I woke up as usual needing to tinkle. I got up off the couch (as it was the one place I can get semi-comfortable) and headed to the bathroom. On the way, I noticed a quarter-size wet spot in my underwear. 'Did I pee on myself?!' I did my business, and headed back to the kitchen to take my early morning meds.
I must not have finished tinkling while in the bathroom, because I had a half-dollar size wet spot on my clean underwear. I headed back to the bathroom to tend to this embarrassing event. At this point, I was glad no one else was awake!
I walk over to the bed and gently shake Dave. "Dave, it's not 2:30 in the morning...it's 5:30, but I think I either peed on myself, or I'm in labor." (This is almost EXACTLY what I said when I went into labor with Liam!) Dave's response was, "What?" I repeated myself. "Call the hospital." I called the hospital while Dave called his mom and grandma, who were staying at Paula's house, to ask them to head to our apartment quickly. The nurse tells me to go ahead and head in because of our specific circumstances.
Dave and I throw our hospital bags together. Neither of us had packed - we figured we could do that later today. We were expected at the hospital Tuesday morning (that would be the next morning) at 5:30 a.m.
I called my mom in Van Buren, Arkansas to let her know she probably needed to head to Dallas because we were headed to the hospital.
I jump in the tub to take a really fast shower. I didn't want to be smelly for the doctors!
My slow trickle of amniotic fluid becomes sporadic gushes! I have Dave grab a towel as I am trying to get my clothes on.
Dave's mom and grandma show up. I am half dressed and crying because everyone is going to think that I have peed on myself! How am I going to get to the car, and then into the hospital without everyone thinking I am peeing on myself?! Dave reassures me peeing on myself will be the last thing that people suspect given that we would be at the front door to labor and delivery with my waddling with a towel between my legs at 6 in the morning!
Dave, Mom Carol, and Grandma convince me to walk out to the car despite my crying, and we head to the hospital.
Dave pulls up to the front door of labor and delivery, and heads inside to see about getting me a wheelchair. The front entrance is a big window with sliding glass doors parallel to the front window like this:
He goes inside and tells the receptionist that his wife is in labor and asks if there is a wheelchair available. They both come out, get me situated in the wheelchair, and the receptionist and I head to labor and delivery while Dave parks the car. On our way up, the receptionist's only request is that I not deliver while in the elevator. "I can do first-aid, and I can do CPR, but I can't do babies!"
Dave comes into the room. The nurses place bands on my arms and go about getting the I.V. hooked up. The first attempt on my left forearm failed, so the nurse moves to the back of my right hand. She missed my vein, and I begin crying from the pain of her digging. I then begin to worry that the team of doctors that had been preparing for the delivery of my boys is not the team on hand, and I become hysterical. The nurse quits attempting to insert the I.V. and gets the anesthesiologist involved. He attempts to insert the I.V. again on my left forearm. Dave is trying to calm me down. The third I.V. attempt blows out, and the anesthesiologist moves to the back of my left hand. He successfully gets the I.V. in place and promptly gives me what he calls 'happy juice' to calm me down.
After happy juice, the maternal-fetal specialist came in to wish me luck and to let me know that he was there. This, more than anything (other than Dave) helped calm me, as he has been with us since week 17 when we found out the boys were conjoined. The ob-gyn whom I had just met the Monday before, and who was scheduled to deliver the twins on Tuesday, came in, as well as the ob's nurse and receptionist - all to wish me luck and give us reassurance that we were in the best hands possible. I asked if I could cancel my appointment for later that morning, because I didn't think I would need to come by.
The two doctors, the nurse, and the receptionist from my pre-natal care left, and we had a little bit of wait time before they could do final prep on me for surgery. We had to wait for the 7:30 C-section to finish up before I could go in. Finally after about 20 minutes, the anesthesiologist came back in to give me the epidural.
Despite the 2 boluses of 'happy juice,' I was still anxious about the team of doctors, and about the 4 attempts of inserting the I.V. I tried to stay calm, because of the gravity of the epidural process, but struggled with my anxiety. The anesthesiologist administered a shot of lydocaine to help with pain management, but to no avail. Luckily, the anesthesiologist was incredibly adept, and placed the epidural skillfully, even with my squelched sobs.
