February 19th, 2015
“You failed your NST today, do you know what that means?” the OB nurse looked at me matter-of-factly while I sat on the hard gurney waiting for my 35-week ultrasound results.
I parted my lips to answer but before I could come up with a response, she tapped on her clipboard and said, “You’re probably going to be admitted to the hospital again, okay honey? We have to find you a room first, so if you want you can go to the cafeteria and grab some lunch, just come back here in about a half an hour.”
I was unfazed. Actually I was hungry so all I really heard was an invitation to have lunch and an uninterrupted nap. During my previous admission to the hospital for pre-term labor symptoms, I had my own private room, my meals delivered to me and zero responsibilities aside from letting my body cook the two babies that were in utero while the professionals monitored them. It was basically a vacation, but more sterile and with people accosting my body with medical devices several times a day.
I hobbled slowly to the cafeteria, now 35 weeks pregnant with twins and barely mobile. I was sure it would take me the full half an hour just to get to the cafeteria. My crotch bone felt like it was about to cave under the weight of my uterus and my lower back had all but given up hope on survival months ago.
Although I was mildly concerned about what had transpired during my ultrasound that had required 2 techs to gather around the screen and mumble things like “I don’t see any here, do you?” my rumbling tummy was too busy reminding me that I needed to devour some grub ASAP.
I killed a foot long sub in record time and played around on my phone before heading back to triage, where I was greeted by the nurse from earlier and a high risk obstetrician. The OB took a minute to explain that they couldn’t find any measurable amniotic fluid on Baby A, and then her next words floored me: “You’re not being admitted for monitoring, we have decided it’s best for you to give birth today.”
“Like, now?” I asked in a panic. I wasn’t prepared, I didn’t have any of the shit they tell you to bring to the hospital like slippers and my own pillow or one of those cute birthing gowns and a birthing playlist with “Push It” by Salt N Pepa on it. My makeup looked like crap and I was going to need a fresh face for post birth photos. My breath reeked of onions from the sub, I definitely needed a toothbrush and a breath mint. OMG I though, my hoo ha is probably bush league right now.
It also dawned on me that I was alone, I didn’t even have a husband there to annoy me while I expelled humans from my body. (Uhh, I mean share in this special moment together.)
I saw the OB reading my frantic expression, although she probably assumed I had a more logical thought process going on that revolved around the health of my babies and not the size of my bush.
“We’re going to get you in a delivery room right now and start the process of inducing you. Don’t worry, it will still be hours before the babies are delivered so as soon as we get you into the room you can call your husband and family.”
Before I knew it I was being wheeled to a delivery room and introduced to a slew of nurses and doctors and given an ugly hospital gown instead of the cute leopard one I should have ordered on Amazon.
“How much do you weigh, Stacey?” the nurse on duty asked me while recording things on her chart. “A ton,” I lamented, followed with “Uh, I haven’t been weighed since I was 20 weeks along and I was hoping we could keep it that way.”
Luckily my nurse appreciated my sense of humor and she chuckled as she threw a guesstimate onto her chart that I caught a glimpse of later and nearly cried. I also warned her about the potential situation happening with my crotchal region. “I haven’t been able to see down there in awhile, it’s kind of been a guessing game,” I apologized. She assured me that she saw vaginas all day and bushes were making a comeback.
I called my husband and my mom, the Doctor broke my water and the next few hours were a blur of needles being shoved into me, contractions, me cracking inappropriate jokes, and ultimately being wheeled into the blinding lights of the OR with a team of people hovered around my vagina. My mom took pictures and my husband held onto one of my dead legs for dear life. I couldn’t feel a thing and it was glorious.
The birth went smoothly and thankfully no medical intervention was needed that warranted delivering in the OR. Baby A came out like a wrecking ball, and he was only handed to me long enough for me to say “You’re so beautiful! Disgusting, but perfect,” to his tiny slimy body before they whisked him away and carried on like it was a baby birthing assembly line.
Baby B arrived 10 minutes later and he was noticeably bigger and redder but every bit as slimy and perfect, but he too was whisked away from me before I had a chance to stare at him and decide if he had inherited my weird chin and resting bitch face.
I was able to admire my placenta for longer than I saw my children, the Doctor lifted up the sack of brain meat and said “It’s a….placenta!” I think they may have even offered to wrap it in a blanket and let me hold it as consolation.
They whisked my body away like I was the afterbirth, the discarded baby maker that was no longer needed and could be dumped into a bin somewhere with the placentas.
My babies were somewhere in an incubator and it was jarring not seeing them, not holding them or feeding them, and not doing all of the things you typically get to do when you give birth, the way I had after I had my first born. I felt detached and useless but I tried to focus on the positives: I looked a lot skinnier than I did a few hours ago.
I inhaled a plate of spaghetti because my new supermodel body needed carbs and my sweet nurse was nice enough to offer her dinner to me. She could probably see me just wasting away now that I was 13 pounds lighter than the 468 pounds she recorded me at earlier.
The most important thing was that my babies were here, they were safe, they were being monitored by professionals and kept in an incubator because they were premature. But aside from seeing them for a few minutes in the incubator, I was brought back to my room that night to sleep without them and my hormones couldn’t handle it. I told my husband that I felt like I had given birth to someone else’s babies and I started crying.
The nurses brought me a breast pump machine to console me and told me to try and suction my tits to get my milk flowing. Stop crying and milk yourself, selfish woman! The machine made loud grunting noises and tugged on my breasts while my tears turned to laughter as I compared myself to a cow.
My twins spent 10 days in the NICU mostly for observation, baby A was 5lbs and 3oz at birth and he had a heart murmur but was otherwise healthy. Baby B was 6lbs and 11oz at birth and had some extra blood and needed a CPAP for the first night to help him breathe, but he was also otherwise healthy.
I finally got to hold both of them at the same time when they were a week old and it was the most amazing feeling in the world. I had only been able to hold them individually up until that point and I finally felt complete when they put them both in my arms. I also low key felt like a cat with a litter but so hashtag blessed and proud AF.
Another mom with a preemie in a pod nearby smiled at me while I grinned ear to ear holding my babies as a nurse took pictures. I was incredibly happy but also silently panicking trying to figure out how the hell I was going to maneuver the two of them back out of my arms having no arms to use and I got a glimpse into my immediate future as a mom with twin infants.
My 5-year old son finally got to meet his brothers when we brought them home; the hospital had been under strict visitor regulations due to a flu outbreak and he had only seen pictures of them.
He was happy to meet his new brothers and even though it was chaotic at the time, our family was complete and we were full of love and floating on cloud 9 for those first few months. It was probably also caffeine and sleep deprivation clouds we were floating on, but it was a magical time nonetheless.
The memories are almost magical enough to drown out the sound of all 3 of them right now, 4 years later, screaming and trying to kill each other over Legos and making me wonder how I can get another free stay in the hospital for even a brief period of time. I’d pay for a sterile vacation right about now.
Happy Birthday My Loves