the opening act: part one

6 Jan

it has been nearly three weeks since the wigglers made their debut. time has functioned in fits and bursts. the days have been a strange and busy and fuzzy and incredible mix. everyday has felt remarkably similar and yet undeniably different. i simultaneously cannot believe it has already been almost three weeks and yet i feel like i have known my babies for so long. anyhow, before it all fades into the abyss of my mind i wanted to get their birth story down. and since today is their actual due date now seems as good a time as any. it was nothing at all what i expected but i would do it again in a second. without changing anything because this is their story…

a brief recap of the days proceeding delivery:

monday morning biophysical profile and NST. hook was able to join us for what would be the final ultrasound due to the weekends snowstorm and the cities inability to deal with it. wigglers still looking good. BP was continuing to rise. swelling in my legs was incredible – essentially i could make a hand print into my leg and it would stay there for quite some time. blood work taken for preeclampsia. doctor decided that holding off to December 23 is perhaps not the best idea. decision to induce on thursday or monday. 4cm dilated. and just in case wigglers lungs weren’t developed completely we should get shots of methylpredinose(?). personal escort to L&D where dr identifies me by wrong name to nurses. luckily m is paying attention and corrects him. shot on board and plan to return the following day. stop off for what would be our last meal out as a family of three at the original pancake house.

tuesday morning back to L&D for shot #2. in slippers. in 17 degrees. apparently a busy morning in maternal monitoring. waited a few minutes then was hooked up to monitors before receiving second shot. i asked the nurse to check my BP. high. and higher than day before. face a bit swollen. especially around my eyes. another round of preeclampsia blood work. nurse says I doubt you are leaving here today so I text mere to let her know to prepare. chat with my doc says to keep holding off until thursday for a medically required induction. until then observe strict bedrest. tuesday night after using the restroom I feel a bit of a gush. nothing big but something different. made a call to my dr and head to L&D. for the second time on tuesday. test for fluid. negative. 5cm dilated. 80% effaced. and decision is…home again. i was angry. at myself for not knowing my body well enough to know what was going on. and frustrated with the dr for thinking it too much of an inconvenience to just have me admitted and induced then. contractions observed at all junctures but still only feeling tightening and no pain. wigglers are still partying it up in utero. as we are leaving nurses discuss how crazy it is that i am being sent home for about 30 hours before scheduled induction.

wednesday m gets msg from my mom to call her. m is working and dropping hook off at school so she waits only to learn that my mom has unilaterally opted to buy a ticket to visit from thursday around noon until sunday. i was about to lose it – not because it’s bad but because i plan. and i know what i need when i need it. and honestly that really wasn’t it. but we resolved that all would be well and at a minimum mom could help with hook. spend rest of the day trying to relax and prepare for impending arrival.

