Jack and Remy are here! Wednesday was their 2 week birthday, so I figure I might as well write their birth story before I forget all of the details 🙂 It’s long so grab some coffee and read on!
On the morning of Tuesday, November 1st I had an 8am appointment at my Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor to check on the babies and make sure they were still getting ample nutrition in the womb, and to make sure they were moving as much as they should be. They both did well on that test (Baby A lost 2 points because he wasn’t moving as much as they would have liked) and then it was time for my NST (non-stress test) where we monitor the baby’s heart beats for 20 minutes and check my blood pressure. Both babies passed the test, but my blood pressure was on the high end both times they checked it. It was never super high – around 139/90 – but that was definitely high for me compared to what my blood pressure had been and I mentioned some symptoms I had been having that made them worry a bit. For the past week or so my heartburn had gotten so bad that I was not sleeping and on the verge of throwing up multiple times throughout the night. I also had started getting some weird back and upper-right rib pain that wasn’t going away and nausea throughout the day. I was attributing these symptoms to being 36 weeks pregnant with twins and didn’t really think too much of it. I just thought I was supposed to be pretty miserable towards the end of a twin pregnancy. Since I was having these symptoms in addition to an elevated blood pressure and a little swelling (I couldn’t get my wedding bands off at this point) they decided to send me over to labor and delivery. I love The Woodlands because our medical center is super convenient and my OBGYN, MFM Doctor and the hospital are all within walking distance, so I left the MFM and walked over to the hospital.
When I got to labor and delivery, they took my blood pressure frequently and ran some tests to rule out pre-eclampsia. After about 30 minutes my blood pressure was pretty much back to normal range and I thought I would definitely be leaving the hospital that day. Then my nurse came back in and said all of my labs came back normal except for one test, which showed my blood platelets were very low (platelets are in charge of clotting) and that she was checking with my Doctor and the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor to see what they wanted to do with such a low platelet count. I was confused because one, I had no idea what platelets had to do with pregnancy, and two, why mine would be low. After a few minutes the nurse came back and my doctor was on the phone and wanted to talk to me. She told me that since my platelets were so low, and since the babies didn’t seem to be growing at the rate she’d like, she wanted to deliver me the next day. She explained that normally in this circumstance she would deliver that same day, but since my platelets were below 100 (they were 80), she wanted to keep me at the hospital overnight and see if they could boost my levels with a couple of steroid shots. The reason she wanted to do the steroids was because if my platelet levels remained below 100 they wouldn’t be able to do a spinal for the c-section and would have to do general anesthesia instead. This means I wouldn’t be awake for the surgery or for the birth of the babies, so my doctor really wanted to try to get my platelet levels a little higher. My doctor told me that we could expect to have the babies around 9:30am the next day. After a few minutes of feeling really sad that I was stuck at the hospital for the rest of the day, and that the babies were coming a couple weeks earlier than I anticipated, I let a few people know the plan and accepted the fact that the babies were coming the next day! I was excited, but also sad because I wanted them to cook a little longer and wanted some more time to try to flip baby A so I didn’t have to have a c-section, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I was also more than ready to stop feeling nauseas throughout the day and stop being pregnant. It had been a long time since I felt good and I was ready to meet the twinnies.
Since I had to stay at the hospital, I wasn’t able to go home and get my ducks in a row like I would have wanted. I had my hospital bag ready to go, but definitely needed to add some extras that weren’t in there. I wanted to shower and wash my hair, clean up our apartment, say bye to miss Juney (I felt so sad I left her that morning and then never went back!), and just get a few more things done. I called Mitch and let him know what was going on and he ran home and got me my bag and took care of June before heading back to work to finish out the day. He had to take paid vacation as his “paternity leave” so we didn’t want him to waste a day of it before the babies were even born. I hung out the rest of the day letting family know what was going on, and then Mitch and my doula came to the hospital that night to hang out. Around 7:30 the doctor on call came in and told me that they were going to start me on Magnesium Sulfate since my blood pressure was high (I was super frustrated by this since my blood pressure was not even that high) and that meant I was going to need an IV all night. Around that same time, the night nurse came in and introduced herself and told me that she was going to monitor the baby’s heart beats continuously, meaning I would be hooked up to monitors all.night.long, and basically unable to move very much. At this point I felt like crying because my heart burn and rib pain had been so bad lately and not being able to move around sounded like hell on earth. They also let me know that the magnesium has some unpleasant side effects like feeling super flushed and nauseas. Blah.
