After being admitted to the hospital for pre-term labor and placed on bedrest at 33 weeks, I was shocked to make it to 37 weeks and 4 days before finally delivering. It was a bittersweet month. By that last week I was bigger than a small house and slower than a maimed turtle! I've decided it's all part of the plan. All women become so miserable by the end of their pregnancy that they are willing to do whatever it takes to get that baby here, be it pushing a watermelon sized head through a garden hose sized opening or allowing a doctor to slice through layers of tissue and muscle, take out all your innards, rearrange them, and stuff them back in your body. Only an extremely pregnant, miserable woman would welcome such experiences with open arms.
The last ultrasound we received in Little Rock showed both babies head down so we were given the green light for a vaginal delivery. Wahoo! However, our growth scan on Thursday, showed Baby B had performed some amazing feat of acrobatics and had turned yet again so unless she managed to flip head down again soon, we would most likely be having a c-section.
Friday morning, we had our weekly appointment with our doctor. Throughout the pregnancy, his plan was always to deliver me at 38 weeks in the unlikely event that I made it that far. We went in to this appointment, hoping he would be willing to move up that date a few days due to some concerns. Of course, I was impossibly huge and my body felt like it could not take one more day of being pregnant but we were more concerned with other issues. Our growth scan had shown Baby A to be significantly smaller than the other one and we were worried she wasn't growing very well. Then at the doctor appointment Baby B was not reactive on the non stress test.The nurse had to "buzz" me several times to try to get the heart accelerations they were looking for. They left me lying flat on my back on that stupid table for so long, I thought I was going to pass out! Besides our concerns about the babies, there were a few worrisome things for me as well. My blood pressure had gone up, there was protein in my urine, my swelling had increased, and I had gained several pounds seemingly overnight- all signs of pre-eclampsia. I was also having regular, painful contractions every night for hours on end that appeared to be doing nothing as I was not any further dilated than before. We talked about all of these concerns with our doctor and he said we were really in that gray area: my blood pressure wasn't that high, there was only a small amount of protein in my urine, Baby B eventually was reactive on the monitor, Baby A was small but appeared to be on the same growth curve from the last scan, etc. All of our concerns had merit but then again they could all be nothing. We didn't want to deliver early if the babies weren't ready and have them end up in the NICU but we didn't want to leave them in if something was wrong. Our doctor said if we "twisted his arm" he would deliver that day but he recommended waiting until the full 38 weeks. We decided to schedule the c-section for next week and wait to hit 38 weeks. We left the office with a mixture of emotions. On the one hand worried we'd made the wrong choice and frustrated that we had to wait five more days, and on the other hand at peace. I felt like if something was really wrong than either I would be inspired to know we needed to act or my body would naturally go into labor before our scheduled date. Lucky for me, that turned out to be true.
That night (Friday) my contractions started up again. I kept track of them for several hours. They didn't appear to be getting any closer or stronger. I know the rule is 5-1-1 (five minutes apart, lasting more than 1 minute, for more than 1 hour) before going into the hospital. Mine were pretty variable from 4-10 minutes apart, so I figured I wasn't in "true labor." But then I decided why wait to be in true labor? If I was going to have a c-section anyway, there was no reason to wait for more pain, right? We decided to head up to the hospital just so the doctor could monitor the contractions and more importantly make sure the babies were reacting ok to them. I knew we'd be sent home but it's not like I was sleeping much anymore with being so miserable, so why not go hang out at the hospital for a few hours in the middle of the night?
|Chilling in the waiting room. Check out that giant belly!|
Everything happened very quickly at that point. I filled out all the paper work- twice, one for each baby. The anesthesiologist came in and explained what was going to happen with the spinal block. My nurse came in for final preparations that included shaving me and inserting a catheter. Fun! I had heard it's pretty standard to be shaved before a c-section and had planned on doing it myself before my scheduled date. Although, logistically, I'm not sure how that would have worked as my big, fat belly prevented me seeing anything! They brought Nate a jump suit to wear in the operating room and then it was time.
I walked myself down the corridor, kissed Nate goodbye, and headed into the OR. He had to wait outside until they were ready to begin surgery. I was extremely nervous for the spinal block, but I had an excellent anesthesiologist who was very reassuring and explained what he was doing and what I would feel as he was doing it. My nurse also did a great job keeping me calm. I think she must have been an angel. The spinal took forever and I began to worry it wouldn't work and I would feel everything! The anesthesiologist was having trouble getting in between my vertebrae because they were so tight. After several attempts he ended up having to go higher up on my back. Almost instantly I began to lose feeling and started shaking uncontrollably. Apparently, the shakes are a normal side effect. It was the strangest thing when the doctor asked me if I could move my legs and I couldn't budge an inch. They put up the screen, let Nate in the room, and started slicing away. Of course, I couldn't feel the slicing, but as they started rearranging my insides to get to the babies, I definitely felt a lot of tugging and pulling. I pictured them, literally pulling all my organs out and then putting them back in, but Nate watched the whole thing and assures me that didn't happen. The anesthesiologists sat right by my head and continued to give me a play by play. He told me it was going to feel like someone heavy was sitting on my stomach because they were going to push the baby out, and then, out of no where I heard the most pathetic squak and was shocked to realize that was a baby crying! 3:28 AM Baby A was here! They whisked her to other side of the room to check on her and get her cleaned up. I couldn't see her, but Nate got to cut her cord and make sure she was alright. It seemed to take a long time before I heard the next cry. Later, Nate told me the doctor was doing all sorts of maneuvers to get Baby B out. She was lying transverse up in my rib cage and had gotten herself stuck! But four minutes after the first one was born, at 3:32 AM, the second one joined her in the world. She was having a hard time breathing, so they immediately hooked her up to oxygen. As they took care of her, I heard someone singing to her her first lullaby, Happy Birthday. It was kind of funny and I wasn't sure if it was the drugs or if I was really hearing it. By the time they brought the babies over for me to see, I was throwing up and totally missed it. And then suddenly Nate, the babies and 2/3 of the army in the OR were gone and everything was very quite. The longest part of the whole surgery is really just getting stitched up, which was probably 45 minutes. As they worked on me, one of the nurses told me Baby B was having problems with her blood sugar and they needed to supplement her immediately with formula. I, of course, gave my permission. After they finished stitching and stapling me, one of the nurses realized they were missing a needle. Great! One of my biggest fears of surgery was about to come true. Is it possible they left it inside of me?!?!?! They searched and searched and finally called someone in from x-ray to see if it was inside of me. Fortunately, by the time they got there, one of the nurses found the needle not inside of me!
|So much for looking fabulous after birth! At least my babies look cute.|
We weren't able to decide on names until that night, as anytime Nate tried to talk to me, I just fell asleep. We eventually decided on Eden Leslie for Baby A. Just as we had seen on the growth scan, she was indeed our little munchkin at 5 pounds 1 ounce. We chose Lydia Eliza for Baby B. As the pediatrician put it, she had been taking more than her fair share of the groceries and weighed in at 7 pounds 6 ounces. She continued to have problems with her blood sugars and had to be put on an IV for a couple days, but was perfectly healthy by the time we took them home four days later. They were actually ready to come home before I was! I had some lingering effects from the pre-eclampsia most notably my blood pressure would not come down. They finally started me on blood pressure medication and are continuing to monitor me.
|Getting ready to leave the hospital.|
|First family photo leaving the hospital|
|So tiny in their big carseats|
|My beautiful baby girls!|