Whew... well a lot sure has happened since my last post. You're not going to believe this. It's all so surreal I still can't believe it...
So just like I thought, exactly 72 hours later I went into labor again. I had been feeling pressure in my lower back earlier in the night, and I let the nurse know because now I was pretty much an expert as to recognizing the signs since this was now the third time it was happening. My husband and I went to sleep around 1am and within a half hour I jolted awake. The pressure had intensified and I knew we were in for another sleepless night, the third one of the week. The nurse told me to get her immediately if I felt any changes so I did. She quickly put the monitors on my belly to watch the babies' heart rates and keep track of my contractions. I could see every time I felt one come on the "toco" numbers on the screen would go up, a little more each time. I tried to remember to take deep breaths and my hubby helped in trying to keep me calm and relaxed. He really was an amazing coach, especially considering we had just looked up tips and techniques the night before. Anytime a contraction would come on he would talk softly, remind me to breathe deep and say things like, "your breathing is a pathway through the pain" and as crazy as it sounds, it really did help. Not that it stopped the pain, but his voice definitely soothed me. As the hours progressed, so did the strength and time between my contractions. Before long the pain became pretty intense and the contractions were two minutes apart. The doctor finally came in and checked me and I fully expected her to say I was still 3cm like last time. Much to my surprised I had moved up a notch and was at 4cm and River was sitting at +1, which means he had moved even lower. The pain was getting pretty unbearable with contractions lasting longer than the rest time between them, which was exhausting. They had given me fentenyl again, but it honestly didn't do much. Once again I was back on IVs of the pain meds and antibiotics. I was once again getting prepped to go down to L & D and feared it would be another 16 hours of having labor stopped and sitting in a room, unable to get up. With the contractions being so strong and me hurting so badly, they decided to give me Stadol- a narcotic to help with the pain. Within a few minutes I was feeling drugged up and loopy as hell. They told me it wasn't going to necessarily take away the pain, but would make the in between time more relaxing. Which is exactly what happened! I would go through the intense pain of a contraction and then in the down time my eyes would roll to the back of my head and I'd feel like I was going to zonk out. It scared the crap out of me! I don't like feeling out of control so when I would start to feel all out of it like I was going to instantly fall asleep, it would freak me out because I was afraid I was going to be unconscious or die. The nurses had left to get transport so it was just my husband and I left in the room for a few minutes and I was really out of it. The room was spinning. When the nurses came back I was telling them how I felt and they said that is exactly how you are supposed to feel on it. I definitely didn't like it. I was so out of it my nurse, who I just had a lengthy conversation with earlier in the evening about how she was going to try IVF in a few days because she couldn't get pregnant, I looked at her and said, "do you have any kids?" She laughed and said no and then I snapped back into reality for a second and realized who I said that to. I apologized and said, "I'm sorry, I remember now." Stadol is some powerful shit!
They quickly wheeled me down to one of the labor rooms and the pain was getting increasingly worse. At this point I didn't care who heard me and what I looked like, it was pretty unbearable. When I got to the room there was one nurse and one anesthesiologist. Neither looked thrilled to be there because it was the night where we set the clocks back so they were working an extra hour in their already exhausting overnight shift. By this time I was death-gripping the handles of my bed with each contraction, which seemed like each one of them was rolling into the next one with barely anytime to recover in between. They had me roll over on my side and told me to lay very still in order for them to put in the epidural. This was not an easy task. But I also have heard stories of them sticking it in the wrong place because the patient was moving too much and I certainly didn't want to make matters worse. So I'd grit my teeth and do my best to bear it, letting them know when a contraction was coming on so they'd hold up a second. At times I thought I was going to tear the bed rails right off. When it got that bad all the breathing techniques pretty much went out the window, although I did try. I might get one deep breath in and out but the pain was excruciating. They started to put in the epidural and it wasn't what I had always imagined. Here I thought it was just a shot they gave you, but apparently it is something they stick in your back and it stays there. So in between contractions they were trying to insert this needle in my spine and find the "empty space" where it is supposed to go, which was no picnic. She kept asking what I was feeling and where I was feeling it, which was really hard to tell with so much going on with my body. She then told me I was going to feel shocks down my legs and sure enough I did. At that point between the agonizing contractions and being poked relentlessly with the needle, when I felt the shocks I just lost my shit and started crying my eyes out. It was just too much. They showed me the little joystick type thing and how I could press the button anytime I needed extra relief, which I could press 3 times in an hour (every 20 minutes). Relief finally came and I was able to relax for the first time in many hours.
