The majority of pregnancies with multiples start getting “exciting” much sooner than those of singletons. Because of this, my story needs a little intro leading up to their actual birth. It was definitely a difficult time in my life, but one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced!
The beginning of my pregnancy was rather uneventful (except for the fact that we were having TWINS!!). I saw my OB doctor once a month and a perinatologist (high risk doctor) once a month, alternating them so I saw someone every two weeks from the time I was 12 weeks pregnant.
When I was 30 weeks, my doctor had me stop working and I was told to “restrict my activity.” This didn’t necessarily mean bed rest, but just to start taking things easy. He did this because my blood pressure had started to elevate and he wanted to make sure it didn’t get any higher. Of course, being at home all day by myself wasn’t very easy. I probably did more stuff than I was supposed to – cleaning, laundry, etc. I still went out and did stuff, like shopping and church, but I tried to walk a little slower and be off of my feet as much as I could.
At my first non-stress test at 31 weeks, they said my blood pressure was high and I was having too many contractions. I was sent to OB triage and given terbutaline to help stop preterm labor. After being monitored for a few more hours and one more shot, I was ok’d to go home.
At 32 weeks I had an appointment with my doctor at 3:00 and was scheduled to have another non-stress test at 4:00. Again, my blood pressure was high so my doctor sent me straight to triage to be monitored. While there they told me I was having too many contractions again and with my blood pressure being elevated they wanted to keep me overnight on the antepartum unit so I could be monitored. I was given another terb shot to help with preterm labor and also was given 2 steroid shots to help the babies’ lungs develop, in case they came sometime soon.
At this point, my doctor put me on strict bed rest. I was only able to get up to go to the bathroom. If I was home by myself I could get up and get food but if there were people home with me they had to get it for me. I wasn’t supposed to go up and down stairs, but that’s pretty hard when you live in a two-story house. I would go downstairs in the morning and not go back up until it was time for bed. To be honest, I napped three times a day and was still sometimes so tired at night that I never went back upstairs and I just slept on the couch. I couldn’t leave the house either – the only exceptions being to go to my doctor’s appointments and non-stress tests.
Finally at 33 weeks I went to a non-stress test and nothing had changed significantly so I was able to go home!
At 34 weeks I met with my doctor who said that things weren’t looking good. With my blood pressure being so high, I was walking the line as far as whether or not I was a better incubator for the babies. He said that depending on how my NST went the next day, he might take the babies out. Just in case this happened, he said that I had to be NPO after midnight.
The next day (I was 34 weeks and 2 days) I went to my NST. My blood pressure was still high (to the point where it was staying high even with no activity) so when the nurse called my doctor to fill him in, he decided that he would deliver my babies now. My nurse shouted so I could hear her through the curtain, “Looks like you’re staying. Your doctor is on his way.”
At this point I could hear her outside starting to call labor and delivery and give report for my emergency c-section. For some reason, being able to hear how quickly things were happening was not very comforting. It made it all seem very real and I was not ready! I called my husband and told him that he better leave work now and get to the hospital as quickly as possible. Everything from this point on felt like a whirlwind.
I was rushed up to labor and delivery where I met my nurse. She had me change into my gown and take off all of my jewelry and start signing papers. I didn’t know what time I would have the c-section, but I knew it would be as soon as possible. My nurse got my IV started so I could be put on magnesium to help with my blood pressure. My husband finally got to the hospital and they gave him scrubs, which I’m pretty sure swallowed him whole because they were so big.
My doctor came in and explained why he decided to do a c-section even though I was still 3 weeks from my scheduled c-section date (and 6 weeks from my due date). He said that it was best to take the babies out because with my blood pressure being so high, I was at risk for having a placental abruption (which would mean I could possibly lose 1 or both babies) and I was at risk for seizures.
The anesthesiologist then came in and asked me some questions and then gave me a shot in the back so I wouldn’t feel the spinal I would be getting in the OR. That shot hurt and burned like no other! All I said when he did it was, “Yow!” He laughed at me and explained how he knew I must not ever swear, because he said most people do at that point.
I walked down to the OR, IV pole in hand wearing my gown and head cover. Once in the OR they introduced me to all the people in the room, which included a NICU team for each of the twins. Next, I got my spinal done and got a warm blanket because it was freezing in the OR! I laid down on the table and they asked if I could feel anything (only tingling) and if I could move my legs, but I couldn’t. They put my foley in (luckily I couldn’t feel anything). They started playing the mixed CD that my husband and I had put together to help me relax (a great suggestion from my doctor!). I stared up at the ceiling and could see in the mirror that my doctor was drawing a line on my stomach with a purple marker. This is where he would do the incision. They put the divider up and brought my husband in.
The next thing I realize is they were pushing on my stomach. I could only feel the pressure from where they were pushing. At 12:19 twin A (aka my daughter) was born at 4 lbs 4 oz. My husband said that he could see her and she was tiny. Next I heard a bunch of people laugh – apparently she had peed on one of the nurses! Despite this, I had started to get worried when I hadn’t heard any crying. I remember asking, “Is she crying? What’s going on?” Apparently she hadn’t started breathing on her own and they were going to intubate her. Right before they were going to do it, she started screaming and breathing on her own.
Toward the end of my pregnancy, twin B (aka my son) had always been transverse and right under my rib cage. In order to get him out now, they had to push even harder to get him to move down. I knew that’s what they were doing but it scared me! They were pushing so hard that my head was being pulled up and moved from side to side and I had to hold onto the table. At 12:20 my son was born, weighing 4 lbs 10 oz.
My husband brought my son over so I could meet him. Soon after, the nurse brought my baby girl over so I could have one on each side of me. I started feeling really tired and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I managed to keep them open while the babies were with me. Once they were taken to the NICU and I was stitched up, the nurses helped me move to the stretcher. This is all I remember until I woke up and I was in recovery.
My husband had been able to go to the NICU and see the babies while they were being admitted. He took some pictures so I was able to see them better!
The next few days were horrible. The babies were in the NICU and my blood pressure was so high and uncontrolled that the nurses wouldn’t let me leave my room to go see them. I was still on the magnesium to help my blood pressure but it made me dizzy, tired, lightheaded, and sick. I was also not getting much sleep because I had started pumping to start my milk supply. A few times a day my husband would go over to the NICU and help feed and change the babies. He always came back with updated pictures for me. Finally after 2 days we told my doctor when he came to see me that I hadn’t seen the babies yet. He made sure I was able to go see them that day.
After spending about four and a half days in the hospital, I was discharged. Once home I still felt like I never got any rest. I still pumped every 2 hours during the day and every 3-4 hours at night. I went to the hospital everyday for at least 6 hours to see and help care for my babies. I was able to feed, bathe, and change them. My favorite was doing kangaroo care (holding them skin to skin).
Overall, their stay in the hospital included both having gavage tubes, staying in incubators until they could hold their temperature, plenty of IV’s, and a few x-rays and an MRI for my son who ended up having a fractured femur (the doctors say that it happened during my c-section…remember all that pushing that was throwing me around?!). Neither ever needed any oxygen or help breathing.
My son was in the NICU for 2 weeks. My daughter followed him home four days later. For a NICU stay, two and two-and-a-half weeks are really quite short, but it was some of the longest of my life!
Did anyone else have a NICU experience? Or have multiples? I’d love to hear about it!