Thursday, May 20, 2010

Better Late Than Never... My Birth Story

I realized that I've had this typed up for a while now, but haven't published it anywhere except on The Bump. So, for family and friends who are reading now, here it is for you. And for me, since I want to preserve it for all eternity. =)

Background: I was scheduled for a c-section 10/21/09 at 36 weeks forintrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Basically, the babies werestill growing, just not at the same rate they had been up until that point.

We were scheduled to arrive at 10:30am for the c-section, which wasat 12:30. I took a shower and got dressed, my mom met us at our house, and we were on the way to the hospital. I had packed weeks before after my L&D scare / bedrest at 29 weeks, so everything was by the door, we just had to grab it and go.

The whole drive to the hospital was kind of surreal.... I just kept thinking that in two hours, we were going to be parents. I started to get nervous, and my hands wouldn't stop fidgeting, so I pulled out my new iPhone and played word scramble the whole way there. My husband looked over at me and said, "you're about to have two babies, and all you can do is play word games on your phone." He laughed, then held my hand the last few minutes to keep my hands occupied.

We check in at L&D and were brought back to the holding room. It was set up like a recovery room, with curtained off areas and four or five beds, but since we were the only scheduled section until late that afternoon, we had the whole room to ourselves. I changed into a gown and the nurse hooked me up to the contraction monitor. I was contracting every three minutes, which was expected, since I had stopped my Procardia the night before. She listened to both heartbeats and got my IV started. Once I was settled in bed, my family was able to come back and visit while we waited.

At noon, the nurse came back to run everyone out of the room and got me prepped. I got the lovely bikini shave while my husband and mom changed into their scrubs and hats. I was transferred into a wheelchair, and we were off to the delivery room.

My husband and mom had to wait outside while I was prepped. I had been absolutely terrified of getting an epidural, but it really wasn't that bad - the lidocaine numbing up the area was the worst of it. I laid back on the table and started to feel warm all over, which was lovely since the room was freezing cold. I got pinched in a million places to make sure it was effective, then got a foley catheter put in and was propped up with a wedge pillow under my hips, tilting me to one side.

Here's where everything fast-forwarded and gave me the worst scare of my life.

Once I was positioned back on the table, the fetal monitors were put back on. After a few minutes, one of the nurses wanted to move the wedge pillow to the other side, so they repositioned me. After another few quiet minutes, they put me back on the side I was originally on.

At that point, the nurse anesthetist said, "we're going to put a little oxygen on you".... and at the same time I heard one of the nurses murmur "decels in the 50's" to the other nurse. Being a nurse myself, i knew what that meant - the babies' heart rates had dropped.

After another few minutes, I asked the nurse by my head, "did they recover?" (meaning, did the heart rates go back up). She never took her eyes off the monitor as she shook her head. She asked the other nurse, "did you page dr. s already?" The other nurse said yes, and she said"well, page him again." I look over at the nurse anesthetist at my right shoulder and she has this "oh $h!t" look on her face - that's whenI started to silently freak out.

They yank the monitors off, throw the drapes over me, and squirt what seems to be an entire bottle of betadine on my stomach - no little swabbing sponges like you see on TV. My husband and mom were still out in the hallway waiting. At this point, my mom, who is also a nurse, was starting to worry about what was taking so long. According to my mom, as soon as Dr. S. gets to the hallway where they were waiting and he was to scrub in, he was talking to both of them at the same time he is furiously scrubbing his hands and arms. He tells them things are going to move a little quickly, so get ready and keep your eyes open so you don't miss anything. My mom swears he did a five second hand wash, so she knows something is up.

My husband and mom walk in at the same time Dr. S. does, and they are seated at my left shoulder. Dr. S. breezes in and says, "Hey, Amanda, we're going to move a little quickly here" as he gets gloves snapped on and immediately grabs the scalpel. I hear the nurse say, "time of incision?" he says, "12:32." I thought I was going to have the huge drape strung up in front of me like you see on TV, but no - I had this little half-moon shaped bar across my shoulders that only came up to my chin. My mom and husband had a 100% unobstructed view.

I felt the pressure of the scalpel, and then feel two huge tugs (after watching the video, Dr. S. had literally grasped both the top and bottom of the incision and pulled it apart, just like if you were pulling open a duffel bag). I remember thinking over and over, "please, god, just let me hear them cry. just let me hear them cry."

I knew they were going to be small, but if they cried right away, thenI would have some reassurance that they would be okay. Dr. S asked, "i don't know which one this is, but here he or she comes!" I feel what seems like a pop, and I hear the loudest, shrillest cry I've ever heard. Dr. S. says, "here's your boy!" and walks around to the side to show me.

This little peanut was screaming his head off. He looked so tiny in Dr.S's hands, and was curled up in a little ball. But he was crying, and that's all that mattered to me! My mom keeps repeating, "he looks good, baby, he looks so good!" My husband is speechless. Dr. S. says "time of birth, 12:35" and hands him off to the NICU nurse who was stationed in an adjoining resuscitation room.

