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34 Weeks: It All Happened So Fast

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Many thanks to Holly Platz for sharing her birth story with us. She was hesitant to share her story, given the frightening experience she had. We thank her for having the courage to share it and we’re thankful for the happy ending it has.

Aaron and Lucas at 6 months of age.

Around seven or eight weeks into the pregnancy, we found out we were having twins. I hadn’t been feeling well. It wasn’t morning sickness, but evening sickness. I could hardly eat dinner. It didn’t go away until four months into the pregnancy. A lot of people say they enjoyed being pregnant, so I kind of thought it would be blissful. I didn’t enjoy it. I feel guilty saying it. It was a neat experience, but I didn’t like not feeling myself. I couldn’t move as well and I had restrictions because of the twins and I felt helpless.

The restrictions started just a few months into the pregnancy. I was never on bed rest, but I was told not to do anything. I still tried walking at night every once in a while to help with nausea. I pretty much had to go to work and come home and sit. It was Christmas time and my doctor said no shopping. I would still go out in short increments. My husband, Ben, and I would go together and we would split up. He would shop, while sat in the front of the store. I was miserable.

Other than not feeling well, the pregnancy was uneventful. There was nothing to monitor or watch. Two days shy of being 34 weeks, I was feeling yucky and almost didn’t go to work. I hadn’t missed any work until then, but I went in anyway. I work at a hospital and with nurses who are in tune with me. That day, they looked at me and asked, “Oh my gosh. How are you feeling?” Did I look that bad? I didn’t think I did. They took my blood pressure. I wasn’t having the symptoms they say you do if you have high blood pressure, but it was sky high. The one nurse said, “You aren’t moving from the seat. You’re staying here.” They put me in a wheel chair and took me to my office on the way to triage. I didn’t want to go myself, so I called a co-worker to go to triage with me. I had protein in my urine and was preeclampsic. They admitted me immediately before my husband knew anything was going on. It all happened so fast.

I went to special care obstetrics with no contractions and no dilation. Even to this day, I don’t know what a contraction feels like. Even recently I was talking to a girl at work who is 34 weeks pregnant. I thought, “Wow. That’s when I delivered.” I missed out on 6 weeks of pregnancy.

From the start, I assumed I’d have a C-section because so much depended on the position of the babies. We had ultrasounds every two weeks and one was breech almost all the time. They were able to give me two doses of steroids for the babies’ lungs to develop and scheduled my C-section for two days later. The only cure for preeclampsia is delivery because there is no way to get the blood pressure down. The risk for preeclampsia is seizures if you don’t get treatment. If I had stayed home from work that day, I wouldn’t have even known that my blood pressure was high. I wasn’t having any symptoms. It’s amazing how things work that way.

Aaron and Lucas in the NICU.

I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect, but thankfully the babies were doing fine. The surgery was scheduled for 9 a.m. Everything was normal and Ben was with me. I remember getting my epidural and I remember Aaron being born. And I’m really sad I don’t remember Lucas being born.

I was in recovery and the doc checked me. I looked at Ben and his face was white. He doesn’t handle blood well. They couldn’t get the bleeding to stop. I was stitched up and everything, but they said they had to go back in. I had lost a lot of blood. Come to find out, I had a serious condition called placenta accreta. The placenta had adhered to my uterus, so when they removed the placenta, it left the blood vessels wide open and was causing a hemorrhage. I had to sign a consent form for a possible hysterectomy, which is typical protocol. Typically they do a hysterectomy when a woman has placenta accreta, but there was a new procedure my doctor had heard of and he attempted that instead. It was a two-hour surgery.

My family went down to the cafeteria to eat and they saw my co-workers. They told them about my blood loss, not knowing how bad it was. My co-workers had to keep a straight face and not react because they knew it was a lot. The surgery was so bad that I was put on the ICU list to possibly go there, but thankfully I didn’t have to. I woke up in recovery later that day, but I was in and out of consciousness and couldn’t remember much of what had happened. I didn’t get to see the babies until Friday night—two days later—because they were in the NICU and also because of my recovery.

I left the hospital on Sunday, but the boys weren’t ready to come home yet. The next two nights we slept in the Ronald McDonald’s room in two twin beds. Then we realized our babies weren’t coming home for a while and it was time for us to go home. The boys were never on oxygen or a ventilator. I attribute that to the steroids. They called them growers and feeders. They just had to learn to eat. Probably the worst part was that they had to have tubes down their noses to give them their formula. Their digestive tract is the last to develop and they couldn’t digest formula.

They came home when they were 16 days old—nearly 36 weeks gestation. Lucas was 4 lbs 6 oz. and Aaron was 5 lbs 5 oz. It was scary taking them. I think I felt more prepared since they had been in the NICU. They keep you on a tight

schedule of feeding every 3 hours. The nurses wouldn’t help you. There was a time when one was crying and I was trying to comfort them, but it wasn’t working and the nurses wouldn’t help. But that’s how it would be at home, so it was good and it helped prepare me.

Aaron and Lucas at 1 month.

I went back to work at 12 weeks and had to cover the ICU a few weeks later. There was a pregnant woman with my same story, but she had had a hysterectomy. I just started crying. I didn’t realize how serious it was until my follow-up appointment with my doctor. He did the exam and explained what happened. He said, “You are a blessed woman.” I didn’t know how to respond.

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