E & R’s Birth Story

E & R’s Birth Story

Mama: Jessica H.

Stats: E: 5lb 11oz, R: 5lb 10oz

Type of Birth: Vaginal

Birth Location: Hospital

Primary Care: Obstetrician

Image by Jessica Burke Photography

At 33 weeks I was placed on bed rest for preterm labor, not all that uncommon for a mama carrying twins. When I made it to 36 weeks, bed rest was lifted, but I was still supposed to take it easy.

The first things I did was get a pedicure and bake some cookies.

On January 11th, I was 36 weeks and two days when my husband noticed I was leaving puddles of fluid when I sat down, and I had been leaking some watery fluid for a couple days. We called the hospital and they told us to come in for a cervical check. When my husband was done with some work on the computer we made the drive to the hospital.

Twins are usually born between weeks 35 and 36 weeks, but we still thought we were going to be sent home from the hospital.

We checked in at 10:37 am, and the doctor confirmed I was leaking amniotic fluid. She didn’t want to do a cervical check because the risk of infection is increased when the amniotic sac is broken. We assumed I was still 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced since that’s where I was three weeks earlier when I was put on bed rest.

Image by Jessica Burke Photography

While I was in triage, my blood pressure was extremely high, in seizure range, and I had some pretty severe swelling. Seizures run in my family, so this kind of freaked me out. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and the only way to cure it was to deliver the babies. I was admitted immediately, given medicine to bring down my blood pressure, magnesium to help with the pre-eclampsia, and Pitocin was started at 1:30 pm. The dosage was to be increased every 30 mins by 2mL with 30mL supposedly being the maximum dosage.

By 6:15 pm I was feeling shaky and cold from the meds, my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and irregular, but I wasn’t really feeling them yet. I was tired and sleepy and I hadn’t eaten anything all day so my husband snuck me bites of a protein bar.

At 11:45 pm I asked to have the IV in my hand moved to my forearm, and that was a great relief. The one in my hand was just too painful and I hoped the change would help me rest a little bit.

At this point my Pitocin was up to 32mL, and the head of the department was consulted to authorize upping it to 36mL. I was a little crampy, but still hadn’t actually felt a strong contraction. I was really more tired than anything, with some mild discomfort. Had I been at home I might have considered taking Tylenol to help with the cramps.

The doctor gave me two options:

1. Increase the Pitocin to 36mL, and if labor was not progressing at that point we would stop and give my body a rest. Then restart the process again in the morning.

2. Agree to an epidural and have a cervical exam to see where I was.

I chose to continue with the Pitocin while I thought about what I wanted to do.

Since Baby B (R) was in a breech position, I was required to get an epidural for delivery since my doctor wasn’t comfortable doing a breech extraction without one. I was so, so tired I just wanted to meet our baby boys, so I agreed to the epidural.

January 12, 12:25 AM:

My doctor came into our room for the internal cervical exam; I was 5cm dilated and my cervix was paper thin. I felt a little discouraged at this point, I had been on Pitocin for almost 12 hours with barely any progress. I felt like it was never going to end.

Then the doctor noticed something, “I think it’s the forebag” she said. Then she asked the nurse to hand her “the hook”. My bag of water hadn’t completely broken so she broke the rest with “the hook”. I felt a warm gush and started to get very uncomfortable. I asked my husband to help me to the bathroom and it was extremely hard to walk. I felt intense cramping and a ton of pressure. The cramping never let up, and I never felt a moment of relief. It felt like one very long, intense contraction.

Shortly after an anesthesiologist arrived to place the epidural. It was incredibly hard to sit still for the placement of the catheter and Baby B (R) was so high up in my ribs I could barely bend forward enough. The anesthesiologist was a cold woman, she wasn’t very patient and kept telling me to sit still, but the pain was so intense I just couldn’t. At one point I snapped at her. She wanted me to tell her when the contraction was over so she could insert the needle, but it hadn’t stopped yet. I was terrified of being paralyzed when she told me she was “in a very bad place” and it was important for me to be very still. At 1:25 am the anesthesiologist administered the test dose.

Within minutes I felt even more pressure; I was flailing my body around and squirming uncontrollably. I knew it was go-time and I repeatedly yelled at the nurse “he’s coming!” She did another internal exam and I was complete. It was time. My husband said the look on her face was pure shock and she scrambled to call the doctor. I told my husband to get the camera, but there was no time. He had to get dressed in his scrubs as I was being moved onto a gurney and transferred to the operating room where I would deliver our boys. I was still having intense pressure and was told to wait and not to push. I told my nurses no, he wanted to come out and I wasn’t going to stop him!

Everyone was scrambling in the OR and I still had to have a urinary catheter placed. Everything was a little chaotic and blurry. At one point my husband was asked to leave the room and I remember waving to him through the small rectangular window in the door. Then the doctor told him to come in. It was finally time.

