BBW Birth Stories: 

Twins and More!

by Kmom

Copyright 2000-2009  KMom@Vireday.Com. All rights reserved.

This FAQ last updated: June 2009


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your health provider.

BBW Birth Story Pages

 

BBW Birth Stories: Twins and More!

CONTENTS

 

Introduction

Over the years, many women have requested a section for birth stories of plus-sized moms. 

Women of size often come into pregnancy with so many fears imposed on them by others that it's important to have reassurance that other large women have indeed done this  before. 

Pregnancy books and most websites do not fulfill this need; mostly they are filled with warnings about "obesity" and pregnancy, admonitions not to get pregnant until you lose weight, dire predictions of disastrous pregnancies filled with complications, or horror stories designed to scare you into weight loss compliance.

Although there are many birth stories online, most are of women of average-size. While these are also helpful to read, many women of size have longed for a collection of stories of just plus-sized pregnancy----birth in all its beauty, and birth in all its variety in women of size. It is so important for us to see that many of our fat sisters have traveled this journey before us.

This is a collection of BBW (Big Beautiful Women) Birth Stories collected by Kmom over the years. Stories have been separated into various categories (vaginal birth, c-sections, twins, VBACs, etc.).  Because some stories fit more than one category, many will repeat on different pages.  Some stories are already up on the web in a more complete form elsewhere; with the mother's permission, Kmom has linked to these sites and urges readers to click on the link and read the more complete story.  

Unless specifically requested, all identifying information has been removed or changed to protect the privacy of the participants. 

All stories are copyrighted; none may be used elsewhere without specific written permission from both Kmom and the mother involved

This particular FAQ presents the stories of the big moms who have had multiples.  Although no one is quite sure why, large moms have a higher rate of multiples in some studies, so it's important to document their stories here.

Both obesity and multiple gestation increases the risk of potential problems like gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, so it is important to discuss these issues and be realistic that sometimes they do occur.

However, being large and pregnant with multiples does not have to mean complications; there is MUCH that can be done to avoid or minimize complications.  Superb nutrition (with plenty of protein) is particularly important.  For more information, please consult Having Twins by Elizabeth Noble (it also discusses high-order multiples as well).  

[And yes, you CAN breastfeed multiples!  La Leche League,  www.lalecheleague.org , has several books and resources about breastfeeding multiples that are quite valuable.]

More stories will be added over time, so keep checking back if you are interested in reading further stories.  If you are interested in sharing your birth story, click here for more information, birth story format, and submission guidelines.  

New birth stories are always welcome; Kmom updates the birth stories FAQs about once a year so be patient for your story to show up.  If you do submit your story, please carefully follow the format and directions given in order to shorten the amount of work involved for Kmom.  Kmom's family will thank you!

 

Terms and Abbreviations

Most moms will recognize most of these terms, but women new to reading about childbirth may be puzzled by some of the terms and abbreviations used in these stories. This section briefly defines some of these in order to help women understand the stories better.

 

Twin Birth Stories

N.M.'s Story (ID twins, gd, vaginal birth)

Kmom's Notes:  37 weeks is basically full-term for twins; her OB did not pressure her to induce early simply because she had gd.  Usually, gd is more common with fraternal twins than identical twins because a double placenta tends to double the insulin resistance from hormones, but sometimes moms with identical twins get gd too.  

NM also found that the gd food plan she was given as a twin mom was inadequate, a complaint Kmom has heard from more than one twinmom.  Although you'd think that gd food recommendations would be fairly straightforward across the board, there are more variations than you would think.  In the past, many gd food plans had too little protein and too many carbs; the most recent thinking seems to be that you get better control and fewer problems by increasing the protein amounts somewhat and decreasing the corresponding carb content as well.  Significant caloric restriction for heavy gd moms is another area of controversy, and several large twin moms with gd have complained of totally inadequate caloric intake for a multiple pregnancy.  

Birth Story

I was diagnosed with gd after the [glucose challenge] with a level at 140.  So, they sent me to the 3 hr GTT and my fasting level was normal, my 1 hr was 202 (cutoff was 190), my 2 hr was 165 (the cutoff number) and my 3 hr was normal.  I was officially diagnosed as having GD.  

They gave a GD diet which was completely ill-suited for a pregnant woman weighing 270 lbs or so and expecting twins!  It was lacking enough protein and had way too many carbohydrates and definitely not enough calories.  I told my doctor that I was going to eat more protein and a little less carbohydrates and he said okay.  Also, my doctor wasn't too worried because one of the side effects of GD is having too large of a baby, but since I was expecting twins, he said it would at the most make them weigh a normal baby's weight (my boys were 4.5 and 5.3).  

I had to test my blood 4x per day (fasting and one hour after each of my meals).  My numbers were fine as long as I didn't overdo the carbohydrates in one sitting.  I saw that my body could not handle carbohydrates for breakfast, so I ended up eating only protein and a few hours later having a carb and protein snack.  I was able to keep my numbers within the recommended range by cutting out all sugars and making sure that I ate protein along with my carbs.  

I went into labor at 7:15 pm., [37 weeks into the pregnancy]. Since I didn't have any real contractions by 9:15 pm, my OB had me take 3 ounces of castor oil. His reasoning is that a twin uterus is usually so stretched out that many times it has trouble really contracting. The consistency was disgusting and I ended throwing up the first bit. I forced the rest down my throat, though. At 10:45 pm my contractions picked up and I was constantly going to the bathroom as my bowels were emptying out. 

At 3:30 am we arrived at the hospital. I was immediately hooked up to a pitocin drip and two monitors, one external and one internal. I was not allowed to get out of bed. I did not take any pain medications because I had the attitude that although it was painful, I could handle it. I just breathed through each contraction. As I approached transition, I threw up. It was mostly stomach acid as my stomach was already empty. The best part is that I knew I was almost to pushing. 

I started pushing at 5:10 am. No one properly prepared me for pushing, it is really hard work. I think of it as equivalent of doing 3,000 sit-ups in a row (okay, okay, not THAT bad, but definitely hard work). At 5:56 am, Baby A was born. At 6:00 am, Baby B was born. It was an incredible feeling to push the babies out! Of course, since they were tiny, I really only had to push their heads out as they had such tiny shoulders. From what I understand, the shoulders on a 7 lb baby are the hardest part to push out. But, in my case, once their heads came out the rest of the body came flying out. I only had a tiny tear which my OB stitched up. Both babies had apgars of 9/9. Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot give birth. Your body is prepared and ready to do what it needs, just have a positive attitude and believe in yourself.

 

Lori M's Story (fraternal twins, induced premature vaginal birth)

Kmom's Notes:      

Birth Story

I had a wonderful OB. She was very sympathetic to my needs not only as a large woman, but as someone carrying twins.  (With my other two children I wasn't a large sized woman so I left those experiences out.)

