The Birth Story

The twins arrived at 34 weeks and 3 days gestation. Obviously, that wasn't the plan, and for a control-freak like me, having them arrive via an emergency c-section with just a few hours advance warning was enough to send me into a panic ("They're too small! Their lungs aren't developed! Their nursery still looks like this"):

Here's the story of why they showed up six weeks early.

The Sunday before they were born started out normally. We went to church. We went to BRU to pick up some miscellaneous baby crap we needed, and later that afternoon we went to see the hubs' new niece who was born just a few days before. While at my brother and sister-in-law's house, I started to feel nauseous and was experiencing terrible lower back pain. I knew something wasn't quite right, because while I did have nausea throughout the pregnancy and back pain is a way of life for women carrying around a mound of children in their bellies, this felt differently.
So we left to go home, and I was in agony. As soon as we arrived at our house, I took a bath and some Tylenol, laid down in my bed for awhile, and eventually felt better. We put Isabella to bed, and around 8pm or so, we sat down to eat dinner and watch The Amazing Race. The pain and the nausea then returned, and this time was accompanied by belly pain. Clearly, something was going on.
After writhing around on the couch for an hour or so and trying to deny the fact that I needed medical attention, I told the hubs I needed to go to the hospital. By this time it was after 10pm. My best friend who lives just around the corner from us and who was our "go-to" babysitter should we need to make exactly this kind of trip to the hospital during off-hours was out-of-town at a wedding, so the hubs ran next door to ask our neighbor to stay with Isabella until my grandma could arrive. I was in so much pain and so out of it that we left for the hospital with nothing. I didn't have a bag packed. I didn't even have a bra on. I was wearing a stained XL Sports Illustrated sweatshirt and equally beat-up maternity yoga pants.

The hubs sped to the hospital as I writhed in pain and told him to drive through red lights during the 10-minute drive. I knew I wasn't in labor because I wasn't having any contractions, but I was just desperate for drugs (street or otherwise) to help me feel better.

We made the mistake of heading to the emergency room instead of Labor and Delivery Triage. Instead of some hot orderly pushing the screaming hugely pregnant lady through the halls of the hospital and into the arms of an equally hot doctor who could take away her pain with a wink of his eye, we were told we'd have to make our way to Triage ourselves, and it was no short distance away. The hubs pushed me in a wheelchair while I chose a few expletives to mutter over and over as he hit every bump in every hallway.

Once we finally got to Triage, a doctor examined me, immediately hooked me up to a monitor to check on the babies (they were fine), started an IV, and shot me up with some pain killers. I promptly vomited up the dinner I had eaten hours before in between sieges. The doctor then added some anti-nausea medication to my cocktail, and that seemed to do the trick. She did an internal exam to make sure I wasn't dilated (I wasn't). She thought a kidney stone was the cause of the pain, and therefore began pumping me full of IV fluids to "flush it out." Um, ow?

I slept and the hubs counted ceiling tiles in our tiny Triage room until the doctor ordered a renal ultrasound to check on my kidneys. Given my back pain, she thought the problem was either a kidney stone or hydronephrosis of the kidney, which basically means that fluid collects in the kidneys because the expanding uterus is pressing on it (or something like that), and it's very common in pregnant women, and especially women pregnant with multiples. So, around 3am, I received the ultrasound, and the tech said I did indeed have the condition. However, the condition explained my back pain, but not the nausea or the belly pain.

Shortly after the ultrasound, the Triage doctor decided to admit me. It was now the wee hours of the morning on Monday. Doped up on massive amounts of drugs and anti-nausea medication, I slept awhile and awoke sometime on Monday. It was around this time when I got my first glimpse of the lower half of my body. I had been receiving IV fluids this entire time to flush out the kidney stone I supposedly had and I was massively bloated from my waist to my toes. I didn't even recognize my body. My legs looked like tree trunks and my feet looked about three times the size they were here.

I stayed in the hospital until Tuesday afternoon. The doctor then sent me home with a handful of prescriptions for an arsenal of heavy drugs (Vicodin, Percocet, etc.) because the cure for hydronephrosis of the kidney was delivery, and they didn't want to take the twins because I was under 36 weeks. Apparently, I was to just pop pills to numb the pain for another two weeks. I had some very real concerns about giving birth to narcotic-addicted infants, but I was told none of the medications I was prescribed would harm them. Interesting.

I went home Tuesday feeling fine, but that didn't last long. By the early evening I was in bad shape again, and this time I was vomiting and couldn't stop. We went back to Triage late Tuesday night where I had another renal ultrasound (kidney problem still there), more IV fluids (because they still thought I had a kidney stone), and once I was admitted again, they finally did a battery of bloodwork. Early Wednesday morning, an OB from my practice told me she was running more bloodwork to check for a rare condition called acute fatty liver of pregnancy. She told me she didn't think I had this, since in all her years as an OB she had only seen one other case, but she wanted to rule it out. A few hours later, she came back and told me that yes, I did have it, and that because it was serious, I had to have a c-section that day.

Needless to say, I freaked. I feared for my babies' lung development. I knew that NICU time was now an inevitability, and this really made me upset. The hubs made the relevant phone calls (my mom had come in on Monday after one of my aunts called her about what was going on), and my family members started to trickle in. We were first told the c-section would happen at 11am. Then it was 1pm. Finally, a nurse wheeled me down close to 3pm. They had had a bit of a problem assembling the relevant medical teams needed for a premature twin delivery.

