Monday, October 27, 2014

Twin Birth Story: Kasey Jackson

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Kasey Jackson

Where do you currently live?  Kansas City, MO

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins? 5 weeks

Any issues during your pregnancy? 
My entire pregnancy I had a strange phenomenon where my muscles would freeze up--especially those in my neck and hands and legs. I would turn my head to check my blind-spot while driving and my neck would get stuck like that for a few seconds until I could force it back! It was the strangest thing! And I couldn't find anyone else that experienced this symptom. My midwife could never tell me why this happened. As soon as the babies were born, though it went away. Thank God!

At 16 weeks I started having terrible acid reflux. Not just your typical heartburn, but actual reflux attacks. I had to go to the ER twice for these attacks--ones where I felt as if I was literally having a heart attack--unbearable pain. (Actually, worse than labor pains for me!) I had to take 150mg of Zantac twice a day from 16weeks until delivery, and every time I would feel an attack coming on I learned to drink hot water mixed with apple cider vinegar, and it would stop the pain in its tracks!

Also, I wasn't aware of it until 2 months after the babies were born, but I had appendicitis while I was pregnant. From about 33 weeks on, I was complaining to my midwife and OB about excruciating lower right abdominal pain. They ran all the tests for gall and kidney stones and appendicitis, even did ultrasounds on everything looking for the problem, and couldn't pinpoint anything. They ended up telling me that it was just "round ligament pain" and being a first-time mom, I believed them. Yeah. Not just round ligament pain.

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: 
I had been googling (bad mommy) after we had seen both heartbeats at 6 weeks along and had learned all about vanishing twin syndrome, and around 10 weeks my midwife could only find 1 heartbeat with the office Doppler. I had convinced myself that one had vanished! At 12 weeks I went in for my next ultrasound and remember swallowing hard on the table. The doctor stuck the ultrasound wand to my belly and at the exact moment he did, I saw the complete bodies of BOTH babies in one shot! I screamed "Oh, THANK GOD." And immediately started crying as I watched them dancing on the screen. The doctor laughed and said "Been reading about Vanishing Twin, eh?" And we all had a good laugh.
Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self?  Not everyone goes into super premature labor! It is actually very rare. Stop Googling things and calm the heck down. ;)

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born?
35 weeks + 5 days (But based on my calculation from date of ovulation, I was actually 36+2)

Baby A's Information: 
Noah Crawford
April 23rd, 2013
6 lbs
19 in

Baby B's Information:  Elijah Neal
Aril 23rd, 2013
6 lbs, 2 oz
19.5 in

Are your twins identical? Yes! They looked NOTHING alike at birth, and they were Di/Di, but as they got older, they started looking more and more alike, so we had a DNA test done! They are in fact identical!

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery?
Natural Delivery.
The night before I delivered, I popped what would be my last Zantac pill before dinner, and sat down on the couch with my majorly swollen feet up on the ottoman as my sweet husband prepared dinner. That morning, I had called my doctor because I was having severe lower right abdominal pain. Since I had been having contractions for weeks, I knew that this pain wasn't a "contraction" because it was just lingering pain that felt like unbearable gas cramps. The pain wasn't "coming and going" like I had been told contractions would feel, and honestly just felt like a constant stabbing gas pain. All day I had been trying to get into different positions to alleviate the pain, and nothing really worked. Earlier that day I called my midwife to describe the pain I was in, and she told me to go into the hospital for them to monitor me for contractions. We went in (our third trip to L & D) and they hooked me up to the monitors, and there were no noticeable contractions so they sent me home.

I had noticed earlier in the day that if I got on my hands and knees, the pain got a little better, and it was even better if I lifted up my huge belly to take pressure off of the bottom of it. After the movie was over, I had an intense bout of the lower abdominal pain, and got down on the floor and leaned over our ottoman, to no relief. At this point I was almost in shock over how much pain I was in, and Tim was starting to get worried. In a last-ditch effort to get some relief, I lifted up on my belly and heard a "POP!" I kinda freaked out, because I thought that I had broken Noah's neck or something with my lifting, and then I ran to the bathroom hoping that it would help the pain. As soon as I sat on the toilet I heard the splash, and I knew that my water had broken. (Good timing, it all got in the toilet!)

