This was my second pregnancy… so I knew everything, right? I made it 41 weeks the first time around and even had to be induced after trying everything (yes, everything) to go into labor! So I was certain the same would be true the second time around. How wrong I was.
Fast forward to 30 weeks pregnant. My day started like any other – I went to the gym, took my toddler to story time, dreamed about my unborn twins and just felt overall amazing (yes, I loved being pregnant!). Then I got sick… it hit me fast and furious. I’m not one who gets sick very often so I called my doctor. I was assured that there were all sorts of GI bugs going around so I was prescribed ‘rest’ and ‘plenty of water.’ Sounded simple enough, right? The next morning I was feeling pretty worn out, as does any mother of an 18 month old and who has been sick for the past 24 hours! That’s when I felt a contraction… or at least what I thought was a contraction. You see, I was induced with my first pregnancy and the contractions when I was induced felt much different (stronger). To be on the safe side I called my doctor and was told that dehydration can cause this and was again prescribed ‘rest’ and ‘plenty of water’! I followed doctors orders and spent the morning in bed, reading magazines, eating popsicles and resting (sounds like a vacation to me now!) The contractions slowed down but remained. By the evening, I was feeling pretty miserable and decided to call the doctor one more time. She suggested that I could come in and be checked out but that if I was able to fall asleep then I was probably fine. The thought of going to the hospital to simply be checked out (when I felt so crummy) sounded quite unappealing and sure enough I fell asleep!
Four or five hours into my restless night of sleep I found myself in the bathroom… unable to stand up. All sorts of thoughts starting racing through my mind, but the thought of my babies being born that night was not one of them! I laid on the bathroom floor, but that hurt… I got on the toilet but that was excruciating, too. Somehow I managed to drag my 30 week and 2 days pregnant-with-twins-self back into our bedroom and calmly uttered the words, ‘honey, I think we need to go to the hospital.’ Luckily my husband jumped out of bed faster than the speed off light and before I know it he had our 18 month old strapped in the carseat and off we went… running red lights like something from a movie. Fortunately at 4 in the morning there is very little traffic! I stood hunched over in the front seat since at this point sitting was too painful. I crossed my legs and tried to think of anything other than what was happening. My husband asked how I was feeling but I couldn’t even muster up words, I was in too much pain at this point. Luckily, he knew to head straight to the ER (I probably would have pulled up to triage!)… this is all a blur, but it still seems surreal.
They lifted me out of the car and into a wheelchair and asked me question after question while we rushed through the long hallways… as soon as they heard the word twins it was full speed ahead. We arrived at Meriter’s ER (front door) at 4:45 am and Nora was born at 5:02 am. And 18 minutes later, Jacob was born (it felt more like 3 hours later!). I very easily could have Nora at home or in the car, but I was desperately trying to prevent that from happening since I knew that Jacob was breech and the thought of delivering a baby anywhere but at the hospital terrified me… especially given that there were TWO babies who were going to need the NICU immediately. (You can read about my NICU experience here.)
My labor and delivery was the least glamorous experience of my life. Okay, so I know that delivering a baby is never ‘glamorous’, but let’s just say that when my older daughter was born (it was a scheduled induction) I had exercised, showered, put on a little makeup, packed a hospital bag, painted my nails (you know… the important things that I used to have time for…). This time around, I was going on 24 hours without a shower since I was too sick the day before to even get out of bed… or maybe unknowingly being in active labor deterred me! I hadn’t brushed my hair (or teeth), I was wearing my husband’s pajama pants, an oversized sweatshirt, not an ounce of makeup, (which is ok… but remember the no shower thing? That was really bothering me!) Oh and did I mention that I was too far gone to get any form of pain relief? Before Ava was born I announced to everyone “I don’t know if I’ll get an epidural, we will wait and see.” Well this time I KNEW I wanted an epidural. Nope, wrong again – each time I asked for some pain meds I was shot down with sympathetic looks saying, sorry – you just need to get the babies out and you will feel better. And they were right, but at that very moment I felt like I was in Hell.
An hour after the babies were born I was granted a shower – ahhh-mazing! And did I mention that our 18 month old was still with us at the hospital? Apparently she spent some quality time with a few nurses while I was turning her world upside down (in the best way possible) by bringing her brother and sister into our lives!
It was a far cry from what I had envisioned. I never would have chosen to give birth so early and in such a dramatic fashion. But instead of dwelling on the woulda, shoulda, coulda’s – I’m choosing to be grateful. My babies will be five months old this week and are absolutely thriving. They’ve grown from 3.5 pounders to 14 pounds already and have filled my heart in a way I never could have dreamed. I don’t have enough good things to say about the staff at Meriter – all of the NICU nursing staff and the team who delivered my babies, but I feel truly blessed to have been put in such good hands on that scary, crazy, beautiful, terrifying, magical night!