "Albie" Steven

January 15, 2013
8 pounds, 6 ounces
8:17am

Baby B's Information: Faye Noel 
January 15, 2013 
7 pounds, 6 ounces 
8:19am

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery?  C-section. At my 28 week ultrasound we saw that Albie (baby A) was breech and he was in that position until the day he came out. Neither of them moved an inch from where they were from that point on. So we had a good amount of time to get used to the fact that I was having a c-section. The day of, there were so many people in the room, I think I counted 15 total between doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, etc. I delivered at a teaching hospital (found that tid bit out the day of delivery) so I didn't have the hospital anesthesiologist doing my spinal. He was supervising, but I had a resident doing it and it took....a while. After about 20 minutes he stepped in and finished for her, thankfully. Once they laid me out on the table, I started to get really cold and got the shakes (often a side effect of the spinal) so the nurses kept bringing me warm blankets. I totally regret it now, but one of the nurses wrapped a blanket around my head, so in all of our pictures you can literally just see my face and everything else is covered in blankets (that didn't help the shaking). I look ridiculous.

Once the doctor started, I didn't feel any pressure at all. None of the "elephant on the chest" feelings. A few pushes and tugs and before I heard him cry, I heard our doctor say "he's huge!" She showed Albie to me over the curtain before he was whisked away and crying his little heart out. 2 minutes later, Faye came out and I saw her over the curtain briefly before they took her to the warmer. At that point, not even 2 minutes after delivering my second baby for the day, my doctor says "ya know, you would be a great candidate for a VBAC, so keep that in mind for next time." I looked at her and said "I'm going to focus on the two babies I just had before I even think about what you just said." haha!

The delivery, for me, was pretty easy and complication free, thankfully. It might have been a tad traumatic for my husband though. Once we were in our room later I asked him if he'd watched and he said, "No, but at one point I saw your entire insides sitting on top of your stomach on the outside and I'll never un-see that."

Any NICU time? If yes, for what reason and how long?  No. We were so blessed that neither baby had to spend any time in the NICU. Albie had some slight issues with his bilirubin but they were able to monitor it from the regular nursery and all turned out fine!

Did you have any complications after delivery? Yes. Recovery after the c-section was pretty easy for me, personally. Other than a rough second day, it was a really smooth recover process. Things started to go south around week 3. I was at my 3 week post partum checkup when my doctor noticed that I'd come down with what I thought was just a clogged duct, but was in fact Mastitis. So went on antibiotics for that, all was fine.


When I was 5 weeks post partum, I had a series of what I later learned were gallbladder attacks due to gallstones (and a lot of them). I went to my doctor, explained my symptoms, had an ultrasound the next day, met with a surgeon that afternoon and went into the emergency room that evening. It was a very intense 2 days of doctor's appointments and ultrasounds, but the day I was supposed to get admitted to the hospital to have my gallbladder removed, I ended up not being able to wait and had to go to the emergency room b/c I was violently throwing up and had the worst pain in my life on the left side of my stomach. I'm so grateful that my mother-in-law was there to drive me to the ER and look after the babies.

Aside from the gallbladder problems, I had developed severe pancreatitis and was very jaundice (even the whites of my eyes were yellow)! I got admitted to the hospital on a Wednesday evening and I couldn't go home until the following Tuesday. So I spent 6 days in the hospital, 5 of which I was not allowed to eat or drink anything. The only way to calm the pancreatitis is to withhold food or drink, so I had a big sign on my door telling people not to feed me. It was awful. Then I developed an infection, which was highly contagious, so before anyone could come in my room they had to suit up in gowns/gloves head to toe. How embarrassing! I had a hazard sign outside my door and a "suit up" station. Talk about subtlety. On top of that, I was still nursing and had no clothes of my own at the hospital, no nursing pads, nothing. So I leaked through every gown I had. Super fun and not at all embarrassing. Not my finest moment.

Eventually I was able to have my gallbladder removed and go home. If it weren't for my in-laws and my parents, I don't know what we would have done. We live 4.5 hours away from them and they dropped everything to come out and watch the babies and take shifts with me so my husband could go to work. They were angels. Unfortunately, it destroyed my milk supply. I was breastfeeding at the time and still pumping throughout my hospital stay, but the lack of food/fluid tanked my supply. I was given fluids in the hospital, but they didn't seem to help. And, due to the antibiotics I was on, when I got home, even if my supply held out, I would have had to dump it for 4 weeks. That was probably the biggest disappointment. I still don't think I'm over that! So, I have 4 new scars to accompany my c-section scar and now an intolerance to gluten. It was quite a year!

How long did you (the parents) stay in the hospital?  4 days


Did your twins stay with you or in the hospital nursery at night? Nursery. I missed them at night, but I really valued the sleep I got and I was so excited when the nurse would bring them in to eat.


What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital? 

1. My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow, or as Meredith is now referring to it, the TNP. It was a huge help when I would nurse the babies and worked out so much better than having to surround myself with 8 pillows.

2. Maternity leggings. They're the best thing in the world and they were perfect for wanting to be comfortable and conscious of the belly woes after a c-section.

3. Slippers. I bought some cute and comfy slippers from Target and to this day, still love them. They were easy to slip on when I needed to walk somewhere and were warm b/c it was January. They had a semi-hard bottom to them, so they were the only shoes I brought. I wore them into the hospital and wore them home. Heck, I still wear them now.

 
Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: There were so many, but two stick out in my mind although, they occurred on the same day. There was one morning where it was just me, my husband, and the babies. I had just fed them and they were in just their diapers and it was the first time I'd held them skin to skin. I just held both of them on my chest at the same time and it was the sweetest and most overwhelming moment. I think that was the moment it hit me that I had twins. That was the first time I truly felt like a mother. Later on that same morning, I was holding Faye and Aaron was holding Albie. I looked over and just saw him staring down at Albie just looking at him and it was so sweet. Just a daddy and his son, having a moment. Luckily I snapped a picture before they noticed and it will always be one of my favorites!


If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? One piece? Yikes, that's hard. Well, given the post-partum experience I had, I would say to remember to take care of yourself. Being out of commission and not feeling great while trying to care for infants is rough. It's so much easier to care for them when you feel good. I think part of the reason I had such a rough time was b/c I was putting the babies first, which is totally fine b/c obviously we're parents and that's what we do. But there was a moment after we came home that my husband told me that I needed to try and sleep more, eat more, and needed to take care of myself better b/c I looked rundown. He just flat out said I wasn't doing a good job of keeping up with myself. And he was right. I wasn't eating enough, I wouldn't nap when people gave me the opportunities and it affected me later on. So remember that your well-being and health is just as important as the babies and for heaven's sakes, when someone tells you to nap. TAKE A NAP.


Cassie's Instagram name: @ cassieparker






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