This post is dedicated to all those mamas who are nursing or feeding their babes while reading this. If it's the middle of the night, I am thinking of you, and wishing sleep will find you soon.
WARNING: Long post!!
I had a NST scheduled for Wednesday, May 18th, 2016. I had had non-stress tests before, so I didn't think much of it. But, the day before, I joked to a girlfriend that maybe I would find out that my cervix was shortening and opening, and that I'd have the babies sooner than our scheduled c-section (May 30th)...
May 18th - 9:00 a.m. We had booked the NST for 10:00 a.m., because I just wanted to get it over with and head back home to my couch. I was so big and tired by this point (36 weeks), that I really didn't do much. Plus I was swollen all over, so I devoted a lot of my day to keeping my feet up to try and control the swelling. I met Tim at the hospital in super comfy clothes and was prepared to be there awhile (from our hospital visits in the past 8 months, things sure do not move quickly).
We were set up in the assessment room, and I guess the nurses weren't expecting us, and kept asking why I was there. I explained that our OB had just wanted to check up on the babies and me to make sure everyone was doing okay (looking back, I am so so thankful that we ended up there that day... someone was looking out was us). We listened to their healthy hearts beating and felt for kicks. I was obsessed with counting kicks. Most of the time it seemed that Baby B (Jude) moved around more than Baby A (Duke). They were moving lots. I had been having lots of Braxton Hicks for the past several weeks, and my belly would go so tight that it almost felt like the babies "froze" in my belly. It freaked me out and actually landed me in the hospital one late night in March...Rambling .... anyways, everything looked and sounded good to the nurses said I could get ready to leave.
May 18th - 11:30 a.m. Just as we were about to leave one nurse, E, said, "Oh, we should probably check your blood pressure before you go". I defensively said, "It's always been normal, I am sure it's the same today." She took my blood pressure once and then said she needed to do it again. My blood pressure was really high. I said, "Oh, it's probably because I am stressed". E said, "Yes, that could be, let's try again". The results were the same: super high blood pressure. They were a bit concerned at this point, so they asked me to do a urine test and sent up a lab tech to take my blood. High blood pressure could mean preeclampsia, and with having twins, I was at higher risk for getting it.
Luckily, our maternity doctor was at the hospital, so she came to check on us. I asked her what other symptoms there were for preeclampsia. She said, "high blood pressure, excessive swelling, and feeling light headed". She continued, "But, you would've mentioned something to me if you'd noticed, right?" Since I was seeing her once a week at this point, I had mentioned the swelling, but hadn't said anything about "seeing stars". I had noticed I was light headed a few times in the past week. SHIT. If preeclampsia is left untreated (treatment is delivering the baby and then it goes away during postpartum), it can lead to seizures. We waited to hear back from the lab on my results.
May 18th - 1:00 p.m. In the meantime, our maternity doctor left and we got to meet the on call OB. We had met him once before (at another early morning trip to the maternity ward when I thought I was going into labor) and had had a pleasant experience with him. He wasn't our OB who we'd formed a relationship with for the past half year, but that was okay. He came into the assessment room and declared that I had preeclampsia. He wanted to deliver the babies as soon as possible. There were a few different scenarios that would lead to my boys being born in the next few days. When we received this news, I did not want to leave the hospital without my babies in my arms. There had been discussion that we would get sent home for a night or two while waiting to schedule a c-section. I did not feel comfortable leaving and kind of just wanted to get it all over with. Our pregnancy had been such a rough journey, that on that day, I felt READY. I wanted to deliver the babies that day. I started to imagine our life with twins (before this day, I couldn't imagine what life with would be like, or maybe I didn't allow myself to, because I lived in constant fear that something would go wrong).
The on call OB went over our options with us when it was decided that we would stay at the hospital. He said we could:
A) get induced and deliver baby A vaginally and deliver baby B by breech extraction (Baby A was head down and baby B was transverse)
B) get induced and deliver baby A vaginally and deliver baby B by c-section
C) schedule a c-section for both babies
He left the room to let us discuss what we wanted to do. We had talked about these scenarios for weeks and my biggest fear was that I would have to vaginally deliver baby A and then be sent down and have a c-section for baby B (double the healing!! OUCH!). We decided what was best for us, was to have a c-section. We felt confident with our decision. I wished we had stuck to our guns for this...
The OB came back and asked what we'd like to do. We told him our decision. He then said, "Well, I talked to some other OBs and I've decided that we will be inducing you and you will try to deliver both babies vaginally." With that decision alone, our labor and delivery took a drastic turn. From then on, things went downhill. For all of you mamas out there, I encourage you to go with what you feel is right, go with your gut. It is your body and you have the right to choose. Do not let a doctor make a huge decision like this for you, unless safety is in question. I started wishing that our OB was there. He was supportive of WHATEVER we would choose because he was confident in delivery of any three of the scenarios mentioned above.
