The Journey Begins
When I was 24 years old, I got a call during my art class at the community college I was attending. I was PREGNANT! Q and I actively tried to get pregnant for almost 3 years and during that journey I was diagnosed with a blocked fillopian tube and PCOS. I gave myself pills and injections, had dozens of ultrasounds, one super uncomfortable procedure and it had finally paid off!
I go to get an ultrasound at 6 weeks pregnant… and find out it’s TWINS! Q wasn’t able to go with me, so I call him and his response is, “That is fantastic… just fantastic“. In the 9 years that I had known Q, I can almost guarantee that he never once used that word, but he was so shocked and excited that he used it about 7 times in a row!
We got ultrasounds every 3 or so weeks, either with my regular obstetrician or at the perinatologist so that was really cool! I got to see my babies all the time, it totally spoiled me for my next pregnancy. I craved Lays Original potato chips, cupcakes, and clementines… I literally carried clementines in my purse. My belly grew very quickly and because of the way my uterus is tilted, the boys pushed on my stomach and lungs very early on in the pregnancy. That meant being absolutely famished, but only being able to eat half a piece of pizza every thirty minutes… and doing this infuriating yawn thing all the time.
We were in California where they don’t use air conditioning (at least in the area that we lived). Y’all I am hot-natured, but throw some hormones and two babies in there and I was freaking HOT and SWEATY all the time… I’m sure it was very attractive.c I was lucky and didn’t get morning sickness, I did however get the worst gas (read: horrific smell) for the entire first trimester… I mean it was bad. I felt so sorry for Q, I bet he wishes I had just been nauseous and I don’t blame him at all.
Other than getting big so quickly and the babies taking up my lung and stomach space, I had a really normal and healthy pregnancy. I was so blessed with a (mostly) positive pregnancy experience. I do have to share that I cried twice in two different parking lots because by the time we were done walking around the store I literally felt like I couldn’t walk all the way back to the car. Also, Q had to back out of at least 6 different parking spaces so that I could open the door and get into the passenger side. Otherwise, the first 26 weeks went really smoothly!
Trouble Begins: Week 27
***Warning: If there are any gentlemen reading this, be aware that I have no shame and am going to discuss exactly what happened to me.***
I am at the sink washing dishes, about to start cleaning for the cook out we have planned for the weekend when I feel something odd. I go to the bathroom see something in my underwear, I pull out my phone and start googling (of course) and decide that it’s my mucous plug. My OB left for town right after my appointment the day before, so when I call the doctor’s office they tell me to head straight to the hospital to get checked out.
I have a bad feeling, but I am oddly calm. I pack a bag (I found out later that I forgot pants) just in case I have to stay overnight. They roll me to ultrasound on a gurney, it takes FOREVER and I have to pee so bad my eyeballs are floating. They finally send me back to my room and when I get there, I tell the nurse I need to go pee… she just looks at me and like thinks about it. So I say, “I’m just going to run and pee while you decide what I should do”. I come out and she says, “I’m going to need you to lay flat, right now”.
At this point my head is spinning, and the room is like a beehive of nurses. I’m told that I have lost my mucous plug and am now about 2 cm dilated (not ideal at 27 weeks). I’m not in active labor, no contractions, but they start me on magnesium to stop labor and give me the first of two steroid injections that help the babies’ lungs develop. They put a catheter in and start explaining that they are sending me to San Francisco. Q can’t come with me and I am not a huge fan, but he has to go home and get the dogs settled and explain to our amazing friends how to take care of the three furry babies we have at home (and get me some pants). Because it was all so surreal, the only thing I could think of was that I hadn’t said goodbye to my dogs. I was scared and upset and I just wanted to snuggle with them like I always do when I feel like that. Q bought me a small stuffed dog at the gift shop to keep me company, and it was probably one of the sweetest and best gifts I have ever received.
Traveling to San Francisco
The ambulance ride to the airport was fine, I think I was still in total shock. The wonderful women that took care of me will forever be my angels, they made me feel so safe and taken care of. We pull up to a random airport and it takes like SIX firemen to load my big pregnant butt onto the SMALLEST helicopter ever created for human beings… like imagine an MRI or CAT scan machine, that’s the size of the cargo/patient area. I swear that if I had been even a week further along I wouldn’t have fit into that thing since as it was they practically had to Crisco my belly to slide me in, not my favorite experience.
The flight went by really fast, the flight nurse let me plug my phone in and I was able to text my family and friends to let them know what was going on. The ride to the hospital: catheter + pot holes in San Francisco + ambulance shocks/suspension = one miserable mama. Once at the hospital, they FINALLY took the catheter out (whew) and Q got there a few hours after I did which was a huge relief.
The actual hospital stay wasn’t very exciting, I spent a lot of time making gratitude lists, watching River Monsters, reading, and praying. It’s very hard to pray to stay pregnant longer when you are gigantic and miserable, and being put on bed rest and continuing to grow meant that I was extraordinarily out of shape when I finally got to stand up and walk to the vending machines. But that’s what I did, I prayed that the boys would keep cooking as long as they could.
God’s timing? Perfect! Q was off from school for Spring Break! And God put us in the right place, the hospital was very close to the airport so when I finally decided that I really needed my mommy, Q was able to go pick her up and bring her to the hospital really easily. The driving to and from school for him had to have been grueling, but he was a total trouper. The day that my mom got to San Fransisco, Q drove back home to check on the dogs and go to school (he was missing a lot of classes since Spring Break was over).
The Big Day
April 3, 2014, the boys were 29 weeks and 3 days gestational age. I woke up and rolled over so the nurse could check my blood pressure at the end of her shift and I felt a huge gush of fluid, the thing they kept telling me would happen when my water broke. When I lifted the sheet covering me, I think I felt true panic for the first time during this experience, maybe even during my entire life. There was bright red blood all over the bed and I knew that that could not be normal.
