A lot has changed since I last posted! A quick recap for anyone who doesn’t follow me on social media: a couple of months after we finished our patio we found out we were expecting twins. It was quite a shock (not so much the pregnancy part but the twin part) and has obviously been a major adjustment.
The week I gave birth we were desperately trying to get our en suite “functional” meaning a working toilet and sink. We had to gut the bathroom a while back due to water damage and just hadn’t gotten around to putting it fully back together. Anything we could get done after the toilet and sink would be a bonus. I wasn’t due until May 8th but because I was having twins I knew I wouldn’t be allowed to carry past 38 weeks (April 24th) and that they could really show up any time. We managed to get the vanity and sinks installed on April 4th and the toilet installed on April 6th.
My last “bump” photo taken April 6th:
The rest of this post is Oliver and Henry’s birth story. I’m going to throw up a warning for anyone who may need it: Henry’s delivery became an emergency situation and was a bit traumatic. He also had a short NICU stay and there will be photos of him in the NICU so if that is triggering to you, please avoid this post.
I’m terrible at leaving out unimportant details so this will be very long (like 3,800 words long) and wordy but I wanted to document it here.
Wednesday, April 7th, 2021
Just shy of 36 weeks, I was scheduled for a regular check up with my OB in the afternoon. My pregnancy was absolutely miserable to say the least; I was sick and in pain for pretty much the entire 9 months. At 1pm I sent this text to some girlfriends:
“I won’t lie part of me hopes when I go to my appointment today Dr. P is like ‘Get thee to a hospital!’”
Let me just paint a picture of how absolutely done with being pregnant I was. At this point I couldn’t move without being in pain and I was practically immobile 90% of the time. I couldn’t even sit or lie down without being in pain. My lower back was strained, I had hyperemesis (severe, unrelenting nausea), and I had SPD which is essentially when the ligaments between your pubic bones relax too much and cause pain when doing pretty much anything and especially things where you have to put more weight on one leg (you know like walking, putting on pants, etc.). Any time I wasn’t working at my desk I was either on the couch or in bed and I couldn’t even get into OG’s bed for her bedtime story at night. On top of that, I was still on Zofran for nausea and I had intense heartburn, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia. This pregnancy definitely made up for the lack of symptoms I had with OG.
At 3pm I went in for my weekly appointment. The appointment was supposed to consist of a blood pressure reading, bedside ultrasound, and GBS swab (if you’ve had a baby you probably know what this is and if not feel free to google it).
Side note: I love my OB and this time around we were both pregnant with twins. She had twin girls about halfway through my pregnancy so she gave me a heads up on what was coming and she understood what I was going through. She also happened to be the OB on the schedule at the hospital when I delivered which was comforting to me and with all that happened I was very thankful it worked out that way. I feel like I would not have handled the situation quite as well without her.
When I went in for my appointment my blood pressure was a little elevated but not alarmingly so. My OB decided that we would just check it again at the end of the appointment. I had a history of random high BP readings near the end of both pregnancies where it was slightly elevated at the beginning of my appointments but by the end of the it was always back in normal range.
After the nurse took my BP I had a bedside ultrasound to check the boys’ heart rates. I had these bedside ultrasounds at every appointment so that the heart rates could be accurately tracked for each baby. Their hearts rates were great but my OB could see that Baby A (at this point we hadn’t chosen which baby was which) was super low. I wasn’t very surprised because I had definitely felt more pressure the day or two leading up to the appointment and had assumed he had dropped but as she put it “If you cough too hard this baby is going to fall out.”
