Monday August 19, 2013 started just like any other Monday for Matthew and I. It was business as usual and we were still anxiously counting down the days until the arrival of Baby T-Rex. Travel plans were being finalized, and the last days of work were being scheduled. Only 23 days until the due date. Everything completely changed with four text messages.
Reading those four text messages and then reading them again created feelings of anxiety, excitement and stress. The baby is coming tonight? Seriously? We are over 1,150 miles away. My first phone call was to Matthew while he was at work. He answers and I can only muster up a three-word phrase. “Leave work now!”
The next hour included packing clothes, stacking up bags and crates that would go into the car, checking on available flights to Texas, calling our parents and waiting for Matthew to make the 30 minute drive home from work. We had already experienced what we referred to as our practice drill, so we were prepared to leave as quickly as possible. From the time we received the phone call until we were pulling out of the driveway, took 90 minutes. As the garage door was closing, I thought to myself the next time it opens we would have our daughter with us and be a family of three.
We had barely driven 50 miles before the reality of how long it was actually going to take us to get to Texas set in. The GPS said we still had over 17 hours to go. I quickly started calculating a more accurate time using an average speed of 75 mph. With Matthew driving, I calculated an average speed of 80 mph. Is this an admission of guilt? We could make it in 15 hours.
The discussion began of how to pass the time as quick as possible. Matthew and I have talked about listening to an audiobook several times, and what better time than now to try one? A quick stop to the audiobook aisle at a Barnes and Noble in Knoxville, Tennessee and I was already over the idea. What book do you choose? I haven’t heard of half the books that were available. One of the few books we recognized was The Help. $49 later and we were back on the road to Texas. Disc 1 Track 3 and I was already lost and had no idea what was happening in the story. Who is Skeeter? We went to see the movie while it was still in theaters and I couldn’t even keep up with someone reading the story to me. This was going to be a long trip.
The miles seemed to pass slowly and the chapters of the book even slower. We both constantly checked our phones for an update from the labor and delivery floor at Abilene Regional Medical Center. The current plan was to induce the expecting mother at 8 o’clock the next morning. Our GPS said if we continued to drive through the night we would arrive at 9:15am. Everything appeared to be happening in our favor. Then we get a text message saying that they had “broken her water”. What? No way. We had just driven through Nashville, Tennessee, and we still had hundreds of miles to go.
Less than two hours later we were speeding toward the Tennessee state line, and we didn’t even realize that we had received these two text messages.
The baby is here? Really? We are dads? OMG! We needed to stop driving and pulled off I-40 in Jackson, Tennessee. Matthew and I decided to fill the car up with gas and get something to eat at the McDonald’s gas station combo. The television in the McDonald’s was on The Weather Channel, and they were airing a documentary of “The Miracle on the Hudson”. Being a pilot, I normally would be thrilled and excited to watch something about aviation, but this time I was so sick to my stomach and trying to process the magnitude of what just happened.
The phone vibrates and it was a small image. This had to be a picture of our daughter. I hold off looking at the picture until Matthew sits next to me in the booth. We click the image and it gets bigger. There she is! The very first picture of our daughter!
After discarding the half eaten fast food, we hopped in the car and began trying to process everything that was happening. Matthew drove around to the back of the building and the tears began to flow. Our world had just changed forever. Letting the reality of what happened to sink in was difficult. There was definitely some sadness for missing her birth, but we were happy and very excited. It was hard to believe baby Harper was finally here. We both really wanted to be at the hospital with her mother Mercy and her father Dylan but were elated that both mother and baby were fine. Dylan survived the birth as well.
Matthew and I want to share that special first picture with you. World meet Harper Wade Darnell
Born August 19, 2013 at 8:24 pm CDT
5lb 9.6 oz
18.5 inches long
We are now dads and we still have 10 hours to go! Exhaustion has set in.
To be continued…
By: Kelly Rummelhart
What does one get their Intended Parents for their upcoming Baby Shower? How about a baby?
At the moment I don’t have the mental capacity to write out a long drawn out birth story so I’m going to cut to the chase . . .
Friday June 29th- 34 weeks pregnant
6:00 am- Kelly wakes up to a feeling of peeing herself, twice in about five minutes.
8:00 am- While walking around doing some laundry, Kelly has more “seepage” of fluid. Is it pee? She doesn’t think so. Is it amniotic fluid? Perhaps but it didn’t feel like a “gush” like it had in the past.