May 18th - 3:00 p.m. We tried to keep a positive attitude, and texted to tell our parents and a few close friends that were being induced and would be having our babies in the 24 hours! The on call OB came in to induce me. I was induced with Cervatol. We were told that Cervatol could either put my body into labor very quickly and intensely, or do nothing at all. For those of you who have been induced, and it does its job, it is INTENSE. You go from 0 to 100 very quickly. Since I've never been in labor before, I didn't know what to expect of contractions. My mom brought us some food from Hot Shots and I tried to eat. I started to notice this huge pressure in my butt. It felt like my butt was going to split right open! I started walking the (very short) hallway of the maternity unit to take my mind off things. I was still kind of joking around and laughing at this point. My mom even brought magazines that I kind of skimmed through. We were also still in the assessment room and were waiting to move to a proper delivery room!
May 18th - 5:00 p.m. The OB came to check my cervix and said that I wasn't in labor, not even close! He told me that my cervix was still closed. He told me he would remove the Cervatol to let my uterus calm down. He told me that we had greatly agitated my uterus. But, we were still to stay at the hospital. Things are a little foggy around here because the OB and nurses weren't communicating professionally, so it was hard to follow along and go with a plan (everyone had their own opinion!).
But then, things started to get more intense and painful (is that the right word?!) as we were moving into another room. Tim had run home to grab my hospital bag and some of his things, and so we unpacked a bit in the room. I was uncomfortable enough that I tried deep breathing, sitting on the exercise ball, and standing under hot water in the shower (that one really helped!) But, I kept ringing the nurse, J, saying that I was in pain and thought I was having contractions. She insisted that it was just my uterus being irritated, and that I wasn't having contractions yet. I got kicked out of the shower because the on call OB was furious that I wasn't hooked up to the monitors. He wanted to keep his eye on the babies at all times (another miscommunication between him and the nurses). I got hooked up for an NST, and what I thought were contractions weren't showing up on the monitor at all! I thought I was going crazy. I HAD to be in labor. If this wasn't labor, I didn't know how I'd survive labor when it finally arrived. Nurse J suggested having a shot of morphine. I finally agreed and MAN THAT NEEDLE HURT. I got it right in the hip OUCH! It hurt more than the epidural (!!!!). The morphine kicked in and I felt some relief from the contractions, but still in pain. I definitely got a high from the drugs and was giggly and gassy and kept apologizing for farting.
May 18th - 11:00 p.m. After awhile, the morphine wore off, and my uterus started contracting again. I was so upset that no one believed we were in labor. I rang Nurse J again, and she suggested checking my cervix just in case something was happening. She checked me and then looked up at us, smiling. "You're 4 centimetres dilated. You're definitely in labor!!!". I was so relieved that all that pain and agony wasn't for nothing. I replied to her news with, "Can I have the epidural now?!" I was exhausted. I was frustrated. I was relieved. I was excited!!! Things were happening! These babies were going to come soon!
May 18th - 11:30 p.m. My biggest fear about labor and delivery was the epidural. But at this point, I was in such discomfort that I honestly didn't even feel it. I think it was a tiny pinch (the freezing), and then I didn't feel the actual epidural at all. I felt amazing after the epidural was administered. I slept from 4 cm to 9 cm. By now it was maybe 2:00 a.m.? I was losing track of time. The on call OB wanted to start to get the OR ready (even though we were trying vaginal delivery, we had to push in the OR in case of c-section). It took awhile to get everything ready and to actually move me downstairs.
May 19th 3:00 a.m. I was taken downstairs in a wheelchair. I was so tired and lethargic by now. On the way to the elevator an elderly man heard that we were going to deliver our babies and insisted that we name one after him, Cornelius. We all laughed a bit, and down we went to the OR. As I got wheeled in, I said hi to another OB (a very very good one at that. We had dealt with him a few times before, at 7 weeks for our twin news, and again around 28 weeks). He greeted us and said, "So, we're going to have some babies today!" He made a joke about one of his daughters (both of who I know), but I can't remember the joke now. We also had two paediatricians in the OR with us: one for each of the babies. Both are extremely nice and kind, and I have nothing but respect for both. Besides the on call OB, the other OB, two paediatricians, we also had about 6 student doctors (they wanted to witness a breech extraction for learning purposes), 2 surgical nurses, 2 maternity nurses, and the anesthesiologist. The OR was crowded. It was bright, white, and uncomfortable. Not somewhere you want to deliver your babies vaginally.
May 19th - 3:30 a.m. I had to lay on a narrow, cold table. The on call OB insisted that my arms be strapped down and my legs in large boot things? The nurses were not happy with the OB's demands. It was not natural for a woman to deliver vaginally being restrained. I was so tired that I didn't care. I had no urge to push. All I wanted to do was sleep. And I was so thirsty! So we got all set up, the OB between my legs, coughing away, pretty much hacking cough into my vagina. One nurse said, "You really should be wearing a mask, don't you think?" The OB didn't reply. He simply said to me, "Okay, Taylor, we're going to turn your epidural off, so when you feel the urge to push, PUSH." I looked to my maternity nurses, J and T, for advice. I had no idea what to do. I had no urge to push, and I'd never delivered a baby before!! I was a complete novice to this, with no instincts. The nurses said they would let me know when I was having a contraction, and then to bear down and push like I was having a bowel movement. I tried 2 pushes per contraction. It was hard. Really hard. I didn't feel like pushing. I felt like going to sleep.
