**This is VERY LONG. If you want an abbreviated version, please scroll to the bottom of the screen!**
On Oct. 1, 2010, I went on bedrest for preterm labor symptoms. I was 24 weeks pregnant. My goal was to make it past Christmas (which would have been 36 weeks gestation and 12 weeks on bedrest). Baby A (later to be named Hannah) had a different plan.
It all began when my water broke on Friday, Dec. 3, 2010. I had been up and about *a bit* more than the previous weeks - the doctor said it was OK! After al, I was 33 weeks along by then, doing great! No contractions, no more funneling, babies moving around nicely (at least as much as they could with two of them jammed in there) and cervix nice and quiet. So, I was in the basement recliner stamping away on my Christmas cards. At about 4:30 I got up to go upstairs to use the bathroom and - WHOA! My water had broken. I was sure of it that time - no accidentially peeing in my pants there (about 2 weeks prior I had awoken at 3 a.m. with wetness in my pajamas. We went to the hospital only to find out that my water had *not* broken... oh, no. I'd just peed my pants while sleeping). But this time was serious! So, I called Aaron, then the doctor, then Aaron again. We headed off to the hospital, yet again. I had a feeling I wouldn't be coming home in the same state, though...
At the hospital, they did the little swab test that checks to see if the fluid was your amniotic fluid. The nurse who administered the test seemed rather surprised when it came back positive. Aaron and I looked at each other and said "WHOA!" We both thought we'd have babies that night.
But, of course nothing goes as planned. They admitted me into the Labor & Delivery area of the hospital and hooked me up to the fetal monitor. Dr. Mills (one of my faves) came in to examine me. She did a quick ultrasound and noticed that the fluid was lower than my previous levels, but there was still a good amount around Baby A (Girl). I was not having contractions and the babies were fine, so they let me wait it out the night in L&D. I was still leaking fluid, but all the doctors seemed to think that was OK. Dr. Mills even said to me that sometimes you can go up to a week with a water break because your body makes more. Plus, I had had good levels of fluid before it broke. However, since it was broken, they had to keep me in the hospital until the babies were born.
Saturday morning rolled around and still no contractions. So I was moved from L&D to Antepartum (the unit of the hospital where I had been admitted in October - it's where you go to wait to have babies or if you have preterm labor, stuff like that). A different doctor I'd never seen before came around (Dr. Lynch-Solomon). He didn't really examine me, just looked at my chart and the babies' monitorings and said the plan was for me to lie around in the hospital until Friday, the 10th, at which point they'd induce me. He said that would be great because then the babies would be at 34 weeks - a good, safe zone where troubles get even less. I settled in for a week stay and had Aaron bring me all kinds of movies, books, comfy clothes, etc. He went home to sleep on Saturday night (having been told I was stable - no contractions) since neither of us slept a wink on Friday night. I ate my supper, watched a bit of TV, and went to sleep early (9:00-ish).
At 12:30 a.m., I woke up having to pee - not an unusual occurrence! I noticed a bit more fluid in my pants and in the toilet than previously during the day and I felt a little weird. So I called the nurse. I couldn't really describe what I was feeling, so we both agreed maybe I was just exhausted and worried and she suggested I go back to sleep. At 1:15 a.m. or so (not having fallen asleep yet), I decided I was in pain. Serious pain. I felt like I had a crampy back ache, but I couldn't figure out if the pain was coming and going (like they say it does in labor) or if it was just a constant annoyance. I called the nurse again, tried to describe what was going on, and failed to communicate at first. I know she thought I was overreacting. But then she put me on the monitor and not one minute later I was writhing in pain and she said "Yup, that's a contraction." She wasn't worked up about it, though, until I said: "I feel like I really need to poop!" Then - BAM! - she went in to superspeed mode and got the doctor there as soon as possible.
Dr. Lynch-Solomon was on again, and when he came in my room I said to him: "You said FRIDAY!" and he sort of chuckled. He thought about doing an ultrasound, but saw how much pain I was in, so he checked my cervix instead. As soon as he looked he said we had better go - it was time to push. I even sort of remember him saying something about practically seeing the head right then and there. YIKES! Baby Girl was on the way!! The time by this point was no later than 1:30 a.m.
I called Aaron in a panic and he said he'd zoom right over. I told him they were taking me to L&D. I hoped he'd find us. But there was no time to wait!
The nurses wheeled me to Labor & Delivery - not even to a room, but to the operating room! I remembered they told me at orientation that twins are born in the operating room, for a number of reasons. First, there’s enough room for everyone (more on all he people there later!). Second, you are ready to go in case you need an emergency Cesarian Birth (I did not!)
