Luella Miette and Maeve Emmeline Rosemeyer (Welcome).
Cradled in thin arms lies a small golden glow
Bright eyes that gaze upon the great mountain snow
Cradled in fabric soft lies the little arms that reach
For things that lovers dream of – sunlight across the sea.
Mamma’s feet will walk with her child with crimson hair
Her lover’s hand, he’s holding on caught in her moonlit stare
Daddy’s singing slow to a child with heavy eyes
Tiny hands are curled up softly by her sides
Her smile makes him weak and her gaze makes him strong
Tiny crimson girl this is your dreaming song
With the happiest of hearts, on Friday February 08, 2013 we welcomed Luella Miette (2820g) and Maeve Emmeline (2610g) into our arms.
Finally, finally, our beautiful girls are here. Two weeks later and I am still giddy with elation and disbelief. I’m actually smiling, with stinging eyes, as I type. I cannot really grasp that I am sharing the birth story of our fifth and sixth babies. Every little thing, every single day, reminds me of the incredibly difficult journey it took to get to this place and then, so very often, the gratitude brings quiet happy tears. I spend so much of my day staring and kissing their heads and reaching for a camera and wanting to preserve every moment. I want to slow time and I want to keep them right here with me. For always.
So, here it is. The birth story of our girls. Luella and Maeve.
I’d heard that if you think the months before babies arrival go slowly, wait until the day of birth. Yes, this is very true but for me, it was the entire week of birth. Instead of busying myself with nursery preparation and excited chatter with the family, I found myself alone in hospital on bed-rest for seven days prior to their arrival. I didn’t plan to end up there, I just did. The evening of the belly shot I shared previously, as pathetic as it sound sounds, I cried my sorry self to sleep. I didn’t want to admit it but things really were becoming difficult, or maybe it was just that I was, and Crayton had begun speaking in sentences that frequently included the word ‘hospital’. In my usual obstinate fashion, I had begun protesting loudly against the idea. The thought of leaving everyone behind and waiting it out by myself across town did not remotely appeal – I just wanted to be able to soak up the anticipation together. I had painted the picture in my mind, counting down with the kids and repacking the suitcase and laying awake at night with my love, dreaming of meeting them. It only took one more night of no sleep and the complete inability to make it down the stairs the next morning to change my mind. For all my protesting, once I’d made the decision it really was fine and by the time we got to hospital, I was actually looking forward to the adjustable bed and meals on a tray.
I thought at some point I’d get bored and restless and impatient. I didn’t. Time did slow down but I actually began to really enjoy the quiet and the chance to write letters to the girls and the many many minutes of uninterrupted staring out the window. It was a time to really prepare for the biggest change in our lives since 2007 and to bask in the anticipation. The midwives were so sweet in sharing my excitement and it felt like our twins were the most important thing happening that week :)
A quite surreal something also took place over those days though. On February 5, the anniversary of Ava’s passing, I was laying in the same hospital where I held her and said goodbye. I watched the clock that morning, knowing it was coming. The same minutes my darling made her way from this Earth, in that same place. It was hard. More than hard. But it was also a different film reel this year. Before, it always stopped at the moment she left. Beyond that, just a time of unavoidable sadness. This year, this week though? It played on. This week I imagined the path between then and now and what was waiting at the end of it. I said endless thank yous to our sweet princesses. All of them. Ava, Ivy and the two tiny miracles about to arrive in that very same space. Those extra frames in my mind brought a new calm to some difficult moments. And when I made my way out of my room that day, for the first time since arriving, I wandered slowly down the quiet halls looking for something to photograph. I wanted to preserve a moment from that day. The late afternoon sun streamed through the huge windows and just steps from my door, I found this.
A small something but it felt like the perfect symbol for that day. From where I stood I could see the balcony of PICU..the place I’d gone to take shallow breath six years earlier. I don’t feel Ava often but I did that day. I felt her all around and I felt peace. I may not have been at home with the rest of my family that week but for at least some of it, I was with my darling girl and for that, I’m so grateful.
My ob had agreed that Friday the 8th of Feb was a good day to be born and I started counting down the minutes. I also began researching ways to make the whole operating theater environment and surgical birth experience a little more personal. In the UK, there is the option in some hospitals of having a ‘natural caesarean‘ and while I knew the big tertiary hospital I was in would never allow some of those concepts, I drew on the smaller elements to make it more special to us. I enlisted the help of wonderful midwives and spoke to key people who would be present for their birth. All in all, while I’d ideally have loved a natural birth, the girls had stayed very comfortable in their breech/transverse arrangement and I felt really happy that the team of people who would greet our babies were on board with the little requests I’d made. I was careful not to get too fixated though, I’d been warned numerous times that twins at 37 weeks may or may not need special care and if so, all the plans for personal touches would go straight out the window.
Seven days of bed rest and seven nights of pesky pre-labor contractions later, their day of birth dawned and I was literally bursting with excitement. Crayton arrived and we ‘gowned up’ and waited to be wheeled into theater. We were a huge mix of nerves and happiness and anticipation..hoping the surgery would go well, hoping they would be healthy, praying they were ready to be born. As we traveled to theater, I found it hard not to shout to strangers walking by that we were about to meet our twins. I giggled and squeezed Craytons hand and felt a thousand butterflies in my tummy.
