Dear James and Jackson —
“Oh, no, Oh no,” your Mama burst into tears at 4:45AM on September 16, 2013.
“What? What is it?” your Daddy said, out of a deep sleep of only two hours.
“My water broke. My water broke. The babies will go to NICU.”
Sometimes the best laid plans are not meant to be, which is why I am glad I decided to surrender to whatever will be during Week 32.
You came into the world with a bang. And tonight, I sit next to my hospital grade Symphony Breast Pump as it churns out liquid gold for your nourishment — longing for both of you to come home. I write the story of your BIRTHday.
At midnight, during the first hour of your 35th week, I was sitting in the car waiting for your Daddy to bring me a Maui Banana shake from Fatburger. If I were to claim a craving during my pregnancy with you, I would have to claim this shake. Dr. D wanted me to crave fish head broth, but somehow a Maui Banana shake was all I could muster. I had just written this post — Week 35: The Home Stretch.
Little did I know at the time how close to home we actually were.
Sunday, September 15th was a rather average Sunday. We were supposed to go to your grandparents’ house for dinner and have Barone’s pizza. About the time we were getting ready to leave, I went to the bathroom and there was a spot of blood. I did not get alarmed. I heard this was normal as you got closer to delivering. I called Dr. S and instead of heading to have Barone’s pizza we were sent to the hospital to have me checked.
In many ways I was grateful to go to the hospital to be checked. I had been feeling like you were running out of room and I was longing to hear your little heartbeats. They told me your heartbeats were strong. They hooked me up to a monitor as well and told me I was having mild contractions, but my cervix was still completely closed.
I was sent home without incident.
After leaving the hospital, we went to eat Barone’s pizza at your grandparents. The night was normal until around 4:45AM when my water broke. I had been reading about this water breaking; wondering if I would know it when my water broke?
The answer is yes, I most definitely knew my water had broken. An entire warm lake left my body and within minutes I was having contractions.
Your Daddy had only been asleep for two hours. The first thing he did was calm me down. My only goal for this birth was to carry you until a least September 28th so you would not have to go to NICU.
“Honey, this is exciting. This is what we have been waiting for, it’s beautiful.”
Suddenly joy washed over me as he held me and I was able to calm down and get dressed. The minute I was dressed, more water gushed out of me. I don’t get dressed again. I decide to sit on a towel in the car.
I had contractions and more water rushes all the way to the hospital.
When we got there, the admitting woman was busy with someone NOT pregnant with twins, having contractions on a red birth ball in the lobby of Tarzana Medical Center Women’s Pavilion. I started moaning on the birth ball while your Daddy held me in the middle of the lobby.
Perhaps it was the moaning. Perhaps it was the birth ball. Perhaps it was the fact that I looked like a drowned rat.
She finally sent us upstairs.
By the time Dr. S arrived, I wanted the c-section to happen. Not because I was in great pain with contractions now five minutes apart — on one level I was enjoying them — but in my mind, I knew you would be in NICU.
For whatever reason, that separation terrified me. I knew Jackson was transverse at the very top of my uterus. I had read horrible stories about delivering one vaginally and then the second via emergency c-section. Healing in two places was not something I needed.
I was wheeled into surgery at around 7:15AM. And within what seemed like minutes — you were born.
At 7:29am on September 16, 2013 — James Philip Wilcox — came into the world. You weighed 5 pounds and 9 ounces. You were 19 1/4 inches long.
At 7:30am on September 16, 2013 — Jackson Roy Wilcox — came into the world. You weighed 5 pounds and 9 ounces. You were 18 1/2 inches long.
There are some really funny pictures where you are looking at each other screaming. I just imagine you had a thing or two to say to each other about all of that kicking.
Daddy went with you to the NICU where Jackson had to be put on oxygen, but only for 24 hours. Our doula, Melissa, stayed with me in recovery and at 10:10am exactly, I was wheeled into the NICU.
I could not hold Jackson because of the oxygen tube.
James latched right on to my breast for a few minutes and then fell asleep on my chest.
I felt as if I had waited my whole life for this moment. It was pure joy.
Not one bit of it went exactly how I had envisioned it. Not getting pregnant. Not being pregnant. Not delivering you into the world.
But in the end, it was absolutely perfect. I was meant to have these two perfect babies named James and Jackson.
My life changed forever the minute I saw you. The minute I held you I knew nothing was the same. I was not the same. My heart expanded and continues to expand every single day in ways I never thought possible.
It all started one week ago tonight.
Pure love. I can’t describe it any other way.
I’ll admit, I do hate the NICU stay. It hurts my heart to leave you there every night, but even that has a silver lining which I’ll write more about later.
At least I am trying to believe it does.
I never imagined my heart could grow this big.