Written on AUGUST 23, 2015
Lately I have been spending more time at the Children’s Hospital. Every other day I walk into the hospital, past the double automatic doors and down the hallway. They smell exactly the same as they did a year ago. Everything is the same as it was a year ago. Every time I walk into the hospital I live those NICU days again.
Last summer when it was actually happening for the first time, it was such a blur. I was in complete shock when I first felt those awful labor pains. I was stepping up to my bed, getting ready to take a nap. Then out of the blue BAM! An excruciating stabbing pain at the top of my belly. It felt like my belly was detaching from my body. Suddenly I got really dizzy and my heart began to beat so fast and so hard. The pain was incredible. Nothing like I have ever felt before!! You know how in the movies when there is an explosion and the person that gets blown backwards all of a sudden loses their hearing and can hear that loud ping sound? That’s what happened to me. I lost all hearing except that ping and then I could hear my heart beat. The room became dark and was spinning. I started feeling really nauseous and ran to the bathroom to throw up…
Luckily my husband walked in the room at that time. I suddenly felt sick. I was so confused about what was going on. This is not normal. This is not good. What do we do? Do we call the ambulance? Do we go to our local hospital? Or do we drive the hour to the specialized Children’s Hospital? I was so confused and so scared. After a few minutes, I was able to calm myself enough to to tell my husband to take me to the children’s hospital. Our pregnancy was being monitored at Loma Linda… we can’t go anywhere else.
My husband helped me put my shoes on and put me and our hospital bags in the car. Luckily our kids were already spending the weekend with grandma and grandpa.
I remember bits of the car ride as my husband sped through the Interstate to the hospital that is over an hour away. I remember him driving the speed limit in fears of the highway patrol. In not so many words I told him to get us to the hospital as quickly as possible. We made it to the hospital in only 45 minutes. I don’t remember our arrival to the hospital. But I remember sitting in the hallway as we were checking into labor and delivery. I remember my husband bouncing his knee nervously as he tried to fill out the paperwork. In between my labor pains I was able to relax. This was my 5th pregnancy so I have learned that I need to take those deep breaths and relax between the tense pain. I saw my husband unable to focus, and me being the one that always fills out paperwork, I took it from him and finished it. I remember I stood up to take the clipboard back to the receptionist and BANG! Contraction. My hips, my belly…felt like babies were taking nose dives for the floor. I remember my husband jumped up and grabbed the clipboard for me. I remember the receptionist mouthed ‘I’m sorry’ for making me get up. I smiled and through my labor breathing I shook my head and reassured her, “It’s not your fault, I’m just in labor.” I sat back down and crossed my ankles.
Another couple came and the mama was in labor as well. I remember thinking they were so cute. They looked young and like they were brand new parents. They had their bags and pillows, the husband was holding her purse and she rocked her hips for comfort. I sat there and smiled at her and thought back to our first baby. Everything was perfect. The pregnancy, the labor, little to no pain, the delivery, after having the baby…. the actual baby. She hardly ever cried. She was so sweet and so quiet. Everything was perfect.
BAM! Another contraction. I thought my hips were going to separate and tear themselves off my body. The nurse saw how much pain I was in and walked us over to triage. From that point it was a big blur. Once they found out I was actually only 30 weeks along, then it became a rush rush on their part. Rush to get to a room, rush for meds, rush to stop this labor, rush to stop the delivery. Ultrasounds, blood draws, more ultrasounds and monitors upon monitors attached to me. Absolute chaos. It wasn’t til a day later that I had silence in my room. Praise God we had a private room…
My husband was asleep in the bed next to me and I was lying awake listening to the twins’ heart beats. Two hearts beating as fast as can be. I remember rubbing my belly at that moment and pushing on whatever limb I could. Every night I would sing to them… like all my daughters, I want them to love music. I remember that night I sang to them. A spanish song called ‘Grande es el amor’… my favorite church song. They, of course, began moving and kicking. It was one of my most favorite moments I will ever have in my pregnancy. I hated realizing that these are going to be some of the last moments of my pregnancy. And it may, honestly, be the last moments of their lives…. I then recorded their heartbeats on the monitor. For so long during my pregnancy, I was told that our son was not going to survive. I wanted to be able to listen to his heartbeat for the rest of MY life.
