|Me, pregnant with twins, at 31 weeks...Now imagine me at 36 weeks!|
Did I mention I was huge? The last six weeks of my twin pregnancy were a bit rough. I was not bathing while home alone anymore, for fear of falling or being unable to lift myself out of the tub. It became very hard to wash myself properly and I had to take extra care getting under my belly and all the other hard to reach places and new creases so that I would not stink; remember it was the hottest summer in who knows how long. I could not lift my daughter in and out of the bath tub anymore. I would have to ask my husband or one of the boys to come in and lift her out when I was done. My maternity clothes barely fit me by then and I asked permission to wear slippers to work for the remainder of my employment due to severe ankle, feet and toe swelling. They allowed it. I took all stairs one at a time while holding on to the rails as tightly as possible, peeking past my giant belly with each step to check my aim. I was only sleeping for an hour or so at a time. I could only sleep on my sides and I would wake up to awful sharp pains in whichever hip I was laying on and would have to flip myself over to the other hip, back and forth, all night long. If you would ever like to experience this, strap a fifty pound weight tightly to your abdomen and then flip yourself over to the opposite hip every hour during your sleep. Then, strategically replace all of your pillows: one between your legs, one behind your back to prevent rolling and wedge one under the side of your belly so the skin does not stretch and hurt whilst trying to fall back asleep. Repeat this nightly for a few months. Always be mindful of your bed partner and try not to wake them up. Then get up and go to work in the morning. Fun!
I was very nervous of preterm labor. I had a couple scares that sent me to the hospital in the middle of the night there towards the end. I am not ashamed of this. I would rather be sent home knowing that everything was fine instead of sitting around at home guessing and possibly even harming the babies. If you get a crack in the amniotic sac and leak fluid, you are at risk of infection. This can harm the babies if bacteria becomes introduced into their environment. The babies were most likely putting too much pressure on my bladder and causing me to slowly and involuntarily wet myself. When you can't tell the difference, you have to go in and find out. I wasn't sleeping anyway, right? Field trip!
This brings us to September 27th, 2012. It was a Thursday morning. I had a super busy day scheduled at work and my last day was to be Friday. When I left for my 36 week appointment, I spoke to my boss because I was feeling a little ill and very uncomfortable. We agreed that I should take the rest of the day off in order to get some rest after my appointment; she would cover my work and I would be back the next morning for my last day. I was grateful. My health was great and the babies were doing wonderfully. I was never asked by my doctor to reduce my work hours. This was both a good thing and a bad thing. I did not want to be put on bed rest or reduced hours because we needed the money. I could have personally reduced my hours at any time I felt I should but unless it was recommended and signed off by my doctor, short term disability would not pick up the slack in any missed pay. So, I worked as much as I could and stepped out early here and there to get a nap or put my gigantic feet up. My boss was wonderful like that, so understanding.
My appointment went well. My Mom came along with me for extra support towards the end. My husband had an open invitation to all of my appointments, but we decided together that it was better for him to work, make money and save any paid time off for when the babies came and I needed him more. It is always good to have that second set of ears when things are overwhelming, though. My Mom is cool like that. I decided to ask the doctor to sweep my membrane that day. http://www.womenshealth.ie/pregnancy/sweeping-the-membranes/ I had it done when I was pregnant with my daughter and researched the pros and cons in preparation for this appointment. Sometimes it works to bring on labor and sometimes it does not. I felt that if the babies and my body were ready, it would bring on labor but also knew that it very well could not work and no harm would be done to any of us. This is the only procedure I would allow them to do. The week leading up to this appointment had been so physically trying, I cried so much that week. My body was near it's limit of what it could take. The sweeping worked.
By dinner time that evening, real contractions began. We sent our daughter to sleep over at her Oma's house (German for Grandma) in preparation for a possible late night trip to the hospital. It was the right decision. At around 3:00 in the morning of September 28th, I woke up my husband and told him it was time to go in. I snuck up to my older sons' room and gave them the option to come along. They decided to keep sleeping and I told them to stay home from school, we would keep them posted and someone would come pick them up and bring them to the hospital when it was time to meet their new baby brothers. One call to my Mom and we were on our way. I got hooked up, ice chipped and as comfortable as possible. Then the waiting began.
I decided, at the advice of the hospital staff, to accept an epidural. Baby A was head down and ready to go but Baby B was still lying transverse (horizontal) up under my ribs. I would have to deliver in the operating room in case of an emergency c-section. Were I to decline the epidural and a c-section was needed, there would be a significant amount of pain involved and having it already in place was the wisest choice. It ended up being a VERY good choice.
The urge to push came on quick and strong. The staff moved fast and got me to the operating room swiftly, husband and Mom in tow. The operating room was white, bright and uninviting. I can't even begin to tell you how many people were in that room. They were everywhere, busy as bees, organized chaos. I could barely move from pain and pure size. Do this, do that, they all kept saying. Getting up on the operating table was most difficult, I felt like a beached whale. I was in so much pain. Commotion all around me. Close my eyes and try to focus on breathing. Poked, prodded, pushed and pulled. Please let this go fast. Please let them be OK. Please let me live to see them. My mind was in a tail spin. Focus damn it!
