The Birth Story

16 Feb

As mentioned, our twin babies arrived in the same manner as Finn did- waiting until the eviction notice had been served, then deciding at the last minute to come on their own terms. Willful children we have.

Let me be the first to offer congratulations to the winners of the Due Date Prediction contest- Grandma LeAnn and Kay. LeAnn is especially excited about having won a copy of her very own cookbook- Recipes by LeAnn.

I have a free minute, which is a rare thing around this house, so I thought I’d finally post the twins’ birth story. Just a warning, this is a long post. It’s also about birth. So if you don’t like birth stories, feel free to skip. But as I spent the last few months googling “twin birth stories” and reading them with horror and fascination, I figured I’d add mine to the mix.

After Friday’s reprieve, I spent the weekend on strict bedrest, willing the kids to wait the weekend before they arrived. Having had such a short labor with Finn and knowing that my body was getting ready for labor, I was terrified that if I went into labor naturally, it would be a very quick and very crazy rush. Patrick spent the weekend doing everything he could think of to prepare the house and got tons done.

I woke up with a contraction in the middle of the night early Sunday morning. It had happened before so I sleepily hit the start button on my iTouch stopwatch and went back to sleep. Another one hit nine minutes later. Patrick woke up and kept track while we dozed on and off. There was definite consistency to them but they were so far apart and painless that I refused to believe it was real labor.

Seven hours later, they were down to five minutes apart but painless so I was still in denial. Nevertheless, we called the Dr. to let him know. The Dr. on call told us to head to the hospital to get checked out. We had sent Finn to church with the Andrews that morning, so we grabbed our bags and left.

It wasn’t until I had been checked, ultrasounded, given a hospital gown, and put into a labor room that it finally hit me that I was actually in labor. I was feeling pretty great, the pain was bearable. My only discomfort was that I had three monitors strapped to me and they wouldn’t stay on so the nurses were constantly adjusting them. One of the twins’ heartbeats would dip after a strong contraction so I was stuck with the monitors for the duration of labor. No use of the hot massage shower or walking around for me.

We had been preparing and hoping to have an unmedicated, natural childbirth. With the complications that come with twins, we knew the odds of being able to do this weren’t great but wanted to be ready in case it was possible. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of epidurals. If Patrick hadn’t been in the room, I would have kissed the anesthesiologist who gave me the epidural during my labor with Finn. But my body does pregnancy very well and I thought why not just let it take over during labor and enjoy that natural experience. The more I read and thought about it, the more I trusted that my body could do it and that I wanted to give it a try. I was disappointed when it looked like a c-section was our only option. But we struck a deal with our Dr. that we could try to deliver naturally first, but I would have to have an epidural so that if he had to manually turn Lucy, my body would be relaxed. Still, I was hoping to labor as long as possible without it.

The Dr. on call was one we hadn’t met and we instantly distrusted her when she came in and tried to talk us into a c-section right away. I was laboring well and the twins heartbeats were strong so we didn’t see any reason. We got the sense that she wanted everything over with quickly so she could head back home. We told her we wanted more time to labor and monitor the heartbeat dip. She finally relented but decided to break my water to get things moving faster. The contractions immediately went from bearable to insane.

Patrick and I had been working on the Bradley Method together, so I got into a relaxation position on my side and prepared to work. I won’t try to explain the next few hours except to say that it was one of the most empowering and spiritual experiences of my life. I drew inward and worked with my body through the pain. Patrick was an amazing coach and talked me through the hardest parts. The contractions were intense and coming really close together, there was hardly time to breathe. I knew I’d need the epidural before it was time to push, as per our agreement with the Dr. but I tried to put it off until I couldn’t take it anymore. Then the nurse mentioned that I had to have an hour’s worth of IV before they could administer the epidural and I thought “oh no, I waited too long!” I asked for them to start it and hoped that I wouldn’t be ready before it was. By the time the IV was almost done, I was almost begging for it, sure that with the frequency and intensity of the contractions, that I’d have to push at any minute. Luckily, the anesthesiologist arrived shortly thereafter.

The OB checked me and discovered that there was something in Rhett’s way. It was either placenta or cord, but either way dangerous so she told us very seriously that we needed a c-section immediately. This time we trusted her. Everything is a blur to me after that. The anesthesiologist added something very powerful to my epidural and my memory is really spotty. I was wheeled over to the OR where I remember seeing the board where they keep count of all the medical instruments so they don’t leave any inside. It wasn’t very reassuring. I remember being draped and then someone asking if I felt anything, then Patrick coming into the room in scrubs. The room was packed with people.

The surgery was amazingly quick and I felt tugging but no pain. Patrick wasn’t watching the actual surgery until a Dr. told him to look because the babies were about to come out. I watched his face as he watched Rhett come into the world and start crying, the two of us joining him immediately. Rhett was brought and held up so we could see him, then given to the pediatrician next to us to be suctioned and checked. I’m sad to have missed that special experience of holding him right away. Lucy’s turn was next. It was disconcerting that as a baby was about to come out, the Dr.’s would yell “rupture!” Everytime I heard it I panicked. What ruptured?! Turns out it just means the baby is coming. I watched Patrick’s expression change as he watched. Lucy was pulled out legs first and was silent. Patrick panicked when she didn’t make any noise at first but at some point she started crying too and was brought over. A huge sigh of relief all around. It turns out that she was not only footling breech but she also had the cord wrapped around her neck several times.

Around this point I passed out cold. We have a picture of Patrick holding the babies in the OR with me knocked out on the operating table in the background. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and could hardly feel my body. At some point I was handed both babies to hold but had to give them back right away because I was scared I was going to drop them. I spent a few hours in recovery after that where I remember very little. Jim & Kay had picked up my mom in Chicago and they arrived around that time.

Rhett and Lucy were brought back to us later that night after they’d had their baths and I finally had the chance to hold them, nurse them, and really look at their faces and their tiny bodies. I was sad that I wasn’t part of their first hours in this world, but we’re grateful for the c-section, since it made it possible for both of our twins to be born healthy. After spending four days in the hospital- an extra day tacked on because Lucy had very low blood sugar and Rhett lost a lot of weight quickly- we were finally released to come home. It’s been chaos ever since, but with many many lovely moments in the mix.

Getting ready to leave the hospital

Finn was very excited- for the first day or so

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6 Responses to “The Birth Story”

  1. Kirsten Christensen February 16, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    Thank you for sharing the story of their entrance. You are an amazing woman and advocate for yourself and your babies! So glad they are here together, safe and sound!

  2. Liz February 16, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    This made me cry! What a beautiful story! I’m so excited for you guys! Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Nancy February 16, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    You look so good, Melissa! Enjoy your babies–they are darling. And thanks for sharing your birth story. There’s nothing quite like a good birth story. 🙂

  4. Lisa Adams February 17, 2010 at 2:53 am #

    Great story and thanks for sharing. Brought tears to my eyes and brought back so many memories. You look so great. Enjoy, if you can.

  5. Lisa February 17, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    Congrats you two! Fantastic news of their safe arrival. My word… twins. The mind boggles. All the best, Lisa

  6. Dallin February 17, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    Yay Patrick and Melissa! Congratulations!
    -Janelle

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