When a doctor came down to check me a little while later, I was already 6cm. That really surprised me because I thought for sure I'd be stuck at 4cm. But, much to my chagrin the doctor said the plan was still to keep the babies in as long as possible. While I of course wanted whatever was best for the twins, I was also feeling a sense of "what are you crazy??" I mean, River was practically falling out if me! About an hour or so later my high risk doctor came in and said actually at this point because Riv was so low and my water was broken, it was more of a risk to keep him in because of potential infection. So... This was it. The babies were, without a doubt, going to be born by the end of the day. I was at once relieved, nervous, worried, excited... definitely an interesting mix of feelings. It was earlier than I ever anticipated but after all I had been through this week, I was ready. Delivery didn't even scare me because I figured at this rate if I sneezed he would fall out.
The next step was to give me pitocin to speed up the contractions, which had slowed down with the epidural. Over the next few hours the medicine said exactly what it was supposed to, bring on the contractions and it did so with a vengeance. This time my parents were in there for them and as silly as it seems I felt bad they had to see me in so much pain. I was afraid to hit the epidural button because I thought it might slow things down again, and as delivery was definitely in the forecast I didn't want to delay things any longer. But after a while the pain became yet again torturous and the nurse told me the epidural wouldn't stop the contractions because of the pitocin. So I caved and pushed the button every 20 minutes. However, after a while the epidural wasn't really doing all that much. My contractions were now only 50 seconds apart and lasting 1-2 minutes, so the pain was longer than the down time. An anesthesiologist came in and asked if I'd like something to take the edge off. I agreed as long as it didn't make me stop feeling things or my contractions to completely stop. She told me no and it was on. Only I was totally misinformed! I reached down and felt some weird mushy thing I couldn't identify.... It was my freaking leg! I couldn't feel a thing in the whole lower half of my body! What the hell, lady, that was specifically what I didn't want! Well that numbness was creeping up my body and I started feeling lightheaded and nauseous. In a matter of minutes my blood pressure crashed extremely low and the nurses came flying in. They had to give me a shot of ephedrine to get my heart rate back up and zofran to take away the nausea. Could I BE on any more drugs?? Jeez! After about a half hour the meds wore off and I could feel my extremities again.
When the doctor came in to check me I thought for sure I'd still be stuck at 6cm. But I was wrong, I had moved up to 7cm and River had moved down to +2 which was one step away from being out of me. However, the doctor still said he'd be back to check in a couple more hours. Ugh... The contractions continued seemingly forever and the hardest part was them not letting me eat ANYTHING all day. The last time I had eaten was 20 hours prior and I was starving. Their reasoning was in case I needed a c-section, but my high-risk dr told me there was only a 10% chance of that. Made more sense to me to give me at least a little bit of nourishment (other than an IV of sugar water) to keep my strength up for delivery.
Finally, the doctor came back to check again and I had my fingers crossed I had dilated more but didn't get my hopes up. Amazingly enough, I was at 9cm! Only one tiny part of my cervix was covering his head. The doc said once that opened it wouldn't be long before the baby came out since I had been in labor so much throughout the week so he decided to move me to the operating room. This was it. Show time. I looked at my husband and our eyes met. He gave me a half grin along with a quick nod and had a look in his eyes that conveyed confidence that I could do this. I returned the half grin and nod to relay back to him that I agreed, I could definitely do this. My husband has a way of giving me strength just by all his support and love. So I was ready. I wasn't afraid. Only concerned that the babies would be okay.
My parents kissed me and wished me the best and I was wheeled into the OR, with my hubby beside me dressed head to toe in a yellow paper hospital gown, booties and a face mask. This was it. Memories were about to be made that would be permanently etched in our minds and hearts forever. The biggest event of our lives.
When we arrived in the room there were about 20 people scattered about. They looked at me briefly and then went back to carrying on their conversations. I would have thought they'd talk to me, but I also heard the L & D nurses weren't all that great with bedside manner. The anesthesiologist came in and started getting me ready for delivery. She promised she wouldn't give me as much as earlier, but would make it so I was as comfortable as possible. Soon I was back to feeling pretty numb, but I could still move my legs and lift my body. The nurses scooped me up and moved me to a flat bed in the center of the room. Just then a doctor walked in and I got a little worried because it wasn't the one that had been checking me all day. While I only met that doctor earlier, it was still better than having some random stranger pop in during the 11th hour. Luckily the other doctor came in just in the knick of time. I noticed for the first time he had a pin attached to his name badge that said, "keep calm and trust the doctor." So I did.
