Birth Story · Vasa Previa

Our Birth Story: Part 2 (PICU)

If you missed it, you can find the first part of our birth story here. As I mentioned in the first part, these posts are kinda lengthy! If you just want to jump to the very last part, you’ll have to hang tight for the grand finale when these sweet babes make their grand entrance 🙂

Perinatal Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is a whole other world.

To recap, I was sent to PICU after having contractions so I could be closer to the operating room (OR) in case of a rupture, I could start the magnesium and so that they could more closely monitor the babes and my contractions.

 Everyone was hurrying around, hooking me up to different machines… it was pretty scary.  The nurse I was assigned was very kind and went through what was going to happen.  They were hooking me up to mag and she tried to prepare me for what was to come…she brought Zach a bucket of ice water and 3 wash cloths and told him he would need to use these.. one for each wrist and one for my forehead.
I don’t think a n y t h i n g can prepare you for mag.

I apparently timed all of this perfectly because it was all right at shift change.  There had to have been 10+ people in my room.  I lost count and really was so dizzy, I’m not sure I counted right.. but I had one nurse hooking each leg up to the squeezy wraps, one checking my midline, one putting another IV in just in case, 3 hooking the mag up…I lost track.

I was given a ‘bolus’ dose of mag first to get the ball rollin and then it hit.  The waves of nausea, the hot flashes, the elephant that sits on your chest, the tingling going up and down your legs, the hot flashes, the nausea, the hot flashes.  Did I mention the nausea? The hot flashes? If it weren’t for knowing I was keeping my babes safe, I might have keeled over.  Oh yea, and did I mention I was having contractions too?

There was a crazy fan that was above my bed that had a switch by the door to operate.  I’d send Zach over as soon as a wave of contractions/hot flashes/nausea hit to flip the fan on and then he’d have to hurry back to hold my hand, but then as soon as it was over, I’d be freezing, so he’d have to go back and flip it off.

I had to have Zach and two nurses walk me to the bathroom to go.  I was encouraged to walk to the bathroom to get the mag going a little faster, but I was also at risk of complications, plus, the contractions…so I peed with an audience.  Back in bed I went.

Somewhere in the craziness of shift change, “Red” became my lead nurse.  She was certainly a firecracker and I. loved. her. They measure the contractions by referencing facial features.. chin, nose, forehead.  She kept feeling my belly, staring at the screen and saying, “This isn’t good.  These contractions are at a ‘forehead’ (apparently the contractions in real labor).  Get {my doc} on the phone right now and tell her to get here, these babies need to come. NOW.”

After the bolus dose, we were all extremely encouraged because my contractions started to slow down in intensity… for five minutes. Red never was encouraged, even after they calmed down, she told the other nurse that they were coming back.  And she was right.

Five minutes later, the contractions started again, and with a vengeance.  This was when I kinda lost it.  Of course, Red didn’t give me much time to be upset… she gave me the pep talks of pep talks and told me to “buck up”.  She told me to call whoever I wanted to be at the hospital and tell them to get there, now, or they’d miss it.

At this point, Red explained that their main goal was to keep me on mag for 4 hours to put an extra coating on the girls brain.  They said it would help give them an extra layer of protection and it was a benefit despite them coming so early.  So, I had a goal.  4 hours of mag, but then they were coming.  I only had 1 more hour left… 7:30-8:30 and then it was time to meet my precious girls.

 Yikes. This is what 4 hours of mag does to you.

My doctor got there right about 7:45 and she came in, sat on my bed, and reassured me that this was the right thing to do.  She explained that because they couldn’t do a cervical check or take the risk of Lila’s vessels rupturing, the girls were safer out than in.  She assured me that I did everything I could, but they were ready.  This was why I was in the hospital.  This was the whole point of hospitalization and we were feet away from a top-rated NICU.  We had done the steroid shots at 28 weeks, and although the girls weren’t in distress, they didn’t want to wait for that to happen.  I absolutely love her.  She said she had to go scrub in but she’d meet me in the OR in a minute.

Our families both arrived in just enough time to come in, give us a hug and a kiss and assure me that they would be praying in the waiting room, and snap a picture.  I gave them a hug, and said bye as they wheeled me down the hallway and into the OR.

I was so scared.  My babies were coming 9 weeks early.  They weren’t ready.  Even as I type this, the tears still come.  I knew they were tiny.  I so badly wanted them to stay inside and be safe, but that wasn’t an option for me…I knew God was in control, but oh how I am human and doubt.  He knew what needed to happen and He had shown me that from the beginning.  I trusted my medical staff.. the doctors, the nurses, the NICU nurses… but most of all, it was time I trusted God.

Stay tuned for the girls arrival!



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