I woke on Sunday morning, December 9, feeling more uncomfortable than usual. The strangest part was that I didn’t feel like drinking my morning coffee. That was the first sign that Something Big was about to happen. I swallowed a few bites of breakfast and went back upstairs.
Matt got the children dressed for church while I lay in bed becoming more convinced that Something Big was about to happen.
It started with lower back pressure, heat flashes, sweating and swelling anxiety. Everyone left for church and I began feeling increasingly desperate. Around 9am, I called Matt’s cell phone. He didn’t answer.
And then Something Big Happened. I had the pre-labor bowel movement. Fun stuff, let me tell ya. And while I probably read about it in some "what to expect" book, I just was so not ready for it. Have I grossed you out yet? My apologies. And you may want to stop reading right here. :0)
The contractions started 20 minutes later.
At 11am I started timing them. Matt had arrived home with the children and I was back in bed breathing through the contractions. At 12 I called Labor & Delivery. With eight contractions in an hour, the doctor said, "Come in now."
"Give me an hour more," I said.
At 1pm, the contractions were 4 minutes apart. It was time to go. Since arriving home from church, Matt had been a blur of motion: packing the hospital bag (which was not ready to go–and even still, we forgot practically everything), calling my mom, tidying up the house.
We got to the hospital at 1:33pm. Matt dropped me at the entrance while he went to find parking. I took the elevator up to Labor & Delivery with a guy carrying flowers.
"You don’t look so good," he said.
"I’m OK," I managed. Why was he bothering me? Does a woman in labor have to look good? Geez Louise.
I hauled my not-looking-good self into Labor & Delivery. Thankfully they were expecting me. Unfortunately, they were crazy busy. The only available room was the C-section recovery room where 3 other moms in various stages of labor were either breathing, crying or throwing up behind half-closed curtains.
Things get blurry at this point because the contractions started coming fast and hard. I had been alone for about ten minutes when the nurse showed up. She recognized the signs and suddenly, everything was moving really quick.
Contractions were 2 minutes apart. She checked me–cervix dilated to 3cm . This was the real deal. She called the on-call doctor. Yep.
"You’re having these babies in about an hour," the nurse reported.
I called Matt on the cell phone. He was on his way up. My mom was a few minutes away. The room was suddenly full of people: the nurse drew blood and started an IV, another nurse was charting and asking me questions, the anesthesiologist showed up.
"You been doing this a long time?" I asked.
"Just started yesterday," he joked.
"Yeah, you like my vote of confidence?" I laughed. "Will this spinal block thing hurt?"
"Quite a bit," he answered.
The nurse putting in my IV rolled her eyes. "Don’t listen to him," she said.
"It can’t hurt as bad as these contractions," I said.
The on-call doctor showed up. I’d never met her.
"Delivered twins before?" I asked.
"I’ve delivered quads," she answered with a big smile. "Twins are a piece of cake."
Matt showed up.
"Babies coming. C-section. Now." I was puffing this out telegram style.
"Let’s go see what’s behind door 3," said the anesthesiologist as they wheeled me into operating room 3.
The spinal block wasn’t bad, really. Quicker than an epidural and no lines to worry about.
The room filled up quickly. A nurse for each baby. A pediatrician for each baby. Two doctors performing the C-section. My OB nurse. And then Matt. I clung to him.
"Don’t look at anything," I said. "I don’t want you fainting."
They cut into me at 3:33pm. At 3:37 they pulled out Jorai. She was hollering. A good sign. And then it was Jasiel at 3:38. She was hollering, too.
"Oh my word," I said. "I just gave birth to twins."
I had to say it aloud to believe it. I couldn’t see anything except the curtain they hung in front of my face. I didn’t get to touch them or hold them. I kissed the babies lightly on the forehead and then, they were gone.
My heart walked out the door with them. I burst into tears. They were going to the NICU and I wasn’t going with them. Matt went with the babies. I was alone.
Of the whole day, that was the worst part. The doctors were sewing me up. The nurses and pediatricians were leaving. I lay on the table and cried.
My OB nurse came to the rescue. She comforted me. The babies looked great. 9 out of 10 on their Apgar test. I was doing fine, too. A perfect incision. Nothing to worry about.
Still, I missed the babies with an overwhelming ache. Soon, soon you will see them. Soon you will hold them. Be patient. They are in good hands.
I prayed. I cried. And then, I was at peace. I could wait. My Lord would tend to my babies. He had carried me this far, He could carry me just awhile longer.
Coming Up Next: Part 2, Post-Partum