In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our Twin Birth Story



The last baby bump picture taken right before we left for the hospital.

         It was the Friday morning of March 21.  One day after our five year wedding anniversary.  I had my routine 37 week checkup that morning.  I was ready to deliver my babies.  Like the previous week, I took my hospital bag with me to my appointment, just in case I was dilated enough to be admitted to labor and delivery.  I had reason to hope for that.  At 31 weeks, I went to the doctor for pelvic pressure only to find out that Baby A’s head was so low on my cervix, the doctor could feel him with a routine pelvic exam.  By 33 weeks, I was already dilated to 1 cm, and the doctor told me she didn’t think I’d make it much longer. Unfortunately, it took me two more weeks to get to 2 cm.  However, I was encouraged at that 35 week checkup when the doctor told me that Baby A had descended even more, and she thought I would go into active labor as early as the weekend. 

Baby A entering the world....
 


          I was so miserable, I stopped working that week.  I was just physically to a point where as much as I hated it, I could no longer efficiently do my job well.  And so I stayed at home that week and waited….and waited….and waited for my body to go into active labor.  Oh I was having contractions…And they were even consistent most of the time…..But after several hours of consistent contractions, they would ease up instead of intensify, preventing me from going into active labor and being admitted to the hospital.  I was so disheartened at my 36 week checkup, when I learned that I was still only dilated to two!  As miserable as I was, I had not progressed at all that week!  I left that appointment in tears.  I cried and cried, because it was looking more and more like I was going to have to be induced.  Hospital policy would not induce me until 38 weeks, and I did not know how on earth I was going to be able to physically carry my babies inside of me much longer. 
 
Baby B entering the world.....



          I didn’t sleep much the following week.  I was up every night with contractions that were 3-5 minutes apart.  Yes, I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions since my 25th week, but these contractions were not just the tightening of the stomach.  These contractions were painful.  The only rest I got that week was during the few hours of the day when the contractions would let up.  I called labor and delivery several times that week, only to be told that if I could still walk and talk and my contractions were not intensifying, then I was not in active labor. They encouraged me to take warm baths and Tylenol, and to wait it out at home. 
 


          And so on Friday, March 21, I waddled into my routine weekly appointment.  At 37 weeks, I looked and felt miserable, and my doctor knew it.  When she checked my cervix, I was dilated to 4 cm.  The fact that my contractions were still inconsistent, meant that I was still not in active labor.  She explained to me that my body had probably been trying to go into labor for weeks, but my twin uterus was overextended and could not produce strong enough contractions to put me into active labor. She said that her hands were tied with hospital policy, and she could not induce me without valid reason until I reached 38 weeks. What she could do was strip my membranes in the office and send me over to labor and delivery to monitor my contractions for a few hours to see if my labor would progress. If I progressed, they would admit me to the hospital.  If I did not progress they would send me home.  And so, that is how my twin labor started.  As uncomfortable as it was, I let my doctor strip my membranes to bring on my “bloody show”, in hope of it putting me into labor.


 
          We left the office to grab a quick bite to eat after my appointment.  By noon of that Friday, I checked into labor and delivery to be monitored. They monitored the babies’ heart rates, my blood pressure and my contractions.  Ironically, it was not my contractions that ended up giving them reason to admit me to the hospital that afternoon.  My contractions were not really intensifying, but my blood pressure was going up.  I had perfect blood pressure my entire pregnancy, but that afternoon my blood pressure became a concern.  It wasn’t dangerously high, but it was high enough that they didn’t want to send me home.  Not only was my blood pressure a concern, but they could not get a consistent external read on Baby A’s heart rate to monitor him, because he had descended so low into my pelvis.  The only way they were going to be able to monitor Baby A’s heart rate, was to do it internally.  To do this they would have to break my water, and screw in a fetal scalp electrode to Baby A’s head to monitor his heart rate.  Believe it or not, I actually found this process to be more painful than when they stripped my membranes.  I was told that it would be less painful, but in my opinion it was more painful.
 
Baby A

Baby B
 
          Once they broke my water around 4pm to monitor Baby A, my contractions quickly intensified, and I was dilated to 6 cm by dinner time.  I thought for sure we’d have babies by midnight.  Boy was I wrong!  Unfortunately, as my contractions increased, so did my blood pressure.  Knowing that I would have to have an epidural anyway (due to all twin births needing to be prepped to deliver in the OR), the doctors went ahead and gave me my epidural to ease the pain of my contractions and bring my blood pressure down.  The epidural did bring my blood pressure down, but it also slowed my labor down.  Pitocin was then given to intensify the labor and bring on strong contractions.  I felt like the epidural and the pitocin were going back and forth in my body, creating a vicious cycle of slowing down my labor and then progressing my labor.  I can’t tell you how much pitocin I had to have pumped into me, but I know it was a lot.  I also had to have my epidural refilled two more times before I delivered.  Worse than that, the epidural made me very sick.  Each time it started to wear off, they had to refill it and I was even more sick than the time before.  I was nauseous for the majority of my labor.  After throwing up several times from the anesthesia, the nurse took my ice chips away, and I was only allowed to rinse my mouth out with water and spit it out for the remaining part of my labor.   As if it’s not bad enough that the only thing you can have to eat or drink during labor is ice chips. 
 