What followed was standard c-section fare, with the addition of an assload more people. I had a blue tarp draped inches from my face so I couldn't see the room around me, but the hubs estimated that there were more than 20 people in the OR.

My regular OB, the one whom I really had wanted to do my c-section, had returned to work following her own surgical leave, the previous Monday, however, she was only doing one c-section a day to ease back into her position. She didn't do mine, but another doctor from her practice did. Luciana emerged first. I saw her tiny squealing and kicking little body for only an instant above the tarp and then they took her away to be worked on by her team. Due to my complications, I didn't get hold her until the Friday after she was born. Nicholas arrived a minute later. The nurses wrapped him and brought him over to us and gave him to the hubs to hold. I'm not sure why they didn't do the same for Luci before they took her away. Perhaps her breathing was worse than her brother's.

Later that night, I saw my babies in the NICU for the first time. I'm not sure what I expected, but I didn't expect this.

I broke down in tears (which I later learned is a big no-no in the NICU), but I couldn't help it. I felt as if I had failed them. They weren't supposed to have arrived so early, and I felt like it was my fault that they were now suffering.

Fortunately, the next day they were off the breathing machines, and were on their way to recovering. Unfortunately, I was not. I spent the next four days in utter hell. The kidney issue, the liver issue, and trapped air in my abdomen from the c-section caused me near constant pain and nausea. I was popping narcotics and throwing up because I was taking them on an empty stomach (I had absolutely no appetite and the mere thought of food made me sick). I was totally out of it, and have no recollection of certain visitors or whole chunks of days as a result. My dad visited the twins last weekend and asked me how I liked the books he had brought me in the hospital. Um, what books? The hubs and my dad then filled me in about the gifts he had given me while he and my stepmom were visiting me in the hospital one night. I was so drugged and sleepy, I didn't remember a thing about it.

The hubs spent time in the NIUC with the twins while I puked into the trash, the toilet, and water pitchers in my hospital room. I pumped as much as I was able, but the twins were receiving mainly formula for their first few days of life.

By the following Monday, I was much better and my OB discharged me. The twins came home three days later.

And although their arrival was completely unexpected and out of my control (never a good thing for a Type A like myself), I still feel so completely blessed that they are home and healthy. We saw so many babies in the NICU who had been there for months. I can't even imagine what their parents go through on a daily basis.

One last interesting bit: The twins were born at 3:09pm and 3:10pm on Wednesday, October 15th, my aunt's birthday. Isabella was born on my uncle's birthday. My grandma (she of all the rules) and I have twice given birth on the same day.


I really, really wanted to post yesterday, especially considering the post would have been hopeful and positive and all the things I am not lately. Given what happened on Tuesday night, I was actually in a rare good mood yesterday. But alas, a defiant toddler and two very needy infants ate away my day (and my good mood) and it didn't happen. So, this normally verbose blogger will just say, YAY. Maybe the world will begin to like and respect us again.

13 Responses to “The Birth Story”

  1. # Blogger Mom24

    You have been through so much. Be good to yourself. Take care not to do too much. I'm sure that's hard. I am so thankful for your happy ending. They are beautiful babies.

    That's amazing about you and your grandma giving birth on the same day twice.

    I missed your reaction yesterday, but I knew you would be happy. I definitely understand. I'm amazed your able to blog ever right now!  

  2. # Anonymous Lis Garrett

    It just AMAZES me what you went through there at the end. Like Mom24 said: "Be good to yourself." It's going to take a long while to adjust and find a new "normal."


  3. # Blogger shokufeh

    Wow! You went through so much. I'm so glad your doctor ran those tests.
    And that is so cool about the birthdays running in the family.  

  4. # Blogger Tracey

    Holy cow, hon. Just... wow.

    I can only imagine the amount of diapers and stress you're under right now. Please don't answer my posts cuz you? You need every free moment to yourself!!

    They are so precious. Wish that I could smell me some twin baby cheeks and change a few diapers for you!  

  5. # Blogger Sugar and Ice

    What an ordeal! What a blessing that the three of you came out on the other side of it relatively unscathed.  

  6. # Blogger Sasha

    What a scary experience. I am so glad you guys are all ok.  

  7. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    That is so, so scary! I am so glad that all three of you are doing well now. I just can't even imagine. So thankful you guys are ok.  

  8. # Blogger Jesser

    Wow. Considering everything that went on, it's amazing how quickly you guys were back home and seem to be doing so well. A wonderful thing for sure!  

  9. # Blogger kenju

    Thanks you for sharing, Kristi. My daughter had a similar dire situation with pre-eclampsia when she was pregnant with her twins. I am so glad to know that you and the babies came through it well.  

  10. # Blogger MIP

    That's quite the story, so much to go through for both you and the babies. Glad it has all passed now and you are all home and healthy.  

  11. # Blogger Damselfly

    Wow. That all sounds awful. And I would have cried in the NICU too. Seeing your little babies like that.... Why is crying bad there? You went through so much and I really hope you won't feel you failed them, because you were freaking heroic.

    That's amazing the doctor thought to check for the rare liver problem! I hope your liver and kidneys are going to be OK now.  

  12. # Blogger Damselfly

    PS Congratulations again!  

  13. # Anonymous Laura McIntyre

    What a story, im so glad
    you babies are home and health now. Such a scary time.

    Oh i cannot imagine why crying would not be allowed in the NICU , here they have plenty of tissues and close curtains to give you privacy. Such a horrible thing to see and how can parents not be expected to get upset  

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