Tuesday, September 23 I had my regular weekly appointment with Dr. Kerley. I was 35 weeks, 5 days pregnant that day, but I fully expected it to be another uneventful appointment. I had already been released just a few days earlier by my high risk doctor, Dr. Briery, so I expected to go in, be told everything looked great, and have another appointment made for the following week. Boy was I wrong.
A few hours before my appointment, Jason called to tell me he was sick and was coming home from work. When he got home I realized just how bad off he was. He was really dizzy and it was causing him to feel nauseous. I suggested he might have an inner ear infection that was causing vertigo. He'd had to have a friend drive him home from work, so my mom drove him to the doctor, and Lila and I headed off to my appointment.
While I was waiting, I called and found out that Jason did indeed have an inner ear infection and that his dizziness (for lack of a better word, though it really just felt like everything was moving around him) was vertigo. He was given a prescription which his brother was nice enough to pick up for us.
Now, on to my appointment...
Every week for some time, I've had a regular OB appointment with an ultrasound. They originally wanted to alternate ultrasounds with NSTs (non stress tests), but they realized quickly that doing NSTs on these twins would be very hard and that trying to trace both babies for twenty minutes would prove to be too difficult. So, after one NST several weeks ago, they decided that we'd just do ultrasounds weekly. Each week, they would do a biophysical profile (BPP), which counts things like heartbeat, breathing, and movement for each baby, and they would also do a growth scan. It is scored on a scale of 8, 8 out of 8 being a perfect score. Every week they were right where they should be.
So, she called me back for my scan. Baby B, now known as Elise, was on top, so she profiled her first. Everything looked great...heart rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing, fluid levels. Then she looked at Baby A, Ana. Ana had always been my mover and shaker. She always seemed much more active than Elise. However, this time, she was not giving much of a reaction. The ultrasound tech said she was probably just sleepy. She got out the little vibrating thingy and put it where Ana's head was, but that didn't seem to rouse her much. Despite Ana being not so reactive, both babies still scored a perfect 8 out of 8. I wasn't worried in the least.
We went to the room to wait for Dr. Kerley, completely expecting him to come in and say "Things look great, see you next week." Instead, he came in and said that the ultrasound tech had written him a note on my chart. Even though Ana had scored an 8 out of 8, the tech was a little worried that she wasn't reacting much even after she used the vibration.
Then he sprung it on me...he wanted to have me monitored overnight at the hospital. If her reactions didn't improve overnight then he wanted to do a c-section in the morning (because neither baby was head down we had no real choice other than c-section). He didn't even want me to drive home to drop Lila off. He wanted me to go straight to the hospital. Luckily, he thought it was safe for me to go to Women's East even though I was still a couple days short of 36 weeks. So, because Jason was out of commission, Lila and I waited for my mom to cross town and pick her up.
I then went to the hospital alone. I registered and went upstairs to wait for a room. I was fully expecting to start the monitoring and be told I would be able to go home in the morning. I did have a tentative c-section time for 9 AM at this point, but I figured I wouldn't need it. I wasn't terribly bothered by the fact that I was by myself, though there was this lingering "What if?" question in the back of my mind..."What if things aren't OK and I'm all by myself?". I pushed that away...things would be fine.
I finally got settled, in a gown, in my bed, and my nurse, Ashley, came in to get my IV started. They wanted me on fluids, thinking that might wake up the babies. She tried once on each hand and blew out two veins. She had another nurse come in to try. The same thing happened to her. I have great veins for giving blood, but apparently for getting IVs they're not that great. I was getting a little frustrated at this point (hello! it hurts!!), so thankfully they had the nurse anesthetist come in to get the job done, and he did it like it was nothing. Then Nurse Ashley started to strap on the monitoring belts. I knew she'd have trouble getting both babies traced at the same time. The babies always seemed to have such similar stats that it's hard to tell if they have two babies on the monitor or just one baby traced two times. Plus, I knew that Baby A was behind Baby B, and it'd probably be hard to get to her heartbeat.
I was right. She'd think she had them both, then she'd decided she wasn't sure, then she'd decide she had them and leave the room only to return two minutes later because one had moved off the monitor. I literally had every nurse on that floor in my room multiple times seeing if they could do a better job. No one had much luck. Baby B was easy to find as she was on top and out front. Baby A, the one we really wanted to monitor, was very elusive.
Hours passed. I was never alone for more than a minute or two, as there was always someone in the room moving the monitors around on my belly. I had a nice long conversation with one of my former students' mothers who is a surgery tech there at the hospital, so that was the highlight of my night. Even though they never could get Baby A to stay on the monitor, they never acted like there was any real urgency. I could feel her moving around quite a bit, so I wasn't worried. They were making me aware that we were probably going to end up doing the c-section in the morning since they were having trouble tracing the baby. They informed me that they'd had to move it to 6 AM, so I called Jason and my mom so they could make sure to be there by 5:30 AM. My mom was still acting as Jason's chauffeur.