We were so excited, I jumped up as soon as I could yelling at Tim to let him know my water had broken. I got up and got dressed with a huge smile on my face. We were going to meet our boys within 24 hours!!!

I called my midwife and told her, and was told to go into the hospital. I still wasn't having "contractions" in any regular interval when we got to the hospital, and really didn't notice many any pain at all for a while. When we got settled, the doctor told me I was still only dilated to 3cm (bummer), and suggested that we get up and walk around for an hour and they would check me again. I asked them when I could get my epidural, and they said they would give it to me at 4cm. One more to go!!

About 45 minutes in to walking around and not really having any noticeable contractions, I started noticing the same gas pain I had been feeling for days coming back on, and I started to panic a little because I didn't think I could handle labor pain AND that gas pain at the same time. I went back to our room and desperately tried to use the bathroom, and couldn't. I was in the bathroom basically screaming in pain when the nurse came back and asked what I was feeling. I told her I was feeling the same pain I had that morning (remember, I wasn't having contractions when they checked me out that morning) that felt like awful gas pains. She suggested that they hook me back up to the monitors and check me again. They hooked me up again, and you could see on the screen that I was contracting very intensely, but the contractions weren't coming and going, they were staying peaked at the top. (So painful, I couldn't get a break!)

I started basically begging them for the epidural, and they checked me again and I had reached 4cm. (Yay meds!) The anesthesiologist came in and started his spiel. While he was talking to me, I started having an intense contraction, and it WASN'T coming and going. The anesthesiologist put in my epidural in the midst of about 10 minutes of solid intense contraction. (The line on the monitor was literally showing that I didn't get a break for over 10 minutes.) I was in so much pain, I was trying to breathe while I desperately waited for the medicine to kick in...5 minutes passed...nothing...10 minutes passed...and my right side started to go numb, a little bit. 15 minutes passed, and my right side was completely numb, but my left side wasn't. (The whole time still having one solid contraction...I thought I was going to die... I kept asking the nurse if it was normal for a woman to
not have a break between contractions, and she just kept saying "Everybody is different." Haha)

After another 5 minutes the anesthesiologist kept testing out my left side and realized that it wasn't going numb. I kept looking at Tim and saying "This isn't normal..." And asking the doctor if it was normal, and they really didn't respond. The doctor gave me another shot of medicine, and waited another 5 minutes and started testing me again for numbness in my left side. (Didn't feel numb at all to me yet, I was still in unbearable pain.)

About 30 minutes after the epidural first went in, and me being only halfway numb for basically a 30 minute long contraction, the doctor then said to the nurse "Did she just change alot, or something?!" The nurse then decided to check me again and said that I was now at 7-8cm. Wow! Almost 4 cm in 30 minutes! No wonder I thought I was dying!

I felt a little relief about 10 minutes after the second shot of medicine, but after a few more minutes the doctor started checking me again and decided to give me another shot of the medicine. Finally, I could feel relief on my left side, and I was able to relax a bit. By this time it was about 2am, and the nurse turned out the light and said that I should try to rest for a bit.

Shortly after the epidural kicked in, my contractions started to noticeably come and go on the monitor, about 30 seconds apart. I rested for a while, and around 4:30am the nurse came in to check me again, and she said that I was still at an 8, and said that she was going to come back in an hour, and if I didn't dilate more then they would consider giving me pitocin to speed it up.

At 5am, I started to feel the contractions again, and I knew that the epidural was wearing off. The doctor came in to check me a few more times, and each time I had dilated a little more, and they said that they didn't need to give me the pitocin. (Praise God!!) From 5am until around 6:30am I could feel every contraction, and was doing my best to breathe through them. They got more and more intense as time went on, and I started to get very worried. Tim and I kept asking if it was normal for me to be feeling everything like I was, and they just kept reassuring me that it was a good thing if I could feel a little bit for pushing purposes. The nurse came in to check me one last time around 5:50 and said that I was dilated to 10, and we would go over to the OR soon to start pushing. (Twins deliver in the OR no matter what) I also noticed when she checked me that I could feel EVERYTHING that she was doing, even just touching me. At this point, the contractions were INTENSE, and I just started praying for strength to get through as I started to feel the intense urge to push.

At 6:30 the OB that was at the hospital came in and said that she had to leave to go to another delivery, but my OB, Dr. Sneed would be here in 20 minutes, and she asked me not to push until she got there.

