The babies are here!
Our girls arrived at 36 weeks! Margaret Elizabeth (Baby A) and Emily Jane (Baby B) made their grand debuts on Sunday, October 14th at 11:34 and 11:40am. Margaret weighed 5lb7.5oz and Emily weighed 5lbs11oz.
The thing with twins…and having an older child as well…is that it’s a MAJOR challenge to find the time to do things like WRITE! So while Andrew’s sleeping in his bed and the girls are sleeping in their bassinet that James put together in the living room today, I’m going to attempt to write their birth story.
Through the night Friday the 12th, (sorry for TMI here, but hey, it’s a birth story after all!) I found I could barely sleep because I was so soaking wet. I kept getting up to go to the bathroom wondering what was going on because it felt like something was dripping out of me, although not enough to say there was a gush of fluid or anything, so I didn’t really think it was my waters breaking. It was just bothering me SO much that I didn’t really sleep and was feeling grumpy and stressed out about it by morning. James insisted I call the OB on call at the hospital, which I’d been told to do at my OB appointment on Friday if any issues arose. So I did, and she told me she wanted me to come in and get checked because while it might not be my waters breaking, if it was they didn’t want to risk me getting an infection or something.
So we dropped Andrew off at my parents and went to the hospital. We ended up spending the entire day there pretty much, waiting for various test results (we did leave and go for lunch and went back) and then the doctor who had to sign us off to go home got called into an emergency surgery so we had to wait around for about 3 hours just to be told we could go home! It was pretty frustrating, because I’d wanted to spend lots of quality time with Andrew over the weekend and here we were stuck at the hospital instead. They said it could have been my waters breaking but decided it either wasn’t that, or had sealed itself back up because the leaking seemed to have mostly stopped. I was put on the induction list for Monday so I figured I had the rest of the weekend to ‘prepare’ and then Monday would be the big day, scheduled so I wouldn’t have to spontaneously go into labour on my own.
I was feeling nervous about the induction, not knowing how long it would take to have an effect, or what sort of effect the drugs might have on my system. But I was also relieved to know the twins would be born sooner rather than later, as I was SO uncomfortable, dealing with some high blood pressure issues, and I just wanted the babies OUT already! Little did I know that they would decide to come out before Monday!
For months and months I’d been sleeping so poorly that I had conditioned myself to go to sleep around 2am most nights. For whatever reason, on Saturday night I just felt so zonked that I was in bed and sleeping by 10:30pm. I woke up at about 3:45am and felt like I’d had a full night’s rest, since it was already more than I was averaging in a row most nights. I decided to get up to pee since I tended to need to go a couple of times through the night lately, and when I did I just felt weird and crampy sitting on the toilet. I thought I just needed to go to the bathroom, but even after I did I didn’t really feel much better, and my stomach felt so sore and out of sorts. That passed, but I felt awake and didn’t think I’d be able to fall back asleep. So I went and had a glass of milk and a little piece of cheese and decided to use my computer. I sat down on the couch and had started writing an email to Trista to fill her in on what had happened Saturday (because she’d sent me a text that I hadn’t responded to with all that was going on) and no sooner had I written out that I was on an induction list for Monday, when suddenly liquid was gushing out of me. I jumped up and luckily had a tea towel close by so I put that between my legs and as I ran toward the bathroom it just kept gushing out more. I woke James up by saying, ‘My water is breaking, FOR REAL THIS TIME!’ and he said later that he doesn’t think anything has ever got him up and out of bed as fast as that did! I sat on the toilet and liquid just kept gushing out and I was saying, ‘Oh my god, oh my god, I can’t believe this is happening!’ because my water never broke on its own with Andrew so even though I’d been showing signs the day before, part of me didn’t think that would happen this time either.
I texted my mom to say we were on our way shortly with Andrew and to pick her up because she was going to be there with us for the birthing, and Andrew could stay with my dad till they were born. I was rushing around getting ready with a giant bath towel between my legs, it was ridiculous and it felt so WEIRD having that happen! I can’t even describe it with words. We quickly got ready and collected up the last minute things we thought we might need and we were out the door.
I should mention that within about 5-10 minutes of my water breaking, contractions started. James called the hospital to let them know we were on our way and about 40 minutes away, and they asked if I was able to talk through the contractions. I said yes, they were just mild, more like period cramps. Well, no sooner did he hang up the phone when they started getting more intense, and by the time we got down to the van to head out, I could no longer talk through them. We picked my mom up 5 minutes later and the contractions were already 2 minutes apart, and by the time we were half way to the hospital they were 1-2 minutes apart at most. And VERY intense. We were sort of worried we wouldn’t even make it to the hospital in time with the state I was in. The saving grace was that it was 5am and there was no traffic on the road, other than a few taxis. We stopped at a few red lights but mostly lucked out with greens, and James sped along West Broadway at 70km/hr to get us to the hospital quickly.
When we got to the hospital I was checked in right away because we’d called ahead. The resident who had seen us the day before was there so I told her I was back and it was real this time, and she said she wasn’t entirely surprised to see me again so soon. I was put in the bed beside the one I’d been in the day before in admitting while we waited for the labour room to be ready for us. I had an IV put in, botched by one nurse on one arm and I have a black bruise to prove it, but then they got it in on the other side. It was hard because I was having contractions while having to hold really still for things like IV’s. I was SO uncomfortable and the contractions were SO strong, I was pretty vocal during them but did my best to focus on my breathing. After probably 2 more hours of that crazy intensity, they asked me what my plans were for the pain and strongly urged the epidural since with twins they do recommend it, and I said YES, I was against this all along, but I WANT THE EPIDURAL, GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL!
