I haven’t had time to do anything but the captions, but I know you’re all chomping at the bit – so enjoy and come back and read my story when I have time to journal it! We’re still in the NICU. I am boarding here for now. Babies are starting to eat on their own a little bit. Cal’s on oxygen and Graham is under the bili lights. Both still have feeding tubes and cannot eat the amount they need to at every feeding, so we’ll see how it goes from here on out! Pray that they get to come home soon. It’s rough having to be without the whole family. Love you all!
NOW THE WHOLE STORY… All the gory details.
On Wednesday morning, July 30th, I woke up around 4:30 to use the restroom. (Again.) Usually, I always check for bleeding and turn on the bathroom light to make sure that everything looks okay. Call me crazy, but I was a little scarred from the placental bleeding I had in the first trimester when I tore Calvin’s placenta. Well, this particular morning, I did not check for bleeding. I was in so much physical pain and so tired that I just didn’t check it. As soon as I stood up, though, I knew something was wrong. I felt a little spurt, flipped on the light, and checked. I had bright red bleeding. I stuck around in the bathroom for a few more minutes as my mucous plug came out. I had lost my mucous plug with Anjali and knew what to expect. The thing that was off this time was that the red blood was not stopping. (Usually, losing your mucous plug is accompanied by a more pink/brown type of bleeding, not bright red.) Because I had dealt with this before, I decided not to worry too much. I did wake Dovy to show him and let him know, we took deep breaths, and I went back to bed. Four hours later, I woke up to find that the bleeding had not slowed but picked up. Dovy called the doc who said to go to the hospital if the bleeding picked up any more or if I started having contractions.
I moseyed around the house for a few hours, trying to take it easy. My Visiting Teacher picked up the kids for a playdate and I tried to relax. That didn’t happen because around noon, I started passing clots, one that was about the size of my index finger. I was getting a little nervous. I was cramping a bit, too, but didn’t feel like I was in labor yet. Timidly, I called my doc. I was worried this wasn’t the real deal again and didn’t want to get all worked up. However, he told me to go right to the hospital.
Somehow, I rallied everything and everyone together. Dovy had taken Anjali on a hike up the Y that morning, as promised, and had just gotten back. He took a lightning-fast shower while I changed and frantically started packing some things. We got everything (well, almost everything – we apparently left our suitcase in the driveway) into the car and headed out.
At the hospital, I was put back in a Triage room. I felt like I was reliving the past and was worried I would be sent home. I wasn’t having consistent contractions and I knew that. The bleeding was the concern, so they went ahead and monitored me. I was checked for dilation by a nurse with very short fingers, so it was really painful. I was only a 3+. I had been a 3 for two weeks already, so I wasn’t very impressed and neither was she. I did start having contractions about 6-7 minutes apart at this point. They were really painful when they came, but they were far enough apart that I handled it. I had one nurse, though, (Melissa, I believe) that was a sweetheart. She kept coming in to make sure the boys were monitored correctly and said she was rooting for me. Evil Nurse came back to check me again and said she was not impressed (by my contractions or my dilation – boo.) They contacted my doctor who said to check me again in an hour or so.
At this point, I had been laboring for about 1.5 hours without much progress (around 3:30PM or so.) Evil Nurse checked me one more time and said I had gone to about a 3.5. Still not impressive. She talked to my doc again. He came by for a delivery around 4PM and checked me, too. Still the same. He said he’d give me until the end of his work day. I had a bad contraction when he was in there. He asked me how it was feeling. I told him it was getting pretty intense and he told me to hang in there. He said this could still be it, although my contractions were still far apart. I couldn’t believe the pain I was starting to be in. He said he’d come back and check soon.
Around 5:30 (an hour and a half later), Dr. Saunders came to check me again. “Well, Natalie. You’re going to have some babies today. You’re a 6!” We were so excited! We couldn’t wait to see our little boys. I was okay enough to walk over to my new room. They prepped me, started tracking my contractions again, got my IV in, administered antibiotics for the Group B Strep (which I had tested positively for for the first time ever – didn’t think that would come back to bite me in the butt…) and Melissa hand-picked the sweetest nurse for me: Jodi. (We were the exact same age: 29 with four pregnancies. I had one extra baby because of the twins, but it was fun to relate to her.) I tried to ask for anesthesia as pleasantly as I could. The contractions were getting difficult, but I was grateful that they were still about 5-6 minutes apart. No one could believe that I was progressing as much as I was with the contractions being that far apart.
At this point, Dovy had run downstairs to grab something to eat. He had hiked the Y, mind you, and not eaten anything but some fruit since he had come back. I started panicking when anesthesia came to give me my epidural and he was not there. I called him several times (the cell reception was horrible) and was able to get him back right in time for me to sign the paper work and lean over for the insertion. This epidural may have been my most painful one thus far. I had a few zingers down the left side of my spine. (As such, I have felt those zings over and over again during the past week; the nurses described it to me as a deep bruise. I have just started feeling better from that.) Also, the epidural worked a little too well. I was numb all the way up to my chest, so they had to turn everything down a little and I felt the birth just a little more than I would have liked. Yeesh.
The epidural also stopped my labor. By the time they got it going, I was an 8. I couldn’t believe I had labored that far on my own. (I have always needed pitocin in the past.) I was pretty proud of the fact that I had worked that hard for that long to get there and didn’t want to take pitocin this time. However, I didn’t have a single contraction for about 40 minutes after the epidural went in, so Dr. Saunders asked if I’d be okay getting the pitocin. We decided to do it and I was ready to bear down and push within 15 minutes.