For a second I got nervous because I wasn't feeling the contractions anymore. The doctor asked if I was and I thought maybe if I said I wasn't it would delay things more. I was so thirsty because they wouldn't let me even have water, I had cotton mouth so bad. I just wanted to get this over with so I could have some water! Just then, the doctor told me they were watching the monitors to see when I was contracting and they would tell me to push. Here we go. They had me put both hands under my legs and pull back, so I had to let go of my hubby's hand who was sitting back near my head. At that point I was on autopilot and was just doing whatever they told me. There I was, completely spread eagle and holding my legs, with at least 6 people around my bottom half. I'm pretty sure by that point I was pretty sure the entire hospital had seen my junk. A nurse called out that a contraction was coming and the doctor told me to push as hard as I could. I took a deep breath and did just that. I had let some air out in doing so and they told me to hold all my breath in next time. So I did. The way my husband describes it, I had a look of sheer determination as my face and arms turned deep red with each push. As I pushed the nurses all counted to ten. I'd push three times and then they'd have me break. I had no problems pushing and didn't even rest between. I had a job to do and wasn't going to rest until it was done. The second set of three pushes they were all telling me I was doing good. I had no idea what that technically meant but I'll take it. By the last push of that round they told me River's head was out. That was a bit nerve-wracking because I was afraid he'd choke or something! So I knew this next round I had to give it my all. Before I could think about it the next round was here. I pushed with all my might and they were coaching me to keep going. And by the last push in that round, I let out a grunt and he was out. My husband and I both asked if he was ok because we didn't hear anything, but then suddenly we heard the tiniest squeaks and we both immediately started crying. It was the most amazing, special experience I think we have ever, and will ever go through and are eternally a million times closer because we shared it. They brought River over to be weighed and asked daddy if he wanted to take pictures. He jumped up and followed and I heard him say, "I love you so much, River, and my heart melted. But it was back to business.
The doctors said Riley's head had shifted downward and was in position to be born. I was more ready than ever and relieved she cooperated. Within an instant the look on my doctors face changed and I could see a grimace in his eyes behind his mask. They were pushing on my belly like crazy and kept checking with an ultrasound. My doctor said to the other one, "what do you feel" and he said "Feet. Two feet, that's all I got. It's not gonna work." My heart sank as he said the words I feared most. "We're going to have to do an emergency C-section." Riley had flipped around and was breech. I instantly started crying and asked if they could keep trying. They said they tried but with her turned all the way around there was no way to flip her in time, as my cervix was closing. It was already at 6cm. I was sobbing uncontrollably as they told me if we tried to get her out vaginally she wouldn't make it. I looked up at my husband with terror in my eyes and he said, "you can do this baby. It will be okay." What choice did I have? He then said softly, "you are saving her life." And I continued to sob as they quickly prepped me for surgery.
It's one thing when you are undergoing any other surgery where they knock you out and get things ready. But this was different. I had already seen the Dexter-like table of sharp instruments and I knew what they were about to do to me. The thought of being conscious while they cut me open and pulled out my insides terrified me more than I've ever been. I begged them to knock me out but they couldn't. The anesthesiologists were super sweet and trying to calm me down along with my husband. Through the fear I felt embarrassed that I had just gone from being brave and strong to a hysterical mess in a matter of minutes. I thought they would let me know they were starting but in the midst of the chaos I started to feel tugging and pulling, which made me panic even more. They had numbed me up completely, but I could still feel them working on me, just no pain. But I did feel warmth and they told me it was water. (Which G later told me it was blood but the doctor probably didn't want to freak me out more). The whole time I was incoherently babbling for them to please stop over and over again saying "I don't want to die." Before long I remember them telling me to listen for a minute and I could hear the faint squeaks coming from Riley. She was out. After that I checked out. I wasn't unconscious but I think once she was out they maxed out my drugs.
