Monday, June 29, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Elizabeth

If you'd like to contribute your own twin birth story, CLICK HERE to fill out the questionnaire!


Where do you currently live?  Dallas, TX

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins7 weeks

Any issues during your pregnancy?  In the beginning, I had a pretty typical pregnancy with no issues other than moderate morning sickness. At 24 weeks, my doctor became concerned about the amount of stress I was putting on my body by continuing to teach full time, and suggested a modified work schedule. In order to be proactive, I worked only 3 days a week until the school year was over.

Starting around 25 weeks, I was already getting swollen feet, calves, and hands, so they were closely monitoring me for the other signs of preeclampsia. Besides being obnoxiously swollen (I'm talking crazy swollen - like push your finger on my leg and it makes an indention swollen) everything else looked good until my 34 week check up. I went in for my typical sonogram, urine test, etc. and knew there was a problem as soon as my doctor came into the room less than a minute after the nurse left. My blood pressure was through the roof and there was a high amount of protein in my urine (oh joy!). Both of these are signs of preeclampsia. My doctor told me I would be going straight to the hospital from her office and wouldn't be leaving until I had the twins! Once I was in the hospital, I was monitored closely and would be able to stay in the hospital on bed rest as long as I didn't get any worse. I only made it 3 days. My preeclampsia took a turn for the worse in the hospital and morphed into full blow HELLP syndrome, which has a higher incidence in multiples pregnancies, and basically means my liver was shutting down. There is also a slight chance of mother fatality with HELLP syndrome if not immediately addressed. So, the babies had to be delivered right then!

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: During my pregnancy, I was a 2nd grade teacher and my students provided me with daily laughter. There were comments on my ever growing belly and towards the end of my pregnancy, when just getting to school was a challenge, I always had a least one wonderfully honest child tell me I looked especially tired and WAY different than the beginning of the school year. Loved my daily dose of honesty. :)

The other memorable moment was during my 3 days of hospital bed rest when I was crazy swollen, especially my calves. I had a different nurse every day and night, and every single nurse that came in would check my legs and immediately tell me that my legs were the most swollen of any patients they had seen! I even had a few random nurses come in and 'check on me' that weren't officially mine, and in my head I had visions of a conversation at the nurse's station going something like this: "Go check out that freak in room 2534 - her legs are ginormous!!" I'm sure this was all in my head.... right!?!

Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self?  I would tell myself not to worry so much and to just enjoy and revel in the moment. I was always paranoid when people couldn't believe I hadn't felt the twins move yet or had never experienced the feeling of hiccups (both came extremely late for me, 26 weeks and 34 weeks respectively). Everything turned out just fine and I wish I would have treasured that special time a little more.

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 34 weeks, 3 days

Baby A's Information:  
Caroline Grace

July 1, 2013
11:48 am
5 lbs 1oz
17 in

Baby B's Information:  William James

July 1, 2013
11:49 am
4 lbs 12 oz
17 in

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery?  Because of my HELLP syndrome, Caroline and Will needed to be born immediately, so I had an emergency c-section. As soon as I was diagnosed with HELLP, it was a whirlwind of people coming in and explaining the syndrome, telling me the babies were coming out NOW, and nurses prepping me for the operating room. It all went incredibly fast!

There were SO many people in the operating room; doctors for me, NICU teams for each baby, anesthesiologist, etc., but all I remember focusing on was my husband and the wonderful sound of my babies crying for the first time!

Any NICU time?  If yes, for what reason and how long?  Yes, the hospital policy where I delivered was that all babies delivered before 35 weeks had to go to the NICU. Caroline ended up staying in the NICU for 14 days and Will for 9 days. We felt extremely blessed that all they needed was a little extra time to learn how to breathe and eat at the same time. Don't get me wrong, it was incredibly stressful having both of them in the NICU and seeing them hooked up to all the wires and feeding tubes, but we were one of the lucky families with a short stay and minimal issues.

Did you have any complications after delivery? Yes, for the first 24 hours after delivery I was on a magnesium drip to lower the chance of seizures which is common for people who experience HELLP syndrome. Not being able to see my babies for this time was heart wrenching, but obviously my health was a serious concern. After 24 hours, my blood pressure was still abnormally high, so for the next 4 days I had to have my blood pressure checked every 4 hours around the clock and took very strong blood pressure medicine. When I left the hospital I still had blood pressure issues, but it was manageable with medication and strict orders to check in with my doctor at certain intervals throughout the next few weeks. Finally, 4 months later I was able to get off the medicine and no longer have any underlying issues! Hooray! Although, if you have HELLP syndrome once, the chance of it occurring again in subsequent pregnancies is significantly higher - so something for me to think about.

How long did you (the parents) stay in the hospital? 6 days, 5 nights

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital? 
1. My own bathroom products. Showering for the first time after surgery was therapeutic and being able to use all of my normal stuff made it feel more like home.
2. Comfy pajamas! The last thing I wanted to think about was putting on actual pants. My maternity lounge pants were an essential part of my postpartum wardrobe.
3. Iphone charger - I'm sure this is so obvious but I didn't want to worry about a low battery when I was trying to take a million photos and videos.

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital:  My absolute favorite moment would have to be when our family of 4 was together for the first time ever! On the 3rd day that the babies were in the NICU, my husband and I were down there late at night and one of the night shift nurses inquired if we had all been together and taken a first family pic yet - we hadn't! She insisted it was safe for us to have a quick photo shoot and we unhooked Caroline from the monitors for about 5 minutes, carried her over to Will's area, and the four of us shared our first moment as a family. It was incredibly special and kept me going until we were all together again 11 days later, when Caroline came home for good.

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? Don't be too hard on yourself once the babies are here. This is an incredible, life changing experience and you are handling it to the best of your ability. Things are not going to be exactly how you envisioned them and that's OK. There were things I wasn't able to do those first few months that I always imagined doing with the twins, but these things didn't happen because of unforeseen circumstances with the NICU and my own health. It was hard to let go of the guilt I felt thinking that if I just had one baby at a time it would have been an entirely different (and better!) experience for all of us. But in reality, it was exactly the way God intended it to be. And on the rough days I've learned to repeat this to myself - I am blessed with two precious, healthy children, I'm trying my best....and that's good enough.

1 comment:

  1. congrats on your beautiful babes! i was on a mag drip for 24 hours and didn't get to see my girls either! so hard!