At 1pm, I climbed up onto the bed and tried to prepare for what was about to happen. Both the imminent birth and the idea of the spinal anesthetic had me shaking. The tears rolled slowly down my cheeks while Crayton smiled to reassure me. The lovely medical staff did a great job of calming our nerves and my wonderful ob went to find speakers for my iPhone and happily popped on the music I’d asked to be played. Alba’s Lullabye, by Elle Graham, filled the room and helped me refocus. I still can’t say I found the spinal fun but we got there and thank the Lord, it worked. I’d asked for the medical team to keep mindless chatter to a minimum (I wanted the focus wholly and solely on this amazing event!!) but they did end up making small talk about silly things and to be honest, we probably needed it. The distraction meant I couldn’t focus too much on the incredible pushing, pressure and rummaging sensation going on below. I used every hypno-birthing technique I had to keep my breathing steady while I silently begged for it to be over and for everything to be okay. Crayton held my hand tightly and I searched the ceiling trying to find a reflection. And then, there she was. Luella. Big and beautiful and every bit a baby. Our baby!
She cried immediately and while that doesn’t quite fit with my ideas for a perfect arrival, it did mean lots of reassurance for us. They took her to be checked and we shifted focus to our other sweet-pea, still tucked well and truly inside. A few more minutes of more intense rummaging and then I heard the ob say she was out. I waited to see her but instead, the ob said “Sheye, she’s going straight to resus”. I’d been warned that babies only go immediately if they’re having problems so being honest, I was pretty afraid. The aimless chit chat had stopped and the silence of our second baby completely drowned out Luella’s cries. It seemed like forever but in reality, it only took a minute for her to cry also. Oh, the relief. My ob explained she was being over cautious and while it meant we have no birth photo of Maeve, I am very happy she took no chances.
The next ten minutes were spent with my darling girls perched on my chest, blinking and sniffling and taking in the World. I saw right away how different they looked – Luella was pink skinned and fine featured. Maeve..well she was like all the other Rosemeyer babies – dark skin and eyes with a little button nose and very round head. I wanted to feed them right away but lying on a narrow theater bed didn’t allow for it so Crayton went with them to the nursery for some skin to skin. It wasn’t very long before I got to see them again – perched up on Daddy’s chest eagerly waiting for lunch. I was thrilled to find they both fed well and that they were able to return to my room with me.
All our worries, all our hesitation about when they should be born..and here they were, healthy and beautiful. I can’t describe how elated I felt in those moments and still, forteen days later. How did we got so incredibly lucky? It still feels so unreal. It feels like when we had Luca and couldn’t fathom the hospital lets you take them home. Without a chaperone. Like, you just get to keep them? Wow. Wow. Wow. Every single day, I still say to Crayton “Can you believe it?”, to which he replies “No, I can’t.”
When I found out I was having twins, I worried about carrying them. I worried about their birth. Never, though, about caring for them. I know it’s hard, on some levels, but we’ve done so much harder. It’s almost laughable when people say the things people say when twins are discussed. The most popular so far seems to be “glad it’s you and not me” to which I cheerfully reply “me too”. I am absolutely loving every single second of life as a Mother to twins. I can’t imagine feeling otherwise, after what it’s taken to get here. All throughout my IVF journey, if you’d asked me my ideal outcome, I would have first said a healthy baby of course but if you’d have pushed me, I’d have told you, in my wildest dreams, it was twin girls. While I do know about life delivering situations that are impossible to comprehend, I still struggle to believe we are here. To have their older siblings doting on them too is just the icing.
Of course there are the practical bits that aren’t quite as much fun as staring and cooing all day. I’m finding out that the sleep deprivation is a whole different World to the sleep deprivation I experienced in pregnancy. There is a big difference between waking up yourself all night and being woken out of a deep sleep. Add in a set of breasts on fire and then times it all by two and well, it’s demanding for sure. The good thing is I’ve figured out quickly how important routine is and have stuck to it pretty well. At the moment they are usually only waking twice overnight to feed, or I’m waking them if need be. It does mean being awake for at least an hour or more each time but at least they’re in sync and it’s not all night long. Being early, they do sleep a lot and I’m under no illusion that it won’t change. I do expect there to be much harder days ahead but gratitude carries you so much further than you can normally cope with. I never forget, not for a second. My heart literally sings with the appreciation of this gift..even at midnight. And 3am.
And speaking of appreciation..you. All of you. I am totally overwhelmed – yet again – by the incredible love and support shown to our family. Your excitement and enthusiasm, your beautiful words, the gorgeous gifts, the sheer celebration of our babies arrival. It’s incredible and it’s all things good in human nature. Endless thank you’s for making this magical time even more special for us.
Oh, and the girls names..I’ve been asked a few questions about them so here’s how they came about.
Luella – a name Crayton really loved and often put forth but I always had 2 syllables in mind..in line with the other kids. When I realized I could shorten to Lula, one of my top contenders, it seemed like the perfect choice. It’s the first time Crayton has had a look in with baby naming and given there were two arriving I figured I couldn’t be entirely greedy. I think Lula is very sweet for a baby and little girl and Luella is a lovely grown up name. Miette, her middle name, means “small sweet thing” in French. I loved it so much the first time I heard it and I was quite intent on it being Twin 2′s first name. After test driving it on anyone who’d stop and listen, I gathered that it could be problematic. From bad pronunciation to just plain confused expressions..I decided it was best as Lula’s second name. I still adore it very much and it will be the perfect nickname for when she is being small and sweet :)
And then Maeve. A name I heard quite some years ago and fell hard for. A little more unusual than Mae, which I also adore, to me it conjures up everything cute for a small child and everything elegant for a grown up. I do think it suits her so perfectly. Emmeline, her middle name, was for no reason other than it just sounded really pretty. Melodic and feminine and again, French. (One of my alternate Universes has me raising children on the Côte d’Azur you see). So, I hope they love them as much as I do. For the record, they’re pronounced Lou-ella Me-ette and Mave (rhymes with brave) Emma-lene.
So, the sky looks different once again and for the first time in six long years, I remember what real, pure, true happiness is. Thank you for choosing us, our beautiful baby girls. You are so very loved.