Birth Story: Surprise! Twins and preeclampsia

hase I: Shock
I found out I was pregnant at the beginning of December 2014, right after I had returned from a work trip to Singapore. I was 32, single, and very focused on my career. I let the father, my ex-boyfriend, know that we were about to be parents. We both lived in a state of shock for the next few months. I went in for my first appointment and ultrasound in early January of 2015. Everything was normal and looked good.
Phase II: COMPLETE shock
Nothing unusual happened until my 20 week ultrasound. We were both very anxious to find out the sex of our baby. When the technician started the ultrasound, she moved the wand around several times and stared at the screen intently, for what seemed like several minutes. I knew something was wrong, she wasn’t turning the TV to us so we could see. She then, finally, said “Would it surprise you if I said there were 2?”… UMMMM, YES! We were having identical twin boys! I now had less than 20 weeks to prepare for 2!
Phase III: All the extra monitoring
Mono-di twin pregnancies are considered high risk and then add the fact that I was almost at “advanced maternal age”. During my 20 week ultrasound, the radiologist thought they saw a few things with Baby A (now named Landon) that were concerning. They sent us to the University for another ultrasound to check out his heart and kidneys. Everything turned out to be fine. I think OB’s are quick to get specialists involved, which I am thankful for. I would rather be safe than sorry. I stuck with my OB at Mercy, even though she wasn’t a high risk specialist. But I knew I’d likely end up delivering at the U. Everyone wanted me to make it to at least 36 weeks gestation, but thought it was probably unlikely.
Phase IV: Preeclampsia
During my routine OB visit around 30 weeks, my doctor noticed that my BP was high. She sent me to Mercy to have a non-stress test. Everything looked good with the babies and there was no protein in my urine, so they sent me home. From there on out, I would have to have at least one non-stress test per week. At 32 weeks, my BP was high again and they wanted to monitor me overnight, so I spent a night in the hospital and they did a 24 hour urine collection. Everything looked okay, so they sent me home again. A week later I had another routine OB appointment. The nurse weighed me and we both about fell on the floor. I hadn’t gained any weight during my pregnancy, up until about 30 weeks. And from 32 to 33 weeks I had gained like 15lbs! And I’m pretty certain it was all in my ankles and feet. I looked like an elephant! The nurse had me go into the exam room and lay on the table. She took my blood pressure and it was sky high. They had me go immediately to Mercy hospital for a non-stress test. While there, my BP reached 190/100! They decided to transfer me to the U.
Phase V: From Mercy to the U
I needed to be transported by ambulance, the whole whopping 5 miles, from Mercy to the U. Before the EMTs would take me, I needed an IV and a catheter. It took 4 nurses and 5 needles to get my IV in. They actually had to call an anesthesiologist to come help and they ended up starting in my forearm. The ride in the ambulance was really bumpy and pretty miserable. I was told to lay on my side and the whole time I kept asking if my butt was hanging out because I felt a breeze. The EMTs assured me I was fine, but later my boyfriend told me it was totally hanging outJ I’m sure I gave several people in the hospital hallways a show! Once I got to the U, I had an EKG, a chest x-ray, and an ultrasound all within a 45 minute window. I had fluid in my lungs! They were going to take me in for a c-section within the hour. The only cure for severe preeclampsia is delivery.
Phase VI: Delivery
This part was kind of a whirlwind. I had a student initially try to give me my spinal block and it wasn’t working. Luckily her Attending was there and took over. That was probably the scariest part. They then lay you down on the table with your arms out. They tilt the table a bit towards the doctor that will be doing the incision. I remember when they did that, I felt like I was going to fall off the table. What seemed like almost an hour later, they let my bf in the operating room. He is squeamish, so refused to look over the curtain to tell me what was going on, to my disappointment. I remember at one point asking why I didn’t hear the babies crying and one doctor said “because we haven’t even opened you up yet”. Oh, whoops. Landon came out first and my bf said he had at least 6 doctors surrounding his little incubator. Drake followed just a few moments later. He also had a team of doctors around him. They wheeled each baby toward my head so I could catch a glimpse, but then took them immediately to the NICU. They were each 4lbs 3oz. I told my bf to go with the babies. I wasn’t prepared for what was coming next. They had to pull out my uterus and massage it before they sewed me up. That was the most intense pressure I’ve ever felt. So much so that I started to gag and eventually threw up the quesadilla I had for lunch. Puking while you’re lying on your back is not fun. I think I went through several graduated cylinders before it finally subsided. Then the shakes kicked in. No one had warned me about the shakes either. Between the aesthesia and the hormones, apparently its normal.
Phase VII: 24 hours after delivery
Because of my high BP, the doctors had me on a magnesium drip for 24 hours. You are not allowed to get out of bed when you are on magnesium, so I couldn’t go to see my babies. And because they were in the NICU, they couldn’t come to me. So I only had pictures and facetime for the first 24 hours of their life. Typing that makes me tear up, but at the time, I was so drugged up, I had no idea what was happening or any concept of time. I had an amazing nurse during that time that made the time a little more bearable. And later when I got my hospital bill, I realized I was in intermediate ICU. I had no idea! Looking back, I guess they did have the railings of my bed padded and wouldn’t let me eat or drink anything. That was because I was at such a high risk of having a seizure.
Phase VIII: 1 of 3 discharged
The hardest and most emotional part of my birth story was when I was discharged from the hospital and had to go home without my babies. I cried… A LOT! I also had to race to the pharmacy to pick up a breast pump since I hadn’t had a chance to get one yet. It was a Saturday and they were about to close and not too happy with me. I begged them to stay open and help me. The poor girl that ended up helping me asked me when I was due. I lost it and said “I just had them and left them at the hospital!”. I was so mortified when I left there because I was such a mess. My friend knows the pharmacist there, so I told her the story. She asked her pharmacist friend if she remembered the girl who balled while buying a breast pump that day. The pharmacists response was “which one? There were like 3 that day”. That made me feel so much better!
Phase IX: NICU
I am lucky to live in Coralville and only have a 5 minute drive to see my babies in the NICU every day. They were in there for 23 days. I cried A LOT throughout those 3.5 weeks. I knew they were in good hands and I knew they weren’t in any danger, but I just couldn’t quit crying. The nurses there were so supportive and nice. Apparently being that “weepy” is normal.
My boys are almost 7 months old now and each over 15lbs!