Monday, May 26, 2014

MOMday: My Birth Story

Five years ago today, the two amazing, wonderful, crazy girls in my life were born. Their birth was an adventure right from the start and I don't think I've ever shared it here.

So, let's go back to October 2008.  Hubby and I had been married a few months and were trying to have a baby.  Yes, A baby.  One.  One morning, I was suddenly awoken feeling as though my boobs had been tazered and I rolled over and said to hubby "I think I'm pregnant."

He snorted and told me to go back to sleep. But I couldn't.  As the day progressed, I was feeling more and more nauseous.  I bought a pregnancy test, but it came back negative.   A couple of weeks passed and I was still nauseas.

All the time.

Not puking, but my stomach was not right.  And all I wanted to eat was spinach.  THAT was odd in and of itself.  Hubby still doubted I was pregnant.  I was pretty sure I was, but I had a doctor appointment scheduled for later that week so I figured I'd talk to her about it then.

While I was in the office, they did a urine test and that came back negative, but my doctor handed me a blood test requisition and told me "I trust that you know your body so let's just get a blood test and confirm it."

Two days later, I called the office to see if the results were in.  The receptionist wouldn't tell me anything.  She just said "Hold on - Dr. Love wants to tell you herself."

Yes.  I was pregnant.  And it was EARLY on!   Our best guess was that I was three weeks along.

I spent that first trimester feeling nauseas but not overly sick.   Hubby was working in an office with a really high twin rate so there were joke flying fast and furious bout when we'd find out it was twins.  We laughed them off.  We told our families at 12 weeks, which happened to be Christmas Eve.  Best Christmas gift ever for them.  Most of our family had given up on us ever having kids.  Silly, since I was only 32 years old!

At 14 weeks, we went in fora  check up and to hear the heartbeat of our baby.   We joked around with the doctor to make sure there was only one in there and when she could only find a single heartbeat, we breathed a sigh of relief and immediately told off everyone who had been joking about twins.  I went for my triple screen blood test to rule out Spina Bifida and Downs Syndrome.  and then our world turned upside down.

It turned out that my doctors office didn't have my work or cell numbers on file so we came home one night to an increasingly urgent series of phone messages.  The test results had come back weird and they immeditely needed to send me for a dating ultrasound.  The last message was the nurse giving me her home number and telling me she was taking my chart home with her because it was urgent that she speak to me.

I was in tears.  My worst nightmares played out before my eyes.  Something was wrong with my baby.  I called the nurse at home.  She wouldn't give me any answers over the phone.  She just told me when and where to go for my emergency ultrasound and then directed me to come to the office after to follow up.

We were at Beddington clinic bright and early the next day for the ultrasound.  What should have been a joyful moment of us getting to see our baby for the first time was suddenly the most stressful time ever.  I laid down on the table and they squirted the gel across my stomach and started to move the ultrasound wand around.  I couldn't really make out what I was seeing, but there was no mistaking what hubby said under his breath as he watched the screen.

"Fuck, I see two skulls."

The tears immediately started to run down my cheeks.

Twins.  There were two babies in there.  And, as far as they could tell, identical ones - though they couldn't tell us the gender yet.

16 weeks in, I found out I was expecting twins.  They were healthy and a good size, despite my losing 10lbs my first trimester. As soon as we hopped into our truck, we both turned around and realized that our Honda Element was not going to work for twins.  We were having two babies and had to buy a new vehicle.  Life started to change immediately.  Turns out that the emergency ultrasound was needed because the triple screen had come back high positive for Spina Bifida.  Only 2 things could rule out the result - one was a different date on the pregnancy.  The other was multiples.  The doctor's office was so thrilled that it was twins that everyone hugged me.

This was bout how I felt about it...and, yes...I was showing this much at 16 weeks and still didn't suspect for a minute it was twins until they told me.

At our routine 18 week ultrasound, we had confirmation that it would be identical girls.  We named them right away.

Then there was the dilemma of gaining enough weight.  I had lost 10lbs in my first trimester because all I wanted to eat was spinach.   This meant, I suddenly had to gain 50lbs before these babies could be born and they could come early!  I was running out of time!  I started to eat a box of Kraft Dinner for both lunch and dinner to pack on the pounds.  There was also the time that I was banned from grocery shopping alone when I came home with strawberry flavoured everything - milk, pop tarts, fruit, etc. On delivery day, I had gained exactly 40lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight...and a whopping 50lbs from the moment I found out it was twins.  In case you're keeping track - that was in 18 weeks!!!  No easy feat.  To this day - I cannot eat more than a spoonful of KD.

For the rest of my second trimester, I would have ultrasounds every two weeks.  At 20 weeks, I started experiencing sharp rib pain that left me sitting with a heatpad on my stomach all day at work.  My belly was growing faster than the muscles in my short torso could handle.  At 24 weeks, my high risk OB-GYN wanted to pull me off work.  I begged and pleaded to work until 28 weeks because I figured I would go insane at home for the rest of my pregnancy...especially since they were all convinced that I would go full-term.   At the third trimester, I started to go for ultrasounds every week.