The next thing I remember is laying there with my eyes open and coming into focus. For some crazy reason I had been in a half-dream state and was visualizing the end of Grease where they were racing. Lord knows where the hell that came from. I had already missed 3 full nights of sleep all week, with no naps to even attempt to catch up, and in that time had 40 hours of painful, exhausting labor along with a smorgasbord of drugs and a traumatic ending to it all. I was physically, mentally and emotionally done. As my eyes came into focus I could see the blue curtain in front of me and my brain was trying to figure out what it was. At first I thought it was some kind of water and I was floating. I even wondered if I had died. In a few moments I recognized that it was the curtain and I was still in surgery. I looked to my left and my husband was gone (he went up to the NICU with the babies), and most of the people who had been there during delivery were gone as well. I still felt tugging and realized they were sewing me up. Whoever was doing, they were chit-chatting about shopping just as casual as could be. It took a minute and a lot of focus, but I got some words out. "Are the babies okay? Am I okay?" I got a one word answer, "yes," and that was it. I felt so alone. I asked if they made sure to save one of the placentas (to get the encapsulation done as planned) and they said there was only one. I was confused. "No... There was two." They said the placentas had somehow fused together. What?? I had never heard of that with fraternal twins. Maybe this was why Riley had started not growing as quickly as River. I was baffled as to how with all the ultrasounds no one saw this. And what did it mean??
The tears began rolling down my face and the dark thoughts rolled in. I felt like I was scarred for life from the experience and I would never be the same. Like I lost a part of me in that room. It was not a good feeling.
They wrapped up and brought me out to meet my husband in a recovery room. I couldn't look at him and the tears were still flowing. As soon as the nurse left I immediately started spilling all my dark thoughts. I felt like something was wrong with the babies. That I lost my soul in the delivery room. That I had PTSD and needed help. It was bad. My husband stepped out and I heard him talking to the nurse about having someone talk to me about postpartum depression. He wanted to get me any help I needed. It was in that moment I started snapping out of it. It's not like me to be so doom and gloom. I'm tough. A fighter. When adversity comes, I kick it right in the ass. When I'm told I can't do something, I make sure I do it tenfold. I think it was going into a traumatic experience all drugged up. When I came out of it, still dosed up I was in a bad place. But as the drugs wore off I came to my senses and talked myself out of the black hole I had fallen into. Before long, I had shaken off all the negativity and was able to think clearly again.
After an hour I was brought up to the NICU with my husband to see the babies. It was pretty shocking. We both started crying when we saw them. They were alarmingly small (River was 2 lbs 11 oz and Riley was 2 lbs 2 oz). So frail and fragile with wires and bandages and IVs all over them. It was frightening. I know we were both terrified they wouldn't make it.
After a few minutes they brought me to my room (a new one on a different floor) and helped into bed. The pain hadn't hit me yet, but I also still had my epidural button I could press every 20 minutes. And as time passed and the numbness wore off, I certainly needed it. My parents were still there and it was the first time I had seen them since before delivery. They stayed a while and then headed back to stay at my house. They really were great this whole week coming out at the butt-crack of dawn multiple times when I was in labor and keeping me company while the Hubs was working. I am lucky enough to have a great support system.
Having been up almost 24 hours, we were exhausted. Before going to sleep my husband came over and knelt at my bedside. He stroked my hair and told me how much he loved me. With tears in his eyes he got all choked up and thanked me for going through all I had to bring our babies into this world. It was a precious moment I will treasure for all time. I told him that even if the doctors would have said from the start that Riley was going to be born via C-section I still would have opted to go through all I had to have River vaginally. In a way I felt it was a right of passage. Birthing him was so beautiful and was truly the most special experience between my husband and I, one I wouldn't trade for the world. And while the trauma of the emergency C-section to get Riley was terrible, I feel lucky I at least had the chance to have one of them in a peaceful way.
So... I'm a Mommy now. Way sooner than I ever imagined. I was 28.6 weeks. Skipped all but two weeks of my third trimester. When I had said I hoped to be out before my birthday (Nov. 11) I didn't mean at the expense of my babies. While I was going stir crazy and afraid I'd be stuck in the hospital for weeks on end, I would have done anything to keep the growing in me. So that they'd be big and healthy and we could take them home right after. I had been so healthy throughout my pregnancy with so much energy, I never saw this coming. But they are here now and if they are anything like mommy and daddy they will be fighters. And oh boy, they are Scorpios just like Mommy! Poor Daddy! LOL. From what we are told they are in good health, they just need to grow. But that means they'll be in the NICU for at least two months. Which means that will be my life for the next two months, and I'm okay with that. Already my mommy instincts have kicked in and I'm ready to do anything it takes to get them home safely. Our wish is that they are home for Christmas or at least New Years. But it's a waiting game. And wait is what we will do. Anything for those babies. Our family...
Hubby kissing my belly goodbye before going into delivery