People always talk about moments when life flies by and stands still all at the same time. I never really understood what they were referring to, but after these last four weeks, I know exactly what they mean. On March 23, 2017 at 7:48 AM and 7:49 AM, our lives changed forever with the birth of our twin girls, Emma Austin and Olivia Marie.
Emma Austin Olivia Marie
I am not sure about you other mamas, but for me, I spent my pregnancy wondering what these two little girls would be like. Except for what I saw on the ultrasound photos, I had absolutely no idea. It is a strange feeling being “with” someone 24 hours a day but not knowing them at all. The beauty in it is that as I spent my time thinking about our two little girls, I had so many opportunities to pray for them and their future.
Because Olivia was breech and Emma was not growing at the same rate as Olivia, our doctors decided it would be best for us to deliver via C-section at 37 weeks instead of 38 weeks as originally planned. We had to arrive at the hospital bright and early at 5:30 AM. Normally this would be an early wake-up call, but Austin and I were so excited that we both were awake by 3:45 AM.
The first hour and a half at the hospital was filled with paperwork, vitals and blood work. Then all of a sudden, it was go time. Next thing I knew they were wheeling me into the operating room. My sweet OB-GYN, who has twin girls herself, grabbed my hand and let me know just how excited she was to deliver our girls. They administered my epidural, which made me pretty sick for the first 5 minutes, but once it set in, I was relaxed. They brought Austin in and we were ready. I had a hard time staying awake so in what seemed like seconds, out came Emma. Even though I couldn’t see her, I heard my OB say, “Dark hair! Lots of dark hair!” Soon after Olivia was born. Emma had a hard time starting to breathe on her own, so she had a team of doctors surrounding her for those first ten minutes. Thankfully by the time Austin could bring the babies to me, both girls were breathing well on their own.
Seeing Emma and Olivia for the first time was one of those moments when time truly stood still. We both were in awe that these two girls were finally here and ours forever. The waiting was over and we got lost in their sweet little faces. Emma was 4 lbs. 9 oz. and 18 in. long. Olivia was 5 lbs. 4 oz. and 18.5 in. long. When it came to naming the girls, we knew we wanted to use our middle names (Austin and Marie) as their middle names. We loved the name Emma and decided the first-born twin (Baby A) would be Emma Austin. We had a much harder time deciding on a first name for Baby B. The morning of their birth we were pretty sure we wanted to use the name Olivia Marie, but I wanted to see her before deciding for sure, since a name is such a permanent decision. However as soon as she was born, the nurses started calling her Olivia because we told them that was what we thought would be her name. From that moment on, we knew it was the perfect name for her.
After leaving the OR, we spent the next hour or so in a recovery room where I was able to hold the girls skin-to-skin and breastfeed them for the first time. Amazingly they latched on right away, which was a blessing. Austin was able to hold the girls as well, and it was such a special time for us as a new family of four! Seeing Austin with our little girls was just incredible. He knew exactly how to comfort them instantly and was the perfect dad.
By 11:00 AM we were in our room, and it was time to introduce the grandparents to the girls. It was truly an incredible moment to see the joy and pride on our parents’ faces as they met their little granddaughters. Emma and Olivia are the first grandchildren on both sides of the family, which made it even more special. We had numerous sweet family and friends come to meet the girls over the next few days, so they were definitely well loved from day one. Our nurses at the hospital were truly incredible and served our family so well. We were blessed to have the same nurse three out of the four days, and she became like part of the family.Some of the sweetest moments in the hospital were late at night when it was just Austin and I and the girls. The first night, Austin squeezed into my hospital bed and we spent several hours just holding our girls and admiring them. Even now, when the girls wake-up for their 3:00 AM feeding, seeing their sweet little expressions makes Austin and me momentarily forget how much we would rather be sleeping.
Our favorite nurse Alicia.
Now I don’t want to mislead you into thinking that everything about having twins is easy. A C-section is definitely not a pain-free procedure. The first day was particularly difficult until we were able to get the pain under control. Walking just a few steps seemed like a great feat. However, it is amazing how God makes our bodies, because by the time we checked out of the hospital on Day 4, I was able to walk on my own (mind you at a VERY slow pace). Within a week I was able to go on 30-minute walks around our neighborhood and now physically am feeling great.
Heading home from the hospital.
Since the girls were so little, we had to breastfeed and bottle-feed them at each feeding to ensure they did not burn too many calories nursing. This also meant I had to pump at each feeding, so making sure they were well fed took quite a bit of time. Since they eat every three hours, and the entire “feeding process” took about an hour and a half, it meant I only had about an hour or so in between feedings to get things done or rest. Fortunately, they are growing well, so we are starting to remove the extra bottle-feeding during the day. I still pump after each feeding, but we are hoping to slow down on this as well. Thankfully my mom has been staying with us and has been a huge help!
I can’t believe the girls are four weeks – talk about time flying! They are truly a joy and such even-tempered babies. It is amazing how much they have grown already. We can already see their little personalities emerging and cannot wait to get to know them more and more each day!