The Thursday before Good Friday was my last day at work before I started my sick leave.  Now I could rest and keep my feet up and maybe do some batch cooking.

At my goodbye party...I was SMALL here.

I got the nursery ready:

I grew and grew and grew as the girls got bigger and bigger.  A friend of mine from High School who was due a couple of weeks before me (her at the end of June, my due date was July 5) and I would compare stomach measurements every weekend.  At 34 weeks, my waist was 50 inches around!  That weekend, my MIL was off to Jamaica for her brother's wedding and she told us to not have the babies while she was away.  That should have been our first warning.

I was so uncomfortable.  The OB-GYN said I would be induced at 37 weeks if the babies stayed in that long.  I only had

3 weeks to go.  Surely I could handle that.  But, if I got much bigger, I was going to be shit out of luck on clothes to wear.  I was living in a single black maxi dress and a bunch of mens 3XL tees that barely stretched over the mountain...

That Sunday, my dad came down to visit.  He had brought a John Pinette DVD with him and he told me we were going to laugh those babies out.   We had a laid back day and then dad went home.   He took this photo right before he left.

That night, I had two braxton-hicks contractions that lasted a ridiculous amount of time (like 20 mins each).  I told Hubby that if there was a third one - we were going to the hospital.

The next morning, May 25, we got up like normal.  I was busy batch cooking all day and I noticed that my stomach could not come within 6 inches of anything without being hyper sensitive.  Just after 5pm, I was making lazy perogies for the freezer and I started talking to myself.  "Hmm - I haven't had to go to the bathroom in a while...That's odd.  Maybe I should try to go now."

I took two steps and my water broke!  I was at 34 weeks and 2 days.

I was home.  Alone.  In labour.  An hour from the hospital. And scared out of my mind.  I grabbed my cell and started to text hubby.  Then I shook my head as soon as I hit send and dialed him directly.  He would be driving home now.  The doctor had said it wouldn't be a quick labour so I figured I'd just wait for hubby instead of calling an ambulance like they had told me to.  I rushed to finish packing my hospital bag.   I put the in-progress cooking into the fridge and then started to time my contractions on an app I had downloaded.

Hubby got home in record time and everything started to happen fast.   He packed the car and then we both realized that our dog care plan was in Jamaica!  He rushed to the neighbours and gave them the code to our door so they could take care of the pups.  Then we laid down towels in the car and I got in and we hit the highway.

I had wanted to deliver at RockyView, but my OB-GYN only worked out of Foothills so we had to battle traffic all the way from Langdon to the other side of the city.  We parked and took the elevator up to the maternity ward and checked in at around 7pm.   I told them my water had broken but they told me that there was another set of twins being delivered so they didn't have a bed for me right that minute and I was going to need to wait in the waiting room!!!!

We sat in that waiting room for close to an hour.  I continued to time my contractions and we called our families.

Around 8pm, they showed me into the triage room and hooked me and the babies up to monitors.  

I couldn't go anywhere because of all of the wires and I was getting to be quite far into the labour.  I knew they were going to need to put an epidural in because I had to be prepped early in case a c-section was necessitated.   If they waited much longer, it would be too late for that epidural!  No one was coming in to check on me, but finally I guess my noises got to them and the doctor on call popped his head through the curtain.  Then he said something ridiculous.

"Since your water hasn't broken yet, you can't be too far into the labour yet"


Hubby and I said at the same time that my water had broken HOURS ago!  Apparently the message was never relayed.

So, he checked an I was at 4-5 cm.  They rushed me into a delivery room and called for the anaesthesiologist.  

I had not eaten yet, but everything was happening so fast and once the epidural was in, I asked if I could have a snack...and was told no.  I was going to need to deliver these babies on an empty stomach with absolutely no energy.

For the record - me with an epidural was the happiest I'd been for most of the pregnancy.

My labour progressed really fast from then on.  I hit 10cm at around 10 pm and they told me it was time to push.  I pushed and pushed and pushed...and nothing.  This went on for a couple of hours.  I was so tired and so hungry.

Then, my progress stalled.  It appeared that Doodle was stuck in my pelvis and was not going anywhere...and her heart rate was dropping.

It seemed like everything else happened so fast, but in reality, it was a couple of hours.   They decided to wheel me into surgery.  The doctor said that they would see if they could do a forceps delivery but if there was going to be any danger - they would be performing an emergency c-section.

It took about a minute for them to decide that the surgery would be happening.

A sheet was set up in front of me and I was falling asleep on the table.  It was 1:30 in the morning on May 26 and I was beyond exhausted.  I just wanted this to be over and for my babies to be healthy and out of there!  I kept falling asleep on the table.

Hubby stood beside my head, holding my hand the entire time and trying to keep me awake.  I felt a little tug as they pulled Doodle out and then two minutes later when they pulled Buggie out.   The surgical suite was filled with people as they had a full team for each baby.  Soon, I heard those tiny bird-like cries and they seemed so surreal and far away.  Hubby then, one by one, brought each baby to meet me.



