Saturday, August 06, 2011

for my daughters

My dearest daughters, I could never fully express to you the joy, the wonder and the total dependence on the Lord you have brought to my life.  From the day we first learned about your existence your Daddy and I would pause, give thanks to God and long with our whole hearts to meet you both.  We often wondered what the two of you would look like, how you would act and how we would provide for you.
From the first day you  have been an answer to prayer.  Mommy prayed that she would get pregnant before her and Daddy's big move to Japan.  She wanted to have her first baby (little did she know it would be babies) in America so that she could share her experience and the first days with family.  Growing up she had always admired the way her Grandparents sisters and brothers had gathered regularly and stayed together as a source of encouragement and friendship.  Mommy longed for this encouragement and friendship for you two.  To know and to feel the love of a family that prays for each other, checks in with and just has fun with one another.  As Mommy's Great Grandma would tell her children "stick together" so I am encouraging and telling you.  Stick together, be each other's biggest fans, love one another... and don't forget to have a lot of fun with each other.

On July 12th, your Daddy and I went to the doctor's for a regular check-up.  I was feeling pretty miserable because I was stretched to what I thought was "the limits" and had started swelling about a month prior.  When I stepped on the scale I was shocked to learn I had gained nine pounds in one week because of the swelling and I also had higher blood pressure from all of the fluid that was remaining in my lower half.  My body screamed, "I'm done." but God had not opened the door yet.
I met with my favorite doctor, Dr. Noesen and he teased me that I had "mega-swelling".  Even though I was miserable and cried a lot I was thankful that the doctor said I was looking healthy.
July 12th I journaled
I am thankful today!
You are good, God.  Thank You for helping my body through this time.  I am thankful for You and the way You know me better than anyone else!  Thank You for my pregnancy, for the health of my twin girls and good doctors.  Thank You for an ability to laugh at my enormous belly, my swollen body and my aching back! I know that laughter is a gift from You!
Thank You!
Later that night, your Daddy and I were watching t.v. in our room.  Since I put myself on bed rest (I was in no mood to be up and on my feet) Daddy had moved the t.v. up to our room so that I could watch t.v. during the day and pass the time.  It wasn't my favorite thing to do but it helped me to relax.
At 11:30PM we said goodnight and went to bed.  I had a really bad headache but imagined I was just tired and it would soon go away with sleep.
By 3:30AM I still had my headache and was not able to sleep.
"Great," thought I sarcastically, "now my brain is swelling!!"
I was nervous though that something was wrong and my body was SO uncomfortable.  I told your Daddy I was going to call the doctor.  Dr. Endo was on call and she told me to come into the hospital because they didn't want to take any risks with twins.
When we arrived at the hospital, Daddy and I waited while the nurse checked my vitals.  I was having some pain and thought it was Baby B pushing on me from her position horizontally laying across my ribs.  The nurse checked and said, "Nope! Those are contractions!" I had been having contractions for who knows how long but I always thought it was you or your sister pushing on me. My stomach was so tight that I never really knew what was making me hurt.
The nurse called Dr. Endo and at 4-4:30AM came back to our room with the news, "Dr. Endo reserved a room and we're going to prep you for a c-section."
The doctors decided to go ahead with a c-section because I was already advancing with contractions and the pressure of my swelling was giving me a painful headache.  Isn't this funny, my sweet daughters? This was certainly not the way I imagined going into labor, but then again, this whole pregnancy had been one adventure after another so why have a "by the book" labor?
Although they began to prep me for a c-section I asked Dr. Endo if she would do one last ultrasound to make sure Baby A (Annalie) hadn't flipped head down.  If Baby A was head down I wanted to labor on my own and go naturally or vaginally.  Dr. Endo was so kind.  She completely understood my desire and did one last ultrasound.  It was confirmed that both babies were still breech and so we decided to go ahead with the c-section.
They wheeled me into the room while your Daddy waited for me to get prepped.  I was moved onto the table and they sat me up to receive my epidural.  Dr. Endo kept speaking to me quietly and calmly.  She put her hand on my arm and told me to relax when the shot was going in.  I felt very comfortable and was very excited when she told me that Dr. Noesen would be assisting her in the delivery.  It was so cold in the delivery room that I had shivers and the drugs that were helping me for surgery made me shake even more.  Pretty soon though I was relaxed and laying down, waiting for surgery to begin.  Your Daddy was allowed in the room and he sat down by my head.
They put up a small curtain so that I couldn't see anything and the surgery began.  I never once felt any pain or awkward pressure.  I thought I might get sick with them "pulling" or "tugging" on my body but I didn't feel any pain at all and I didn't feel too nervous.  Daddy spoke really calmly to me and we could hardly believe that you two were going to be born that day.  It seemed so surreal!!
Dr. Endo said one thing that I remember distinctly and that was, "Call so and so and let them know we've reached the uterus." My guess is that they were calling the pediatricians because with twins I had double the amount of people in the room.  Double the doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and pediatricians to help with my two baby girls.
At 6:45 AM on July 13th, 2011 the doctors said something and then I heard you cry Annalie, it immediately made me weep and makes me cry just thinking about that first instance when my heart leaped out of my chest and was attached to another human being.  A human being from my very body.  I couldn't hardly believe it.
Dr. Endo held you over the curtain so I could see you, Annalie and you were beautiful.  You were crying and red but you looked so wonderful that I could hardly breathe.  God really opened my heart to see His wondrous grace and mercy in giving you to me.  I am in awe of His perfect plan making me your Mommy.
At 6:46 AM you were joined by your sister Maribelle and I rejoiced that you were crying and healthy.  I wanted to hold you in my arms so badly but I knew I had to be patient.
Dr. Endo asked for your names and we gave them although we hadn't decided who was going to have which name.
Then Dr. Endo insisted that we all sing "Happy Birthday" to you girls and it was hilarious because she botched up your names and called you "Maribelle" and "Annabelle".... I didn't mind though because I was feeling really good and was just excited to hold you.
While they finished my surgery Daddy came over to me and was holding both of you.  The first words out of my mouth were, "Don't drop them," which Dr. Endo and Noesen thought was hilarious that I said that.  Little did I know how naturally being a father has come to your Daddy.  He has not had a hiccup or misstep in caring for and sacrificing for you sweet angels.  From the first moment you two came along your Daddy has been all about giving you the very best.  I'm not surprised by this because he has always served and loved me well in our marriage.
You two and your Daddy went to the nursery to be weighed, measured, cleaned and checked while I finished up in surgery.  Then you each joined me, separately at this time, in the recovery room where I nursed you both for the first time.
All the lactation consultants, nurses and hospital personnel kept "oohhing" and "ahhing" over what beautiful babies you were (are) and really helped set me up for success.

