My experience having the twins was not at all like the experience I pictured from the moment we found out we were pregnant. Knowing that Anthony was breech for such a long time did get me thinking about the possibility of having a cesarean section but I still held onto the hope that he’d turn before I went into labor. I still think that he might’ve if the doctors had let me go to full term. …but a natural child birth was just not in the cards for me…
On Friday, October 26th, I received a phone call from the multiples clinic. The nurse on the line told me I needed to go into labor and delivery… tonight. “Tonight?!?” I remember asking? She calmly told me that I had some abnormal test results and that they had informed labor and delivery that they should be expecting me shortly. I definitely panicked at this point. I remember asking the lady on the phone “Am I going to have babies tonight?!?” and she responded with “I don’t know”. I ran downstairs and into the basement where Steve was working on writing his thesis and asked him while holding back tears “will you help me pack a hospital bag?”. Steve immediately also freaked out asking if I was in labor and I explained to him the phone call. It was 4:30 pm when I got the call so I told my manager at work that I was headed to the hospital and threw up a quick blog post to let family and friends know. I then jumped in the shower and got myself together.
Steve and I got to the hospital shortly after the call and had to ask where labor and delivery was. We didn’t even go on a hospital tour so this was our first time seeing this part of the hospital. When we got to the labor and delivery area they were expecting us, we signed in and were taken to a triage room. Lots of doctors came in and left. I was pricked about 8 times from a nurse trying to find a vein to take some blood. Our doctor at one point came in after a high blood pressure result and said “I’m going to have to c-section you if your blood pressure doesn’t go down”. At that point it felt very real. Steve and I were holding each other and I closed my eyes and tried to focus on keeping the babies safe. I was just over 34 weeks at this point and I didn’t want my babies to be born this premature. So I relaxed enough for them to allow me to be monitored another day. They never moved us from the triage room so Steve had to sleep in a tiny chair next to me. They also weren’t allowing me to have any food until very late in the evening. For the surgery I wasn’t allowed to have food for at least 6 hours before.
We made it safely through Saturday and then on Sunday I was brought to a labor and delivery room and put on magnesium It was some nasty stuff that made me feel very warm. It wasn’t as bad as everything kept saying it was going to be. I kinda liked being warm. At this point I had an IV sticking out of the side of my right hand and had to use a bed pan to go to the bathroom. Finally in the evening of the 27th a head doctor came in and said that he didn’t think I needed the surgery that night as I had no other signs of pre-eclampsia (no headaches, blurry vision, cramping below my right breast). He said they were going to give us until 35 weeks. I had a few more days…
The next week was a blur. I was getting more and more uncomfortable as the boys grew inside me but I was stubbornly hoping to keep them in as long as possible. They were supposed to stay until the week of Thanksgiving! I felt wonderful, I didn’t understand why my doctors were trying to take them out so soon. I was basically on bedrest though. Steve was allowed to take me for wheelchair rides and I had to wear compression socks and these odd leg massaging devices in order to prevent clotting. Not to mention the fun I’s and O’s tracking we were supposed to do. I had to track everything I put in, liquid wise, and everything that came out. I hope I never had to pee in a “hat” ever again.
It was great when my mom finally arrived. She was able to relieve the neighbors from their Gracie duties and ran a bunch of errands for Steve and I. She also kept us entertained in the hospital room. Between my mom and Steve I was being spoiled with awesome foot rubs. One nice thing about Hopkins is we had a private room to ourselves and the food isn’t that horrible. We were fed three times a day and could order guest trays for only $5. 98% of our meals were wrong or missing an item, but overall their was some decent food from a hospital. By the time my mom arrived the doctors had informed me that everyone was willing to wait until 36 weeks for the surgery. woohoo! Small victory.
Even though my blood tests and levels were remaining normal, the doctors still felt that 36 weeks was as long as they were willing to let me go. Seeing as how pre-eclampsia can turn from normal to fatal without any warning. Over the course of my stay at this point I had about 5 different IVs (they had to change them every 4 days) and daily or twice daily blood draws. For someone who hates the sight of blood this was one of the worst parts.
The day before the surgery:
My mom wanted to get one last picture to remember how big my belly was. She also wanted the “rear view” because she said I didn’t look pregnant from behind. It definitely looked like I swallowed a basketball.
