Our first selfie!
When I awoke Wednesday October 7, 2015 I noticed my underwear seemed wet with clear fluid. It was 5:50 am. I immediately suspected my water had broken. The instructions I had received from the hospital told me to come in within 2 hours if that were to happen but I figured I had my already scheduled ultrasound at 8 am so I would wait until then.
The ultrasound was pretty quick. There isn't much to see with two big babies cramped into such a small space at 36 weeks. Baby A remained head down and Baby B remained breech, slightly transverse. Baby A measured 6 lb 7 oz and Baby B measured 6 lb even. I was a little surprised our Baby Boy was measuring smaller than his sister but I was happy with their good size and curious to see if the sizes would be similar when they were born. Abe was able to sneak down between patients in the resident of the day clinic to see them, too. At first I felt bad how big I had become in my pregnancy, even compared to another twin pregnancy I knew, but now I was relieved they were so big when I knew they would be coming before their 38 week due date.
|Finally looking pregnant with twins! Induction at 36 weeks|
Of course walking to the car I wondered if I was leaking and should have stayed but went home to lie down and see if more fluid would accumulate when I stood up. It was a little hard to tell but it seemed to stop (whatever little may have been there) by about 11 or noon. I knew my doctor had been on call the night before and had had a busy night so I tried to reach her but wasn't too concerned when she didn't answer-- probably sleeping. I felt pretty certain that my water had broke that morning because I didn't know what else the fluid could have been, but I started questioning now as it was later in the day without any additional fluid. My doctor called me back mid afternoon and I gave her the update. We decided that I would go in to be checked when I dropped off my urine sample to Labor and Delivery that evening.
I also was trying to make the decision of whether or not I should go to work the next two days. I decided I wasn't feeling great so had them cancel my patients. I guess that ended up being a good idea!
|Last bump pictures|
My mother-in-law Kristin stopped by and offered to drive me in at 6 pm to be seen. Luckily, she had helped me finish packing my hospital bag shortly before (procrastination, even after my previous pre-term labor scare!). I didn't feel like driving and parking myself so I happily accepted the ride even though it felt lazy to do so. She kindly stayed with me while we waited. I got checked in (again) at the triage and changed into a gown. They did another NST while we waited. It seemed like a long time before they finally did the cervical swab (partly because they wanted me to lie down long enough for fluid to have chance to pool). I think it was close to 9 pm when they finally did and noticed some fluid had actually accumulated. The resident wouldn't tell me the preliminary result so we kept waiting and wondering. Finally, a nurse came in and we asked. She told me I was "ruptured." We weren't really sure what that meant for the plan and we asked if that meant my MIL should start texting updates that we were having the babies. The nurse said that was up to me and we were both confused what she meant until we realized she was saying, "Yes, you will be having the babies and it is between you two whether she gives you permission to tell anyone."
Abe was on call that night and in an emergency surgery case, draining an infection with the oral surgery team. I had the nurse page him so I could tell him the news that they were going to induce me and we were about to have our babies. I didn't want him to be the last to know so I was glad to catch him before he was scrubbed in and unavailable. We knew he would have plenty of time so I encouraged him to finish the surgery.
|Monitoring the babies while being induced|
The unit was very busy but finally a real room opened up and I was transferred into it for the night. Abe's mom and sister Jessica kept me company and bought me dinner while we waited for Abe to finish his surgical case. We joked that black bean soup was probably a bad choice right before labor. We took some last pictures of my bump, got hooked up to the IV to start the pitocin, and I was strapped to the monitors and stuck in bed for the rest of the night (except for annoying and frequent trips to the bathroom). I started feeling contractions right away with the initial dosing of the pitocin but they seemed to slow or ease up after the initial feeling. They continued to ramp up the dosage and we tried to get some sleep. This was difficult and I don't think I got any sleep. By the early morning my contractions were getting worse. I was starting to feel paranoid about how dilated I was. They were trying not to check too frequently (I think since my water had broken so long before) so I had no idea how I was progressing. I felt a little torn between going as long as I could and not being caught off guard and having to rush the epidural when we needed it. About 5 am I asked for the epidural. I figured I might as well be ready and also take advantage of the relief if I was going to get it, anyway (something my doctor insisted upon for my delivery). Funny how I felt a little like I was copping out not waiting until it was unbearable.
|I had no idea I was this big!|
Getting ready to go to the OR for delivery
I was happy to see a friendly face as the anesthesia staff, Matt. We had spent a lot of time together on my anesthesia rotation in residency and it was nice to have someone there I felt I could joke and speak comfortably with. Between him and my friend Erin, my OB, I felt pretty calm considering the circumstances.
Now on to the breech extraction. Phew!
The resident reached up inside my uterus. I was surprised and relieved (very grateful for the epidural and my doctor's sound advice to receive it) to note that this was not unpleasant or uncomfortable. I couldn't help but think of the James Harriet veterinary tales I read as a kid. She felt around trying to locate him. My doctor asked her a few times if she had him and she kept saying she had just one foot. I started to get a little nervous but shortly after she had a grip on him.
