I’ve been thinking of how to write out our story over the last few days and figured I better at least get the ball rolling on it. Not like it’s something I’ll ever forget though!
We arrived to the hospital on Wednesday May 6th at 7 am for our schedule induction. The twins reached 38 weeks that day and it was time for their eviction as they were out of growing room. We got into our birthing room and set our stuff down then waited for a nurse to come get us admitted. While we waited we took a last bump shot for the books. (We had to wear a mask whenever someone was in the room with us or if we left the room.)
Once our nurse got us admitted and my IV started (it took a few tries 😅) we settled in and waited for the doctor to come and get things going. She arrived before 8am and went over the plan for the day and what options were available. She checked to see where I was at, which was the same as 4 weeks prior when I had a preterm labor episode, 4 cm and 70% effaced. We decided to start with Cytotec (a medication to thin out and soften the cervix) to see if that led to any progress. She said she would be back to check me around noon and break my waters then.
In the mean time I got to eat breakfast and go for walks around the room and unit. Also we video chatted family to keep them updated and us entertained.
At noon she checked me and I was at 5 cm and 80% effaced. She also did a membrane sweep at this time (where they push the cervix opening away from the amniotic sac – so painful!) and broke Alexander’s waters (that part wasn’t bad at all). It’s definitely a strange feeling to feel warm liquid pouring out of you every time you move. Fortunately I put in a pad so it at least absorbed that and I wasn’t trailing everywhere. Then we waited and continued video chatting family. I stayed in the room mostly after this and just moved from the bed to the bouncy ball and back.
Contractions started picking up in frequency and intensity to the point where I was literally squirming on the bed and curling my toes. What helped me get through every contraction were tips I had learned from Briget Teyler’s YouTube channel and podcasts. She is a San Francisco based birth doula and provides valuable information for women who are pregnant and new mamas after delivery. Hearing other women’s natural birth stories and knowing that I could get through anything that lasted a minute (something I learned from Beachbody) empowered me to breathe through the surges and get to that sweet relief break in between them.
But by 130pm I was ready for an epidural! If it was one baby I definitely think I would have considered going without one (especially after learning how far along I was) because I was breathing through them okay even with a mask on (and the transition phase [7-10cm] goes the quickest right before delivery I’ve read), but with two babies I knew I definitely wanted one.
I got the epidural placed around 2 pm and it took the anesthesiologist three times to get it. This was a horrible experience because I tried so hard to hold still, the only time I moved was when I breathed heavy through the contractions, and he kept hitting nerves which sent shooting pains down my left hip then up my neck. It made me super nervous the more he messed around back there getting it and I squeezed Andrew’s hand so hard the whole time. My nurse was awesome at reminding me to slow my breathing and rubbing my shoulder to keep me calm. Finally on the third poke (I think, pretty sure I saw more once I looked at my back in the mirror) he got it and injected the medicine which prompted me to throw up my lunch. Fortunately it started to kick in after a few minutes and I felt so much better when it took full effect!
Around 215 pm the doctor checked me again and I was 7 cm and 90% effaced. I couldn’t believe I had made it so far without any pain meds! I tried to rest during this time knowing that the real work was coming up soon.
The doctor came back around 6 pm and checked me again. I was fully dilated and 100% effaced now but didn’t have the urge to push yet. Plus it would be shift change at 7 so she said we needed to wait until I felt the urge to push. She had my epidural lowered so I would feel it as I was only feeling a light pressure down there but nothing overwhelming. This didn’t happen until around 720 when my new nurse came on and introduced herself.
We started doing practice pushes while the doctor checked Alexander’s head position. He was low in there but his head was facing the middle of me so he was sideways. I pushed and pushed in a variety of different positions while the doctor tried to turn him inside so he could move past the pelvic bone.
I started running a fever about an hour in to pushing that caused the babies’ heart rates to rise to the 190s (from the 140s) and they had to quickly start antibiotics and gave me Tylenol. The doctor suspected that it was from an infection in the placenta and amniotic fluid (acute chorioamnionitis) due to her having to constantly try to turn him inside. Plus I was overheated from having to wear a mask the whole time while heavy breathing and pushing.
