January 9th, 2019– 22w3d pregnant. I woke up and started getting ready for work just like a normal Wednesday and realized that I was bleeding. I wasn’t really alarmed at all because I felt fine and figured I had just overdone it from working in the OR the previous two days. We were scheduled to fly out of the country to the Cayman Islands the next day for vacation with my family so I decided to call my OB just to make sure everything was ok. I had an ultrasound, pelvic exam and everything checked out perfectly. Wasn’t dilated at all, the babies looked great and I was having no cramping or other signs of labor. My doctor said obviously she couldn’t make the decision for me but after talking with Garrett I decided I felt safe to go.
January 10th, 2019– 22w4d pregnant. We were up really early to travel and I started having what I thought were just Braxton Hicks from being dehydrated and tired. I did not sleep well the night before and traveling is always stressful. Surely these will go away once we get to our destination and I can relax and prop my feet up right?... well that was not the case. I continued to have contractions every 2-4 minutes all day and I started getting worried. Around 5pm we were finally at the resort and I called my OB and told them what was going on and they wanted me to go get checked out. I had NEVER been to the emergency room in my life and there we were, in the ED in a foreign country. I had another ultrasound and got two bags of IV fluids and everything looked great. Babies were happy and healthy and I was not dilated. Again, I thought I was just dehydrated and tired. No one really had any answers for me. Back to the hotel we went to rest and try to get some sleep.
January 11th & 12th, 2019– Contractions seemed to ease off but I continued to bleed. I mostly stayed in bed and on the couch while my family swam, played in the ocean, etc. Not the vacation I had in mind but at least I was ok. I had no idea I was in labor.
little did I know this would be my very last bump picture
January 13th, 2019– 23w0d pregnant. Contractions picked back up and I didn’t sleep a wink. They were coming every 3 minutes and growing in intensity. I knew something was not right and that we needed to get home immediately. My parents called the airline and switched our flight for us and 10 minutes later Garrett, Vivian and I were in a cab on the way to the airport. I insisted that my mom stay because I was sure this would be no big deal. We left in such a hurry that we didn’t even take our luggage... we took one carry on with our passports and my family said they would bring all our bags home. The only flight we could get on was 4 hours from home so then we had to rent a car and drive the rest of the way. Add in a grumpy, tired 2 year old who kicked the person’s seat in front of us for 3 hours straight and it was literally the day from hell.
I called my OB en route to let them know I was coming straight to the hospital so they would be expecting me. We finally arrived at the hospital around 12am and my in-laws met us in the parking lot to get Vivian and take her home to bed. I was sure we would be home before she woke up in the morning once I was checked out...
We got settled in triage and my OB checked me, put me on the monitor and everything looked fine. Still not dilated and babies look great. However, she wanted to run a few labs and give me some fluids so they transferred us into a L&D room for the night. I’m still thinking it will be just a few more hours until we can go home and they will just tell me to take it easy. Fast forward to the morning and my OB says they are going to transfer me to the Maternal Fetal Medicine service because I’m now “high risk” and she’d rather be safe [MFM handle all the high risk pregnancies].
January 14th, 2019– 23w1d pregnant. The MFM (maternal fetal medicine) doctor comes in and introduces himself and says they will be taking over my care and says he would like to check my cervix to establish a baseline. He checks me and says, “You are 1cm dilated... you are in active labor”. Then, in a very blunt and insensitive manner he says, “If you deliver your babies tonight, what medical interventions do you want done to them?” WHAT THE HELL? I want everything possible done to them!!! He then goes on to say that if my babies are born at 23 weeks there is a great chance they will be too small to intubate (put a breathing tube in), and that they will just wrap them in blankets and let me hold them. I get chills just writing that. I can't even put into words how hard this was to hear or try to process. He explained that every day, even every hour, that they could keep me pregnant is huge for my babies and that they consider 24 weeks gestation to be “viability”. At this point I start bawling crying and realize how serious this is. I’m living a literal nightmare. I ask him to please leave while I talk to my husband about everything he just told us and then we had some awful conversations that a mom and dad should never have to have. We cried, prayed, begged God to save our babies and for me to stay pregnant.
January 16th, 2019-- 23w4d pregnant. Had an uneventful few days since Tuesday night. Garrett went to work for a few hours while mom sat with me. Still on magnesium so I just laid in bed and read, napped and watched tv. I was missing Vivian so much it made my heart hurt. I knew she was in great hands with my in-laws though. Garrett came back to relieve mom and around 10pm I began having really strong contractions. At this point they were pretty certain that I had a placental abruption due to my bleeding, pain and contractions. A placental abruption is rarely seen on ultrasound so it is more of a clinical diagnosis. Thankfully after lots more meds they were able to slow labor down and the babies still looked great on the monitor. They decided to check me and I was 4cm dilated at that point. I officially felt like I had a ticking time bomb inside me. I prayed constantly to stay pregnant, hour by hour.
