Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Birth

Like the previous seventeen days in the hospital, June 26th began with a blood draw. Then a visit from the resident, the nurse's aid, the arrival of the breakfast tray. It was just like all the others. The morning routine had its own rhythm, unvaried over the course of my stay. No reason to think it would change. 31 weeks and 1 day.

By mid-morning the nurse arrived to set me up for monitoring of the babies' heart rates and any contractions. We had finally mastered getting the two babes tracings separated, as their chests were lying right next to one another in my belly. There was a little trick, which I showed each new nurse. Baby boy needed just the right angle, and like magic, there were two clearly different heart beats. But that morning turned out a bit different.

Initially, all was fine. But about half way through monitoring our boy had a brief deceleration in his heart rate, dropping down to the 80s before we lost his tracing altogether. His heart beat was quickly found again and he rebounded back to the 140s. The supposition was that he had briefly compressed his umbilical cord, not surprising with his low amniotic fluid levels from the rupture. We opted to monitor for a bit longer than usual, and just before stopping he had another deceleration. These episodes were not linked to any contractions, although I had been having some occasionally for several days, but without regularity.

The attending MFM sent me down to the Labor and Delivery floor for a period of continuous monitoring. Resident Boy arrived to be with me, and we got all set up for the duration. Still the consensus was that I would be there for the afternoon and likely return to the 5th floor by evening. Of course my darling surgeon husband cautioned me not to eat lunch, on the chance I was headed to c-section. I scoffed and teased him, as did the nurses. And promptly asked for at least a popsicle.

I lounged through a couple hours of monitor and a sonogram of the babies, with no relevant problems. A friend stopped by, ironically the friend whom I was visiting when my membranes ruptured. Then the labor/delivery attending stopped in to introduce himself. He asked basic questions, including asking if I was having any contractions. To which I answered no. Then Resident Boy watches as the tocometer begins to climb. The attending exits, commenting that I would likely be monitored for a bit longer and then be sent back upstairs. (Yeah, right) I promptly begin having the largest contraction I've had in the hospital, and proceed to continue contracting every 8-10 minutes. So much for going back to my cushy room up on five.

Baby Boy does not like the contractions. His heart rate routinely drops after each one, generally recovering fairly quickly. They quickly set me up with IV fluids and oxygen, have me lie on my left side to try and keep Baby Boy happier. The contractions do ease in intensity somewhat, but continue to come. The doctors briefly put out hope that maybe the contractions will stop, but my husband and I both know this is the end of bedrest.

By now it is evening and after about 40 minutes, the doctors concede that it seems unlikely that the contractions will abate. And our boy is still not liking them. The decision is made by all that c-section is the best choice to keep everyone safe. Luckily by this time, my last heparin dose is about 12 hours old, so I can have a spinal and be awake for the delivery.

Things move quite quickly from there out. Fortunately, the labor floor is quiet and everyone can move efficiently, but without being overly rushed. Resident Boy knows the anesthesia resident, and fortunately he is only days from completing his residency. (one week later, and I could have had a much greener resident) He does a great job with the spinal, and I am quickly prepped for the section.

Having never had any type of surgery before, the sensations were strange. I was fortunate not to get nausea or other types of side effects of the spinal. The surgeons delivered our little girl first, and I was relieve to hear a tiny cry from her. One minute later, our boy was delivered with a similar little cry. My husband was right there at the isolettes watching all that was done.

Within a few minutes it was determined that our girl would need intubation and likely surfactant to help her breathe. Our boy looked a little better initially, but within minutes required the same therapy. Everyone assured me they both looked very good and they were doing fine.

It was hard to hear everyone bustling around and caring for them, but not to be able to see anything. My husband popped back to me every few minutes, but most of the time I could not see him either. While they sewed me up, I still had not seen my babies. They whisked them off to the NICU, and I could hardly see into the isolettes. While I knew this was the best thing for them, it was difficult. And I was so disappointed that they needed to be placed on the ventilator. I understood how important it was for them to have that assistance, but I had secretly hoped that my babies would manage to avoid it.

My recovery from the spinal was smooth, and they took me up to the NICU to see my little ones. It was hard to just look at them. Not touch them or smell them. To see their faces covered with tubes and tape. To see just how tiny they were. To have too much knowledge, and to know all the pitfalls that could lie ahead.

As you may already know, we were blessed. So far these tiny infants have shown themselves to be incredibly strong and resilient. This week they have been making small strides in gaining weight, and the only tubes in their bodies are the nasogastric feeding tubes. We are so fortunate.

Shane David and Rebecca Ann, the first time they were reunited.

19 comments:

waitinginline said...

They are absolutely beautiful!!!

Rebecca said...

What a crazy story...I give you a lot of credit, but your babies are absolutely beautiful and sound like they are doing well. I'm proud of you and keep up the good work!

Geohde said...

I'm so glad to hear your twins are doing so well. I totally relate on the knowledge-of-what-can-go-wrong is scary aspect. But things are going right, and I'm very happy to read it.

J

jakelliesmom said...

They are beautiful, simply beautiful.

Grow, babies, grow.

wheelsonthebus said...

They are truly lovely.

christina(apronstrings) said...

oh they are lovely. just lovely.
it would be upsetting to me not to be able to see them for that long. i know it was for the best, but i wish they could come up with another way.
anyway, way to go MAMA.

Lori said...

Wow. You got through that with such grace. I love your babies' names, Amy. Such a beautiful photo of them!

Jen said...

They are gorgeous! It must have been so scary, but I'm glad that things are going well. Hopefully they'll be healthy and out of the hospital soon.

My Reality said...

They are beautiful!

I am glad to hear they are doing well, and hope they continue to get stronger each day.

Ms. Planner said...

Wow Amy. You and Resident Boy handled the whole thing with such courage. You are so brave and have such strength. I know it must have been so hard to see the babies and not touch them. I love their names and they have such tiny, fine features in the photo. I can't wait to hear stories about how they are growing.

Congrats to Amy, Resident Boy and big brother The Snake!

Portia P said...

Bless them. They are so gorgeous.

Well done on getting this far. Wishing them lots of health and growth xx

Kate said...

They are so precious!

Katie said...

Gorgeous, just gorgeous.

Magpie said...

Lovely photo - wild story. Glad all's well.

Helen said...

They're absolutely gorgeous. Babies are amazing fighters, and when they dig in they can accomplish so much. You had a tumultuous start and they're doing so well.

Hang in there.

Rima said...

Oh, they are absolutely precious. I'm so glad that things went (relatively) smoothly and I hope that they continue to go well for you and your beautiful family! (And you're right - July first is potentially a very bad day to have surgery ;)

Baby Blog Directory said...

They are truly beautiful! Congratulations!!

Aurelia said...

I'm so glad things are going so well.

Sticky Bun said...

I'm so sorry I've been MIA--your babies are absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm thinking of you and your little ones and hoping they grow and thrive over the next several weeks and beyond!