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It’s so hard to believe that my twins just celebrated their SEVENTEENTH birthday. Time flies by so flippin’ fast, doesn’t it?! In some ways, it feels like they were born just yesterday. And I can’t help but go back to that period of my life that felt so much like an out of body experience. I’ve already shared my infertility story with you, so now I’ll share the even crazier story of the birth of my twins.
Surprisingly, my pregnancy went all the way to 36.5 weeks when my water finally broke. After a LONG night of contractions, I was finally ready to push. It took 2.5 hours of pushing before my daughter came into the world (yes, I delivered my twins vaginally!) My son was breech, but since he was the second twin, they just yanked him out by his feet, which was super fun with my epidural having worn off completely by then. We were absolutely shocked at the size of them – my daughter was 6.5 pounds, and my son was 7.5 pounds! I’m only 5’2, so you can imagine how surprising this was!
I so badly wanted to snuggle my big babies, but I still had to deliver all the placenta, which was when everything went to complete and total crap. Some of the placenta just would not come out, so the doctor and nurses were trying everything to help me deliver it. My poor husband watched in horror as they stuck tool after tool inside me trying to scrape it all out. I ended up hemorrhaging and losing over half my blood supply, which resulted in the need for two blood transfusions in a very short amount of time. I looked like Rocky Balboa after a big fight with my swollen eyes and lips, but I was ecstatic to FINALLY meet my babies three hours later.
The doctors felt pretty confident that they’d removed all the placenta and sent a very anemic me home with the twins two days later. Unfortunately, we found out two weeks later that they did not, in fact, get all the placenta. I became very ill with a high fever and was told that I likely had a breast infection since I was trying to nurse. They said that if my fever got any higher than 102 to go to the emergency room. Luckily, my mom was in town, because when I woke up that next morning, my temperature was 103, so my mom and I headed to the ER while my husband stayed home with the babies.
An ultrasound confirmed that indeed there was retained placenta, so they performed a DNC, which caused me to hemorrhage once again. Another blood transfusion was administered, but they could not get the bleeding to stop. Next they tried an embolization, where they went through an artery in my groin to try to cauterize the area. I was then sent to the women’s hospital to recover. Unfortunately, though, things just got worse from there,.
My temperature continued to rise, and the nurses were freaking out. They tried putting me on a bed of ice and placing cooling blankets on me, but nothing seemed to help. I was in and out of consciousness and hallucinating as my fever reached a scary 105. Lots of blood work was taken as I switched between extreme sweats and wicked chills. By the morning, it had been decided that I needed to move to intensive care since I required way more than this section of the hospital could provide for me.
The blood work finally came back, indicating that I had a deadly blood infection, and that emergency exploratory surgery was necessary to figure out exactly what was happening. The doctor told me that I would possibly need a hysterectomy, which made me flat out hysterical. After ALL the challenges we faced to get pregnant, I couldn’t believe they were going to strip me of ever being able to even try again. And we had several embryos left over from our IVF that we’d planned to use again in the future! However, when they told me that death was the alternative, I quickly realized that I needed to accept this if I was going to be a mother to my two babies.
My mom and husband decided to switch places, since my husband felt like he should be with me at the hospital. Sadly, the surgery showed gangrene consuming my entire uterus, and they ended up having to remove everything except my ovaries (thank God, so that I didn’t go straight into menopause at the ripe old age of 31). Since it was a blood infection, they couldn’t stitch me back up in case it became infected again. So the skin just had to reconnect on its own. I was left with a 6 inch vertical open wound that was about 2 inches wide. You can probably imagine the pain from this type of wound, which is why they put me back into intensive care for several days on a boatload of morphine. I couldn’t even see my babies because visitors are very limited there.
Once I was a little more stable, they moved me to a regular room, where I spent my first Mother’s Day. My husband was able to bring the babies up to see me, and we had a bittersweet little reunion (not exactly how I’d pictured my first Mother’s Day). I wanted to go home with them so badly that my heart hurt.
After about a week, they finally released me to go home, however, I wasn’t allowed to lift the babies. They could only be placed in my arms while I was sitting down. It was hard not to be jealous of everyone else getting to walk around carrying MY babies. I couldn’t even shower by myself because my husband had to help wash my hair, my back, and my legs. I also had to have a home healthcare nurse come to our house every day for six weeks to change my bandages. It was all so surreal.
As time went on, I chose to focus on the fact that I had two healthy babies. There had been such a long period of time where I didn’t think I’d ever even have one baby, let alone two. Plus, I had always pictured myself having a boy and a girl, and I had gotten both in one fell swoop! I felt so extremely blessed that I suppressed a lot of the grief I inevitably had over losing the ability to have more children.
In fact, I don’t think I even realized just how bitter I still feel about all that until my kids got into high school. Knowing that we will soon be empty nesters has brought up a lot of those emotions. A part of me loves our family of four just like we are, while another part of me wishes I had another little one still here when the twins go off to college. Regardless of the heartache and everything that occurred, I am beyond grateful to be alive and to be a mother. It’s truly been the greatest accomplishment of my life.
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