January 18th, 2019-- 23w5d pregnant. After a scary night I was hoping for a quiet day. I had an ultrasound scheduled at the MFM department to look at the babies. They looked great and were estimated to be both about 1 lb 6 oz. The MFM doctor was really happy with those weights but obviously we were hoping to stay pregnant for many more weeks. He said my cervix was so thin that it was basically nonexistent and baby A's head was right there. This made me super anxious and I just felt like I had a bomb inside me that was going to go off at any moment. I was scared to stand up, cough, laugh, or even move.
January 20th, 2019-- 24w0d pregnant. I had been praying all week to reach this day. 24 weeks is considered "viability" in the medical world but I absolutely hate that word because I believe every baby is a precious miracle. But all the doctors stressed how great of a milestone it would be to make it to 24 weeks. We had a quiet day and I was "stable" so they decided to transfer me from a L&D room to a room on the antepartum unit. We got to our new room around 7pm and got settled. Around 8:30pm I turned to Garrett and said, "I just had a contraction" and not 10 minutes later I was in the worst pain of my life. It came on fast and hard. Garrett called my mom and told her to come now. The antepartum unit was not prepared for active labor so they did not have any pain medications. I demanded that they call the MFM doctor ASAP, as I knew this was not good. He came in and decided to send me right back to the L&D unit. We got there and things happened so quickly. About 10 nurses were in the room as well as the MFM chief resident and attending. They were throwing IV pain medications at me and they weren't touching the pain. I was throwing up and requiring oxygen at that point. The pain was so bad that I was in this weird state of delirium, I could hear people talking but could not comprehend what was going on. Garrett was holding my hand and I was just trying to survive through the contractions. I heard the MFM attending tell Garrett and my mom that "baby A had started to have a few decels (dip in heart rate) and that they needed to get them out immediately". He explained that obviously he hated to take 24 week babies but it was the best decision for my life and to try to save theirs. Next thing I know I am being wheeled back into an emergency C section... it was about 10:30pm. I was so scared.
The second the anesthesiologist put the spinal in I had immediate relief. The neonatologist came in to speak with me about what to expect. She was so caring and reassuring and truly a blessing to me that night. She said there would be tons of people in the room divided into two "teams" to get ready for each baby. She said they would immediately take the babies to the side to intubate them so I would not be able to see them right away. I remember pleading to her, "please take care of my babies". Garrett then came in and sat by my head. I remember him placing his hands on my head and praying for us and for our babies. They began prepping me and surgery started. A few minutes later they said, "Baby A is here!" and our Lucy Winston Davis was born at 11:46pm. One minute later baby B, our Molly Ross Davis, was born at 11:47pm. The next moment was the most emotional moment of the entire process. The neonatologist turned around and looked at the MFM doctor who was doing my C-section and gave two thumbs up, meaning that both babies were successfully intubated. I get chills thinking about that moment. I just closed my eyes and cried. Up until that point we were unsure of whether they would even be big enough to be successfully intubated. The Lord was so present in that operating room and I felt such a peace that I know could have only come from Him. My babies were both here and they both weighed 1 lb. 9 oz. (730 grams). Garrett then left my side and went to see the babies and he got to cut the umbilical cords. After the babies were whisked out of the OR and into the NICU he came back by my side and said, "they are tiny but perfect".
The doctor confirmed during surgery that baby A's placenta was, in fact, abrupted (detached) which was why I went into labor. They also confirmed via pathology that I had chorioamnionitis which further complicated things. No one has any explanation for why either of these things happened.
Right when I was taken back into the OR my mom and Garrett called our families and our preacher and they all met in the hospital lobby and prayed during the delivery. Once we were settled in PACU Garrett took our parents one by one into the NICU to see the babies. I had so many emotions... sadness, happiness, anxiety, fear, etc. I was so exhausted physically and emotionally that I waited to visit them in the NICU until the next morning. Our sweet friend Sara is a photographer and she graciously came and took pictures of them when they were 24 hours old. At that point it was still so hard for me to look at them so I opted not to participate. I'm so thankful Garrett was willing to be in them. This was his first time touching them which was so hard for him.
I stayed in the hospital 3 more days to receive IV antibiotics and recover from surgery. It was nice to be able to walk down the hall to the NICU and visit my babies multiple times a day but I was so sick of being there for the past 11 days. I was so ready to get home to Vivian. We were discharged on January 23rd and it was excruciating to drive home without my babies. I will never forget crying the entire way home. The next 128 days spent in the NICU would change me in every way possible. Our babies fought for their lives and went through more than any person should ever have to go through. This is not at all how I imagined the start of their lives but the Lord knew their story before they were ever in my belly. They are going to change the world!
"For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." -Psalm 139: 13-14