As I lay on the operating room table listening to the sound of my newborn Baby A (Isabel Hope) crying from across the room, I heard someone say, “Three pounds, fifteen point eight ounces.” Immediately, I knew what that meant. Isabel would not be staying with me – she would be heading to the NICU because of her small size. It wasn’t long before someone came over to tell me just that. Before she was taken from the operating room, Isabel was brought to me so that I could “meet” her. My bundled little baby was still crying, but at the sound of my voice she immediately became calm. I spoke softly to her and kissed her sweet little face and wished that I could hold her and keep her right there with me. The unfairness of it all briefly crossed my mind – I am her mother, the one who carried her for nine months and the one who just underwent surgery to bring her into this world and the one who loves her more than any other person possibly could, yet I have no choice in this matter but to stay here on this operating table while my baby who needs me is taken elsewhere. Man, that was a hard moment; but I had to believe that God’s grace would see us through.
Meanwhile, our Baby B (Elliana Faith) had been born and was crying just as vigorously as her sister. How reassuring it was to hear two strong, healthy cries. As we had suspected, Elliana was big enough (5 lbs. 10.2 oz.) to avoid the automatic trip to the NICU; but due to her low blood sugar, she would be immediately taken to the regular nursery and given formula. Again, thoughts of the unfairness of the situation came rolling in. I am the one who has done all the work, and now I don’t get to have either one of my babies. I hadn’t even seen Elliana yet, so I requested that she be brought to me before being taken away. I whispered to her of my love for her and kissed her soft little cheek, and then she, too, left the room.
I don’t remember most of the rest of that day thanks to all the medications in my system, but I do remember that Elliana was able to join Travis and me in our room shortly after I arrived back there. Her blood sugar would be continually checked every eight hours, and she would continue to receive formula until my milk came in; but she would be staying with me! And four days later, on June 1st, she would be discharged with me, as well!
Over in the NICU, Isabel, who also had low blood sugar (and zero fat reserves), had been placed on an IV through which she was receiving sugar water to supplement the formula she was taking by bottle. Each day her IV drip was gradually decreased and her formula intake gradually increased until finally the IV was removed and all her calories were coming from formula (fortified breast milk once my milk came in). She received some phototherapy for a couple days for slight jaundice and remained in an isolette until she was able to maintain her body temperature in an open crib. Eleven days after her birth – and one week after my and Elliana’s discharge – on June 8th, Isabel was discharged from the NICU and came home to join the rest of her family!
The details of my twins’ birth story certainly did not go exactly as I had hoped and prayed, but as I sit here writing this post while holding two beautiful, healthy babies on my chest, I can only praise God for His perfect plan. I may not understand it, but I don’t need to….