by Jennifer Raiman
(Palm Bay, FL, USA)
I laughed when my sister-in-law looked at my ankles on Labor Day weeked of 2008 and said, "You're swollen! Are you pregnant again?". My response: "That's not funny. I'm almost half way done! Hand me my beer and my cigarettes." There was no way. I'd been on the same birth control for more than 2 years and hadn't even had a scare. She was crazy!
That Monday I took tests 1 and 2--both positive--no more beer or cigarettes for me...
Tuesday was test 3 and the call to the Dr.
And Wednesday I found out I was pregnant with Matthew. 20 WEEKS PREGNANT!
After the shock wore off, I started to prepare for my 3rd son. I went for a full ultrasound one week later and almost rolled off the table when Kelly (the ultrasound tech) said, "Holy cow! I'm sorry. I was wrong. You're having twins. And look, baby B is a little girl!" Makaylah Grace was hiding under my ribs, comfy cozy.
Quick recap: I WAS 21 WEEKS PREGNANT WITH TWINS AND JUST FOUND OUT. Was this really happening?
Although I drank and smoked for the first half of the pregnancy, by all measurements, the twins looked to be OK, but there was no real way to know until they were born.
I went into labor at 30 weeks, was put on strict bedrest, and managed to make it to 34 weeks and 1 day (December 12, 2008). My emergency C-section scared me more than being pregnant but it went very well for me. When Matthew came out he let out a nice wail (all 4lbs, 13oz of him), but Makaylah (4lbs, 9oz) was whisked away to the NICU before I even heard a peep out of her.
After recovery, I was wheeled to the NICU to see them. I held Matthew but Makaylah was under C-PaP so I could only stare at my only little girl. She was so small. She was beautiful; even with the machines all around.
I woke up the next morning and wanted to see my babies. When I arrived at the NICU, I was told that Makaylah had taken a "nasty turn" overnight and had to be intubated. I walked to my daughter and looked at her with tubes coming out of almost everywhere I looked; it was the most horrible thing I'd ever seen. And I couldn't touch her as it irritated her to be touched or for people to even talk around her. I could just stare.
Matthew was tough. He laid in an isolette across from Makaylah and tended to stare in her direction. His vitals went down as the machines went off when she "cried" (silently because of the intubation).
I was discharged without my twins on 12/17. We fought a heart defect in Makaylah and a severe weight drop (to 4.1) in Matthew, but were able to pick him up to come home on 12/20. But our little girl was still there.
She could not maintain her weight or temp and the heart defect was still being looked at by ped. cardiologists at the Children's Hospital. It was so hard to leave either of them but to then bring home him and not her almost killed me. I had succomed to the realization that I would not have her home for Christmas and tried to keep it together for the other kids.
Then on December 24th at 8:14 a.m. I was awakened by the phone ringing. I cringed to see the NICU on the caller ID. The voice on the other line was our nurse who had been with our kids since the beginning. Her words will stay with me for the rest of my life, "Jennifer? You need to come up to the hospital". "What's wrong?", I asked. There was a pause and she calmly replied, "You need to come up and pick up your daughter. She wants to come home in time for Christmas".
I couldn't get myself and the rest of the family ready quick enough. As I hugged all of the nurses tightly while I cried the best tears I had ever felt, I remembered that it had been less than 4 months earlier that I found out about my wonderful additions. These children had everything against them and they were coming home. It just goes to show that what is meant to be will be.
God Bless all multiple families.
The Raimans -
David, Jennifer, DJ, Jonathan, Matthew, and Makaylah
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