After Tucker turned one Mike and I began talking about having a second child. Well, Mike really started the talking back when Tucker was about three months old & I had to nip that one in the butt and remind him of all we had just been through with him (that story to come as well). We decided that I would go off birth control in December and start trying after the first of the year and knew that if we were as fertile as we were with having Tucker it would be no time before we were expecting number two!
In February, Mike and I had gone to Tampa for the weekend to celebrate his 25th birthday just the two of us with making a baby on our minds. I had already taken a pregnancy test the month before, in hopes it would be positive, although it wasn’t. On the Monday after our weekend away I decided to take another test, because my period should be coming that week. It was one of those early response tests that says can be taken up to five days before your missed period. As I anxiously awaited the three minutes to pass I started to get ready for work. The next thing I knew “pregnant” was flashing across the screen! After telling Mike we decided to take Tucker that evening to get a big brother shirt and visit the grandparents to share the good news.
When we took Tucker to first my parents, then Mike’s sisters, and finally Mike’s parents, the reaction was all the same: they didn’t even notice anything on the shirt until we pointed it out. Then came the excitement! Everyone seemed happy at the idea of a new little addition to the family, as were we.
That week I called my OB and scheduled my confirmation appointment, where they usually just run a pregnancy test, ask a few questions, and send you on your way until 8 weeks where an ultrasound is done to pinpoint the exact due date.
I went to this appointment on my own, seeing as I thought it was going to be very routine. I gave my sample, spoke with the nurses and then my OB and was asked how far along I thought I was. When I told him that it should be just about 5-6 weeks at that point he gave me a little puzzled look and told me to hold on. I never even thought about that until just a few weeks ago when telling this story to someone else…you’ll see why that is important in just a minute. When he came back into the room he said, “Why don’t we go ahead and do an ultrasound to be certain of how far along you are since you aren’t sure.” When I think about that now I realize that from the pregnancy test they ran something probably wasn’t adding up right. I’m sure my hCG levels were higher than expected for 5-6 weeks along so either 1) I was farther along than I though or 2) there was more than one baby, thus the reason why he ran the ultrasound.
My doctor went on to tell me it could be twins or it could be a number of things and that he wanted to see me back in three weeks to confirm twins or not. “Three weeks?!” I thought to myself not knowing what I was going to do for the next 21 days! As I left the appointment I made a number of phone calls, first Mike, then my mom, then his sister (who is mother of our twin nieces), to friends. I received calls as well as the message spread, from my dad, Mike’s parents after he called them, and so on. No one could believe it and Mike was through-the-roof excited. I was numb. I didn’t know if I wanted two. Mostly because I was worried for Tucker. What would this do to him was all I could think. How would he go from being our one and only to sharing his time with two newborn babies?
The following week I called our family doctor, someone we have gone to since the birth of Tucker and who we absolutely love. He had already seen me since becoming pregnant with the twins & had tried urging me to see him for the pregnancy so that he could really keep track of my blood pressure (an issue I had to deal with after having Tucker) and my issue with pre-term labor. At 17 weeks I was now being seen by our family doctor & no longer a patient of my old OB. The heartbeats were nice and strong at that appointment, my blood pressure was fine, and talks of starting bi-weekly progesterone shots had begun. Oh…and an appointment scheduled for the end of that week to do an ultrasound, one in which he was sure we’d be able to find out the sexes!
I felt so much better about being under his care & really felt like things were going to go so much better this time around than before at that point. When Friday rolled around Mike and I dropped Tucker off to my mom & sister-in-law while we headed to the office for our appointment. I had made a shirt ahead of time with puff paint for Tucker that had a little picture of him in the middle and two baby heads on either side with the words “Big Brother” above. I had left it unfinished so that once we found out what the babies were I could fill in with the appropriate colors (pink dresses for a girl/girls and blue rompers for a boy/boys) to be able show them when we returned. I had also worn pink underware that day & a blue top in order to ensure at least one girl! A friend of ours had worn all pink to her ultrasound for her third child after having two boys & it ended up being a girl so I thought I’d give it a try as well! I really thought I was destined to have all boys (and that would have been just fine & dandy, but I’m sure exhausting as well, boys will be boys you know!)
The ultrasound tech that our family doctor used was so nice & really good at her job. After taking a quick look around at the girls she checked the gender right away. With Baby A she looked for just a moment and said, “It’s a girl!” and tears welled up in my eyes. Next she scanned over Baby B for a few seconds longer than the first and proclaimed, “It’s another girl!” Wow! Two girls. I was amazed. Everything at that appointment looked great & we were so pleased to know that we would be having two beautiful little girls. As soon as we got back into the car I pulled out the pink paint and got started on finishing Tucker’s shirt. A few minutes later we were back at my sister-in-law’s house with her and my mom rushing outside to meet us, both eagerly awaiting the news. I held up the shirt and they were both in shock. I think we all thought it was going to be boys!