My veins can be hard to find, and even when people find them, the vein won’t “work” and blood won’t come out like they need it to. So, after 4 different nurses, they finally got an IV started (after trying my wrist!, and three times in my hand) and started me on the magnesium. Almost immediately I felt flushed and overall pretty weird, but it was manageable. Luckily I had Mitch there with me for a while, but around 9:30 I told him he should go home and hang out with June for one last night since he would be staying at the hospital for a while with me starting the next day. Well, this turned out to be the worst idea I could have had because a few hours later my heartburn and nausea got so bad, and I wasn’t able to get out of bed to get my heartburn tablets because I was hooked up to the monitors and the IV, so I ended up throwing up everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Sorry for TMI but it was in my hair, on my face, all over my chest and my hospital gown, the floor, everywhere. I had to call the nurses into the room and they basically had to clean up after me while I showered (I was so happy to be in the shower and unhooked from everything). At this point it was around 3am and I called Mitch and my mom just because I needed someone to tell, and then I tried to go to sleep. No such luck, because the nausea continued and I ended up throwing up more (this time in a throw up bag they smartly gave me). Around 6am nurses started coming in to get more labs drawn (to check my platelet levels again) and by this time I was just counting down the minutes until Mitch was back. When Mitch came back around 7am, things started going very quickly and are a bit blurry for me. We had been hanging out for a few minutes when an anesthesiologist peeked his head in the door and started talking about the different types of anesthesia for a c-section and asking if I had any drug allergies. He was talking about doing a spinal (similar to an epidural) and I was confused since I didn’t think my platelets were high enough for that, and I also didn’t know why everyone looked so ready for surgery when I wasn’t going in for another 2 hours. So I asked him if he knew what my platelet levels were and a nurse told him since my most recent labs weren’t back yet they were just proceeding like they were below 100, and that I would need to go under general anesthesia. They also told me that the doctor assisting my doctor with the surgery decided it made more sense for me to go into surgery at 7:30, opposed to 9:30. This was all explained to Mitch and I about 10 minutes before I walked into the OR. From there, a couple of nurses came in and started to prep me for surgery. They shaved the area where the incision would be and then gave me the grossest anti-nausea medicine to drink in case the anesthesia made me nauseas, then laid me flat on my back. Well, since my heartburn was so bad and laying flat on my back made it worse, I threw all of that up, so they decided to just give me something intravenously once I was in the OR. Everything was so hurried, and they didn’t even have a chance to give me anything to wipe my face off after I threw up. I was such a mess.
If you’ve been following my blog, or know me at all, you know that I was excited to try and have our twins naturally, without any pain medication. So you can imagine I was pretty upset that not only would I need a c-section, but I also would be completely under when they were born and unable to see their birth or hold them afterward. To top it off, Mitch wouldn’t even be allowed in the OR, which meant neither one of us would see our babies be born. Thinking of this made me really emotional before going into surgery and I think I remember starting to cry. Mitch was also really frazzled considering he had gotten to the hospital minutes before the surgery and would be by himself while it was going on (turns out our doula made it in time and sat with him and helped him through it). When it was time to go into the OR, Mitch and I walked there together, then they told him he had to stop at a certain point and I had to quickly say bye and head into the OR. Mitch later told me he was crying outside the OR because he wouldn’t be there for the birth and it made me so sad!
After getting into the OR they placed a catheter (which I was freaking out about because I could feel the entire thing), then started asking me questions about which baby had which name, what I was doing there that day, etc. A couple of nurses and the anesthesiologist introduced themselves, then I was out a couple of minutes later. According to Mitch, my doctor verbalized everything that was happening during the surgery so that he could hear outside the door. He heard the babies be born about 5 minutes after the surgery started (they had to act quickly so the babies wouldn’t feel the effects of the anesthesia) and then our doula told him to follow the babies to the NICU and she would wait for me. Baby A, Jack, was born at 8:05, and baby B, Remy, was born at 8:06. Both had a little trouble breathing (Remy more so) and so that’s why they were sent to the NICU.
