4am, i’m awoken by a few strong contractions but i’ve learned not to really believe that these actually mean anything will happen. the contractions come and go about every 7 minutes for about an hour and then just after 5am they fade away. i had just started to think that maybe just maybe this might be it… of course regardless of the contractions my induction was set for 7am. at 5:30 my alarm went off and i got up to take a shower and the contractions ramp back on up. by the time i made it downstairs to have a bite to eat i can barely stand upright when they hit. i gripped the counter-top and just tried to breathe through each one, realizing that these are definitely different than what i’ve been feeling for weeks, if not months. they do not go unnoticed.
my sister had arrived the night before to be present for the birth, so glad she could make it. as i tried to sip my tea the contractions get stronger. i could barely eat my cereal and clear my thoughts enough to grab my belongings. it takes me so long to get myself out the door that we don’t even get to the hospital until 7:15 or so. nice. i’m late to my own birth.
my doc has been waiting, have i mentioned how much i love her on this blog? well i do. i heart her with all my might. she is hilarious and wise and always on top of my laundry list of medical issues and medications and she’s a big believer in vaginal twin deliveries so i’m just so excited that she will be with me through the entirety of the birth and i won’t have to go through this with someone else.
she walks into my closet size room (more on this later) as soon as i shut the door and stands with her hands on her hips and says, “man, you’re late!” just then i’m seized with a pretty strong contraction and as my body folds with pain over the end of the bed i somehow explain that i think labor began around 4 and have been having a hard time moving quickly. as the contraction passes i look up to find a huge smile on her face and she says, “well, it looks like we’ll be holding off on the pitocin for a while, let’s see how you do!”
my hospital, though they are all for vaginal twin deliveries does ask that an epidural be placed in case a c-section is necessary on one or both of the babies, and though i was able to labor in a room in L&D, the actual birth would take place in the OR just in case an emergency arose or surgery was needed. so because my actual birth would not take place in my labor room i was given the tiniest room on the ward, closet size. not that i guess i cared, i was too focused on getting through those contractions for the first few hours i hardly noticed the setting but my sister, DH and my close friend were crammed by the AC vent shivering through my contractions, as i sat bare legged and sweating my brains out. apparently labor makes your body work hard and get really heated up. who woulda thunk. he he.
by 9:30am the contractions were coming hard, with each one, DH would rub my lower back and my sister would rub my forehead reminding me to stay relaxed, the pain was intense and i tried to really just breathe and stay calm although it was getting more and more difficult to do with each one that passed. i had been about 3-4cm dilated for the last few weeks and was now about 5-6. the babies looked fabulous on the monitors the entire morning, the nurses and my ob kept commenting on how insane baby A was, she was going nuts on that monitor, (in a good way) her heart beat jumping up and down and all around while baby b stayed cool as a cucumber. the anesthesiologist came in and asked my sis and DH to leave so they could insert the epidural. he was amazing and placed it so fast, painlessly i might add and within 10 minutes i was sure my labor had stopped. i said, “oh no, i haven’t had any contractions since you all came in” i was just sure that the epidural had stalled my labor. the nurse looked at the tape and laughed, “you’ve actually had three in the last few minutes, guess we’ve got a good epidural going.” i was so shocked. i have read so much about how the epidural really doesn’t take away all the pain or how so many people didn’t get relief on one side or the other so i was shocked to be so, well, numb. i could still move my legs around, though they were all pins and needles but i had more feeling than i thought, i guess another reason why i was so confused by the lack of feeling with the contractions.
after the epidural time really slowed down. for those first few hours i was so focused on getting through each contraction, every 5 minutes, lasting for 1-2 minutes at a time, the hours really flew by and then after the epidural, well things got boring to be honest. i just sat there. my body was still working so hard but i could barely tell beyond the overwhelming waves of exhaustion that would pass over me from time to time and the extreme thirst that those damn ice cubes could never really quench. i just sat there in the bed hoping things were still moving forward. i was checked every few hours and things were going ahead text-book like, i was dilating about a cm an hour and by 4pm i was fully dilated. my doc came in and had me do a practice push to see if i would be a “good pusher” or not, this would determine whether i would be asked to push for a time in the labor room in order to a lot of the work done before moving to the OR, or if i would be moved immediately in for delivery. with one practice push my doc’s eyes got wide, “oh yeah, we’re going now, you’re going to get these babes out fast!” i was so excited, and freaked out and well, ready and not ready all at the same time.
i was wheeled down the hall to the OR, both my sis and DH were allowed in with me which was amazing. I was feeling so excited and not scared or nervous at all. We got to the OR about 4:50 but i don’t think i started pushing for another 10-15 minutes or so. And with 10 big pushes out came V. For a while there I thought she’d never make it past my pubic bone, she paused there for so long it seemed, but finally her head pushed past and her body followed quickly at 5:23pm. As soon as V was out the OB reached inside me to feel the presentation of baby B who had been transverse for many months, his feet had flipped down into the breech position. this was not something my doc was worried about, in fact, she had told me that if he flips to breech it would be the faster way for him to come out. the OB guided his feet and with only 1-2 pushes M came into the world just 2 minutes later at 5:25pm.
The epidural had worked so well that I felt no pain during any of this, nothing, i mostly laughed my way through the pushing with my sister and DH. We were all so giggly and overexcited.
After the babes were out, M had a little trouble breathing at first, this had been explained before hand as well to me so I wasn’t too worried, although I waited and waited for those little lungs to kick in and his cries finally let me relax fully a few minutes after his birth. My OB had explained that with second babies not having to work so hard to move through the birth canal, they can react similiar to c-section babes and just not have time to work out a lot of the fluid from their lungs. It can take them a bit longer to adapt to the world outside. M was taken up to the NICU for observation but only for 2 hours and then he joined us back in our room after that. His sis was so strong from the start and she ended up being the one to lose more weight and develop slight jaundice in the next few days. M was stronger than ever once he was with us.
They both took to breastfeeding really well and though I’m still adjusting their latches a few times a day they are hungry, happy babies. They are now just over three weeks old. I can’t believe how fast it has all gone. It’s been a huge transition. Huge doesn’t really cut it to be honest. For the first week i think i spent most days hysterically crying from lack of sleep and pain from engorgement (why does no one explain engorgement before it happens?! i had no idea!!) but now we are slowly adjusting to our new schedules, hello no more than 3 hours of sleep at a time!
Parenthood is so much harder than i would ever have imagined. There are so many ups and downs and there is no way to really prepare for so much of it. but all the pain and struggle and worry and stress and fear has paid off. Now i just need to remind myself of that at 4am when one or both of them won’t stop screaming. I just look at them and think… thank you.