We'll get to Thursday...let me back up a few days to Saturday, March 28. My mom had been visiting since Tuesday on Spring Break from her high school duties. It has been a long haul for her working on staining windows, doors, and trim work for our now six year-old house and the end seems to be in sight. Saturday she took a break and we went shopping at WalMart for some essentials and then headed to the mall so I could buy some new maternity pants. I was at the stage that I couldn't keep up the ones I had because my belly was getting so big. Yes, I was only 28 weeks along but when you are carrying twins, being 7-8 weeks ahead in size is common. After being on my feet most the afternoon, I came home quite tired.
Sunday I relaxed the entire day, as well, still worn out. The afternoon brought some discomfort and what seemed to be Braxton Hicks. Off to work I went Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. They had leveled off a little by Monday evening so I didn't feel alarmed to call the doctor. I ran down the checklist that he had given me - they went away as I changed activities, felt like a tightening in the stomach rather than a cramp, and I wasn't bleeding at all. At work during the day I made sure to not get up as much and limit my activity. In hindsight, I was apparently in labor for those 3 days. Go figure!
In the middle of the night Wednesday, I had some discomfort but thought the babies were just pressing on something as they were getting bigger so I just changed positions. And that brings us to Thursday...
It started out typical. I woke, showered, dressed for work.
And then it changed. At 7:30am I started having cramps that I knew felt different. Shannon got me breakfast so I could rest. At 8:10, I had a thought that these seemed pretty regular and maybe we should time them. 8:10, 8:15, 8:20, 8:25. Uh-oh. I don't think I'm going to work.
I laid down on the couch on my left side and Shannon got me water to drink - such the rule follower that I am - that was supposed to help things subside. I called the overnight service for my OB and they put a call in to his pager. 30 min later and I hadn't heard from him so I called the office directly when it opened. The nurse indicated I should go to labor & delivery for monitoring just to be safe. Off we headed to Methodist, which is the hospital our HMO is affiliated with. 9:45am.
No problem. Just some monitoring. They hooked me up to three monitors - one for each baby and one to measure my contractions - and ran tests for dehydration and various infections that can cause pre-term labor. What a challenge for the nurses to keep a monitor on Sara, who doesn't sit still! Everything was very calm. Until they did an exam. I was dilated to 4cm and my cervix was paper thin. At that moment, things in the room changed quite a bit. I was in labor and it couldn't be stopped - I was too far along. They immediately called to have me transported by ambulance to St. Francis, the hospital across the street which was equipped with a neonatal intensive care unit.
Turns out I was the best dressed mom showing up for delivery!
How did this happen? Just two weeks ago my doctor reported I had no signs of my body having any strain in carrying the twins and I could continue working full-time with no restrictions. Of course Shannon and I felt a little overwhelmed as we began processing what was about to happen. Both of us hide it well. But how can you not be nervous when you find out you will be having your babies 12 weeks early?
I received a shot of steroids that would assist with the lung development of the babies. Ideally, it would be great to hold off labor for 24 hours so a 2nd shot could be administered but that wasn't going to happen. I received another shot to help slow the contractions. An IV was also started with an intense dose of magnesium sulfate, which would be the main medication used to stop my contractions. The magnesium has an interesting side effect of making you feel extremely hot, like you are on fire from the inside out. Dr. Boyd came in to do an ultrasound and discuss things with us. Sara was now head down - she had been breach for months but I thought the past few days that she had moved - so I should be able to deliver without a c-section. Another bag of magnesium was hung on my IV and I was loaded in the ambulance around noon.
I fully understand that the nurse who went with me for the tranport was trying to be compassionate, but I could have done without her rubbing half the skin off my face as she was telling me everything was going to be okay. I'm just sayin.
Now at St. Francis, I am dilated to a 6 or 7cm and contractions continue so my magnesium dosage is increased. The pain of the contractions is not nearly what it was when I was at home. They adjust my bed so my feet are elevated, trying to keep the pressure off my water so it wouldn't break.
My OB, Dr. Kindred, arrives within the hour. I am now dilated to a 7 or 8 and he can feel Adam's head directly behind my bag of water. He increases my magnesium dosage one more time. Between those meds and having my feet elevated, I struggle with nausea and another IV is started to help with that. The contractions are not slowing or stopping. I just don't feel them as much. I do my best to stay relaxed in order to keep my babies in as long as possible and not focus on the guilt of not calling the doctor a few days sooner.
We decide to put in an epidural line as a precautionary step in case we start heading down the road to a c-section.
More nausea. More pills. More magnesium.
7:30pm. "I don't feel right. I feel loopy." As I try to focus on Shannon's face, it is blurry and I see white spots. I have a difficult time focusing. The nurse runs a blood test to see how high my magnesium levels are. Before the results come back, Dr. Kindred returns to check on me. He can tell by how I look that my body is not reacting well to the magnesium. It's time to shut everything off to start getting it out of my system and break my water. His guess was that my magnesium level was a 6 or 7. Turns out it was 8.6 - off the charts! It took about 18 hours to get it out of my system enough that I finally felt like myself again.
8:45pm. I am wheeled back to the operating room, joined by Shannon and 15 doctors/nurses. The anesthesiologist prepared pitosin so it could be administered as soon as Adam was born and would help keep the delivery moving with no break in between.
9:05pm. Dr. Kindred broke my water. I pushed through 4 sets of contractions and heard my son cry at 9:15. Shannon was taking pictures with his camera phone - it was all we had since we weren't prepared for the day. I looked at Adam in his bed - he was so tiny. Shannon went over to see him and take pictures. I could tell when he came back that he was so excited.
Dr. Kindred broke my water again. This time I pushed through 3 sets of contractions and heard my daughter cry 11 minutes later. Shannon declined cutting the cord, feeling the doctor was fully capable. I watched as they wheeled her bed out of the room just behind her brother.
The most unbelievable 12 hours of my life.