On Monday July 16th I had a long doctor appointment, which included an hour ultrasound, and everything looked great. The appointment the month before things were looking so good, that my doctor said she expected me to go all the way to full-term. While things were looking great medically speaking, I was in a lot of pain. Every week it was getting worse, and it had gotten to the point that I could barely walk or stand or take care of Kaitlyn. Another two months of being pregnant was not something that I was looking forward, especially during the summer months.
After a great appointment on Monday, nothing was out of the ordinary. Then I woke up at about 2:30 the next morning to my water breaking. Huge gushes were coming out. NO! This wasn't supposed to be happening. I was only 29 weeks and 4 days. There was nothing else I could do but run to the bathroom making a huge mess, and then tell Paul to get out of bed. I called the hospital and then called my parents to meet us at the hospital to take care of Kaitlyn. What do we pack? It was kind of tough to know at 2:30 in the morning, standing in the bathroom bleeding. Paul packed a bag of diapers and clothes for Kaitlyn and I packed a bag of clothes, camera, tooth brush, contacts and glasses for me. Paul got Kaitlyn out of bed and put on her shoes and coat and off we went to the hospital. I thought Kaitlyn would fall back to sleep in the van, but she was awake and quite happy for being woken up at such an early hour.
I was taken into triage and my parents showed up to take Kaitlyn home with them. I answered a million questions and the nurses and doctor tried to figure out if my water had indeed broken. I think if they could have seen what my bedroom and bathroom looked like they would have believed me that it had broken. I was admitted to the hospital and more tests and more doctors tried to figure out what was going. Had my water broken? Was one of my placentas separating from my uterus? These questions went back and forth all day as my contractions started to pick up. They immediately began saying I might be having a csection that day.
All day and all night they gave me medicine to try to stop my contractions, but the pain just got worse and worse. An ultrasound showed the babies were doing great and still had plenty of fluid around them. I got two rounds of steroid shots to try to help the babies lungs develop quickly. All day the doctors went back and forth. Looks like you're having a csection today. Then, we'll try to keep you pregnant here in the hospital for a few more days or weeks. Back and forth. And the contractions got worse and worse. At some point a doctor from the NICU came in to explain to us what having 29 week babies might be like. We were told they had about a 90% chance of surviving, and heard a list of this things that they could have problems with. All night I was so miserable between the contractions and horrible pain in my hips and back. I didn't understand why all the medicine they were giving me would not stop my contractions. I had to keep calling the nurse every hour or so to help me turn over because my hips hurt so badly. About three minutes of sleep was all I could get between contractions during the night.
Wednesday morning July 18th, now 29 weeks 5 days pregnant, my doctor came in. After a quick check of my cervix she said I was fully dilated, with my bag of water bulging out. Since both twins were still breech she told me I was going to have a csection right then. I asked how soon exactly and she answered "10 minutes." I started to cry and said I didn't want the babies to be born so soon.
Immediately there were what seemed like a million people in my room and I started having a contraction. I just wanted to be left alone to get through the pain, and I had an anesthesiologist trying to explain what a spinal block was and several nurses trying to prepare me for surgery. Someone else had woken Paul up and was trying to explain to him what was going on. And then my bed was flying down the hallway into the operating room.
They told me to scoot over from my bed to the operating table. Are you kidding me? I could barely move I hurt so bad. Somehow I started moving a little, and they got me there there rest of the way. They had me sit up to wait for my spinal block, and of course I started having another contraction to get in my way. Finally I was laying down and the million people in the room prepared to take care of me and two very tiny babies went to work.
They started cleaning my stomach and I remember thinking, "Don't start cutting yet, I can feel that!" And then a minute later the nurse behind me was helping me lift up my head to see through a window in the drape in front of me. Joel was being lifted out! He started making noise right away which was a huge relief that he was breathing, and he was quickly handed off to a team of people ready to help him. The nurse was helping me lift my head again...Alyssa was being lifted out! She too made some noise to announce her arrival and was handed over to a second team to be cared for. Both were born during the same minute, at 10:17am.
My doctors finished my surgery and I was taken up the elevator to a new room on the same floor as the NICU. Paul had gone with the babies so I was alone with a nurse. I tried to move my toes several times, but couldn't feel anything. I think my head was still spinning trying to catch up with everything that had just happened so quickly. I'm so glad I was able to hear the babies cry right away so I was much less worried about them. It wasn't long before Paul came in to see how I was doing and bring me some pictures of the babies. He told me that Joel weighed in at 3 pounds 9 ounces, and Alyssa was 3 pounds 4 ounces.
I was told I wouldn't be able to go see the babies for several hours so Paul and I just had to wait. I called my Mom, my Dad, and maybe a friend or two. After at least 4-5 hours the nurse finally said I could go. They pushed me in a wheelchair down several hallways and then into a room with two incubators. They lowered the first incubator so I could see Joel from my wheelchair, and all I could do was cry. He was so tiny, and hooked up to so many things. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He wasn't supposed to be born over 10 weeks early and be this small. And he wasn't supposed to be in an incubator, he was supposed to be in my tummy or in my arms.
Next I took a look at Alyssa, and again I cried. After waiting several hours to be allowed to see the babies, all I wanted to do was leave because it was too much to take in. Paul and I went back to my room and settled in for the night, not that we slept much. It was so strange for us to be alone in my room that night with no kids around us. Kaitlyn was still at my parents house, and the babies were down the hall. If felt very weird to not have any of them with us in our room.
The next morning we went to see the babies and I was able to hold Joel. He was so small, but it felt wonderful to have him close to me. I went back in the afternoon and was able to hold Alyssa. That evening my parents and Kaitlyn came to visit and meet the babies.
Friday I was discharged from the hospital and we drove home with no babies. My parents kept Kaitlyn for us, and Paul and I spent the night at home with no kids. And Saturday our new routine of going to the hospital everyday to see the babies began. Every day over the next week that I went to see them I felt more comfortable holding them, and fell in love with them a little more. Every day I felt better physically, recovering from my surgery. And every day it got harder to leave the hospital and say good-bye to them.
Meeting my babies.
Holding Joel for the first time.
Holding Alyssa for the first time.