The Birth Story

So, here’s how we came to have twins:

It’s possible that some of you may consider what I’m about to write oversharing, but it’s something I feel needs to be discussed more often because it happens so much more often than many people realize: miscarriage.

We started our journey of “trying to get pregnant” (a phrase I feel takes all the fun out of the natural birds and bees of life) in 2012 thinking that having a baby right at the end of Patrick’s 3rd year of med school or beginning of 4th year would be just perfect. And it worked! We got pregnant RIGHT AWAY! We were so excited that we had instant success and shared with a few close family members. About 6 weeks in, I miscarried and I was so very glad I’d told a few people that I was pregnant because it meant that they were standing at the ready to hug me or hold my hand or give me a shoulder to cry on when it all went awry. The next few months were quite difficult as I dealt with feelings of guilt and anxiety. Patrick was, of course, by my side the entire time.

After the miscarriage, my body was completely out of whack and I kept thinking I was pregnant and I wasn’t, in fact, I wasn’t even ovulating. So, in March of 2013, we decided to take action for a few reasons: 1. I wanted to know if it was even possible for us to get pregnant again before it was “too late,” and 2. Our chances of having a baby at the ideal time were shrinking and the thought of having a brand spankin’ newborn (as in one baby) during residency still terrifies me to this day! So, I took clomid, a drug that helps women ovulate. So, that should answer some questions: no, twins do not run in our family and yes, I was on fertility drugs. Apparently, the “risk” of having multiples on clomid is something like 6%, which in the grand scheme of things is really pretty low, but obviously, we won the lottery!

We found out really early that we were having twins and were pretty much terrified, although the terrified feelings melted into excitement as the due date grew ever nearer. Our dear friend who was my OB talked me through lots of the difficult parts and was at the ready to answer any questions at all hours of the day or night.

(I thought about inserting an ultrasound photo here, but ultrasound photos are weird and you can’t see anything anyway, so I didn’t. You’re welcome.)

I spent the next 31 weeks and one day (apparently that one day is very important because all the medical folks are sure to include it when talking about our little ones) being relatively miserable. I had morning sickness, numb hands, swollen feet, bad skin, fatigue, false labor, reactions to vaccines, and a GIANT belly. I salute those women who love being pregnant, or who have been pregnant more than once. I found pregnancy extremely difficult and really didn’t enjoy it, there, I said it. I will also never do it again.

And then Patrick went out of town to interview for residency. He left on a Friday and had been in Chicago and was in Vermont, scheduled to go to Pittsburgh and San Antonio, when the babies came! We thought we’d be safe at 31 weeks for him to travel around the country and get half of his scheduled 8 interviews out of the way. We did, however, plan to have someone stay with me each night he was away, just in case.

I’d been feeling awful for a few days but just thought that it was because I was giant and super uncomfortable. My mom, saint that she is, stayed with me on Saturday night. We had dinner and I promptly barfed it all up. Yum. At some point in the middle of the night, after I’d woken up to pee for about the 100th time, I noticed I was bleeding. I woke my mom up and we headed to the hospital around 6 a.m. thinking they’d check me out, tell me things were fine, and send me home like they’d done a few weeks earlier when I was having false labor.

I spent the next million or so hours (that’s what it feels like when you’re starving but can’t hold food down, and having labor pains) in OB triage and was admitted to Labor & Delivery after dilating to about 3 centimeters. Somewhere late in the game I had one high blood pressure and that set off all sorts of alarm bells. I was put on magnesium immediately to keep me from seizing (remember what happened to Sybil in Downton Abbey, I was on my way there) and to protect the babies brains. For anyone who has not ever been on magnesium, don’t try it. It’s terrible. Unless of course you like feeling like your blood is literally boiling.

Somewhere along the line, blood was taken and my liver enzymes were so elevated that the doctors had the tech draw the blood again because they thought the lab had made a mistake. By this time, it’s about midnight, 3 a.m. in Vermont where Patrick was. Our OB friend came in (thank goodness she was there) and explained to me that I might have either HELLP Syndrome or Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy, two conditions on the Preclampsia spectrum that can be deadly to the mother unless immediate action is taken to deliver the babes. And so my mom and I went to the operating room. At this point the babies were fine. Then I got an epidural and they weren’t fine. Their heart rates started to crash and getting them out became emergent for all 3 of us. I’m glad I was so drugged up because I’m pretty sure the entire thing was terrifying. Ask Patrick who was in Vermont. Poor dude.

Everything happened really fast. They cut into me at 3:09 a.m., Neala was born at 3:12 a.m. and Rylan was born at 3:14 a.m. Bing, bang, boom. Done. You can read what happened with the babies next here.

This is what it looks like to go from zero to two babies in 31 weeks (I apologize for the poor quality photos): (I find the photo in the stripped shirt particularly fascinating. It looks like there’s a torpedo shooting out of my shirt. So weird.)

I spent the next 4 days in the hospital recovering and being waited on hand and foot by my mother and mother in law. My body was so swollen (a side effect of the magnesium) that it looked like I didn’t have bones in my legs. I couldn’t wear shoes for 6 days!

Patrick and I decided there was no real reason for him to come home, the babies were in the NICU and being well taken care of, I was still in the hospital, and it’s not like you can really reschedule interviews for residency. We were both taking care of things that would have a major bearing on our lives moving forward and it was important that he continue on. Again, poor dude. I cannot imagine what he must have been feeling and we were all SO glad when he arrived the Friday after the babies were born. It was close to midnight but we went immediately to the hospital so he could meet them.


Patrick meeting the babies for the first time. 

And that’s how it happened. Thank goodness we’ll never have to do that again!