The twins were coming. After a night in the hospital for monitoring due to pre-eclampsia, the doctors agreed it was time to deliver. My surgeon thought I was a “ticking time bomb”. The symptom that didn’t settle right with anyone was my overall feeling of “just not feeling good”. Now being a nurse, this is very unhelpful and I knew that but there was no other way to explain it. This along with my borderline elevated blood pressure, lab work heading in the wrong direction and the minor headache all concerned my doctor enough and with approval from the neonatal docs, the C-section was put in the books for later that morning. This date would make the babies 36 weeks and 5 days old. Life had gotten very uncomfortable so I was relieved to hear I would be finally meeting my girls.
What is it they say about healthcare workers being patients? I don’t know if there’s an exact phrase but I would sum it up with; if there’s a chance; it is probably going to happen. What I mean by that is pre-op and post-op could have gone better, but in retrospect they also could have been much, much worse. As a nurse in the cardiac field, OB is a foreign species to me. I had general understanding and a brain but overall as with any patient, you are left to trust your healthcare team to be the experts. Now, don’t interpret my tune wrong. I am very happy and grateful to the staff who entered our lives over that hospital stay. Some of them will forever be branded on our hearts for their attentive care.
Pre-op started a little rocky when one of my IVs had gone bad and after multiple (by multiple I mean 7) attempts, I had another IV. Then if that couldn’t be topped, anesthesia attempted my spinal epidural 10 times before I finally could say, “YES, I feel the tingling in my legs” indicating I was numbing from the chest down. Surgery itself went flawless and even though it was surgery, the surgeon let me watch as she pulled the babies out and I did indeed see their first breaths like any vaginal delivery. The rest of delivery was a blur as they sewed me up and I had my head arched back to soak up every first minutes of those precious babies I could.
Post-op started out groggy as expected but it started to spiral downward when my blood pressures kept decreasing with each check. To explain my mental awareness is difficult. I knew things were going wrong and felt out of body at the same time. If the nurses knew things were bad, they did a good job of hiding their concern when they checked under my sheets and asked everyone to step out while they cleaned me up. I was still numb and some blood is expected but the amount of blood and size of clots I was passing, were not. Quickly my room filled with extra staff. My husband had been allowed to stay in the room and during the next scene of my life he was up pacing with a crying baby while watching the staff pull me back from the downward spiral I was on. At one point while listening to the staff talk about what to do, what drugs to give (some foreign to me and a couple as only code blue drugs in my own work world) and demands from anesthesia to go pull my surgeon from a procedure and get her in my room right away; I looked at my husband with one of our two new babies and wondered, how in the world will he raise twin babies by himself? Death was absolutely what could have come of my complication if the staff had not acted quickly. Thank you Jesus for the fast pace care given that day.
To explain what had gone wrong was and still is a little fuzzy. Pre-eclampsia, left over placenta in the uterus, magnesium transfusing and my body heading toward DIC/HELLP Syndrome (look them up if you’re curious about those further) were all attributing to my dire situation. My uterus wasn’t contracting and I had lost too much blood, in return my blood pressures were in the bucket. The lowest blood pressure I remember being said out loud was 60s/20s. To say I was a little bossy or demanding of information would be a nice way of putting it. I was not use to being the patient and was prioritizing my care in my own head like I was the nurse. Luckily, if the staff was annoyed or offended, I never knew. To save the day, my surgeon arrived to my room and manually extracted all leftovers in my uterus, magnesium had been shut off and multiple drugs and fluid given to bring my blood pressure up. In a moment I could feel myself recovering.
Over the next few days, I slowly recovered. With bedrest and multiple blood transfusions my body was working its way back to normalcy. I am now 7 weeks post op and almost don’t notice any discomfort where my incision lies. It took weeks to feel normal mentally and weeks to be able to walk without a hunch. That experience feels like a life time ago. When life becomes so serious in a blink of an eye, at least for me, you learn what matters most. I love my husband more than I knew possible and now have two beautiful babies who have shown me what having unconditional love for another, actually means. Thank you Jesus for allowing Hattie and Hazel to come into my life.