She instructed my husband to hold my left leg for me, and when I pushed I was to grab the back of my thighs and kind of pull into it. I was told to push when I felt the urge or a contraction. I waited for a minute but I didn’t feel either of those. I decided it was time to push, so I did and it was hard to do. I pushed again, and started to feel a burning sensation but I didn’t feel like I was progressing. Everyone was telling me to keep pushing, but I was losing energy. Yes, after two pushes I was pooped! The doctor told me to reach down and feel his head so I did. I honestly couldn’t tell what I was touching, but I was still feeling a lot of burning. Although I knew what it was, my doctor told me it was the “ring of fire”; Baby A’s (E) head was progressing.

I didn’t feel like I had the energy to push anymore, and the burning was intense. I yelled at the doctor “push him back and section me!” She told me no. My husband kept telling me he could see E’s head, and my doctor told me to give one more push. I asked her if she was lying to me, and paused for a response. I seriously wanted to know if she was lying or not! She told me she wasn’t lying to me, then my husband gave me the encouragement I needed. He told me to just push, that I could do it and that E was almost here. So I did! I let out a big belly yell and pushed as hard as I could, then I had a feeling of relief. The burning had stopped and I could see E, born at 1:37 am. 

I went from 5cm to baby born in a little over an hour, talk about intense! The epidural hadn’t even taken effect yet!

E was so much bigger than I imagined! He had a full head of dark hair and the cutest chubby cheeks I’d ever seen. His team of pediatricians took him to the side to clean him off and evaluated him. His APGAR score was 9, he weighed 5lb 11 oz and was 19 inches long.

While they finished cleaning off E, my husband was by my side for R’s birth. He was still breech, and I’m not even sure the doctor gave him time to try and move into position either.

By this time the epidural was actually working and I was numb from the waist down. The delivering doctor did a breech extraction and his head became stuck for a moment. The first time I saw him I noticed how purple he was. It seemed like he wasn’t breathing well because he had gotten stuck. Before I could even ask if he was okay, I heard him cry. It was the most wonderful cry. He was also whisked away to be evaluated, with an APGAR score of 9 he weighed 5lb 10oz, and was 19 inches long. I told my husband to go be with the boys while I finished up, I could see their little heads from OR table.

I lost a lot of blood during the delivery of the placentas. My doctor had to scrape out the blood clots while “massaging” my uterus. My husband described it like scraping out a pumpkin. Even though I was medicated, it hurt worse than delivery. It seemed to be taking forever, and my husband kept coming to check on me. At one point I heard the nurse tell him he could pick up E and bring him to see me. My husband was a little scared to pick him up and said, “not til he’s like six!” But he quickly got over that fear.

I started shaking uncontrollably and asking for more blankets. The nurses brought me several, even heated blankets, but it wasn’t helping, I was so cold. My doctor was finally able to get the bleeding to stop and I was transported back to my room. I wasn’t doing too well post-delivery. My blood pressure was dangerously low and I kept passing out and vomiting, I had lost twice as much blood as normal. Everything was very foggy and I felt really weak. At one point, I was holding one of the babies and mumbled to the nurse “take the baby” because I knew I was going to pass out. I didn’t even trust myself to hold my own baby without dropping him.

My husband was scared, and the doctor recommended a blood transfusion. Because of the risk of HIV and Hep B infection, I wanted to wait a little while to see if my blood count came back on its own. Because I wasn’t getting any better, even with an oxygen mask, we agreed to the transfusion.

The transfusion took several hours, I was given two bags through a slow drip while my husband tended to the boys in the nursery. He was already an amazing daddy. I was quite jealous that he could already tell them apart and I couldn’t even remember holding them for the first time. I was so excited when he brought them back into our room, we were finally all together.

Image by Blueberry Photography

Although the boys were doing very well we had an extra long stay at the hospital because of my traumatic delivery. I had to have a balloon with gauze placed in my uterus to prevent it from collapsing and the urinary catheter couldn’t come out until the balloon came out. I also had to stay on the magnesium until 24 hours post-delivery. Once I was free of the balloons, catheter and magnesium drip, I started to feel a lot better. I was incredibly sore, and caring for the boys was difficult, even with my husband’s help, but once we got home and settled, we were finally able to start our lives as a family of four.

Image by Blueberry Photography

Guest Mama Jessica H. hails from northern California where she’s a WAHM to her twin boys, who are toddlers now, and a professional photographer. She loves to cook and bake, loves sewing and is a foodie. Check out her website: Jessica Kay Photography.

2 Responses to E & R’s Birth Story

  1. Beautiful story! What a strong mama!!

  2. Pingback: Donating Breast Milk: Jessica H's Story Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

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