Having a traumatic birth experience, regardless of *how* traumatic it was and what others may not see as traumatic cuts to the core. Regardless of the severity, the healing process of dealing with a birth plan that goes out the window can be hard to deal with and has taken me quite a bit of time to be okay with. I don’t know that I’ll ever fully accept it, but understanding that it was medically necessary to keep myself and my babies alive has helped the healing process.
I had a very textbook pregnancy, up until I didn’t. I found out I was expecting twins when I was about 9.5 weeks along, very early on. When there are two heartbeats found on an ultrasound the entire energy shifts in the room and you’re immediately told how your risks of literally everything doubles. You’re warned of preeclamsia, diabetes, pre-term labor, bed rest, IUGR- you name it. The amount of blood drawn and tests run doubles. I wen’t home and burst into tears because I was terrified. But as my pregnancy progressed and I stayed healthy (aside from intense morning sickness that lasted until 20 weeks) my confidence in what my body could do grew along with my healthy little men.
As I approached my third trimester the doctors visits doubled. I had to start doing weekly NST’s at 28w to monitor their movements. Of course this had to be done at the hospital because the office wasn’t equipped for twin NST’s. I continued to pass my tests although each week there was a notable increase in contractions but not enough to be considered labor or for me to even notice. I had an irritable uterus from all the pressure and ended up being taken off of work at 34 weeks due to SPD and swelling.
On June 5th I woke up with a slight headache and one leg more swollen than the other. I didn’t give it too much thought because being swollen was my life now and I had an NST scheduled at 9am that morning. When I arrived they hooked me up as usual and as the blood pressure cuff released it made a concerning beeping sound. The nurse took it again and received the same results.
“I’m just going to call your doctor real quick honey.”
Then came the tests. Pee in this cup. I need some blood. I’m expediting your tests. When did you last eat? Do you have anyone you can call to keep you company? And then finally- we need to do a c-section ASAP- your doctor is on his way, you will have your babies in an hour. Um, come again??
Both boys had been head down, everything had been fine up until that point and I had so wanted to have the experience of delivering vaginally. Not to mention we still had an entire month left and I worried about their development and the fact that the hospital I was at did not have a NICU. What felt like a million phone calls were made and everyone showed up quickly. Signing all these papers accepting the risks and giving the rest to God/The universe/Whatever to handle.
Walking into the freezing OR I was immediately put on a table, given the spinal, and laid back so they could begin. They were moving so fast to get the babies out that my poor husband had to walk by me and see my guts out. They also already had Landon out before he was able to come in the room. Both boys cried immediately, but those cries were followed by gasps and choking. Their lungs were not ready and had fluid in them. I didn’t get to have them placed on my chest. I didn’t get that “golden hour” bonding that experts say is critical in development. I didn’t get to hold Landon until he was a day old, or hold Miles util he was 4 days old. I saw them for maybe a minute before I was wheeled into my room.
The next 48 hours were hell. I didn’t have time to ask questions when everything was happening but I had developed pretty rapid severe preecplampsia that put me at a stroke risk and every time my blood pressure spiked the babies heart rates would drop. Following the operation I was put on a magnesium drip for 24 hours. During this time I couldn’t move from the hospital bed, eat solids, or see my babies. The magnesium made me feel like I had the worst flu imaginable and I so desperately wanted to just hold my babies. There is not a more helpless feeling in the world or enough words to describe how awful it is to know your babies are struggling down the hall from you and you can’t physically get to them.
The hospital I delivered at can only accommodate a newborn needing special care for 48 hours before they need to be transferred to a NICU due to staffing. As soon as I saw Miles being intubated I knew we weren’t leaving with our babies. The ambulances came and one by one I watched my babies wheeled away from me.
And so began our NICU journey…