I was having a great twin pregnancy, as far as twin pregnancies go. I was feeling pretty good and hadn’t slowed down much, that was until I hit 29 weeks. That morning I had a meeting with my doula, about everything I wanted, which was basically an unmedicated birth with breastfeeding right away. After the meeting, I took the bus up to my ultrasound appointment, around 1:30pm. It was just a simple growth ultrasound, where I was told that everything was great. Therefore, as usual, I walked home from my appointment (about 1.6 miles, downhill and flat).
Towards the end of the walk I started to have some braxton hicks contactons, completely not painful, just tightening in my stomach every 6-12 minutes for a few hours and then switched to every 5 minutes pretty consistently. I kept hoping that drinking more water and lying down would stop them, but it didn’t work, so emergency room it was (around 9pm). I expected them to say, “You’re fine, just braxton hicks, go home.” No such luck. They ran a bunch of tests, set me and the babies up to monitors, and then admitted me to the hospital. Around 1am, I would say was when I was actually admitted and taken to my hospital room. Then, started the magnesium IV, which wasn’t as bad as a lot of people say, it definitely hurt going in my IV, but it was manageable. Didn’t have the falling, vomiting, and nausea like a lot of people. It did slow down my contractions, which was the goal. Had to wait a bit, but then they brought in a steroid shot, to develop the baby’s lungs (in case of delivery in the next 2-14 days. I just kept thinking, “Not happening! Not allowed!”). I know it’s needed and important, but I refused to believe they were coming out anytime soon. Had to stay in hospital for 24 hours, so I could have the next steroid shot at 2am again. After that, I was given the all clear to go home and just continue to take some medication every morning and night (Procardia).
After my ‘29 week scare’, everything seemed to settle back down. I took it easy though, no more working and long walks. I wanted to keep them in as long as possible and I really started to feel more and more pregnant, as the weeks went on. Every week that I made it, past 29 weeks, I would celebrate. I knew every week and every extra day, the better. Besides the normal pregnancy problems (peeing every 10 minutes, pubic bone pain, tired, heartburn, etc.), I was doing pretty great. I began to regain my optimism that I would make it to full term!
I couldn’t believe I made it to 35 weeks, which I was told was a huge milestone! I started to get a little more concerned, since the babies used to be in the 50th percentile and now we’re in the 18th (baby A) and the 9th percentile (baby B). I was told that we would just keep monitoring them and have extra appointments (non-stress tests, extra ultrasounds, and every week normal appointment). This is when I wished that I had a car, but people on the bus are pretty nice to the obviously pregnant people. I never had to wait more than a minute for someone to offer their seat (if it was really crowded that is).
The day started with absolutely no sleep. Our neighbors were playing music extremely loud until around 1am and we had an ultrasound appt first thing in the morning. I figured “I will skip a shower this morning and after all the appts, I will take a nap and shower”. Well, that was dumb. Went to ultrasound (Andrew was luckily with me) and everything looked about the same and pretty good. Went from there to the OB office for their first non-stress test, which they both looked great. Both girls were super active and heart rate showed they were handling the contractions I was having really well. Last stop was an appt with the doctor. The nurse rushed me into the room ( I was trying to snack on a granola bar/hold everything/get to room) and so when she immediately checked my blood pressure, it was a little high. Not much at all. Consequently, they checked my urine and found some proteins, which is not great, but not a huge concern. To be safe, the doctor told me to head over to the labor and delivery triage, just for the babies to be monitored, while they checked my blood pressure a thousand times. While there, my blood pressure was completely fine and the doctor was saying, “unless your results (they took blood and more urine) show something crazy, you will be heading home shortly”. Well, my blood work was crazy. My platelets were really low, which means I will have problems clotting. I had no outward signs of preeclampsia (headaches, pain in upper right side, swelling), but I was told that I was officially being diagnosed with it and that I would have to stay. I hadn’t showered, or slept, or eaten and it was now around 1pm. Luckily, they let me send Andrew to get me some Ihop, which did make things better. Breakfast food makes everything better.
They admitted me (March 20th, after appointments all morning) and told me that I am going to be induced, which really sucks. I really wanted to avoid all interventions. They took forever to admit me and get everything started. Blood draws every 6 hours and getting everything set up for induction. I was told they would be back in at midnight, to start the induction.
Next day, March 21st. Well, finally at 4:10am, they came in with the meso, to jump start labor. I kinda sucked, they would check my cervix and then shove the mediation up to my cervix. Talk about super uncomfortable. More cervix checks and meso at 8:10pm. Causing more braxton hicks, not painful, just annoyingly uncomfortable.
Midnight. They say i’m having too many contractions, so no more meso. Want to start me on pitocin. I think I slept a total of 4 hours the night before and so far one hour that night. With constant nurses, doctors, my giant belly, uncomfortable beds, and blood draws, I was finding it impossible to sleep.
