Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Hazel and Charlie's Birth Story

Is it silly to share this? It’s a pretty cut (yay foreshadowing!) and dry birth story…and we all know I’m an over-sharer— it’s pretty much all been posted on social media. I live in fear that one day social media will disappear, and there go my pictures and captions and comments to remind me of the crazy days leading up to the delivery of the twins. For the sake of posterity, I'm adding it to yet another corner of the internet. 

September 2017, I’m 31 weeks pregnant with boy/girl twins. Up to this point my pregnancy— especially a twin pregnancy— had been pretty uneventful and uncomplicated (albeit enormous). 

I have a history of preterm births, all right at or less than 37 weeks, so I was receiving weekly progesterone shots. I had noticed an increase in discharge over the course of several days, enough to need a panty liner, which I've never needed before. After consulting with my mom friends and my family, I decided to head over to labor and deliver to get checked out. 

It was a Saturday, so I drove myself while Tim stayed home with Henry— Emma and Molly were having a sleepover at Mooma’s house. Once I was in triage, Dr. K did the test to see if my water was leaking and performed a physical exam. The amniotic fluid test was negative, but I was dilated to 3 centimeters, and the monitor showed that I was contracting. It was nothing too uncomfortable, but enough to dilate me another centimeter to 4 centimeters.  

It was at that point that Dr. K decided to admit me. She sent off another test which could indicate if your body is going to go into preterm labor (it says I was), gave me a steroid shot, tested me for GBS and started me on a magnesium drip. It seems like a whole lotta precautions, right? After all, some people walk around at 4 centimeters dilated for weeks while pregnant. 

But I had a few things working against me. 

First, I had a history of precipitous labors and pre-term deliveries. My other kids came fast and on the early side. Second, twin pregnancy! That automatically puts you at higher risk. Third, my sweet twin A, Hazel, was in the breech position with her foot down in my cervix (rude). This was discovered on the ultrasound they performed while deciding whether or not to keep me in the hospital. 

Footling breech status pretty much sealed the deal in regards to me being admitted. The doctors fear was my water would break and Hazel’s cord would prolapse, which means her cord would fall down into the birth canal before she herself comes out, cutting off all of her oxygen, creating a very scary situation. Taking all of that into account, my doctors decided it would be best to admit me 'for the foreseeable future'. I finished my magnesium drip (that stuff is horrible!!) and was moved to the antepartum unit where I would spend the next four days. 

Spending 5 days in the hospital when you are feeling pretty much okay is a special sort of mind game. The nurses wanted to limit my walking, confining me to my room or getting around in a wheel chair. Antepartum is a quiet section of the hospital— it’s pretty boring… until it’s not. My days were filled with visits from my mom, Tim and the kids. We crafted, we made wreaths, and I even learned how to cross stitch. The instructions on my dry erase board in my room literally said 'sleep'. 

The nurse came in twice a day to check vitals and I had a non stress test every morning. The doctor on call would drop in either at the end or the beginning of their shift— I was the low patient on the totem pole with all their other patients having babies. According to one of my doctors, they labeled me as the 'problem child' during my time on antepartum. If Hazel was butt down and not foot down, they would have had no problem sending me home. Her foot is what was keeping me in the hospital. 

The biggest challenge for me during my time in antepartum was being stuck in the hospital with 3 kids at home. The day to day logistics were so hard to manage while away from home, not to mention that it was a fresh school year for all 3 kids. I felt incredibly disconnected from everything, and it sent me into tears the second morning I was there.  Like I said, staying in antepartum was a mind game. One of the biggest reasons I didn’t completely lose it is the nurses and staff at the hospital were amazing; so sweet and caring. I can’t really say enough about the people who cared for me while I was there, they made the experience a positive one for me when it could have easily not been. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017 rolled around, day number 5 on antepartum. I was finally getting use to the idea of being there for the long haul. I mean, I was only 31 weeks! These babies still had another 6+ weeks of cooking to do. 

By now I had received my second steroid shot. The night nurse, Amy, was doing her initial checking of vitals, etc. when she noticed my IV was leaking. Amy examined my arms and veins and decided it was okay to take the IV out— if an emergency came up and I needed an IV, she felt confident I would be a quick stick. Amy enjoyed the fast pace of labor and delivery and I got the impression antepartum was not her speed. 

With the IV out, I was ready to watch some Fixer Upper and head bed. But at 11:00 pm I woke to my water breaking. Like, the Niagara Falls of water breaking (this coming from a three-time water breaking mama). I’m surprised my hospital bed didn’t float away. 

Knowing that Hazel’s little foot was down and the chance of her cord prolapsing was so great, I lay perfectly still while I paged Amy to tell her my water broke. Of course I go in to active labor mere hours after getting my IV out! After this, things were pretty rushed (I'm sure Amy was delighted;-). Dr. Yoon came in to check me, and sure enough... he felt a tiny little foot which got me a one way ticket to the operating room.

I managed to let Tim and my mom know that the babies were coming and we were off! I'll never forget this— and she probably doesn't know the impact this had on me— but as we were rushing through the hallways, Amy said something along the lines of, "Antepartum may not be my thing, but this is!  This is what I do." And with that, all the anxiety and fear I was feeling went away.

After having three vaginal deliveries, the thought of a c-section scared me big time. This was my first time in an operating room, and Amy's words were just what I needed at just the right time. In the operating room, I received my spinal and was prepped for surgery. Miraculously, Tim made it on time! Within minutes of Tim's arrival, Dr. Yoon began the c-section and we were about to meet our twins!  

At 11:57pm on September 14, 2017, Hazel Fox was born breech, just under an hour from when my water broke. She let out a squeak and was whisked away. At 11:59pm— one minute from having a different birthday than his sister— Charlie Richter was born head first and let out a loud scream. Hazel required a few breaths to get going on her own, but other than that, they were doing amazing for 31 weekers. I was able to see them both and kiss their faces before they were taken to the NICU. 

The twins spent the next 36 days in the NICU, which is a whole other story for another time. It was a life changing experience for me and something I'm so thankful I got to experience. 

I can clearly see God's hand and His divine intervention throughout this entire story.

From the specific people he placed in my path, to those nudges from my friends and family to go in to labor and delivery for what I thought was a fluid leak.

While my story was unfolding, so was Katie's story. She gave birth to baby E who was also a NICU baby. She was admitted to the hospital the night I went into labor and was taken to my old room on antepartum as I was delivering the twins. It wasn't until we crossed paths a few times in the NICU that we met each other and started connecting the dots. She is my NICU soul sister. We both experienced something that is super scary but also amazing. I've gained a friend for life in Katie. This entire experience has given me a whole new perspective— something that could have very easily unraveled me, made me a better and stronger mom. 

The twins are now almost five months old. It's never taken me this long to type up a birth story but, as I'm coming to find out, doing anything with twins just takes longer.

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