Colin and Shire's birth story, Part 1

Part 1: Settling in…at Fairfax Hospital
{This is me, 3 years ago today}
This post has nothing to do with refinishing furniture or home decor. I just want to share a story, my story, of some events that were life changing for me. As some of you already might know, I have boy girl twins, Colin and Shire. They will be 3 years old on October 29. As most twins’ births, theirs was a bit different from a singleton birth. Aside from some of the common scenarios associated with twin births, (they were born via c-section, they were premature), their birth was anything but common for me. And it started 3 years and 8 days ago. This story is broken up into several 'parts', so I will post them one at a time so not to overload you with one long blog!
My due date was December 4. On September 18 Matt and I moved to Northern Virginia, (Fairfax area), from Virginia Beach. At that time I was already supposed to be on modified bed rest and had to stop working my job as a personal trainer a few weeks prior. The move couldn’t have gone smoother; we had a lot of help on both ends from family and friends. However, when I met my new OBGYN for the first time, she requested an ultrasound to check for ‘funneling’, (the beginning stage of dilating). Her office didn’t do ultrasounds; they made an appointment for me up the street at Fairfax Hospital. The day of my appointment was a good day. October 2. It was Matt’s 2nd day of work at a job he was very optimistic about. My Mom picked me up and we spent the entire morning together, enjoying a Capitals hockey practice, lunch at Panera, and just general quality time together, (this has little to do with my story, but she DID end up losing her 25yr anniversary ring that my Dad had given her and we spent some major time looking for it in trashcans, skating rink bleachers, under tables, etc….she found it eventually, but not that day. We were blue when we arrived to the hospital for my ultrasound). The ultrasound tech was a perky girl who was newly engaged. I liked her. She was sweet and friendly. She showed us the jumble of legs, arms, little bottoms, and heads that were inside my tummy. Then she started to check my cervical canal and got very quiet. I felt my heart drop. I knew she wasn’t allowed to say anything. They never are. But her silence and face gave her away. She left me to re-dress and told us the doctor would come talk to us. The doctor came to us and said that I was 1cm dilated and would need to remain in the hospital on strict bed rest through the remainder of my pregnancy.

I was shocked. Don’t women walk around at 1cm all the time for weeks and weeks before they give birth?! I wasn’t contracting and was drinking water like it was my full time job! This couldn’t be. What about Matt? I wanted to spend our last months together. What about the baby shower? My first baby shower which I had been looking forward to so much was scheduled for October 11. Would it be cancelled? We didn’t have anything for our babies. We thought we had time! I was months away from my due date.

Shocked and devastated I called my Dad. No, wait, my Mom called my Dad since the urge to cry was taking over my ability to speak.  Matt’s new job was with my Dad’s company. With it being Matt’s 2nd day of work and training, I didn’t want to interrupt him, so I asked her to call my Dad. My Dad was able to give Matt the news and together they drove to the hospital to meet my Mom and me. Before coming to the hospital, I asked that Matt bring me a change of clothes; I needed something comfortable to sleep in. At this point, I was still hoping that if my cervix didn’t funnel any further after a few days of hospitalized bed rest and monitoring, maybe they would let me go home. The doctor had reluctantly told me that was a small possibility, but for me it was a goal. I wanted to go home and spend the remainder of my pregnancy in peace with my husband.

The boys showed up to the hospital a few hours later. Matt brought me this to sleep in:
When I died laughing he said he just grabbed what was on top in my pj drawer. I guarantee, at 7 months pregnant with twins, THAT was not on top!!!! Oh my husband. I love him so. My Mom, who had my apartment key, brought me some real clothes the next day.
My first night was eventful. While getting situated in my shared room, (there was another woman pregnant with twins next to me), I nodded as if I was retaining and understanding all the information a fast speaking nurse rattled off about what was to be my schedule during my stay. I caught something about medical students being allowed to come in and ask me questions during their shifts, which were usually very early in the morning. Allowed? Allowed by who? I’m the patient. I don’t want this. Do I have a choice? The nurse left me with papers to sign. My family left, promising to return the next morning. I settled down to try to get some sleep, only to learn that my roomie only fell asleep with her tv turned on loud, (days later my Dad showed up with ear plugs, which not only blocked out my roomies tv, but the naive medical students who would stand by my bed at the wee hours of the morning, calling out my name, trying to wake me up to ask the most ridiculous questions such as, but not limited to, “Are you experiencing any discomfort right now?” “Yes, I was asleep and you woke me up”

