Let me tell you about my rather traumatizing twin birth story! I’d like to preface to say that not all twin births are traumatizing. What happened to me had a 9% chance of happening. I’ve heard plenty of stories of amazing, vaginal twin births that happen at home in a birth tub. But, nonetheless, this is my story.
The last few weeks of my twin pregnancy I was having to go in to the office twice a week to check on the babies and make sure everything was good. I decided I wanted to have my fallopian tubes removed during my C-section. That meant I couldn’t deliver at Longmont United because they don’t do that there. So my OB was working on getting privileges at Avista where I could have that done. That was also the backup hospital in case I went into labor before 34 weeks because that’s where the better NICU is. We hadn’t put a date on my scheduled C-section yet because we were waiting on my OB’s privileges to go through. We decided it would be a good idea to establish care with the OB’s at Avista just in case.
The beginning of the end of my pregnancy
I met with the Avista OB group on June 22nd (33 weeks and 2 days) and then had a regular checkup with my OB on the 23rd. When I got home that day, Juny wasn’t feeling good. So while he napped on the couch I went into full blown nesting mode and cleaned our bedroom from top to bottom. I hadn’t had that kind of energy in months, so I should’ve known it was a sign they were coming soon!
At about 10pm that night (June 23rd) Juny tested positive for Covid. My mom had the same symptoms so we assumed she was positive, too. They were both so sick and miserable. We all went to bed and I hoped they would get better soon because they were my support people! Two hours later, at about 12:30am I rolled over in bed and my damn water broke! I woke Juny up saying “F*CK” really loudly and, after telling him what happened, we both got up and were kind of freaking out. I knew from my water breaking early with Ellie (which you can read about here) that since I wasn’t having contractions there was still hope of keeping these babies in for awhile longer. So I drove myself to Longmont United Hospital.
Longmont United Hospital and an Ambulance Ride
When I arrived at Longmont United hospital they tested to make sure it was in fact my water that broke. Then they hooked me and the boys up to be monitored. I had a few contractions but nothing I could feel, so once they decided the boys looked good on the monitor, they ordered an ambulance to bring me to Avista hospital. Since I was only 33 weeks I couldn’t have the babies at Longmont United whether I wanted my tubes removed or not because their NICU isn’t set up for 33 week old babies.
The ambulance ride to Avista was strange and very bumpy. The guy that rode in the back with me was obviously terrified he was going to have to deliver my babies right there in the ambulance, which actually made me feel kind of calm. I didn’t want to freak him out anymore than he already was! When they wheeled me into my room at Avista, I swear to you I thought they were bringing me into a closet! The room they put me in had a big open space before you turned a corner to where the actual room part was. It was huge!
Once I was settled into the new bed a few minutes later, the nurse (Emily) was struggling to keep the twins on the heart monitor. I told her I had to use the restroom and that when I came back I could switch sides to see if that worked better. Now, up to this point the plan was to monitor the boys and I for 24 hours, pump me full of steroids for their lungs and antibiotics to prevent an infection, and wait it out until I hit 34 weeks when we could schedule my C-section. 34 weeks is kind of a magic number for preemies, it generally means the babies fare better in the NICU. I just needed to keep them in there through the weekend, I’ve done this before with Ellie but I kept her in for 2 weeks, so I figured the weekend was no big deal!
Forgive me for how graphic this is about to get, and fair warning.
I got up and went to the bathroom, and while I was going, I felt like there was something starting to come out of my vagina. I figured it was just a gush of the waters again and went and laid back down. As I was talking to Emily, I coughed and I definitely felt something in there at that point. I looked at Emily and said “I feel like there’s something in my vagina.” She said, “well does it feel like a butt?” And I said, “no, it feels more like a foot.” So she pulled my panties down to do an exam, and her face went white. She very calmly and gently got up on the bed, used her fingers to push whatever it was back up into my vagina, pulled the emergency cord, got on her phone and simply said “we have a cord.”
The room was flooded with people within literal seconds. Emily, again very calmly, explained to me that baby A’s umbilical cord had come out and that we needed to get him out asap to save his life. All I could think to say was “can I call my husband?” as they started wheeling me towards the operating room. At 5:44am on June 24th I called Juny. I have no idea exactly what I said, but with about 6 people surrounding me and Emily on top of me with her fingers holding my baby’s life in her fingers, I told him something along the lines of “they’re about to put me under and cut the babies out, I have to go.”
I cried the whole rest of the way to the OR, which was really only about a minute. All I could think or say was that I was all alone. I didn’t have any of my people with me. My husband, my mom, my doula-photographer, nobody. Nurse Emily looked me in the eye and said “I’m here and I’m not leaving your side, I promise.” And then we entered the OR.
The Operating Room
Being inside an OR during an emergency C-section felt very much like being in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. There were people yelling and running around and metal clanking – just a lot of moving parts and anxious energy. After getting me on the operating table I wished they’d put me out already. I didn’t want to be in there and hear all of the chaos. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in my entire life. They did put me under then, but I still felt myself gag and fight the intubation before going black.
I called my husband at 5:44am. Baby A was safely born at 5:53am, followed by his brother two minutes later. 9 minutes. If that cord would’ve come out in the ambulance or while I was at home I doubt my baby would’ve made it.
Coming out of the anesthesia is obviously really blurry. I remember someone telling me my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were in the waiting room waiting to be let in. And then darkness. And then coming to again and asking for them repeatedly before going back to the darkness. My first real coherent memory is of seeing my mother-in-law and sister-in-law sitting at the foot of my bed. That was the first time I really felt like I could breathe. I asked them how the babies were and they were able to go get some photos of them in the NICU for me.
I have no idea how long I was out for – how long it was before I got to meet my babies. Forever. The early memories are so blurry. But I do remember being wheeled in to the NICU to meet my boys for the first time. They were so tiny, and Xzavier had a CPAP machine on that terrified me. But they were perfect in every way.
Zakai Elijah was born at 5:53am on June 24th, 2022 weighing in at 3lbs 12oz and 16.5 inches tall. Xzavier Roman was born 2 minutes later at 5:55am weighing 4lbs 12oz and 18 inches tall. Our NICU stay is a story for another day, but Zakai spent 20 days in the NICU and Xzavier spent 17 days. I struggled with post-partum preeclampsia for weeks after their birth. Juny had to wait 10 days before he could come meet his sons for the first time. I had to be discharged to my mother-in-law’s house because the kids got Covid, too and I couldn’t expose the NICU to it by going back and forth from them to the hospital once I got discharged.
Those first few days are very blurry and filled with some not so great emotions. But I do remember all of the visitors that came to see me in the hospital to bring me food and comfort. I was never really alone. Our tribe rallied around my family and I during this time and it was incredible to feel all the support and love.
At the time of writing this, the twins are 7 months old and thriving! They couldn’t be more different in looks and personality! Zakai is the happiest baby you’ll ever meet and full of energy. Xzavier is the chill baby, at least until he’s hungry. At their last appointment Zakai weighed a pound less than Xz and was a centimeter shorter. Being a twin mom on top of all our other kids is absolutely exhausting! But my heart is just as full as my hands are!