July. 8th, 2011
My Birth Story and my last day of work……
I saw my family doctor on Thursday, July 7th and he wrote me off on medical leave which was to start after my last day of work the very next day. I was 29 weeks exactly. I had my first set of Braxton Hicks contractions on the Thursday while I was laying down for a short rest. I drifted to sleep while Brooklyn was down for a nap and woke up having a nightmare that I was either having labor pains or Braxton Hicks contractions. When I woke up I realized I wasn’t dreaming, that my uterus was in fact contracting but it didn’t last that long and had no rhyme or reason to the consistency or intensity which is indicative of BH. They eventually stopped and I didn’t think too much of it but I have to admit, I did have a “bad feeling” since it was the first sign of any physical change and we did have a really hard week after euthenazing our sweet Deja girl (our dog) the week before (rest in peace Deja).
I dropped Brooklyn off at day care for her last day and headed to work for what was supposed to be my “last day” before my medical leave started and what I thought would be 6 weeks of no work before the baby’s arrived which would give me some time to relax because the stress of everything going on in our lives was weighing heavily on me and stopping work would make my third trimester a lot more bearable both physically and emotionally.
I got to the hospital (where I work) for my shift at 7:45am. I headed over to the lab to get my Rhogam shot since Chris and I have “incompatable” blood types (he is B+ and I am B- but I am Rh- and he is Rh+). The lab gave me the prescription and I had an ER nurse I work with give me the injection and then carried on with my “last day”. I was sitting at my computer around 8:30-9am and felt some strong pressure down low and it was rather sharp but my uterus certainly wasn’t contracting and my mind never thought “labor”, not once! I had a few more “pains” we’ll call them and then I was paged to go see a patient on the 2nd floor....I did my assessment and sort of forgot about it a bit until I was sitting at the nurses station charting on the patient I had consulted with and had more “pain” but I was in a hurry because a bunch of the staff at Mental Health were taking me out for lunch for my “last day”. I rushed over to the mental health centre and we headed for the restaurant and it still only felt like painful pelvic pressure. When our party of 8 sat down for lunch I had what felt like “contractions” about every 15 minutes or so and for the first time, thought to myself, “could these be labor pains!?” I was a little more withdrawn through lunch because I was in quite a bit of pain but put on a brave face and after I thought about it I realized they were coming about every 15 minutes and pretty much had been for 5-6 hours by then but looking back, I’m certain I was in labor DENIAL!!!!!! I drove back to the health centre and the contractions were getting so intense that I finally started to worry. Some of them were about a “7” on a scale of 1-10 so I asked my co-worker (who had 3 daughters’) and she told me to get on all 4’s and see if it relieved any of the pain (assuming if I got relief that it wasnt "real" labor) or pressure so sure enough, I got down on all 4’s, moved my hips around a little bit but got NO relief. She said, “you should probably go get checked out just to be safe”….by this time it was about 3pm and my shift was over at 3:30pm so I said good-bye to my boss and co-workers. I told my boss I was sooooooo glad this was my last day of work because I had gained 40 lbs by then and said, “today was the first day I’ve been having lots of pain!”….he made a joke and said, “ha, you wont make it to Monday!”…….he was right!!!!
I drove back to the ER (where I work. I have an office at ER as well as at Mental health) to drop off my pager and cell phone and continued to have painful contractions every 15 minutes but I was still in labor DENIAL and refused to accept the fact that these were in deed labor contractions and nothing more than “pelvic pain”. My shift was over in 5 minutes and I just didn’t want to be “the patient” on my last day of work. One of the ER nurses I work with said I could have the ER Doc examine me, just to rule out labor but I had to pick Brooklyn up from day care and I wanted to get home for 4pm to see Chris before he left for his night shift because he hadn’t seen Brooklyn in a few days. So as you can see, I am a little on the stubborn side as having one of the docs I work with check me out would put a kink in my day and I figured I would be home within the hour and could simply go to the ER where I live (20 minute away) if things continued. That last hour however, between the end of my shift, picking up Brooklyn from daycare and heading home, I had some pretty intense contractions (one at Brooklyn’s daycare, one at the gas station (yes, I stopped to fill up with gas- still in denial!! lol) and in the car driving home. I phoned Jessica (my cousin) to ask her if she could come watch Brooklyn while I went to the hospital but told her, it’s probably false labor and Im sure they will just give me medication to stop the contractions and send me home. I phoned Chris to let him know but I told him to go to work anyways! (he was working the night shift) Ha ha. I didn’t want him to lose one of his days off before the boys arrived for false labor and figured if there was a problem, he could just drive back home….we both waivered for a few minutes until I had a few more contractions and by this time, they hurt so bad that I realized this could actually be “real labor” as I was starting to whimper, groan and having to breathe through each contraction which is apparently what I needed to do in order to finally accept the fact that, “Holy Shit! I think I’m in labor!!!!”……..all the while thinking, surely they will give me medication to stop the contractions and send me home. Jessica arrived to watch Brooklyn and Chris and I jumped in the car and headed to the hospital (isn’t it ironic that I work in the ER and here I was heading to another ER for an assessment! Ha ha…that’s where denial get’s you folks!!).
