Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seeing Double

A few weeks ago my sister asked me if I had written down my birth story. I thought I'd remember everything but as I was writing this I realized that a few hours / days are foggy. I know I and my girls will appreciate me taking the time to write this all down someday.

After a few false alarms, we made it to my goal of 38 weeks pregnant on Friday, July 20th and headed into the hospital for my scheduled c-section. We were supposed to check in at 6:30 but we went in a couple of hours early because I was in labor (for real this time) I was in some serious pain. My back was hurting SO bad and every time I had a contraction it got even worse. I could not get comfortable no matter what I tried. The most frustrating part was knowing that the contractions weren't doing anything. The girls were both laying transverse (sideways) and weren't going anywhere no matter how intense my contractions got. We decided to go in early because I couldn't eat or drink anything I was hoping they'd be able to either give me something for the pain or move up my surgery time. Neither happened. The day before, I had gone in for my pre-op blood work and after checking in to the hospital, the nurse informed me that they wanted to run the blood work again because some of my numbers were off. My blood pressure was really high but I figured it was because I was in a lot of pain. Wrong again, but more on that later.  They tried to get the girls on the monitors but gave up after trying for over an hour. The girls were moving around so much they couldn't get a good read on them.

Around 8:00 am I was wheeled back to the operating room. My whole pregnancy I was nervous about having surgery but I was so ready to see my girls I didn't care how they arrived. My doctor, Dr. Eggers, was great. She knew I was nervous and while I was getting my spinal block she came in and held my hand and talked to me putting me completely at ease. Before I knew it, I was numb, Jason came in the room all decked out in his scrubs and the surgery had started. I could see the clock and it was just after 8:30. I started to feel sick a few minutes into the surgery, and then at 8:38 I heard Dr. Eggers say "Here's Emily!" Then I heard my daughter's beautiful cry for the first time. What an awesome sound! I think they held her up for me to see her but I missed it. Before I even had time to ask to see her I heard, "And here's Hannah!"  It was still 8:38.  I was shocked they were born so close together. Dr. Eggers held up this tiny little girl. Across the room, I could see Emily's little hands waving around as they were cleaning her off. They brought Emily over to me. She was just beautiful! I wanted to hold her so badly, but I couldn't. I settled for giving her a kiss and then they brought Hannah over. For some reason, they kept her by me longer than Emily. Hannah was crying and as started talking to her she stopped crying and just laid there looking at me. When I stopped talking, she'd cry again. It was like she recognized my voice. It was such a cool feeling to have that immediate connection with her.  Jason went into the nursery with the girls while the doctors finished putting me back together. Emily was 6 pounds 11 ounces and Hannah was 5 pounds 14 ounces. Both of them were absolutely perfect. Before I knew it, I was being wheeled into recovery. It was 9:15 am.

                                                  Emily on left, Hannah on right


While in recovery, I was shaking like a leaf. I was told this might happen so I wasn't surprised. I was trying my hardest to stop it but I don't think it made much difference. My blood pressure was still really high and on top of that, my blood work came back with the same bad results. I had HELLP syndrome.

H - Hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells)
EL - Elevated liver enzymes
LP - Low platelet count

They put me on magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures and had a blood transfusion ready just in case I needed it. I had to have my blood drawn every couple of hours and my vitals were taken every hour. My arm looked like a purple pin cushion by the time I was discharged. On top of that, my blood pressure was still too high.

Jason met me in the recovery room and brought the girls with him. We immediately started skin to skin and breastfeeding. Eventually, I was wheeled back into my room. After that, I honestly don't remember much of that day. I think a combination of the drugs, lack of sleep, and joy of meeting our daughters all ran together and I was just on autopilot. What I do remember is Jason stepping into his daddy role like a pro. He took care of the girls while I was really sick.

My nurses were fantastic. I loved every single of of them. Although I had many nurses during my stay, it seemed that I always had the nurse that would give me exactly what I needed. While I was really sick the first two days, I had a nurse that used to work with really sick cancer patients (not that I was ever that sick) but she was very good. When I was finally time for me to get out of bed and walking around, my nurse was a no-nonsense kind of lady that kind of said, "Time to get up. Here's what you need to do. Let me know when you're done." Then our last nurse was a mom of 3 and was a great help when we had questions concerning the girls.  I've wanted to go back and thank them all again personally but I'm sure they wouldn't remember us.

While we were in the hospital, we had many visitors. My parents & little brother, and my older brother's family came up as well as Jason's whole family. A few of Jason's co-workers and the pastor at our church also stopped by. I was thankful for all the support but this was one time I was glad we lived away from family because let's face it, who wants visitors when they just had surgery, no shower or sleep and is drugged up? Uh, not me!
My dad
David & Laura
Dr. Eggers

We ended up staying in the hospital until Tuesday (4 days) because of my high blood pressure. To say I was ready to go home is a gross understatement. We dressed the girls in their KU gear and got the heck out of there before the doctors changed their minds.

Jason holding the girls as we were being discharged.
My mom and niece stayed with us our first few nights at home. I'm so glad we had someone there to help us. When we finally pulled in our driveway we were greeted by signs made by my sister-in-law. Thanks Laura!

The first few days and nights were not too bad. They ate every 3 hours and I was breastfeeding so that meant I was up every three hours. Actually, it was more like every hour and a half. It's amazing what you can do on little to no sleep. We had a lot of help though. More on the first few weeks with the girls in my next post.
First family photo