Last week we celebrated Rhett & Lorelei turning 4! I can’t believe how fast 4 years has gone by! The twins came into this world about 2 months early at 33 weeks. I get asked a lot about my labor experience and birth with them so I’m going to share the full story here!
My pregnancy from the beginning was what I feel is pretty normal for a twin pregnancy. I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum the first 20 weeks or so with one hospital visit for IV fluids. Super controversial topic but after 9 weeks I took Zofran during the day and Phenergan at night to combat the constant vomiting. Both my babies were born completely healthy so no side effects from that and we felt the benefits outweighed the risks, but always consult your OB! Other than feeling like I was doing nothing but throw up, my pregnancy was relatively uneventful in the beginning.
Around 25 weeks I was starting to really feel the affects of carrying 2 babies. I was having a lot of pelvic pressure and was still working full time, including 24 hour call shifts, as an RN in the Operating Room. At my 28 week appointment with the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist we discovered my cervix was starting to shorten. It was still in a safe range but had decreased significantly since my last appointment. At that point we decided it would be best for me to take it easy. Because of the nature of my job they wouldn’t allow me to do light duty so I had to start my maternity leave early. Thankfully I had saved up tons of PTO time. I had been saving it for years and had managed to accrue 6 months of paid maternity leave which was a huge blessing and I’m so thankful to my managers for working with me through that!
At 30 weeks I had a regular checkup with the MFM specialist. At that appointment my cervix has shortened even more, out of the safe range, and I was having contractions. I was sent home on progesterone suppositories, a cardiac medication that helps with preterm labor called Procardia and strict bed rest. I could see the contractions happening on the monitor but I really couldn’t feel them so I went home feeling super uneasy that I wouldn’t know if something was wrong
I woke up about midnight that same night with my stomach cramping and diarrhea (sorry for the TMI but this is important because this is a very common labor symptom and I had no idea) I tried to go back to bed but I was still having those upset stomach cramps. I have a “nervous belly” on normal days so this wasn’t really out of the ordinary for me as I was still reeling over our doctors appointment that day. The only thing that was different is that my nervous belly usually doesn’t wake me up in the middle of the night. I debated on waking Andrew up or not but me being awake eventually woke him up on his own. He suggested we go to the hospital and I said absolutely not! While in nursing school I did a semester long internship in Labor & Delivery and I did not want to be that woman that comes in all the time thinking she’s in labor when she’s really not! Andrew had to practically force me into the car to go to the hospital and I was not happy about it. I had an upset stomach, I was not in labor. I was not having contractions. I felt fine actually.
We arrived at the hospital and got checked in to L&D triage. They hooked me up to the monitors and a nurse checked my cervix. I was having regular contractions every 2-3 minutes and I was dilated to a 2. Just 12 hours prior I wasn’t dilated at all and was having minor contractions every 20 minutes or so. I was 30 weeks pregnant with twins and in full blown labor.
The on call doctor started me on Magnesium which didn’t do much to help. My OB came to see me first thing that morning and we decided it would be best to send me to the hospital where my MFM doctor is. Our local hospital doesn’t have a NICU and even on Mag my labor was still progressing. So off I went on an ambulance to the big city about 2 hours away.
The next 48 hours are really a blur. My labor wasn’t stopping, I was on the max dose of Mag and felt like death. I remember learning in nursing school that being on Mag makes you feel horrible, but nothing prepares you for the feeling of being run over by a freight train. On top of feeling awful I was having a Foley catheter nightmare. I’ve had a catheter before for other surgeries and have never had issues with them but because of the way the babies were pressing on my bladder this catheter was extremely painful! Magnesium is very hard for your body to breakdown and process and since I was on the highest dose it was extremely important for my nurses to monitor my urine output so they could monitor my kidney function. I’m a nurse myself and was completely aware of this, but the pain, y’all the pain. I’m so sorry to my nurse, Holly, because I was a horrible patient. I screamed in pain for hours, Andrew was scared and mad and he screamed at the nurses to do something. I finally told Holly if she didn’t willingly take my catheter out I would just do it myself. She reluctantly agreed and I had to use a bedpan to void after that but I felt 100x better!