We were taken to a delivery room and a super nice anesthesiologist came in and explained the whole procedure to me and she and a nurse got me set up in the position to have it administered. I was nervous about it because I was so anti-epidural, and worried about that giant needle being put in me while I was contracting, since the contractions were so regular that there wasn’t enough space in between to not have one while getting the shot. But they got me positioned and had James help with holding my shoulders, and I got the laughing gas, which I found gave me a good focus. I actually did at one point laugh for a moment from the laughing gas, which everyone seemed to get a kick out of!
Once the epidural was in, I still had several hard contractions but then they tapered off until all of a sudden it was like magic and I wasn’t feeling them AT ALL anymore! It was CRAZY! I felt sooo relaxed. I honestly can’t stress enough how HAPPY I am that I got the epidural after all that worrying about whether or not to do it. I’m happy that I had a completely natural birth experience with Andrew and I’m amazed I was able to do that because this time it was just way too intense, and I don’t know if it’s because it was twins or what. But after all the aches and pains and discomfort I’d been feeling for SO LONG in this pregnancy, it felt pretty darn good to feel so comfortable all of a sudden! I could still feel my legs and even move them, but I didn’t have any pain. It was INCREDIBLE actually. Every so often I could press a button to administer a bit more drug and I did because I found over time I would start feeling things a little bit and the extra kick would take the edge off!
Basically it then became a waiting game. We (me, James and my mom) were just sitting there (well, I was lying there!) in anticipation. I dozed a little here and there which was amazing to me because I never understood how a labour could get calm enough to REST, but yes, the epidural really works wonders. I was 3cm dilated when I was checked back in admitting (I’d been 2cm dilated on Friday and Saturday) and by around 9am I was at 5cm. I was told they would come and check me again around 10:45 and go from there as to whether or not I’d need Oxytocin to speed things along. They said my contractions weren’t showing up as super strong on the monitor, which can sometimes be the case with an epidural, that it slows things down. At about 11:15am they finally came in to check me and the doctor said, ‘Your Baby A has really beautiful ears, and I know that because it’s RIGHT here!’ So they said they wanted me to do one push just to see how things went and then most likely they’d need to give me Oxytocin to get things moving, because I was pretty numb and pushing would likely be quite challenging since I had no instinct to do it. I was feeling so nervous because they were having to explain to me when and how to push, and it felt so foreign to me because with Andrew I felt everything so I knew exactly what to do and when just by my own instincts. I did what they told me and pushed and they yelled out, ‘STOP, STOP, we’re not ready!!’ – they had thought it would be challenging, but one push and Baby A’s head was starting to come right out of me, and they hadn’t geared up yet! James said he saw her head start poking through and then when they yelled stop and I did, it disappeared again! So they geared up and told me to push again, and 3 pushes later at 11:34am Margaret Elizabeth was placed on my chest. And she was SO adorable, and I was beyond happy, I felt so elated! They gave me a minute with her and then whisked her away to assess her. I could hear her little cry and then another doctor called out, ‘She looks great! Totally healthy!’ and I felt so relieved. Then they told me it was time for Baby B. After breaking the waters, one of the doctors said, ‘I can’t feel a head…but I’m touching a foot!’ and that’s when I realized her WHOLE ENTIRE ARM was inside of me! I couldn’t have been more happy in that moment that I had chosen to get the epidural, let me tell you!!!
Both babies had been head down but when Margaret came out, Baby B decided to take advantage of the sudden room to move around, and she’d flipped. So the other doctor told the doctor with her arm right up in my uterus to grab the foot and pull the baby out. I pushed and we worked together, and after about 2 minutes of pushing, Emily Jane entered the world feet first at 11:40am. I was worried because it felt like a difficult birth for her (they were just about to get the vacuum suction to force her out when she came flailing out by the feet!) and when they placed her on me at first she seemed limp and unresponsive. But a second later she was crying and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. They checked her out and she was every bit as perfect as her sister.
So our two baby girls were brought to me and I can’t even put into words how incredible it was to be holding my twins on the outside, looking at their adorable faces, seeing who they were. Feeling that same feeling I felt when Andrew was born, like, yes, OF COURSE IT WAS YOU, I should have known it all along!
I barely had to get any stitches, it was just first degree tearing, and getting stitched up was totally painless this time so I felt relieved about that because I’d had an awful time with that after Andrew was born. It was a great experience all around (well, I could have done without several hours of severe contractions, but at the same time labour isn’t really meant to be all that pleasant, so it kind of makes sense it was intense like that at least in the beginning!) We were just SO lucky to be given 2 healthy, beautiful, perfect daughters. At 36 weeks to the day, they were at such healthy weights, their lungs were already fully developed, they just had everything going for them and ultimately they were fully baked and ready for the world when they decided it was time.
It was AMAZING bringing two babies into the world in a matter of minutes, and I haven’t been able to stop staring at them in awe ever since. I’ll write more about our hospital stay when I have more time, but suffice it to say we have nothing bad to say about BC Women’s Hospital. I couldn’t say enough good things about our experience there with absolutely everyone we encountered. And I felt so relieved that our babies didn’t need any nicu time whatsoever, despite being 4 weeks early. They stayed with us the entire time, and we got to bring them home on Tuesday. We are SO lucky!
In my next post I plan on writing about Margaret and Emily and their little personalities, as well as how Andrew reacted to seeing his little sisters for the first time. But because it’s time to go pump some milk (it has come in full force and it’s killing me – though of course I’m happy it has come in for the girls’ sake!) I will leave you with a few pictures of our precious darlings: