On this day last year, our twins were born. Today has me reminiscing, so I thought I’d tell my birth story. It’s a long story, so bear with me. Hopefully it can help ease the minds of soon-to-be twin mommas.
On November 9, 2016 I was on my way to work and I was feeling a bit fuzzy, light headed and I was seeing bright lights in my periphery. I thought it was food related and my body was mad at me for not eating enough breakfast. When I got to work I ate something and told my boss I needed to run to the nearest CVS to check my blood pressure. My blood pressure was 159 / 96 and it continued to get worse in the 10 min that I sat there and checked it 4 times. I called my OB’s office and they asked me to have someone drive me to Labor and Delivery (although I stubbornly drove myself). After arriving at Labor and Delivery at 9:00am, it seemed like they were just going to keep me overnight for observation like they did 3 weeks prior. However, by 3:00pm I began having contractions (that I wasn’t feeling) and I was dilated to 5 cm and 90% effaced. I was at 32 weeks and 3 days. My husband rushed to the hospital from work and by the time he arrived they started me on steroid shots for the babies and magnesium sulfate to stop my labor. They told me I would be getting the “mag” for 48 hours, long enough to complete the steroid shots to help give the babies’ lungs a fighting chance. I wasn’t allowed to eat until signs of labor subsided, and I was forced to use a bed pan because they didn’t want me getting out of bed on the magnesium sulfate. It was that or a catheter and I chose bed pan. By 8 pm that night, the head of the NICU and one of the NICU nurses came to our room to talk to us about what it would look like to have babies in the 32nd week of pregnancy. We were terrified to say the least. They informed us that they had a room for them in the NICU prepared, just in case. They told us to expect to be in the hospital until our due date, Jan 1, which would be nearly 2 months. My OB said that my body could go back into labor as soon as the 48 hours of “mag” was completed. So we prayed…
Despite huge fluctuation in my blood pressure and a couple hours of the day where contractions were happening every 10-15 min, we made it another day…. and then another day after that… My OB said we wouldn’t be leaving the hospital without babies, but he wouldn’t let me go longer than 37 weeks and if we made it that far we would induce at 37 weeks. They rolled a long term bed into my room, which may have been the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in, and began my wait. I was in good spirits and thankful and grateful that I was able to rest up and keep the babies in. I was taking everything one day at a time and keeping myself occupied. I took two naps a day, spent a few hours a day working on my laptop, reading, working through puzzle books, watching movies and Netflix, and eating… A LOT. On the 18th day (November 26) I began getting cabin fever. I needed to move, stretch, wear real clothes, get out of the room and hallway I had been confined to for 18 days. I was given permission to take a wheel chair ride outside and to the cafeteria, and I got approval to take a bath in the hospital jacuzzi tub which is generally reserved for post postpartum mommas. We ate dinner in my room and we tried to watch a movie. It was a good day and I had convinced myself that this is the best it’s going to get and every other day from here on out will just be blah. I just began falling apart… sobbing… “how do they expect me to do this for 14 more days?!” At some point in the middle of my breakdown, my nurse Stacy came in. This God-send of a woman gave me a big hug and a bit more faith. She gave me a pep talk and convinced me that 35 weeks was a huge accomplishment. We decided rather than focusing on how many days we had been there, we were going to focus on how many days we had remaining until we got to meet our babies (the 37 week mark).
My husband and I finished our movie and went to bed. I woke up around 1:00am and had a hard time going back to sleep… so I watched the baby monitors for a while and got up to use the restroom. I suspected my water broke, or maybe one of the babies had pinched off my bladder causing what felt like breaking waters. I decided to eat graham crackers and a cliff bar, just in case. I climbed back into bed and felt like I was still leaking so I called Stacy. She was so excited for me. She turned on the lights and checked to confirm it was amniotic fluid. My husband woke up from his tiny little bed and says… “what’s going on? what time is it?”. Stacy says, “We’re checking to see if her water broke.” He yells, “Why didn’t you wake me up?” I didn’t want to wake him up until I knew for sure it was amniotic fluid. After Stacy confirmed my bag of waters broke, she brought in a handmade gift from the night nurses and techs. They had made me a paper chain for the next 14 days filled with encouraging words and I was to break off a paper link with each day. She hands it to me and says, “I guess you won’t need this anymore”. She called the on call OB and he told her to keep a close eye on me and page him if I got closer. My husband began frantically packing our room up anticipating delivery at any moment, and Stacy gave him a hard time for it because she knew we’d have plenty of time to pack. Stacy left at 7am shift change and I was so sad to see her go, but my nurse Christy tagged in to take over and she was phenomenal too.
By 9:00am my contractions had subsided and zero progress was being made. My OB said that most twin deliveries require pitocin because a woman can deliver twin A and her body can stop laboring which can put twin B in danger, so they give pitocin to keep labor progressing. Since I was going to have to get on the pitocin later in delivery, he said we could go ahead and start it now and try small amounts of it to keep things moving forward. We gave it a try and nothing. I remember watching Golden Girls and listening to the Hillsong United – Empires album. They slowly increased my pitocin and by 1:00pm I was ready for an epidural. The epidural stick was way more painful than ANY of the contractions I had up to that point. The first one he blew out so he had to stick me again. I was leaning over Christy and squeezing her harder than I thought I ever could and glad I didn’t cause her permanent damage. The epidural felt great for about 45 min…. and then I could feel everything on one side. At one point I sat up in bed through such a pain that I couldn’t even suck in breath. My husband called the nurse and I told her to get that “effer” back in there to fix it. So for the 3rd time, he placed an epidural and finally I felt great. I took about an hour and a half nap and when I woke up I was at 9 cm. Within an hour I had progressed to a 10 and we were ready to start pushing. So they got my husband dressed and wheeled us down to the Operating Room, leaving my mom behind in the L&D room. As they wheeled me in, the strongest sense of determination came over me. I was calm, and more focused than I have ever been in my life. They transferred me to the most uncomfortable bed in the warmest room in the hospital. There had to be 15 people in there… 3 nurses for me, OR techs, a couple nurses and respiratory therapist for each baby. It was a packed house.
I was so in-tuned with my body and so focused. My OB said we would push at the start of each contraction for the count of 10. I could tell him when they were coming before the monitors could, which surprised him. He cheered me on and coached me through it and he was fantastic. I have never felt so empowered. I pushed for about 40 – 45 min before twin A was delivered. And my husband shouted “She’s so big!” because he had envisioned such a tiny baby. She was quiet… and I was scared. They said she was likely stunned from being in the birth canal for so long. My husband kept peeking across the room to get a visual on her and within a few minutes she was crying. I couldn’t see because as soon as she was delivered I had two nurses on my belly to prevent twin B from rotating. It took one push for him and he came out wailing. My husband walked over to where he was laying and twin B grabbed daddy’s hand. They were both breathing great so they brought them to my chest… first twin B, then twin A. I looked up at my husband and said “this is the coolest thing ever!”
They walked us back to our room where my mom was anxiously waiting. They informed us that it wasn’t likely that the babies would need any NICU time, and we were in awe. God had answered SO many prayers… and every single day confined to that room was WORTH IT.