This is the last photo taken of the girls in my belly the night before they were born. The night before my surgery. The photo is very candid, and I hesitated to even put it up. But that’s life, and this is my life and my reality. And I believe it’s important to share these things even if its embarrassing. I am (mostly) ready to share exactly what transpired over those last few days.
The weeks leading up to their birth were filled with many concerns and worries about my body. My stomach was growing at such an incredible rate that my skin felt paper thin and sensitive to the touch. I had bright red stretch marks appearing over the course of a few weeks that radiated around my belly button. There was no way of easing the pain in my upper back stemming from not just normal pregnancy woes, but come to find out three liters of extra fluid. It felt like the girls occupied every spare inch inside of me and then some, from the very tippy top of my liver all the way down to my bladder.
I’ve been pregnant before and went full term with two weeks extra with my oldest, so I know what it feels like to create life in my womb. Although no two pregnancies are alike, I knew something wasn’t right.
The week of Easter I decided to make an appointment with my OB about my concerns. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going into preterm labor as well. I felt as if I wasn’t being taken seriously at that appointment, but he sent me to the hospital for a non-stress test anyways. When I got there after finishing lunch the test consisted of a small device strapped to my belly to monitor their heart rate over a particular set of time. Trying to monitor their heart consistently proved to be very difficult because they kept swimming around. The lunch I mentioned before is important because they didn’t let me eat until the following morning. I survived off of a little water and an IV. In hindsight those are the signs of preparing for possible surgery. My doctor visited me again and one of the heads of the hospital to ask us where we wanted to deliver. I felt pressured at that time to make a decision, but we didn’t. My husband and I stayed one night, and we were able to leave the following afternoon. Honestly I felt really great after the stay at the hospital. I might have been a little dehydrated so the fluids from the IV made me feel really good, and I thought I was going to be ok. In the event the girls came earlier than expected I decided to go ahead and get a steroid shot in my booty to help stimulate the development of their lungs. I went back the next day to get the second shot.
April 28th, 2019:
I was incredibly uncomfortable again that day. My Braxton Hicks contractions were constant and my huge belly was always hard. I knew my body was getting ready for delivery. I remember losing my mucus plug, but my water never broke and real contractions didn’t occur.
We decided this time to go to UCLA for a checkup, instead of our local hospital, and left that morning. Unfortunately it was a Sunday, so our doctors were not there or any staff that was really helpful or compassionate for that matter. I was poked and prodded again, and I was about 1 cm dilated.
We ended up staying the night so they could monitor me. Honestly thinking back to that night was truly horrible.
My girls hardly ever stayed still (which I absolutely loved) so monitoring their heart for a consistent amount of time was virtually impossible, yet again. They needed around 20 minutes of consistent monitoring, so it felt like we were at it for hours. The skin on my belly was rubbed raw from a Doppler gliding with ultrasound gelly over and over. We shared a room with other patients so people were in and out all night. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink in the event I needed an emergency cesarean. But I was given fluids via IV for my own nourishment and magnesium to help with the girls brain development. My husband finally got a chair from a kind soul so he could “sleep” in it.
I had to explain to each new staff member and nurse our unique situation and be treated basically like lab rats.
In the morning we were finally moved to our own room with its own bathroom, and a plethora of new doctors came to visit us.
To cut things short, they basically wanted me to deliver that day. I was already there right? Lets just get this over with. What are we waiting for?
I was very confused and exhausted. My body was done. But that morning brought us a wonderful and compassionate nurse who helped us figure out what we really wanted and needed to do.
We wanted to deliver on our terms, with the girls surrounded by family. So we settled on two days from then, May 2nd. That would give our family time to take off work and drive down to UCLA.
May 20th was the original date for the c-section. Now we were delivering two and a half weeks earlier, and around nine weeks earlier than their original due date of July 2nd.
That afternoon we were discharged with instructions on prepping for surgery that Thursday.
Stay tuned for part 2.