After my ultrasound she did my swab and asked if I wanted her to go ahead and do a cervical check to which I said yes. Here’s where things started to get a little unexpected. As it turned out, I was already 4cm dilated and 50% effaced. For anyone unfamiliar, hospitals typically admit you for labor and delivery at 5cm. Between the fact that I was already 4cm, Baby A’s position, and my initial blood pressure reading, my OB decided that she was going to keep me for monitoring either at the office or at the hospital depending on my final BP reading. The nurse came back in and my BP was even higher Not surprising. I mean, she had just told me my baby was about to free fall from my womb after all. She told me to go straight to the hospital to be monitored for 24 hours. She didn’t even want me going home and told me to call Kyle and have him pack a bag and meet me there. The problem there was that we had just sold Kyle’s car and hadn’t bought a new one yet so I had our only vehicle. So, she told me to go as quickly (and safely) as I could back home but that he needed to basically be waiting in the driveway and then we needed to get to the hospital ASAP. She also told me to stop by the check out desk to make a “just in case” appointment for Friday but that she’d be surprised if I left the hospital without the babies; I didn’t even end up checking out on my own because all of the clerks were busy so the nurse had me go ahead and leave and she took care of scheduling for me. Spoiler alert: I didn’t need that appointment.
I called Kyle to fill him in and to let him know that he needed to make arrangements for OG to be picked up from school and for our dog to be boarded and then I called my friend at work to ask her to schedule me for PTO. My mom was originally supposed to stay at our house and watch OG whenever I delivered but she wasn’t back from a trip across the country yet so I called her to let her know that they boys were coming early. Thankfully we had already lined up Kyle’s sister and her husband as our Plan B so we were covered there.
Maybe it was because I was ready to be done or because we knew the boys could come at any time and were mostly prepared but I was surprisingly not freaking out about all of this. And I say “mostly prepared” because the bathroom was functional enough and our hospital bag was packed but we hadn’t set up the crib in our room or gotten a changing station put together or bought a car big enough to comfortably fit three car seats yet. I picked Kyle up and then we headed to the hospital. On the way, I called our doggy daycare to make a reservation for Barley to stay a few nights since Kyle hadn’t had a chance yet, we finalized plans with my sister-in-law to pick up/care for OG and take Barley to Camp Bow Wow, and we called Kyle’s parents to fill them in.
When we got to the hospital, my MFM OB (my high-risk doctor, different from my regular OB) happened to be around so I chatted with him while the receptionist got me checked in. We briefly caught up and casually discussed my birth plan.
Speaking of: I had always planned on attempting a vaginal birth if possible because that’s what I did with OG so that’s what I was comfortable with. In order to have a vaginal birth with twins, it’s important for the lower baby to be head down. Some OBs want both babies head down and some are fine as long as the first one is head down because a lot of times the second baby will flip after the first is out, they can attempt to turn the second baby, or attempt a breech delivery. For me, Baby A was head down but my regular OB had wanted to check on the growth discordance because we knew Baby B was bigger and he was breech. If the difference isn’t that much then there’s a lower risk with delivering the second baby breech but if there’s a large growth discordance (I don’t remember the percentage) there’s a higher chance of head entrapment which is exactly what it sounds like and something we obviously wanted to avoid.
Anyway, my MFM OB didn’t remember there being a huge difference in their growth so he was confident in my ability to attempt a vaginal delivery. Once we got settled in the room, it seemed like the hospital staff thought we likely were not going to deliver during my stay. They went ahead and gave me a steroid shot to help develop the boys’ lungs just in case (holy crap that is the most painful shot I’ve ever gotten) but they held off on starting the antibiotics my OB wanted me on. During the monitoring period they also had me hooked up to a machine that checked my blood pressure every 5 minutes and before I gave birth I was diagnosed with gestational hypertension which resolved immediately after delivery.
Later that evening, I started having regular contractions but I didn’t feel them (if you’re new here, I also didn’t feel them with OG and ended up showing up to the hospital at 8cm dilated and unsure if I was actually in labor). Because 36 weeks was early but not terribly so, the OB at the hospital that day (who I had a couple of appointments with when my regular OB was on maternity leave) decided that they wouldn’t try to stop labor but they also wouldn’t do anything to move it along (like break my water) so that the boys’ lungs could have as much time as possible to develop. At that point they started me on IV antibiotics (another “just in case”) since my GBS results weren’t back yet and then at the urging of the nurses who were monitoring my contractions, the OB checked to see if I had dilated any further and found I was around a 5.5 – 6cm. Since I was now officially in labor, the nurse and I chatted about whether I wanted any pain management and I told her I absolutely wanted an epidural but since I wasn’t feeling anything and was still only 6cm I would hold off for a bit.
