Delivery Day! Part 1

Ah yes, the "big post" everyone has been waiting for...and now that my babies are six weeks old I figured it was time I finally sat down and banged out the details. Especially for my fellow quad mammas who are nearing the end of their own pregnancies! (Yes, we all manage to find each other from all around the country!) Plus it's truly amazing to me to look back on my pregnancy and realize just how much I went through and how intense it was. I found that during the pregnancy, I was prepared to do anything it took—as most mothers are for their unborn children. And I've found that with quad moms, in particular, we sort of wear "blinders" during our pregnancies. We aren't focused on the crazy ridiculousness of what we're going through but rather on making it one more day, one more week with our babies. I never concentrated on the pain, the nausea, the extreme fatigue, the body aches, the depression, the claustrophobia of being in the same hospital room for two months... but rather on how much longer I could hold out and how much more I could grow the babies before they made their appearance.

Now that I'm on the "other side" it's amazing to see how well I pulled through! My mom said she often feared for my health so much and she hated seeing me so sick and miserable. On more than one occasion she had to push the thought out of her mind that it was possible she could lose her own daughter and four unborn grandchildren if things took a turn for the worse. But she held herself together very well during my pregnancy, spending nearly every day with me in the hospital for the last month I was there and another week after I delivered to help me recover.

But back to the big D-Day! I figured this will be at least two parts, maybe three. I wanted to be sure to cover not only the actual delivery process but also how I felt and what I went through. Details, people!

29 weeks and 1 day pregnant with quads.
For about two weeks prior to delivery, I had been having some close calls with contractions. They always seemed to intensify at night—which wasn't so great for my already eclectic sleeping patterns—and left me completely exhausted by the time morning arrived. Often my day nurse would come in once I was done eating breakfast to get me a dose of Demerol for the pain and/or Phenergan for nausea. These made me very sleepy, which fortunately enabled me to get a couple solid hours of sleep until lunch time. The pain I was feeling varied from day to day and included severe pelvic pain (from the pressure of four babies as gravity pulled them downward), back pain from back contractions (so not fun), or pain in my stomach from the babies growing and stretching, from contractions or from my skin hurting as it struggled to accommodate my four. I hated taking medicines that made me feel unlike myself and had put them off as long as possible. But after my doctor explained I needed to take them if I felt all that pain and after various nurses also assured me of the same, I gave in and was glad to be able to get the occasional relief and a chance to sleep and keep my body going.


So on several nights my contractions would increase, beginning around seven or eight in the evening and gradually increase in frequency and pain as the night went on. Sometimes they were as few as one to four minutes apart! Each time, the doctor on call that evening would advise my nurse to increase my magnesium IV, administer Indocin (a contraction medicine) or give me Demerol to relax my body and slow the contractions. Occasionally it was all three of these things, which you can imagine left me feeling pretty crappy! But it continued to work and bought me more time, one precious day after another to get me past the huge 28 week milestone and creeping on to 30 weeks.


Memorial weekend I started having a few more contractions than usual and these were really hurting. On Memorial Day night, I went into active labor yet again. All this time I had been bound and determined not to deliver during the night or on a weekend! And this was during the night on a holiday weekend of all things! The hospital staff was even thinner then the usual Saturday/Sunday crew. My sweet nurse that night, Liz, normally didn't work in Labor & Delivery, I think she spent most of her time in another part of the unit. So not only did she get the quad mom but I was steadily going into labor! She was viligant with me all night, getting me ice water, heating pads for my back and keeping a steady dose of meds going to keep my contractions as under control as possible. She checked in with the doctor on call then came back to tell me, "She does not want to deliver you tonight! We need to wait until morning when everyone is here!"

Luckily, morning arrived and Liz came in one last time at 6am to check on me and be sure I was as comfortable as I could be and happily reported my contractions had slowed down a bit. I thanked her for getting me through the night and was so glad she had been my nurse. For the next few days, things stayed about the same—I continued to have frequent contractions and lots of pain and my fantastic nurses did their best to keep me comfortable. Then Wednesday, May 30, rolled around. That evening the same pattern began again, more contractions, more pain. This time, however, the medications were doing nothing to stop them. My doctor had checked on me during the day and texted me that evening after talking to the nurse about my condition. He wanted to know how I felt, to which I replied it was the same routine as the past several days and I wasn't feeling great but perhaps it would dissipate by morning again. However, once midnight struck I knew that wasn't going to be the case. I could just tell things were different. I stopped accepting pain medication at that point because I didn't want to risk it being in the babies' system if we were to deliver anytime soon. (The Demerol can sometimes make them a little lethargic and they can be given a medicine to counteract it, but I didn't want them to be dealing with anything extra!)

