Finding out I was pregnant last July was happy surprise #1. Two weeks later, rushing to the emergency room, convinced I was miscarrying, I left the hospital with surprise #2. I was pregnant with twins!
Complete shock and a permanent smile is all I remember. Dreaming of preparing the nursery, naming the babies, guessing their sexes, buying clothes, telling all my friends were the only things that occupied my mind. Honestly, I did not stop to think about some very complicated situations that I would soon face.
First, I am an American living in Barcelona, Spain. My life has taken some twists and turns and my heart took me to Spain. I fell in love with the greatest guy in the world and three months later, we were pregnant. Not being a citizen and ultimately living in limbo and instability, Marc, (the greatest guy in the world) took the reigns.
European healthcare is phenomenal. Once all the paperwork was completed, any service or appointment for my whole pregnancy was booked at no cost! The hospitals are state of the art and the staff is a mix of older experienced doctors with young eager ones. It seems everytime I had an appointment I had an ultrasound and walked away with another picture of the two miracles.
As my really easy pregnancy moved into the 5th month, I began to read more and more. Mostly about the stages of the babies in my belly and preparation of when the babies were home. Really I focused on reading how to organize my life with twins, schedules, and advice from many books and a best friend who had twins the previous year. All the excitement led me to ignore, or rather not educate myself or even consider a few major things,: cesearans, premature birth, and the NICU.
January 13th at 1am. This is where it began. 2 months before my due date, I went into labor. 32 weeks along and boom! Everything happened so fast that night, I started with a bit of unusual pain at 1am and by 5am both my son and daughter were born. It was an emergency C-section, but to me it was like being abducted by aliens. Maybe if I was prepared it would have been less traumatic but all I remember is staring at the big round clock over my left shoulder. Nobody is allowed in the room during a cesearan in Spain. So there I was alone, whisked off, clenching my fists. After the epidural was admitted, I remember calming down a bit but feeling like the whole experience was surreal. I felt so disconnected. My babies were born so tiny and after they were pulled from my stomach they were immediately sent to the NICU. I didn't see one part of either of them, no fingers, no toes, I didn't even hear a cry.
The doctors were kind and professional, they assured me the babies were OK but needed to be on respirators immediately. Completely understanding and appreciative- I breathed a sign of relief, was sewn up and sent to my room to rest. I didn't see my babies for the first time until almost 48 hours later...this broke me down. Never did I think this could be a possibility, as I always dreamed of having a baby and having it placed directly next to me after delivery. The first time I laid eyes on them I was wheelchaired to the NICU. The pain from a cesearan is excruciating. I saw my daughter first and suddenly the pain disappeared. My emotions were mixed- extrememly emotional, helpless, elated, and guilty.
Marc had spoken with the doctors earlier that morning and relayed to me that we should be prepared for the babies to be in the hospital for at least one month. That seemed like an eternity, and when I was released from the hospital, I went home emptyhanded. I felt so unworthy, incompitant, and I did not feel at all like a mother.
For 30 days we went back and forth three times a day to the NICU. We bonded with our new babies initially through an incubator eventually graduating to holding them with monitors attached. We bonded with other families around us. After a couple weeks I turned over a new leaf and realized what a blessing this experience really was. The wonderful nurses had put our children on schedules!! Schedules that would have been impossible to implement ourselves being new parents and parents of twins!!
All the moping and "why me's" soon turned into gratitude and we learned why when we brought our babies home.
Lola and Nicolas are now 3 months old, healthy, strong, and beautiful. If I would have known then what I know now, would I change anything? Yes, I would have educated myself on the complications of twin pregnancy, and the possibilities of the NICU stay. Through reading stories like mine from other women who have had similar experiences. All of these blessings that touched my life have been indeed blessings in disguise.