Although your birth story is not how I pictured it, I am 100% thankful that God always knows what He is doing and has been writing your story (far better than I ever could) from before the beginning of time.  Your days were ordained and written for you before even one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

There are no words to describe my love for you. There is not enough memory or storage on this blog to begin to tell you how you have changed and opened my eyes to all that God is.
He has filled my heart with joy and gladness.
I have always been cheered on and encouraged to be all that I can be by my family and my parents.  Now it is my turn to overflow the blessings that have been given to me onto you.
I am ready for the adventure of raising you....
God be with me, enable me to love my sweet daughters and give me strength to pour out the Spirit You've given into their lives.


Christy Randl said...


kyle and jennifer said...

thanks for sharing your beautiful birth experience jo! it made me so teary! i can't wait to meet your sweet girls!
much love friend!

Rachel Farley said...

This is amazing.

You are going to be an incredible mother! Your girls are so lucky!

Nicole Suzanne Farley said...

OH! Loved every word, what a great story...and BEAUTIFUL babies!

Holly said...

No one tells a story like you. When I read this, I hear your caring, soft voice like you are telling me the story across the table with a cup of coffee. You are such a blessing in my life even miles away. Those girls have no idea how lucky they are to have you as their mom. I cannot wait to meet them!

Much love,

P.S. I forgot to give you your card when Rach and I were there. I'll put that in the mail...

Lynn V. Jones said...

thank you for sharing this Joanna! What a sweet and wonderful story!