May 19th - 4:00 a.m. The OB was really useless and I heavily relied on the nurses' help and guidance. The OR nurses were amazing too. They held my legs back and encouraged me. Every time I pushed, Tim would try to cheer me on by saying, "There you go, babe. You got it!" But then the OB would say, "Taylor, your pushes are not effective. Nothing is happening." I was frustrated and confused. I didn't know what to do to be more effective. I yelled at Tim at this time. There is so much pressure on the mama to get her babies out. Everyone can encourage you and try to help, but ultimately, it's up to the mama to push her baby out. In the back of my mind, I was thinking, This is impossible. There's no way I am going to get both babies out of me with ineffective pushing!! I was tired and thirsty. I asked for something to drink. The nurses wanted to give me something but the OB said a big, fat NO. Luckily, they let me suck on a small sponge that was soaked in water. They gave me some Vaseline for my lips and let Tim apply it. Sweet Tim was gingerly trying to put it on, and I yelled at him a second time, "JUST PUT IT ON!!!". Poor Tim. All while this was happening, my OB was snapping the forceps at my vagina. I could tell he was annoyed, bored. My pushes were ineffective after all... he was ready to pull Baby A out with forceps. The nurses and Tim were very upset by this going on. Luckily I didn't notice.
May 19th - 5:00 a.m. , we decided that I would push for 30 more minutes, and if nothing was happening, we would do the c-section. The OB explained that Baby A's head was coming out on an angle. Every time I pushed, his head would come down, but then move back up in between contractions. I agreed that 30 more minutes of pushing was reasonable. I tried SO hard to push effectively. But again, I was so tired, I had no drive! But, I really did do my best. For the next 30 minutes, I watched the clock like a hawk.
May 19th - 5:30 a.m.., Baby A's head was still coming out sideways and causing his head to swell a bit. We decided that a c-section was our best bet to get these babies out safely and quickly. I started to cry. I was upset that we had gone through all of this to end up with a c-section. We had wanted the c-section to start with, and I felt like I was letting Tim and the babies down for not being able to deliver vaginally. Everyone tried to make me feel better and said that it just didn't work out and it wasn't my fault. Baby A would not come out vaginally, the way he was positioned.
Tim left the room to get into scrubs. The anesthesiologist started doing little "tests" to make sure I was frozen. I kept saying, "Don't start the surgery until I am completely frozen". I was freaked out about being awake and operated on. He said, no, we're just doing tests. Okay, I calmed down a bit. Tim was back by my side now. I was nervous, but feeling excited, again! We were getting so close to meeting our babies. Then I started to feel needles jabbing into me all over the belly. I told the anesthesiologist that I could feel things. "Yes, they've started the c-section. You've already been cut open. You will probably feel some tugging and pulling." I started to feel sick. I told him that I could feel jabbing needles all over. "Oh, that's not right, we're going to have to put you under, Taylor" Things happened really fast after that.
Before I knew it, the mask was over my face and I was being put right under. Tim was asked to leave the room because I had to be intubated. He ended up waiting in the hallway by himself for the entire surgery. Poor guy. Our babies were delivered at 5:54 a.m. and 5:55 a.m. The paediatricians and maternity nurses took over once they were delivered. Jude had trouble breathing for about 10 minutes. He didn't cry, he was bluish in colour. I am glad I was not awake for that.
May 19th - 7:00 a.m.? It felt like waking up from the best night's sleep ever. "Taylor, wake up now, you have two beautiful baby boys upstairs waiting for you" I was super drowsy and my throat was sore from being intubated. I asked the nurse, "Do they look Chinese?!" One of the OR nurses had taken pictures and video for me since I was sedated and Tim was in the hallway. Bless her heart. She asked for my phone number (and I can't remember it on the best of days), but I somehow gave her my digits and she sent me the pictures after she showed me. They were fresh out of the womb and so strange looking to me. I was so groggy (high) I was completely out of it. I felt like I was in a dream. It hadn't hit me that the babies were now outside of my body and that I now was a mama. It was time to get wheeled upstairs to see my boys (all three of them!)
I was taken upstairs on the hospital bed. As we entered the maternity unit, I felt like I was in a parade. All the nurses greeted me with huge smiles on their faces. I gave them a princess wave and grinned when I saw a nurse that I know. I was going to meet my babies!!
After that, it was a serious blur. I think I was so high from the drugs that I can't remember the exact moment of meeting my boys. This part breaks my heart. It was such a rush to get them skin to skin and then latched, I didn't feel we really had a moment to properly meet. But, I was happy, deliriously happy... my boys were finally here!
More on our hospital stay next time...
If you made it to here, thanks for sticking with me. I love you for reading this lengthy post.
mrs. + mama