Thursday was officially my ‘turn over’ day, from one week of pregnancy to the next. Meaning I had been 28 weeks pregnant for all of 24 hours when it all fell apart.
I’d been suffering from Intrahepatic Collestasis of Pregnancy which was making me so itchy I could barely handle it during the day, but I could also literally not sleep at night. It had started the previous Wednesday so I had not slept soundly, or really at all for an entire week, and had only just been medicated and properly dealt with for one evening. One evening of actual sleep, of non-itchy, of rest. I was a bit delirious from the lack of rest that evening. My brain was reeling from all of the over stimulation, and my body was still flushing out all of the extra bile salts. I was in and out of the bathroom multiple times that evening, but I was still able to actually sleep which was such a blessing.
A blessing and a curse. Because at the same time that my body was finally healing it was also going into distress. I remember not being able to sleep on my left side that night because of a bit of light cramping. I remember waking up with soaked underwear and thinking ‘did I not remove it properly the last time I went potty?’. I remember quickly changing it and falling blissfully back to sleep. And then at around 6am Quinton came in and began our usual morning wake-up routine. He climbed into bed with us and snuggled for a good hour. Then he and I got up and made eggs and toast. I fed him breakfast while I hopped on a quick conference call. One more stop to the bathroom reminded me of the wet underwear which I inspected and found to be a bit bloody. My heart stopped. Literally stopped.
As calmly as I could I called the doctors office and explained the situation. They told me my doctor was on call at the hospital that morning and that I should head straight over there for some monitoring. We hadn’t even had the chance to tour the hospital or the maternity ward yet. We thought we had more time. We naively made arrangements for Quinn care ‘for just a few hours’ and headed over to the hospital. A half hour on the fetal monitor and they walked me downstairs for the ultrasound my doctor had ordered.
Twins ultrasounds always take longer than expected and I was still having light cramping during the entire hour and a half procedure. They checked and doubled checked each twin. Watched for certain movements, checked the membranes, all that jazz. Then at the very end they checked my cervix. And then, the tech stepped out and immediately back in with a doctor who looked over a few images and then informed me that my cervix was effaced.
‘How effaced?’ I asked.
‘Completely. And you’re 4cm dilated’ was his reply.
This time they took me up in a wheelchair. No more standing. In fact, they laid me down on my back and inverted me. The phone lines started ringing like no body’s business. Tests were ordered, exams were completed. We were informed that they were putting me on something to stop the contractions. If they were successful at stabilizing me they would transfer me to a near by hospital where they are ‘more equipt’ to deal with premature babies.
Contractions. Contractions are hard for anyone. They hurt and they just keep hurting and they come in waves and leave you breathless. I wasn’t mentally prepared for this. I wasn’t ready. And so they hurt extra hard. And I wasn’t able to properly focus on them because I was having possible scenario after possible scenario explained to me and I was trying to process everything that was being said to me while in so much pain I wanted to scream. They finally told me flat out that they we were doing an emergency c-section. We would wait until 2:30 for the doctors from the other hospitals to come over for assistance and then they would cut me open and bring my babies into the world 12 weeks early.
I hit a wall. I hit it really hard. With non-stop contractions and my world crashing down on me. Mercifully at that same wall hitting moment they told me they were taking me back to surgery, where they would give me an epidural and then bring in Eric for the procedure. The mind is a powerful thing because as soon as they told me all this I simply stopped hurting. I was able to focus on being rolled into the surgical room and getting my spinal tap and then going numb. I was finally able to focus through all the craziness.
I honestly almost fell asleep. I thought it was a side effect of the drugs, but it was simply my exhaustion setting in. Eric walked into the room and stood beside me, then commented
‘Oh, they’ve already started’
Our little girl came first, followed closely by her brother. We were told later on that they found meconium – the babies first bowl movements – in their sacks. One looked older than the other and had stained the placenta to made it look quite old. They should not have passed their meconium until just before or shortly after term so this was an obvious sign of distress to our doctors. One doctor told me I was lucky that my body went into labor to bring these babies here. But I know better. There was no luck involved in it. It was a blessing. A big, huge, messy blessing.
While I was scooped out and sewn back together my babies were looked over and put on every monitor you can imagine. They were going to move my baby boy first since he was having the most trouble with breathing. They brought him into my room just minutes after I got there so I could have a quick peek and then they rolled him off and transported him across town. The only ‘peek’ I got was of one tiny, pink foot that was poking out of his blanket. His pod was too high, my bed was too low and my energy was too gone to have the frame of mind to ask them to raise me up so I could properly see. I said goodbye to that little foot and put all of my faith into that transport team.
Somewhere along the lines Eric, or someone from our hospital party joked that we were naming them Captain and Tennille. So it was with good humor that the same transport team came back for my little girl and gave us the update on Captain. This time I was more alert and asked to be raised up so I could see my little girl before they rolled her away.
This all happened on Friday. On Sunday afternoon I was released from the hospital and could finally make it over to see my babies. My sister and mom took me home first off so I could pump and grab a few items. I fell asleep sitting up on my sofa. But I was determined to get to my babies, so multiple hours after being released we finally made it across town, through the big secure double doors, past the scrubbing station and into the NICU where I was finally able to hold their hands and say hi.
I told them that I love them. I told them how perfect they are, and how lucky they are to have such wonderful people helping them out and praying for them. I told them how loved and special they are. And I will continue to tell them these things everyday forever and ever even after they are finally able to come home.
I still haven’t been able to hold them. They are still just a bit unstable with their breathing and the last thing the hospital staff wants is to put them in my arms and then have to quickly yank them back away. So I’m still waiting. Patiently. I have full faith in this medical team. I have full faith in my Lord.
I was given a blessing by Eric and my Father in law just before the c-section and I was told that my babies would be strong. And wow, they are strong. They were a whole pound larger than anticipated and they are sassy and strong.