I had two doctors on me; one to catch and one to run the ultrasound. I pushed...and pushed...and pushed...Baby A was here! That wasn't so bad, my Eddie Love. But don't get distracted, I still had one more to go. The next 7 minutes were absolute hell. I am suddenly being attacked. Hands all over me, frantic, repeatedly pushing on my belly with all of their might to try and get Baby B down. It's not working. It hurts. I feel a bit violated. I scan the room: Eddie is doing OK, I can barely see him through his circle of nurses but I can hear him crying. Mom and Allen are still there, trying their best to stay out of the way of the crowd. They seem OK. I did not realize, at the time, that they were wearing their poker faces, just for me. The doctor's are scared and loud. The catcher is about to throw in the towel and cut me wide open. The other doctor is not about to give up and pushes her aside. Suddenly, I can barely stand it. He is determined and I am in excruciating pain, even through the epidural. I squeeze my eyes shut as tight as I can. I don't want to see this. I grab both sides of the table and hold on like I have never held on to anything before. My hands cramp up and I squeeze even harder, as though a tornado is trying to rip a child from my death grip. If I felt violated a few minutes prior, it was nothing compared to this. The doctor was elbow deep inside of me, reaching for my baby, trying to save him. It felt like forever...and ever...oh my God, I wanted them out!
I must tell you, while I am sitting here writing and remembering, my body has been covered in goosebumps and chills, tears have welled up in my eyes. I was so scared and the feelings still crush me. I'll continue.
The doctor finally has a grip on Baby B's little foot and the pulling resumes ten fold. He does not slide out easily, he is breech and gets wedged, they are rushing to get him free. When he comes out into the bright and sterile world, he is not well. He is not breathing. His feet are black and blue as if he has been in a fight. His arm might even be broken. He has to be resuscitated. I do not get to see him for hours and hours. I had no idea this was going on. I had to deliver another placenta and get cleaned up and stitched. I could barely bring myself to keep my eyes open. I had just been severely assaulted and could barely stay awake, but they made me. It was almost over.
Baby B made it. He had to stay in the special nursery for at least 4 hours to be monitored due to very low blood sugar levels, but he pulled through and nothing was broken, just really banged up. Baby A did pretty well at first and was in my room with me in no time. About 3 1/2 hours later, Baby A was rushed off to the special nursery too because his blood sugar began to drop rapidly. It is not like me to let my babies go off without me, I had never let the previous three out of my sight while we were in the hospital, but this time it was out of my hands and I knew it. I had to let go. I had to sit back and allow this to play out without argument. I had to keep faith that we would all be OK. I was all alone in my room. I did not have my babies with me. I was so scared and so sad. I still hadn't met Baby B. Family started to show up. Put on my happy face and play nice. Smile.
The room is now full. There are at least ten of our closest family members in there and no babies. They had all just missed Baby A by twenty minutes or so. We chat, we laugh, we wait. My husband is nearest the door when it begins to open. I perk up because I can see the wheels of a bassinet under the privacy curtain. Baby A must be back, good, they will get to meet him. My husband picks up the baby with an ear to ear smile, so sweetly and begins to show him around. Like a shock straight to my heart I hear him say that it is Baby B and I am instantly bawling, streaming tears down my face, my arms outstretched as far as I can because I can't get up and out of the bed. I blubber, "It's Baby B! Oh my God, I haven't got to meet him yet!!" I am reaching, crying, feeling like I am drowning in a rush of emotions! Please, my dear husband, turn around and give him to me, please! I can not stand this much longer and am about to explode from wanting and needing and loving my baby! A few people see my desperate face and hear my heartfelt pleas and step forward hesitantly to help get Allen's attention. This all takes place in a matter of seconds but to me it was an eternity. He turns full circle and realizes what is going on and hands Baby B to me as quickly as possible. Ah...instant sigh of relief. Sweet, sweet Baby B is in my arms and I am complete. I am still bawling but smiling about it now. I look up at the room full of people and say, "I am sorry, please feel free to step closer, I just hadn't got to meet him yet." They did not know this and I had made a scene. I was allowed. But he was mine to hold, for now. I saw a few tears in other's eyes. We had word that Baby A was doing great and would be back soon. All was well. We made it. Our family of seven.
|April 2013 - 6 months old|
Baby A: 6 lbs. 13 ozs., born 11:53 AM
Baby B: 6 lbs. 9 ozs., born 12:00 PM
That is nearly 13 1/2 lbs. of baby at 36 1/2 weeks. No wonder I felt so awful. Thank goodness I let them sweep!
* This post is the sequel to 'When Push Comes to Shove'