Tag Archives: effacement

Birth story

I wrote most of this post in the hospital. Here’s how it all went down in the wee hours of Monday, March 21…

12am The night before cervix check appointments, I get pretty anxious and tend to stay up late in the hopes that I can tire myself out enough to get to sleep. That’s how it happened that I was reading a magazine in bed at midnight. Hubs was awake, too, and we were reading/chatting in bed.  As I was switching positions,I felt a “pop” or “snap” sensation in my tum, and my first thought was, “Could that be my water breaking?!” I’ve Googled “water breaking” enough times to know a lot of folks describe it that way. My second thought was, “Naaaaaah. Must’ve tweaked a muscle or something as I was shifting in bed.”

But I went to the bathroom to check it out and my undies were wet. Not Niagra Falls by any means, but soaked with clear fluid (no scent, yeah, I checked). I wasn’t feeling any contractions, but I did start to shake with adrenaline immediately. I knew that, at 35w3d, they wouldn’t stop labor and if this was really my water breaking, and we were going to meet the babies!

12:05am I paged my clinic and the OB on call (the awesome Dr. M) rang me back in a few minutes. She said it did indeed sound like my water had broken and to head to triage and they’d page her later if I was in labor. I already had my hospital bag packed, but suddenly simply finding my pants and shoes and locking up the apartment were tough tasks to accomplish—I was so shaky! Now the contrax began. Not the tensed uterus feeling I’d learned to pinpoint from my preterm labor scare, but pretty darn bad period-esq cramps.

12:15am Hubs pulled up with the car and I plopped into the front seat with my bag. En route to triage, the period cramps intensified in a major way. It wasn’t horrible pain, but it was def intense enough that I was doing some deep breathing. The car ride was kind of surreal. It had stormed all day and the streets were wet, dark and empty.

12:45am With no traffic in the middle of the night, we were at the hospital lickety split. We hung out in the triage waiting area for about 10 minutes waiting to be seen and the cramps became seriously awful, consuming my entire body. I was wondering if I should make a bigger deal about them to the triage check-in person, but felt like all preggos must feel like this when they show up in labor: totally uncomfortable and kinda dying with pain. While waiting to be taken into a monitoring room, we made a bet on how dilated I’d be. I guessed 7cm. Hubs guessed 5cm.

1am We get taken into a monitoring room in triage and now the contractions were, like, totally severe. I ask for the first time when I can get the epidural. At this point, I was starting to become concerned that there wasn’t enough urgency with my situation. No one had checked my cervix and I was having a ton of pressure and contractions that absolutely huuuuurt. In retrospect, I should’ve articulated how I was feeling the moment I checked in at triage, but hey, I’ve never been in labor and figured this was the drill. Hubs told the triage nurse that my contractions were coming roughly every 45 seconds or minute and was that cause for concern? “No, she’s fine,” said the nurse. She continued messing around with fetal HR monitors, swabbing to check if there’s amniotic fluid present to see if I really broke my water, etc.

1:15am The triage nurse finally checks my cervix. Her eyes BUG OPEN. She grabs her phone to call for backup: “The twin patient is presenting! Page Dr. M! Prep the OR!” Turns out I’m already 10cm dilated and she can see Baby A’s head in +2 station. AHHH!!! It’s like we’re in a movie all of a sudden, and I’m on the wheeled hospital bed, being rushed to the elevator bank and up to the OR. It was honestly pretty freaky.

1:30am In OR prep, I’m in agony. The contractions are all-consuming and nearly constant. The nurses blow out two veins (you should see my left arm, it’s still black and blue) trying to get an IV in and I’m on the verge of flipping out. [Hubs says the reason they keep fracking up the IV is that I’ve stressed them out so much by continuously asking, “Is it in? Can I get the epidural now?”] They finally get it in and I’m taken into the OR to wait for Dr. M and for an epidural. I probably ask a dozen more times, “Where is the anesthesiologist? I want the epidural!” Hahaha.

2am The epidural is placed. SWEET RELIEF! Seriously, it’s like I’m a new person as we wait for Dr. M to get to the hospital. She arrives and checks out my cervix. She says we can start pushing now, but Baby A is sunny-side up and she’s hoping he’ll change position. Also, because I now can’t feel much (yay epidural!), she wants me to chillax for a bit in a special side-lying position to see if he’ll move and face the other direction, and to give me some rest before pushing. I feel like a new person, soooo excited to meet Baby A and Baby B and ready to gather my strength.

230am The nurses have Wilco playing for us on the computer and we’re all just hanging out in the OR. Life is good, haha. At about this point I begin to feel the contractions again (NOTHING like before tho!). Dr. M tells me this is good stuff, it’ll be better for pushing.

3am I’m rested up. Baby A has turned. I get a crash course on how to push/breathe out a baby. We begin with my next contraction.

3:23am Char.les William is born—screaming pink and beautiful. Utter relief as I watch his screaming body being whisked away to the annex room where a team of pediatricians are waiting. Dr. M says Baby B is still head down and that I can begin pushing/breathing again on my next contraction.

