From the start of week 33 I was VERY uncomfortable. I was having a lot of ligament pain so that it was much harder to walk. I stayed home from church and commented to HH that I might need to stay home for the rest of the pregnancy, I was that uncomfortable.
|belly at 34 weeks.|
I woke up the next morning (Wednesday) at about 2:00 a.m. feeling sore and crummy. I woke up HH and cried and talked to him about having overdone it. Then I went to take a bath. After that I started having a lot of braxton-hicks contractions and TREMENDOUS pressure when I walked. Like when I walked it felt like a constant contraction. Enough that I called Sally, the nurse-midwife that was to help deliver the babies, and asked her questions about preterm labor and what kind of changes would occur if the babies came at 34 weeks. She gave me some good information, and for the first time I felt like I could trust her to take good care of me. And one thing she suggested was to have someone take care of the kids and for me to stay down. She said that things might calm down if I stayed off my feet, but with the kind of pressure I was feeling there was a chance that my water could break just from walking, and then of course the babies would come no matter what.
So lay I did. My aunt watched the kids--took them to swimming lessons and the museum--while I camped out sleeping and having some irregular light-but-slightly-increasing contractions. It was horrible to walk still, so I only got up to hobble into the bathroom or to grab a bite to eat when needed. I took several baths...I think four.
The last bath was late on Wednesday night...probably around midnight...and I noticed that my contractions were stronger and weren't stopping in the warm water. I got out and went back to the couch and had three or four strong contractions that were 5 minutes apart, and I decided that it was time to be checked out to see if the contractions were causing any dilation, or if it was all just part of a crazy twin pregnancy with a crazy mama who overdid it with the shopping.
I called my Mom, who had just flown home from Ohio and was very sleep deprived, and asked her to come down to stay with the kids while we went to the hospital. She'd be down in an hour. I woke up HH, and I called Sally again. She had said that if the babies came that early then it wouldn't really matter what hospital I chose...they'd be spending time in the NICU so I should choose the most convenient Hospital. I opted for a close one, rather than the one that I'd planned on & where she could be with me. But she also mentioned that even if I wasn't dilating they'd probably keep me there to keep an eye on the contractions.
I certainly didn't want to be admitted, and during the phone conversation the contractions slowed way down...I think I had two little ones during an almost 1/2 hour call. So I decided that I was fine to wait. When my Mom arrived I apologized and said that we were going to wait and see if things picked up. She went in to sleep in the guest room.
I went to sleep, but would wake up for contractions strong enough to require "breathing"...I don't know how many I had because I kept falling asleep so it's a bit hazy, but when HH left for work at 3:45 I said that maybe he shouldn't go. But I wasn't sure so he left. I called about 20 minutes later hoping that he hadn't already met his carpool partner...but he had. He said to just keep him posted.
At 5:00 I woke Mom up and said that I wanted to go be checked...just to know what was going on even if I wasn't in labor. Maybe they could stop it if I wasn't very far along. I called HH, but he couldn't leave for another hour (when replacements could take over what he was working on). I called Charlotte, who was my midwife for all of the other kids & who had planned to come to this birth (more as a doula this time)...but she was quite sick. She said that she'd send her assistant Cassandra. I wasn't sure that I needed Cassandra, since I barely knew her so she probably wouldn't be reassuring for me, but I didn't say no to her coming.
It took some time to get the kids up and get my things gathered, and when I was up and about the contractions backed off. Mom said that she thought it was false labor, and I admit that I had my doubts, but I still felt that it had been enough to warrant going to find out. We left at 6 a.m. and got to the hospital at 6:30. Cassandra met me at the front door and we went up to admitting.
In admitting I had several contractions, and Cassandra timed them (they were fairly close together and strong, but not long lasting). Then we went to triage where I had to lay on a flat bed and I was super uncomfortable and it seemed like forever before someone came to help us. Then they hooked up monitors-- babies were doing fine, and contractions showed up loud and clear. Finally they checked my cervix and I was at an 8!
|in triage (thankfully they put the bed up after a while!)|
Then there was a big scuffle as nurses descended and they sent for the OB. Baby B was back to being breech, and when the OB heard that she made it clear that she would not deliver the babies vaginally. (The nurses told me that that OB was very unbending...more than any of the other doctors). They tried to find another doctor to do the delivery vaginally, but there was no one available.