[As noted, I had premature labor at 31 weeks.] On Dec 10th, I went in for a routine NST (non-stress test) and fluid check on the babies. While I was hooked up to the monitor, a couple contractions showed up. The docs checked me and said I was at 3cm and 30% effaced. At 3pm they admitted me to the hospital and put me on Magnesium Sulfate. Not very fun. It burned going in and made me feel like my chest was on fire. By 7:30pm I was dilated to 7cm and 60% effaced. The stopped the Mag and gave me an epidural. We all thought I would deliver that night. 

By about 9pm my contractions had stopped and I hadn't progressed anymore. They kept the epidural in for another 24hrs "just in case". On Dec 12th, I was moved to the High Risk ward and told I wasn't going anywhere until I delivered my babies. For the first 24 hours in HR, I was only allowed clear liquids and still had a catheter. After that, I was allowed to eat solids and had to use a porta-potty next to the bed. I complained for a week because I could barely fit on that to relieve myself. They finally allowed me to use the normal bathroom. Thankfully, the hospital had super sized gowns so my bottom wasn't swinging in the wind.

There I stayed until Dec 29th. The docs did an amnio and told me my babies were mature enough to be born. They said I could wait, but they wouldn't advise it since the girl twin was taking up all the resources and it could become fatal for the boy twin. We decided to induce. I waited until 2am on the 30th for a bed to become available (all those millenium-planned babies were coming into the hospital in labor). At 8am they started a pitocin drip and gave me an epidural. I had made it VERY clear to everyone that walked into the room that I absolutely refused to have a C-section unless someone was in danger. Thankfully, this was an upwardly mobile hospital and they totally agreed with me. 

So, with no further complications, no pain and minimal pushing, Baby A was born at 11:12am PST followed by her brother at 11:25am. I did not have any tearing or an episiotomy and have only had the usual cramping (like period cramping) for about 3 days afterwards.

I hope this gives some of the larger women encouragement that a natural birth is possible. 

 

Leslie A's Story (fraternal twins, gd, vaginal birth)

Kmom's Notes:  Note that this mom used 'serial induction' successfully (try inducing with pitocin but do not break bag of waters; if no labor after x hours, go home and try again later--often labor is jumpstarted in between labor tries, or the 2nd induction 'takes'.)

Birth Story

Conceived one cycle after a miscarriage (single baby). Midwife suggested that fertility is enhanced after miscarriage; thus the twins. Twins do not run in my family! Spent much of the pregnancy terrified that I'd lose one or both of the babies.

Difficult pregnancy with bleeding in first and third trimesters and pre-term labor starting at 22 weeks. On bedrest for last half of first trimester and for third trimester. Anti-contraction medication in third trimester which made sleeping and concentration difficult.

Nurse Midwife was great, no size bias, mild GD was "no big deal." Had many (10 or so) ultrasounds to check position of twins, growth rates etc. Did not have many other common tests (e.g., no amnio, etc.). I was a very proactive patient and did a lot of reading and Internet research on twin pregnancy. In addition, we took a childbirth preparation course for parents of twins as well as a Bradley course.

Midwife talked me into an induction in week 38 (considered full term for twins). Spent twelve hours on pitocin drip--no significant contractions so midwife said I could go home. Went into labor on my own four days later (38 weeks, 6 days gestation).

I called my doula after labor seemed to have started. She came over to our home and stayed with me until my labor seemed productive. We went to the hospital after I'd been laboring at home for about six hours. At hospital I walked a lot and used the whirlpool tub. Labor did not progress very fast. At about hour fourteen, my blood pressure suddenly started to shoot up (no high blood pressure before labor). Midwife strongly suggested an epidural since they bring down blood pressure. I agreed. Pitocin was also started and she broke the water of the first twin. Meconium was present so things became more urgent (pitocin turned up, etc.) Scalp monitor attached to first twin. After this point my midwife stayed by me the entire time and was very comforting and reassuring. 

Was fully dilated at hour twenty-two and was wheeled into C-section room (standard procedure at the hospital for multiples) for the birth. The backup OB came into the C-section room (still carrying her purse!) and told my midwife she could handle it on her own. Pushed for three and a half hours for first baby. I was very tired so I "let" midwife use vacuum extraction for first baby who had already crowned. Midwife broke water of second twin (also had Meconium) and attached scalp monitor. After about fifteen minutes I started pushing out the second twin. After about three pushes she was born. I did not have an episiotomy, but I did have some very minor tearing which required three stitches. The placentas were fused and I had trouble birthing them so midwife had to "dig around" a bit to get them out. Our doula took video of some of the labor and the final stages of pushing and birth so I have an accurate record! I was a bit "out of it" at the time!. I did watch a bit of the actual births in a mirror, although I had to close my eyes much of the time to concentrate on pushing.

Our babies were healthy, although M. had a bit of fluid in her lungs which was suctioned out. She nursed well from the beginning. H. had a bit of trouble with latching but learned within three weeks or so.

Overall, I am pretty satisfied with the handling of my pregnancy and birth. I'm very glad that I went with a midwife (recommended by Kmom, BTW) and that we used a doula. The midwife was much more liberal in her approach that I think an OB would have been and the doula was invaluable during labor, since she allowed my husband to focus more on me and less on being my coach.

 

Charlie's Story (fraternal twins, c/s)

Kmom's Notes:      

Birth Story

Basically a regular pregnancy... we were a bit concerned at the beginning because of the size I was becoming (rather early).  Also because of my age there were concerns that the baby would have problems (down's syndrome, spina bifida, etc) so the clinic did test for AFP.... The results came back high, which led to more concerns and we were scheduled for an ultrasound. At the ultrasound, we found out that the reason the AFP was high was because there were 2 babies, not one, which was a great relief.

The pregnancy was generally uneventful, other than the fact that I was miserable through most of it because of my size and it being a twin pregnancy. I had horrible heartburn most of the time, sciatica (which I have still)... no morning sickness to speak of, although if I got too hungry that would turn into nausea if I took too long to get around to eating and then smelled food.

The doctors initially suggested to me that if we made it through to 7 months that would be great and then we'd see how it was going, since twin pregnancies generally wind up being pre-term. However 7 months came and went and I remained pregnant and miserable. Then they suggested 8 months and they would consider induction since I was so uncomfortable... didn't happen. 9 months.... They tell me, "Well, lets just let nature take its course... " I said, "that's how I got this way to begin with!!!" They still didn't induce. 

Finally (since I was going in to be seen about twice a week by then) I had been experiencing some liquid leaking for a couple of days and mentioned it, thinking it was a new kind of incontinence problem (another side-effect of the twin pregnancy), and they checked it, found out it was amniotic fluid and decided to let me go and have my babies. Originally they indicated that we would try and have them vaginally, but since the boy baby hadn't turned (as we had hoped he would) they just went ahead and did the c/s to avoid their chins possibly locking on exit. 

That was 2 1/2 years ago. We think (every once in a while) about having another baby, but since the fact that we HAD twins was entirely my fault (the older you get the more predisposed to having multiples) and now I'm 38, I don't think we'll be having any more... Two is plenty and we have a boy and a girl and they keep us pretty busy. Who knows???... next time it might be triplets!!!......and then I'd really be up the creek.

 

Lisa Z's Story (twins, diet-only gd, vaginal birth)

Kmom's Notes:      

Birth Story

My story, despite the fact that I gave birth to twin boys, is actually rather boring (thank God!). I did develop gestational diabetes very early on in my pregnancy, and I was expecting that to happen for many reasons (family history, my weight, the fact that I was carrying twins - all increase risk). However, I was able to control my GD through diet and it proved to be not much more than a minor inconvenience during my pregnancy.

I became pregnant with the help of Fertinex and IUI (Intra-Uterine Insemination). I suffer from PCOS, and do not ovulate without pharmacological assistance. I did conceive once before with the help of fertility drugs, but it was an ectopic pregnancy, which we were able to abort with drugs and managed to avoid any kind of surgery. At the beginning of my pregnancy I weighed 308 pounds. At the end, I weighed 323. After delivery, I was down somewhere in the 280's, but alas, that was short-lived, and I am now back up to somewhere around my late pregnancy weight.

As for my labor - my water broke 2 days shy of 36 weeks. I went to the hospital and basically sat around a lot waiting for labor to start. About 12 hours after I checked into the hospital, the contractions started. A couple of hours later I had an epidural, which came out and had to be redone. Because of this, they gave me MEGA-doses of meds, which caused me to be completely paralyzed and numb from the waist down. My dh and I fell asleep until the doctor came in early in the morning to check me (which required both my OB and my dh hoisting my deadweight legs into the air so that he could examine me) and promptly announce that it was "showtime." He had me start pushing in my labor room, but once the 1st head appeared, I was taken to the operating room, which is standard precautionary procedure in multiple births.

My delivery progressed very normally - Baby A arrived after not much more pushing, and Baby B, who had been breech until then, flipped his little self around to be delivered head first. It took 23 minutes and the help of forceps, but both boys were delivered vaginally and in perfect health - 5 lbs. 12 ounces and 5 lbs 13 ounces! I took them home with me 2 days later.

 

Dana B's Story (fraternal twins, diet-only gd, c/s)

Kmom's Notes:   This mom was given an 1800 calories a day food plan, despite having twins, and told to drink Slimfast to keep down her weight gain.  She had a borderline gd reading; her doctor elected to treat it as gd just in case despite it not meeting the full standard diagnostic criteria.  Because her twins were not positioned well, she had a c/s.  She had a lot of blood loss afterwards, which may also have affected her milk supply (see above).  (Many times undiscovered or undertreated anemia after blood loss in childbirth can impact milk supply.)  

Birth Story

After a year or more of trying to conceive and a couple of months considering fertility treatment options, we decided to try Serophene (which is the same or a similar chemical to Clomid).  With this decision we knew we were taking a chance of having multiples, twin primarily, but we felt that it was worth the 9% risk stated in the materials.  (Of course, I found out later I have *four* sets of twins in my family history so that fact certainly increased our odds.)

At my 11 week appt., my first one after getting pregnant, the OB could feel my uterus quite high---when he shouldn't be able to feel it at all yet.  He sent me for my first ultrasound, where we saw two tiny sacs with beating hearts!  (DH was sick that he missed this appointment!)  After all the trying, waiting, and consideration, I thought I was ready for this possibility, but I was not.  The nurses teased me about the look on my face for the rest of the pregnancy!  I was in shock---all I could think of was double the daycare, double the clothing, braces, college---double *everything*!  Dh, on the other hand, was ecstatic!  "Hnnng! *I* did that!" said my caveman.  

My OB works with infertility patients frequently, so has delivered many sets of twin--which has taught him to be very cautious.  He leans toward intervention, which didn't bother me.  I'm not much of an "au natural" kind of person; with doctors in my family, I trust them.  However this OB *did* have a thing about weight, and Kmom and others were shocked when I mentioned that he recommended that I use SlimFast to avoid weight gain.  I cried, and Kmom recommended that I find a new, more balanced OB, but I really trusted him when it came to the babies.  I decided to ignore any weight-related comments and focus on the healthy-baby ones.  

I loved being pregnant, despite the bedrest and preterm labor.  I know that I crave attention, so I ate it up with a spoon during this time!  I also enjoyed having a big belly that I could be proud of.  I didn't have morning sickness, but "ligament stretching" is a bear!  My bones and ligaments had a lot of adjusting to do to fit those two babies into my 5'3 frame!  

At my 33 week appointment, I mentioned that it felt like A (on bottom) was sticking one little finger out my cervix and wiggling it, like he was trying to get out.  (Yes it felt kind of weird, kind of tickly-itchy.)  It was my cervix changing--I had dilated to a 2 and was 50% effaced.  My OB sent us directly across the street to the hospital to check in.  I had not noticed any contractions, even "false labor" ones, so this was a surprise.  

Sure enough, the monitor showed some contractions, but I couldn't feel them.  We were able to control the contractions with Brethene and Procardia (asthma and heart medications that soothe smooth muscle groups, like those around your uterus).  A couple of time, the contractions got a little feisty, so we used injectible Brethene instead of pills, but that always worked.  We never had to go to the 'hard' stuff like mag sulfate.  If I had lived closer to the hospital instead of 45 minutes away, they would have sent me home.  Instead, I moved in for the long haul.  I was on pretty strict bedrest.  I wasn't to sit up except to eat, but I could go to the restroom and take a 5-minute shower every other day.  I looked forward to shower days!  My parents stayed at our house during this time and visited me during the day.  DH visited in the evening after work and on his days off.  I didn't have much time for boredom between nurses, family, and other visitors!  

At 35 1/2 weeks, my OB told me I could get out of bed!  He was satisfied with the twins' development.  He still wanted me to stay at the hospital, though, because A was frank breech andB was transverse---which meant I'd have a c/s (this OB doesn't like to put the second baby at risk by trying to turn one or both when they aren't in head-down position).  He told us to go out to lunch and to the store to buy the babies something, then come back to the hospital like it was an apartment.  (Odd arrangement, but woohoo!  Sunshine!  Real Food!)

I never made it--and am glad (my water would have broken in a restaurant, ugh!).  While we waited for the hospital to figure out his "treat us like an apartment" order, my water broke!  Once we convinced the nurse that I hadn't just wet myself, thing got exciting.  I got an IV, DH got scrubs on (thank goodness he was even there!), and we wheeled down the hall to the OR, where I got scared for the very first time during the whole pregnancy.  Something about that room was suddenly very intimidating.  And the contractions got quite strong by that time, too.  DH held me while I got an epidural (that hadn't seemed scary until that very moment--but it went fine).  

Ahh...then there was no pain and not nearly so much stress.  The doctor came in, a nurse turned on some rock and roll music for hi, and DH watched the whole surgery from beside my head.  (But he wouldn't videotape it for me....sigh).  The surgery must have happened really fast, because the twins were only a minute apart, but that was a really looonnng minute, it seems!  I just remember an awful lot happening between babies, and nothing seemed to occur at a frantic pace--but then, I was pretty loopy.  DH took the babies to the nursery for their baths while the doctor put me back together.  I decided to take a nap at this point.  I woke up to go to the recovery room.  

Then things got exciting again.  My uterus didn't clamp down like it should, so I continued to bleed profusely where the placenta had been.  My blood pressure dropped to 64/40 or something and the nurses began working quickly.  They shut my parents out of the room and paged a doctor.  He ordered a shot of something and the nurses pushed on my stomach to help pressure-stop the bleeding.  It worked and I was stable by the time DH brought the babies back from the nursery to see me.  I got to try nursing them there in recovery, but we were all pretty tired, so mostly we snuggled.  

My recovery from the c/s wasn't anything to write home about, but it was okay.  I didn't realize that I should have continued taking iron pills to compensate from the lost blood, so I was even more tired than I would have been already.  Between that, lack of sleep, and the extra energy it takes to make milk, I was a very tired camper for the first several weeks!  But we had *two* precious babies! Nope, it wasn't the birth story I expected, but it has worked out beautifully.  I made it and even went back to work part-time at 5 weeks (I burned 3 weeks of leave in the hospital).  And I'd say our family is now flourishing in an "all-time best" period of fun and communication...although the twins do take a toll on our ability to manage romantic encounters!  

My best advice for delivering moms?  Request prunes with every meal.  Don't ask---just eat the prunes!  :-)

 

Kathy F's Twin Story (insulin-dep. gd, premature labor, vaginal birth)

Kmom's Notes:    These are Kathy F's 6th and 7th children.  Several of her other birth stories are in the BBW Birth Stories: Vaginal Birth Under Special Circumstances FAQ.  They include homebirth as well as hospital birth.

This story was very long; it has been summarized.  The major summarizations were placed into [brackets], although there were minor abridgments throughout.  

For those facing a complicated pregnancy or long-term bedrest, there is a terrific organization called Sidelines that can help with information and support.  www.sidelines.org is the website for further info. 

Birth Story

We found out we were having twins at 10 weeks during a routine ultrasound at my first OB appointment.  We were ecstatic!  We had wanted 7 children, but knew that my 6th pregnancy would have to be my last due to the physical problems I was having.  My husband was with me, so we learned of our double blessing together!  We were getting our seven after all!

At 12 weeks I started bleeding.  A gush one morning frightened me very badly.  I was put on partial bedrest and the bleeding changed to constant brown spotting within 24 hours.  This continued until the 18th week, when all spotting finally stopped completely.  

I had been thrilled with my OB's care of my last baby (#5) but this pregnancy was different.  My OB was a naturally quiet person, and wasn't as communicative as I felt I needed with this unusual multiple pregnancy.  I also couldn't shake the feeling that things were going to be complicated.  I wanted a specialist, so at the end of my fourth month, I changed to a perinatologist.  It was a very smart and important decision, and I believe it was instrumental in bringing my girls strong and healthy into the world.  My new docs had me come in each week and were very proactive in their care, looking to catch problems before they arose.  

Starting around the end of the 4th month (as I changed doctors), I began having constant contractions, i.e., 'irritable uterus'.  Until Oct. 4, they weren't doing anything to my cervix.  3 weeks before then, I'd had a fairly new test called a "fetal fibronectin" test, where the fluid around the cervix is tested for a certain protein that apparently is always present when a woman goes into labor.  If none of this protein is found, it's almost a guarantee that the woman will NOT go into labor in the next 2 weeks, but if the protein is present, there's a 17-40% chances (depending on what study is used) that the woman is going into labor in the next week or two.  This protein was present for me both 3 weeks previously and in another test 1 week before the Oct. 4th date.  This test, plus everything else, caused my doctors to put me on home-monitoring and complete bedrest for the duration of pregnancy.  I was able to use the bathroom but that was all.  

With home monitoring I had to strap on a contraction monitor for an hour and just lie there while it recorded any contractions.  Then I would place the monitor into the base and 'fax' the recording to the monitoring center at the hospital where it would be checked.  I never had more than 2 contractions in any given hour. In fact, I never did get to 6 an hour, which was the benchmark for labor my doctors had set.  A couple of times that last week I had 3 in half an hour but then it would stop.  My contact nurse agreed that I didn't fit the criteria for labor.  I know it didn't FEEL like labor, and I'd had 5 children before this and had a pretty good idea of what that feels like!  But this pregnancy ended as differently as everything else about it.  

On Oct. 4, I got dressed and went to my regular weekly appt.  I had contractions, but they didn't feel any different than usual.  The week before I was barely dilated to 1 cm and not effaced at all.  We did a vaginal ultrasound to see how my cervix was going.  I knew there must've been big changes when the tech's expression changed from a smile to a carefully guarded one.  The doctor was called in immediately and my cervix checked the usual way.  Turned out I was dilated to 3 cm and 50% effaced.  "Well, you're sure not going home," the doctor informed me.  "We don't know where you're going, but you're not going home."  

We were having an electrical storm that morning, so they couldn't air-evac me to my insurance's choice of hospital 30 minutes away, and they weren't going to risk an ambulance ride so I got to go to the hospital of MY choice right next door to the doctor's office.  Once admitted I was put on monitors, and was definitely in active labor, having contractions anywhere from 5-12 minutes apart.  Standard for me for the first 5 cm of dilation.  I was put on Magnesium Sulfate to stop the labor, and since the Mag was somewhat slower acting, was also given a shot of another tocolytic (not terbutaline).  It did the trick.  Wed. night I went into labor again, had 7 contractions in an hour.  They again gave me the tocolytic, raised the Mag to the maximum, which again arrested the labor even though I was not dilated to 4+.  [I asked for and got a catheter because getting up brought on the contractions.]

I have a strong belief in a personal loving God, so after they did all this and left me alone in the darkened room I laid as still as I could and prayed, tears running down my cheeks.  My prayer (and fear) was so intense I felt as if I was standing before the throne of God, and beseeching Heavenly Father with all my heart to please stop the labor.  Please give me and the babies time.  [I felt his love, but that I was praying for too much time that He couldn't give because of other complex, long-term factors.]  I prayed for just a few days, just enough to let the steroids work on the girls' lungs and help them develop more completely.  I felt a great peace, a great sense of surrender, and commitment to accept His will and not fight it.  In a very real sense, I felt Him stop the labor.  The medication I had been given was his tool.  The labor stopped because Heavenly Father heard my petition and granted it.  I know this with all my heart.  

About 3x a day the doctor wanted a monitored reading of the babies' heartbeats.  This was an extremely difficult thing to do because I had to try and stay completely still--not even scratch an itch---or the whole thing would be thrown off and I'd have to do it all again.  [The sessions could last an hour or more.] My arthritis in my hips was aggravated by the pregnancy and with the Mag relaxing my muscles it made the arthritis even more painful.  The pain during these days was excruciating, perhaps the worst pain I've ever experienced in my entire life.  Through prayer and contemplation I was strengthened and found this time to be one of great joy and communion with the Spirit in spite of the pain.  I also made a game of being as friendly and kind to the nurses as I could.  Since I had to be there, I figured I might as well see if I could make their work as pleasant as possible.  

While in the hospital on bedrest, my Gestational Diabetes (developed at 28 weeks) was uncontrollable by diet alone.  {Kmom note: Some tocolytic drugs, while a necessary evil for some, do tend to increase blood sugar, as do the steroid shots she was given to mature her babies' lungs.  No wonder she needed insulin, but it was a small price to pay for the necessary meds in this case.}  I was put on insulin, just two shots a day, long-acting, and the lowest dose.  That took care of the problem.  

[By the following weekend, my Mag dose was lowered, I got bathroom privileges, and needed less monitoring.  But the next week they increased.  I told the nurse.  Things were feeling different.  I didn't want to admit it to myself, but I had a gut feeling my time was nearly up.  Early Tuesday morning, about 6:45 a.m.,  I got up to use the bathroom and before I was even standing I felt my water break. I called my husband first before even calling the nurse so he could arrange for care for the other kids and get to the hospital.  After I went to the bathroom, I pushed the button.]  It was a funny tableau--me standing there with fluid running down my legs and 3 nurses standing in the doorway looking at me.  "I think my water broke," I said.  "Yes, I can see that!" said one of the nurses.  Then controlled chaos ensued.  We were all cheerful and joking a bit, no point in being fearful.  I had been receiving the absolute best care from the doctors and nurses, the NICU was a level 3, and advances in neonatal care made the chances of everything being fine as high as they could be. 

The nurse wanted to get a monitoring strip on the babies but we couldn't find them.   We could find echoes of their heartbeats but couldn't pin them both down at the same time.  Pretty soon the u/s tech was called in to find them.  Turned out Baby B was lying transverse on top of Baby A, who was vertex.  But both were fine.  Because of their position and their borderline weights--barely 1500 grams---the doctor said a c-section would be best.  That was fine with me!  I'd already decided that whatever the doctor wanted to do, I would agree to.  I knew I had the best perinatologists in the state and wasn't about to second-guess them!  That was why I switched to them in the first place.

The doctor did want to give me a couple of hours without the Mag to see if the labor was going to continue.  [It didn't stop, but it never got regular either.  I had some HARD contractions after my water broke, but they were never regular.  I was very controlled during labor, never making a peep, and that plus the irregular contractions confused the heck out of everyone.  I did tell them after about an hour that labor wasn't going to stop and she'd better get the doctor and get things ready, but then I let them give me some Demerol and it became difficult to communicate.  Those hard but irregular contractions (never more than 3 or 4 in any hour) had been doing a LOT, then I had a really hard one down in labor and delivery.  The nurse there KNEW, especially since for once *I* didn't know, but she was right---I was not only at 10 cm but baby A wasn't interested in waiting for the doctor or the c/s!  (I've always known and told the nurses when I was at ten---my contractions followed a set pattern in all my other labors, but the Mag really threw that pattern off this time.)  The nurse called for the doctor, stat, and things really got moving.]

I was wheeled in the O.R. and prepped.  The doctor told me that after baby A was delivered vaginally, we could still do a c/s for baby B.  The risk to her was still there.  But then the doctor did a quick ultrasound to determine the position, and another miracle was discovered.  Baby A had come so far down the birth canal on her own, she'd given baby B enough room to maneuver from transverse to vertex (head-down)!  My husband and I were thrilled; it took me a few seconds before I realized I wasn't going to have a c/s after all.  

Baby A was born with one tiny push from me, and my goodness, she was protesting!!  What a cry!  She was LOUD!!!!  The doctor told me to wait for another contraction, but they'd been so intermittent that after waiting 5 minutes or so, I just decided to push anyway.  It took a few minutes, but baby B was born 9 minutes after baby A and was as LOUD as her sister!!  They both had Apgar scores of 9, 9!!  I'm still amazed at that.  They were 3 and a half and 4 pounds, respectively, and 16.5 and 17.25 inches respectively.

They were in the NICU for a week, then in a level 2 nursery for 2 more weeks, then discharged from the hospital on apnea monitors.  They were on IVs for just a couple of days while the Mag was flushed from their systems. Then when we started bottle-feeding them and they did so great the IVs were removed.  They also had prongs for extra oxygen in their noses for a few days, and received small amounts of caffeine for a week or so to help them because of Apnea Bradycardia (breathing lapses and slow heartbeat) episodes.  They never had to be intubated or have gavage feedings, which is amazing for 31 weekers.  The girls are now 3.5 months old and are 11 and 12 lbs.  They are both remarkably healthy.  

There was one major complication with the twins, and I'd like to encourage EVERY parent of a preemie, no matter how big, to get their eyes checked for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) both within the first weeks of birth and absolutely by the 37th week.  That 37th week is critical.  You may end up saving your baby's eyesight by taking the time.  In my hospital, they routinely check preemies born 32 weeks or sooner.  One of my babies had ROP, stage 3 (stage 4 means blindness).  Laser surgery corrected the problem.  Her 6-week checkup after surgery was last week and her eyes were declared perfect!  It is obvious to us that she is seeing very well, is tracking, etc.    ROP doesn't happen to all preemies, and happens less the older and bigger they are.  But you never know, so get their eyes checked to be on the safe side!  The American Pediatric Association only recommends routine screening of preemies 28 weeks or less, and 1500 grams or less.  My daughter was older and bigger and would be irrevocably blind if it weren't for the more liberal policies of my hospital's NICU. 

The afternoon of the delivery I had a tubal ligation, since my body is just not managing pregnancy well anymore.  My last child before the twins was born  at 36 weeks, and with the insulin-dependent GD and the arthritis, it just would be really pushing it to risk getting pregnant again, both for me and any future children.  I've also developed a hernia, either umbilical (bellybutton) or incisional (from the tubal ligation), and will need surgery soon to correct it.  [This may be from the multiple pregnancy or not but I probably won't ever know for sure.]

Both girls are very cheerful and full of smiles.  We are enjoying them immensely.  One is sleeping through the night consistently but the other is still waking up at least once or twice a night.  Ugh.  But soon they will be out of our room and in separate cribs.  I'm looking forward to it!  :-)  Although I forgot to ask how the placentas looked because I was too drugged, they were completely separate and it is obvious by looking that my girls are definitely fraternal twins.  

