Birth of Quadruplets
I woke up yesterday morning with the same agenda that I’ve had every day while I’ve been on bed rest here at the hospital. In fact, I had even mentioned the night before how it seemed like bed rest was going to go on forever. And with Dr. Lu, one of my physicians, talking about how he would handle me when I got to 32 and 34 weeks of pregnancy, I wasn’t even thinking about having babies anytime soon.
True to routine, I began the day with a growth sonogram, which I have every three weeks. This lengthier sonogram measures everything from heart rate to head circumference to femur bone length. All of the babies were doing well, with great fluid and cord doplars. When I asked the ultrasonographer, she said she couldn’t find a thing amiss. Dr. Parrish came in to look at the sonograms and echoed the good report. I had felt a couple of contractions up to that point, but nothing out of the ordinary. Dr. Parrish said that my next growth sonogram would at week 31, and they would do the shorter sonograms every Wednesday in between. By 9:00, I was back to my room with new sonogram pictures of the babies.
Shortly after returning to the room, I noticed some contraction activity. Sometimes I couldn’t tell whether it was a contraction or Caleb stomping on my bladder, but after a little bit, I was pretty convinced that they were contractions. The nurse decided to put the contraction monitor on me just to see what was going on. Sure enough! I was having contractions and the intensity was increasing. She called the doctor and she ordered Vistaril (an oral med that helps with contractions) and put me back on an IV with a regular bag of fluid to keep me hydrated. At this point, no one was concerned about the babies coming, and it really didn’t seem like a worrisome situation.
I sent my husband, Sean, a text message, letting him know that my contractions had started back up. I told him there was no need to worry or come by the hospital. I reassured him that I’d let him know if there were any changes. I will be forever grateful for Sean’s boss who insisted he come right to the hospital when Sean mentioned I was having contractions. If my husband had listened to me, he would have missed the babies’ birth!
By the time Sean arrived, the contractions had seemed to slow a bit but they weren’t stopping. I still assumed the doctors would be able to get them stopped. I just figured they needed a different type of medicine or maybe to put me back on magnesium.
Mid-afternoon, the resident OB-GYN came to check me. I heard the doctor comment that she thought I was dilated to a 4 before realizing I was already dilated to between 6 and 7. The nurse and doctor sat me back up and delivered the news: “Okay, the babies are coming right now. We need to get you ready for surgery right away.”
Left to digest this information while the doctor quickly got things in order for the delivery, I couldn’t stop from crying. I was so incredibly disappointed that I hadn’t made it further. My room quickly filled with nurses who were rushing me to the operating room. While they started moving me, Sean grabbed his phone and made the three phone calls we had decided on beforehand: my parents, his parents and our pastor.
They wheeled me out, down the hallway and straight into the operating room. The staff worked so quickly and efficiently; everyone knew exactly what their role was and talked me through what they were doing to prep me. Within a matter of minutes, the spinal block was in and I went numb from the chest down. The nurse went to get Sean, which was the final thing I needed before I was ready to have babies. I heard Dr. Parrish say, “Is everybody ready to go? Okay, let’s get started. I’m making the incision.” Then they brought Sean through the OR door and everything was underway.
Sean narrated the delivery for me. I thought it was fantastic that the babies were born in the same order as they were arranged in my uterus. I didn’t have to learn a new order of names when rattling them off in birth order!
I moved up to recovery. After a few hours, my favorite nurse, Katie, pushed me in my bed down to the NICU to see the babies on my way to the Mother/Baby unit. The babies are so beautiful, and I even got to gently touch them! The neonatologists and neonatal nurses told me briefly what they were doing for each baby and that they would call if anything changed. These people were so reassuring and calming, and because of that, I was able to enjoy my time with our babies instead of focusing on how many tubes were attached to them.
Our babies were born at 27 weeks, 6 days.
Rebecca, Sean and their quads live in Kansas City. We’ll continue to follow their progress in upcoming issues. Read the first installment of Rebecca’s story.