Goodness, where has the summer gone? I feel like this pregnancy is FLYING by so fast and I barely have time to think. Between growing and dealing with all the complications of this pregnancy and trying to survive the twins, I haven’t had much down time. However, when I do reflect I realize all that I truly think about is the week the boys were born and the NICU. That week in my pregnancy is fast approaching and it floods me with good and painful memories.
To give you a little back story, my twin pregnancy was so HARD on my body – I can’t even describe the aches and pains that I went through. But honestly, it was really uncomplicated until the end when the boys decided it was time to meet us. I will never forget that week.
It was a Monday and I was just over 33 weeks pregnant (see above picture). I taught my classes at Fort Bend Christian (Yes, I was still teaching full-time. Mostly, sitting down.) but I wasn’t feeling great. My swelling in my legs was so terrible and I was starting to get consistent headaches so my doctor had me come in for an unscheduled appointment. I was a little nervous but any extra appointments I had usually resulted in NOTHING. Do you know how frustrating that is? I mean, sure, I was happy nothing was wrong but then how do you fix whatever XYZ was going on. Oh wait, you can’t! Because it’s “JUST PREGNANCY.” I almost slapped a nurse one time when she told me it was “JUST PREGNANCY.” 😡
Anyway, my doctor wasn’t sure about sending me home so in an INSTANT I wasn’t allowed to work anymore and I was sent to the hospital to be monitored. I was there from Monday evening to late Wednesday. The babies were fine but they did give me steroid shots in case they decided to come early. Talk about stressful and scary. My blood pressure was on a roller coaster so I was sent home with instructions to not get worked up, relax as much as possible and check my blood pressure 4X a day. My labs were also clear of signs of being preeclamptic so there wasn’t a HUGE worry for the doctors. But I was having twins and the likelihood of delivering early was high.
It was terrible for me. If you know me, you know that being YANKED out of my routine did not sit well with me. Inside I was FREAKING OUT. I was freaking out about how I left work, what the new sub would be like, and how I was going to cope with semi-bed rest at home. It was not fun.
To make matters worse, on Thursday night, Nick and I woke up to our dog bleeding from her butt. I don’t know how else to say that. It looked like a CSI crime scene in our house. I was so emotional and huge and tired that I just cried and cried. I thought she was dying. Well, that didn’t help my blood pressure. My sister and her boyfriend had to come and calm me down (they live in the Heights) while Nick rushed her to the pet emergency. It was awful! She ended up being fine but the stress from the last few days took a toll on her too! Poor thing.
Needless to say, Nick and I were happy the weekend was upon us and we could just do nothing but rest. Nick got home from work and I was doing my usual peeing for the millionth time that day and complaining about my heartburn. He came in the bathroom and said “Man, I really would like some scotch and do nothing.” I said “That’s great. I think something just came out of me. I think we need to go back to the hospital.” Nick’s reaction to this was COLORFUL. He was so tired and I didn’t blame him – I was tired too! Now this was my first pregnancy so I had NO IDEA what was what. Or what should be coming out or not. LOL! Turns out my mucus plug had come out. I called the nurse and my friend Jane and they both said it could be a few days before anything but I definitely was waiting for labor. GREAT! Well, shortly after that, and I MEAN SHORTLY, my water broke.
Seriously!?! That week we could have made a ton of money on reality TV – you can’t make this up.
We got ready to go to the hospital and made arrangements for some friends to get our dog. We had no idea what to expect. We were first time parents and we definitely didn’t think we would be having babies THAT DAY! We were so wrong.
(The picture above is what I took that morning we had the twins). We got to the Labor and Delivery in the hospital and I checked in. I mean I couldn’t even sit down! It was like a typhoon water party in my pants. I was freaking out inside and I felt like we were waiting FOREVER to get taken back in to triage. I mean, I was 34 weeks pregnant – TO THE DAY – and had just been in the hospital earlier that week. It’s a twin pregnancy, pre-term, and my water just broke. I was a first time mom and for all I knew the babies weren’t in their water and suffocating inside of me. Y’all, I was FREAKING OUT! You would think there would be a sense of urgency but whatever. I’m sure the reality was that time was moving so slow for Nick and I because we were scared and had no idea what was actually happening or if the babies were okay.