Soon I could see his little legs and body. The doctors started trying to turn him but he didn't seem to come. An older doctor at the same time was applying pressure to my abdomen. They continued to turn him as I could see his blue body flailing. I could hear them saying they were trying to turn him but his head wasn't moving with his body. My doctor asked the doctor applying pressure on my belly to come around and put on some gloves. At first she said no, "Don't you want me here? You want me here, don't you?" My doctor became more firm in her request that she move down to my pelvis. I started to sense there was a problem. Abe kept telling me calmly that everything was going to be okay. My doctor was also calmly telling me that everything was going to be okay even though I could sense an urgency in her voice and actions. But I started to worry and feel panicked. The other doctor finally came around, evidently without gloves (per Abe) and the two staff doctors started trying to turn the baby, "Come on baby, come on baby, come on baby, come on baby." He still didn't seem to want to budge one way or the other.
To her credit, my doctor has an amazing bedside manner. She ever so sweetly and calmly told me, "Ok Erin, just so you know we may have to break his arm to get him out." I started to panic and cry. I tried to tell myself that that would be okay, a broken arm would be okay, but I was actually worried he was going to die. And if he didn't, would he have long term problems from a broken arm? I was praying very hard that the angels would be there with my little baby to get him out safely. Abe told me it was going to be okay and coming from him, I believed him...mostly. I wondered if this meant I would be getting a c-section after all and if I had enough anesthesia for that to be okay or how they would even get him out the other direction when he seemed so stuck.
They brought baby girl around to my head to show her to me. I got to touch her little hand before she was taken to the NICU step down unit to be evaluated. The doctors continued to work on me. I remember thinking it was disconcerting to see my suddenly deflated belly! I found myself wanting my familiar tight abdomen back instead of the soft and foreign one left behind.
I was told I was bleeding and they started applying heavy pressure and pushing on my belly. The pain was excruciating as they continued to push and knead on my abdomen around my belly button. I kept telling them that I have a sensitive belly button so that really hurt. I didn't realize at the time that what they were doing likely would have hurt anyone. The anesthesiologist finally gave me 100 mcg of fentanyl and I remember saying, "Oh, so that's what it feels like when I give it to my patient's." I felt much more relaxed but the pain was still present and severe.
|Baby B, boy|
|Settled back in bed. We did it!|
|Daddy and Baby Boy|
Abe went up to see the babies in the NICU. I started to feel very down and depressed. I had just gone through a horrific and scary experience on what was supposed to be one of the happiest and most exciting days of my life. After a few hours, I felt very upset. I was all alone. I was in horrible pain. I was not allowed to get out of bed. I felt like I had lost my dignity as nurses helped me with the most intimate tasks. And I felt lonely. I wondered about my babies, if I even really had babies or cared that I had babies or would even love my babies. I was glad Abe was able to be with them but I felt very alone. I couldn't even reach my call light or the remote control to turn on the TV. So I cried.
|So thirsty afterward|
|Feeling emotional meeting a baby for the first time|
About 8:00 pm they brought Baby Girl in to meet me. I didn't know what to think and worried how I would feel finally getting to see her. I almost felt mad or resentful like I wasn't sure I even wanted to see her anymore. Holding her made a big difference and my spirits improved significantly. They even told me I could get out of bed and go to the NICU if I wanted by wheelchair to see our baby boy.
|Meeting Baby Boy in the NICU|
Getting out of bed was horribly painful. My lower body was horribly swollen, more so than at any point in my pregnancy and I have the stretch marks on my hips and thighs to prove it (much more and much deeper than any I had at my induction the night before) and even sitting up to get out of bed was awfully painful. I wished I could jump from lying down to standing and had to have a donut to even sit. About 10 pm Abe took me to meet our little guy in the NICU. It was sad to see him all alone in that little bed with a tube in his nose but I was very happy to hold him. I felt guilty that after only a short time, maybe 10 minutes, I asked to go back to our room as I was so tired and not feeling well. Luckily when we got back to the room they had decided to transfer me to the much more comfortable Mother Baby Unit. Yay!
In the end, it was a pretty traumatic day. The nurse helping me right after my recovery told me that in her 20 years she had "never seen anything like [my delivery]." In the beginning I felt like it was going pretty well. My sister-in-law talks about how she loves labor and the magic of having that little baby. After my epidural and my initial labor I thought how things had been going so smoothly and maybe I could understand where she was coming from. Unfortunately, my experience shifted far from that and it was one of the hardest, scariest, and loneliest days of my life. I didn't experience that incredible urge to push, the magic of holding your baby in your arms right after the delivery, getting to look them over lovingly to count fingers and toes or enjoy that skin to skin contact.
But I am so glad they are here, any way it had to happen, and I have no regrets. I guess it was a fitting end to their miraculous beginning -- it was hard getting them in and it was hard getting them out!
A few days ago I cried when I coincidentally came upon this scripture:
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
I thank God that all of that heartache and pain, the years of infertility, the weeks of discomfort, the hours of pain, and the minutes of fear have passed away and have been replaced with these two miraculous blessings.
* * *
By the next morning Baby Boy was off all the tubes and finally brought to our room late the next day where he met up with his sister again for the first time since birth.
|Reunited for the first time out of the womb the next day|
|First family photo|
Baby A Girl:
October 8, 2015 1:13 pm
6 lb 8 oz
Baby B Boy:
October 8, 2015 1:21 pm