 

Mary S's Story (antiphospholipid antibody, twins, premature vaginal birth)

Kmom's Notes:    

Birth Story

I should begin by saying that I have a fairly rare condition called antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, also known as Lupus Anticoagulant (although I don't have lupus and this isn't an anticoagulant, so go figure).  What this means is that my blood clots too easily while I'm pregnant.  In order to keep blood clots from forming in the umbilical [cord] and killing the baby, I take two shots a day of blood thinner, Heparin, and a baby aspirin.  

With a previous pregnancy the heparin failed sometime between 28-31 weeks and our little boy, Nate, was stillborn due to blood clots in the umbilical (and lack of a proper exam by my 'then' OB, who didn't give me a very thorough exam when I went in complaining of lessening fetal movement - but that's another story). When we discovered I was expecting twins it was suddenly a whole new ballgame, we weren't sure why the Hep had stopped working, we weren't sure of the dosage I should have. I had the absolute BEST perinatologist in the city (she heads up the perinatal dept, which also has the only level 3 NICU in town) and she was great. We worked together to  medicate me properly during this pregnancy, and she really made me feel like I was the expert with my body. She LISTENED when I had concerns, she moved my appointments up to weekly exams when I requested it, and mostly she just understood that DH and I were scared to death we'd lose these little guys, too. 

We found out we were having twins at our first ultrasound at 6 weeks.  No twins run in our families so we were very very happily surprised to find out we were expecting two instead of one.  My pregnancy was relatively uneventful until I was 25 and a half weeks and we had a scare with some BH contractions that didn't want to stop.  They did a fetal fibronectin test which showed positive that the boys were more likely to be born in the next two weeks so the doctor on call thought that steroids to mature their lungs would be a good idea.  Since the two shots are given 24 hours apart it's a darned good thing he did.  

April 30, at 28 weeks to the day, I went in to work for the first time in two weeks after being on partial bed rest after the Easter incident.  About 8 a.m. my tummy was a bit achy; I thought it was gas.  I went to the restroom about 8:45 a.m. and realized I had lost my mucous plug.  I called my DH to come get me, then I called the doctor's office, that was at 9 a.m.  By 9:30 a.m. I was at the hospital and having fairly painful contractions every couple of minutes.  They put in an IV and gave me a shot of Terbutaline to stop the contractions, then did an ultrasound.  The boys were fine---baby A still vertex and baby B still breech.  

Fifteen minutes later a resident comes in to check me and I was already complete.  In the meantime the Terb had kicked in and the contractions had stopped.  They put me on a gurney and rushed me up to an operating room (all twins are born there, and there was no point in stopping in Labor and Delivery).  My DH disappeared off somewhere to be covered in paper products and they start trying to get a second IV into me.  

Meanwhile my doctor shows up.  I was a happy girl at this point.  I love my doctor and didn't think she'd make it in time.  She tells me that since I'd already had my morning shot of Heparin I couldn't have a spinal or an epidural so no pain meds for me---and if they couldn't get the breech baby out vaginally they'd have to knock me out and do a c-section after delivering baby A.  Not what she, or I, wanted to do with me on high doses of blood thinner.  

Sometime during all the hubbub DH was let into the room, thank goodness.  So Dr says, "OK, with the next contraction go ahead and push." I'm like, "What contractions, they gave me Terb downstairs."  Have you ever seen a doctor explode?  It's kind of fun.  "WHO GAVE HER THE TERB?!!!????"  So, now we get pitocin to start things back up, it's right about 11:30 (I know this because there was a clock right over the doctor's head and I found myself watching it more than once) and about 5 minutes later I feel a cramp.  She says go ahead and push, so I pushed 3 times and with a HUGE gush of water out squirms baby A at 11:30 a.m. Apparently the water shot about 8 feet out; I distinctly remember my DH standing up and looking and saying, "Oh my!"  I think we soaked most of the staff.  So, time to get baby B out and they tell me to push again, but he's breech so the resident doing the delivery has her hand in me up to about the elbow trying to grab him and pull him out.  That was NOT pleasant, but one push later out came Will with an even BIGGER gush of water (Ha!  Got the rest of them!) at 11:44 a.m.

So, less than 4 hours start to finish and two beautiful, if tiny, boys to show for it.  Honestly, the worst part was them messing around and delivering the placentas and checking me for tears, all while I just wanted them to stop fooling with me so I could see my boys.  Everything was fine, though, Jon was crying and breathing on his own and Will was flailing his little legs around.  I didn't have any tears and didn't even get a single stitch.  

I wasn't planning on natural childbirth, I was all about the epidural, but it was so quick it really wasn't bad at all pain-wise.  I was too busy being worried and too rushed to have time to worry too much.  Heck, the delivery wouldn't have hurt at all if everyone had kept their hands to themselves.  I was up walking around less than an hour later and was able to go by the NICU to see them on the way to my room.  They were little, but healthy.  Both are now doing well.  

You can see their website at: http://pages.sbcglobal.net/atomicpossum/boys/boys.html. We're trying to make it into a resource for parents of preemies and we're adding to it constantly.

I did stay on heparin for a four weeks after the birth, just as a precaution, and we didn't want to go to Coumadin, because it could have come through in my milk. And yes, I've been tested and I don't have any other clotting issues outside of pregnancy, luckily.

Our NICU staff is fabulous and we've already had the boys out to 'nuzzle', (nuzzle and lick around Mom's nipple to get the smell/feel of it while he's being tube fed - and to help increase my milk supply)  and can you believe it, they've BOTH latched on already. They're not  strong enough to suck for more than a few seconds, but it's amazing to  have that little 2 1/2 pound baby latched on a sucking. And my pediatrician is working with us to get them to breast eventually full time. :)

We've only been able to try it once with our big boy, Jon, since the day after we first tried it he got an infection that's required him to be back on the ventilator. He's doing well though, and as soon as the copious lung secretions clear up he'll be back off it. He's on minimum settings and  doing just fine. Oddly enough our little guy has a stronger suck, but maybe that's just because Jon was coming down with something. I can't wait to get him healthy enough to give him another try.

It's been really tough to get my milk supply to come in, though, so I'm taking a second round of Reglan to try to increase it. I'm also pumping 8-10 times a day, and it does get tiring, but I agree that it's SO worth the effort. Luckily my DH is tremendously supportive, too, or I don't  know how I'd manage. :)

Analisa Norris Roche's Story  (fraternal twins, bedrest, breech, c/s)

Birth Story

Went in for my 35-week checkup the morning of December 24. Found out I was about 2 cm. dilated and 60% effaced. I had been on bedrest until about two weeks previous, so had a lot of errands that hadn't been run. Eric and I did a few of them on the way home while Mom was home with Meg.  Ian, Tony, Mikki, and Andrew showed up shortly for Christmas shortly after Eric and I got home, and we spent the afternoon hanging out, talking, messing around, enjoying each other for the first visit in a long time. I kept wondering on and off that day if I was leaking amniotic fluid since that's how my labor with Meg had started, and I felt wetter than usual. Got up to go to the bathroom around 8:30 pm and had a big burst of fluid, so then I was sure. I sat on the toilet and slammed the wall with my fist and screamed profanities b/c I was upset that it was so early (only 35 weeks 2 days). Started crying, told Eric, told the family, called my OB who told me to get in. 

