Here's the story, as best I can remember!
On Wednesday I took the boys to Costco and then to the park to meet my friend Lindsay for lunch. It was supposed to rain later, but while we were there it actually started snowing on us. Crazy times!
Later that afternoon I started to feel a bit crampy and my regular practice Braxton-Hicks contractions started to feel a bit painful, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I washed one more load of laundry and decided that perhaps I should pack some bags for the boys before I went to bed rather than wait until later. At the very worst I could always unpack them in the morning, although they do have plenty of clothes!
I went to bed at 12:30 and at 1:30 woke up to a rather painful contraction. On getting up to use the bathroom I discovered that my water had broken. And then the contractions started in seriously. I woke Brian up and told him to call my mom and attempted to get the last few things together that I wanted. He got all the things out to the car and the boys in as well while I painfully and slowly got ready between contractions.
By the time we were on the road it was maybe 2:15 and my contractions were very painful and only 2 or 3 minutes apart. I called my friend Amie, who was my doula, and asked her to call my OB since I had forgotten to get his number.
My mom met us at the ER entrance and took the boys back home with her while they quickly bypassed admitting and took me straight up to the maternity ward. By the time they managed to get a monitor on the babies (although never at the same time for more than a minute) and check me I was already at 9cm.
Thankfully they listened when I told them about my IV situation and they put it in my arm with the first try and very little pain. I met the on call doctor and we went to the OR to get ready. My OB and Amie showed up at about the same time and I know there were lots of people around, but I don't remember much about that as I was pretty focused on just getting through the contractions by then.
I'm sure we weren't in the OR very long before I started to feel like I was going to split. I wimped out and was asking for pain meds, but because I was Strep B positive they were just trying to get the antibiotics in me as quickly as possible (pointless actually). Then Hope was coming with only one or two pushes and she was out. 3:08am - probably not even 45 minutes from the time we got to the hospital.
They took her away and the doctor was telling me to push and get Joy down even without the contractions. I'm not sure if it was before or at this point, but sometime there was an ultrasound to make sure that they were head down. My stomach was all lopsided and it's kind of hard to push when suddenly you don't have the pressure to push back with one baby gone! I could hardly feel it.
One or two more pushes and then Joy was out too. They took her away and then the doctor for some reason was in a big hurry to get the placenta out. He was massaging my stomach and pulling on the cords and that was NOT a pleasant experience. When it finally came out (at least as big as one of the babies) he looked at it and said it looked like it was one placenta. Which supposedly means they are identical, but we're just not sure. They definitely have different personalities, and we can tell them apart, although mainly by the birthmarks that will fade. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Everything was going okay and the girls were fine so they gave them both to me and wheeled me back to the delivery room. Then things got interesting...
My OB had said he would give me pitocin after the delivery because he was concerned that my uterus wouldn't contract fast enough since this was a 3rd pregnancy and also with twins.
I started to have the after contractions and they kept getting more and more painful to the point where I felt like I was in labor again. I knew they were some what painful normally, but this was unbearable and I remember thinking "there's no way I can do this for a day or two" and I was asking for pain medication again. They had finally given me some after the birth. Hope had low blood sugar so they wanted me to nurse her or they were going to put a tube in her stomach. I really wanted to, but I was in so much pain I finally just said, okay, go ahead. This made me really sad.
But very shortly I started to feel blood coming out under pressure, which I thought was weird. I told the nurse and she turned around and practically jumped on my stomach. Yes, it hurt like crazy. But a huge amount of blood came pouring out all at once. It was like a waterfall and Brian said he really wasn't quite sure what had happened.
I think a lot of things were going on at this point, but I was so relieved to immediately not be in pain that I wasn't paying attention. My OB had already gone home so they got the on call one back in to check on me and make sure I wasn't actually hemorrhaging (I wasn't) and then they weighed it... 1.7 liters of blood. Imagine a 2 liter pop bottle... yeah, 85% of that. Between that and labor I basically lost half my blood.
