January 25, 2019. 34 weeks, 5 days pregnant
The night before, I sang Nora Happy Birthday and watched her blow out her candles. I was in so much pain, but my goal was always to make it past Nora's birthday. As I watched her blow out her candles, I thought, okay... we're good now. The twins can come any time.
Their birth-day started as usual with lots of Nora cuddles and giggles. I got her ready and brought her down stairs. Around 9 a.m., I sent her off for a fun playdate with her Poppa and headed back upstairs. I had a busy day planned including finishing packing my hospital bag, and visiting my workplace for a going-away party. But first, I was really looking forward to a nap. I went to the bathroom because I *knew* if I laid down I would have to get up in 20 minutes to go pee. I leaned forward to grab some toilet paper and suddenly I felt this giant movement in my belly, heard a giant POP and knew exactly what had happened. My water just broke!
It was dumb luck that I was on the toilet when it happened because it wasn't just a quick little splash like I experienced with Nora or what you see in the movies. I wasn't feeling any contractions yet so I texted Tom to let him know so he could finish up work and called my doula and asked her to come over.
Once the dripping stopped, I threw on a pad and started getting Nora's bag together. It's so funny how your brain works when you're in a panic. My in-laws could have easily come and put her bag together later. They knew where everything was and my bag wasn't packed yet. But it felt like the last thing I could do for her was make sure she had everything she needed.
I called my mom just to give them a heads up since I knew this was the start of a long ride and they live 2 hours away. I had my first contraction while she was on the phone and it was strong enough that I had to stop talking and breathe through it.
I hopped in the shower and then finished packing our bags while riding out a handful of minor contractions. I asked Google to play me some music and "Push it" by Salt N' Pepper came on first - Universe you are hilarious!
My doula showed up and we headed to the hospital and arrived at 11 a.m., just under 2 hours after my water broke and an hour after my first contraction. I walked myself up to L&D and had one massive contraction while waiting for the elevator - in front of a hallway full of medical staff and visitors. I finally got up to the 4th floor and checked in. I told them I had fast labours and I was feeling pressure, but they didn't seem too worried. While in triage they were trying to get the fetal heart monitors on the babies. They found Hazel but couldn't find Katie - she was too low and engaged. I suddenly felt major pressure and having been through an unmedicated birth before, I knew what that meant. So I asked them to check me before continuing finding the fetal heart rates. The nurse looked at me like... seriously...??? and I just knew - I needed an OB immediately.
With one more massive contraction, I knew it was happening fast. Luckily the OB on call happened to be close by so she stopped in to appease me. All I heard was "it's a compound presentation of a foot and a bum. It's hard to tell how dilated she is but I'm going to guess an 8 or 9." They started to panic. I was so close to delivering breech premature twins in triage! They immediately wheeled me out and down to the operating room, where all twins are born at my hospital. It hit me - I was about to head into surgery and Tom wasn't even on his way yet. I asked my doula to get Tom here right now! He was still 20-30 minutes away and thought we had hours to go still.
In the OR they continued to try and find Katie's heart beat and even brought in an ultrasound. It was weak. The OB told the anesthesiologist he had one shot to get the spinal tap in or else they would have to put me under because they had lost Katie's heart rate. Talk about pressure! I was in the OR alone, not knowing where my husband was, and just heard one of my babies may be dead. The speed at which everyone moved was astounding. The NICU time arrived as I was getting the spinal done. A nurse came in running in saying "He's here! He's here!" Tom had made as they were laying me back down on the table - just in time.
This was obviously now an emergency situation. While I was getting the spinal done, the nurse in front of me started talking and brought me back from freaking out. I knew her eyes. She had been one of the nurses helping me the previous weekend for my non-stress test. She talked me through what was happening and helped me lay back down when it was all done. The Anesthesiologist nailed it - I was numb immediately.
I felt everyone move at the same time as soon as I was laying down and they started surgery. What I didn't know until later was the anesthesiologist was hovering just out of my sight ready to knock me out if I started screaming in case the spinal didn't work. There was no time for testing! They had already started cutting when Tom and my doula Victoria walked in. I heard Tom say "hey good lookin'" and I started crying. There was nothing more I could do but listen at that point. And I didn't have to wait long.
It felt like seconds before I heard "it's a girl!" At 12:51 p.m. I saw this blood covered baby be whisked past me to the NICU team. Baby A, our Katie girl, wasn't crying. I was straining to listen for her amongst all the noise. Tom's head was on a swivel and finally we heard it - a faint cry. She's okay! At the same time I heard "it's another girl!" At 12:52 p.m. Baby B, Hazel Mae, was born and cried right away. We saw another baby go by my head to the NICU team who quickly got started working on her to ensure she was okay. For a brief minute they were side-by-side, crying in unison. They were both wheeled out just as the nausea started for me. I was too busy puking to watch them go.
The OB told me as they were finishing up that she thinks they got baby A out just in time. And that's the only information we had on either of our babies for the first hour. I was wheeled to recovery for an hour while they worked on the girls, then they brought us to meet them. Meeting them was so emotional. Seeing these sweet tiny babies all hooked up to machines was so hard. We had a million questions and the fantastic nursing staff were so helpful. Knowing they would be okay was such a relief.
The girls spent a total of 17 days in the NICU. If you wanted to hear more about our experience in the NICU, click here.