My MoDi twins were born Mid-September at 36 weeks gestation after I kept having preeclampsia symptoms and was told to go into the hospital. They ended up being delivered via emergency c-section while I was under general anesthesia because I had preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.
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Symptoms Leading Up to Emergency Delivery
Leading up that that fateful day, I had a decent amount of preeclampsia symptoms such as high blood pressure and swelling of my feet. Week after week at my appointments the doctors weren’t too concerned though I did ask for a preeclampsia test on a couple occasions, which came back negative.
I didn’t have preeclampsia with my oldest child but my mom had it with me and had to deliver via emergency C-section at 33 weeks back in the mid-1980s. I can’t believe that I survived being born that early, weighing only 4lbs 4oz and having lungs that weren’t fully developed. I was in the NICU for a month. Anyway…preeclampsia is something that really scared me and I knew that with my mom’s history of it and also with being pregnant with twins, I was at an increased risk.
These pictures of my swollen feet were taken two days before delivery and the day before. I am a petite person with generally skinny legs so them being this blown up was quite the shock. Thankfully it was a warm September in Minnesota so wearing flip-flops worked well, as I surely couldn’t fit into normal shoes.
Though the tests were negative at my appointments and the doctors weren’t too concerned, I diligently kept an eye on my blood pressure and took it at home several times a day with a blood pressure monitor.
I Knew Something Wasn’t Right
On the day I ended up having to go to the hospital, it was an unseasonably warm September day for Minnesota. My husband had been out in the yard most of the day working on adding some steps to a staircase going down the hill in the backyard at the house we lived in at that time. He was exhausted from a day of being out working in the heat and I was exhausted from being pregnant and being with our 2-year-old all day.
Around 8 pm or so I started noticing I had more preeclampsia symptoms so I kept taking my blood pressure every ten minutes or so. My blood pressure was high. At my appointment, two days prior, I was told that if I were to have any vision changes or my blood pressure was over 140/90 for a given amount of time that I need to call the perinatal physician’s after-hours number and/or head into the hospital.
I kept checking my BP and checking and checking, trying not to freak myself out. I had the TV on and was scrolling through Facebook trying to take my mind off of things when something bizarre happened…there was a black diagonal line across my computer screen. I knew it wasn’t really there, that it was just coming from my brain to my eyes and wasn’t actually on Facebook.
Inside I Was Freaking Out
My husband came in from the yard around then and I tried to stay calm as I told him what was going on. I had been writing down all of my blood pressure measurements over the past hour or so and I showed them to him. I told him I had been feeling really “off” that evening and about the black line I had seen.
We decided to have me lay down for a bit and try to relax but I couldn’t get the feeling out of my head that something was horribly, horribly wrong.
Making the Decision to Call
Within an hour or so of everything going weird, I called the doctor’s office. I got an on-call nurse and the doctor called me back within minutes. I knew then that it was serious, doctors never return calls that fast that late at night. I told him what was going on and long story short, he told me I needed to get to the hospital ASAP.
Heading to the Hospital
One problem. We had a 2-year-old sleeping in the next room and no family closer than an hour away. Luckily we have an amazing neighbor who had offered to stay with him if I went into labor overnight or anything of the sort. It took a bit to get a hold of her since it was so late at night but she was able to come and stay overnight until my mother-in-law could come down from where she lives an hour and a half away. I thought about waking my son to let him know what was going on but figured then we’d never get to leave and get to the hospital. So we let him sleep and hoped for the best.
I honestly was in denial as to whether or not I’d actually have to deliver that night. I remember telling our neighbor as we gathered our things to leave that we’ll probably be back in a couple of hours. Even still, we brought everything with us, including a bunch of frozen food for me in a huge cooler. As I’ve mentioned before I have a lot of food sensitivities so, like I did with my first child, I knew I needed to bring my own food. Especially with having a gluten sensitivity, I know cross-contamination is easy to happen in a shared kitchen with gluten and non-gluten items so bringing my own food from home was my best bet in not ending up with stomach issues or something while I’m also recovering from a C-section. I can’t imagine how horrible it would be to be throwing up the day or so after a C-section.