So then I had to decide about Baby A. It was a hard decision for me...I knew that the OB just wanted to do a c-section and take them both out at the same time, but I was almost fully dilated and could have birthed A vaginally. But then I'd be totally put to sleep for the birth of the second, or I'd have an epidural for the first (and I know lots of people love epidurals, but it kind of seems like a "whats the point" thing if you can't feel the birth at all....). But anyhow, I decided to do the c-section for both, and the preparations began quickly as they took me to the operating room.
During this time Cassandra was vital. She went back and forth to the waiting room to tell my Mom what was going on, she called HH to tell him to HIGH TAIL IT, and she counseled with me. In the O.R. she took pictures, kept calling HH to find out where he was on the road, and was there as the person "on my side." (HH's laid back demeanor does not jive well with my quick birthing!!)
|The fantastic Cassandra...she turned out to be so invaluable!!|
Preparations went quickly--they wasted no time in getting me into surgery, and HH wasn't there in time. Everything went smoothly, I guess. I hated it, of course, but there weren't any complications. I reminded them several times that they had to take baby A out first, because I knew them by name and A had "squatters rights" since she'd had her head down and ready (she was at 0 station when I was checked) for so long. It's a good thing I said that, because when they made the incision baby B stuck her bum and foot out and seemed to want to come out first. But they honored my wishes and took A out first, and then B.
|baby B/ E|
Baby B "felt that breathing was optional" as they put it, so she was put on oxygen. A was stable and did great from the start. I didn't get to hold either one (again, the OB was just a total party pooper).
|My first view of the babies. They did later bring baby A (D) over next to me to see her better.|
HH arrived just after the birth, which was sad for both of us, but he got in just as the babies were being taken to the NICU, so he went with them-- which is one of the few things that I had in my birth plan that actually happened.
While they sewed me up I kind of freaked out because it felt like a weight on my chest and I had trouble breathing, and then I had a tickle and had a string of funny little coughs, and then I got nauseous and dry heaved into a bag but didn't actually throw up. Evidently that's just some of the fun stuff that goes with c-sections and epidurals. So different from my previous post-birth thoughts and feelings.
|The placenta. Single placenta with two sacs and cords. HH saw this picture and thought that it was gross, but I think it's interesting and not something that you see everyday, so I'm including it.|
SERIOUSLY PEOPLE, WHY would you choose to have a c-section or epidural? Both things were miserable. I'm writing this almost a week later, and as bad as I thought they were at the time, it's only been compounded since then. The good thing is that now when I say that I would rather have a non-medicated, vaginal birth (at home) I have something to compare it to--and I feel a lot stronger about it knowing the difference.
Anyhow, I'll get off my soapbox. I still feel that the c-section was unnecessary...I'm sure I'd be a lot less harshly opinioned if it had been something that really needed to happen...as some are.
I was taken to recovery, where I mourned the death of my birth plan & expectations, but where we also celebrated my new little girls! From now on "A" will be referred to as "D," and "B" will be referred to as "E."
D weighed 5 pounds 1 oz and was 17.5" long.
E weighed 4 pounds 8 oz and was 18.5" long.
When I was able to wiggle my knees and toes we went up to the NICU to see the babies, who were beautiful (though the oxygen mask was pretty serious looking). I didn't get to hold them that time, but HH was watching over them.
So then I had to wait a couple more hours before I could go down and see the babies.
I got to hold D.
|This was the closest that I could get to E because of the wheelchair.|
Later my Mom, sister Judy, HH, and the kids all came to visit.
Chick loved pushing me in the wheelchair.
|Opening presents from the babies. I don't remember which present came from which baby, but the older kids got "A Baby Sister for Frances" and a DVD of "The Parent Trap."|
|E looking pensive. Perhaps shes wondering why no one was holding her....|
And that is what happened on the birth day of D & E.