Once we got back there they tested me for amniotic fluid and sure enough, we got a positive test. The doctor came in and said, “Well, looks like you’re going to be having some babies today.” Ummm excuse me. “TODAY?!” “TONIGHT?!” “LIKE IN THE NEXT 6 HOURS?!” Nick and I were shocked nonetheless. It was 6 weeks early. It was too soon. We weren’t ready. (PS No one is ever ready for a child. Much less twins. Ever.)
We didn’t have much of a choice. The boys were coming. Actually we were already a planned c-section so having a c-section wasn’t bothering me. I had eaten just a little bit before the hospital so we had to WAIT until closer to midnight to have the twins. Well, being that my husband is super intelligent and creative, he asked the doctor if we could have one born on October 2nd and the other born on October 3rd since it would be so close to midnight. Yep. I’m not lying. He totally asked. I actually thought it was funny but would have been so cool. The doctor wasn’t impressed. LOL!
So we waited. And waited. Watched some Criminal Minds or CSI, I can’t really remember.
I got up to pee (AGAIN). And then we waited. Continued Criminal Minds (or CSI) and we were getting really into it until…..
A nurse came in and checked the heart rates of the boys. Baby A’s (Andrew’s) heart had plummeted for too long. What was a calm at 9:30-9:45PM INSTANTLY turned into some of the scariest moments of my life. In a SECOND, I think about 10 people entered my room. One flipped me to my side and got the baby stable, someone through oxygen on my face, another started prepping me for surgery (I HAD NEVER BEEN MORE EXPOSED IN MY LIFE), the anesthesiologist started shoving antacids down my throat between me breathing and no one was really talking to us. I just stared at Nick (who was trying to keep his cool). He did a great job not freaking out in front of me but that moment was terrifying.
Because the boys were stable, they were able to get me to the OR and ready for the surgery. I remember walking into the room and looking at this SKINNY table they wanted me to lay on. I mean, PEOPLE, it looked like they were asking me to lay on a 2 by 4 piece of wood. I was HUGE! And if I did lay on it, I was sure I would have snapped it in half. Once they convinced me the table would hold, Nick was back with me and it felt like forever for the surgery to begin. I was having trouble breathing because of the numbing block they put in my back but I was trying not to freak out. I mean, they were cutting open my guts…. the last thing I needed to do was have a panic attack on the table. Plus, I was worried that if I couldn’t breathe they would knock me out and I wouldn’t hear the boys so I just “remained calm.”
By 10:31PM Andrew James was born (4lbs 6oz) screaming his little booty off. He was NOT happy. He was the reason for all this mess in the first place. By 10:33PM David Edward (5lbs 4oz) was born sleepy. David wasn’t ready to join us. In fact, the doctor had to reach her arm into my uterus to grab him because he wasn’t cooperating. The fact that he wasn’t really crying was scary but it didn’t last long. Both boys were fantastic. We had two teams from the NICU and the lead doctor tell us they were great. They were breathing well on their own but they were definitely headed to the NICU for monitoring. At the time, I didn’t know what that phrase would mean. In fact, I didn’t know how it would change me. But while I was there in the OR, a new parent, sliced open, I, at least, knew they would be safe. I got to see them for a split second to take a photo and that was it. To be honest, right after the procedure, I was having a hard time recovering (my entire body was shaking a lot) that I wouldn’t have been able to hold them right away. So it was a tiny blessing right after surgery. But I mean MICROSCOPIC tiny blessing. In reality, I wouldn’t be able to see my babies for over 12 hours but that’s for my next blog post.
If you think about it, my entire week was full of trauma. The last 12 hours alone before they were born was enough for one person for their lifetime. So much to process in such little time. My brain was spinning. They were 6 weeks early. I was so lucky to have two healthy babies. We were so lucky. But there are no words to describe the anguish and emotional pain I went through after finally being released to my postpartum room WITHOUT my babies.
What we didn’t realize is that over the next few days and weeks before they were home it would be some of the worst days of our lives and it’s something no one can prepare you for.