Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Today's style - 23 July

Whoa - they're here!

So it's been a few months... I thought time was slipping away so fast during the last few months of my pregnancy but I had no idea what was yet to come.

My babes were born on July 2nd - at 34 weeks at 5 days, just shy of the 36 weeks gestation twins need to be considered full term.

My water broke on June 19th while I was putting some plates away in the dishwasher. I felt a pop and a flush and suddenly, I was standing in a puddle of goo. I didn't say a peep and went straight to the bathroom to make sure I hadn't pissed myself. I had heard the amniotic fluid could smell sweet and that was one way to tell if it was actually that or just plain old pee. I have never smelled a piece of toilet paper so closely. This wasn't pee.

I went to the living room to tell my husband we needed to go to the hospital right away. He thought I was kidding (we had, after all, just discussed at our prenatal classes 2 days prior when was an appropriate time to go to the hospital at any stage of pregnancy) but when I stepped closer to show him the water dripping down my legs and showing through my pants... panic ensued.

We packed half a hospital bag, grabbed a towel, and made a run for it. I was admitted at our local hospital where they did a quick exam and confirmed what we thought. Then they gave us an envelope with my file and we were to drive to a bigger hospital in another town because our local hospital isn't equipped to deal with preemie babies. Fab! It was expected but I kind of also expected them to take me there themselves... I could see in my husband's face the fear of having to birth our children himself on the highway. It was one of the longest 45 minute drive of my life. Especially circling around the hospital trying to find parking.

Once admitted at this second hospital, they gave me some medication to help slow down labor and some steroids and antibiotics in case the babies did decide to make their grand entrance early. They gave me a room and I was finally able to get some rest and know that if anything happened, we were in the right place. The next day, an ultrasound determined that the membrane of one of the babies had ruptured and I would be Leaky McLeakerson until I gave birth to them. Not fun. So I stayed at the hospital 13 days leaking all over the place.

On July 2nd - 3 days before I was to be discharged and able to go home and give birth in our local hospital to term babies, I woke up with a massive migraine. I went for an non-stress test administered by Slothlike McSlowerson and as I got onto the incredibly high bed I felt something go "ugh" in my belly and a few minutes later I started getting really uncomfortable and if that woman didn't find my babes on the Doppler right away and didn't get what she needed out of this test within the usual 15 minutes, I may explode in murderous rage. Back in my room, around 10am I was now certain I was feeling contractions. I texted m husband and he got on his way. The nurse checked in on me just as I was hanging off the side of the bed for dear life right at the peak of the strongest contraction I had felt yet. She brought in a resident doctor who said these words exactly "Screw this, we'll do an exam and see if this is true labor" - you see, because of the ruptured membranes, no one wanted to stick their germy fingers in there until they were sure it was actually labor. I was dilated at 3cm which isn't really a huge deal - some women go weeks at this stage until the real work kicks in. Turns out, I am not one of these women. They were going to look into getting me a room in the Labor and Birth unit "just in case" and I was left to suffer in peace.

At this point, I got a phone call from a local number I didn't know on my cell. Of course, my mind raced to the worst possible scenario - that my husband had had a car accident and someone had found his cell and was calling the last number called from their own cell. This logic is flawed, I get it - but at the time it seemed solid as rock. Of course, it wasn't the case at all... the conversation went something like this:

Me: Hello.
Dude: Hello, is this Marie?
Me: Yeah...
Dude: This is SoandSo from KIA, are you still interested in a Rio?

Now let me stop you right there and clarify that I have NEVER been interested in a Rio nor have I ever given my phone number to a KIA sales dude. Needless to say, the conversation didn't really take off... I debated telling him I was in labor just to be able to tell someone. I didn't. I just said "no" and hung up on him, I didn't have the energy to lose my shit.

They moved me to Labor and Birth right away to get an assessment in one of their teeny assessment rooms... by then it was around 11am and my husband was texting me a picture of the parking meter notifying him that the parking lot was full. Of course. Anyways, he found a spot and came running to L&D where I was still waiting because they were cleaning a room for me. That's when it hit that these babies were coming today. This wasn't another trial run. This was the real shit.

By 11:30am, the doctor came back in to assess me again and saw that I was already at 7cm dilated. So within a few hours, progress had more than doubled and I was still sitting there waiting for facilities to become available. How fucking dirty was the room they were cleaning out for me? I don't know. I remember asking if they could just plastic-wrap everything and clean it later. The nurse did not see the humor.

The OB walked in, full of rage, and said it was unacceptable that I wasn't in a room yet and we needed to move fast because everything was moving along quite quickly. I agreed and she asked if I minded being in the OR- this way, I would be all set for my c-section if needed and well... I wouldn't have to wait any longer for an epidural. She had me at "drugs".

Yes, I got an epidural. Call me a wuss, I don't care. It is a small slice of heaven.

