You guys make sure and tune in for BABY WEEK on the Discovery Health channel:
Sunday-Friday, June 14-19 at 8P e/p
Click here for the official BABY WEEK WEBSITE!
Can't wait to catch the premieres of these four new shows:
Twins By Surprise: Sunday, June 14, 8P e/p
Little Parents, Big Pregnancy: Monday, June 15, 8P e/p
Births Beyond Belief: Tuesday, June 16, 8P e/p
Obese & Pregnant: Wednesday, June 17, 8P e/p
I was more than honored when BlogHer and Discovery Health asked me to share my Birth story as well. Unexpected, high-risk, suspenseful, dramatic....uh, YOU BET! (at least to us, anyway) My name is Suzanne Steece and my husband and I were blessed with quadruplet babies that I managed to carry 30 weeks and 1 day.
I can totally relate to the shock-n-awe experienced when a completely unsuspecting mother finds out that she is carrying more than one child.
If you have ever wondered, "How in the world would I react if my sonographer told us we were carrying quadruplets?"...then click HERE for our play-by-play on that very day! Thank GOD we found out EARLY, as opposed to a little "surprise" on delivery day like the show: "Twins By Surprise" (I can't EVEN imagine!) My grandmother actually gave birth to my mom and her identical twin sister--not knowing she was carrying twins until minutes after my Aunt Judy popped out........SURPRIIIIIISE!!! ;)
Like the women on the shows "Little Parents, Big Pregnancy" and "Obese & Pregnant", my quadruplet pregnancy immediately landed me into the high-risk category as well...not to mention that two of my babies were identical twins, sharing a placenta. My stomach was stretched beyond belief and would split open and bleed. (Lets not even talk about the glorious stretch marks! Ha)
Here is a quick summary of what my pregnancy looked like:
Week 8 thru 14- Told to gain 70 lbs, limping around with excruciating back pain, intense nose bleeds
Week 15- Quit working as a full time surgical RN per doctor's orders; modified bedrest
Week 17- Kidney stones with no medication (that was fun)
Week 20- Cervical cerclage and hospital bedrest for several days (scared to death)
Week 21- First time to feel babies move/kick (FINALLY!...long wait!)
Week 24- Admitted to hospital for remainder of pregnancy; Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (4 finger pricks and 3 insulin injections a day) and early stages of Preeclampsia (which never developed)
Week 28- Celestone steroid injections to help babies' lungs develop (OUCH)
Week 29- Babies dropped into position for delivery (scary)
Week 30- Had my first contraction and could not stop them--even with Magnesium Sulfate; 4 healthy, TINY babies were born a minute a part
Maybe not as suspenseful as the stories you will see on "Births Beyond Belief", but the day my children were born into the world was full of drama and suspense. I will share with you what I wrote in my journal with some pictures and video:
My Birth Story: Wednesday, August 1, 2007
(I had been in the hospital for over 6 weeks on bedrest. This particular morning, I started having "stomach cramps" around 4:30am and was unable to void)
Once the day shift had arrived, I was relived to see one of my favorite nurses assigned to my room. My "stomach cramps" were getting worse. When nurse Sherri walked into the room and saw my face in pain, she knew immediately that something was wrong. "I have NEVER seen you look like this"- she said, looking extremely anxious.
It was 8:00am...my breakfast had come, but Sherri wanted me to hold off on eating & held my insulin for the morning...to wait and see what was going on. My fasting blood sugar was 69 (which was extremely low for me)...so on top of the cramping, I felt a little shaky. Sherri readjusted my contraction monitor and we waited for Dr. Tabor to make his morning rounds.
During the time that I was alone in my hospital room (waiting on Joe and my family to arrive), my body started throwing some serious contractions. Dr. Tabor finally made his way to my room, walked in, saw me in pain, and had the same look of surprise that nurse Sherri did. He had never seen me like this and said, "I don't think I've ever seen you NOT smiling." He proceeded to check my cervix..
"OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! HOLY COW!"
The look on his face was priceless..SCARY to say the least. He stands up and says: "Whelp, you're at a 3." And I'm pretty sure I said a word that I don't say very often. **** He looked worried...so deep in thought. To which I said, "OKAY DOC, now YOU are freaking ME out! I've never seen that look on YOUR face!"
