Hospitals are all about waiting, waiting for results, waiting for your meals, waiting for visitors but perhaps the most important thing I waited for was a plan. This was a difficult thing to come by because a doctor told me that my body was behaving ‘atypically’ I didn’t really know what that meant except that I wanted to keep those babies in for as long as possible. The doctors were getting increasingly nervous and their body language showed this each morning when they came in to see me. One of the obstetricians Kristen came in one day and the first thing she said was ‘you are making me really nervous’….. never a good sign. I wasn’t super keen on Kristen as a doctor, but she had with her a new woman, at this point I had no understanding of how much I would grow to appreciate this new face. Her name was Jodi Keane, she had bright fiery red hair, exaggerated eye makeup and glasses , luscious red lips and a flamboyant clothing style rarely seen in a clinical hospital environment. Initially I must say I didn’t like her much, she first adopted the same cautious approach that Kristen had which was advocating to take the babies out sooner rather than later. She later told me that she thought Kristen was my obgyn. I very quickly explained that she was not my doctor and while Lilian the registrar wasn’t officially my doctor, she was more familiar with our case than any of the doctors as she was here every single day that I had been admitted, I felt she understood our wishes and concerns better than most. It became apparent that together Lilian and Jodi would become our A team!
Over the next few days Jodi and Lilian would pop in on us each morning and let us know how the blood test results had gone that day, it would often be followed up with a check in from Jen Brotchi (who for the longest time I though was called Dr brioche, like the bun! Lol). Until Wednesday the 25th of October, that day Lilian and Jodi were accompanied by Rosie Buchanan, another Obgyn that I quite liked. They came in with their collection of students and note takers, they sat down and Rosie told me that in her opinion today was the day. The protein in my urine was 27 (with 30 being serious preeclampsia) and that my liver and kidney function was further compromised. The good news was that my platelets count was at 87 so their collective opinion was we weren’t going to get a better, safer opportunity than now. Jodi explained that she had had twins at 35 weeks and they had thrived, our guys were 34 weeks and 6 days so she was confident they would be fine. I remember Rosie asking me if my apprehension to agree was because of concerns about neurological delays in the twins, I certainly wasn’t worried about that, but my instincts were to keep them in; I understand and agreed with their logic but it goes against my instincts. With all that said I then looked to Lillian and asked her opinion, when she said that she also thought it time, I knew this really was it. I explained to them that I couldn’t agree without talking to Erin about it but that I suspect she will be happy with the decision.
When Erin did arrive she was pretty happy to agree, by this stage she was pretty worried about me and she was ready to do what she could to protect me. Suddenly the decision had been made and a weight had been lifted. We let the family know and the team Kim girls were notified that it was time to put their socks on! I did also have to message Kobi our hairdresser, I was booked in for a haircut that day. I sent her a message saying that I would have to cancel my appointment. She was so kind, offering on multiple occasions to find time to squeeze me I for the haircut I so desperately needed, I kept dodging and avoiding agreeing to a new time until I finally had to say ‘Kobi, we are having the babies today so I don’t know when I will be able to come in again! Lol’ we both giggled about it, her kindness is completely contagious! Luckily I knew our secret was safe with her!
I was fasting by this stage, Erin and I chatted excitedly about what the next few hours may look like, if we were correct about the sexes of both babies (the first one being a girl and the second one being the boy) and the joy we expected in the near future. It was all thrown into disarray however when Lillian came in and informed us that the anaesthetist on duty that day wanted to put me under a general anaesthetic rather than an epidural to have the babies because my platelets were too low, he preferred to only do epidurals on patients who’s playlet counts were above 100 and because mine were at 87 he thought the risks were too great to proceed. I said to Lilian ‘how can this be? Every other anaesthetist we have consulted with are happy if the platelets are above 80, why is this guy any different?’ She didn’t really have an answer for that. Both Erin and I were not happy with this plan, in our eyes we had compromised on when the babies were going to be born, we had compromised on how they were going to be born and now they wanted us to not even be present for the birth? No way!
Lillian left and Erin and I looked at each other in shock, the mood dropped instantly, suddenly there was a great uncertainty about what was going to happen….. I did not think they could force us to have a general, but I did not know what would happen if we refused.
Word must have travelled around the ward pretty quickly that we were considering refusing the procedure because quietly a couple of midwives came in and very quietly cheered for us and congratulated us on standing our ground about how we want these babies to enter the world. They did scatter pretty quickly when the anaesthetist came into the room. He introduced himself (although I can’t for the life of me remember his name just now) and explained his position and why he was hesitant to do the epidural. I can understand his point of view, if you have low platelets your blood is less likely to clot, putting a needle in your spine when you can’t clot may means that you can have swelling and bruising in the site where the needle is, that could injure or put pressure on the nerves and spinal cord which in turn could cause permanent paralysis to parts of your lower body. Then he said something that will stay with me and really solidified my decision. He said ‘I don’t mean to put the hard word on you but…..’ no one says that without meaning to put the hard word on you. From that point on I knew he wasn’t going to make me change my mind (or Erin’s). I politely explained that I did not expect him to do a procedure he wasn’t comfortable with and that if he didn’t want to do an epidural then I would just wait till tomorrow and ask the anaesthetist the following day if he was willing to do it. He sat uncomfortably for a few seconds as he considered what to do next. He then suggested that we take another blood test, he explained that platelets can drop or rise very quickly and that another blood test might give us a better understanding of what is going on.
Back to waiting (surprise surprise) and those two hours were the longest ever, we were still worried that we might be pressured into having a general but I had a plan! I had some snacks stashed away in a draw…. if I felt at any point that we didn’t have any other option I was going to quickly eat them when no-one was watching!
Thankfully it didn’t have to come to that, just before 3 pm Brooke came into the room and explained that my blood tests had come back and my platelets were at 91 and that we had the go ahead to precede with the epidural! woo hoo!!