Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Part 2 — Happy Birthday, Girls!

Hubby had driven from Virginia to Arkansas for Thanksgiving. I didn't feel well and was at my contraction threshold the whole weekend. I'd never been there consistently. He left on Saturday night and drove all night to arrive back in Virginia on Sunday afternoon. By Sunday evening I felt really funny and decided to call in and send my monitoring results (instead of waiting until the normal morning call). I'd had six contractions in an hour, and my threshold was four. They told me to drink water, which I always did anyway, and remonitor. The next hour I thought I had two. I was wrong. I had nine. I was told to go to the hospital and they would call ahead.

Of course when I arrived at the hospital they thought I was a full-term single delivery at first. Then they got me in a room, checked me, and put me on Breathene for the night along with a contraction monitor. That monitor registered nothing, but overnight I went from no dilation to 2-3 cm by 7 a.m.

Now let me just say that my family and I had decided the night before not to call Hubby and tell him what was going on because he needed his sleep. Nothing was really happening at the time anyway. Well, now it was, and fast. A fast ultrasound, which city to go to, helicopter to coordinate, and he's already in class because he's on the east coast...it was a little crazy. This was before cell phones, too. At least for the general American population. Well, remember I'm a number person. I recalled the number to the housing office on the post where he was. They found him very quickly, he called the hospital, and then got to work on getting a flight.

I chose Springfield, Missouri, over Little Rock, Arkansas. It was one hour closer to where my family was in Arkansas, and the roads were much better for them when they traveled. We also knew a few people there. To this day when I see a helicopter, especially a medical helicopter, I nearly hyperventilate. I get that little shudder and my breathing changes. All the feelings just rush back. I stared at gray quilted diamonds on the top of the helicopter ceiling that was just inches from my face for 45 minutes or so. I have that picture imprinted on my mind forever.

By the time I arrived, I was dilated 4-5 cm. They put me on magnesium sulfate and had the perinatologist and neonatologist come in and talk to me. My mom, aunt, and grandpa all drove up and met me there.

First, the perinatologist said he expected me to have the babies by that night (it was Monday and I didn't have them until Friday, praise God!), and that my Hubby needed to get there as quickly as possible. He gave me options — regular vaginal delivery, vaginal delivery of the first baby and leaving the second one, or going ahead and doing a cesarean right away. My aunt and I talked it over and decided to let God handle it, let the babies stay in as long as possible, and have a vaginal delivery, cesarean only if necessary. The doctor told us they had never done this procedure at that particular hospital — the delivery of one twin and leaving the second one until a later date — but we chose that option if possible. The neonatologist came in next and gave all the gloomy news about percentages — chance of survival, chance of problems if they survived, chance of significant problems, etc. Gloomy! You know, she ended up being one of our best buds.

And then last but not least, the magnesium sulfate. If you've been on it, you get it. That stuff is nasty, but it works. It made me not be able to focus, even with my glasses on, affected my sleep, made me moody, and in general just made me not care about anything. Granted, I was laying in a hospital bed upside down, which is called Trendelenberg position, my lungs were getting a little fluidy, and by Friday I hadn't washed my hair since probably the previous Saturday. And you know what...didn't care! When the nurse came in on Friday and wanted to wash it, I told her I didn't know how she was going to do it because I couldn't lift up. She was going to hold me off the end of the bed or something. I told her to forget it and that my mom would just french braid my hair. It wasn't really long enough for all of it to go back well, but as icky as it was, that helped.

Then she asked me about my toothbrush. I told her I didn't have one. She told me they would have given me one when I got there. On Monday. This was Friday. I'd been in a hospital somewhere since Sunday night. Told you I didn't care. I know it's gross, but I'm over it now. I'm sharing it with you, aren't I?

So back to Monday. That evening around the shift change time the new nurse came in and checked me. She said I was fully dilated. That certainly got things moving quickly and got everyone in a huff. I was rushed to a delivery or operating room (I'm not even sure which) with my aunt by my side, and the doctor met us there. They dropped the table, he checked me, and said in a firm enough voice for everyone to hear that I was dilated exactly like I was when I got there and to get me out of there. I was shaking like the proverbial leaf, and I remember them throwing some warm blankets over the top of me as they wheeled me out. (Hubby was not flying in until almost midnight that night.)

Once I was back in a room, the nurse came in and you could tell she'd been crying. She apologized and said that she thought I was fully dilated since the baby's head took up the space. You know, I never saw her again the rest of that week. I spent it in one of the four perinatology rooms for obvious reasons, but also because I needed to be close to the delivery room. They were afraid my water would break and Baby A would just come flying out.

So when Friday rolled around I knew this was the day I would have my babies. I felt it. I had been on a suppository that helped stop contractions along with the mag sulfate, but it was only a short-term medication, and I received the last one on Thursday. By 3:00 in the afternoon I was in a delivery room with tons of people. I had no epidural or local anesthetic because they didn't want to relax any muscles since they wanted to try to leave Baby B after Baby A was born. (Baby B was breech and very high up...they were pretty sure it was a girl, but not absolutely certain.) I was also on the magnesium sulfate to stop the contractions while I was in the delivery room having contractions and pushing. Weird, I know. It was to hopefully help as soon as the size of the uterus shrunk after one baby was out, since they assumed my early labor was due to this being a first pregnancy and the uterus thinking it was time to deliver.

6:03 brought Baby A, Chatty, and a small cry. Of course she had to be ventilated when they got her over to the bed since she would not be able to expand the lungs back out on her own. Things were sort of relaxed for a brief moment, and then I heard the doctor say the words, "Distress, hook, you're not going to like me very much." I then had the worst 20 seconds of pain in my life. I thought I took part of the nurses arm off, but she had gotten my hand down to the table handle, although I'm not really sure how. Hubby saw them lose Baby B, Sparky, on the ultrasound and then the heartbeat was about 80 when they got her back on it. The doctor reached in and broke my other water sac and pulled her out by the ankles. She was blue. The neonatologist had her so fast that he didn't even know if we'd had another girl or a boy. This also explains why we think that maybe the birth time of 6:10 was when someone had a chance to look at the clock.

About five minutes later the anesthesiologist comes rushing in and throws the oxygen mask back on my face while exclaiming, "We're prepping for a c-section." Hubby says, "We already had the baby." Anesthesiologist says, "You had one. This is for the other one." Hubby explains, "No, we had both." I'm glad my perinatologist was able to take care of things on his own.

Well, you know that she survived. A few minutes later when things calmed down the doctor explained that the girls' placentas had grown together on the edges. When Chatty's started delivering, Sparky's did too. Not good. So she didn't get to stay extra time in the womb. I might add that when he did this he had the big giant silver bowl in front of him and held the placentas up for us to see. Another picture emblazoned on my photogenic mind forever.

more tomorrow, with some pictures of teeny, tiny girlies...


Lora said...

I can't believe I beat Mari to the comments:) She's always first!

That's some story, Kayren! I'm so glad that everything worked out well. It's crazy when you're in the middle of it though, isn't it? That Trendelemburg thing is a lot of fun, eh? I spent 4 weeks on that in the hospital--total bedrest (yes, bedpan only) and only 5 showers total. It's amazing what a mother will do for her babies, right? Somethings just don't seems as important when it gets down to the nitty gritty.

Can't wait to see the tiny baby pics!!

Demara said...

Oh what a thrill. I'm excitedly waiting to see the pictures of your teeny tiny girls! :)

(P.S. I'm glad your husband was there to let the Anesthesiologist know that "both" babies were delivered! eek!!)

Mari said...

What a story! I can't imagine what those days of waiting were like. How blessed you are to have them both!

MomE said...

I can't wait to see the bitty pictures! Wow, they have SOME story!!!

Betsy said...

I'm just shaking my head in disbelief! Aren't you glad it's over and the girls are wonderful and healthy. Whew! You really had a rough time!

The Stylish House said...

Your journey was truly a labor of love! I understand in my own way what it’s like being in the hospital. Keeping an upbeat attitude a strong fortitude and a steady supply of prescription meds sure helps too! I don’t claim to know what you went through, but your hard work and perseverance paid off, because you ended up with two beautiful daughters.

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