Parent holds the feet of newborn twins

We’ve Come A Long Way Baby: Surviving Preeclampsia and Delivering Premature Twins

by Jenica Parcell

I absolutely cannot believe I’m sitting here, listening to my babies laugh and play in the other room with my husband, Tyler. This past year has gone by so fast and I now have healthy, happy babies, which is definitely not the way their precious little lives started! They were born at 32 weeks premature.

The Beginning: Something Is Not Right

I started swelling a LOT during the latter part of my pregnancy. I was retaining water and there was nothing I could do about it; I was eating less salt, I was floating in the swimming pool as often as possible, but nothing I did would help. I couldn't even bend my ankles because they were so big and swollen! Tyler had a minor surgery on a Friday afternoon in early July, and on the following Monday, I hobbled to my car to drive him to his post-op appointment (we were quite the pair). At his doctor's appointment, I asked his nurse to take my blood pressure because I suspected with all of the swelling and the way I was feeling, I might be developing preeclampsia, which is really dangerous, both for the pregnant mother and the child or children she is carrying. My blood pressure was really high and I just didn't feel right.

I called my doctor's office on the drive back to our house and spoke with the doctor on call because my doctor was out of the office. She told me to drink a full bottle of water and go home to take a nap. When I woke up from my nap, I felt just as awful as I had before. It's hard to explain, but as a mother, I think we have intuition when things aren't as they should be. I called my doctor's cell phone since I knew he wasn't at the office and described to him how I was feeling, and told him what my blood pressure had been. He told me to go to the hospital and check into labor and delivery.

First Stop On Our Long Journey

When I checked-in to labor and delivery, they ran tests on my blood and to see if I had protein in my urine. All signs pointed to, "Yes! She has preeclampsia." I spent the night at the hospital, and the following morning had an appointment with maternal fetal medicine to see how my babies were doing. They appeared to be doing well, so the doctors made the decision to induce me because the only way to get rid of preeclampsia is to deliver the babies or baby you are carrying.

I had an IV drip line of magnesium to prevent me from having seizures, which is what can happen when preeclampsia develops. I received my epidural and was in labor all night long and into the next day. I finally progressed enough to go into the operating room at about 6:15pm.

After pushing a few times, Harris was delivered at 6:31pm. His tiny precious body was miraculous to see. They whisked him over to a table to get him cleaned up and check to see what he needed. I continued to push to deliver Goldie for 15 minutes. My doctor didn't know if he would be able to get her out, but she finally cooperated and was delivered at 6:45 pm. And all of that was the easy part.

Once the placentas were delivered and I was stitched up, I was wheeled back into my room and I started shaking uncontrollably. My body was in shock from the medication and from delivering two babies, and it was so painful! My jaw hurt from clenching and it was all around not a pretty picture. After about 45 minutes, another medication helped me to relax and I was exhausted. My mom fed me my first meal in 24 hours and Tyler went back and forth from the NICU to take our family members to see our babies.

Final Stop: Happy Ending

Fast forward to that evening and I finally felt well enough to go see the babies. They were wrapped up so tightly and were so tiny I felt like my heart might burst. Were these babies really mine? I still have those same thoughts and feelings to this day. How did I get so lucky?

One of my favorite experiences in my entire life was giving Goldie and Harris their first sponge bath later that evening. Goldie wasn't too happy about it at first, so they gave her a bit of sugar water to suck on. She sucked and sucked as happy as a little clam, and I smiled because she's definitely my daughter. I'm sorry and you're welcome for your sweet tooth, Goldie. Washing their precious, tiny bodies is something will always hold close to my heart.

What is so amazing to me is that these precious little 32-week old preemie babies could do so many things inherently and grow into the thriving toddlers we have today.

About Jenica Parcell

Jenica Parcell is Mama to twins, Harris and Goldie. After struggling with infertility for several years, she shared her struggle to grow her family by documenting each needle, doctor’s visit and wish for her future child during her 3rd round of IVF on her blog, A Slice of Style.

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