Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Twins Birth Story

Note: For the sake of privacy, I am not going to mention our babies’ names for now. I will call them Baby Boy and Baby Girl, and as always, my husband is Mr. BKL.

When we left off, I posted my 36 week update. Things were hanging steady being on bed rest. The following week, at 36 weeks 6 days, I had my usual Thursday appointments. My blood pressure was up a little and I had gained 7 pounds in a week. Holy fluid retention! I was puffy, but that’s a lot of water. After some lab work, it turned out I had a mild case of pre-eclampsia. My doctor called me on Friday afternoon around 5:00pm to tell me the news and that I should head over to the hospital to be induced. ZOMG! Mr. BKL and I scurried about the house getting things ready, even though we had our bags packed it was still a shock. I took a shower and we headed to the hospital.

Upon admitting, they got me all hooked up to the bane of my existence, the fetal monitors. You have to wear one for the baby and one for contractions, so I had three. We got moved into our room and luckily had a large one. That evening they started a drug called cervidil to get my cervix ready. I didn’t sleep a wink that first night because of the contractions caused my the cervidil and it was fairly painful. (little did I know what was to come) Between the cervidil and the 3 monitors, getting up to use the restroom was a chore. I had to take the monitors with me and would often move one inadvertently and the nurse would have to come back and get them all working again. Uggh.

I was told we would start pitocin early in the morning. Well, early morning turned into 10:30am by the time the Dr. came to see me. So now, I had 3 fetal monitors and an IV tower to take with me into the bathroom. FUN. I have to give credit to Mr. BKL for helping me get unhooked, out of bed, and hooked in again.

Around 5:00 pm, the Dr. once more came in to check my progress and unfortunately not much had been made. He said we would break the membranes on Baby A to get things moving. And move they did, as well as continue to jack up my pitocin.  It only took about 15 minutes before I started feeling contractions come on. They got harder and faster by the second. My nurse said that I could get my epidural at any point and to give her 30 minutes to get it ready. I said I would try to tough it out a little longer because I wanted to make progress. Well, I think I made it to about 5:40 before I had to call her. I started feeling them in my back and they were coming almost every two minutes. She started getting things ready and called the anesthesiologist. Things got progressively worse for me and I was really having to focus and breathe through them. She would push on my back really hard to help with the back labor, but it really didn’t help. I was getting to the point where I was making noises I didn’t know I could make. I kept asking how much longer for the epidural, and she kept saying “soon”. The anesthesiologist was busy that night. (I never asked, but at one point I saw a screen that had all the active labors on it and I think there were about 10.)

By 7pm I was having keeping my breathing under control despite my best efforts. Contractions were coming every two minutes or faster and I was getting no break from them. In a moment of weakness, I accepted fentonyl. I didn’t want to take extra drugs that I didn’t have to for the babies sake, but I was having trouble keeping my breathing under control with the pain. (I was also mad at myself for not researching what it was before heading into my birth. So begins the mommy guilt…right?) It did help me relax some and took the edge off. This was key since each contraction I was having caused my legs to tremor uncontrollably, so I was nervous about holding still during the epidural.

Finally, by 7:30 the anesthesiologist appeared. I finally felt relief! I had no idea how crazy the contractions would be. I tip my hat to all women who do this whole thing without an epidural. I am pretty sure I would have passed out due to lack of oxygen if I would have kept going. The good news is that in those two hours, I went from 2cm dilated to 4cm dilated.

After the epidural, I tried to get comfortable because I have heard it can slow labor slightly. Well, the comfort didn’t last long before I started to feel intense pressure and an urge to push. The pain was numbed, but the pressure was very prominent. A little before 9, I told my nurse about this and she then deemed we were almost ready to start pushing. WHAT??? It had only been 4 hours of contracting. Okay then.

Since I was having twins, I would be delivering in the OR because of the increased risk of a c-section being necessary. We started pushing in our room first, then they wheeled me down to the OR. Mr. BKL donned some sweet scrubs, and we were off. We paused for one quick photo before we left.

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The OR was bright, cold and full of people. I was placed into a new bed with large footrests, making me on display for all the world to see if you know what I mean. There were 8 people in the room. The funniest part was the resident following my Dr. who was very focused on what was going on. His face was one of serious study. Glad I could be an instrument of medical teaching, friend.

With lots of pushing and screams, Baby Girl arrived at 9:44pm weighing 5 pounds 4 ounces.  She was beautiful! She was a little pale and was below the minimum weight to not go into the Special Care Nursery (level 2 NICU), so she was whisked off. It was awful seeing her being taken away like that. I tried to relax knowing I had to do this all over again, and even said “I have to do this again?” out loud. Mr. BKL says the way I asked that was the best thing I said during the whole process.