They wheeled me into the Operating Room for the delivery. They said that it was protocol to do that for multiples because of the risks that are involved. However, everything went very smoothly. There were a lot of people at my delivery. My doc, an extra doc with an ultrasound machine, two NICU nurses (Sheri and Angela), two Admit nurses (regular Mother/Baby nurses), my L&D nurse, and Dovy. At 8:11PM, I used one contraction to push about 2.5 times and out popped Calvin. I kept asking Dovy what he looked like. Jodi first told me, “He’s bald! No, wait. He’s blonde!” To which I replied, “I did it, I did it!” over and over again. (A blonde child was Dovy’s one wish for these little guys – yay, me!)
I tore just a teeny, tiny little bit. Dr. Allan put the ultrasound transducer on Graham to make sure he was okay. Everything looked great and Dr. Saunders broke his bag of waters. Four minutes later, at 8:15PM, I pushed Graham out with only one push. I begged to have Calvin because I wanted to do skin-to-skin with him, so Sheri brought my little blondie to me and tucked him into my robe. Graham needed a little extra care, though. Angela, the other NICU nurse (yeah, I know almost all of them now) told me that Graham would need a little CPAP to help open his lungs. I was not surprised at all as I had rarely seen Graham use his lungs during ultrasounds and had seen Calvin do it all the time. (In fact, I told Dovy that I thought the reason they needed to bake a little more was to help Graham’s lungs.) I was bummed because I had wanted to do skin-to-skin with both boys so much and wistfully mentioned it. Sweet Angela, as she was getting ready to wheel Graham away, said, “Okay, let’s do it!” She yanked open my robe, whisked Graham’s blanket off and set him on my chest. I had about 20 seconds of absolute bliss as I held my little babies. The pictures below of me holding both of them were so heavenly. You can see my doctor holding one side of my robe, and Angela’s hands holding little Graham for those few moments.
Finally, it was time to separate. Dovy went with Angela and Graham, Dr. Saunders stitched me up (just a tiny bit) and Jodi wheeled me back to my room, still with Calvin on my chest. I tried in vain to get Calvin to eat, but he was just not having any of it. He was out cold. (He is still like that – hehe.) I marveled at my little son and yearned to be with Graham, too. After an hour of trying to nurse Calvin with no luck, I was finally wheeled downstairs for both boys’ well-baby checks and baths. Usually, I miss this because I am recovering up on the L&D floor while Dovy does this with the babies. However, this time there had been a lapse because of the treatment Graham needed, so I was able to be a part of it. That was really neat to see for the first time.
Graham had just gotten off of CPAP and was looking around (as he still does all the time now). They tested his blood sugar, which was much too low. Both he and Calvin were given IV’s to help with that. (Calvin was fine, but they said they wanted to treat both of them because they shared the same uterus and Calvin could tank easily, too. This was a surprising piece of info, but we went with it.) The nurses kept saying that the nursery was really full and that they would wheel the boys over to Level II soon. It didn’t register to either me or Dovy that this meant they were going to go into the NICU and not come out. Boo again.
My Mother/Baby nurse was a little concerned that I had not been taken care of much yet (I was too engrossed in my new little sons) and encouraged me to go to my room and get checked out for a little while. We did that, and then I insisted on going back and seeing the boys as soon as possible.
We were in for a surprise when we realized that the boys were officially admitted into the NICU. They both needed to have 48 hours of antibiotics to make sure that they would avoid the GBS (Group B Strep) complications. My labor was so fast that I didn’t have the four-hour drip that most women do when they test positive for GBS. They assured me that this was standard procedure and that the boys would be just fine but that they couldn’t come back to my room with me. It was with a heavy heart that we returned to our room that night, empty-handed. I had a bit of separation anxiety of sorts. I was so used to having these little guys inside of me and it really stunk not to hold them in my arms.
When we went to the NICU to see the boys, the nurseries were so full that the only places they could put them were kitty-corner across the room from each other. They also said that because they were pre-term (late pre-term, but still pre-term,) I could only pick them up and hold them about twice every shift. We couldn’t stroke them, only apply pressure, and we had to wait to do skin-to-skin until they woke up. Those first two days were completely miserable for me. All I wanted to do was hold my babies. I had dreamt of it for months. I hated that I only had a few times that I could pick them up and I couldn’t hold them together. They were across the room from each other and therefore too far away as they were hooked up to machines at their separate stations. I felt divided and torn. We tried our best to be patient, but it was hard because I wasn’t allowed to try to nurse except for once every 12 hours and I could rarely hold them.
I was finally discharged from the hospital on Friday night. We decided that it would be best for me to stay boarding at the hospital for a little while so that I could try to establish nursing. It wasn’t until Saturday morning that I got the official order from the pediatrician to be able to start trying. Unfortunately, the wing was so full of new moms (there were about 30 babies in the nursery at one point that night) that there was no room for me to board, so they took me down to the Pediatric Wing. That was really difficult because I was still trying to recover and my body was all over the place. My hips were skiwampus and my pelvis was still suffering from the pre-separation I had experienced while pregnant. It was a very rough weekend, but a sweet nurse, Malloree, helped me move back to the Mother/Baby floor when they opened up a little bit more late Saturday night. (Dovy left on Saturday night to be with the kids at home.)
I spent the days resting, trying to get through the blog, updating family, pumping, and nursing. It was incredibly busy. I still can’t believe how much of my days are taken up just trying to take care of the twins – and I have a lot of help! I’m in a little bit of trouble when I get home, that’s for sure! Good trouble, though. I’ll take it!
And now the story matches up with next week’s post. Have fun.