He then tells me that the next hour will be critical in determining how we will proceed. They will monitor my contractions and Sherri will re-examine my cervix in an hour.
YIKES...HOLY COW...SERIOUSLY?! Its all happening..just like that?!!? I hadn't had one contraction for 30 weeks and now BAM! It was all happening so fast. The health of my 4 babies was at stake! Now Joe had walked in and he was extremely nervous. He sat next to me and held my hand through my unbearable contractions. They were coming every 3 to 5 to 10 minutes. They hurt SOOO badly!
I didn't know at the time, but nurse Sherri had already called Labor & Delivery and the NICU to tell them of my status. I was the infamous "quad mom on the third floor" and they had been preparing for my delivery for weeks. When Sherri came back to examine me---"OUCH again"---still at about a 3. Tabor was monitoring my contractions from his office computer in the next building and wanted my cervix re-examined in another hour. We might be trying Magnesium Sulfate ("Mag") if the contractions don't stop.
"What?!! NO!!! ANYTHING BUT MAG!!!" I had heard horror stories about this drug and what it does to you. Mom and Joe continued to watch my contractions on the monitor...they were getting stronger (even going off of the graph paper!) and more frequent (3 to 5 minutes). Sherri came in to check my cervix...still a 3. She really freaked me out when she said, "Oh, I can feel Savannah's head!" (scary much?!)
Tabor decided to have me change into a gown, start an IV, and give me a Foley catheter. It was time for the MAG..."duuum dee duuum dum" (the ominous riff played in my head like ultimate doom and gloom were knocking at my door) They were going to try to use the Mag to stop my contractions...if it doesn't stop them relatively quickly, then it wasn't going to work and delivery would be imminent.
YIKES! I can't believe this was happening and that I was about to be on Mag! When the drug started into my vein...it was the weirdest feeling. I immediately started getting HOT from the inside---out. It felt like all of my internal organs were on fire! My face began turning red and I kicked the covers off of me. I felt VERY loopy...hard to describe...but those of you who have been on Mag can for sure relate!
Ahh....good ole Mag!
I was still throwing intense contractions every 3 to 5 to 10 minutes...so needless to say, the Mag was NOT working! Dad was already on his way from Waco. I had texted all of our friends to tell them that I might be delivering that day. And about the time Joe had walked downstairs to grab a slice of pizza, Sherri walks in my room with Dr. Thigpen (Tabor's associate)...Dr. Thigpen proceeds to tell me that my contractions weren't stopping and he would be assisting Dr. Tabor in my C-Section that was scheduled for 3:00pm that day! WOW! He stated that the NICU only had FOUR BEDS LEFT...IN THE ENTIRE NICU (and I later found out that they were the last 4 beds in the entire county)! The isolettes were all right in a row and they had our names on them! It was GO time.
WOW, I couldn't believe that in one hour, I was about to be delivering my babies!!! Joe walked back into the room to find Dr. Thigpen in there and his eyes got HUGE! SCARED! He scarfed down his pizza and his stomach was in knots! We started calling friends/family/everyone! I wrote on my blog...very loopy from the Mag...but notified my blogger buddies that I would be delivering within the hour and to PRAY!
This video is incredible...look at my stomach! Notice the red marks? My skin was actually bursting and bleeding in some spots! That's how much it stretched! OWWW! The indention is from the tocolytic monitor that was strapped to my tummy. The stretch marks...well...they are just absolutely beautiful! ;)
I was taken down to Labor & Delivery, tons of nurses were in the room, trying to fill out the paper work to get me ready! It was mass chaos--organized mass chaos! My dad had made it in from Waco (speeding like a mad man!), my brother made it, my best friend Adriane was in attendance...the Steeces were stuck in Minnesota and were on the next flight out! It was all too surreal. So much going on...so much happening too fast! WOW...slow down...please...this is like a weird dream!
Finally, SHOW TIME! After snapping some pics, I was rolled down to the C-section room...we took up both of the two largest rooms they had. Two babies would be taken to one room, the other two would stay in my room. There were TONS of staff in there...22 people to be exact! Being a surgical nurse, I felt completely at ease in the O.R. Anesthesia started my spinal and I kept asking for Joe..."Don't forget my husband!...Someone please don't forget to bring in my husband!!" (like they would forget about THIS guy?? come on, Suz!)
