Last Sunday I laid around the house while Ben put together the bouncy seat and swing for the twins. Knowing that they could make their arrival at any time, we decided to make the most of his last day off before classes started. My mom was back up in Maine since my grandmother was not doing well, and in early afternoon, we got the call that she had passed away. Mom said she was going to stay in Maine until the funeral unless things changed for me, then she would make her way back to NY.
Around 5pm, Ben and I started to get concerned about all the swelling in my legs. Instead of just being in one leg, it was now in both and my feet had swollen so much that it looked like blisters were forming on them (UGH). My blood pressure was reading higher than normal, and we were beginning to wonder if the blood pressure cuff that Ben had purchased was accurate. So, Ben put a call in to our doctor on his cell phone (yes, we had his personal cell number, and yes, Ben decided he would just call it). The doctor said that as a precaution that I should head to Westchester Medical just in case to have it checked out. He said to go straight to labor and delivery and that he would call ahead to make sure they were ready for us. So, Ben loaded up the car with my overnight bag and grabbed everything he needed in order to do class prep for Monday morning.
We stopped at McDonald’s on the way to grab some dinner since one thing I had learned after being admitted to the hospital the week before was that you could starve while you are waiting for answers! We got to the hospital around 6:30 and went straight up to the labor and delivery wing. They checked me in and put me in their little triage room next to the front desk in the bed right next to where I spent the previous Wednesday afternoon. They checked my blood pressure and hooked me up to the monitors and then left to go call a doctor in to see me. I called and told my mom I was at the hospital being monitored (again) but not to come, that I was just letting her know!
Within a few minutes the nurse came back in and told me they were moving me to a room, I asked if that meant I was going to be staying overnight and she informed me that I wouldn’t be leaving until after I had the babies. She said my blood pressure was extremely high and that the doctor would be in to talk to me. The doctor came in and explained to Ben and I that they were going to start me on magnesium and that they thought I should go ahead and deliver. We explained how important it was to use to have a natural delivery and argued that if I was already “in labor” shouldn’t we be allowed to let things progress naturally? The doctor agreed to do a check and confirmed that I was still only about 2cms dilated, just like I had been for weeks. According to the monitors, I was having contractions every three or four minutes, and Ben asked the on-call doctor to call our doctor for his opinion (he knew how much we wanted to try for a natural delivery as opposed to a c-section).
We fought the doctors til midnight when they confirmed that I was 5cm dilated, but I stopped progressing. It was torture not being able to get out of the bed (because of the magnesium) and after the doctor once again told Ben he was endangering my life by letting me remain pregnant, we finally agreed for them to start Pitocin. Within the next hour I was having the worst headache imaginable. My mom arrived from Maine and Ben and I tried to get a little sleep. The nurses gave me ice packs to put around my head since my head felt like it was on fire, and we kept the lights out to help with the pain. By 7am, I was unable to take the pain anymore. I was not able to see straight and my head was hurting profusely. The doctor came in and told me they could give me morphine and I remember asking them what that would do to the babies. Their response was, it could cause them to be born not breathing, but we would still be able to resuscitate them. I told them to forget it.
After the next check showed that we had not progressed at all from the Pitocin, they pushed for us to go ahead and do a c-section. Ben realized that with the pain my head was in (and the fact I couldn’t even feel the contractions) that it was not going to be possible for me to push and deliver normally. The nurses went ahead and stopped the Pitocin and Magnesium in order to prep me for a c-section. At the last minute, they had an emergency triplets delivery which delayed our delivery a little more. I don’t remember being taken into the delivery room. My first memory was of them telling me that they needed me to move from my bed onto a narrow slab of metal and that I needed to sit on the edge of it. It took three people to help me and finally I was able to sit where they asked. My head was still hurting and I was not really able to see around me very well, but I could feel myself gradually feeling a little better from going off the meds.
Because Ben and I had planned to go the natural route, I didn’t do much research on epidurals and was not prepared for the pain it would cause going in. I could feel them poking and prodding and thought they had stuck the needle in three different times before one of them said, okay, you are going to feel a small poke. I was feeling so uncomfortable at this point, but my head was starting to feel better and I was ready to tell them to forget it… that I wanted to deliver without meds and if they would stop the other drugs, I could do this now! However, I kept my mouth closed and let them stick the needle in.
After that they had me lay back down on the table and they strapped my arms down. I was surprised at this, because I expected to have my arms free (again something I was not aware of or prepared for) and then Ben joined me. Within just a few minutes I could feel some pulling and tugging and before I knew it I heard a baby cry. A few seconds later there was another baby crying. From where I was laying, I could see the two teams of doctors holding my precious babies and checking them out on the tables to my left. They held Joshua up close to me for me to see and Ben was able to get a picture… and I caught a brief glimpse of Savannah before feeling sick… I listened as they snapped pictures of Ben with the babies and then told him they would be taking them to the NICU to run their tests. They told him he would be allowed to come down in 6 hours to see them and where they would be cared for.
After the babies left, the doctors continued their work on me. Ben asked whether they had seen any fibroids or noticed any endometriosis. I heard them ask if he was scared of blood and when he said no, they invited him to come to the other end of the table and look at everything. They said they didn’t see anything that would inhibit me from getting pregnant again medically. I heard them pointing out my uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes (SERIOUSLY?). It wasn’t until a few days later when I remembered and asked him about this that he told me that these were laying on a table… and not inside me… I think I am glad I knew nothing about c-sections prior to this experience…
I must have fallen asleep at this point because the next thing I remembered was waking up on oxygen support and wrapped up in what I would call bubble wrap (intended to help raise my body temp which had dropped). My mom and Ben were with me and Benjamin shared the babies names with our parents and then, we called/texted all our family and friends to let them know the babies had arrived and Ben stayed to keep me company for the next few hours.
At the end of the six hours I sent Ben and mom to the NICU to see the babies, with instructions to take as many pictures as possible to bring back and show me. When he returned, we asked for a pump and I began my new schedule of pumping every two hours. A little after midnight, I was finally released from the delivery hall and sent to a room of my own. And after long last at 2am, I was finally allowed to go to see the twins myself. Ben rolled me down in a wheelchair and I finally got to see my precious babies!
I spent the following five days in the hospital, visiting the twins and feeding them as much as possible, while pumping every two hours. When my blood pressure finally started to go down, they released me to go home. Ben took me home and we continued to visit the twins every day until they were finally released to come home with us on their 11th day!
A few pictures from the hospital: