I am sitting here 5 weeks after I gave birth to two beautiful babies and I still cannot believe that we grew them and that they are the combination of Jamin and I. I will start out by saying that I will be candid and tell how MY experience went, I do not judge or want to be judged by others as these are MY thoughts and feelings. Get a cup of coffee or a drink as this is a LONG one…
My birth was the absolute worst case scenario for me. If you had asked me how I envisioned the birth of my child (yes I never thought about twins) I would have told you we were at home or at least in a midwife practice. I would have said that I do not believe a c-section is for me and that I think women’s bodies are meant to birth naturally. I was looking forward to laboring and feeling my baby being born. I looked at it like a challenge that I was excited to beat. I am very physical as a person and I love a challenge so this was the opportunity to prove to myself that I could do anything.
6.5 weeks in we saw two heart beats and I was so excited, after losing two pregnancies and being told we would never have our own children it was amazing to see this pregnancy moving along. Twins bring a whole different picture to labor, no midwives take you and you are left with hospital births so you have to find the best OB you can. We found one that had some midwife practices and talked a lot about how I did not want any drugs or interventions. The issue with twins is that when baby A (closest to the cervix) comes out then baby B can flip to a breach presentation (butt down). The breach extraction is when the OB has to reach up inside the mother and grab baby B to guide him/her out. This is excruciating and many OBs do not do this without an epidural on board. At this point in the pregnancy I had already had to give up so much of what I wanted with a pregnancy that it was hard to think about giving up all my hopes for a natural birth too.
20 weeks in we had our anatomy scan and found baby B (now Crosby) had Transposition of the Great Arteries. Now we were not only high risk due to twins but really high risk because one twin has a heart defect. We had to leave our OB and transfer care to a high risk clinic at UW because they have a level 3 NICU and transport to Children’s hospital. Now everything I thought I never wanted was slapping me in the face. I LOVED the OB that we used at UW, she was straightforward and caring at the same time. She knew right when we met that I had ideas about birth and how I wanted my moment to go. She listened to everything I wanted and told me what was possible and what she was not willing to budge on. Twins have to be delivered in an OR in case of emergency c-section, but we talked about laboring as long as possible in the room. I wanted the lights in the OR to be turned down and music to be on. When it came time to talk about the drugs she stated that I would have to have a epidural for baby B in case of breach extraction. This crushed me but we came to a compromise; I would have an epidural port put in but not plugged into the medication throughout labor, baby A would be born naturally and when A was just about to come out they would start administering drugs incase needed for B. If B was still head down they would stop and we would birth naturally, if not then I would have the epidural. I did not want any drugs but this was the best compromise. One thing with twins especially is that you have to fight for what you believe and want. The western medical system can easily take over and before you know it things are not at all how you wanted them. You have to fight for yourself and your babies, be open and honest with your OB and make sure that they respect you and listen to you while keeping you safe.
32 weeks in baby A is breach (butt first) baby B is head down. I started to worry about A not flipping into the correct position so I did everything I could think of. I was at yoga already, I did inversions, put ice where the head was to try and make baby flip, used peppermint oil, even took homeopathic for breach presentation. Week after week baby A was not moving, I was getting really worried. At 36 weeks I was told that we had to have a c-section and that it would be planned for 38 weeks. I was devastated. I did not want to be sliced open like a steak and have my babies yanked out of me. I wanted that experience of feeling labor and pushing and all of the natural ways of birthing. I cried and cried, the docs understood that I was upset and one of them said something that helped. She said that I have two being inside of me and they are their own person, I cannot control what they do anymore, this really helped me feel like I did not fail myself. I could not make baby A (Henley) move unless that baby wanted to. I also talked about it with everyone from my yoga class to work people, I was truthful with my feelings that I did not want this but it is how this has to be. It helped talking it out and just putting my feelings into the universe.
I did research on how to have the best C-section (contact me if you want details) and I typed a 3rd version of my birth plan. I talked with my OB and we came up with a new plan, I would be able to have the babies come skin to skin ASAP, I would have the lights low and music of my choosing on, the OB would ask if I was ready before starting (this was my way of letting go of the babies to allow them into the world), there would be delayed cord clamping, I would take my placentas to have them encapsulated, and I would be closed in a double layer and no staples (they did not use staples anyways). It really helped to cover all of these with my OB and have her know how important they were to us. I still was angry and upset that my experience was going to be what was my “worst case” scenario.
