Friday, November 6, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Emily Allen

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

Emily Allen

Where do you currently live? Madison, WI

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins
Almost 12 weeks

Any issues during your pregnancy? At 19 weeks I was at work and noticed a rhythmic pain in my stomach. It was occurring every 10 minutes and would get quite painful. I called into my doctor and went in right away to get checked out. Turned out I was having contractions and my cervix was measuring 2.6cm (they said they would want my cervix to be more near 4cm at that point in my pregnancy) and they sent me to triage to be monitored. I was told to quit working and to take it easy and come for more ultrasounds to continue to measure my cervix. It continued to shorten my whole pregnancy, threatening early delivery. My doctors weren't sure I would even make it past 24 weeks because I was measuring 1.8cm at 24 weeks. I was given the steroid shots for the babies lung development at 24 weeks and a tour of the NICU to get me used to the thought of them having to be taken care of there. After the steroids I was put on strict bedrest to keep the girls in as long as possible. By 28 weeks my cervix was down to .8cm - hanging on by a thread! With a lot of prayers and very strict bedrest, I was able to celebrate each week I was still pregnant and make it all the way to 37 weeks - delivery healthy, beautiful little girls! 

I also dealt with a low platelet count that they monitored periodically to determine if I would be able to deliver naturally or not. With a platelet count below a certain number on delivery day you can't have an epidural and would need blood transfusions after delivery (because platelets coagulate wounds and without them you would lose too much blood). My platelets were just above the number that would force c-section and I believe they had blood on stand-by - just in case. But everything turned out fine! 

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: 
When we found out we were having twins! We had already announced to our families that we were pregnant because we we were going to be moving across the country for business school, but we hadn't had an ultrasounds yet - just a confirmation of pregnancy from my doctor. When we moved and got settled into our new place I scheduled an appointment to meet a new OB and get an ultrasound. I was almost 12 weeks along and so excited to hear the baby's heartbeat and see the tiny little gummy bear for the first time. When the ultrasound tech put the goo and scanner on my stomach she wasn't looking at the screen yet because she was talking with my husband. I was looking at the screen, watching her rub the goo around with the scanner as she continued to talk. Something didn't look quite right, but she hadn't focused anything yet so I didn't think too much of it right away. The minute to started actually trying to focus the scanner on the "baby" I noticed two round objects and said without even thinking, "is that two heads?!?" The ultrasound tech rolled the scanner around a couple times, revealing two head, two bodies and two heartbeats and said, "that IS two heads!" We were all in shock and giggled a ton. 

The ironic thing was that when I announced to my husband that I was pregnant (the day after I took three pregnancy tests to confirm that I really was pregnant) I announced it with an "early birthday present," which consisted of a Sugar Daddy candy sucker and Sugar Babies candy with a note that said, "Hey Sugar Daddy, we're having a Sugar Baby." Little did we know "Sugar Babies" was really so accurate. 

Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self? To not worry so much. I was so worried about what I ate, what I did, how we were going to be ready for twins, etc. while I was pregnant that I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. Take it each day at a time and enjoy every moment!

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 37 weeks to-the-day

Baby A's Information:  Hayden Marie Allen

February 14, 2014
8:39 p.m.
5lbs 5oz
17 1/4 inches

Baby B's Information: 
Harper May Allen

8:52 p.m.
4lbs 10oz
17 1/2 inches 

Are your twins identical? Yes

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery? I was able to have a natural delivery. 

Wednesday, February 12th I was schedule for my induction (after being worried I would have the girls early since week 20, it was ironic that I had to be induced). However, due to very unusual circumstances, we were pushed off TWO DAYS because the maternity ward was overflowing and they couldn't get us in. So, finally, the morning of Friday, February 14th (37 weeks to-the-day) we called the hospital at 6 a.m. to see if we could come in, and we got the green light!

When we arrived at the hospital I was contracting every 3-4 minutes and was 80 percent effaced. They placed the epidural and got me started on pitocin. I didn't feel a single contraction the whole delivery!

