The night before the babies were born was a typical night, just waiting for time to go by and itching (I developed Cholestasis in my third trimester). My nurse, Christina, who we had become friends with, made me get a shower. Showering was so difficult; someone usually had to make me do it. Not that I didn’t want to be clean; it was just so painful and I no longer fit in the shower in my room, so I had to go to another room with a larger shower. Jay had to help me with everything; he even washed my hair for me, because I couldn’t reach behind my head. This time the pain wasn’t bad; I was able to walk back to my room without assistance and because I was feeling so well, I asked Christina to dry my hair. I rarely did this as I was way past caring what my hair looked like, but for once I felt well enough to care.
We had a routine: monitoring around 10-11 P.M., once finished I was given medication to calm the maddening itch I was experiencing from the Cholestasis and as was our routine, Christiana came in at 3:00 A.M. to make me go to the bathroom; when my bladder was full, I would begin having contractions. After the early morning journey to the bathroom (trust me, it was almost an adventure to get to the bathroom at this point), I went back to sleep, anticipating being woken up again at 5:00 A.M. by the new shift of residents. They always woke me in the mornings to give me shots of Terbutaline as I had been in pre-term labor for the past six weeks and consistently having contractions; oddly I didn’t receive one that morning. (I’ll tell you more about the exasperating residents and shots of “terb” another time). Christina then came by around 6 A.M. to complete her shift and say bye. I was experiencing terrible cramping, but this was my new normal so I received more medication and went back to sleep. Everything went according to our everyday and night routine, but January 29th was different.
Finally, I was scheduled for a C-section delivery on Thursday, February 8th; day 35+5. The goal was always for me to carry the babies to 36 weeks. However, my doctor didn’tschedule “sections” on the weekends and she was riding in her Mardi Gras parade the night of the 8th, so she wasn’t scheduling anything for that Friday. In Louisiana you don’t want to inconvenience your doctors during Mardi Gras — even with triplets. A date was scheduled and I felt like my time in the hospital was finally coming to an end, but I continued to cry, plead and beg my doctor to deliver the babies earlier. After a month of crying, begging and pretty much scratching myself to death, my C-section was re-scheduled one-week earlier, Friday, February 2nd. Finally the painful, horrible pregnancy was going tobe over and there was assuredly a light at the end of the tunnel.
Immediately my nurses started planning and were able to change their schedules to be with me on the 2nd, to deliver our babies. Living in the hospital for 40 days,you begin to become family with your nurses. I had “my nurses;” a group of Labor & Delivery nurses who became my friends and advocates. They foughtfor me each day and it was known who my nurses would be, because they were”my nurses.” I was a pretty easy patient; aside from not showering everyday, 39 of the 40 days they didn’t have to deliver my babies! The babies were referred to as “our babies,” because the nurses became their extended aunts…
After telling Christina bye at 6 A.M. I fell back to sleep only to wake up again around 7:30 A.M., because my entire body was hurting; the cramping hadn’t subsided and I was itching like a mad woman. Medication was administered again and I was back asleep, just in time to be aroused awake at 9:00 A.M.; only this time it wasn’t a nurse, resident or pain, but by a tremendous burst of water, like a water hose was placed between my legs.
I was in shock, but I wasn’t scared. I couldn’tbelieve it was finally happening. I know I was thinking “O s#*~…” Once realizing what was happening, I called the nurses station and said,”umm, I think my water broke.” Now I was beginning to worry. Jay had gone to work, an hour away, like he did every weekday and none of “my nurses”were working that day. The fear began to set in and today of all days, I had a new nurse; I don’t even remember her name. This didn’t help my anxiety —she didn’t know me, much less know my requests (requests I spent almost two months preparing for) while in the operating room.
A team of residents and nurses flooded my room to check if it was in fact amniotic fluid, or just vaginal fluid leaking. This is common in multiples pregnancies and in the 40 days I was there, I had a few scares. A resident asked me if it was “different” this time? I know I looked at her like, “are you seriously asking me this?” Without responding to her question immediately , I pulled the covers back, then responded, “I’m pretty sure it is,” as my entire bed was saturated. Everyone started moving a lot faster; I was 2 cm dilated and began experiencing labor pain. This was it; after waiting 40 days in the hospital preparing for this moment, it was here.
I called Jay again, but I was worried he wasn’t going to make it to the hospital in time. My doctor didn’t play around when it came to triplets and I knew she was going to want to move quickly. Describing what was was going through my mind at this time is difficult. I wasn’t scared, but I wasn’t relaxed either; disbelief is pretty accurate. I had 40 days to quiz the staff about C-sections, already knew what to expect from anesthesia and my nurse assured me she had delivered many multiples before, but it didn’tbring me comfort—”My nurses” weren’t there; Jay wasn’t there yet and everyone I knew wasn’t working. As I was being moved to the operating room, I felt like I was going to have to do this by myself. All the planning and preparations we made were useless. (Another common theme with triplets) In my state of panic, I was greeted by a familiar face as the door to the scrub area opened; Marie, one of “my nurses. “The amount of relief I felt, literally made me want to cry. She was on-call and thankfully was called in for my delivery.
I was immediately relieved, but Jay still wasn’t here yet. One of the residents asked me to call him and see where he was (of course it’s 2018; we all have our cell phones with us as we’re about to have major surgery), as it was time to begin prepping for anesthesia. He answered and said he was at the airport. I knew what he meant, as he travels past an airport on his everyday commute to work and it’s a point of reference for him to let me know how far away from home he is. While still on the phone with him, one of the residents asked where he was and without thinking, I said, “he’s at the airport.” They became wide-eyed and wanted to know why he was at the airport. I had to quickly gather my thoughts and explain he was driving past the airport and would be to the hospital in about five minutes. It was a much needed humorous moment. They were concerned because Jay stayed at the hospital with me the entire time I was admitted, so for him to not be at the babies birth would have astounded them — and me too.
I was moved into the operating room, even though Jay wasn’t there. They couldn’t wait any longer; one of the babies was now without fluid and would begin moving into the birth canal. I was a little apprehensive about the epidural, but I remember one of the anesthesiologist telling me they would numb the area first and all I would feel was a bite from a red ant. (Red ant bites aren’t pleasant, but they’re hardly painful.) Before I knew it, the epidural was complete and I was laid down and being prepped for surgery. Finally, Marie came to my side and said she was going to get Jay. I felt immediate relief; my rock, the one person who can keep me calm and grounded was finally going to be by my side. Thankfully I didn’t have to deliver the babies by myself.