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Noelle's Pregnancy Journal

Birth Story
~ February 11, 2000

Elizabeth and AnnaOur 'appointment' was for Friday morning (Dr. W. would be on call) at 7:30 so we had to leave at 6:30. We left our sleeping children under the neighbours' care and made our way to North Bay. We had almost called to cancel a few times during the week and even considered it that morning. We arrived a little late, and I spent some time tangled in the elastic belts of the fetal heart monitor again. Dr. W. examined me and informed us that I was now 4 - 5 cm and fully effaced. I was struck simultaneously with delight and disbelief. They hadn't even done anything yet. We were given a few minutes to decide whether or not to have my water broken, with the warning that allowing me to progress on my own might take time and if there were problems with the delivery . . . Dr. W. didn't want to be trying to get a surgery team together in the middle of the night in an emergency.

While we were trying to decide, a woman came in who was 34 weeks pregnant and bleeding along with another lady who was in actual labour. They put us "on hold" so they could concentrate on the others. I remember making a comment to Shawn, something to the effect of us progressing without them while they were busy. I spent some time walking around the room and in the rocking chair as we waited. A little later I thought I should try to go pee while I still could. I wasn't able to go, in fact, I had to call Shawn to help me up. I still hadn't felt much in the way of contractions but I knew something had changed. It was at about that time when the nurses and Dr. W. came back to see how I was doing and what our decision was. As it turned out, I was now 7 cm. Dr. W. broke my water so they could fasten a heart monitor to the first baby's head. An IV was started on my left arm after one failed attempt and an ultrasound was done to check the position of twin B. Baby B looked like she had decided she'd be coming breach. I confirmed my desire to deliver her.

After all the commotion I was left to labour on my own. It was suggested that I lay on my left side. Sure, I thought, easy for them to say, but I managed (with some help) to get into position, internal and external monitors and IV still intact. I would have rather been standing but they insisted this was how it had to be. My water had been broken at 11:00 a.m. and it wasn't long before I started bearing down with my hands tightly clenched around the bed gate (I had held on to it to help turn over and I guess I never let go). Shawn called for the nurse to let her know what was happening. I was turned on my back to start pushing and to have a catheter inserted. I didn't want to have a catheter but they assured me it would make the delivery easier and put it in anyway. I was terrified; this wasn't something that was ever mentioned as a possibility. It hurt going in and coming out despite what I was told by the staff. I never want to have another catheter! Anyway, one more thing sticking out of me (they did manage to drain a whole kidney shaped pan and another small container before they decided just to put a bag on the end of the tube. I knew I needed to go but I had no idea :-). I was really upset after that and Dr. W. talked to me and told me I needed to get focused.

Noelle and familyTo everyone's dismay, except for Shawn and I, I had no more desire to push. There sat the doctor, stood the nurses, the pediatrician and the nurse from the NICU. They were all waiting and I wasn't pushing. We assured them that this happens every time. I get about a 5-10 minute 'break' just after reaching 10 cm where I have no pain and I actually come to my senses. For those few minutes I'm embarrassed to have my body exposed to a room full of strangers and clearly feel the weight of the important task to be performed in my immediate future. When the contractions became workable, I pushed a few times. It was suggested that I turn on my side again and try to push that way. Dr. W. left the room because there was another lady delivering right then. Shawn and one nurse held my top leg up while I pushed. The nurse kept making suggestions. I remember telling her it just takes me a minute to figure out which muscles to use. I had only pushed a few times when I felt a pressure moving lower and lower. This was it so I pushed as long as I could. Out came Elizabeth, all of her. I heard the nurse say "wait" but the baby was already out. She grabbed the baby, who was gurgling and flailing something awful, just as Dr. W. came back into the room (As it turns out he just missed the other lady's delivery too; we were roommates after so we got to talk about it). I remember feeling relief and then realizing I had to do that again in a few minutes.

Shawn cut the cord and another ultrasound was done to see how baby B was presenting. To everyone's surprise she had flipped and was now head down. I kept looking over at Elizabeth while they warmed her up. I pushed a few times on my back until Anna was lower down and then turned on my side. She came out all at once, just like her sister, and Shawn cut her cord too.

Elizabeth and Anna ArmalyNext came time to deliver the placenta (the two were fused together) which was huge! It was like having a third baby. I was given oxytocin to help my uterus contract to get the thing out after a lot of tugging. Shawn got to hold Elizabeth and I kissed her head. I had only a tiny tear that didn't need any stitches. Things start getting fuzzy here. I remember the nurse coming in to massage my uterus and it being off to the side a bit. When she pressed on it, there was a gush of blood and then another. I recall some commotion and seeing them take the babies out of the room. The last I saw of Shawn he was sitting in a chair staring straight out the door. I was hemorrhaging. I was given two very painful needles in the left thigh and another IV was started on the right arm. I know I cried. Dr. W. had to reach his hand in to pull out clots. He told me as I lay there that I had two options; he wanted to try pulling the clots out again and if that didn't work I would need to be put under and have an emergency D&C. I'd had no pain medication for the whole labour and delivery so I was sore from delivering the girls, sore from the needles, sore from the catheter and IVs and from whatever he had already done. I told him I didn't think I could handle any more. He told me I needed to get focused again. He didn't want to take me down to the O.R. unless he had to. In a few more minutes, the whole ordeal was over and I was drifting away on Demerol. Shawn told me later that there were waves of blood whenever Dr. W. took his hand out and that he had shoved a towel in there too.

Shawn and one of the nurses gave me a sponge bath and one of those preheated blankets. I rested for a while and was later wheeled to the recovery ward. I wasn't able to try to nurse the babies until late that evening because of one of the drugs I was given to stop the bleeding. I got to see and hold our daughters for the first time just after 6 p.m. I recovered slowly and worked on nursing the babies. They tired quickly so we were told just to top them up with formula. My blood work showed that my hemoglobin was actually quite good so I didn't need any blood (they had kept three bags of it handy for me should I need it).

Elizabeth and Anna at 4 daysWe came home on Valentine's Day to find my mom waiting for us. It was great to have her help, especially that first week. Shawn's parents came up the week after and were also a great help. Shawn's parents brought us a van to cart our newly expanded family around in and we went house hunting. I'll have to write an update when we actually find out where we are going to be on April 30th. I also don't have any photos to send as yet (we use a special film that has to be sent away and doesn't come back for about 3 weeks) but I'll send some as soon as I can.

Looking back I can see God's hand in everything . . . right from going to the hospital on the proper day and not having to be induced to having someone picking up my laundry every other day now that we're home. Miracles do still happen. The babies were born on Friday February 11, 2000. Elizabeth Moriah was born at 12:52 p.m. and weighed 6 lbs. 6 oz. Anna Grace was born at 1:26 p.m. and weighed 5 lbs. 8 1/2 oz.

I just wanted to say thanks for all your prayers, words of encouragement and well wishes. It really made a difference.

Noelle Armaly and family

Noelle with the babies

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