WHAT?!?! I seriously started freaking out at this point!! I couldn't even push for 20 more minutes?!? I must say, I panicked a bit at this point, but somehow I got it under control and managed to make it the 20 minutes without pushing too much.

Dr Sneed got there around 6:30 and they wheeled me into the OR. I had been sitting up the whole time I was laboring, and figured that I would be sitting up in the OR too. When we got into the OR they told me to get onto the operating table, and somehow I managed to make it on there, but they couldn't sit the table up. I started begging them to let me sit up, but they couldn't get the table up, so we all settled in to deliver these babies lying flat on my back...

Then the pushing actually was a huge relief to push at first, because I had been trying NOT to for so long. We pushed and pushed and every time the nurses and Tim kept telling me that I was doing a great job. (Tim was my superhero!!) Noah started crowning and the nurses continued to tell me what a great job I was doing, to which I remember replying "Ah, no I SUCK!!" The nurses also kept telling me "Ok, one more push like that last one and he'll be out!!"

Then I pushed again just like it, and he wasn't out, so I yelled "LIES!!!" That got a good giggle from everyone...

I kept looking up at Tim and saying "No, you don't understand, I CAN'T do this. Baby, I can't do it anymore." To which he replied "He's so close, just one more."

To which I remember replying "Yeah, but there's another one in there too!!"

At one point the nurse could tell I was about to give up, and she told me to reach down to feel his head. The only thing she didn't tell me was that they had squirted goop all over him to help him come out. So all I could say was "Awww...he feels gross!" Another giggle....

A couple more pushes and the most intense pain that I could have imagined, and sweet little Noah popped out, gray in color, looking as grody as any newborn does. They lay him on my stomach for a second and he started crying. All I could say was "He's so beautiful!! He's so beautiful!!" Over and over again.

He was beautiful.

As I watched the nurses take him, I could feel my doctor pushing all over on my stomach, and then she looked at me and said "Ok, he's ready! You can Push again!" My midwife took over again at this point, and in two pushes Eli was out too, and they laid him on my belly.

All I could say was "They're so beautiful!" And Tim gave me a kiss with tears in his eyes as we listened to them crying as the nurses checked them over.

I couldn't believe I had done it. I couldn't believe that they were here! My little boys were here!

Any NICU time? If yes, for what reason and how long?  Noah had to be monitored in the NICU for 5 days because his oxygen levels would dip a bit while he was eating.

Did you have any complications after delivery? Other than realizing that I had been dealing with appendicitis while pregnant (and realizing that THAT was what was causing my intense "gas pains") and having to have an appendectomy 2 months after the babies were born, I had no complications.

How long did you (the parents) stay in the hospital? 
We stayed together as a family in the hospital for the entirety of Noah's NICU stay (5 days) as boarders. And we all went home together.

Did your twins stay with you or in the hospital nursery at night? 
The first night both boys were in the room with us until their first night feeding. And after I fed them, we sent them to the nursery. They ended up keeping Noah for monitoring after the first night, so Elijah stayed in the room with us most of the time and I had to get up to go nurse Noah in the NICU every 3 hours anyway.

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital?
1. A robe to go over my hospital gown. Made nursing SO much easier.

2. My own granny panties. After the first two days of those mesh panties, it was nice to have some structure down there.

3. Wish I would have known to get size 27mm pump flanges from the nurses. Would have made pumping much more comfortable!!

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: When they finally told us that Noah could spend the night in our room with us and his brother, and the nurses bathed them and brought them into our room together in the same bassinet. We were over the moon to have our entire family together!

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be?
Be your own advocate! Not EVERYONE has to have a c-section. I chose my midwife because of her record for having the least number of c-sections for twins in my entire area. Unless there is a REASON why you WANT a c-section or NEED a c-section, it is just as safe to have a natural delivery. I am so glad that I was able to deliver naturally, even though it was the most painful thing I've ever imagined (even with an epidural). My recovery time was short and I'm so glad I didn't give up and tell them to "cut them out of me" like I was so tempted to do on that OR table!

1 comment:

  1. Kasey, you made me cry as I remembered how crazy and awesome the twin labor and delivery story is. You rock mama. Thanks for telling your story.