Friday, April 15, 2011

Spreading Out the Fun

Growing up in my family, we had a saying, "We spread out the fun." I've mentioned it before. It used to mean that your birthday would be celebrated a few days late, or maybe the perfect gift hadn't been located quite yet.

Here in the Risser house we've adopted the slogan with gusto. Only to us it means that your birthday lasts several days before and several days after the official date.

We started celebrating the girls' birthday last weekend with some cupcakes and sweet company all the way from Colorado and Oakland. Then on Monday, a friend came with us to the park and took these amazing photos.

I can't wait to see the rest! Once we're done celebrating that is. (to see more of Angella's brilliance go to

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

And Then They Were One

At this time last year, I had just gotten home from roadshow practice at church and was probably halfway through my prenatal yoga DVD. Things happened pretty quickly after that, and although I did record it, I never blogged about it. So here is a little glimpse of how my sweet baby girls came into the world a year ago.

From my journal:
Before it's too far from my mind (and before my memory embellishes it much), I wanted to record the events leading up to the population boom around here.

The Breakdown

April 1- Our ultrasound shows the girls have moved from "ready" (heads down) to breech. We make an appointment for a followup ultrasound on April 16 to see if they've moved, or if we need to accept the fact that a c-section may be necessary.

April 14-

    6pm- GK gets home from work apologizing for not getting home in time to go to Costco. I say, "It's alright. I'm feeling a bit crampy anyway and don't feel like walking around. We eat dinner

   7pm- I head off to Roadshow practice (I wrote it, and helped run the music rehearsals) and proceeded to jump around and energize a semi-reluctant (shy) group. Afterwards, an on-looker said, "I have never seen a woman try so hard to go into labor." I laughed, thinking, "If only!"

   10pm- I get home from practice and tell GK I'm still feeling crampy and uncomfortable. This conversation ensues:
GK: "Is it contractions?"
Sus: "I don't know."
GK: slightly annoyed "You never do."
Sus: "You're right."
GK: "Maybe you should do some yoga. I just did and I feel awesome."
Sus: "That's a good idea."
I do my prenatal yoga DVD. An hour later...
Sus: "Nope. That didn't do it. I still don't feel good. I'm going to bed."

   11pm-12am- I try to sleep but the cramping starts coming in waves and I get out of bed so as not to wake GK.

   12am- The "waves" are 5 minutes apart. But with Van I had contractions for three days 3-4 minutes apart. So if these are contractions, I think I've got a long way to go and an appointment in the morning to check things out. But I'm in pain so I wake up GK to sit with me.
   1am- GK says I should call the hospital. I say, " No, they will just make me come in. Then we'll have to call someone to watch Van. I'll just wait."

   1:15am- GK insists, and I agree. I call the Dr. They tell me to come in. We gather things together.
   2:03am- We drop Van off with a friend. He's so happy to see her that I'm not worried about him.

   2:20am- We check in at the hospital

   2:45am- They're trying to get the heartbeats on the monitor. The "waves" (Yes contractions. Now I'm sure!) are coming fast and strong. The midwife does an ultrasound, both girls are head down! Hooray!
   3 am- The midwife checks and says, "Well, it looks like you're at about a 9." I think, "Oh crap, there goes an epidural!" She says, "Let me know when you feel like you have to push. We'll need to push you into the O.R. just in case. It's protocol with twins." (I knew this going in, so I didn't care) I say, "Well it's coming fast."

They start to move me onto a different bed and as they do my water breaks. The push me through the hall. The midwife in training is in my face saying, "Blow right into my face." I seriously think about telling her to get out of my face.  But right then GK comes around the bed and I grab his arm for dear life and say "I want to blow in your face." I don't know what happened to the trainee, but she disappeared after that. I hope I didn't hurt her feelings.

In the hall on the way into the O.R. and I yell, "I can't do this!" And the Dr. says, "Yes you can. The head's half way out." One more push and...

   3:18am- Josie is born.

  3:23am- Delia is born.

With all the extra room, she flipped around and decided to make her entrance feet first. So Dr. Wilson reached in, grabbed her feet and artistically guided her little body out. (Graphic maybe, but it was amazing! A total miracle that he was on call that night, since breech deliveries are his specialty)

They put Josie on my chest and asked what her name was. We had a list of four names by the time the girls were born, but only Josephine was coming to mind. I kept trying to remember what the other names were when GK came over and said, "I think this one's Josephine." I said, "I think so too."

Then they brought Delia over. By now I had remembered the other names: Penelope, Fiona, and Delia. Penelope didn't fit for some reason, it was out. But then we were at a standstill. For the first day of her life we called her Fiona. But late that night as she was fighting so hard and I was starting to worry about her, Delia seemed to be closer to my sweet delicate thing.

Josphine means "God will increase". And He surely has. Through the dark few days when Delia was struggling and things were uncertain, Josie's calm grounded spirit held me together. Something about her wouldn't let me doubt that things would be fine and we would be all together soon. 

Cordelia means "Jewel of the Sea". After less than 24 hours, it was clear that sweet Delia would need some extra help. The hospital where I delivered didn't have a NICU, so Delia was transported by ambulance and attended to by an angel nurse. GK went with her, and he stayed with her and whispered to her and loved her. There are very few things that GK loves more than the sea, but this sweet bird is one of them.

And now after one hell of a year, we've all lived a lifetime and loved every minute (though sometimes only in retrospect). And my sweet babies have grown into beautiful little girls.