I was told that our surgery was scheduled for 10 am on Tuesday, November 6th. This meant that I wasn’t allowed to eat anything after midnight the night before. For some reason the meal service forgot to deliver my meal on Monday night so it was frustrating trying to get the nurses to find me an awesome tv dinner. If I would’ve died during the surgery that would’ve been one crappy last meal! 🙂
On Tuesday morning I woke up as always because some doctors came in to do some measurements, etc. At one point one of the nurses said that I wasn’t going to go into surgery until noon. I was upset because I wanted to get it over with and because we got my mom to wake up super early to come to the hospital so she could be there before I went into surgery. At about 8 am another nurse came in frantically looking for me since I “had to be on the table by 10”. So I was “prepped” and had to rush over to this little room to get ready for the surgery. The little room was mostly the nurses and teams organizing themselves and putting together all of the details for the babies once they were born. They were also monitoring me. Steve got to put on a blue hospital scrubs and a hat. He looked good! Unfortunately only one person was allowed in the operating room so my mom had to wait outside.
I was really hoping that I was going to be given the epidural before the catheter was put in place. If I have another cesarean some day I will insist on that happening! The catheter was the worst part of the entire experience. I was screaming and don’t remember ever being in such pain. There was blood in the bag shortly after it was inserted. It was by far the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. Maybe the nurses just didn’t do it right. I’m not very flexible to begin with and I was being yelled at to hold still while I was shaking and miserable. I do not recommend that experience. No idea why the nurses decided to do it before I was on the drugs. They said they were going to do it to “save time” but really it just freaked me out about the process that much more.
Soon after the horror show I was wheeled into the OR. It was a pretty cool room with giant umbrella like light fixtures. Up until this point I had only really seem females but the OR room was crawling with men. Also, everyone was very young. I’d say all of the doctors were 45 or younger. No one warned me that going through birth meant that your privacy goes out the window. Everyone got a good glimpse of my lady parts. The OR was crawling with people. There was a team of about 5 nurses for each baby, the doctors that would be performing the surgery, residents, attendees, and the team of anesthesiologists.
First up was the anesthesiologists. They had me sit on the side of the table and put in a local anesthetic so that I wouldn’t feel the epidural. It wasn’t bad, felt like any other shot. Then they put into my back a spinal and the epidural. I’m not sure why they did both. After the spinal I was feeling a little light headed and felt like I was going to pass out. They had me lay on my side while they put in the epidural. They started the medicine for the spinal. I could still feel everything. They’d poke me by my shoulders and then by my thighs and ask if they felt different… and they didn’t. I was getting a little panicky at this point… worrying that I was going to have this surgery that I felt. Finally they gave me the drugs through the epidural. They did the same poking or ice cube testing to see if I felt things differently and the epidural I still felt things but not as much as with the spinal. The guy asked how tall I was and when I said 5’10” he gave me an extra dose of whatever medication it was.
Info on the types of anesthesia: http://www.burlingtonanesthesia.com/PublicPages/C-Section.aspx
Spinal anesthesia – For planned C-Sections or in labor patient who don’t already have an epidural this is the most common choice. Spinal anesthesia is similar to epidural anesthesia except the needle used is much finer and is passed on purpose into the sac of fluid which bathes the spinal cord. The epidural is placed outside of this sac. Unlike the epidural, all necessary medicine is given in one injection through the needle. There is nothing except the medicine left inside. There is no epidural tube or catheter involved. The procedure for placement is otherwise very similar to epidural placement. Please refer to the explanation in the section explaining epidurals for labor.
Epidural anesthesia – If an epidural has been already placed in labor this most often will be used.
The rest of the surgery happened very quickly. Things were getting blurry at this point. The group moved very fast to lift me from the first hospital bed onto the OR table. My arms were pulled out to my sides. Then they finally allowed Steve to come into the room. I don’t remember seeing his face but I heard his voice. He was allowed to sit beside me on my side of the curtain and talk to me through the entire thing. I think they had already started cutting before he was in the room. A few times during the surgery it did hurt a little. It was an odd sensation of pulling and tugging. The initial cut felt like a hot iron. I didn’t really know how to relax myself but I closed my eyes and focused on breathing and tried to take my mind off of what was happening. I would repeat in my head how much I loved Steve and how much the little babies needed me.
I could hear what the doctors were saying and I remember them talking about Anthony coming out. I think I held my breath waiting to hear him make a noise. When he finally did it was music to my ears. They took him to his side bassinet and started cleaning him off and performing whatever tests they run on newborns. He was breathing great on his own. I don’t remember getting to see him, I don’t think they brought him over to me. I think Steve got to see him though. At this point I was now focused on Nathan. I needed to know he was okay, too. More tugging and pulling and what felt like the weight of a bowling ball was again lifted from me. Another healthy crying baby boy. Their cries were exactly what I needed. I remember looking over to my right side and seeing them both there and feeling an overwhelming sensation of joy and happiness. Then I felt really tired. The doctors were moving fast to close me up but I heard one of the doctors say “she’s losing a lot of blood” “get a clamp on that vein!”. There was a no-nonsense atmosphere and a feeling of lots of hands moving around me. At the mention of blood I felt queasy and I remember calling out for Steve. Then I told the anesthesiologist that I was going to throw up… and then I did. I don’t really remember much after this. I somehow ended up back in the triage type room and I felt really cold. I couldn’t stop shivering.