38 weeks and 1 day, it is odd knowing when you will have your babies. We had the OB pic a date because I was not about to choose my babies birthday (so not natural). We were the first case in the morning 8AM start on October 9, 2014. I researched and took some homeopathic for fear of surgery and post operation, I think they helped a lot. We slept alright and were up at 5AM, you have to shower the night before and the morning of then wipe your body with antiseptic wipes, you also cannot eat after midnight so I woke about 11:30 and ate. We had everything packed up and were nervous. You have to know that our situation was different due to the heart condition and everything that we knew would follow the birth of who is now Crosby. One thing that really helped us keep excitement was that we did not know the sexes. We always knew we wanted to be surprised and in our case it was so helpful to have that to look forward to. There were SO many unknowns with our birth that anything exciting was needed. We took some last pictures of us as a duo and headed out.
We arrived at UW at 6:30AM and walked into the unit to see my brother waiting of me, I lost it and cried a lot because it meant so much. We were taken back to a prep room and slowly started the process. They put an IV port into your hand and take blood, I changed into a gown, they listened to the babies one last time to make sure they sounded good. Then we waited, there ended up being a crash c-section so we were pushed back an hour or two. Both sets of grandparents showed up and came is to say hello. Then we started to meet with the anesthesiologist, my OB came in and was excited and ready, the attending doctors came in, the NICU people came in and it was started to feel really close. We were then moved to a larger private room because we had so much family in the waiting room, this was nice because we could all be together. The room was ready for us and I was wheeled out. Jamin had to wait and put on scrubs in a different room while I was prepped. The spinal was amazing, I did not feel the needle and the anesthesiologist were wonderful, they talked me through everything they did and all of the sudden my heels got warm and heavy and then my legs started to numb. They tried to move my legs but I was fighting them so they told me to relax and let them arrange my legs. The medicine started to work fast and they kept checking to see if I was numb. They had to tilt the bed back a lot to get the medicine everywhere which was weird. Before I knew it I could not feel my legs and it was a very odd sensation. I was naked from the breasts down and it was odd knowing that but it did not bug me a lot as I figured they have seen worse. Jamin came into the room and the sheet went up, he started to take pics of us and I was so scared I was shaking, also the adrenaline makes you shake. We were asked if we were ready and I was. At this point I was more excited that we were going to meet our babies. They asked me what I thought we were having and told them A is a girl and B is a boy (I was correct).
They started to cut and I knew it because you hear the suction machine sucking up the blood. I just stared at Jamin as he held my hand, this was not the way I wanted my babies to enter this world but at the time there was so much love present that it was as it was meant to be. When we were getting close the anesthesiologist offered to take pictures for us and it was the best thing that could have happened. Jamin actually stood up to watch which blew my mind, I felt a lot of pressure below but zero pain and they started to take out Henley. Jamin got to watch and told me that is was a baby girl, she cried and then everyone laughed because she grabbed onto the surgical towel and would not let go. All 5lb 1 oz of her was brought to me all bloody and covered in vernix, she was beautiful and tiny. Then they took her to wipe her off while Crosby was pulled out, once again they started laughing and I asked what was going on, he came out and peed all over the docs. I knew then all alb 2oz of was boy. They took him right away and Jamin followed him, once wiped off he was brought to me for a moment and a kiss. He did not look good, he as grey and not really breathing.Crosby and Jamin went to the NICU and that is all I saw of both of them until they went to Children’s.
Henley was brought back to me and one of the nurses helped her breast feed while they were closing me up. At this point I was alone as Jamin was at the NICU, they allowed both grandma’s to come in and say hi. This was amazing as I could share my excitement with someone. I really wish we could have been a family of 4 from the moment of birth on but with Crosby’s heart it was not possible. Closing took a lot longer than opening me. The doctors said I had wonderful tissue and that my abdominal muscles were amazing for carrying twins. They said I would leave with a flatter stomach than most, this made me happy:)
My birth was my worst fear and in the end it all worked out great. I had an OB that I trusted and that listened to me, they worked hard to make the process as natural as possible. I felt the love in the room that day and I know that my babies were ready to come out. Now I know that the word birth can mean SO any different things. There is not one “right” way there is only the way what your body and babies choose to be birthed. I used to judge people thinking that they really did not need a c-section but now I am eating my own words and I NEEDED one and it was the best for my babies no matter what I believed.
My birth ended up playing out as my “worst case” scenario but in the end it was the best birthday we could have hoped for.
If anyone has questions or wants more information let me know, I am an open book and would love to connect.