Andrew was so encouraging and helpful with his words and actions. He would make sure I was drinking water in between contractions, wiping my face with a cold washcloth, and holding my hand while telling me what a good job I was doing. When we were taking breaks and the staff stepped out of the room he’d give me sweet kisses and tried to lighten my mood with jokes. I definitely couldn’t have done it without him!
Approaching the three hour mark I was exhausted and with my epidural lowered I was having more pain with each contraction. I felt so defeated that Alexander hadn’t budged or turned at all the whole time. The doctor said with the persistent fever (after Tylenol and the antibiotics) and rise in the babies’ heart rates she didn’t recommend pushing more than another hour or we could move to a c-section.
I cried a lot and talked it over with Andrew, who was supportive of whatever I wanted to do. I had never had surgery before and was freaking out about that knowing it was considered a major abdominal procedure and the recovery process, not to mention the pain afterwards, was longer and more intense. In the end I decided that a c-section was the best option for me and the babies. If he hadn’t budged yet I wasn’t hopeful that another hour of pushing would change that and I was tired and in pain and just ready for them to be here.
Things moved quickly after that as they got me ready for the OR. They increased my epidural until I was totally numbed up (a huge relief) and had Andrew get changed into surgical gear.
Before I knew it they were rolling my bed into the OR suite and getting me all prepped up. Andrew had to wait out in the hallway but once they had the screen lifted up over my stomach they brought him back to sit next to me and hold my hand.
At 11:11 pm Alexander James was born. They opened the little window in the screen so I could see him when they pulled him out which was really cool. I couldn’t believe that an actual baby came out of me! It took them more than a few minutes to get him out as he was so stuck down in there, and once he was out they took him to his station right away because he needed suction and oxygen to stimulate him crying. By the time he did start crying his sister Audrey Rose was born at 11:12 pm, she came out screaming and I got to see her lifted out as well, and they brought her around the curtain for us to see before they took her to get her measurements. (I wrote about those in their announcement post)
The doctor later told us that Audrey’s water had ruptured as well before they got to it and her umbilical cord was on top of her head, which could have fallen out or been compressed after I delivered Alexander vaginally had it happened that way and I likely would have needed a c-section for her anyways. It definitely validated my decision to have a c-section which made me feel better.
Andrew was able to go be by her until they got her bundled up and brought her to me, then he went to Alexander and brought him over all bundled up.
Once they started to close me up they moved the babies to my recovery area and Andrew went with them. I asked for more anesthesia cause it was starting to wear off (I could feel them poking around in there) and basically dozed until they were done and wheeling me off to recovery.
We got to snuggle with the babies and do skin to skin before trying breastfeeding. It was a wonderful relaxing time after the long day just the four of us. I needed to get more Cytotec due to passing large clots and heavy bleeding but once that slowed and I was cleaned up we moved to a different room for postpartum families.
We notified our families and did a FaceTime with my parents and sister before going to sleep till the morning (like 2 hours – ha!). The whole experience was different than I expected but the end result was so worth it. We have our beautiful babies and they’re happy and healthy.
We were in the hospital for a total of 4 days (3 nights) learning each other and figuring things out. Alexander struggled with jaundice, due to being stuck (he came out with facial bruising) and us having different blood types, and had to go on a BiliLight to get his bilirubin levels down. Plus we had to start supplementing with formula to get him to poop it out, which we were okay with. I struggled with him being put under the light because it meant he was sick and he hated wearing the little eye shield which tore at me. Eventually I got over it but I felt really sad he had to go through that and couldn’t sleep until the nurse offered to watch him for a few hours, which then made me feel awful that he was out of the room away from us. Not a fun night!
Once his levels dropped late Saturday evening we were cleared to go home and were so thrilled! We packed everything and everyone up then headed home where we had a celebratory pizza dinner.
That’s everything! It was quite the journey and now we’re in the recovery process as we are settling into a routine here at home and still learning more about each other. I’m loving being a mom and absolutely love watching Andrew be a dad. They are worth everything we went through and I can’t wait to watch them grow up. 💕