Baby Remy (He had to get something called CPAP which stands for continuous positive airway pressure to help him breathe)
While Mitch was with the babies in the NICU, our doula, Kathleen was with me in our room while I woke up. The first thing I remember when I woke up was being in intense pain. Unlike being given a spinal when you have a c-section, I received nothing for the pain until after the surgery, so I woke up in pain. This was something I didn’t even think of before the surgery, and another reason why getting a spinal is definitely the better option. The only thing I could say when I woke up from surgery was ow (my throat hurt from the breathing tube they used during surgery), and I kept asking to press my button on the morphine drip they had given me. I could press the button every 15 minutes, but according to our doula, about every 2 minutes I would wake up and ask if the 15 minutes had passed. I was in so much pain. The next thing I remember aside from drifting in and out of sleep, was that a doctor or a nurse came in and was prodding and pressing my stomach. I remember batting their hands away and saying ow, and not understanding why they were doing that when I didn’t have pain meds yet (I think I had pain meds at this point, I just didn’t understand why it hurt so bad). My doula was such a godsend after surgery because it allowed Mitch to be with the babies in the NICU while she fed me ice chips and ordered me some juice and broth to sip on. At some point Mitch came back to the room and showed me pictures of the twins. I was so out of it, but I was excited they were born and that they were overall very healthy. Later that night I was able to get out of bed and get into a wheel chair to go down and see the babies in the NICU for the first time.
Meeting Jack for the first time. Love at first sight!
Peeking in at Remy
After that first day, things were less blurry and I started to feel better. When they took me off the morphine I was scared I’d be in a lot of pain, but it was pretty manageable with an oral pain killer and I was a lot more with it and less sleepy. Mitch and I walked down to the NICU multiple times a day to feed the babies and I think walking helped speed up my recovery. I would also pump when we would feed or hold the babies and it helped my milk supply a lot and helped my milk to come in. Even though we would have loved our babies to have bypassed the NICU, we were SO thankful that they were in such good hands. Each and every nurse that took care of Jack and Remy was amazing and so great with us. They taught us how to swaddle, how to feed preemie babies bottles, how to burp, etc AND they got them on a great eating and sleeping schedule (eating every 3 hours) that made our lives so much easier once we were home. It would have been so great to have the babies in our room with us for the first few nights after their birth, but it also gave me a few days to really focus on recovering, and I think it helped me in the long run.
The twins were born on a Wednesday, and by Sunday we were ready to be discharged. They would have let us go on Saturday, or as early as Friday, but everyone understood we wanted to stay as long as our insurance would let us so that we could be near the babies. We were under the impression that Jack would leave the hospital with us, but Remy would probably need a couple more days until he was ready. I was absolutely dreading leaving one of our babies at the hospital, even though we’re only about 5 minutes away. I just couldn’t imagine leaving him in his incubator all alone. On Sunday we went down to the NICU expecting to get Jack, but the doctor on call told us he didn’t see the need to separate the twins and that they could both come home with us the next day, and that we should stay another night in the hospital. He said both babies could come to our room that night and we could have a “trial run” as twin parents while the twins finished up all of their vitals testing that needed to be done before they could be discharged the next day.
Jack when he came into our room on Sunday night
Remy came into our room later that night after he was done with his testing, then we all got to go home together the next day. After four nights of not really feeling like real parents because we would go to bed each night alone, with the babies in the NICU, we finally felt like parents. Best and most surreal day ever!
So, that’s how Jack and Remy came into this world. SO not how we had envisioned it, but I am confident that it was the best and healthiest option for both me and for the babies. I am so thankful to my doctor, all of the nurses, and the hospital staff at St. Lukes in The Woodlands. They helped us bring healthy babies into the world and made sure we left the hospital with them in tow. Now, time to tackle parenthood to some of the cutest twins around!