Wednesday, July 3, 2013

And then life changes in an afternoon...

Let's start this post with the main point: My amazing, beautiful boys Scott & Adam arrived on June 23rd, 2013 at 32+3 weeks gestation. I don't know where to start, so much has happened in the past 9 days. Because it's about as fresh on my mind as it will ever be - I guess I'll just start with the whole 'delivery' experience. What I type is likely full of incorrect information, because my head was NOT attached straight during the whole thing.

Everything was going completely normal with my pregnancy. I had a scheduled NST on Friday (the 21st) at 1PM. We were getting our couch back from the Brick the same day and I was worried it was going to be at the same time the Brick was coming. Sure enough, the timing was not great so I called the NST clinic to either reschedule or cancel because I was going back again on Monday anyways. The nurse said it was best that I don't cancel and she told me to come in Saturday morning at 10AM.

Saturday morning Jamie and I drove out and they hooked me up to the machine like normal. Babies were active, their HR's were totally normal. I had trace amounts of protein in my urine, which wasn't abnormal for me during pregnancy and had never been cause for concern before. My blood pressure however was one point over the 'normal'. Usually if we try a time or two, it comes back down, but it was still stubborn and just slightly over the norm. The nurse said she wanted to run bloodwork just to be safe. I waited (and waited and waited) for the lab guy to come and he took my blood. The nurse told me to come back in 1.5 hours when the results would be in. I didn't even know what they were testing for to be honest - I was distracted - we were supposed to be going to IKEA! I was kind of surprised that they couldn't just call to tell me the numbers were fine, but whatever.

Jamie and I went to Boston Pizza for lunch and then drove back to the hospital. I told him to just pull around, I would run upstairs to talk to the nurse and be back out in 5 minutes. When I got upstairs, she said my bloodwork was abnormal and I had to stick around to talk to the OB. I called Jamie and told him to run home and grab me more insulin because I was pretty close to empty. It seemed like it would be a long process too, whatever we had to talk about,so I told him to pack me some stuff, just in case I had to stay. She told me it seemed like pre-eclampsia, so I would likely be admitted. I quickly started googling and it seemed like the only cure was delivery, but that there were certain things that could hold it off. I also asked her if my bloodwork was 'kind of abnormal' or 'very abnormal' and she said it was 'significantly abnormal'. I'm just reading back to text messages I was sending, and apparently we had to wait for my platelet counts - if its not 'super super low' we should be okay, and if they are really low, then that's a bad sign. I guess they were 'super super low'.

Eventually they brought me down to L&D and put me in a triage area. Suddenly 3 nurses and the OB come in and say that I have HELLP syndrome and the babies would have to come out NOW. (HELLP syndrome essentially is a form of pre-e, and your body just starts to shut down. My liver, kidneys, blood cells, everything looked pretty bad... Even though I had ZERO symptoms) At this point my blood pressure shot up to about 150/110, because I was so stressed out over everything. I remember Jamie showing up and me crying and insisting that we talk about things a little more and do the steroid shots at least to help develop the babies lungs. They put me in a room (which was pretty nice, with a view of the Fraser River, haha) and said they were going to start me on the magnesium sulphate. It's a drug to reduce the chance of seizures due to the high blood pressure etc. They were going to run bloodwork again and as long as it wasn't worse, I wouldn't have to deliver right away. But if it was getting worse, it was now. They actually told Jamie he might not have time to drive back home to grab more stuff/ drop off his truck and drive back with my Mom. He left anyways (because the bloodwork takes about an hour) and they started the IV (took 3 separate attempts, geez) and we kept the babies hooked up to the monitors and they were running my blood pressure every 10 minutes. It was at about 125/110 at this point. They also gave me the first steroid shot to help develop the babies lungs faster. Jamie and my Mom arrived when I was in the middle of the main dose of magnesium. They warned me it wouldn't be fun, and it wasn't. It essentially makes you have a hot flash, and just feel overall crappy. They also were going to put in a catheter (EEEEP) but for some reason said that they could just monitor my urine intake instead through me peeing in a little container, thank god.

My platelet count had gone up slightly and everything else stayed stable so we were able to hold off for a little while at least. At this point I was hoping to hold off until Monday because my OB was on call that day, and I wanted to be induced to attempt a vaginal birth. I think I was under the impression I would only have to be on the mag drip for 24 hours too. My blood pressure stabilized and I was allowed to eat something so Jamie went to get me Subway. The next text I have from Jamie is photos of the boys, so I guess I have to try to piece together everything through other texts/ my brain. Basically they kept me on the mag/monitors/10 min BP checks over night and ran bloodwork every 4 hours. As long as things didn't worsen, the plan was to wait the full 48 hours so we could get the full benefits of the steroid shots for the babies, and induce at that point. I slept about 1-2 hours that night, I had to pee constantly and every time I had to disconnect the monitors, and attempt to pee (into a little thing in the toilet so they can keep track out my output) with 3 monitor belts on my stomach and dragging along an IV pole. Also, every time I moved or rolled, one of the babies would slip off of the monitor so we would have to readjust. My blood pressure was actually not bad, pretty much completely normal levels all night at this point. I have very little memory of the whole experience but I remember that what I thought was a baby pushing into my left rib was actually braxton hicks (practice) contractions, except baby B (Scott) was actually pushing up on my right side like I thought. I also read a few pages of the 5th Game of Thrones book, but it is wayyy too big and was too heavy on my stomach. I think I read the first chapter of Twilight too, and it took me about 2 hours to do so. My brain was not working so well. They kept running my bloodwork every 4 hours and it stayed stable.
Crabby camper cause of the monitors

