Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Twin Birth Story: Lauren Hoffman

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Lauren Hoffman

Where do you currently live?  Centerville, UT

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins? 7 weeks

Any issues during your pregnancy? 
The first half of my pregnancy was really uneventful, for which I'm grateful! I felt amazing, with only some fatigue and heartburn to complain about.

That all changed when I went in for my routine 24 week appointment and found that I was in active labor and already dilated 3 cm. My doctor could even feel baby boy's toes kicking through my cervix! It was a terrifying whirlwind as I was admitted to labor and delivery right away, given medications to try and stop my labor and develop the babies' lungs, and visited by many different doctors, including a neonatologist from the NICU that told my husband and me the statistics of 24 weekers. I was overwhelmed and filled with worry, to say the least! All the high-risk OBs expected me to deliver the twins that first day, and we were trying to prepare ourselves for what the journey with our little ones might be.

By some miracle, however, I lasted 10 days in L&D on total bedrest and constant monitoring, with no further progression past 4 cm dilated. At that point, they finally allowed me to be moved to the antepartum unit. There, I was able to only get out of bed to go to the bathroom and shower. To me, though, that was the best thing ever after being on my back non-stop for 10 days! Each day from then on was nerve wracking, as we were constantly trying to keep contractions at bay and hoping my water wouldn't break. But we tried to stay optimistic and hope for the best. Amazingly, 24 weeks turned into 28... and then 32! And finally, my sweet babies were born at 33.5 weeks- tiny, but healthy!

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: 
This might be gross, and I'm sorry... But in the beginning, starting even before I knew I was pregnant, I burped a lot. Like, really, a lot! I always remember my dad saying that's how he knew my mom was pregnant, because she had the same symptom. But I thought it was ridiculous. When it was my turn, I didn't put the two and two together until after getting a positive pregnancy test. It was a gross and annoying symptom to have, but it was also pretty funny, especially when I grew numb to how often it was happening and I'd get comments from people. I couldn't help it!
Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self?  I would tell myself to trust that everything will work out the way it should. In the beginning, I was terrified when we found out I was carrying twins! It took little while for that news to settle in before I felt reassured about the curve ball, but then I was so excited! And then while on bedrest, I could've used an extra dose of encouragement that we could make it through that challenge.

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born?

Baby A's Information: 
Charlotte Rose
November 20, 2012
5:14 pm
3 lb 3 oz
15.5 in

Baby B's Information:  Grady Aaron
November 20, 2012
5:15 pm
3 lb 3 oz
16.5 in

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery?  C-section. Luckily, I had prepared myself for this possibility from the beginning, so I felt okay when it came down to that. Grady was baby A up until delivery, and was breech. He was also measuring too small to be born vaginally, so under the knife it was!

After a string of strong and painful contractions that weren't going away with my usual medication, they scheduled the OR. I told my husband to wait in our room, because like most grown men, he's a total baby when it comes to needles. I didn't want to have to worry about him passing out on the ground next to me during the process! My nurse was a little distracted and rushing all over the operating room, so I was completely on my own while the anesthesiologist did his thing. Luckily, the spinal block went in perfectly, they put the drape up, and my husband was sitting by my side in no time... after he quietly informed me that I was out in all my glory down there. Ha! Isn't childbirth crazy how you lose all sense of modesty? (Especially after being on hospital bedrest for 9 weeks!)

It seemed as though we had just gotten situated when my doctor announced that baby A was on its way! After a few seconds of strong pressure, I heard my baby girl cry for the first time and I was overwhelmed with emotion! The tears instantly started flowing as I realized that I had never been so grateful than to hear her healthy squeaks after those 2 months of worry. One minute later, baby boy's little cry filled the room and I felt my heart grow double in size.

As my doctor pulled them out one by one, he held them over the drape for me to see for only a split second before rushing them off to the NICU. After the team finished up with me, they had me go back to my recovery room, while my husband was allowed to see Charlotte and Grady in the NICU.

Any NICU time? If yes, for what reason and how long?  Charlotte spent 24 days in the NICU, and Grady was there just two more for a total of 26. Those few short weeks felt really long to us, but we counted our blessings every day that they cooked inside as long as they did and didn't have to spend more time there. Both babies were very small for their gestational age, but remarkably healthy. They were both put on oxygen, which they were sent home with for a couple more weeks. Otherwise, they were considered "feeders and growers" and although they didn't put on a lot of weight (4 lb each at discharge!), they did great advancing through the necessary steps in order to graduate from the NICU.

Did you have any complications after delivery? With the help of my pain meds, I recovered well from my c-section overall. However, the day after being released from the hospital, I came down with bell's palsy, where the entire right side of my face was paralyzed. It was quite painful, and I could hardly smile, eat, talk... it was really bad! The doctors think that it was caused by a combination of all the physical and emotional stress I had been under for the previous couple of months. Luckily, I was holed up in the NICU for a lot of that time. I finally started getting a twitch of movement back after about 3 weeks, and almost all movement and feeling was back after 3 months. Now there's just the tiniest bit of droop that, really, only I can notice.

How long did you (the parents) stay in the hospital? 
4 days after the twins were born. 65 days total.

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital?
-My laptop and iPod. I lived on those things, trying to keep myself entertained throughout the days.
-Comfy, loose-waisted sweatpants ... I didn't even want to think about putting on jeans following my c-section!
-A journal to record all the experiences I had during that time. It helped get through some tough patches by jotting down my thoughts and also gave me a place to write down funny or memorable moments. Now, I love going back to read through those pages. 

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: At 1:30 am, 8 hours after my c-section, I insisted that I finally be allowed to make the trip down to the NICU. I was still a little groggy from the medications and anesthesia, but I will never forget first laying eyes on my precious babies. They were perfect. I was only allowed a half an hour and I couldn't hold them yet, but it was the best moment. It felt so surreal knowing they were mine. Made all the long days during my pregnancy worth it, 100%.

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be?
Try not to pay attention to what everyone else says to you, unless they've gone through it with multiples themselves. I was told some pretty ridiculous, and sometimes hurtful, things. People don't always understand what they're saying and how it can be interpreted. Be proud to be expecting twins! It's such a blessing that few moms get to experience.

1 comment:

  1. What cute kiddos, and how amazing that you kept them in there that long on bedrest! Praise God and props to you, mama :)