I had called my husband at about midnight to let him know that things seemed to be escalating a bit but I would keep him updated, yet fortunately he insisted he'd be on his way and showed up a short while later! He slept on the couch bench in my room while I suffered and endured through the next nine hours, getting about one hour of sleep. When my doctor arrived at 9am, he knew my time was up. He told me we could try and push me to get a few more days, but that I was so close to 30 weeks that he felt it would be walking a fine line. We'd be going into the weekend at that point and once again risk not having all the staff on hand for such a big delivery, plus I'd already developed preeclampsia (high blood pressure) and it would soon be a deciding factor on its own anyway. So he said to get ready, make our phone calls, update Facebook and they'd deliver me at noon!


The next few hours were very quiet for my husband and I. We called our parents right away to tell them the news. My mom and step-dad were at our house getting ready to come up for another "normal" day at the hospital and my mom sounded somber when I told her it was the big day. She was very nervous! Then folks starting coming and going in and out of my room to get me prepared. I nearly jumped up and down when they disconnected the magnesium sulfate from my IV, hallelujah!! My doctor had hoped the double vision I'd had for the past week because of it would go away by delivery so I could see the babies, but unfortunately it didn't. However, I was overjoyed to be off that yucky medicine anyway!  I was given a second IV in my other arm in the event that I would need a blood transfusion. Residents and nurses came down from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to walk us through what we could expect once the babies were born and the process they'd go through as they were taken to the NICU. The anesthesiologists came by to go over a few details and talk about what I could expect for my spinal block. Nurses came in with my stylish hospital gown, blue hat and red socks. Then my mom and step-dad arrived and sat with us, snapping a few pictures. There was a slight delay since they waited for the stand-by blood supply to be brought up to the operating room (OR) to be completely prepared for that possible transfusion.


All this time, I was nervous but very still. I was somewhat relieved the big moment had come, I would finally be through this pregnancy and get to meet my babies! But it was also a bit overwhelming... my hospital room and the pregnancy was all I'd known for the past months and I wondered how things would go without the babies being all snug in my belly. I knew, though, in the back of my mind that my prego days were numbered. My body was struggling to make it through every hour at that point and the preeclampsia would probably get the better of me before long. The contractions were still painful and I worried a little bit about how tired I was. I wondered if it would effect my ability to pull through the delivery, considering I had absolutely no reserve energy left! Quietly I prayed for my body, my babies and my doctors—they knew what they were doing and I trusted them to get me through this!

At last the time came. I put on my robe and my hat and laid back down in my bed for them to wheel me to the OR. They had offered for me to walk in there if I wanted to and I told them they were crazy, I would miss my delivery time at the rate I moved! I hugged my mom and away we went, my husband trailing alongside the bed with me. The OR was just a hallway and a turn away and they paused just long enough for us to share one more kiss before wheeling me inside...


Just tuning in? Click to read Part 2 and Part 3.

11 comments:

  1. I can't wait for part 2. You did so amazing for all that your body went through in the last two weeks of your pregnancy. Reading about the morning of your delivery makes me so emotional. I can't wait for that day (well I can wait a couple more weeks). I already know how amazing the birth of your child is but delivering four still seems so surreal to me. Your kids are so lucky to have you as their mom!

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  2. I'm so excited for part 2
    Being 36 weeks and pregnant with 1 baby, I can't imagine how you did what you did. You are so strong Amber. You should be so proud of yourself!!!

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  3. Just as krista said, reading this makes me emotional. D day seems like such s mix of excitement, anxiety, pain, and joy. It is surreal how close I am getting to that point.

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  4. Just as krista said, reading this makes me emotional. D day seems to be such a mix of joy, anxiety, pain, and love. It is surreal how close I am getting to that day.

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  5. Brings back so many memories! I will forever be grateful I was able to be here with you during these times. An AMAZING pregnancy! YOU are an AMAZING young woman!! (But then - I already KNEW that!!)

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  6. oooooh i can't wait for part 2! you're amazing!

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  7. ooooh i can't wait for part 2! you're amazing!

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  8. I'll be back for part two.
    I am enjoying reading this, especially since I know it has a happy ending!

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  9. Aunt NitaJuly 13, 2012

    You did a great job, God put you right where you needed to be and surrounded you with amazing people.
    You, Mike and your quads were always in Gods hands.

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  10. My husband and I delivered right down the hall from the famous quad squad on April 28! Our nurses told us about your difficult pregnancy and we prayed for you guys to hold on! I'm so glad I found your blog and that your precious little ones made it safely here! Congrats they are precious!!

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  11. Wow, it must have been a real challenge to carry those 4 little angels. But I know you are as excited as we are... waiting for part 2 to come out. A strong woman like you should be proud of :)

    More info about mesh lawyer here.

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