In the morning things were pretty much the same. We kept at the bloodwork/BP checks etc and it was a pretty standard day. I don't know what I DID all day though, I know I didn't have TV or anything, and I don't think I was sleeping. I also had to have a nurse in the room with me the entire time, because of the magnesium and potential for seizures. I had to get every single blood draw in my left vein (because my IV was on the right), so it was starting to look pretty scary and mangled after so many tests.I don't think I will ever be stabbed more times in a few days than when I had babies. It literally must have been like 30 times at least. I think.  I got the second steroid shot at 5PM Sunday and then suddenly my blood work turned sour. My creatinine (I think) was now way off, and apparently that is something that can really cause issues long term if we don't fix it soon. I think I was still trying to go for the induction because for some reason I didn't want a C-Section. I really don't remember much though. The magnesium screws with your head, and I was starting to get deliriously tired. I think eventually around 7PM we decided to just do the C-section that night, because the operating room was opening up at 9PM and my kidneys were still looking pretty bad. I also decided that I liked June 23rd better than the 24th because 0+6+2+3+2+0+1+3 = 17 which is 'my number' (and Jamie's too!), so I wanted them out prior to midnight, haha. We had to wait for everything to open up and I was SO tired at this point, I was literally rambling like crazy. My Mom/ in laws were there and apparently I was the entertainment for the night.

I also remember I almost didn't qualify for a spinal, because my bloodwork was going sour (once again). I think it was issues with my platelet counts, but they ran it again and it was stable enough that I didn't have to be put under. I remember the spinal guy having really straight teeth and telling
him that he would have to buy me a present if he made me cry, and I would buy him a present if I didn't cry. I think I also asked him how much money he makes, because that would determine the quality of present I would expect, LOL. I was going crazy. We got me dressed up in my gown, and Jamie got into scrubs too. He looked just like a Doctor until he put on the hair net at which point he looked 'just like a Dad'. Haha. I was really impatient because 9PM had come and gone and I was so worried about going over past midnight. Plus I just wanted to get things done. It had been decided that I had to stay on the magnesium for 24 hours post delivery so I really wanted to get things moving.

 Family photo before birth!

My last belly photo! I miss that tummy!
They were going to let me walk into the OR, but I guess I wasn't allowed because of the magnesium/ monitors etc. I remember them wheeling me past the nurses desk in my bed, and I was waving at them all, haha. Into the OR I went, and they finally took off the monitors. I remember holding my (bare) stomach for the first time in almost 2 days, and for the last time ever with the babies in there. They moved me on to the bed, and I sat for the spinal. I was kind of nervous for it, but it really wasn't bad at all. I was shaking though, I always shake when I'm nervous/ excited. It just took a really long time though. I think a resident did it, not the actual guy. I remember afterwards saying I'd have to buy her a present. Anyways, they test to see if it's working by holding a bag of ice on my body. I couldn't feel the coldness pretty much right under my boobs, which I guess means it's working. They started cutting me open and in came Jamie.

The opening me up part happened pretty quickly and suddenly Adam (baby A) was out! He cried right away! I think they took him over to clean him up, and he peed on his hat, and then he pooped. They brought him over and I got to touch him. I remember him being way too close to my face, and I could barely see him. But I thought he had really blue eyes, and super long fingernails. I was really overtired. I asked the nurse to hold him about a foot away so that I could see him a little better. Jamie got to hold him, and then off he went. Shortly after Adam was out, Scott (Baby B) came out too. I thought I heard him crying, but I think it was Adam. Scott needed a little more help and he was rushed away pretty quickly. Jamie went to be with the boys and I was sewn back up. It seemed to take forever, but I guess there is a lot of layers to sew up again. I was falling asleep on the table too. I remember hearing a lot of 'sucking' I think they really vacuumed up my uterus well. Jamie said afterwards that there was a lot of blood everywhere, and even a bloody footprint on the floor, hahaha.

Eventually it was all over and they moved me onto a stretcher (almost dropping me! The wheels weren't locked!!) and off to recovery I went... I'm going to end this post with that. My whole delivery experience was about the craziest thing I've ever experienced. I wish I remembered more of it, and it wasn't such a sleepy haze, but it's all worth it because I now have two amazing beautiful sons.


Adam Peter Arsenault
Born on June 23rd 2013 at 11:19PM, weighing 3 lbs 15 oz.
Scott John Arsenault
Born on June 23rd 2013 at 11:21PM, weighing 3lbs 9 oz.


  1. What a beautiful story! I really enjoyed it. Even though it likely wasn't what you has planned, it is uniquely yours. Thanks for sharing. :) beautiful pics too! I think we all have 'crabby camper' pics at some point. :) love it!

  2. Awh. My baby b had to be rushed away fast to. Never got to see him at all for 8 hours and didn't getito hold him for almost a week.