The nurse was incredible, explaining that there wasn’t a dangerous amount of blood and getting the doctors to come in very quickly. As a side note, the ONE nurse that I didn’t want to be with me when I delivered ended up being the nurse that was coming on duty when I went into labor… and I could not have asked for a better advocate. She was middle aged, kind of course and abrupt, and had helped birth more babies than I can count. She wasn’t afraid to tell the doctors what was going on and that they needed to deal with me right that very second… she was not about to play.
We called Q and told him what was going on, but initially the doctors felt like they wanted to wait and see what my body did since my water hadn’t actually broken. I had a partial placental abruption, Baby A (Bat Boy S) was ready to come on out, and that was what caused all the bleeding. About an hour or so later, I’m having contractions and that’s when my straight-shooting nurse tells me to call Q back and tell him to come to the hospital while she tells the doctors that this was not a wait and see kind of time.
Q was at home when I first talked to him, then when we called him the second time he driving toward his school which is in the opposite direction of San Francisco. So he turns around and books it to the hospital, I was scheduled for an emergency c-section at 10:30 AM and he was supposed to get to me at 10:25 AM… so we were all freaking out a little bit. The boys never seemed to notice though, their heart rates stayed perfect and so when another twin mama (two girls for her) started having trouble they sent her in before me. Yay for me, I got to have 6 hours of unmedicated labor that was totally pointless because I was never going to be allowed to try to deliver vaginally, the boys were just too little.
I got a spinal block that didn’t work, so they had to put me under general anesthesia. I’m going to be honest, I think I would have been freaking out strapped to a table while they cut me open so I’m kind of glad I was asleep. S was born at 2:45 PM and weighed 3 pounds and 7 ounces. T was born at 2:47 PM and weighed 3 pounds 5 ounces. In case you don’t know, that is about a pound bigger than most 29 week preemies, God was looking out for us again. I didn’t meet my boys till after 10:00 PM that night, but I got to hold Bat Boy S while they got his isolette ready and that was incredible. I wasn’t able to hold Bat Boy T till the next morning.
Bat Boy S and Bat Boy T
My boys were strong and healthy and perfect. They were in the hospital for 41 (Bat Boy S) and 44 days (Bat Boy T), we had a few scares but it could have been a drastically different outcome and for that we are so blessed beyond measure. We had tons of doctor appointments and I pumped exclusively for almost 5 months (that was fun) and we didn’t sleep much because you know what? Two babies is a LOT of babies. I met a fellow mom at MOPS who had TRIPLETS, my brain can’t even process that… she’s a superhero.
Inspiration for sharing my story
The reason that I felt called to share the story of my twins is, of course, what has been going on in the news about New York. All of this talk of late term abortion hits very close to home for me, my boys were only 7 weeks and 3 days past the legal gestational age for a regular abortion as of January of 2019. They still came out absolutely perfect… a little redder, skinnier and smaller than they should have been, but they were incredible and perfect.
The 24 week gestation age abortion cut off means that a woman can get an abortion TWO WEEKS past the age of viability, for any reason at all. The vague wording used in the Reproductive Health Act when it states that the “life and health” of a pregnant mother should be protected is irresponsible. It’s not that I don’t think we should protect women, don’t get me wrong! I just mean it should be more well-defined in a law that gives permission to kill a baby. That just seems like a ridiculous omission, most laws are over-defined with amendments and asterisks making sure everything is crystal clear… but this one is just telling us to use our best judgement…?
I have never been in the position where my baby was sick and I was given the option to abort it, but I feel like allowing the abortion of a baby who is medically viable (past 22 weeks gestational age) is just unfathomable. I literally cannot wrap my brain around any situation when the abortion of a baby is a better choice than either inducing or performing a c-section. Even with the knowledge that the baby is “incompatible with life”, meaning it could pass in utero, be stillborn, or pass soon after birth.
Something else I want to be clear about, I am not saying that I want to endanger the lives of mothers. If a pregnancy is putting a woman’s life in danger, then steps should be taken to protect the woman. But why does abortion have to be a step? Hospital bed rest with constant monitoring to make sure the mother is safe and then waiting as long as possible to get the baby as far along as it can get. Induction or a c-section, then immediate care for a premature baby should be the steps taken.
I have been scared of losing my babies because they were born so early, but I can’t imagine not holding them and loving them for whatever time they had on this earth. Again, I know that I have never been in the terrible position that some women have been in and had to choose what to do- have an abortion, wait and see, or continue the pregnancy knowing that the outcome will end in grief. I do have a hard time with the idea of making choices for other women and telling them what they have to do with their bodies, but I have a harder time with the idea that these babies we are making laws about can’t yet speak for themselves and will never get a chance to.
Once you are pregnant, you are a mother for life. Period. You are a mother when things are good, bad, happy, or scary. It is your job to protect your baby, to take care of you baby, to make decisions about the well-being of your baby. For some, that means giving their baby up for adoption. For others, it means dealing with difficult health problems for all of their baby’s life. For other, it means holding their baby and wrapping their love around the child as they take their last breath on this side of Heaven.
I cannot fathom that heartache the comes with any of that, and I don’t pretend to. All I can say is that I do not believe that late term abortions are EVER the right answer, regardless of the situation. I truly believe that there are other choices, albeit excruciating and terrifying choices, but killing a baby is not the answer.
I know that this is a very heated topic, and I am in no way trying to shame anyone or be ugly about anything that anyone has been through. Like I said, I have never experienced these choices or situations. Please share your story with me.
I have no idea what I am doing (I doubt anyone does anymore)