We were pretty concerned about the risk of cord prolapse since Patrick was presenting foot-first, so we rushed. I was glad to hear that my own OB (in a practice of three) was the one on call that night. I was quickly checked in and then it took a very nerve-wracking 2-1/2 hours to do all the surgical prep stuff. Asked me a ton of questions, signed releases, Eric changed into scrubs, blah, blah, etc. I had plenty of time to get more and more nervous since this was my first Cesarean, my first epidural, etc. Finally wheeled into the operating room around 10:30 pm. Epidural administered, probably the most unpleasant part of the whole experience. Fortunately, I was allowed to hold onto Eric while it was done, which undoubtedly helped a lot. 

Eric then sat by my head while they cut me open. Neither of us could see anything b/c of the draping. I felt only the slightest tugging sensations. They told him when to stand up to take pictures, which didn't turn out very well due to the poor angle he was at, but that's all they would allow. Patrick was born at 10:54 pm and Catherine at 10:55 pm. Eric made sure I still wanted him to go with the babies instead of staying with me, which I did. They were taken into an adjacent room since the operating room didn't have enough space for all the people and equipment for two babies. Eric came back briefly to tell me their weights (4 lb. 7 oz. and 4 lb. 8 oz.) I was so depressed at that point b/c my babies were so small and I couldn't hold them and they had to be taken to the NICU while I was sewn up. I got to look at them really briefly, but Catherine's breathing was rapid and shallow so they were in a hurry to get her moving. The stitching felt like it took forever with me there in the OR and Eric and my babies up in intensive care. Then they wheeled me to recovery just after midnight. 

I chatted with the nurse there and tried to be upbeat. I asked for Patrick since he was quickly sent to the regular nursery, but I was told I couldn't see him until I had spent two hours in recovery! Eric came down to update me and went quickly back to Catherine (who received Erythromycin despite our having declined it, grrr). I was really antsy and bored in recovery, wide awake, etc. I asked the nurse what I had to do to have a pump ready in my postpartum room since the babies were going to be too small to nurse, and that wonderful woman had one waiting for me, all set up to use, by the time I got up there. I looked around and then asked for a magazine to read to try to take my eyes off the really really slow-moving clock on the wall across from me, and she went in search of something. Came back with some Parenting drivel, which I willingly browsed. Next time Eric came down he went to the car to get my novel. I was later told I was the first person they ever had ask for something to read in recovery, which really surprised me!

Catherine was blessedly out of the NICU by the time I was sent upstairs around 2 am so I was then able to hold and try (unsuccessfully) to nurse my babies...and my life as a twin mom began! We were in the hospital four days, my recovery was easy and fast, and the babies came home with us on December 28! (Nice side note: the whole visiting family brought Christmas dinner and gifts to our hospital room the next day).

Breastfeeding got off to a rough start since the babies were too small and too sleepy to nurse well. I pumped around the clock and Eric finger-fed them for about two weeks. Every two hours I would spend two minutes pumping, take one baby and work on nursing, hand that baby over to Eric, take the other baby and work on nursing, hand that baby over to Eric, then pump for 20 minutes. It was exhausting, but well worth it. Within several weeks they were champion breastfeeders, impressing several lactation consultants, and we haven't looked back since!

 

Triplet Birth Stories

Michele's Story (triplets!, classical c/s)

Kmom's Notes:    These triplets were not conceived with fertility drugs.  With higher-order multiples, a classical (up-down) incision is sometimes used.

Birth Story

My husband and I had just gotten married when I found out I was pregnant a month later.  Around Christmas time I started bleeding and called my OB's office.  I hadn't seen the OB yet because he likes for his patients to be at least 10 weeks at the first office visit.  When I called the OB's office he had me come in for an ultrasound.  I was given a vaginal ultrasound since I was only about 8 weeks pregnant.  I thought I was having a miscarriage so imagine my surprise when the u/s tech asked me if I was taking fertility drugs!  I told her no, I was not, why do you ask?  To which she answered, well, you are having triplets!  

My first reaction was to cry (from relief that I wasn't having a miscarriage and from shock).  The tech went and got my husband who came in and saw me crying and assumed the worst.  After he was told our "baby" was in fact 3 babies, he screamed, "WHAT!!!!" loud enough for everyone in the waiting area to hear!  The tech informed the doctor what she had seen on the u/s and we were ushered into his office for the standard speech on what could happen, such as we could lose one or all of the babies, complications, etc.  I was sent home on 2 weeks bedrest with bathroom privileges only.  By the end of the 2 weeks the bleeding had stopped (it was caused by me helping my husband lift the 100 lb. headboard onto our waterbed which caused a small tear in the lining of my uterus).  

I worked until 20 weeks of pregnancy.  I wasn't ever put on bedrest again, but my OB did advise me to take it very easy.  Basically, all I did for the rest of the pregnancy was take my husband to work each morning, come home, eat, go to bed for more sleep, eat lunch, rest again, pick my husband up, eat again, and go back to bed!  On weekends I went to garage sales with my mom to stock up for our soon to be larger family.  I had about 15 u/s/ during my pregnancy, non-stress tests done 3x a week during the last month (during all of these I have 1 contraction), and developed pre-eclampsia.  I was so swollen I couldn't wear any shoes except for Velcro strap flip-flops.  They would rarely fasten and 2 weeks after the girls were born you could still see strap marks on my ankles!  

At 34 weeks I developed a cold and couldn't sleep laying down.  I tried to sleep reclining on the couch for 3 days, but that didn't work so I finally went in to the hospital ER on Saturday.  I was admitted to L/D because of the protein in my urine, where they did a 24 hour urine catch.  After the urine was analyzed the doctors decided to deliver my girls.  My OB, the Pediatrician, and the neonatologists who were going to be there were all out of town for the 4th of July.  My OB's partner, plus another OB who offered to assist, the Ped's partner, and the neonatologist's partner all were there for my delivery.  

I was given an epidural and then I was taken into the OR at about 9:30 and the girls were born at 10:03, 10:04, and 10:05 a.m.  I experienced a window from the epidural where I could feel it when they clamped back my bladder so as soon as all the girls were born I was given Demerol by IV.  Within 2 hours of their birth the nurses got me up and took me to see my babies.  I did have a spinal headache caused by the epidural, which the nurses diagnosed.  I was given a blood patch to clear that up (a blood patch is when they draw blood from your arm and inject it into the back to clot the hole that was punctured in the spinal column from the epidural, which causes spinal fluid to leak, causing a spinal headache).  