The last few pushes getting her out were tough. My epidural was still working though, so I didn’t experience the pain that was to come. Knowing she was the smaller of the two babies, I was nervous about Baby Boy’s arrival. My contractions come to a near halt, and pitocin was once again increased. I started to feel the contractions more and more as time went on. It took a good hour and a 1/2 before I started pushing hard again, and by then, I was started to feel every contraction. Legs shaking about this whole time, mind you even though I wasn’t cold. Before we went down to the OR I had a fleeting thought…what if my babies are born on different days?

Around 11:30, the pain was starting to become intense and I was having trouble breathing through each contraction. In some confusion, the anesthesiologist was called down to give me a bolus to my epidural (a boost), but for some reason he came and went without giving me more. At this point, i was having trouble not screaming each time to push.  I worked so hard to get him out, but he started to get stuck. I got nervous when I saw everyone start scurrying around and asked “What is happening?” NO one answered, but I heard something about suction. The Dr. said we are going to have to assist to get him out. I was sad once again and felt like I was failing. I was feeling pressure, pain and burning, and worked so hard to get him out. Finally, with the suction he appeared. Baby boy was born at 12:02 am weighing 6 pounds 14 ounces. He was so gorgeous and pink, but was having trouble breathing. Most likely from getting stuck and possibly swallowing some fluid. He was also whisked away, and this time Mr. BKL followed to be with our babies.

The hard work was not over yet. Next came the placentas, then came the repair work. I was so sensitive and in pain, each time the Dr. touched me I writhed in pain. They once again offered fentynal, and since the babies were out, was happy to accept any and all drug.  Finally the anesthesiologist returned to give me that bolus. I was sort of glad Mr. BKL wasn’t there to witness the aftermath. I think I did more screaming than during delivery since I was feeling the pain. I had 4 small tears that were in good places, so I came out of the whole ordeal pretty unscathed.

The first thing I noticed while laying there was the absence of my belly. It literally disappeared. I could see my ribs again! Granted, I was laying down, but it felt great. (More to come on my post partum bod).

After over an hour of work on me, I was finally transferred to a different bed, clothed, and cleaned up. I was taken back to my room where I would get wheel chaired to the Special Care Nursery to finally hold my babies. I wept when I saw them. Not only because they were in incubators hooked up to IV’s and monitors, but because they were my babies. By the time I got there, they had already done amazingly better. Baby Girl was pink, and Baby Boy’s breathing had gotten under control. They had to spend their first two nights and days in the nursery, but they were in great hands. The nurses were as amazing as can be, between reassuring us and caring for the babies.

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We finally got back to our room around 4 for some sleep. I of course slept very little as I was all hopped up on drugs and had just delivered two babies. I got to take a shower though, which was probably the greatest shower ever. I still had to be hooked up to pitocin, but was glad to be rid of the monitors finally.

The next day were were back at the nursery for the babies first feeding. Because they were small and in the nursery we were going to give them formula to get their strength up. They were also on dextrose IV’s, so they were doing well. We did some practicing latching and then fed.

The next two days were a whirlwind of nursery visits, recovering, and finally getting ready to head home. We got the okay to head home on Tuesday around noon. My pride was bursting when we walked through the halls of the hospital with them and seeing people’s reactions to my precious babies. Twins are obviously a fun sight to see.

Coming home was great, but it was a lot of work. We had so much to unpack and prepare for even though, once again, we were pretty ready for them to come home before leaving.

Picture 129All smiles for Dad

As for the babies, they are definitely individuals. Baby Girl is feisty as ever. She is a better eater than her younger brother and is constantly kicking and flailing her arms about. She always has her legs tucked way up, deeming her the nickname “frogger”. Baby Boy is a little chubbier than his sister and is definitely more temperamental. His burps are something to be heard.

Picture 144Frog legs

We are slowly adjusting to life at home with two newborns. Of course there is the tiredness of little sleep, but when I do sleep it’s very deep. We feed them both every 3 hours around the clock to continue to get their strength up and to grow. Baby Boy is a little jaundice still, and we are working on getting him less yellowed. Each feeding takes about an hour for me. We practice latching, then feed with bottles (some formula and now more and more milk from Mom!), then change them, then I pump. It’s daunting knowing you have about two hours between each feeding before having to start the whole thing all over again. I am so happy to be able to provide my milk for my babies. We will continue to work on nursing, but for now giving them bottles of my milk is an amazing feeling. With twins, I don’t expect to be able to provide for them solely, and I am okay with that. Any breast milk is better than none. I actually don’t mind pumping since I am such a numbers/goal oriented person, and seeing the increase each time plays to my competitive side. As for me, I am really happy to report my swelling from the pre-eclampsia and pitocin is finally subsiding. I can see my ankles for the first time in weeks! Unfortunately, I can also see a significant loss in muscle in my legs. It will be a lot of work to get back to running and lifting. It was all worth it though….

Picture 139 Baby Boy and Baby Girl checking things out.

In a week I have fallen in love with 3 people. My two babies and the new father of my children. I know it’s cliché, but I didn’t think I could love him more than I did. Obviously the babies go without saying.

Thank you all for all the outpouring of love and support during my pregnancy and now on the birth of our babies.