One day…two days…three days… praying constantly for these babies to stay in my belly and continue growing. Then on the third day, in the evening, my contractions came back. But this time they were different. They were consistent and they were coming quick. Everything was happening so fast. My husband had just left to get dinner with my mom. I remember my aunt was sitting with me and she picked up the phone and handed it to me. I heard my husbands voice and I began to sob. I knew deep in my heart this was it. I could hear him asking “Whats wrong?? what’s happening?” I couldn’t speak. I just cried. My aunt took back the phone and told him to get back as soon as possible. The pains got stronger and stronger. The contractions were one after the other after the other. The nurse became frantic. After about 30 minutes I couldn’t take the pain anymore. And then the twins heart rates began to slow. Everything was such a blur but I remember my husband rushing into the room, almost out of breathe like he was running. I felt so relieved that he was there. He made it on time. For whatever was going to happen… he was there.
Within 5 minutes of my husband and mother arriving, I felt this incredibly painful contraction. I screamed in pain. Normally I am able to keep quiet and endure the pain silently or internally…. but this pain was like nothing I had ever felt. And then… POP! My water broke. It felt like a water balloon and I could hear the POP. I FELT the POP! I can hear the water trickle on the floor. The nurse ran in and lifted my blanket. The face she made was absolute shock. She yelled, “THERE’S BLOOD!” When I saw her reaction I immediately thought, “Shouldn’t she be more calm?!” I looked at my husband and he was already shaking his head no. I remember him telling me, “It’s ok. It’s going to be ok.” A rush of nurses and doctors flooded my room. Suddenly one doctor yelled, “GET HER OUT NOW!” My world spinning. My head began to spin.
I watched as the nurse frantically disconnected me from the monitor. And the sound of their heart beats were gone. At that point I lost my hearing. I lost all cognition of what was going on. I was officially in shock. I remember watching the ceiling lights pass as I was being rushed to the operating room. I remember at one point I was being pushed so fast my bed began to swerve. I was holding on to the rails and I saw the wall get closer to my hand. I moved my hand as the rail hit the wall. I looked up and back to my left and saw the bill of my husbands hat. I still couldn’t hear.
Next thing I know I was in the operating room. My legs and my arms were each being held down by someone. I remember the word “hemorrhage” being said. I remember a nurse sitting to my left and to my right. I felt my body shaking. Was it fear… was it pain… I couldn’t tell. But I remember the nurse to my left said that I need to take slow deep breaths. I remember squeezing his hand. I remember feeling the nurse to my right and I turned my head to him. He helped put the blue drape up in front of me. He then sat down and squeezed my arm.
I remember a cold liquid all over my belly. I remember having a mask being placed over my face and being told, “Take deep breaths! Deep breaths!” I suddenly felt a burning sensation so hot it put me into deeper shock than I was. I heard more of some kind of liquid drop to the floor. It sounded like a bucket of water was thrown on my belly and then spilled to the floor. I looked up at the ceiling and saw the light. That last second I thought…. “so this is it.”
Growing up I had a recurring dream of dying in child birth. Why? I have no idea. But each pregnancy I thought I was going to die while giving birth. I would go as far as writing letters to my babies… I kept journals for each of my babies. I wrote letters to them just in case they weren’t given a chance to meet me. I wanted them to know WHO I was and all that I thought. I wanted them to know that I loved them and how I dream of their futures. So when I was in that operating room I knew… that was it for me. I was bleeding… and I was convinced that I was going to die.
I saw the light… “so this is it.”
As much of a blur these three days were, I remember so many details still. Those three days were the beginning of a miracle coming to life. I still have that recording of my babies heartbeats. Only now, it’s not just a memory. They are my dream come true…