I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I had such high hopes that I'd get to the hospital and everything would be just fine....and things probably were just fine, we just couldn't say for 100% sure. I had been so hopeful that both babies would still turn head down and I wouldn't have to have a c-section, but I was being forced to see the writing on the wall.
Eventually, probably around midnight, they brought in a portable ultrasound machine. The nurses didn't really know how to read an ultrasound, but they were hoping to be able to locate the locations of both heartbeats so they'd know exactly where to put the monitors. Of course, Baby B's heart was very obvious, but because of where Baby B was positioned, we were unable to even see Baby A's upper body. So, they just kept trying to reposition the monitors, sometimes they'd find her, but she'd just move and they were back to square one over and over. The whole idea behind me being in the hospital was that they'd monitor her continuously to see if she was OK, but at this point I'd been in the hospital five hours or so and had no continuous monitoring on Baby A.
All this time, I'm starving...I hadn't known I would be going into the hospital, so I hadn't eaten since around 11:30 A.M., and they wouldn't let me eat just in case I had to have an emergency c-section (something about how my stomach would be paralyzed and could force the food back up and choke me). I also couldn't drink. Anyone who has acid reflux knows that when you don't eat or drink the reflux gets much worse. I could hardly bare the reflux I was having; it was so terrible...worse than I've ever had...nearly constant. I was also having contractions every 3-5 minutes. I had been having contractions most nights for several weeks, but usually I could just change positions and they'd stop. These, however, never stopped. I'm not sure if it was because I couldn't change positions due to the monitors or if I was actually in the early stages of labor.
A little after 1 A.M., Nurse Ashley walks in and out of the blue springs it on me that they're going to go ahead and do the c-section. Say what?!? It's four and a half hours until my husband is supposed to be there! She says to call him immediately because Dr. Kerley didn't sound too happy that he had to come in the middle of the night, and he wanted me on the operating table when he got there (in his defense, when I saw him later for the surgery, he never seemed unhappy or annoyed by being there in the middle of the night). So, this was a decision made by the nurses? I never did really figure out that part. I immediately started bawling...I called my mom and Jason and told them to get there ASAP. I remember saying to my mom, "You're not going to make it in time." She tried to comfort me, but there wasn't anything that could be said...I think she knew it was probably true.
They immediately start prepping me for surgery. I was wheeled into the hallway. The nurse put something in my IV. Whatever it was made me immediately feel drunk. I felt like my words were slurring and everyone sounded kind of far away. I asked the nurse what it was, and she said it was just fluid. She would be a big fat liar, because last time I checked water doesn't make you feel like you just drank a six pack. Anyway, I got to the operating room and whatever that was that made me feel drunk was also making me shake nearly uncontrollably. I could make it stop but only for a few seconds at a time. They put me on the table to get my spinal. Luckily, my former student's mother was in there for support, so she kind of held me while the anesthesiologist put it in. It really didn't hurt too bad, about like my epidural from my first delivery.
Then things are kind of just a blur. There was a blue curtain put up around me. Dr. Kerley was there. There were a lot of other people there, more than a regular c-section since I was having twins. I felt my body moving, but I couldn't feel where it was moving or how...very weird. Then Baby A (Ana) was out...weighing in at 5 lbs. 6 oz, 18 inches long at 2:08 AM...then Baby B (Elise) was out...weighing in at 5 lbs. 12 oz., 19 inches long at 2:09 AM...some crying was going on which made me happy. Despite all the people in the room...I was still by myself.
Finally, a minute or two after the babies were born, in walks Jason and my mom with their shower caps and paper scrubs. So, they didn't make it in time to see them come out, but they were there in time to hold them and get lots of pictures. Poor Jason wasn't terribly steady because of the vertigo, so they had a chair beside me waiting for him. I was just happy he was there, very happy. I don't know who got to hold them first; I just know that I was happy to have people there to support me.
It took a little while to finish up the surgery, and then they wheeled me and the babies out to recovery. They were both just fine and breathing on their own. I was still a little out of it, so I didn't hold them both at the same time at this point, but they were both great nursers from the very start. I was so happy about this since Lila was such a terrible nurser for several weeks! Jason or my mom would hold one while I'd hold the other.
By the time we finally got back to my room, it was probably nearly 5 A.M. It was less than 12 hours since I'd been told I'd be going into the hospital for monitoring, and here I was sitting in my hospital room with my two healthy preemie girls. I still can't believe it. So, the delivery wasn't ideal...I hadn't wanted a c-section, and I especially hadn't wanted to go through all of that by myself, but they are two little miracles. I still can't believe how easily everything has gone, and I wouldn't change a thing.
3 months ago