The Thursday prior to their Birth Day I had a doctors appointment as I do every Thursday. I was 27 weeks that day of the appointment. They did not do a cervical length ultrasound at this appointment because I was only getting them every two weeks. The appointment was basically to check heart rates and see how I was tolerating the Procardia medication they put me on after my 24 week scare. Everything at the appointment went great, I felt great, and I even joked to the doctor about how this was the first time in a while that they didn't send me to the hospital after a Thursday appointment for at least a test! I now wish I hadn't made that joke!
Later that evening I started to have some low back pain. However, I didn't think much about it because this had been pretty common for me. My low back had always ached a little. That night (3:00 or so early Friday morning) I woke up and felt contractions. I walked into the bathroom (since sometimes a full bladder brings on contractions for me) and as I started to walk in I noticed blood dripping. Quite a bit of it...and I FREAKED! I yelled for Jason and before I knew it we were rushing out the door to head to the hospital. I, of course, thought the worse. I thought we had lost one of the babies. It just seemed like so much blood for something to not be very wrong. So on the way to the hospital we got pulled over. Yeah, just what we needed. Jason stuck his head out of the car and yelled to the cop "My wife is pregnant, she is bleeding, we are headed to the hospital!" This cop obviously wanted nothing to do with this so he said rather quickly "GO!" I called our doctor on the way and within minutes we were at the hospital with our doctor right behind us.
Once there they found both babies heartbeats on the monitors. To say I was relieved was an understatement. I was having pretty consistent contractions so they started me on magnesium sulfate to try and slow them down and contacted Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis to have me air lifted there. Within about two hours of arriving to our local hospital I was loaded onto the helicopter to head to St. Louis. Jason left for the two hour car ride there and I arrived within 30 minutes thanks to the ever so speedy helicopter. My mom and sister arrived about 45 minutes after Jason got there.
That Friday I spent my time banned to the bed on the magnesium trying to get the contractions to stop. I was slowly starting to dilate and by friday evening they said I was dilated to a 2. The doctors could not really give me any explanation for the blood. I was told this could be normal labor signs. Meaning I am going into labor and the bleeding was "normal". I found this very strange. To me this seemed like too much blood for early labor. They also told me it could be one of the placentas tearing away from the uterine wall, however, on ultrasound everything looked fine. Also the babies' heart rates were perfectly normal and neither baby seemed to be in distress. They told me that a tearing (or as it is technically called an "abrupting placenta") only shows up on ultrasound when it is fully tearing away. If that happened we would know it because one of the baby's heart rates would quickly drop, the baby would not be getting oxygen through his umbilical cord, and it would be a sever emergency where I would be rushed to the operating room. Since the babies were looking great on the monitors they did not think an abrupting placenta was the cause of the blood.
By late Friday night my contractions (which had previously started to become kind of painful) had really slowed down. I had not eaten at that point since dinner Thursday night. The nurse about 2:00 in the morning commented that I would probably get to eat breakfast in the morning since everything was calming down.
A few hours later things began to change again. The doctor came in to check and see if I had dilated more. I had. I was at a 4. She told me if I continued to dilate then the babies would probably be coming soon. I on the other hand thought she meant I had until I was dilated to a 10, like any other pregnant woman. So in my head I was thinking I can get through at least another day or two at this rate. And I mean wouldn't it be nice if I could make it to Thursday when I would then be 28 weeks?!! WRONG. Within 30 minutes of her checking me I felt another rush of blood. The doctor checked me again and I was already at a 5. She immediately said we are taking these babies out, I'm booking the operating room and the anesthesiologist will be up soon. HOLD UP! WHAT??!!! I later found out that with babies this premature (27 weeks) you can't wait until you are 10 cm dilated because the babies could start to come out on their own. So they were not going to let me dilate any further. Ready or not, this early Saturday morning was going to be their Birth Day.
So back to the operating room I went. The anesthesiologist started the spinal. This was surprisingly quick and painless. As soon as they helped me lay back down on the operating table I could feel my legs start to go numb. I remember a nurse saying I'm going to lift one of your legs up. I looked down and saw this leg sticking up in the air and remember thinking "Whose leg is that?" Well obviously it was mine. It was so strange to see a part of your body and not being able to feel it at all. Before I knew it the drape was placed across my chest and Jason was let in the room. A few minutes later they said here is Baby A, it's a boy. I didn't hear a cry, nor could I see anything, and Jason walked over where a team of doctors and nurses (each baby had there own set of doctors and nurses) started working on little Mason. Jason then walked back over and said he started crying but the doctors had to start immediately putting a breathing tube in. One minute later I heard another doctor say here is the baby girl! Right away I heard a little wimper and slight cry. Jason again walked over to where her team of doctors and nurses were assessing her. She was breathing on her own and no breathing tube was placed....yet. At that time I was in the process of being stitched up. I still could not feel a thing except my head was bobbing from side to side where I guess they were pulling the stitches tight. That was kind of creepy, but I still could not feel a thing. Jason kept peeking over the curtain and watching. I was a little shocked he would want to see his wife all cut open like that, but hey, if it didn't bother him then oh well!. They then wheeled Madeline out of the room first and stopped to to let me peer into the isolette to let me see her. Jason followed Madeline out of the operating room and headed to the NICU to be up there with the babies. My mom was then suited up and allowed to come in and stay with me in the operating room as they finished me up. Mason was still being worked on for about ten minutes before they wheeled him out to join his sister and Jason in the NICU. They did not stop to let me see him. This made me kind of nervous! I knew he was probably not doing quite as well as his sister at that point. I then found out that Mason's placenta had blood clots around the edge and showed signs where it was beginning to tear. So as awful as it seemed to be having these babies this early, it was really a blessing the doctors decided now was the time to take them via C-section. If they hadn't and his placenta began to really tear away from the uterine wall even more, it could have been a real emergency situation and I would have been put to sleep and cut quickly open. The babies (Mason specifically) would have been in real danger. This slight tearing was obviously the cause for all the bleeding I was having.
I was then ready to go and taken to a hospital room. Jason called me about 20 minutes later to say they ended up putting a breathing tube in Madeline. This tube was later taken out about 1-2 hours later because she was doing so well. Mason stayed on the vent and his breathing tube was not taken out. At this point I was so glad to hear how Madeline was doing and so worried about Mason. (This is ironic now because over the course of the next week or two it ends up being quite the opposite. Mason starts doing so well and Madeline starts to worry us.)
Within about two hours the spinal had worn off and I was able to move my legs. Jason came back to my room and said the nurses need me to pump so they can give the babies a little milk in their feeding tubes. I laughed! Pump WHAT?? I was only 27 weeks pregnant and had only given birth 4 hours ago. They didn't expect me too be able to produce any milk did they?? Well sure enough I pumped and produced a little bit of milk! I was shocked. Evidently this first tiny bit of milk is full of important nutrients and wonderful for the baby. So I was happy I was able to give that to them. I have been very fortunate that I have had no problem producing milk. It came in right away and I have been able to produce more than enough for them both.
By 1-2:00 that afternoon I was helped into a wheelchair and was finally able to go see my babies. I think I was shocked at how tiny they were. I obviously had been told their weights, but I had no idea they would be a little as they were. I was able to hold Madeline that day. (It would be almost a week and a half before I would be allowed to hold her again) Mason we were not allowed to hold that day.
|Me holding Madeline the day she was born.|