 They moved me to a nipply OR on the smallest, narrowest bed you've ever seen. Well, it was actually a normal OR bed but given that usually you get a nice bed with side rails to hang on to, room to roll over in pain and all the usual luxuries of a hospital bed... this one looked quite small, cold, and hard.

Right way, they put in an Epidural and bunch of other gross stuff. By now it was 1pm and I was fully dilated - that's right, I went from 3cm to the whole thing in like 3 hours. I'm not sure how common that is but let me tell you something it is NOT fun. I was still having contractions but no urge to push so the Doc said I should rest while the Epidural was kicking in and take a bit of time to gather my energy before the fun started. Which I did. For nearly 4 hours! Nothing was happening. They gave me an hour to sleep or do whatever I wanted but then they wanted to get these babies out so I started trying to push to no.fucking.avail. Nothing was happening. The baby was in the right position but it wasn't low enough or making any progress.

The nurse on shift was getting bored and she decided it was personal. She said these babies would be born by the end of her shift - she had sat next to me and had put up with my husband's humor for the entire friggen day and she was going to get something out of it. She made me change position which I suspect the effort alone helped move things along. It was much easier for me to push this way and we started to see some progress. I should clarify here that the bed was so narrow, they had to add some extensions on the either side so that I could lay on my hip and rest my back on a very kind nurse who's job was to just stand there and hold my leg up. No more stirrups for me!

Finally we were making progress and they called in the OB to deliver my babies. I knew the baby was coming because we went from having only the one nurse in the room with us to about 15 - 20 people all at once. They called in the NICU teams for both babies, a team to do the c-section if needed, and two doctors. Now let me tell you, if there's anything a pregnant women who's giving birth doesn't need, it's the pressure of 15 people just standing around staring and waiting for you to squeeze this baby out. Fun times.

In case there were any complications and for them to properly assess the second baby, I had to flip back on my back for them to be able to do an ultrasound right after the first one was born. When I was just a few pushes away from home base, they flipped me over on my back and set the stirrups back onto the bed. I put my foot back into the stirrup and with the next push... the whole thing came crashing down from underneath me and the baby is coming out. I can't stop pushing but I'm half hanging off the edge of the bed. My husband got a hold of my knee and a few moments later, my son was born (4lbs 13oz). The Doc, unfazed by the disaster of the crumbling bed and the metal parts rolling about the floor put my son on my belly. At this moment, everything went fuzzy except for him. I could only see the top of his head and I just cradled his head in my hand and said "mon bébé". My husband says at this point the Doc was yelling at the nurses to leave the bed parts alone and take this baby off of me. Seriously, this Doctor was amazing. My husband cut the cord and then went with our boy to a team of nurses where they assessed him, cleaned him up and gave him to me in a warm blanket for some snuggles before taking him straight to NICU.

Then everything stopped.

The Doc did an ultrasound and said that baby girl who'd been transverse in a breech position all evening was suddenly all lined up and ready to come out the good old natural way. My contractions had stopped but he Doc assured me it was normal and that they would start back up again in a few minutes. Nope. My girl was quite content in her newly renovated uterus and happy with how spacious it was and didn't want to come out of there - she actually started going back up and away from the exit.

At this point, I'm not sure if the Epidural catheter had slipped out or dislodged or exactly what happened but what I can tell you is that I wasn't feeling it anymore... or rather, that I was feeling everything.

They started upping the dose of whatever devil drug I was on to induce contractions every few minutes. It was a good 30 to 40 minutes until the contractions actually started and boy did they ever! The pain was quite intense and while I was expecting the same level of pain as with the first born, it was a bit too late to get any other sort of comfort measure in place. I would have to suck it up and do this one on my own. Looking back on it now, I am amazed at how two births can be so different - even two births from the same pregnancy. Sure, one of them was medicated to help alleviate the discomfort and the second was medicated to bring on the tidal wave of pain but still; everything felt so different and unique - it had to be more than the medication. Now, I see it as a very real reminder that both my kids are unique individuals. They may be twins but they are already so different.

94 minutes after my son was born, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl (5lbs even). She came out faster than her brother did but the road leading there was definitely harder on me. Mind you, no equipment malfunctions occurred. I was exhausted by then but I was so happy that it was all over and my babies were here. I got to hold her when she was still all goopy and then again all clean in a warm blankey before they took her to the NICU. Our plan was that my husband would go with the babies when the second one came while they cleaned me up and that we would meet up again in the recovery room.

As he followed the team of nurses out of the OR he looked over and said "Hey honey! That wasn't so bad... we should try for another one right away!" ... I pointed to the door and said "Get out." and he did.

And there you have it.

My babies are born. They are sleeping right behind me as I write this and I can hear their little breaths and their little cooing. They'll be due for a feed soon and I'll probably panic a little bit when they both cry at the same time, because warming the milk is taking too long, or worry they won't go back to sleep after their feed, and so on but deep down inside I will be filled with joy that they are here at last, they are healthy, and they are ours. All ours.


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