3:26am Lucy Elizabeth is born—also screaming, pink and beautiful. Unbelievable relief and joy ensue.

3:30am While Dr. M sews me up (there was some rippage), hubs goes back and forth between the annex room where teams of docs are monitoring the babies, and my bedside, showing me pics of our sweet little things. WE ARE IN LOVE WITH THESE BABIES!!!!!!! I was a celebrity in the hospital for a couple of days with all of the doctors and nurses thanks to whole arriving-at-10cm-dilated-and-presenting-a-head-and-two-babies-born-two-hours-later thing.

The end. The beginning. 🙂

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Another Monday, another OB appt

But this was a good one! At 34w3d, I’m still 3cm dilated (and 100% effaced). I’ve had a lot of snotty discharge and pelvic pressure since Thursday’s appointments, so I was tooooooooooooootally shocked to hear my cervix has hung in there at 3cm. THANK YOU LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know from doing research online and reading blogs that it’s HIGHLY likely babies born before 36 weeks will need a good amount of NICU time, but we have come so far from Valentine’s Day. I am so so so grateful. Keep growing big and strong in there, sweet little babies.

Dr. Zen also said that at this point my bedrest restrictions are lifted. WHAT!!??? I feel like we’ve got a good thing going here….me progressing and then hanging out for a bit, the babies staying put, minimal contractions, etc (no jinxies!). She says there is nothing I can do to stop or start labor at this point. If it’s going to happen, it’ll happen whether or not I’m horizontal on my couch.

She could see I was pretty freaked out by the idea of messing with bedrest and said to do whatever makes me comfortable. But she did encourage me to leave the house for one outing a day. I have only left the apartment for OB appointments this month. It feels so weird to have permission to GO SOMEWHERE. I mean, I don’t even go to the other end of the apartment unless I need food or a shower…..(Now that I’m reflecting on this I wonder if they want you to get up to help out your muscle tone etc, so you’re not a total limp dishrag for birth?)

I don’t think I’ll actually change anything, to be honest, but it feels pretty freaking AWESOME to not feel sick and helpless for the first time in a long time.

We love you so so so so so so so so much, Baby A and Baby B. Stay put in there!!! We can’t wait to meet you, but you have more growing and developing to do! Stay strong, cervie! Stay chill, ute! One more day, one more day, one more day.

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Hanging in

We had a GREAT appointment this morning.

  • My cervix is still totally effaced, but Dr. Zen said maybe she could feel a tiny bit of length. I will TAKE IT!
  • My cervix is still a “loose 1cm.” It doesn’t get any better than “no change” at this point. Yip yip yip!
  • We had a growth scan and Baby A is measure 4 pounds 5 ounces and Baby B is 4 pounds 4 ounces. Baby A’s head is waaaaaaay low. Like, so low that the tech was pressing the u/s probe well below my pubic bone. Yikes! No wonder I feel a ton of pressure even laying around on bedrest.
  • I talk to the babies a lot lately. I have been telling Baby A all day that he needs to stay chill and not bump up against my cervie. And then I tell Baby B not to kick her brother and push him down any more. We need the babies to stay chill. Hubs keeps reminding them that they are getting awesome food in utero (homemade Sheperd’s Pie, chili, burgers, shakes, etc.) and that they won’t eat this well again for years….so they should stay put and really enjoy it while they can!
  • The tech said that she could see Baby A practicing his breathing. Awesome job, sweet little guy!
  • I gained 2 pounds in the past week so I am back up to my weight 3 weeks ago, or 28 pounds total. I continue to eat protein and milkshakes like it’s my job. Because, seriously, it is.
  • My blood pressure was a little high. It almost got me sent to L&D for a pre-eclampsia work-up. They checked it several times…ay yi yi. Fortunately Dr. Zen chalked it up to my nerves about the cervix check, but I heard her telling the nurse we need to keep an eye on it.
  • This is a little embarrassing, but I had to fill out a depression screening form today and Dr. Zen kept telling me I need be calm. I think the midwife who checked me last week must’ve written “This patient is crazyyyyyyyyyyyyyy” on my chart last week. I explained to her, and to Dr. Zen again today, that I am not depressed. I am just scared! And when I am scared, I get teary-eyed. I love my babies so much and want them to have the best start in life possible. I am doing better at managing my fears and emotions…every day we make it is a major boost to my heart and psyche.
  • I downloaded some meditations on iTunes last week and have been listening to them every other day. And I am avoiding bad karma in every way I possibly can. (Including deleting the mean anon comment I got over the weekend. I 200% get it: I am totally and completely lucky to be pregnant, even if I am at severe risk of delivering preemie babies who will be in the NICU for weeks or months. If it bugs you to read what’s up with me, please don’t visit my blog!)

I think that’s it. I am very happy to be where I am today. Thank you lord, for our sweet babies and for letting us come this far. I continue my mantra: One more day, one more day, one more day. All I can do is think about today. Today today today. We love you so much sweet litte Baby A and Baby B.

