The thrilling events between 6:05 and 7:15am, October 6th:
On Wednesday, I was a bit out of sorts. You could call it a woman’s intuition but I think a lot of my uneasiness stemmed from compiling symptoms. By evening, I just felt generally unwell and wondered how long the pregnancy would sustain.
I did manage to have a decent stretch of sleep and then woke up to use the restroom at about 6:05 am. The moment that I sat up in bed, I knew that we’d started a path that would result in babies being delivered very soon. That blasted placenta previa reared it’s ugly head for the last time.
I pushed my call button and explained that I’d started bleeding. The closest nurse came to assist and we made it to the restroom. She brought me my phone to call Michael- who was already driving in.(God is so gracious.) I was relieved that Michael was en route but that he was far enough out to miss everything that would happen in the next 10 minutes. This Prego Diva had turned the room into a big scene- a crime scene- a horror movie scene.
As soon as the initial bleeding let up enough for me to stand, the nurse assisted me back to bed. There were already at least 10 people waiting for me and they all went to work. I was disrobed and dressed in clean gown. Three women started scrubbing my skin. Others were cleaning the floor. It reminded me of the HazMat team in Monsters inc.. I asked that they please not let Michael in to the room until they’d had a chance to clean up the evidence.
My IV line from admission had been removed a few days prior. Two nurses started two new lines, in case I needed that infamous transfusion. They also started a catheter, and dressed my calves in compression cuffs. The babies were put on monitor and looked good. Blood was drawn for cord storage. (Looking back- Michael and I thought it was odd that they drew blood before I’d even stopped hemorrhaging.) The anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself. He looked like he’d just stepped off the set of Grey’s Anatomy. He was calm and concerned- asking questions of both the nurses and I while trying to determine whether I would have an epidural or general anesthesia. He hoped for the former but he had to watch all the stats to see if we were all stable. I felt really nervous as so much was happening so quickly and half of it hurt more than a little. I was also shivering- owing to nerves, the sponge bath and blood loss.
Michael walked in just after the scene was contained but he was still rather overwhelmed by the number of staff in the room. He sat just out of the way but it felt like miles because I just wanted a minute to take his hand and pray but that was not possible and I didn’t want either of us to fall apart. Fortunately, we were both distracted as he was given his disposable scrubs and the on call doctor came in to introduce herself and confirm that a C-section was imminent.
[Michael edit: I was at home all night (awake), needed to sleep and figured that I could sleep easier there (near her) than at home. I can say that I did ‘have a feeling’ but nothing so clear as to be a premonition. Mostly, I just wanted to be there and knew that she would appreciate me being there even if I was just snoring across the room. I showered and headed in hoping to surprise her, but exiting the freeway, her call changed that.
Arriving at the 3rd floor, the staff was a buzz. I overheard a nurse on the phone say “no it’s happening today!” along with Shannon’s name and room number. Opening her door I found no less than 10 staff attending to her. Obeying her wishes, they had cleaned the room some. It was still clear that something big had happened moments earlier
Shannon and I have discussed whether our sense of time was warped. To me it seemed fairly leisure, but also a no joke situation. I checked my call log to verify: Shannon’s call to me was at 6:13 am and Darcy was born exactly one hour later.
Within minutes of being in the room I was dressed in scrubs, waiting on the couch and contemplating camera options. Eventually the room was mostly cleared. The cute anesthesiologist came in and asked how much blood she had lost. They estimated 200mL (it starts getting dangerous at 1L). And then we waited what seemed like 20 minutes for a doctor to arrive. Neither of us had ever met this doctor before and she came in to announce the obvious: we’re going to deliver.]
Then we were rolling down the hall to the operating room. Michael was asked to wait outside the room, while they prepped me for surgery. I was transferred to the operating table, covered with a warm blanket, given an almost entirely painless epidural and Michael was seated next to me. We held hands and exchanged nervous smiles. I teared up for a minute but then pulled it together. I started to relax as the numbing from the epidural took effect.
With in minutes, I felt the tugging and shaking that told me they’d started the surgery. And then we heard the lamb bleating cry that told us our daughter was born. I cried joyfully at the sound but then listened for her brother. The nurses commented about Darcy being big for 33 weeks. We then heard Declan’s lamb cry and felt so relieved. Someone called him a “peanut” and we soon learned both their weights. The nurses were cleaning them up about 5 feet from the operating table. Michael left my side for a minute to take pictures and I immediately fell asleep. Both babies were brought over to me so that I could have a quick look before they were taken to NICU and I was brought back to my room.
Between the narcotics I was given and the peace of knowing that they were here and breathing well, I gave in to the overwhelming need to rest.
Michael edit: My way of dealing with this sort of event is zoning out emotionally while trying to stay present mentally. I can’t think of any other critical operation where the closest loved one is encouraged to sit in the operating room and follow the outcome live. I know that some dad’s get off on seeing their babies breath their first breaths, but I was satisfied sitting on the other side of the curtain holding Shannon’s hand and simply listening to them cry out. Shannon was right that they sounded like little lambs.
By the way, another thing I don’t get is them asking me if I want to clip off the umbilical cord. “Um.. no I think that’s what we’re paying you to do”.. “Hey guys, want me to close her up too?”
I’ll admit that I was a little surprised to see how fat Darcy was, and then a little shocked to see how thin Declan was. The previous growth ultrasound, 3 weeks earlier, had estimated him at 3lbs 8oz – he was much smaller than that. I felt bad for the little guy. We woke mom up for a quick photo shoot and then she dozed off.
I followed the twins into NICU. The nurses (2 per baby) took measurements, weighed them, got the foot prints, and attached all manner of sensor leads to them – all while I stood by shooting as much video as I could. After about 20 minutes I headed back to Shannon’s (now completely cleaned up) room right about the time she was being wheeled back. Then there were phone calls to make, and lots of other stuff to do. I think I finally got to sleep around 11:30 – noon… But that hour between 6 and 7-something really was one crazy hour!