9:00 am- Calls into OB and waits to hear back.
10:00 am- Heads into the Birth Center to get checked out.
**SEVERAL HOURS of debate . . . which finally led to a C-section that night**
6:29 pm- Kelly’s surrogate baby Alexander is born
By: Brandy Black
The babies were scheduled to arrive on December 21st based on the doctor’s orders. This would have been past full term for twins. I wanted them to pick their birthday. On December 6th I had contractions that started at 8 minutes apart and went down to 3 minutes for a good 2-3 hours. I was fully admitted into the hospital and was told the babies would be arriving in the next 24 hours. We called my parents at 3AM and told them to get to the airport fast. Suddenly, contractions stopped and I was no longer dilating. Cedars kept me for observation for 5 more hours and then released me advising that I would likely be back in the next couple days. I called my father as soon as I realized we weren’t having the babies quite yet and he couldn’t hear me.
“I said we aren’t having the babies.”
“I can’t hear you, we’re on the plane, see you soon.”
Susan and I drove home, disappointed that we weren’t going to be holding our precious babies. My parents arrived a couple hours later. Days passed while my mom and dad helped prepare the house. We soon discovered how much needed to be done, how overwhelmed we were, and I got more and more tired each day. They took care of us, shopping trips, babysitting, pick up and drop off for preschool, servicing the washing machine, getting my car fixed, I forgot how much family can help when you let them.
After many days passed, I gave up on any chance of the babies coming early. On December 15th Susan and I went to do some final Christmas shopping. I was pushing us around tired of being home and doing nothing but wait. Suddenly in line I got tired and dizzy and had to sit to gather myself, Susan convinced me to skip our last stop and head home for the night. We got home and I raced to the bathroom because pregnant women with twins have to pee a hundred times a day. I felt a burst and suddenly a rush of water came out of me. My water broke. I was in such shock that I didn’t believe it and everyone kept asking me if I was sure. I walked back to our room to talk to Susan and stood as water leaked rapidly out of me. Susan began to laugh and than panic as she rushed around gathering our belongings for our second visit to the hospital.
By the time we arrived to the hospital the contractions were stronger and it was confirmed the babies were coming. We checked in at 5:45PM and by 11:00PM I was in the operating room with 12 people around me pushing with all my might. I focused on their voices cheering me on. 5 pushes later Bella Black Howard arrived, white and gooey and full of life. Her cries brought me tears, tears of joy that I hoped I would have at the sound of her little voice. But my joyous moment was quickly interrupted with panic around me. “He’s flipped, I feel a foot now, not a head”. There was much commotion and I couldn’t figure out what was happening. My doctor leaned down to me and told me that we would likely be doing a C-section for baby B. There was chatter around me, I was tired and a bit dizzy, I looked over at Susan and she had backed away from me with her hands over her face. “What? What happened?” I asked her. We had made an agreement that no matter how bad things got she wouldn’t let it show on her face because I knew I would panic. I began to panic. In what seemed several minutes later, Susan finally took a moment to speak to me, she huddled over me as to block the others from my view and told me that they were going to try one last thing to get our baby boy to flip around, she told me to relax and breathe and picture him flipping. I closed my eyes and focused until I heard “I feel a head, I feel a head Brandy, push”. I pushed hard and what had been a room full of noise and chaos became silent as all waited for baby B to arrive. An oxygen mask was placed over my mouth and 10 pushes later baby Penn came out screaming.
I didn’t know at the time that Susan and the nurse had conspired to get another doctor in the room who was a big advocate of me having a natural birth, so much so that he had been talking about us since we checked in. Apparently it’s rare that pregnant women with twins opt to have them naturally so the doctors were following us closely and making bets on what would happen. Once recovering our nurse told us that my delivery was “epic”.
I didn’t know how I was going to react to these two new family members; everyone has a different experience after birth. Some parents don’t immediately bond with their kids and given that parts of this pregnancy were scary and challenging for me, I wasn’t sure which way it would go. Luckily, I gushed with love the minute I heard, saw, and held them. I stare at them in the middle of night and can’t believe I ever feared their arrival. I treasure them, each and every one of them. I can’t imagine life without my darlings Sophia, Penn, and Bella.
It was the happiest of holidays with my arms full of delicious children and the realization that I adore being a mama.