Ten minutes later, my gurney was being wheeled to the O.R. while Dave was getting dressed. They told him to wait in the labor room, and that it would feel like a really long time before they came back, but they would come and get him as soon as everything was ready.
(He admitted that he paced for what seemed like an eternity.)
In the mean-time, the anesthesiologist was continually giving me what I call 'the pinch test' where he pinches me and asks if I could feel it and if I could wiggle my toes. We go through this process approximately 3 times while the nurses are gathering doctors and specialists and preparing the utensils for surgery.
The nurses go get Dave from the labor room.
Dave's Perspective of the Delivery:
(I was either asleep, or too drugged to be able to tell the rest of our delivery story.)
When I enter the room, there was 1 nurse, the anesthisiologist, his assistant, and Jen and me - and that was all.
They sit me down in a chair directly behind Jen, and right next to the anesthesiologist. First thing I did was grab Jen's hand, and ask her if she was ok - she kind of mumbles in the affirmative.
The team begins trickling in and suiting up with various hats and gloves, equipment and gear. The nurses begin assisting the dr's with gearing up. As the nurses are assisting the surgeons, they have these normal casual conversations, but it is as if everyone was playing it normal, but you could sense that there was something different. "How was your weekend?...Did you get your coffee this morning? etc..." All the while, they were glancing back at Jen, and everyone knew that this event carried a lot of weight.
Once they had everyone inside, the only people that were active were the anesthesiologist, his assistant, the surgeons, and the surgeon's assistant. Everyone else was lined up against the back wall, just watching. I guess it makes sense. They were all patiently waiting for the boys to arrive, and then they would spring into action.
The strangest thing, you knew that the moment was getting close when they were about to pull the twins out - everyone crept closer - everyone seemed to lean in. I stood up to see what was going on. I'm glad I stood up when I did because it was seconds before the boys were delivered.
When they pulled the boys out, they were gray and wrinkled and they looked old, like they were aged. They didn't look anything like babies, and I had a brief moment where I thought "Something's wrong." Then logic kicked in and I realized that they didn't have oxygen yet, they had to start breathing. This is when both boys started crying. Their color began changing. In a flash, the neo-natologist jumped in with 2 of the nurses, grabbed the boys, and moved them to the warming table where they could do some preliminary evaluations.
It was really, really quick. There were 4 nurses at the table with the boys besides the neo-natologist. Behind the 4 nurses, there were 4 more assistants, and behind them,.there was a floater nurse doing what needed to be done. It was the floater nurse who saw me prepping my camera. She told me to wait and that I would have plenty of time after the initial eval to snap some pictures. And sure enough, about 45 seconds later, the neo-natologist told me that I could snap pictures. Almost as soon as I was done taking pictures, the neo-natologist said, "if you want to come with the boys, follow us."
I shouldered my camera, went back to the table where they were still trying to close Jen up, and told her that I was going with the boys; that she had done good; and that I would see her soon.
My group started pushing the table down the hallway - the assistants, the neo-natologist, and me.
We made our way through the labyrinthine hallways, for what seemed like a long time, being extra cautious every time we went through a doorway because the bed was only just short enough (with the heating unit above the bed) to fit through the doorways. Our journey ended at the NICU, and it was a whole new world of bustle because this is where the real work started. We had the neo-natologist and the 5 nurses, 2 respiratory therapists, 2 NICU nurses, 1 student, and the family life specialist. While the neo-natologist and the 5 nurses were cleaning up the boys, weighing them, inserting tubes, etc. I was standing with the student and Dr. Elizabeth, I would ask them to explain what was going on, though they were not exactly sure at times either. This process lasted probably an hour.
The neo-natologist took a few minutes to explain to me that the boys were breathing on their own (which was really good), and that they had an oomphalocele.
Eventually the bustle began to settle, and most of my questions had been answered, and my heart rate settled where I could begin thinking straight. At this point, I told the NICU nurse that I was going to run back and check on Jen. I made it back to recovery at a little after 10:30 am.
I went to the recovery room and was there for about 5 minutes when Jen's mom called and said that she had made it to the hospital. I asked her where she was, and to wait there - I would come and get her.
We stayed with Jen in the recovery room until 11:45 (they kept her that long to make sure she wasn't going to bleed out), and then we all made our way to the NICU to see the boys. For Jen, she would be meeting her boys for the first time.