They told me that because I had come in with a really high blood level (40) that they would just watch me. I did not end up having a blood transfusion at all, but my score dropped to 20.8 if I remember correctly. By 24 hours it had come up to 21.4 and I hadn't passed out or anything so they actually said I could go home on Friday if I wanted to. I decided to stay one more night since I was feeling pretty weak - although that proved to be a frustrating experience almost not worth it.
I've been thinking on this for a few weeks now and I'm not sure I can be convinced that the pitocin didn't actually cause the whole problem. See one of the side effects of pitocin is that along with causing stronger contractions it can also cause blood clots. My blood already clots really well (as in, if you don't keep my IV flowing at least very slowly it will seal itself off). So what happened was that I got either one really big clot or enough little ones that they couldn't come out. Then since they were in the way my uterus couldn't contract down like it was supposed to. In essence it was like there was another baby in there, hence the pain. And because it couldn't contract down it was still bleeding much more than it should have been. A bad situation all the way around. Good thing the nurse knew what was happening...
So... the girls were fine and because Hope had the stomach feed she didn't want to nurse for at least 12 hours. I suppose that was a blessing in disguise because she just slept and I only had to think about one baby for awhile. (except for the fact that 3 days later she spit up a blood clot and freaked us out - it had irritated her esophagus or something)
I couldn't get out of bed on my own so I didn't get to see both of them together at all for about 2 days. And by day 2 I looked down at my legs... and they were the same color as the sheets. Yes, it was March and I'm a pale person anyway, but I really never knew you literally could be white as a sheet. That was weird. And also the reason there are no pictures of me until this past week, I looked awful!
In this time I had three awesome nurses, Anna, Kayelee, and Rachel. Anna was there for the birth and later looked at me and said "I know you" and we figured out that she was also a birth attendant for Noah's birth at the birthing center 2 years ago. It was so nice to have her there the first night knowing she was coming from that perspective as well.
Kayelee and Rachel were awesome as well. Rachel took the girls out in the hall with her the second night so I could sleep a bit since there is no more nursery in this hospital and one of them seemed to be fussing all the time!
On Friday I got a nurse that wasn't very friendly at first and was also really busy so that was hard. Then that night the new nurse was telling me that the girls had lost almost too much weight and I needed to nurse them more... except how do you force a baby to eat??? They were really sleepy and just wouldn't eat when she wanted them to. She was talking and talking and giving me worst case scenario until I just started crying. At that point Brian asked her to leave and he went out and kind of dressed her down. I don't do well when people just talk at me... plus I was going on 3 days of very little sleep plus labor and losing blood!
Then he went home to bed (this was the main reason I stayed, so I could have a nurse help me and he could actually sleep for a couple nights - since he'd been sleeping on the couch/floor for a couple months). It was a bit awkward with that nurse at first, but she turned out to be fairly nice after all.
Saturday we were getting ready to go home... and Brian accidentally got an extra meal voucher when he paid for his lunch and they said he should go ahead and use it. The food at the hospital was actually pretty decent so we decided to take our time, have dinner, and then go home. I'm not sure it was worth it though...
Our day nurse got off at 3pm for some reason so the next nurse we got didn't come in until we were getting ready to leave - about 6pm. Suddenly she says "you can't leave, you have to do the carseat test" and we're going, "why?". Because the girls were born one day before 37 weeks and one of them weighed a few grams under the limit they had to sit in their carseats for 90 minutes while hooked up to monitors to be sure they didn't stop breathing. We live 10 minutes from the hospital.
So... after sitting in a teeny tiny hot room and watching the another episode of Downton Abbey (Season 1) we finally were cleared to go home. We got home at about 9:30pm after only 2 1/2 days in the hospital!
Everyone kept telling me to expect to feel really really tired because of the blood loss. But I think it's a testament to how exhausted I'd been since Christmas that I really didn't feel any worse after coming home. And actually because I could move I felt better in some ways! Now after 4 weeks I feel like walking a lot... if only I could get a bit more sleep!
And if you made it all the way through you get rewarded with these going home pictures! :)