Tuesday, we had an ultrasound. Hog Baybee - Evelyn - was looking perfect, as usual. Itty Bitty Baybee - Ainsley - hadn't grown in two weeks. That, combined with my ridiculous blood pressure and protein-filled urine bought us a C-Section.
I got my first steroid shot Monday night, and it is best to wait 48 hours from the first shot to deliver the babies. So we were scheduled for our C-Section Thursday morning at 9.
We were constantly monitored. The babies heart rates were perfect and my blood pressure was high but under control. It was just a waiting game at that point - rest, relax, and be sliced from hip to hip. No biggie.
Mark settled into the hospital with me Wednesday so we could spend the night hanging out before the babies came. It felt like a little adventure. We had the laptop and we watched movies. We were actually watching Step Brothers when Everything Went Terribly Wrong.
Right around the Catalina Wine Mixer part of Step Brothers, Evelyn popped off the heart monitor. Not a big deal, since both girls moved around so much, they'd have to reposition the monitors every hour or so to keep track of the heartbeats.
The nurse tried for about 20 minutes to find Evelyn before she let another nurse try. "Fresh hands and ears." The other nurse tried for another 20 minutes. "Let's get a doppler, we can hear so much better and once we find her with that it will be easier to get the monitor back on."
Doppler = my heartbeat and Ainsley's heartbeat.
"Alright, let's do an ultrasound."
This is right about the point where I couldn't look at Mark. I didn't want to be alarmist but...really? It never took this long before. 5-10 minutes? Sure. My babies were movers and shakers and we'd often just get movement sounds until they settled in to rest. But this was getting to be almost an hour at this point.
One doctor tried the ultrasound and couldn't find anything. She called another doctor. I couldn't breathe. The other doctor sounded stressed, "Tell me what I'm looking at here. Transverse and breech? What should I be looking at?"
Our nurse started to pat my leg. I started to cry uncontrollably. It was quiet. They asked for Dr. Davis. I couldn't look at anyone and couldn't breathe. Dr. Davis came - the same doctor who delivered my Olivia two years ago - and tried the ultrasound one last time. "I can't find the heartbeat on Baby A. I'm so, so sorry."
One of the other doctors gave me a hug and was crying too. They paged my doctor, Dr. Stewart, and I said I just needed time alone. I felt Ainsley kick. I'd never been so scared in my entire life.
We had a few minutes to call our families to let them know that we'd be having our C-Section right away. Only 12 hours away from the C-Section that was planned back when everything was fine and when we were excited to meet our two girls.
I was so puffy, it took forever to get my new IV in. I was so upset that I couldn't follow simple directions and people had to start saying things to me multiple times, even grabbing my arm and leading me around. All I could hear was roaring in my ears and every time someone talked to me I could see their lips move but couldn't hear the words. The medication for the spinal made me nauseated and I spent about 15 minutes groaning with my face in a barf bag.
Mark came in after my spinal was done, and they let me have my arms free so that I could hold Mark's hand. We cried. It was as awful as you'd imagine.
Ainsley was born first. They held her up over the sheet and she looked totally pissed off. And she looked just like Olivia when she was born.
A little bit of blood dripped onto the drape and so we were distracted when they held Evelyn up. They had to tell us to look. She was bigger but looked just like her sister. Except pale. She was really pale. She didn't look pissed off. She looked perfectly peaceful.
Mark went to watch Ainsley be cleaned and weighed. He took her picture. He doesn't really remember what they said. She cried a little.
I could see the nurse with Evelyn. She was putting a pink polka dot gown on her. She swaddled her and put her in a tiny carrier.
Both our parents were in recovery when we got there. We held Evelyn. She was perfect. She looked like she was asleep - I'm not sure what I thought a stillborn baby would look like, but she looked alive and asleep.
Evelyn was beautiful. A photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep came to take photos of her. It was the most horrible experience. We did it because I would regret it forever if I didn't, but it was heartbreaking. Our first and last pictures with our daughter. The photographer was kind and respectful.
We made arrangements. Discussed funeral homes. Autopsies. We got a memory box. Like we'd ever forget.
We saw Ainsley briefly before she was sent to Children's NICU. She was so small.
We were scared.
We kept Evelyn with us all night. I couldn't hold her anymore after a certain point because the more I held her the more I worried I wouldn't be able to let her go.
Mark took our parents to see Ainsley. I couldn't go because I was still hooked up to my catheter and my blood pressure was insanely high. The official report: small, but doing well. A fighter, but we already knew that.
Now, Ainsley is six days old. She's getting stronger. She's small and perfectly beautiful. We love her so much. I will write more about her later.