I couldn't believe what I had just heard - 3 minutes from the time of the first incision, until I heard that beautiful cry. This was my son.

Dr. G, who was assisting Dr. S., was on the side of the other twin, and she was reaching in up to her elbow with one hand and pushing down on my stomach with the other hand. She remarked, "this one is custom fit!" By the time Dr. S. came back from handing off Jeffry, Sadie was far enough down to where he could pull her out. She didn't come out crying, but Dr. E. walked around to show her to me and she was pink and wiggling. Dr. S. says "time of birth, 12:36." She was handed off to the nurse and brought to the resuscitation room. Everything was quiet as I listened to hear that second cry.... and sure enough, within a few seconds, I hear Sadie's cry joining her brother's.

I immediately start bawling.... all the frustrations, the two years of trying to get pregnant, the screaming, the tears, the failed treatments, the pills, the shots, the forty-four empty boxes of pregnancy tests I pulled out of my bathroom cabinet a few weeks before (yup - i counted).... all of that was forgotten in those four minutes.

My husband says to me, with tears in his eyes, "if i didn't have this damned mask on right now, i would kiss you." which makes me cry even more. Dr. S. starts stitching everything up and says, "wow, no stretch marks, and just a tiny incision!". I said, "that's what happens when morning sickness is so bad, you only gain eleven pounds" and he said "well, those babies certainly got everything they needed to look as good as they do now" which reassured me that they were going to be okay.

My mom asks if my husband wants to go in the room with the babies, and he says "no, you go ahead".... I think he was still shell-shocked. =) My mom goes in with her camera while I'm still listening to the music of screaming babies. After a few minutes, she comes back out and my husband goes in. Once I am stitched up and moved to a stretcher, the nurse comes out with Jeffry in an isolette and says they are on their way up to the NICU because of his weight. He weighed four pounds, three ounces, and it is their protocol that if babies are less than 2000 grams, they automatically go to the NICU.

Jeffry was still wailing in the isolette. He didn't have any oxygen on and no tubes coming out from anywhere, which was a huge relief. He was rolled off, and I was wheeled into the resuscitation room to see Sadie. She was bundled up and put into my arms, and it felt like the weight of the world was just handed to me along with her. This was my daughter.

It was so surreal that looking back at pictures, I have this look in my eyes that almost looks like I'm not really there. I can't believe this baby I am holding is actually mine. My husband is wiping tears away as he watches us, and I just snuggle her tight and kiss her tiny cheeks. After a few mintuesI was expecting the nurse to say she was going to the NICU with her brother, but they begin to wheel me out with her still in my arms. I asked, "I get to take her with me?" and they said yes - she weighed 4 pounds, 13 ounces, so after she spent some time in the transition nursery and got cleaned up,she would be going to the floor with me.

We're wheeled down the hall into the family viewing room, where the rest of my family was waiting. A thousand pictures were snapped, and we got about 15 minutes to be with everyone until the transition nurse arrived to take her to the nursery. I was wheeled into recovery, and as I'm waiting for my IV pain meds to kick in, I realize I'm wearing two ID bracelets.

My two children.

The morphine kicks in, and I sleep peacefully for the next hour. Once my pain was rated below a 5, I was allowed to go to the floor. I get settled into my room, where my family is waiting, and within 30 minutes, Sadie is brought into the room in her little crib. The nurse tells me as soon as my epidural is completely worn off and I can move both of my legs up and down in the bed, I can get in a wheelchair and go to the NICU to see Jeffry.

This is where I begin to feel so torn.... I have this beautiful baby girl that I've gotten to hold, snuggle, kiss.... and another baby I have yet to meet. I hated to send her to the nursery to go visit Jeffry, but I couldn't wait any longer - after a few hours, I got in the wheelchair and my husband pushed me towards the NICU.

When we get there, it is a beautiful sight - my tiny boy, with a little feeding tube in his nose, with no oxygen, no CPAP, no respirator. My husband picked him up and handed him to me, and the same rush of feelings that came over me in the resuscitation room with Sadie came flooding back.
I hated to put him down, but my pain meds were wearing off, so we went back to the room after about an hour.

The next three days were a blur....breastfeeding Sadie, pumping what I could for Jeffry, then wheeling down to the NICU with my precious little bottles in hand to feed him. After two days, my milk came in with a vengeance. I felt like I had two sacks of marbles sitting on my chest! The shower was my only source of relief, and even then it wasn't enough. My husband remarked about my "porn star boobs"and I told him to enjoy the sight now, because the next time they would look like this was when he bought my breast lift and implants in five years. =)

After four days, we were discharged home with Sadie, having to leave Jeffry behind in the NICU. He came home on the eighth day, and once we were all under the same roof, it finally felt like my family was complete.


Mrs. Almonds Joy said...

I can't stop crying. Those two little wonders are so amazing.

Amanda said...

Reading it over again makes me feel like this happened yesterday. =)

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