There were literally 15-20 people in that room, some of whom I never really figured out why they were there. Like the nurse sitting in a chair to my right watching me push. Was she there just to watch? And the older man lingering around - I never caught what he was doing! I tried just to focus on the doctor and 2 nurses who were helping me push. And pushing I started!
I swear, it was only 20 minutes of pushing and Hannah was born - and Aaron barely made it. I think her head was crowning when he walked in the door. She was the most beautiful thing I ever saw - then they whisked her away to check her stats.
I admit: I had the thought in between babies of how lucky women who have only 1 baby are. They don’t have to find even more energy and get back to it again. But then I remembered how lucky I am to have 2 babies!
Not more than 45 minutes later, Ben was born. He was harder, probably because he was higher in my uterus, so I had to push him all the way to the birth canal, and then out. And poor buddy, he came out face up. He ended up with a giant bruise on his face. (An interesting side note is that I was also born face up! The doctor had to use forceps on me, though. Ben eventually slid right out).
Did I mention I did all of this birthing in less than 2 hours without any epidural? The only pain relief I got was a bit of local anesthesia on my bottom areas. The contractions were way worse than the actually pushing of the babies out. Some were so bad, I was convulsing. I like to tell people: “It sucked.” But really it wasn’t so bad. I’d rather do it fast like that, then lie in bed for hours with contractions!
After both babies were born, Aaron went with them to the NICU to help get them settled. He thinks they do that for dads so they don’t have to watch the afterbirth and recovering of things.... he’s probably right. I lay in recovery for about an hour or so, just shaking and freezing and wondering what the babies looked like. Aaron came back and showed me some photos. CUTIE PIES!!! They wheeled me over to their rooms on my way back to mine. I didn’t want to leave them, but I was dead tired.
Whew! That was a long story. Here’s the short-cut version I promised:
- 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3 - Water breaks; Tracy & Aaron go to the hospital (in the snow, no less)
- 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 - No action, so Tracy moves out of Labor & Delivery and into a “wait and see room”
- 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 - Tracy goes to sleep. No contractions.
- 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 - Tracy gets up to pee, notices more water coming out & calls nurse.
- 1:00 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 - Pain - bad pain! - starts. Tracy calls nurse again. Eventually doctor is called.
- 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 - Doctor examines, determines it’s time to deliver. Off to delivery room we go!
- 2:00 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 - Aaron finally arrives!
- 2:54 a.m. Sunday Dec. 5 - Hannah Beatrice arrives, weight: 5 lbs 2 oz; length: 18.5 inches
- 3:47 a.m. - Sunday, Dec. 5 - Benjamin John arrives, weight: 5 lbs 8 oz; length: 20 inches
|Hannah, holding Daddy's hand (in the NICU)|
|Ben, shortly after birth, hooked up to CPAP|
That Sunday morning, Aaron and I slept for abut 3 or 4 hours in my hospital room, then the craziness that is our life began. I did go see the babies before I went to sleep that morning, but I needed to see them again. So we began the back-and-forth to the NICU and my room game we played for 2 days. (B&H were in the NICU in Children's Hospital, which is attached to United Hospital where they were delivered). Between visiting them, learning how to pump, napping when I could, talking to visitors (including my mom and my friends Andrea & Lena), I was plumb wore out. It was a hard two days. But not as hard as my discharge from the hospital and going home without them. I wouldn't wish that gut-wrenching pain on anyone!
It worked out, though. The first week after they were born, I got in a routine. I spent the days at the hospital, bonding with my babies. Then Aaron and I met for supper and we went back to the hospital for a few hours. By the time we got used to that - things changed again and Hannah came home (after only 1 week in the NICU).
Then I had to learn a whole new routine - caring for one baby at home while trusting nurses to care for the other until I could get to him. I brought her along when I visited. I think having her there encouraged Ben to continue to progress. He came home after only 12 days total (5 days after Hannah came home).
|Hannah came to visit Ben in the NICU|
Their birth story isn't perfect. It isn't the picture I had in my head before they were born. I didn't get to scoop them up in my arms and hug them the minute they were born. Heck, I didn't even hold Ben until he was 3 days old! But you know what? It's their birth story. They are the only two people in the world who can say this is how they were born. I am so proud of myself, them, my husband for surviving this roller coaster that has been multiple pregnancy and then multiple birth and now raising multiples. It ain't easy, but it's good!
|B&H on the day they came home|
|B&H today, too busy to even get a photo!|