Monday, February 18, 2013

A Birth Story: Part 2

          The only surgery I have ever had was a tonsillectomy, so I had no idea what to expect from a c section. The spinal block didn’t hurt too badly; I think the I.V insertion hurt worse! The strangest part was how exposed I was, literally. And there are so many people who come in and out of the operating room while you are laid out for display on the operating table. My strategy throughout the spinal prep, spinal insertion, surgery prep and surgery itself was to pretend that none of this was strange or uncomfortable and to focus on what the rewards would be.
Like I said before, everything moved very fast. My OB had already begun to cut me open by the time they brought my husband in! I was definitely pretty numb, although I could feel everything they were doing to me. Everything I read describes the sensations as “pressure” but I’m not sure that is how I would describe it. It was a strange feeling every time they separated a layer of flesh or muscle and even stranger when they removed a baby. The worst part of the whole surgery was the nausea I felt. I was so afraid I would vomit, and I prayed hard the whole time that I wouldn’t.
          When they pulled out the babies they cried immediately, and then I cried. I knew their lungs were working perfectly based on their screams! All I could do was try to see glimpses of my babies being cleaned and inspected while the doctors removed my placentas and stitched me up. When I tried to look at the babies my vision would cross for some reason so I had to look out of one eye! My husband was able to be with them and take pictures; eventually they brought them over to me to briefly say hello before whisking them away to the NICU due to their premature status.
          At some point a nurse rolled me over to the recovery area and apparently they didn’t have a room available for me right away so I spent two hours in a recovery holding area; alone except for the nurse. I vaguely remember her asking me some question and I remember me asking her a million questions and rambling…the meds had me a little loopy! They finally brought me to a room but I wasn’t allowed to get up for 6 hours. I also had a catheter, an I.V and a pain relief pump attached to my body to there wasn’t much moving around. Six hours rolled around and I still wasn’t allowed to see my babies because the NICU had received an emergency admittance and couldn’t allow any visitors in. I didn’t get to see my new babies until 1:00am Sunday morning (8 ½ hours after they were born!)
          I have to be honest and say that this was so hard on me. First they took my babies away to the NICU, then I wasn’t allowed to see them, and my husband and mother stayed with the babies so I was all alone for a long time after delivery. Having a c section and then not seeing my babies for so long made it seem like birth never really occurred. The whole thing was surreal. Having the babies stay in the NICU instead of in our room made it seem even more like a dream, as if I didn’t really have babies. This created a strange disconnect. It was so hard to believe that just hours before I had 2 babies in my body and now they were gone…having to go and “visit” our babies was strange too. They were surrounded by sick babies and hooked up to all sorts of monitors, not to mention the nurses who were always around. I didn’t have a chance to just be alone with my babies and bond with them. I hated this feeling of disconnect.
          Although our babies were born perfectly healthy, without any medical complications, it was still scary to see them with all those leads attached to them which were hooked up to the constantly beeping monitors. Our babies were so tiny and delicate! Four pounds is just so small and their heads seemed as if they could fall off at any moment! I was just in awe with these tiny creatures; these compact humans…and the fact that they were mine. I know that we adopted these babies as embryos but they came out with our coloring! Baby girl is a brunette like my husband and Baby boy is a blonde like me! They both had blue eyes like me, but with hazel starbursts around the pupil (my husband has hazel eyes) and Baby boy has my pale/reddish skin tone and Baby girl is slightly more olive like my husband. The fact that we could see ourselves in them was just another blessing, a kiss from God. The funny thing is we posted pictures of them on Facebook and people who don’t know that we adopted embryos kept exclaiming about how they looked like us! How cute!
Neither my husband nor I had much experience with babies, let alone newborns, so we were both a little awkward at first. Thankfully, my insurance covered up to five days in the hospital so we had time to take it slow and learn from the nurses. We had no idea how long the twins would be required to stay in the NICU…only time would tell.

A Birth Story and Surprise C-Section

Here it is Friday, January 25, around 7:00pm, and I just realized that my last blog post was almost 7 weeks ago…is that really possible? This time I have a really good excuse for not writing in a while…THE TWINS ARE HERE! Yep, they came early!
Baby Girl and Baby Boy were born on Saturday, December 29th at 4:33 and 4:44. Baby Girl was born first and was 4 lbs 3oz and Baby Boy was 4 lbs 13oz. They are perfect in every way and did not have any medical complications; they didn’t even need oxygen!
I wish that I could go back and document in detail what happened in weeks 33 & 34 of my pregnancy (seeing as how my last post was about week 32) but the past 7 weeks have kind of been a blur. I will attempt to give some details that stand out to me. If you all remember, my blood pressure has been high off and on throughout this pregnancy. I also have had bad headaches and upper right side abdominal pain; all indicators of pre eclampsia. I also consistently had strong contractions that began to shorten and dilate my cervix, along with funneling. All of these factors sent me to Labor and Delivery (L&D) about 5 times in the past few months. And every time I would go my blood pressure would either be normal or barely high and all blood tests would come back normal (no pre eclampsia).
This was so frustrating to my husband and I because L&D was an hour away, there was a co-pay every time, and they always sent me home. I began to feel so silly every time my doctor insisted I go in for evaluation. Wednesday of week 34 my blood pressure was still high, then Thursday it was also high and we found out that Baby A (girl) had developed asymmetrical growth restriction which meant that her abdomen had stopped growing in order to deliver all blood to her brain development. This meant that she basically could not grow anymore and her abdomen size was in the 1 percentile. This was not life threatening but it wasn’t particularly good, thus the doctor did not order me to be delivered.
Well, Friday night my blood pressure had shot up to around 142/99 which was super high for me. After being sent home from L&D so many times, my husband and I were leery about driving all the way out to L&D; plus, we both were paranoid that we were taking my blood pressure incorrectly because we kept getting such high results. I was so worried that if I didn’t go to the hospital something bad would happen…but on the other hand I was tired or “crying wolf” and being sent home. We decided that we would wait until morning and go to a pharmacy to have them check my BP, and if it was still high we would drive to L&D.
Saturday morning rolled around, and oh, did I mention that we got a big storm Friday night that was still raging Saturday morning? We went and got my car inspected because my inspection would expire in a few days and then got my BP checked and sure enough it was still high, so off to L&D we went. Of course over a couple of hours at L&D, my BP never exceeded 131/90 and they were going to send me home so they let me have a snack. This whole time my OB had been trying to reach my perinatologist to get Thursday’s report but had been unsuccessful. I finally reached him on my cell phone and told him about my BP being low. He asked if I was sitting up when they took it, I wasn’t, and he said that if I lay down my BP would automatically be lower.
While I was on the phone with him I sat up and the machine took my BP again and sure enough it was really high. My peri then said he would call my OB because he wanted me to be delivered THAT SAME DAY…surprise to us! He didn’t want me to develop pre eclampsia or have any harm come to the babies due to my high BP. Have I mentioned that my husband and I hadn’t even showered yet that day? We thought we would just be coming back home for a lazy Saturday. Since the nurses had allowed me to have a snack my OB said I would have to wait about 4 hours for delivery. My OB informed me that although both babies were head down we would be doing a c section because I was not very dilated and my BP was climbing. Then we had another surprise; my OB apparently changed his mind about the time and was on his way; they immediately took me to the OR and began to prep me for surgery! This really was all a whirlwind. It happened so fast!