Proud Papa

          Labor was progressing slowly.  I was dilated to 8 cm by 11pm, and the doctor said we’d have babies by sunrise.  Once again, a doctor told me wrong.  Sunrise came and went, and still I had no babies.  By 2am I was dilated to 9 cm, but that is where I stayed for several hours.  By 10am, I had shown no progression.  The doctor came in and explained to me that it was time to call a c-section.  I was sick….I was tired…and even if by some chance my body decided to dilate the last cm, I was so fatigued I would have a very difficult time with pushing.  He explained to me that with my epidural, it would probably take me at least two hours to push the first baby out, and then another hour to push the second one out.  As much as I hated it, I knew it was time to call it.  It had been nearly 24 hours of labor, and we had to call a c-section.
 
Holding my babies for the first time.....


          I had a really hard time emotionally with that decision.  Much like our difficulties with getting pregnant, I felt like my body had failed me once again.  I had gone my entire pregnancy with both babies head down.  This made it possible for me to try to deliver my twins without needing a c-section.  It was supposed to be an ideal twin birth, yet the birth was not at all what I had imagined.  I knew birth wasn’t going to be pretty, but I didn’t think that it would take so long or that I would be so sick.  I didn’t even let my husband take pictures during the actual labor process, because the only thing to take pictures of was me getting sick.  And now here we were 24 hours later, and I was realizing that we were indeed going to have to be prepped for surgery.   There would be no skin to skin contact directly after birth.  There would be no Daddy cutting the umbilical cord.  There would be a long recovery for me, in addition to trying to take care of newborn twins.  To be honest, I missed the entire birth.  When they prepped me for surgery, they had to pump more anesthesia into me, and I threw up during the majority of the surgery.  Matt managed to get the pictures that we have by using his iphone.  I’m so glad that he got a few pictures for us. 
 
Our first family picture!

          I remember few things about the birth of our babies.   I remember the being sick part and the shaking uncontrollably as they rolled me into the OR. I remember being very cold.  I remember the doctors talking about their weekend plans and golf games as they were cutting into me.  I remember the nurses looking at how swollen my body was from the hours of pitocin and saying, “This poor girl, I haven’t seen someone this swollen in a long time.”  Seriously though, I was pretty swollen.  I looked like the blueberry girl off of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  But I also remember Matt’s reaction as he saw his babies for the first time.  Such a proud daddy he was.  He must have taken a hundred pictures on his phone in those few minutes we were in the OR.  I remember the nurses placing my babies in my arms for the first time and me being completely overcome with emotion.  I didn’t know what to think or say.  All I could do was cry.  My babies had me from their first look.  I was quickly reminded of what my mother-in-law told me nearly a year ago, after we had once again been disappointed with another failed month of pregnancy.  She said that the moment I held my baby in my arms for the first time, whether through pregnancy or adoption, all of my heartache would be a distant memory.   How true that statement was!  I do still remember what it was like to not be able to get pregnant.  I do still remember the void in my heart that longed for a child.  But how quickly that void was filled in the moment I held my babies.  I have no words to describe a mother's love.  It was something that I never knew until that moment....the moment I became a mother. 
 
Aaron Elijah

Ethan Matthew

         And so on March 22, 2014, at 11:00am and 11:01am, we welcomed two healthy twin boys into this world.  Our twin birth did not go as I had planned, but it was still pretty perfect none the less.  I thought for sure they were going to come before 37 weeks.  At the time, I was so miserable being pregnant, I came to a point where I was ok with them coming a little earlier.  In hindsight, I’m glad I made it as far as I did, because we were able to take them home with us when we were discharged from the hospital.  We are very thankful that they did not need to spend anytime in the NICU.  Baby A weighted 5 lbs. 7 oz and Baby B weighed 6 lbs.  They were both beautiful and perfectly healthy.  Aaron Elijah (Baby A) and Ethan Matthew (Baby B) have completely stolen our hearts.  Our lives are changed for the better.  Now that they are here, it is hard to imagine how we lived without them.  Our journey through infertilty and pregnancy has come to an end.  We look forward to our new journey of parenting twins.  I could not possibly end this story without saying that these babies are our answer to prayer.  We prayed desperately for a child, and God chose to give us two! How very blessed we are!

For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: ~ I Samuel 1:27

6 comments:

  1. Ok, I'm sobbing now! Thank you for sharing this. Regardless of how it all "went down" it really is a beautiful story! I'm so happy for you both!

    Hannah

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    1. Aww, thanks Hannah! We love them so much!

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  2. Love your story! Each day will bring more blessings and more sweet stories of your precious sons

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