Monday, March 10, 2014

Clara and Hazel's birth story

I'm sitting in the nursery, keeping an eye on our beautiful sleeping twin girls. 6am, and I finally have a little time to jot down how they got here.

I worked my last day on Friday, February 28. My blood pressure had been running high enough that my doctor wanted me to stop working. I was in the office until noon and finished the rest of the day at home. I took it easy, and other than a conference call, mostly rested and checked email.

We sat down to dinner, chicken breast and steamed broccoli, around 7pm. I wasn't very hungry, so I didn't eat much. I started having these gas-like cramps, but I wasn't passing a lot of gas or anything. I went to the bathroom a couple of times. After dinner, Kim took Katie and Penny to Hobby Lobby to pick out some stuff for a craft project. While she was gone, I started to suspect these cramps were actually contractions. I texted Kim and called my mom. We started making a plan for what to do with Penny in case we had to go to the hospital.

Around 11pm, I was starting to have pretty regular, timetable contractions 4-5 min apart, so I took my blood pressure. It was fairly high, so I took that as a sign that I needed to at least get checked. I was at 2-2.5 cm at my last appointment, so I figured this could possibly be the real thing. Kim stayed at our house so we could go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital just after midnight on March 1. I was actually really glad of the timing because it put us at exactly 36 weeks gestation. Every week counts! They put a bracelet on me and a nurse came and took us back to a room. She hooked me up to three monitors (one for contractions and one for each baby), and once they noticed my contractions were coming every 1-2 minutes (what??), they started me an IV of fluids to make sure I wasn't just contracting from dehydration. They took a bunch of blood to check on a bunch of things, and we settled in to wait and see if they were going to keep us or send us home.

We waited until about 3 or 4 in the morning before the nurse came back in and told us that, based on my contractions (which had slowed to every 5 min or so, but hadn't stopped or gotten any weaker) and my blood work, which showed high levels of uric acid (which can lead to seizures in the mother), I was going to have some babies today! Which was both exciting and terrifying to hear. The contractions were strong enough that, now that I knew I was staying, I went ahead and requested an epidural. I was concerned about labor moving quickly because it wasn't my first pregnancy, and I also wanted to have my epidural in place so that if they had to perform an unplanned c section, they could easily numb me up and not have to put me under in an emergency.

Around 7am, there was a shift change, and the new on call doctor, Dr. Williams, had them start me on Pitocin and break the closest bag of waters. Both babies were head down, so the plan was to try for a vaginal delivery (my preference, and also how Penny was born). Things were progressing pretty well until I got to about 6-7cm dilated. Dr. Williams performed the check and said, “I feel a face.” She frowned and said, “I'm not very comfortable with this.” Apparently, instead of trying to descend top of the head first, baby A was trying to peek out with her face. The doctor explained that this could cause neck injuries to her if she was born facing that way, or even issues like cord prolapse, where the cord comes out first and cuts off the baby's oxygen. She told me she wasn't going to rush me, but it looked like we were heading for a c section. She had the nurse turn me on my left side to see if the baby would move a little. I'll admit, once she left the room, I started freaking out a little. I called my mom and sister and let them know I might be headed for surgery. At this point, Cory was the only one at the hospital with me. They started hurrying to get there to see me just in case. I might have cried a little. I knew we would all be alright, but I just hadn't expected this little wrench. I figured I would either know I was headed for surgery in advance, or get to try pushing and have to convert to a c section. This was something different. A slight difference that changed everything.

Turning me on one side and then the other didn't help. The doctor gave me a little extra time to wait, which allowed my mom and sister to make it to see me. I really appreciate how kind Dr. Williams was in this situation; she did her best to allow me some control when I really didn't have any. She came back to check on me, and I told her I was ready. At that point, everyone sprang into action. They briefed me on how it would go and started giving me anti nausea meds and upping my epidural for the surgery. I said goodbye to my mom and Kim, and they wheeled me away, Cory following behind.

They had Cory put on scrubs outside the OR while they prepped me. I was totally naked and could see my reflection in the lights above me, which creeped me out a little. I remember being relieved when they put the sheet up; they angled it so I couldn't see them or anything else past my chest. Then they let Cory back in and he stood by my face and they began. I didn't feel any pain, thank God. That was one of my worries, that the pain medication wouldn't take fast enough or something. I do remember being so tired that my eyelids felt heavy. I was trying not to fall asleep while they worked.

I didn't have to wait long. After some vague pulling and tugging sensations, baby A, Clara Rhea, was born at 11:20am. Baby B, Hazel Marie, followed right after at 11:21am. Cory got to hold both of them and bring them to me. He was the one who thought A looked like a Clara, and B looked like a Hazel. I agreed immediately and that was it for names! Clara cried right away, and Hazel made softer noises but did okay. They were concerned about Hazel's breathing at first, but then she started screaming and they worried a lot less about it, haha. The decision was made that they didn't need to go to the NICU, so after they closed me up, we all headed to my recovery room together.

My twins' birth was so different from Penny's birth I can hardly compare them. Pretty much everything that could have been different, was. I can't imagine only having one of them, though. We're adjusting to being a family of five and it's pretty great. After I had Penny, I knew our family still wasn't complete. I wanted to experience pregnancy again, and I felt like someone was missing from our family. Now, I feel like we're all here. Cory and I and our three girls. It was a little more than we bargained for, but it feels wonderful and exactly right.