Thankfully the hospital is only 10 minutes away from house. We got to the ER and I had to stop in the middle of the parking lot to breathe through another contraction. We registered and were sent up to Maternity right away. It was 5:30pm when we got up there and when I told the nurse I was only 29 weeks pregnant…..with Twins, had been having contractions all day (I finally realized this is what they were) 15 minutes apart, I have hypertension and feel some pressure in my butt, we could see her anxiety shoot through the roof, “okay, I need 2 monitors, you need to pee in a cup so I can dip your urine, change into this gown, lay down, who’s your obstetrician!? She didn’t know where to start and we thought it was kind of funny because I had convinced Chris that they would still just give me some medication to stop the contractions and head home.
My obstetrician got to the hospital 30 minutes after they paged him. He did a pelvic exam at about 6pm and said, “Candice, your 8-9cm dilated, your in labor my dear! We gotta get them out now! We gotta get you to the O.R. Don’t move! I need to make some phone calls!”…..I LOST IT…..burst into tears. “Are you sure!?”, I asked him. He said he could feel the membrane bulging and told me not to move… “there’s no time Candice, your 8-9cm’s! We need to go to the O.R.! I asked him if they could transfer me by ambulance to RCH because I didn’t want to have my boys at a small hospital with no NICU but he said there wasn’t enough time. He phoned the neonatal teams at Children’s hospital and they were on their way, sirens flashing but they had to get through Friday’s rush hour traffic. We were initially told it would take them one hour to get here, only to be told an hour later that they were STILL 45 minutes to an hour away (traffic was bad apparently despite sirens flashing). I labored on the table in the operating room for 1 hour and 40 minutes until they arrived but they eventually gave me a spinal (much better and more effective than an epidural) and started the c-section 5 minutes before the teams arrived. They also gave me a magnesium infusion to decrease the odds of the baby’s having cerebal palsy but it was a solid 2 ½ hours of chaos! Doctors and nurses arguing about how fast to give me the Magnesium infusion, the anesthetist arguing with my obstetrician about when to give me my spinal, one nurse yelling at the doctor who Im convinced had never intubated a 29 week premie before (and I tend to trust nurses before doctors), my obstetrician was trying to decide how long to wait before the neonatal teams arrived from Children’s hospital (the boys weren’t in distress but he was worried that twin A (possibly breech) would end up stuck in my pelvis and then we would be in real trouble). He told me upstairs the twins were transverse (confusing) and that he may have to put me under a “general anesthetic” and then proceeded to tell me that he will have cut me vertically instead of horizontally…it was more bad news after another. Once we were in the O.R. they did another ultrasound and the boys had moved so he was able to use the same incision as my last c-section. Baby “A” (Cruz) was born first at 7:49pm and weighed 3lbs and (Ryder) was Baby “B” born at 7:52pm and weighed 3lbs 6 oz. Boy boys cried as soon as they hit room air once pulled out of my belly….it was music to my ears. Chris kept updating me and telling me they were pink and they looked good and that they were crying and the nurses all told me they were strong and trying to fight off the doctors and nurses from intubating them. I couldn’t see them though because of all the people in the OR. It was awful. I didn’t see them for a few hours until the neonatal teams stabilized them and then finally wheeled them into the recovery room to see me for 5 minutes before they ambulanced them back to the NICU at another hospital. I was shaking like a leaf and kind of out of it but I put my hand in the incubator to touch each boy’s itty bitty hand and then they were gone. They transferred me a few hours later via ambulance to the same hospital as my boys and I stayed there for 4 days while they were downstairs in the NICU. They anticipate the boys wont come home for several months and say your original due date is usually the date when parents are able to take their premie’s home. The criteria to go home is 4-5 lbs and gaining weight consistently (eating well etc). I hope they can come by the end of August but it may be September.
So that’s my crazy story…..what a whirlwind this week has been. We were in utter shock for the first few days but things are going well, the baby’s are strong and continue to improve every day! I feel so blessed that they are here, safe and sound despite their very early arrival. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Deja died 2 weeks ago on, Friday, July.1st(our beloved 11 year old vizsla dog) and the boys were born one week later on Friday, July.8th. I think Deja had one more parting duty and served as their guide (or angel if you will) to ensure our boys arrived safely…. I believe Deja had something to do with it and she will never be forgotten.
R.I.P Deja, December.4th 2000-July.1st, 2011.