I was in the hospital for a total of 6 days.  Two of my babies came home after 2 weeks and the third came home after 3 weeks.  All three were very healthy and only needed to learn to suck and gain weight.  That's my story and I'm currently pregnant with child #4 (just one this time!).  

Update: Michele had her baby (just one!) by repeat cesarean because of the prior classical incision.  All went well, and this time she got to breastfeed the baby. 

 

Elayne's Story (PCOS, triplets!, preemies, c/s)

Kmom's Notes:    

Birth Story

We knew going into trying to conceive that things would be difficult. I knew at 17 that I didn't ovulate, and I'd been on the pill ever since. After nine months without a period off the pill, I started infertility treatments, namely Clomid. I was told there was a 5% increased risk of twins, and no mention was ever made of triplets or more. We thought twins we could handle.

On my successful cycle, we'd gotten up to 150mg of Clomid, and the doctor said that if it didn't work this time we'd have to go up to the injectible drugs. But I did have a good follicle, and the doctors decided to give me an HCG injection to induce ovulation. Nobody bothered to tell me this could increase the risk of multiples.

I tested positive, and made my first appointment with the midwife I had selected for my homebirth. At 5 weeks, I had some cramping and bleeding on a business trip, so when I got back I scheduled an ultrasound with my OB to check on it.  We saw four sacs and three heartbeats. Apparently, I conceived quadruplets and then miscarried one, which accounted for the bleeding.

Things were pretty uneventful for a while (if you can call triplets uneventful). I was forced out of my job and just took it easy, little to no physical activity, limited errands, etc. At 20 weeks, when I went for a Level II ultrasound, they discovered my cervix had dilated to 1.5cm.  I wasn't having contractions, just uterine irritability, so they decided to just do a cerclage. I was on and off bedrest after that. Every time they let me off bedrest, I started having contractions. I'd come in to the hospital, they'd give me IV fluids and sometimes keep me overnight, then send me home on bedrest again. Every time I went to the hospital, they put me on the toco monitors, but no contractions ever registered, regardless of what I was feeling.

At 24 weeks, I began developing gestational diabetes. With diabetes running rampant in my family tree, and being hypoglycemic myself, I am very familiar with blood sugars and testing. I already had my own monitor, more of a toy before but used seriously now. I checked my fasting sugars every day, and occasionally checked after meals. At 24 weeks, I began getting very high readings after meals, 160+. That week, I also had sugar in my urine. Despite all this, my OB insisted that it was impossible to detect or even develop diabetes before 28 weeks, and he refused to test me. Knowing better, I put myself on a strict diabetic diet, allowing for multiple gestation, and kept track of my sugars. This was very difficult in the hospital, though, because I couldn't control my diet. More than that, nobody seemed to understand how much a triplet mom needs to eat to have big healthy babies, regardless of her size.

At 26 weeks, I went into full pre-term labor. At first I thought it was gas pains, because it was all in my back. A couple of hours later, I realized that gas pains don't come every seven minutes on the dot, and the contractions also started to radiate across my belly. We went into the hospital, and they immediately put me on the toco monitor, and spent the usual hour trying to catch all three babies on the strip at once (never happened). As usual, no contractions registered on the monitor. They started to blow me off, and I protested that I was really feeling strong contractions. The nurses tried to feel them through my belly, but they said they couldn't feel anything. I asked them to please check my cervix, like they had always done every time before. They refused. Instead, they sent me home on a sedative, Seconal, treating me like I was nuts. The sedative knocked me into a daze. I was still feeling contractions, and just barely aware enough to register the times (moving through 6 minutes into 5 minutes apart during the night), but I wasn't coherent enough to think, "Gee, maybe I should call another doctor or go back to the hospital."

By the time the Seconal wore off the next morning, my contractions were very strong, 5 minutes apart. I still waited a little while, out of pure sheepishness, because after being sent home the night before I believed them, I thought surely I was imagining it. That morning, though, I started suddenly bleeding heavily, and we did go back to the hospital. Sure enough, my cerclage had ripped out. Not only that, but I was dilated to 5 cm already. Even with all of this, though, my contractions, though painful, STILL never registered on the toco monitor. They admitted me and put me on bedrest, and gave me magnesium sulfate, terbutaline, and antibiotics and steroids for the babies. The tocolytics worked almost immediately, shutting my contractions down to nothing. Unfortunately, it was too late. I dilated to 6 cm before the drugs kicked in, and 24 hours later my water broke.

There was no hope for a vaginal birth of triplets, certainly not at 26 weeks. They were too small and fragile to really withstand the stress of a vaginal birth. So we went for an urgent c-section. The anesthesiologist came to talk with me beforehand, explaining how the spinal worked, all of which I knew after having a spinal for my cerclage. I told her about the spinal wearing off before I even left the operating room last time, and added that painkillers in general have little to no effect on me. She blew me off (like everybody else), telling me not to worry.

We went into surgery at about 11:00, and my babies were born at 12:09, 12:09, and 12:10, about 30 seconds apart. I got to touch the girls briefly as they went by. My boy needed resuscitation more urgently, so I only got to see him in the portable incubator before he was taken upstairs. By luck, my L&D nurse had a student nurse working with her that day.  The student had to be there for the section, but couldn't do anything. So we gave her a camera, and she took a ton of pictures of the births. Bloody, but they're the only pictures I have of my babies not attached to anything for the next three months.

By the time my third baby was born, I was beginning to feel more than I should. By the time they were stitching me up, I felt every stitch and every twitch. They made my husband leave the room, but he saw them pump four or five drugs into my IV before he did. None of them really worked. They finally gave me Versed, so the end is a little hazy...yet I still remember a good deal of it.  On the upside, I did get a letter of apology and reference from that anesthesiologist, for me to show at any future surgeries.

Breastfeeding was a complete failure. Not on my part; I was a milch cow. I was putting out 50 ounces a day when I quit. I tried and tried and tried to have a "No Nipples" order put on the babies' charts, because I was concerned about that interfering with breastfeeding. The hospital staff insisted on giving them bottles anyway. They breastfed exclusively for two weeks before getting their first bottle, and they were doing well, getting latched on and getting decent amounts of milk out. The hospital still insisted, and the very day they got their first bottle, they refused the breast. I continued to pump until they came home, but with no help I did not have enough time to pump and bottlefeed.

We now have one baby with cerebral palsy, and the other two have a tendency to wheeze and catch bronchitis from every little cold, which we understand is a result of their having been on ventilators for almost two weeks after birth. Other than that, fortunately, they are doing well. We're working on getting pregnant again, hopefully with only one baby this time. I'm taking Glucophage to control my PCOS, and it seems to be working well.

My babies' website, www.huntfamilyhome.net, has even more  information about the pregnancy and birth.

 


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