They were so tiny and I was so tired. They wheeled them away before I could hold them and took them to the NICU.

They stitched me up and took me to recovery where I dozed until they deemed I was stable and could go see my babies.

Hubby called our families to tell them the news.  About an hour later, they drove my big long bed through the narrow aisles.  The Foothills Hospital NICU was overcrowded that week and they had had to separate the girls to accommodate them.  At one point, they handed me a baby to hold.  I'm still not sure which one.

Then, they took me to my room so I could sleep.  I had been awake for around 24 hours at that point.

Hubby stayed with me until I was settled in and then he went home to sleep (they wouldn't let him stay with me).

When I woke up a few hours later - they brought me some water and juice and some crakers.  I was famished and snarfed them down - only to throw them up all over myself a few minutes later.  Nothing is grosser than trying to buzz a nurses station that doesn't care and lets you sit in your own puke for 15 mins.  I had just had major surgery and couldn't move easily.  Once I was cleaned up - they brought me a wheelchair and took me to the NICU.


The girls were just being moved together in a single "stall" (for lack of a better word).  I sat there just staring at these two teeny aliens and wondering what the heck I was going to do with two babies.  I didn't even feel like I could hold them and the nurses were so busy because of the overcrowding that they didn't bother to help me.  All I could do was look at them and see all of the wires and monitors.  I didn't even know if they were okay.  Doodle had a big bruise on one side of her face from being stuck. Buggie had a breathing tube.  I didn't even know how much they weighed or how long they were.  So I stared.

A day and a half later, suddenly they started talking about how since the girls were stable, they would be moved to the NICU at RockyView Hospital.  No word about my being moved too, just the babies.  I had already moved rooms once and had just gotten settled in.  Then, I got word that the girls had left the hospital and I started to panic.  Then someone rushed into my room and told me they were moving me in 15 mins.  It all happened so fast and I was in an ambulance and hubby had my suitcase and was racing across the city to try to get to RockyView.

Once we were at the other hospital - things got much easier.  They started feeding me appropriately for a nursing mom (Foothills had been giving me half the food that RockyView gave me). Once hubby arrived, we went to the NICU together and they took us right to the back - where the girls had been given a private room and a crib to share.  The nurses were attentive to us and I will never forget when they looked at us staring at the crib and told us "You don't have to ask to pick them up - they are your babies."  They gave us the information about the sensors that were attached to them and how to reattach them if they came off...and then they let us take over.

We could finally be parents.

I stayed in the hospital for 4 days to recover from the surgery.  They offered to let me stay longer since the girlies wouldn't be discharged yet, but I decided to go home and get some real sleep in my own comfy bed so I could be as healed as possible when they finally came home. I still went to the hospital all day every day to care for them.  I cannot say enough good things about the RockyView NICU!  It was such a great and positive experience to be there.  Being moved was the best thing possible for us all.

The NICU nurses were amazing.  They created little name tags for the girls and never treated us like we were an inconvenience to them (like we had felt at Foothills).  Bug had been on a breathing tube when she arrived and Foothills had shaved part of her head to put in an IV on her head - they redid the IV into her hand and actually investigated why Bug wasn't breathing well..turns out it was a giant booger in her nose and they suctioned it and she was fine.  They helped me learn to pump and provided guidance wherever we needed it.  We had one setback where Bug needed a gavage feed and that meant 2 more NICU days, but we were always given hope that our time there would soon end - even though we were told by the doctor every day that they might be in there until their due date.  I couldn't imagine six weeks of NICU life.

Eight days after they were born, the twins joined us at home.  Doodle wasn't even 5lbs yet, but I think the NICU Doctor was so sick of me asking at every round when they could come home and finally ordered a car seat test and sent us on our way.

They were perfectly healthy...just small.

Home at last! (L-R: Buggie and Doodle)

4lbs 10 oz
16.5 inches long
Born 2:01 am
May 26, 2009
5lbs 5 oz
17.5 inches long
Born 2:03 am
May 26, 2009

And that is the story of how our little family grew by two.

Happy birthday to my beautiful, funny, amazing, creative, crazy, awesome girlies!  I so could not imagine my life without you in it.  It just wouldn't be worth living!


  1. What a wonderful story to wake up to! Any special reason you're up at 2 am posting? And aren't you supposed to be in Mexico?

  2. What an amazing birth story. I wasn't a fan of the Foothills hospital either-at all! I had HORRIBLE nurses with Jack, wasn't given food/water and didn't even have a real room. I was behind a half fallen down curtain at the end of a hall. Greg's birth was better because I had better nurses, but had the roommate from HELL. At one point I considered putting a bar of soap in a pillowcase and beating her with it. Chris's birth was just the best ever because we were lucky enough to be home and have everything go perfectly.

  3. That's an amazing story Cori! WOW! I'm glad things turned out well. You were such a trooper through the inconveniences & miscommunications.


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