Two weeks later, at my next appointment, my doctor started me on those progesterone shots we had previously discussed. I was already starting to have Braxton Hicks contractions and he was not pleased about that. From that point on I was in his office twice a week for my lovely tush shots (very painful as well!) and had developed such a good relationship with my nurse, Sonia, and Dr. Fernandez as well. It felt so strange after the girls were eventually born to not have to go into the office twice a week anymore! Around that time I also started to develop some issues with my blood pressure & a racing pulse. I started taking procardia, a medication for blood pressure, that is also used in stopping pre-term labor contractions. My doctor was hoping to kill two birds with one stone by putting my on it because of the Braxton Hicks I was still having.
From that point on not only was I in the office twice a week for my shots but seeing him every other week for a routine pregnancy check up. At 27 weeks I started visiting the hospital I was to deliver at for weekly NST (non stress tests) to monitor the babies. My first NST went perfectly, the babies were very active and I had a limited amount of contractions. The following week was when things really started to take a turn for the worse. All of a sudden I became really sore & just wasn’t feeling very well. My NST that week ended up showing a large number of contractions which bought me an overnight stay in labor & delivery at the hospital.
I was started on magnesium (ugh, hate it with a passion & had to do it with Tucker as well) to stop the contractions, given steriods to help develop the girls lungs, and started on a T-pump (Terbutaline, another drug to stop contractions & I was also on with Tucker). I was sent home two days later on strict bedrest, required to have the T-pump into my leg, and do at home monitoring twice a day.
On Wednesday, July 29th I felt awful. I was in a lot of pain, had to give myself extra doses of my contraction medicine after monitoring showed too many contractions & was up most of the night. The next day, Thursday, was one of my routine shots at my doctors office. I told him of how the night before went and all he really could tell me to do was rest & keep an eye on my contractions. He had also told me that the OB who he was consulting about me on was out of town so that if something were to happen, not to go to the hospital we planned on delivering at, but to Winnie Palmer, a hospital that specializes in women & babies, because he didn’t trust any of the other OB’s at his hospital with our situation.
Late that night I started to feel the same as I did the night before but this time I felt like something was just not right. My mother-in-law had ended up staying with us that night (my mom had been there the night before & had wanted someone to stay there the next night just in case) and was there to stay with Tucker when I finally told Mike I think we needed to head to the hospital. I called my mom and she rushed over to head to Winnie with us. This is where things really start to heat up.
On the way we not ony hit construction on the Turnpike, where we were down to one lane and having to go sooo slow (let me tell you also, it was about 2 am, so hardly any cars, just construction). At this point I had both hands gripping the sids of the seat and was doing lots of deep breathing. I was in a lot of pain and had so much pressure starting to happen. Our next road block ended up being the Turnpike closed for more of the construction, about half a mile from where we needed to get off. “Oh shit” was all I could think because I seriously thought I’d be having those babies in the car at any moment. There was a highway patrol car parked on the side of the road and I told Mike that he needed to get to him and tell him what was happening. We pulled up next to him, rolled the windows down and all at once practically started shouting our problem to him. Let me just tell you, he was one great big jack ass and I don’t think really believed we were telling the truth. He radio’d ahead to another officer who said it was okay for us to ride the side to go past but if we did not get off at the next exit we’d be in big trouble. Oh don’t worry Mr. Cop…you would be the one in big trouble having to deliver premature twins on the side of the road!
When we got to Winnie, Mike dropped my mom and I at the front doors and we slowly walked our way in, stopping here and there for contractions. Once I made it to triage I filled out the paperwork, told them I was only 29 weeks and carrying twins. They were pretty fast at getting me back, especially after seeing my blood pressure was starting to hit the roof. Once back in the room the nurse started to put IV’s in me and hooked me up to the contraction monitor. Once she saw that I was actively contracting she did a vaginal check on me and was amazed to find out that I was fully dialated at 10 cm. The next thing I knew she was screaming out the door for an ultrasound machine (to check the positions of the babies) and for help. About 5-6 different people flooded the small room, a machine was wheeled in, ultrasound started, and breech babies were found. They immediatly called up to the OR to get a room ready and had me being wheeled out of triage before I could even realize what was happening. I just kept screaming and telling them I thought I was going to need to push. There was so much pressure & I was just trying my hardest to keep them in. Everything happened so fast that Mike wasn’t even able to go tell my mom what was going on, but luckily she heard two of the nurses out in the waiting room say something about a c-section on the patient from Kissimmee (hello, me!).
The next thing I knew they were telling me they were going to knock me out (no, please!) and then telling me they weren’t going to knock me out (Thank God!). They did a spinal tap on me and two OB’s that I didn’t know got started while at least 10 other people were rushing around the room doing this and doing that.
At 3:59 a.m. Lilah Renee was born weighing 2 lbs 7 oz and 15 inches long. She was breathing on her own (which was a really good sign) but so itty bitty & still very critical at that point. Three minutes later, at 4:02 a.m. Lexie Cecile was born weighing 2 lbs 12 oz and 15.5 inches long. She too was breathing on her own but not as well as Lilah at first. I got to see them for about 30 seconds each before they were wheeled off to the NICU. It all happened so quickly and we were not prepared, thus the reason why the girls have no pictures from the delivery, their first photos weren’t taken until in the NICU when Mike went up to see them.