Sometime during my first night, around 4am, I started feeling contractions. I was instructed to buzz my nurse if I was feeling contractions every 10 minutes. Mine were about that over a half hour, so I buzzed her. Her English was hard for me to understand but I heard her say that she was going to give me a medicine which would stop the contractions but would give me the jitters for a little bit. She gave me the medicine and left and almost right away my hands were shaking and my heart was racing. I’m a long distance runner, and my heart felt as if I’d been sprinting the last stretch of a 10k. I thought I would get up and try to go to the bathroom, maybe walking or being upright would help. I hardly made it to the bathroom I was shaking so bad. I got back in bed and waited for the ‘jitters’ to go away. I took deep breaths, tried to think about something else. I felt as if my heart was going to burst; beat so hard and fast it would explode right in my chest. This couldn’t be good for a pregnant woman…right? A med student came in to ask me her lot of questions and before she got out a word I told her I thought I was having an allergic reaction. Turns out, if you say the words “allergic reaction” in Fairfax Hospital, you will be surrounded by an army of nurses and doctors before you can count to 5; you will become the eye of a storm with people poking, sticking, cuffing, (blood pressure cuff that is), and examining every inch of you, inside and out. I was hardly warned as I was rolled onto my side for a shot in my butt which successfully brought my heart rate back down. It had reached 160 in a matter of seconds. My resting heart rate is in the low 50s.

They wheeled my down to labor and delivery, allowing me to bring my phone so I could call my husband. I told him what was going on and he came right over. I was given an iv of a medicine which was going to numb my whole body – a serious muscle relaxer which would stop my contractions…and every other working soft muscle in my body. I had my first catheter. I wasn’t allowed to drink a sip of water for 24 hours because there was a risk for choking since apparently even the muscles in my throat were relaxed. Yet, I was allowed to have ice chips. Odd.

That 24hours was torture. I was so thirsty. Painfully thirsty. I told my new nurse that I was worried about my babies if I felt this dehydrated. She told me I had an iv drip keeping my body hydrated…but still, I worried. I didn’t sleep once. I was checked every 30 min or so, and was asking for a new cup of ice chips every 20. I would let the ice melt in my mouth and then let the sweet drips of water slide down my throat. All I thought about was a 7-11 slurpee. The next day, after my body numbing medicine wore off, they let me go back up to the prenatal floor, back in with my old roomie who had no idea what had happened. They ‘tagged’ me with a bright red bracelet that told the staff I had an allergy, and started me on a combination of other medicines that would help keep the contractions away. That evening, Matt  brought me a slurpee :)

Every morning, part of my ‘schedule’ was to have a non stress test done. I would get 3 monitor ‘belts’ put on. One to monitor my belly for contractions, one to monitor Colin’s heart rate, and one to monitor Shire’s heart rate. The nurses would ask me to lie in all kinds of positions to keep these monitor belts in place, and they were not often comfortable positions, so I frequently would start contracting during my non stress test. When I initially checked into the hospital, I was told I would have this test done every morning and that it would take about 10 minutes. Mine took about 2 hours every day. The nurses and I could never manage to keep the belts over my squirming babies, so we would have to readjust and readjust, which always caused me to contract, like an evil cycle. And when I would contract, they would restart the clock. They wanted to measure 20 solid minutes of no contracting whatsoever. It was awful. I would get stressed out and physically uncomfortable and contract.

Another part of my schedule was to fill out, each morning, what I wanted to eat the next day for breakfast lunch and dinner. After filling out your menu, you were required to sign the bottom of the page. One evening as I was being served dinner, I noticed a cheese burger on my tray. I didn't order a cheese burger. I was so confused. I thought maybe I had the wrong meal, so I asked the food delivery woman about it. She pointed to my menu, where I had signed 'Chelsea Bieber', and in broken english said, "See? Cheese burger. No?" Hahahahahahahaha! What a laugh - so grateful for little moments like this during my stay that made me laugh and smile.

A little less than a week into my stay, I was moved to my own room. I had a beautiful view of the trees changing as fall came into it's peak. Though I was not supposed to stand for more than 5 min a day, I would get up every morning and open my curtains before my nurse would come in. I wanted to see the outside. Fall had never looked so good and I was missing it. Ever since this time in the hospital, Fall has become my favorite season :)

If you have actually read this far, thank you. There is more to come, (a baby shower hosted in a hospital, my favorite hobby during my hospital stay, my babies birth, and the struggles that followed).