Steve and my mom came in with the two babies that I finally got to see, they were beautiful. My mom and Steve were all smiles as they showed off the two babies and double checked with me that I wanted baby A to be Anthony and baby B to be Nathan. Here’s the two nurses holding them up for me to verify their names:
We couldn’t have picked better names. Anthony looks like a mini Steve and Nathan has a lot of Seacat in him. Here’s a picture of us… our first family photo:
I looked horrible, and felt horrible too. I was so swollen. I felt like I was wearing a fat suit. They said it was from all of the IV liquid that I was given before/during the surgery. Definitely not the first holding picture a mom imagines with her makeup perfect, eyes shinning, and a nice big smile. But I’ve never been happier…
Anthony Scott DeLuca was born on November 6th, 2012 at 10:22 am weighing in at 5 pounds 11 ounces and 19.5 inches long. Nathan Douglas DeLuca was born two minutes later at 10:24 am weighing 5 pounds 10 ounces and also 19.5 inches long. I was able to hold them for a long time but they felt so heavy in my arms. I had to give them back to Steve to hold and eventually they went back to the nursery for additional tests.
The doctors decided that I needed to go back into a labor and delivery room rather than to the postpartum section of the hospital so that I could be given magnesium again and monitored. Here we were given the worst nurse ever. She was a little German lady who was obviously spread too thin. Every five minutes we were ringing the call button to get her back into the room to fix an alarm that was going off. I have no idea why the hospital left the babies with us in that situation. We weren’t given any formula and had to rely on my breast milk that hadn’t even came in yet. I was given a pump but no one knew how it worked so we were sitting there with no idea how much the babies were getting fed. There was no mention of leaving them in the nursery to be cared for. We did our best trying to feed them and kept asking this nurse for guidance. She would take my boob, pop it into a babies mouth and then squeeze it hard. It was so awkward, there was nothing natural about how she was dealing with us. Steve and I both sensed the red flags and were on edge with how we were treated. I don’t think any of us slept that night. The following morning the doctors told us I could go off the magnesium and the boys were taken for some more tests. Nathan had lost a lot of weight over night and the doctors were freaking out. He was sent to the NICU. They blamed us for “poor feeding”.
Things got much better when we finally got over to the postpartum section of the hospital. We were introduced to a lactation specialist and our nurse was eager to teach us. We were able to visit Nathan in the NICU that night. We were both pretty upset to see him there. They had fried him under the heat lamp and stuck him to take blood a million times in his foot. Luckily he only had to spend one night in the NICU and then he was back in our arms. However, the NICU scare freaked Steve and I out to the point where we were fighting about breast feeding vs. bottle feeding. Learning to breast feed is hard enough… it’s even harder when you have a baby that goes to the NICU for weight loss. This lead us to supplement both boys after each feeding which meant 2.5 hours on, 1/2 an hour off, then repeat. The 1/2 an hour off was usually spent pumping to make extra supplements. Between the three of us no one really got any sleep. There was a lot of tears shed in the next few days trying to find a balance and learn how to be parents.
As for me, the recovery wasn’t as bad as I envisioned it to be. I felt like I had to learn how to walk again. It didn’t help that I was wearing a Lisa fat suit. We tried to get out on a short walk 2 or 3 times a day around our loop in the hospital. When I peed it felt like someone was taking a sponge and squeezing it over the toilet. I’ve never lost so much pee before. But this was all goodness, as it meant that extra water that was inside me was coming out. The doctors talked a lot about a blood transfusion. Given that I lost over 50% of my blood during the surgery. But I didn’t want it and insisted I’d be okay without it. I was very pale and weak for a long time, making the feedings that much harder. I give Steve credit for stepping up and taking over the diaper changing duties and the “burrito”ing. There was definitely some laughing between the tears… The doctor did a good job with the incision but it’s still heeling. It’s very low along my bikini line. My stomach isn’t back to normal just yet but I have a little corset thing I’m wearing which makes it more comfortable to move about. I’m not supposed to do situps or try to rebuild my ab muscles for the next month or so. I’m trying not to take the oxy pain medicine as frequently as I’m allowed. The sooner I can get off it the sooner I can drive the new car!
Steve and I would not have been able to do it without my mom’s help. We needed a third pair of hands and could’ve even used another pair or two. Having my mom also allowed Steve to go home for longer naps every now and then when his sanity was becoming questionable. Twins are tough! In the end it was all worth it and I’d do it all over again for these little guys.