Premature Birth of Twins

premature twins The following is the saga of how my twin boys came to be born 8 weeks prematurely, due to the rupture of a tangled mass of malformed blood vessels in my kidney. My condition was so rare, only 5 known cases, that they plan on writing me up in the medical journals!


Sat 8/1/98:
Found blood in my urine 3x today.

Sun 8/2/98:
Blood in urine 1x today.

Mon 8/3/98:
Blood in urine. Saw OB/GYN who took urine culture and started me on antibiotics while awaiting results which would take 3 days.

Tues 8/4/98:
Blood continues in addition to passing clots.

Wed 8/5/98:
Blood & clots worsening causing a sudden interruption in urination which sends intense pain into left kidney. Doctor orders immediate hospitalization. Pain all day is intense & I receive Demerol around the clock. Catheter is inserted & tests are done to determine cause. Contractions have been noted but no dilation.

Thurs 8/6/98:
Blood, clots, pain, non-dialating contractions & Demerol continue as urologists still search for the cause. A kidney stone is suspected and seems to appear on x-ray but my doctor is just not comfortable believing that what is appearing on the x-ray is actually a stone. Testing continues but is limited due to the pregnancy. Contractions continue occasionally but still no dilation.

Fri 8/7/98:
Blood, clots, pain, Morphine, non-dialating contractions & testing continue.

Sat 8/8/98:
All the above continue and surgery is performed to install a stent in the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder to help allow the passage of suspected stone and clots. I am awake thru the procedure but numbed from the chest down via a "spinal". This is a most unpleasant ordeal.

Sun 8/9/98:
My legs are severely bloated. I have not been out of bed since my arrival. For the most part I am on "nothing by mouth" or "clear liquids only" since I have arrived. Around 3:30 AM I start feeling contractions which come quite steadily about 5 minutes apart. They are strong and after only a few I realize I am now in labor for real. A doctor confirms that I am 1cm dilated and I am rushed down to the labor & delivery room. By the time I arrive a few minutes later, I am already 3cm. I am doing a wonderful job riding out the contractions and using visualization but the pain is so incredibly intense and I am at my physical weakest and have been enduring intense pain for several days. I decide it is best that I take pain relief. The doctor's priority is trying to stop the contractions, as I am only 32 weeks pregnant. A magnesium drip is started but it is too late. I am up to 5cm and one of my waters breaks. Contractions are getting too intense to bear. I am rushed to the O.R. and I am terrified I will not have the strength to push my babies out. As we are racing thru the hallways to the O.R. I am told that my only option for pain relief is an epidural. I want to take it but am afraid after having had the needles inserted in my spine less than 24 hours ago for the spinal, and it is still sore. We arrive at the O.R. and I am transferred to the table. As I lay there on my side, contracting, the anesthesiologist is feeling my spine to determine where to place the needles. I know that my contractions are too close together & too intense to allow time between them to get the needles in. Suddenly, I feel the pressure of a head and there is no time for the epidural. I am flipped onto my back in a blur, legs into the stirrups, pillows under my back and my husband & a labor coach have me curled up and pushing. The intensity of the contractions is so intolerably painful that I am screaming out of control. Everyone is telling me to push, not scream and I finally organize myself enough to concentrate on pushing. It only took 2 pushes to get the first baby's head out and one more to completely push him out. During the next contraction the doctor (my doctor's stand-in because mine was away for the weekend!) broke my 2nd water and the 2nd baby popped out with one more contraction. I could not believe how fast and furious this labor was! From my first contraction to the time I birthed the 2nd baby it was only 2 hours total!!! The boys were born only 3 minutes apart, naturally, no medications, no episiotomy and a tear so minor it didn't even need a stitch!

We are proud to welcome to the world:


Baby "A" known as "Pip"
3lbs 9oz, 17" long
Born August 9th, 1998 at 5:31am

Baby "B" known as "Squeak"
3lbs 2oz, 17" long
Born August 9th, 1998 at 5:34am


Both babies are progressing well in NICU and will remain there to grow strong and healthy for the next several weeks. Due to the contamination of my breastmilk from the medications & testing dyes I received, the babies had to be fed formula via tube for the first 5 days, which being the breastfeeding advocate I am, was heartbreaking to me. I am now pumping and they are doing very well on Mama-milk by tube. I have been able to pump 4-7 ounces at a time! Their feedings are increasing daily and they are gaining well.

Mon 8/10/98:
Extensive testing done on me now that the babies are out. I am injected with contrast dye and x-rayed many times over the course of the day. I go through catscans and kidney sonograms. It is an all-day ordeal and seems endless.

Tues 8/11/98:
It is my daughter's 3rd birthday and I don't get to see her because I am scheduled for 2 surgeries. The first is guided by a camera that travels through my urinary tract up to my bladder and into my kidney. It is done under general anesthesia, including a tube down my throat. They are able to clean out some of the clotting in the kidney, they replace the stent they had installed with a larger one, and finally discover the root of the cause. It turns out that I was born with a mass of tangled, malformed blood vessels in my kidney and the pressure, hormones and extra blood volume of pregnancy was too much for it to handle so it ruptured. It is such a rare condition that only 5 references to it were found in the medical journals and my case is going to be written up!

The bleeding needs to be stopped so I undergo more microscopic surgery. This time, while I am awake, a wire is inserted into an artery in my groin and it travels to my kidney, where an incredibly skilled surgeon starts packing off the bleeding blood vessels. Overnight we must wait and see if it works, or will the closing off of these areas cause other areas to rupture from the additional pressure. It is a long night that I spend awake on a gurney in recovery, not allowed to move my right leg at all for 16 hours.

Wed 8/12/98:
I continue to lay on the gurney in recovery until mid-afternoon, still not allowed to move and allowed nothing by mouth except the occasional suck of a tiny sponge on a stick dipped in water. Finally I am brought in for my last surgery. Once again the wire is inserted into my artery and they go in to check out their handy work. The surgeon has done an incredible job and all is well; there is only one fine little vein that is somewhat questionable but is of no consequence and everyone is ecstatic!

Thurs 8/13/98 thru Mon 8/17/98:
Time is spent recooperating slowly. Each day the pain lessens. The catheter is left in until the day before release as the blood in the urine grows darker and darker, signifying old blood and dissolving clots. The doctors are very happy. I am finally strong enough to be able to walk a little bit on Sunday, but am very, very weak. I spend my time napping, pumping and visiting my babies.

Tues 8/18/98:
Homecoming! I am so happy to be going home to my husband and daughter. She has been incredible thru this 2 week ordeal, and, thanks to attachment parenting, is so secure and content that she deals with it well. She was abruptly weaned upon my entering the hospital and didn't once ask for Mama-milk the whole time I was there. She came to visit me just about every day and was an incredible joy. On the way home I am relieved to be going but I cry from the heartbreak of having to leave my babies behind at the hospital. I need the time to recover and they are in the best of hands so that is reassuring. I will be visiting every day for the next several weeks and eagerly anticipate their homecoming so we can all be together at last.



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