The Birth of Fawkes and Phoenix
I want to first note that I started writing this a week to the day after the events depicted in this post transpired and I’m finishing it even later, though I’ll try to write it as though it had just happened. I badly wanted to write timely updates throughout the week, but that just wasn’t happening.
Let us continue.
Milly and I returned from the Daddy-Daughter Dance at PC3 right around 9:00. Tristen was sitting on the couch in the spot she’s favored for the past several weeks, obviously not feeling great. She was doing a lot of heavy breathing. Milly got ready for bed, brushed her teeth and all that. She was pretty tired from the dancing and all, so we didn’t read tonight.
After Milly went to bed I asked Tristen if she was okay. She said she had some paints in her upper back (which ended up creeping into her neck) and her belly, but they weren’t pregnancy area pains. She said she figured it was gas or something.b
Tristen paced a bit. Tristen got nauseous. Tristen threw up in the sink. I decided we needed to go to the hospital just in case as she was talking on the phone. I think she tried to call her mom, but ended up getting Torrie. I was going to tell her when she got off the phone that we needed to call Torrie to see if she’d come watch Milly while we went to the hospital. Turns out that’s exactly what she’d set up.
Torrie got here and we headed out. Torrie, figuring Tristen was in denial and was about to have babies, was grinning with glee as we walked out the door. “Quit grinning,” I teased at her excitement.
We got to the hospital and got checked in pretty quick. The nurse checked her vitals and I noticed she started moving around with a bit of alacrity after she checked Tristen’s blood pressure. We later found out that it got as bad as 220 over 116 or something. I never can remember what good blood pressure numbers are, but I knew that was bad. She was near to the point of having a stroke and it turned out she basically had something called HELLP syndrome. She was a digit or so off from it.
Dr. Gore, whom I think we were supposed to have a visit with sometime next week, came in and told us that Tristen was having preeclampsia, and the only cure for that is to deliver the babies. She asked about our birth plan, which had been a c-section for quite some time.
A word about that. Baby A (Fawkes) had been pretty much ready to go for at least a couple months now. He was head down with his butt angled to Mama’s left. Baby B (Phoenix) has been transverse most of the time, going right across the top of the belly, though he would flip around from one side to the other from time to time, once even doing it during an ultrasound (though we didn’t see it- his head was on one side then it was on the other). Think of them as making sort of a figure 7.
Tristen would have liked to have tried a vaginal delivery, but with one in the right position and the other transverse, her fear was that Phoenix wouldn’t drop into place after Fawkes came out, then they’d either have to reach up in her to turn him around, do it from the outside, or end up with a caesarian anyway. The thought of having to try to recover from both a vaginal birth and a caesarian surgery was not all that appealing to my wife, so we (that is, she, and I agreed with her, but it was up to her because it’s her body) decided to opt for a c-section some time ago.
I started a family group text at 11:12 PM that said, “Looking like Tris has preeclampsia. Only cure is delivery. Everything’s moving along. Will keep everyone posted.”
Laura showed up and was trying to comfort Tristen, who was not feeling well. They were getting things prepped to give her a spinal. They also gave her magnesium for the blood pressure. By 11:33 I was in scrubs and was soon walking down the hall next to Tristen’s hospital bed. I was asked to wait outside the room while they gave her the spinal. That was at about 12:10, which is when I took the picture at the top of this page. Tristen said Dr. Gore was wonderful with her and her let hold onto her while they were doing the spinal. A few minutes later I was ushered to the OR.
While all this was going on, Torrie had woken Milly up to take her to her house. She said Milly was completely out of it and when asked what was going on, Torrie told her we were at the hospital to have her brothers. Milly was underwhelmed, but, to her credit, she was basically a zombie at the time. The kid generally sleeps very well through the night. In fact, she didn’t remember anything at all because the very next morning, when she woke up at Torrie and Johnny’s in Bash’s bed (he was at his Nonny and Pappy’s for the night- funny enough that only Pappy and Johnny were left to watch kids, and neither was watching a kid of their own), after asking Torrie about doing some crafts with some glitter glue she’d seen, she asked why she was there. Torrie told her that he brothers had been born. Milly’s response: “WHAT!?!”
Anyway, the operating room.
When I arrived Tristen’s head and hands were all I could see, the rest of her body being covered by a curtain. I held her hand. We said things to each other. Then we heard a bit of a cry and at 12:22 AM on February 10, our first son, Fawkes Paul Dotsey, was born. They lowered the curtain a little and let us touch him for a few moments before taking him to get cleaned up a bit, get his vitals, that sort of thing.
The curtain was a little lowered still, and, not being overly squeamish betimes, I peeked over and saw pools and tubes of blood. I didn’t want to be gauche, so I didn’t stare. Tristen heard a doctor say something about moving her bladder or kidney or something, and at 12:25, our second son, Phoenix Hayden Dotsey, was born. We touched him before he was also shipped off to the far side of the room. I think we kissed, said some things. I don’t know, it was a bit of a blur.
I was asked if I wanted to cut the umbilical cords. They had actually already been cut from the placenta, but I went over to cut it shorter. Fawkes came first, along with a couple pictures, then Phoenix. It took a bit longer to get to Phoenix, and I even asked if everything was okay. I was assured it was. One of the doctors held up their hands to shield them from the cord blood that spurted out when I cut the juicy little cord.
They put the boys in, I don’t know, clear plastic boxes or whatever, and got ready to move them to a different room. I went back to Tristen, not caring if I glanced at her open belly as I went. I mean, there were several people all around her at the time, and all I remember is a lot of blood and a good bit of pink, maybe some yellow. When I got back to her head I grinned at her and said, “I just saw your guts,” like I’d been caught looking down her shirt or something.
Someone asked me if I wanted to go with the boys. I glanced at Tristen to make sure she was okay. She nodded and said, “Go,” so I gave her a kiss and went.
I followed the boys as they were taken to the room right outside the operating area. I think. It’s a bit blurry here. I was shown around the NICU, where the boys were on separate halls. It’s a very nice NICU with different rooms for all the babies, instead of being one of those open rooms with babies in boxes.
Fawkes was 17 inches and four pounds Phoenix was 17.7 inches and four pounds, ten ounces. Phoenix had to get hooked up to a CPAP to help his breathing and oxygen levels, but I was assured it wasn’t anything to be worried about. The hookup reminded me of when Wolverine got adamantium coated onto his bones, so I mentally nicknamed Phoenix Weapon X (a little funny, since several X-Men were named Phoenix). Fawkes would only open one eye for a bit, and so, along with the fact that he’s the older brother, I mentally nicknamed him Cyclops (who was the first X-Man).
Tristen was moved to a recovery room. At some point I happened across Torrie and Laura, who had been patiently waiting a very long time. We looked in on Tristen and I showed them the babies, although right now I can’t remember which order it happened in.
At some point I fell asleep on the couch in Tristen’s room, and that was the night my twin boys were born.