A short time later the OB came in and broke my water and got the contractions going to every two minutes. My body was in active labor starting at 3 p.m. and my body took over and they were able to reduce the Pitocin so my body could do its job. Around 7 p.m. the doctor came in and checked me and I was at an 10 and completely ready to go (and Baby A's head was making its way down the birthing canal). The doctor said it was time to start pushing. (Holy cow is that a scary moment!)

They were monitoring the girls’ heart rates while we were pushing, and Baby A started getting so low they couldn't monitor hers from above anymore, so they poked a monitor into the skin on her scalp inside so they could monitor her to make sure she didn't get stressed.

Around 8:15 p.m. Baby A was far enough down to start the final pushes, so they moved me into the operating room. When we got in there, there were bright lights, a lot of people started flowing in and I felt like I was in a blur, getting moved from one bed to another, monitors getting hooked back up and still trying to monitor the pressure from contractions to keep the pushing going.

Fifteen minutes after entering the operating room, Baby A came into the world. She was put right on my stomach and all I remember is thinking how unreal it was that she was there in front of me and mine. It was so surreal I just kept touching her and saying it was okay and that I loved her. My husband and I both cried immediately.They took her to be weighed and measured, then handed her to my husband. All the while the doctor was figuring out Baby B's position and the best way to proceed to get her out. They weren't tracing a heart rate for her and were tracing mine instead by accident, but then when they had her heart rate it was getting high, so they decided they needed to get her out as soon as possible. They said they were going to need to use the vacuum to help her get out faster. Once she was out I didn't get to see her right away. They took her straight to be checked, weighed and measured and had to get her going a little bit. The doctor told us afterward that Baby B tried coming out arm first, so she had to push her back up to try and get her arm down before she came out and that is what stressed her out. I was then able to hold both of my girls for the first time - what an amazing thing! 

Any NICU time?  If yes, for what reason and how long? None
Did you have any complications after delivery? No

How long did you stay in the hospital? 
1.5 days

Did your twins stay with you or the hospital nursery at night? With us - I didn't want to let them out of my sight!

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital? 
I wasn't at the hospital very long, so honestly I felt like I brought way too much stuff. I am glad that I brought several different outfits to choose from for leaving the hospital, though, because I had no idea how I would feel after delivery. I knew I wanted to be comfortable, but also cute so I could feel good about myself, so being able to try different things on to see what I felt like wearing was something I would do again. I am also glad we had our camera and phones for photos and videos. We had them in the OR and through everything and it is so great to look back on things I don't fully remember because so much happened while in the hospital! 

Something that pertains more to this for me is, "what do I wish I knew while in the hospital that I didn't know because I was a first-time mom":
1.) I didn't know I could have control over who could come in my room and when. I wish I knew about the "Do Not Disturb" sign while I was there because I didn't sleep AT ALL between the nurses coming in for my meds, the girls' feedings, etc.
2.) I wish I would have opened up the curtains in my room to let some light in during the day. I was so worried about the girls sleeping and didn't know they would sleep even though the curtains were open.
3.) I also wish I knew that I could take charge of my stay at the hospital more. I think I expected that they would just tell me "this is how it is," but you have SO much control if you want it. But if you don't speak up, they WILL just say, "this is how it is."

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: 
Seeing my husband holding both of our girls for the first time in the rocking chair beside my bed. And being able to finally hold both of my girls in my arms and breathing a huge sigh of relief that WE MADE IT! Who knew so much love could happen so quickly.

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? Just breathe. A twin pregnancy and being a mom of twins is twice the work on your body, brain, time, etc. but it is also twice the reward. Some days you may think, "how am I going to do this?" and other days you will surprise yourself with how strong and empowered you can feel because you CAN do it. Enjoy each moment and each stage you are in and don't stress about what tomorrow brings. Also, know that whatever way you choose to do things for your family is the best for you. Choose how you want to do things and don't let others opinions matter, as long as you feel that it is best.

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