...so Joe walks into the room and his eyes are HUGE! I've never seen them look so WIDE! He looked terrified. I laughed at him and said, "baby are you OK? Don't pass out on me yet!" He held in his hands our digital camera and video camera. I said, "Joe, give those to the nurses! HURRY!" He just sat there frozen and awkward and said, "I'm OK" and did not move an inch. I finally motioned to the nurses in the room and asked them if they would grab the cameras out of my husband's hands!
About that time, one of the nurses asked me, "Did you see Dr. Tabor? He just poked his head over the drape to see you." I responded, "Hiiiiiieeeee Dr. Tabor!" and away they started...I remember feelings LOTS and LOTS of pushing and pulling on my belly...
OK, these next videos are pretty graphic...especially this first one! DO NOT WATCH IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH! Here the doctors pull my incision open.
I remember just listening...blocking out every other noise in the OR, I was listening intently for that one, very specific, sound...my baby's cry. The CRNA said, "Come on, dad...they've got the first one out." Joe stood up and peeked over the drapes. About that time, I finally heard it...the faint whimpering cry of Andrew Paul Steece, born 1st at 2 lb 8 oz.
Savannah Leigh Steece, Born 2nd...2 lb 14 oz...of course she was the most vocal! of course! My little Diva!
Ethan Joseph Steece, 3rd...Breech...my smallest little man, weighing in at a whopping 2 lb 7 oz!
And last, but not least--baby Ben...my big boy (I use the term loosely) weighing in at 3 lb 4 oz!!
I continued to lay there...weeping, while Joe got up and watched the doctors and nurses work on Ben to get him ready for transport. I was unable to see Andrew & Savannah before they headed to the NICU. However, when Ben & Ethan were about to be transported, the nurses stopped the isolette to where I could see one tiny foot pressed against the side.
The nurses asked Joe if he wanted to go with the babies or stay with me and he stayed with me. (He was a little freaked out at the thought of watching them work on the babies in the NICU). When the babies were out, Dr. Tabor asks Dr. Thigpen very loudly: "Hey Dr. Thigpen...where did you go to school again?" He replied proudly: "the UNIVERSITY of TEXAS!" Tabor then says: "ME TOO!", leans over the drape and says: "I just wanted y'all to know that the first people to touch your children were longhorns!" (hisssssss, Joe graduated from Texas A&M--rival schools) ;) We LOVE Dr. Tabor!
Then Tabor walked around the table, shook Joe's hand and said: "Congratulations!" He put his hand on mine and I remember looking deep into his eyes and said: "Thank you SO much." I have never appreciated any one person more in my life then at that very moment as I looked at the man who had helped us every step of the way and who had just brought our beautiful babies into this world. I felt that I owed him my life.
The scrub tech began washing me off and began thrusting all her weight onto my stomach to expel massive blood clots...(okay, now, I'll spare you some gory details of the rest of the evening and continuous blood clot expulsions...but know that it happened every 15 minutes for HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS....worst pain in my life!) Multiple births have a tendency to be VERY bloody and the uterus stretches so much that the body has a hard time contracting the uterus back to a normal state (henceforth, all the bleeding and blood clots!) The next couple of hours are VERY hazy. I just remember lots of nurses around me as they all pushed on my stomach. (skip several paragraphs...) I ended up losing 50% of my total blood volume and received 3 units of blood! (My hand would be the one that looks like a cadaver! WOW!)
They hooked me up to a Morphine pain pump and I spent the rest of the night extremely "doped up!" It was hours before we were able to go see our babies...I got VERY, VERY sick and could barely look at the kiddos...my uterus started contracting and I was about to vomit! The nurse pumped me full of Phenergan and I was OUT in no time. (I remember being SOOOO sad that the first time I was able to see my babies, I was SOOOO sick and can't really remember it!)...
(yep, my *darling* husband SURE DID take a pic of me while knocked out! lovely)
And there you have it, folks! You can pick up HERE, where I left off. We've come a LONG way from the NICU...
...to Mother's Day 2009!
...and we wouldn't have it any other way! We are BEYOND blessed and life has been SUCH a blast! Please feel free to stop by and catch up on everything in between.
Remember to tune in for more amazing birth stories during BABY WEEK on Discovery Health!
Suz, Joe, Ethan, Savannah, Benjamin & Andrew