thursday morning drop off hook and head to L&D. after calling to confirm that i was indeed expected and my arrival was anticipated. we arrived at 7:30a.m. and i have a room. and a nurse. and i realize this is all really happening. dr comes in before 8:00 to break magoos bag of water. goodness gracious it’s a gusher down there. magnesium sulfate iv. and pitocin. and antibiotics. nearly 6cm dilated at the outset. dr and nurse helen both suggest epidural at some point. definitely not required but i am up for whatever works best to meet my babies. just explain that often baby b needs to be manually maneuvered and this is relatively well, unpleasant (we have friends whose baby b was held in with a dr’s hand up her who ha for nearly 20 minutes before he was born). i was not opposed to the idea and figured i would know when i needed one. contractions started picking up as we watched the food network and chatted. around 11:30 or 12 contractions really start moving and expectation is that wigglers should be en route around 3 or so. nurse is able to locate the anesthesiologist to get things moving. she notes how muscular my back is and asks if i exercise. m tells her i am a runner and she says that makes sense. tough time poking through the muscles but no concern that it will fall out. essentially feel very little in way of pain for hours. time functions in weird shifts. mom arrives and sits with us for a bit.
mMid afternoon cervix check around 2:30 is 8cm and magoos head has dropped. one side thinning out more than other. around 4 or so nurse says we should be good to go but i will labor down for a bit so pushing should be quick. at least that’s the plan. time keeps ticking as they clean OR (8 unplanned c-sections that day!). finally shortly after 5pm I am rolled in and told to start pushing with each contractions. 10cm. 100% effaced. +2 station. there are 7-9 medical type people in the room not including m and me. i can’t feel anything so the nurses tell me when to push. time continues. my contractions are strong but the internal monitor isn’t picking things up properly so they start requesting i push when a nurse feels the top of my uterus contract. dr leaves for a while since as he explains it “the nurses are way
bBetter at this whole pushing thing”. nurses stream in and out. two go on break. the people there to attend to the babies leave and then all return simultaneously. things seem to be taking a long time but i have no idea. i can’t see a clock but i feel like i should have been somewhere by now. crazy itching on my belly. so bad I am almost ripping my skin off. and i want to drink water. or eat the fantastic ice the hospital serves. the nurses give me a cold washcloth and m rubs it on my belly. at some point i can feel something and i wonder if baby boy is finally crowning. but it’s just blood and not because magoo’s head is there. no one tells me its blood but they are speaking in hushed whispers about how long it is taking and how things aren’t progressing. i keep waiting for someone to say baby is right there. feel his head. you are almost there. but he isn’t dropping any lower. and his head has not engaged down far enough. he can’t get under a pelvic bone or something. nurses tell me they can feel his hair. then dr returns and is trying to coax magoo to turn or shift or something. dr explains that he can feel his ear and his head but it seems to be tilted and not moving at all. heart rates on both wigglers are strong and there is no indication they are in any distress. just unlikely to move any further. so after 2+ hours dr explains that it seems unlikely magoo is going to get his head through my pelvis despite all of my best efforts. and the intentions of the medical team. magoo’s head isnt big just shoved in the wrong direction. so despite magoos determination to emerge head first via the escape hatch as indicated by his position throughout my pregnancy he will not be heading out the way he intended. dr cautiously explains that a csection will get my wigglers out safely. i am entirely calm about everything at this point. surprisingly so. i felt like i had done everything in my power so i was okay with this decision. and everything is suddenly a flurry of activity in the OR as things are changed over for surgery. plan is to try to give me a low spinal but if it is too high it can compromise breathing so knocking me out is mentioned. there are very few things i definitively wanted and didn’t want out of my birth experience and being awake was one of them so i tell them that i want to see my babies being born. the epidural seems to still be working but maybe not well enough. a few tests seem like i can feel some things so decision to try low spinal. but as i am hunched over things feel pretty numb so i say let’s just go for it. i’m not sure if i had convinced myself i was numb enough or if this is how i really felt. i was petrified that i would not get to see my babies being born. and next thing I know i am laying down with my arms out. and i am vomiting. and m is there. and i feel pulling and then there is my beautiful boy. and moments later my little girl. m brings over one baby. and a nurse brings over the other. they are incredible. and then things are fuzzy. and something happens. i can hear my blood and fluid dripping onto plastic. and I can feel a strange pain as they start closing. more than pressure. and i tell this to the anesthesiologist as m is sent out of the room with the wigglers. and then i remember nothing. until nearly two hours later. when i emerge from a haze briefly while in recovery. and i am overwhelmed by searing pain. and i have no idea what is going on. shortly thereafter i am in my room on a different floor with m and the wigglers and the nurses are asking about bathing the babies and whether they are going to the nursery and breast feeding and I have no idea what is going on. my babies are bathed in my room as m and my mom take pictures. i remember asking if the babies can go to the nursery for a few hours and they tell me that no they need to be breastfed. and i remember asking why my pain meds require me to  push a button and can’t just be automatic. i have no idea how i am breast feeding all night but m keeps bringning me my beautiful babies and somehow
we make it to the morning.

the next morning the dr stops in to tell me i need a blood transfusion due to a massive post partum hemorrhage. i can’t stay awake. i feel narcoleptic. and confused. more magnesium sulfate. two units of blood. two unit’s of plasma. the entire day is lost. hook arrives to meet his brother and sister after school. he is smitten. and i can barely stay awake. i continue to zone in and out. and feed my babies. and be amazed that i grew them.
over the next few days we are told very little about what happened during the c-section except that every nurse and dr and pediatrician and lactation consultant who comes into the room comments on the major post partum hemorrhage. And the potential problems with breast feeding and the like. but the babies are thriving. while losing weight. the babies are amazing. and i am beyond in love. we are up most of the night. by mid-day Saturday i am off the IV’s and starting to resurface…very slowly.



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