Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Twin Birth Story

Tuesday, September 25th, we went to my 37 week appointment. My parents met us there (on a whim) to hang out with Mason in the waiting room. The doctor measured my belly, it was around 42cm and then pulled out the doppler. Baby A's heart rate sounded great. Then he moved on to find Baby B. When he did, it was beating around 60bpm (normal is at least double that). He looked worried and asked if I could hear it. I asked if it was my heart, he checked my pulse and it was not.
The doctor yelled out to a nurse to get a wheel chair and then he quick check my cervix and sort of stirred things up in there to see if it would help baby's heart rate go up. I got dressed and the nurse started pushing me to Labor and Delivery, a long trek through secret passageways to another side of the building. We stopped by the waiting room so Tyler could tell my parents where we were going. The doctor saw we had stopped and yelled at the nurse to GO! He ran up and took over pushing the wheel chair. We left Tyler in the dust. While this was a scary situation, I stayed pretty calm, I was in the right place after all.
Once they got me to a room (Tyler made it, too) I got on the bed and they worked so fast. There were several doctors and nurses in the room just waiting for us to arrive. Within 5 seconds, my shoes and socks were taken off, I had three monitors hooked up and Baby B's heart rate was back up in the normal range. Phew!
One of the doctors did an ultrasound to check on things. She couldn't get a good fluid level reading and the ultrasound machine they had available in the hospital was not fancy and new like the ones over in the clinic so she couldn't check the blood flow through the umbilical cords. They decided I should be monitored for three hours, sent home and come in the next morning for a more in depth ultrasound to check on the fluid and blood flow.
I was kind of worried and after Tyler and I talked it over, we asked to stay and be monitored through the night. If we went home, I was afraid something would happen and we wouldn't know. I wouldn't have been able to sleep and would have just stressed the entire time. So, we stayed with the plan to get the ultrasound done first thing in the morning.
Tyler headed home to get some things for our overnight stay and also to get ready for his sub at school the next day. My parents took Mason to our house to spend the night with him. While I was left alone, my mind was anything but quiet. We were fast approaching the 38 week mark, the time in which it is dangerous for mono-di twins to stay inside. They were sharing a placenta, and because of this, it deteriorates at a much faster pace. Since I had previously had a c-section with Mason, I had decided induction was not an option for me, due to the risk of rupturing my uterus. That meant, I was either going to have a repeat c-section the following weekend or go into labor, which I was so rooting for!

The final twin belly shot.
I had to get up to pee after receiving 3 bags of fluid in a couple hours. 3!

While Tyler was away, Baby A's heart rate had a significant drop, just as Baby B had done earlier. It went back up, and things seemed fine. The nurse (oh how I loved this nurse and her enthusiasm in VBACs!) explained to me that while the heart rate may return to normal now, we didn't know how many times this had happened and if it happens too much, eventually babies can't bounce back anymore. That was scary and I was so glad I had decided to stay and be monitored! After talking with a couple doctors, we decided if any more decels took place, I would be going in for a c-section immediately after. And they had just finally let me eat supper. Talk about poor timing.
I let Tyler know of the decision, he was getting stuff together and would be on his way. Of course, Baby B shortly after had another heart decel and fate was sealed. As soon as the OR was all cleaned up (from another twin delivery, nonetheless) the babies would be born. Tyler got back way too fast, ahem, after hearing surgery was happening soon. They began prepping me and eventually I was wheeled to the small operating room. They still weren't finished cleaning the big one from the previous twin birth. All I remember thinking at this time (well past midnight) was how I just wanted to take a nap. I was not in the mood to go through this whole ordeal, I was beat.
Tyler was not allowed in the room until after I received my spinal. I don't know why, it would have been nice to have him there for it, as it was the worst part of the delivery. It took over 20 minutes to place the needle in the right spot, I kept having to tell them where the shooting pains were when they poked me so they could make sure they were placing it properly. Something I don't want to do again. Like, ever. Thankfully there was a wonderful nurse with a pretty Irish accent letting me squeeze her hands and telling me how awesome I was. That was nice.
Once laying down on the operating table, my lower body becoming numb, I started to feel a little more excited about my babies being born. Probably the extra drug cocktails they snuck into my IV. They did the poke test to make sure I was numbing properly. The two anesthesiologists gave each other worried looks when the numbness came all the way up to my shoulders. So of course I started freaking out in my head that I'd stop breathing because every part of me was going to become numb. That didn't happen.
Tyler joined us and since my doctor wouldn't answer his phone or pager, a lovely new doctor (who I wish had been our OB from the start) came to deliver the babies.