After 72 hours on Magnesium I was still having contractions but they had slowed significantly and I had reached the limit on how much Mag they could give me. Somewhere in those 3 days I had got 2 steroid shots to help develop the babies lungs and now all there was to do was wait. I would stay in that hospital room until I was 37 weeks and could go back home to deliver or the twins came early, whichever came first.
At this point it was October and right in the middle of harvest. Andrew had to go back and home and get our crop out! Andrew really doesn’t get much credit but he was such a trooper while I was on hospital bed rest! He drove 2 hours back and forth from the hospital to work almost every day.
I spent 3 weeks on hospital bed rest. I had a spacious room with a great view of 1 tree and a parking lot. I wasn’t allowed to leave my room at all. I even got in trouble once for taking too long in the shower. My mom and grandma both stayed with me some when Andrew couldn’t, but honestly I didn’t mind being alone. I felt like a burden for anyone to have to be there with me so I enjoyed the time to myself more. I did a lot of online shopping and taught myself to crochet. Andrew even learned to crochet too and took his turn attempting the baby blanket I was working on 😂
I was on a couple different oral medications to control my contractions which were still coming every 30 minutes or so all day long along with the progesterone suppositories, but every night like clockwork around 7-9pm my contractions would start back up in full force every couple minutes until they could get them back under control.
One night at 33 weeks, just like usual, my contractions started back up. It was around 7pm and Andrew was planning on staying home that night. I called him and told him these felt different and he needed to come now. The nurses tried all the usual meds and tricks to get my uterus to calm down but things weren’t working this time. My contractions were coming every minute and I was dilated to a 5. I had just had an ultrasound 2 days before and both twins were still breech so we knew I would need a csection to deliver them. At this point it was the middle of the night and I had been in active labor for several hours. I was extremely uncomfortable but it wasn’t unbearable. Naturally, my MFM doctor didn’t want to come in at 2am to deliver me so he kept telling the nurses things to do to stop my labor. Andrew went to sleep on the couch in my room about this time and that’s when things really kicked into gear which HE SLEPT THROUGH. I felt my water break (actually baby A, Lorelei’s water) and called for the nurse to come check me. I was really really hurting at this point. I was hot and heavy in labor with twins and had no epidural and no pain medicine. When the nurse walked in I was sitting up in bed in the middle of a contraction and she tried to get me to lay down. Sorry to her now but I screamed some not nice things at her. She laid me down and checked me and I was fully dilated and Lorelei’s foot was right there. I could see the panic written all over her face. We were about to deliver these babies if my doctor didn’t hurry up. My doctor was finally on his way, Andrew woke up, and we were getting prepped for a csection!
I just want to throw out there that the entire month of my preterm labor fiasco I was never in any true labor pain until Lorelei’s water broke and I was completely dilated. It was nothing like people talk about or you see on tv until the very end! Everyone’s labor/birth experience is different but this was not at all what I expected.
Once in the OR the CRNA student did my spinal, it was quick and painless, I chatted with the CRNA and the anesthesiologist who was in the room to my surprise (If you’re part of the OR crew you’ll understand this reference 😂) the my MFM came in and went to work. He joked with me about waking him up for a csection at 4am and then we heard Lorelei cry! She came into this world just like she loves her life, full of energy! I didn’t get to see her but the NICU nurses and a Neonatologist were in the room and they told me she was doing perfect. Rhett took longer, he was hard to get out, he was wedged way up under my ribs (the bottom right one he had broken a few months ago). I remember feeling the immense pressure of them pushing and pulling to get him out. He finally came out screaming too! Just like Lorelei, they said he was great! They wrapped them both up in the same incubator and rolled them past me before they headed to the NICU. They were perfectly healthy. Neither of them needed any oxygen, just tiny 4 pound babies.
Having had multiple csections since this one, I can say now that my recovery from the first one was rough. Almost 9 hours of unmedicated labor followed by a middle of the night emergency csection with 2 babies was really hard on me. I was in a lot of pain for about 2 weeks. I could barely walk at all the first week. To make matters worse I had the worst spinal headache! They kept me in the hospital for 6 days after having the twins. On day 5 I had a blood patch done by an anesthesiologist to relieve my spinal headache which did provide instant relief! The twins spent a month in the NICU with no health complications, just learning to eat and grow. We are so thankful they were both so healthy!