Twiniversity’s “A Babies Story” series features true stories of multiple pregnancies and births from our readers. If you have a unique pregnancy/birth story that you’d like to share with our readers, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 7th, 2014, 1:00am. My eyes were drifting as I laid on the living room couch. My wife, Amy, slept upstairs by herself. At 37 weeks pregnant with twins, she needed the entire bed to sleep comfortably. I had never heard Amy scream so loud or with so much fear.
The moment I ran into the bedroom, I believed our twins were gone. I tried my best to hold my composure, as if everything was alright, but I believed deep down that we lost our twins. All I could do was pray that I was wrong, that somehow Amy could bleed so much, and everything would still turn out fine. Blood was all over Amy, the sheets, the floor, and anything Amy touched. The bedroom looked like a murder scene. Normally, blood would make me sick, but this was a high pressured situation and I was in go mode. I gave Amy the towels and made sure she physically felt ok. Then my focus turned to getting to the hospital.
I was running all over the house getting everything we needed for the hospital. I grabbed our bags, phones, and chargers, throwing them all into the van. I filled a whole bowl of food and water for our cat to survive without us for a few days. As I was running through the house, I noticed I was audibly praying to God to protect our babies, and pleading for everything to be ok.
I made my way back upstairs and found Amy sitting on the toilet, still bleeding. At this point, we decided that calling 911 was our best choice. The dispatcher did not seem to sense the urgency in the situation. The first thing he told me was to make sure Amy wasn’t sitting on the toilet, which she was. We moved her to the kitchen floor on top of a pile of towels. He asked me a list of questions, How far along is she?”
“37 weeks, with twins.”
“How long ago did her water break?”
“Her water didn’t break, she is bleeding everywhere!”
“How long has she been in labor?”
“She isn’t in labor, she is bleeding!”
“How far apart are her contractions?”
“She isn’t having any!”
“Can you see the baby?”
“NO, SHE ISN’T IN LABOR! SHE IS BLEEDING!”
On all the TV shows and movies, the dispatcher usually stays on the phone until help arrives. This guy didn’t want to talk to me anymore. He told me the ambulance was on the way and hung up. I pulled everything we needed for the hospital out of the van and put it on the porch. I kept stepping outside onto the dark porch looking up and down the street, anticipating sirens and lights. Eventually I saw lights flashing around the bend of the road, on the dark houses and trees, but silence. Red and blue lights reflected off the night. Time seemed to move slowly, and the ambulance still hadn’t made it around the bend. Eventually I saw the ambulance nearly 10 houses down, driving slowly, and stopping at every house looking at the address. I begin to flash the porch light, indicating this was the house. This went unnoticed by the drivers, as they continued to stop at every house to look at an address. Their lack of urgency made me want to scream down the road and wake the entire neighborhood.
Once they pulled up and stepped out, my annoyance with the dispatcher flooded over, “She isn’t in labor, she has lost a lot of blood.”
“How far apart are her contractions?”
“No, she isn’t in labor, she hasn’t had any contractions!”
The EMTs helped Amy into the ambulance and sat her on the bed, closing the door behind them. I followed behind with the ambulance bags, opened the door, and let myself in. We sat there for what seemed forever, annoyed that we weren’t leaving. The EMTs had “stuff to do” before we could go. One of their tasks was to look for the baby’s heart beats. After checking, he didn’t say anything to us. Amy asked, “did you find anything?”
“They were faint.”
Now my thinking turned to them being alive, but with serious brain damage. If blood wasn’t flowing to their brain quick enough, or getting enough oxygen, how long could they last? My praying continued, with my hand on Amy’s shoulder. After we were on our way, I began texting family and close friends. Letting them know, things did not look good.
Amy called her mom while the ambulance was on the way to the house, and her family was already on the way to the hospital. They had three times the distance to travel, but still beat us there. They watched as the ambulance pulled up to the back. As Amy was being wheeled into the hospital, I was walking close behind with our bags. The EMTs began joking about my daddy duties. Didn’t they realize the heaviness of the situation? I wasn’t even sure I was going to BE a dad. Nurses were congratulating us on our walk down the halls, but I rolled my eyes thinking this was going to be the worst day of our lives, and we were being congratulated.
The nurses hooked Amy up to the machines to check the health of all involved. Praise God, they found the heartbeats, and they were HEALTHY! Turns out, Amy was in labor, and it was time to deliver. She went from feeling no contractions, to strong contractions by the time we made it to the hospital. Now that I learned she actually had been in labor, I felt bad for getting angry with the dispatchers and EMTs. A c-section would be performed as soon as the doctor arrived. At this point, it was hard to accept I was going to become a father, and so soon! I walked out to the waiting room and gave Amy’s family periodic updates. I texted my family and close friends letting them know that things looked ok after all and that I was going to be a dad! Most texts went unanswered, as the world was sleeping.
