Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Cubs Have Arrived: Our Birth Story

First of all, I want to say thank you to the HUNDREDS of you who have reached out to me over the last couple of days. I feel so humbled to receive so many well wishes, good thoughts, and notes. I feel so loved. Thank you for being part of this story.

Next up, I'm sorry that details have been so slow coming. I haven't been trying to provide vague or one word answers, swear. Every birth story is different and while ours has some awesome highs, it also had a pretty scary low. That low has left me unable to respond in detail, and I'm sorry if I've come across as sand offish.

So without further adieu- Here is our birth story!

-------------The Labor--------------

We had been monitoring my blood pressure for about a week prior to what would become go time. At about 130/80 it was high, but it wasn't abnormally high for a normal woman with twins. But, for MANDY, it was scary high. My normal blood pressure is about 90/60, so for my doctor as well as for myself, these numbers were scary. We ultimately scheduled an induction date for Friday, Jan 20, at 37+1 weeks.

On Wednesday night I felt a bit off, a little dizzy.

On Thursday morning I woke up with a minor headache, moderate dizziness, minor blurred vision, and minor nausea. We went to the hospital just to be monitored. My BP was still elevated, but everything else looked fine. However, we decided to induce on Thursday instead of Friday to beat the ticking time bomb that was becoming my body.

So, we were admitted and started Pitocin around 2pm.
And.... nothing really happened.  I was having contractions about 3 minutes apart, which is awesome, but I wasn't feeling a single one.

At 2 AM we decided to break my waters. Not the choice I wanted, but again, it's the reality with twins.

I started to really feel contractions and around 5 am, and asked to be checked again. Still just 2cm dilated! BUT they felt almost like transition. It was emotionally crushing to feel so far along, but to be so early in the game. We decided to go a narcotic injection to allow me to get some rest. That felt amazing.

What didn't feel so amazing though, was waking up an hour later to three nurses in the room panicking over the fact that they couldn't find baby b's heartbeat. I was terrified, scared, confused, and overwhelmed. They wound up placing an internal monitor on baby A, and ultimately did find baby b's heartbeat, but that was pretty scary. It got worse when they told me, following the internal placement, that I was still only 2 cm dilated.

That's when I fell apart, people. I started sobbing. They wanted to up my Pitocin to 30 units (normal for most women is around 15, and the hospital allowance tops out at 20 without administrator approval) but said 2cm wasn't far enough along for my epidural. I could not fathom another 10 units of Pit and no pain relief for what felt like a uterus that was going nowhere. I can no longer say that I've never cried in labor.

And that crying must have scared the staff.
They gave me the early epidural.

I took a 90 minute nap.
I woke up feeling like I needed to push.

I asked the nurse to check me. After 18 hours of labor, I had gone from 2cm to  7cm in 90 minutes. Typical of my body. The steel trap stayed sealed tight for days, and then just sprung wide open.

The nurse said they'd check me again in an hour. I told her I have a steel trap that just flies open once it gets started, and that maybe she should do it sooner.

So she checked me again in 10 minutes.

10 centimeters.
And, even with the epidural, having a damn hard time NOT pushing.

--------The Delivery-------------

It felt like it took forever to get from "You're complete, it's time" to into the OR to deliver. They kept delaying my pushing. First we had to wait on the doctor. Then she had to prep the team. I wanted to push without consent. It felt like holding your breath under water for an hour and resisting the urge to breathe. I couldn't NOT push anymore.

So we pushed. And in 3 lovely contractions, about 9 pushes, baby girl was out. The world was such a happy place. She was tiny, and crying, and perfect.

And that's where our normal, happy story changes and gets interesting. 
Mostly because I don't remember most of it. 

Baby B was still breech, so the doctors went to work turning him. They got him turned. We tried for almost 45 minutes to push him out, but he was not having any part of that. It was decided, as his heart rate continued to drop, that we needed to deliver him by C section right away. The last thing I really remember was them hanging the curtain and delivering baby B. I remember hearing them call out time of   birth. Then things get kind of blurry.

I started to feel very tired, and very nauseated. I thought I was surely going to vomit, while laying flat on my back, choke on it, and die.

I also could not fight the urge to sleep. This undeniable urge to sleep is a very odd sensation as you lay on a table, sliced open, with 20 people or so fluttering all around you.

I remember hearing the doctor frantically order two blood transfusions STAT and say, "I don't think she's DIC, but we're close."

I looked at Chris and said, "I'm scared."

I knew from previous experience and other surrogates that DIC, or Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation, is often nicknamed "Death is Coming" because very few women diagnosed with it will survive it. Even knowing that, even hearing that, I couldn't stay awake. I didn't want to fall asleep, I was scared if I did fall asleep i might not wake up, but I couldn't fight it.

I fell asleep.
Or you could call it passed out.

An hour later I woke up.
I didn't wind up receiving the transfusions, or the diagnosis. But I did lose a lot of blood.

---What's next for me---

I'll be in the hospital till Monday as they continue to monitor my recovery and blood loss to make sure I'm getting enough new red blood cells to be safe. If not, I'll still need that infusion. It could take me up to a month to regenerate all of the blood I lost and be totally normal again.

In the meantime, I feel pretty good, actually. I'm hardly bleeding, nor really sore, I can't feel my incision. And I don't even have my placenta tabs or smoothies yet. For being my scariest delivery ever, this recovery is amazing. I'm basically on Tylenol for the pain.

---The babies---

The cubs are great. No real time needed in the NICU, no problems with latch for feeding and simply adorable. They're strong, and great, and adorable. I'm working on getting photos, but like I said, just staying awake right now is really tiresome.

I am so happy I did this. And I'll talk more about that in an upcoming post. For now, I need another nap.