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32 weeks!!!!!!!

Thank you lord! Thank you lord! Thank you lord!

I went to the OB on Monday and was still completely effaced (cervical length = 0cm) with dilation hanging on at 1cm. I had lost 2 pounds over the week, which is crazy since I’d been laying down and eating plenty. (I think it was muscle mass. But, I’m at 26 pounds total weight gain now, must improve that number and fatten up those babies!) All in all, after feeling like I was going to puke with anxiety en route to the appointment, it went beautifully. The effacement thing hurts my heart, but there is nothing to be done about it.

I don’t know what today will bring, or if I will make it to Monday’s check-in at the OB. But I definitely celebrate how far we have come since Valentine’s Day….which feels like it was about a year ago. Of course, I feel like a ticking time bomb—labor could strike at any moment. But I am staying horizontal and hydrating and distracting myself as best I can.

We continue to hope and pray for one more day for the babies. All I can think about is today! We love you sweet little Baby A and Baby B.

PS Hugest congratulations to my dear friend, AplusB, who had her two beautiful, chubby baby girls last night!!! So very very very happy for her!

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Mantra: One more day

Thank you all so much for the words of love and support and prayer yesterday. They all warmed my heart and continue to give me strength!

Now I’m going to go all runner-analogy on you. Whenever I do a marathon, I begin training with an A goal, B goal and C goal. A is my secret goal that I only tell hubs…..like PR and qualify for Boston. B is a legit goal I tell the outside world, like “I really hope I can break X time.” C is a sub-par goal that I keep to myself, but a result I can live with, like, “finish in under 4 hours.”

With this pregnancy, I have had A, B and C goals. To hubs, I would openly hope for 5 pound babies and to make it to 36 weeks. I knew those were pretty sky-high hopes, but with feeling so good and so strong this entire time, I didn’t think it was totally impossible. Goal B has been, “We want to make it as loooong as possible, but hopefully til 34 weeks.” Goal C has been 32 weeks.

Sometimes, in marathons, I’ve had to change my goals mid-race. There was the year of the New York City Marathon when my running partner became delirious with dehydration at mile 23 and I waited with her in Central Park while the medics arrived and took her to an ambulence. It added about forty-five minutes to my race time—but whatever!—of course I never ever ever once thought twice about not leaving her side! When she was safely being taking care of and I began running again, I quickly mapped out a new C goal in my head to get me through the final through miles.

Now, I find that my C goal, 32-weeks, is fading. I have a new C goal…one more day. One more day. One more day. One more day.

I oscillate right now between hope that this medicine has chilled out my uterus enough to buy us a day (or more, if I dare to share my honest and outrageous hope)….and fear that once my 11am dose wears off—the last one I will take, my hospital doesn’t use any other anti-contrax meds because their studies show they don’t work—my ute will begin contracting again and I will be in labor and delivering these babies at 30w5d.

I think the best I can do right now is to make peace with this situation. The fact is that our babies may be arriving very very very soon. I need to sack up and summon the strength for labor and for the days that follow and for the weeks and months of NICU-ness. (Babies born this early tend to stay in the NICU til their 40 week due date, or April 23 in my case.)

I am thinking about our plans for if the babies arrive imminently. I’m thinking, after I recover from labor, that perhaps I can continue working so I don’t eat up all of my maternity leave time while the babies are being cared for in the NICU. Unfortunately, my job isn’t at all the type where I can work reduced hours or a part-time sked….but I don’t know, this is a pretty humongous deal and maybe they will have some sympathy for my situation and allow some special treatment so that I can be with the babies during feeding times and doctors rounds and post-work in the evenings.

Even typing all of this breaks my heart, but having a plan always helps me deal, and that’s what needs to be done right now.

Hubs and I also need to finalize our baby names. We have a short but unfinalized list. No more dilly-dallying!

And I need to come to terms that my pregnancy is quickly nearing its end. I have savored every moment of it. Of course, it has been fraught with an IF- and multiple-pregnancy anxiety, but it has been the biggest joy of my entire life. I love feeling the babies move. I love seeing my stomach grow. I love feeling hubs touch my belly and knowing our growing family is inside me. I am not ready to be done with this miraculous experience, but I need to prepare for that reality because otherwise I’m going to be one sad Mama!!! 🙂

Of course, a piece of my heart has hope that I can get through this a bit longer. That my poor uterus and cervie—which think they’re 38 weeks pregnant and so have contracted, effaced and dilated as so many singleton pregnancies do at that point—can just hang on for all of us. I know it’s highly unlikely, but I also know it’s possible.

I would like to end on a very positive note! The babies look great and seem oblivious to all of the drama around them. We got a growth scan ultrasound yesterday—obviously this is just a guesstimate based on body part measurements, but still—and they weighed in at 3 pounds 9 ounces and 3 pounds 7 ounces. I had a cheeseburger and milkshake (haha, of course) last night for dinner and hope that is ekeing them closer to four pounds. 🙂 Grow babies, grow! We love you so so so much our sweet little Baby A and Baby B.

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