We were told the way Amy bled was not normal and rare. There were several theories to why Amy had bled so much, but the hospital’s best guess was that Amy dilated so quickly and labor progressed so fast, it caused her to bleed. Through our birthing classes, we learned that the typical Hollywood water break was very rare. Water breaking was more of a slow trickle. Turned out, Amy had the Hollywood gushing water break, but it was mixed with a significant amount of blood and made it look like a total nightmare.
I put on green scrubs, head cover, and mask. I was given grape juice to help prevent light-headedness in the operating room. They wheeled Amy into the OR and I sat in the hall as they prepped her. My emotions started to overwhelm me with happiness. Fifteen minutes later, a nurse came out to the hall, “We are ready for you dad!”
I walked into a cold, white, sterile room with the soft glow of fluorescent lights. I saw Amy on the operating table with her belly sticking up ready to go. I tried to ignore the operating tools lying on the table next to her. Amy’s doctor had several nurses in the room with us, some who were just there to study the operation. Amy was awake, but paralyzed from the medications. They sat me up by her head behind a sheet to block the view. Amy had them raise it even higher before I came into the room, she wanted to make sure I didn’t see a drop of blood. I tried to convince everyone for weeks that I would be fine, but I was more nervous than I wanted to let off.
We were both filled with overwhelming emotions, and still had the last couple hours weighing on us. I had so much going on in my mind, it is difficult to remember the smaller details of what happened. I don’t remember what Amy and I talked about, I just wanted to make sure she was ok. The doctor was operating on Amy, and I was doing my best to ignore all the sounds and sights. I didn’t want to be one of those fathers who passed out. Across the room was a supply cabinet with glass doors, and I briefly saw the operation happening in the reflection of the glass. I quickly turned my head back towards Amy and tried to forget what I saw. I took some deep breaths and focused on keeping my head clear.
I don’t remember what the doctor said, I just remember that I knew she was out. Every second slowly ticked until we finally heard her cry. Hazel was born July 7, 2014 at 3:01am. She weighted 4 lbs 13 oz. After the doctors cut the cord, they held her up over the sheet and we saw her for the first time. It only took three minutes to pass before we met our son, Donovan, at 5 lbs 9 oz. The feeling is unexplainable. I was full of exhaustion, joy, and relief. I wish I was skilled enough in writing to convey just how I really felt, but I don’t have the ability. Just a few hours earlier I had believed they were gone, and now they were here and healthy.
Amy was being sewed up as the babies were being cared for, weighed, and measured. Both were doing well despite their small size. I held Hazel first. We smiled, we took pictures, and admired our baby girl. Donovan needed assistance breathing for a few minutes, but was soon in my arms. I was holding both my babies for the first time, and I couldn’t have been more proud.
As we left for the recovery room, I ignored the blood soaked wrappings, pads, table, and floor. In the recovery room, Amy was able to hold the babies and do some skin to skin. I was texting and sending pictures from both of our phones. We each got to take turns holding each baby. Amy’s family was anxiously waiting down the hall, and my mom was making a 2-hour road trip.
Before the twins were moved into the nursery, the nurses allowed Amy’s family to meet the babies on the way. Amy had to stay in the recovery room a little while longer before they moved her to our room. I was proud to show them off! Once they were in the nursery, and we were standing outside the glass windows, I wanted everyone to know I was the father of those twins! I was disappointed that it was so early in the morning — I wanted more people to walk by and see them! Amy’s mother, brother, sister, and me were filling our phones and cameras with photos of the babies getting their first baths, shots, diapers, and outfits. Time ticked by, but no one seemed to notice. All that mattered were the two babies on the other side of the glass. Amy was soon wheeled into the room right next to the nursery, and my mother arrived not long after that. It must have been hard on Amy to lay in the next room while everyone was out in the hall studying her newborns.
Soon after, the twins were wheeled into the room with Amy. Everyone took turns holding both Hazel and Donovan and getting their pictures taken. As the sun came up, my mother walked with me downstairs to get some breakfast. It had officially been an all-nighter. Once we made our way back to the room, everyone was ready to head home and get some sleep.
Amy and I were left alone with our new babies for the first time. I imagine we would have been more terrified in the moment, if we weren’t so tired. The doctor came and took them for newborn checkups, and Amy and I finally had the opportunity to sleep, even if it was just for an hour. I fell down on the cold cushioned couch, and passed out. I was a dad!
It might not be the most typical birth story, but it is the story of our twins. It doesn’t matter how difficult, terrifying, or exhausting the experience. No feeling is greater than becoming a parent.
Devin Bowman married his wife, Amy, in June of 2011, and welcomed two beautiful babies in July of 2014. Donovan and Hazel have blessed their lives ever since. They live in Dublin, Ohio and are both teachers in the surrounding community. Devin teaches second grade, while Amy teaches high school math. Devin started his blog, doubledoodiedad, in order to save and share his most memorable experiences as a new father of boy/girl twins. He hopes that the stories of his experiences can help others in the parenting of their children. Amy writes occasional guest posts, adding more perspective and variety to the blog. You can view their blog at www.doubledoodiedad.blogspot.
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