Those who have never experienced a c-section (and I hope you don't have to), there is no pain involved. However, you can still feel tugging and pulling going on. It just doesn't hurt. Soon they cut through my uterus and Baby A (a girl!) came out, Baby B tried to come out with her. I could breathe again! Then seconds later they pulled out Baby B (a girl, but we drew that conclusion from her sister's gender). I could really breathe now! What a relief to have those babies out, holy cow. 2:41 and 2:42 AM were the "official" times of birth. It was nice of them to assign different minutes, when actually they were born at the same time.


Baby A, Finnley Maxine, needed some oxygen to get her breathing, but Baby B, Elliot Olivia, was pink as could be. I had thought they would be girls, but we had decided to wait to birth to find out gender. I am so glad we did, it was well worth it for the surprise and excitement. All the staff was excited as well, since no one waits to find out anymore, especially multiple pregnancies.
We figured out why the girls had been experiencing heart decels. Their umbilical cords were tangled together into a pretzel-like knot. When they moved, it would tighten the knot and consequently cut off blood flow to either or twin. Scary stuff! Still gives me goosebumps. I desperately wanted a vaginal birth after my last c-section, but I have never questioned the way God played this one out. If we wouldn't have gone to our appointment and the doctor hadn't put the heart rate doppler on my belly at the exact moment, we could have possibly went home for the next week and who knows how that would have turned out. I prefer not to think about it.

Best picture I have, see the doctor holding up the pretzeled cords. Elliot crying in the background.

Elliot and Finnley were supposed to be in separate sacs so it was a complete surprise that their cords were knotted like this. They always were able to see a membrane separating them during ultrasounds, although it was extremely thin and hard to find. Everyone was wondering, was it a mistake? Were they truly mono-mono twins (delivered at 32 weeks usually due to dangers of cord entanglement, only 50% of mono-mono twins live). My placenta was sent to the lab to find out some answers.

The girls and Tyler were sent to the nursery while I was put back together. We declined vitamin K shot, hep B shot, and delayed eye drops, so they were just getting weighed, checked out, and staying warm. The doctors cut out my old c-section scar and stitched me up, to make things a little prettier.

Elliot Olivia
5 pounds, 4 ounces. 18 inches long.

Finnley Maxine
5 pounds, 9 ounces. 18.5 inches long.

A seemingly short while later (who knows how long, those darn pain meds make the first few weeks fuzzy in the memory) we were reunited and we started our breastfeeding journey. Tandem nursing started off without a hitch. My doula, who wasn't allowed in the operating room, was there to help and take pictures.

The girls had very different coloring the first couple weeks, that was very helpful in telling them apart. They looked so similar at the beginning of their lives. It was nice to get to know them for a while before their main distinguishing feature vanished.

We found out at my first appointment after birth that they were in fact mono-di twins. At some point in the last three weeks gestation the membrane separating them had ruptured. While this wasn't the birth I had been hoping for, we are so thankful everything happened the way it did.


LeAnna said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Isn't it absolutely wonderful how God works?! Loved reading this! Every birth story is so wonderful, regardless of how it happens, I can't help but smile and get teary eyed!!!

Adrienne said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Wow!!!! What a great story!!!! And how interesting and neat that they had such different coloring. They were both so beautiful right when they were born! Amazing!

Skye said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

After having my 2nd baby, I have come to accept the fact that no one has "the birth that they had hoped for" - you can plan it until the cows come home, but God always has his plan and it needs to happen a certain way for the baby (or in your case, babies) to be healthy! And in the end, you have beautiful healthy baby girls. It all works out in the end and what a story - that must have been so scary to know about the low heart rate and then to find out their cords were tangled. It gives me the chills! And the mono-di thing- wow! I never heard of that (then again I never had twins - so why would I?) - that is amazing it was not detected earlier but I know there is only so much that can be seen in utero. God bless xoxo. Wonderful story :)