Just before midnight, my nurse came back in and asked if I was feeling my contractions yet because they were right on top of each other (no, I wasn’t) and she was afraid I was going to miss my window for the epidural. I decided to go ahead and get it which ended up stalling out my labor overnight which wasn’t really surprising because the same thing happened with OG.
Thursday, April 8th
Around 8am I was still only at a 6 and they still weren’t in any hurry so there was still no water breaking or Pitocin to encourage labor and we just kind of lounged around. I probably watched tv and played around on my phone and Kyle brought his laptop and worked from the hospital room. My regular OB was scheduled that day and I was so happy to see her and thrilled that she was going to be the one to deliver the babies.
At noon I was 8cm and at that point I was essentially in a race with another pregnant lady who was about 7cm. Because I was having multiples and had to have teams of people in place for delivery, I was considered higher priority if it came down to it.
At some point, I realized my epidural wasn’t really working properly. My legs were numb but between the legs, eh not so much. I could feel my SPD pain coming back on and I knew if I was feeling that I’d definitely feel giving birth. The anesthetist came by to check things out and adjust things and I ended up getting some other pain medication (it’s been 6 months and while the length of this post would make you think I remember everything, stuff like this has left my memory) which worked wonderfully for a while. I also got another steroid shot at some point for the boys’ lung development and thankfully didn’t feel it this time around thanks to the epidural/pain meds.
Once I hit 10cm I started feeling the most intense pressure and it legit felt like the babies were going to fall out of my butt. This was all new to me since my epidural with OG left me feeling absolutely nothing from the waist down. I also got nauseous and ended up throwing up but thankfully I felt it coming on in time for my nurse to get me a bag.
Once I was ready, they took me to the OR. Even though I had planned on a vaginal delivery, hospital policy is that multiples have to be birthed in the OR in case of complications and that ended up being a very good thing.
There were 3 teams of people in the OR: one for me (my OB, nurse, a hospitalist, anesthetist, and a couple of other people), one for Baby A, and one for Baby B. Baby A, I think by this point we had decided this was going to be Oliver, was up first and once everyone was in place they broke my water. Holy Crap. The pain meds had worn off, my epidural wasn’t working, and I was feeling everything. I know some women want to give birth without pain meds but I am 100% NOT one of those women and that is totally okay. It didn’t take super long to push him out but it was so painful and I was caught off guard. I remember after a few pushes they said “Okay he’s ready to come out now let’s do some more pushes” and I started crying because I thought I was already pushing him out and that junk did not feel good. They gave me a shot of pain meds and thankfully that helped and soon enough he was out. He cried immediately, I got to see him briefly, and then his team of people checked him out. He was 6lbs and 20.08” which is a good size considering he was one of two and a little early. At this point I got the shakes and was freezing cold so they started covering my upper body with warming blankets which helped a little bit.
Since Henry (Baby B) was breech, our plan was to birth Oliver and then see if Henry would move into a head down position on his own. Once Oliver was out, the hospitalist did an ultrasound to see Henry’s position. Henry had moved but into a transverse position (sideways) so they decided to try to manually turn him. My OB worked internally while the hospitalist worked externally to try to spin him head down; this is where things went south. The hospitalist was trying to spin him to breech but my OB decided she wasn’t comfortable with that and wanted to turn him back the other way to try to get him head down. When they started turning him again, there was a cord prolapse.
For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, like me before it happened, a cord prolapse is where the umbilical cord basically drops through the cervix before the baby does. It’s a very not good situation and causes oxygen to get cut off from the baby and if it takes too long to fix/deliver it can cause things like brain damage or in some cases stillbirth.
