Katherine and Clare's Birth Story By Kelly Borden Print
Birth Stories - Multiple Births Stories
Thursday, 23 October 2008 10:01

     I found out that I was having twins when I was 8 weeks pregnant. When I was 23 weeks my doctor started restricting my activities. I wasn't too thrilled at first, but after almost passing out in the grocery store a couple of times and fainting for real on a short trip to the marina, I was glad to stay home and off my feet.

      About this time I was also told that our HMO was conducting a long term study on pre-term labor monitoring, and I was eligible to be in the program. I was chosen for the electronic monitoring group, so twice a day I would strap the thing on and pray for no contractions. I was sent to the hospital once at 28 weeks, but after 4 hours they decided that I had stabilized enough to send me home. I hadn't felt any of the contractions that sent me to the hospital.

      At 33 weeks I was once again sent to the hospital. This time things didn't look too good. Late that night they sent my husband home. Things went from bad to worse, so the decision was made to send me to another hospital that had a high-risk OB department and intensive care nursery - just in case. I was given magnesium sulfate and an hour-long ride in an ambulance, all the while hoping that my husband would find me.

      I remember being wheeled into the L&D room. They had just given me another bolas or two of mag-sulfate. I was looking up at all these people trying to figure out if I *really was* having trouble breathing (one of the side effects of too much mag-sulfate). They got me settled, and finally, Jeff arrived. The rest of the day was a blur. At one point, Jeff went out to get me some food; that didn't last too long, because the next thing I knew, I had thrown up.

      They finally moved me onto the high-risk ward, where I tried to settle in to life as a "mag mother". I was told that I would not being going home until after the babies were born. A little later, I threw up again. The doctors also noticed that my stomach was starting to blow up like a balloon. Something was not right. My roommate was moved out, and I got the whole room to myself, just in case I had to be rushed to surgery. Soon I had a whole array of doctors looking at me: surgeons, GI doctors, and all of the high-risk OB department. Calls were made all over the state, but no one could figure out what was wrong with me. They finally figured that I had had a bad reaction to the mag-sulfate - it had stopped my colon cold. I was put on another drug to stop the labor. I had tubes everywhere, including an NG tube up my nose, and I had become black and blue from my knuckles to my elbow from all the blood draws. I was truly miserable! At one point I broke down crying from the fear and frustration. On top of everything else it was Christmas time, I was 60 miles away from my family, and I missed my two other kids.

      With a room full of doctors (and my husband in the hall) they did a sygmoidoscopy to get a good look at my colon. Sure enough, it looked like a party balloon. The procedure was pretty unpleasant, but thank to the Demerol, I finally got my first decent sleep since I was admitted at the first hospital, and some of the gas had left my abdomen. Things went on the same for a few more days - lots of X-rays and tests, nothing known for certain. Luckily, the babies were in good shape, and I was given steroids to help mature their lungs in case they really did come early. My nurses reassured me that they were two girls and that white females did the best of all preemies.

      A week after my first trip to the hospital it was decided that the best thing for all of us was for the babies to be born - hopefully getting the weight of the babies off my blood supply would help my colon go back to functioning normally, and by then, I had become a lousy incubator for my girls. I needed one more sygmoidoscopy to reduce the gas pressure; I felt like I would pop at any minute like an over-inflated balloon. Later that afternoon I was wheeled back to L&D and was given Pitocin to induce labor. My doctor had given me her assurance that I could have an epidural as soon as they started the Pit. (My first birth was induced, so I had an idea what to expect!) I should have been leery when I found out that the anesthesiologist's nickname around the hospital was "Weird Harold". Because of a pervious surgery, he didn't want to give me the epidural, and when he did do it it wasn't quite right (he blamed me), so instead of being pain free as with my previous epidural, I had quite a bit of pain centering around my upper thighs. The doctor broke the water on my first baby as soon as the race to be born first looked like it would have a clear winner. (I *knew* that it would be Kate!)

      I was moved into the delivery room when I hit transition. My nurse said that she knew how quickly red heads can deliver! The delivery room was full: nurses for each of the babies, Jeff, my mom, my doctor, the head of high-risk OB, and the the chief high-risk OB doctor who came for moral support. (By the time I delivered I had become one of the most talked-about patients in the entire hospital! My doctor said that every time she was in the cafeteria someone would ask her how I was doing.) The doctor had just told the crew to go take a break when I uttered the words now famous in my family, "I think I popped by butt tube!" (leftover from the last sygmoidoscopy). The doctor looked down to find, not a tube, but a little head. The doctor sitting near my legs took the blue drape that was under me and held the baby's head while my doctor put her gloves on, so we could deliver the rest of the baby. Kate was healthy but tiny: 4 1/2 pounds. My husband sang "Happy Birthday" to her, showed me Baby #1, then she was off to ICU. Ten minutes later her sister arrived. There were a few long minutes of silence while the nurses "jump-started" her face and got her breathing. Once again, daddy sang "Happy Birthday" (as he had to our other two children at their births), I said hello, and she was off. Clare came out looking "unfinished"; she had a fetal look about her face for the next six months or so. She weighed just a little less than her sister, but was an inch longer, so she looked a lot skinnier.

      After my recovery from the birth, I had one last sygmoidoscopy. After a few days I was getting much better. The day after the birth, however, my nurses and I figured out that I was having an allergic reaction to the Tagamet they had been giving me, and had developed thrush from all of the antibiotics that I had been on since I had been admitted. A few days post-partem I was finally allowed food again. I spent a couple of days just resting and recovering from my ordeal, then put my mind back on the babies.

      I went home one week after the girls were born, and they were transferred to the hospital I had started out in. Kate went home at 1 1/2 weeks old; Clare needed to stay until she was two weeks old. I tried to spend as much time as I could with them, but they were born in the middle of a famous flood year, and I spent a lot of time afraid that I would get stranded at the hospital and not be able to get home! Thanks to lots of love and mothers milk, the girls grew fairly steadily and are now happy, healthy 2 1/2 year-olds!

Last Updated on Friday, 14 November 2008 09:19