Our sweet neighbor came over and we headed off on the 30-minute drive to the hospital in Minneapolis. I was so nervous and I think my husband was too. I just kept hoping we were getting there in time.
Arriving at the Hospital
Similar to how most things go when you get into a hospital with something you feel is an emergency, things seemed to move so slow. We went up to Labor and Delivery and told them what was going on. I had already filled out all of the paperwork I could ahead of time but of course there were still some forms to sign and such. Finally, I got into a room where I got in a gown and was able to lay down. My poor husband was so tired from his long day outside that he was having a hard time staying awake, even though he was sitting in a very uncomfortable chair at my bedside.
It was probably about 11 pm when I finally got settled and they hooked me up to my old buddy the Non-Stress Test to see how babies were doing. The babies seemed to be moving around fine and everything else was good. They had me pee in a cup which honestly is pretty much impossible when you’re as massive as I was but somehow I did it. I waited and waited to hear the results. I felt like they were going to discharge me at any moment because it didn’t seem like anything was too urgent. Maybe they were just waiting for a doctor or something.
Getting the News
From what I remember, around 1 am the doctor came in and told me that I would be delivering via emergency C-section around 2 am. Holy. Crap. Once that was said, everything was set in motion.
It’s really interesting how quickly things move in hospitals once it’s decided that a C-section is happening. I went through this with my first child as well. I had labored for 27 hours with him and then once the decision was made that I needed to have a C-section since my labor wasn’t progressing, papers were signed and suddenly the room was a flurry of activity.
Back to the twins, I was told that with my high blood pressure, significant protein in my urine, and dangerously low platelets (67 when they should be between 140-440), they couldn’t keep me awake during the C-section. Not only did I have preeclampsia, I had HELLP syndrome as well.
I was devastated that I couldn’t be awake when the babies came out. I didn’t want to miss out on seeing my babies when they were born and having those tender first skin-to-skin moments with them that I know are so important. I had spent so much time thinking about how I would be able to have them arrange both babies on my chest while my hands were strapped to the operating table and not much of my chest was showing above the curtain. All of those times trying to figure that out, wasted.
I felt that yet again, just like last time, every bit of how I had hoped delivery would go was being taken away from me. Honestly, this time around, I really didn’t have a plan besides likely C-section and then skin to skin with babies followed by nursing. I never thought they’d have to put me under and I’d miss it all.
Prepping for Surgery
This time we were in a smaller room so it was hard to fit all of the various doctors and nurses in the room to prep me for surgery. They had to get my vitals, take another ultrasound of the twins to see where they were at that time, prep me for what was going to happen, and of course, shave me down there. I honestly feel like they were surprised that I hadn’t shaved in months but come on! I hadn’t been able to even see my feet in several months, let alone be able to shave… Anyway…
The ultrasound revealed that Baby B had pushed Baby A out of the way so he was going to become Baby A upon delivery. That’s confusing. For weeks I’d been calling them the names we had planned on for A and B but with this new development and the fact that I wouldn’t be awake when they were born, I was nervous they wouldn’t be named right (spoiler alert…I was right, but we’ll get into that later).
I was prepped and then wheeled off on a bed to the Operating Room. It’s always such an odd feeling to be laying on a bed traveling down a hallway, pushed by nurses and doctors. I was trying to stay upbeat but I just kept thinking I just wanted delivery to be over and to be with my babies. To hold them both on my chest for the first time, together, and take that photo that all twin moms take after delivery of her holding both of them.
But that wouldn’t happen for a week after delivery…
Picture of my HUGE belly a week before delivery. Wow!! My brave husband waiting to get called from our room in Labor and Delivery to see the babies once they’re out. My empty Labor and Delivery bed once they’ve wheeled me off. The pink and blue straps are from the Non-Stress Tests taken to see how babies were doing.
As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.