When the prolapse happened, my OB told the room “I feel cord” and the entire mood changed. There was a massive energy shift and this very intense feeling of urgency. At this point, Kyle was ushered out of the room and they started prepping for an emergency c-section. My OB had a nurse take her place to keep pressure of the cord so that she could perform the c-section. She started slinging betadine (seriously, I was covered in the stuff) and I started to cry but she reminded me that we knew complications could happen and we were prepared and I was so immensely grateful in that moment that she was there. This part is all a little fuzzy but they had me remove my mask (yes, I had been wearing a mask; one of the joys of labor and delivery in the time of COVID) and I had to be put on oxygen for a bit.
During a planned c-section, a drape is put up and you can’t see them slicing you open, moving things around, and delivering the baby (although I think some places offer clear drapes now for the moment the baby is delivered) but in my case there wasn’t time for that. As one of the nurses put it “Wow you normally don’t get a front row seat for this!” at which point they asked if I was okay or if I wanted somebody to get a drape put up. I told them I was fine, and quite honestly, I was probably also in shock, so I ended up watching my own c-section which was um…probably not something I would encourage. I remember watching them pull Henry’s bottom half out first and while I’m sure it was only seconds, it felt like forever before they got his shoulders and head out and felt even longer before he made any noise. The relief I felt when I heard him cry was overwhelming. Unlike with Oliver, I didn’t get a chance to see him before they checked him out but they did announce to the room that he was 6lb 11oz (to which everyone went “Woah!”) and 19.76” long. Seriously though, no wonder I was in so much pain all the time! Thanks to being so sick during pregnancy I only gained 20lbs the entire time and if you add the babies, placentas, and fluid it pretty much evens out to that 20.
While they checked Henry out, Kyle was able to come back in. The doctors decided Henry needed to head to the NICU for some assistance with his lungs/breathing. I didn’t even really get to see what he looked like before they took him which was hard but Kyle got to go with him which made me feel better. After Henry was out, they put up a drape before stitching me back together and then I hung around in the OR while my OB ran out to deliver that other baby before she could come stitch my tear. Because having to have two types of deliveries a few minutes apart wasn’t enough, I had to get stitched back together for both of them.
Once they got me all put back together, we got settled into the mother/baby room where I immediately started my routine of nursing Oliver followed by pumping for Henry. I pumped after nearly every single nursing session in the hospital and it was exhausting and I think might be part of the reason I’m already burnt out on nursing/pumping after 6 months but that’s another story for another day. I didn’t get to hold or see Henry until the next day (I was allowed but physically I couldn’t do it) but he progressed really well in the NICU and was already off the CPAP by the time I got to see him and they were able to remove his IV the next day. He was able to come to our room a few days later and then we were all discharged together. I think when all was said and done we ended up staying for 6 days which was way longer than we thought we’d have to stay but thankfully we have great family and friends locally who helped out with OG and Barley is perfectly happy playing with the other dogs at Camp Bow Wow.
Visiting was limited due to COVID but OG was able to come by the hospital for an hour or two a few of the days we were there and she immediately fell in love. It was hard for her to understand at first why she couldn’t go see Henry the first couple of visits but she seemed to catch on quickly and was still able to meet him before we all went home.
If you’re reading this and expecting twins, I hope my story doesn’t scare you! A combination delivery is pretty rare (I think it only happens in like 4-5% of twin births) and a cord prolapse isn’t common either. I’m just lucky I guess!
Today Oliver and Henry are six months old and adjusting to a family of three has been hard in a lot of ways. I don’t handle the newborn phase well and having two at once was extremely rough and I absolutely would not have made it through without Kyle being as incredible of a partner as he is. But as hard as it is sometimes I also cannot imagine our life without them. Seeing their bond start to form has been so amazing and Odessa absolutely adores them.
Of course, they’re also the reason we’ve barely gotten any work done on our house for the last six months! But things are getting easier (I think? For the moment anyway) and we’re starting to plan out finishing our current projects and thinking about what’s next.