I am getting a little confused thinking back about days/times, since it all started running together. At some point they broke my water, which really panicked me and I started to feel completely overwhelmed. I was doing just fine, right up until that point. I don’t know what I expected. Broke my water, in pain, gross, exhausted, hooked me up to magnesium (which makes me feel awful, hot, sick, and a fall risk – higher dose than I had at 29 weeks). Next thing I really remember was they kept upping the pitocin, which started some serious back labor contractions. They hurt so bad. I wanted to get in the tub, to cope with the pain, but they said no (because of magnesium). Wanted to sit on large medicine/labor ball, but it kept making the baby’s monitors move too much and not pick up their heat rate. Tried laying in bed, back was killing me. Ended up kinda sitting on medicine ball ( really carefully, to keep monitors working) and had to be completely upright/slightly leaning back. Andrew was pretty good at pushing hard on my lower back to relieve some of the pain, but it was pretty constant back labor pain. I tried to give him some breaks too, but I felt like I was dying a little bit.
They told me my blood work (platelet count) was looking worse and it was a more or less ‘now or maybe never’ for the epidural. They kept telling me there would be no side effects for the babies and I was in serious pain, so I agreed, before I lost my chance to get it. This is about when my doula showed up, but since I couldn’t really use any of my coping techniques and I already had all the interventions I wanted to avoid, I didn’t care to try and avoid the epidural any longer. Procedure wasn’t too bad and about 15 minutes after the placement everything was great. I could move my legs still and feel contractions, just uncomfortable and little pain. Started watching some Netflix and hung out….. That was until about an hour later (I had sent the doula home, since there was not much she could do at that point), I started getting really painful contractions in my back and my lower abdomen. I felt like a wimp. I thought that I just really couldn’t handle it, even with an epidural. However, they continued to get worse and they ended up trying to fix the epidural. That didn’t work and about 30 minutes later I was in extreme amounts of pain. They replaced the epidural and jump started the meds, but it still took about 15 minutes to start working. At this point I was so physically exhausted that I fell asleep (not sure how long, somewhere around 40 minutes I believe). The doctor that was on call for the night came in to check my cervix and see how I was doing. Surprise! She said Aella was coming out, now.
Everyone started running around and getting me and Andrew ready for the operating room, getting everything set up for both babies, and making sure they had all the staff they needed (had to delivery in OR, just in case of C-section and having enough room for all staff/NICU team). I felt pretty good and confident at this point, but a little scared. My whole body was shaking, I guess a side effect of the hormones or medication. Overall, it was pretty peaceful at this point for me. Went over what I wanted really quick with the staff (delayed cord clamping, I want to touch the baby’s head as they are being born, mirror to see what it happening, skin to skin, and breastfeeding right away, etc.) I could feel my contractions and move my right leg (left leg was pretty numb). I really didn’t want to labor on my back, but at this point I was just going with it. When I got a contraction, I would hold my legs and push with deep breaths about 3 times and then lay back and relax until the next contraction. I loved having the mirror, so I could see Aella coming out. Not going to lie, it was pretty gross and not something I wanted my husband looking at. I know that sounds childish, but who wants to see their body like that? I pushed for about an hour, with nice relaxing breaks between contractions and chit chatting with everyone in the room. Everyone kept saying how great I was at pushing and making me feel like a rock star. Aella came out ( I got to feel her head as she was coming out) and went over to be checked. Andrew got to hold her for a minute and then they let me hold her while I started to push out Astrid.
I thought that was pretty great of them. This is where things turned into a real blur. Next thing I know they tell me to give Aella to Andrew because there is a problem with Astrid’s heart rate. I think I was in a daze at this point. I remember pushing and the most extreme pain I have ever felt. I remember looking into that mirror that I loved before and seeing forceps pulling out Astrid. It was extreme and I was not really coherent, maybe shock? I do remember thinking, “I hear screaming, I guess that has to be me, which is weird because I usually go silent when in pain.” I really can’t say exactly what happened, but it was a terrible 20 minutes. It seemed a lot longer than 20 minutes though. Astrid was a little blue, but they checked her out and gave me both babies. I was able to be wheeled back into my room, holding them both.
Hospital with the Babies:
Days started running together a bit at this point too. I mean, once we got wheeled into our postpartum room, I never left that room till we went home days later. At first I was able to breastfeed them both and felt amazing. My poor body though. I got a 2nd degree tear and had to be stitched up and there was some serious swelling. So much that I tried for about 20 minutes and could not pee. I had to have a catheter placed, which hurt pretty bad with everything going on down there. Breastfeeding was going okay, we weren’t getting much sleep, but doing relatively well, and my back (from the epidural and awful beds) started to get pretty sore. I felt that overall, I had a pretty good experience. Of course, most things didn’t go the way I planned, but that is something I am starting to get more and more used to. If you want to read about how my adventures of breastfeeding went, go here.