Indecision & An Ever-Changing Plan
My birth plan changed and changed and changed again. From the day we found out we were having twins, I knew there was a high chance of needing a c-section and that chance only went up when I found out they were identical. After assessing the risks and speaking to my OB, he felt and I agreed that 36 weeks would be a good goal for MoDi twins and that we would induce labor then.
I wanted to try for a vaginal delivery, but understood that there were a lot of factors that came into play. My birth plan ended up being one word: flexibility.
I wasn't able to make all the plans myself like most first time parents do. I think sometimes making those plans can lead to disappointment and unnecessary stress. In my case, I wasn't given the luxury. I knew it was out of my control.
When I was about 20 weeks, both my twins were breach and they remained that way each time I had an ultrasound. So, around 32 weeks we scheduled my c-section for July 25th. We were comfortable with having Baby B breach, but not both. The risks would be too high.
To the amazement of everyone, at 33 weeks both babies turned to head down. We canceled my c-section and instead planned for an induction the night of July 24th.
At 34 weeks, I went in for a routine check and found out I was in early labor. I had so many contractions they sent me to the hospital. We thought we might have to have the babies that night. Luckily, we were able to stop the contractions & I went home that evening.
At 35 weeks, I went in for a follow up and found that Baby B went back to a breech/transverse position and was tangled (kind of) among Baby A. We reconvened yet again, and through the wisdom of my doctor, reset the c-section.
Two days before their birthday was my own. I turned 23. My parents and sisters flew into town and we had a great day together. We played some arcade games; I beat my husband in basketball; and I had a dinner at my favorite barbecue with a handful of friends.
The next day my sisters and mom took me out for a spa day. I got a pedicure, manicure, eye brow wax (on fleek), a haircut, and a blowout. It was amazing. Relaxing was the best way to get ready for giving birth. And although I was so uncomfortable at this point in pregnancy, I loved the idea of looking fabulous the next day. It kept me sane.
That night Ryan and I went out on a "last date" for a while. We went to gelato and sat on a bench and talked for an hour about our lives, our marriage and what we imagined parenthood to be like. I thought I wouldn't be able to sleep that night like a little kid on Christmas Eve, but I slept like a baby.
I woke up and got ready at 8am to leave my house at 9:30am. We double checked the bag we had packed weeks ago and headed out the door. I kept thinking about how the next time I came home I would have two babies with me!
When we arrived at the hospital, I was complaining of hunger. I had to fast from 10 or 11PM the night before, and for a pregnant lady, it seemed like forever before I could eat. We checked in at the OB triage. The paperwork was more than I expected but didn't take too long.
They gave me a bed in triage and started me on antibiotics and fluids. The nurses were laughing because out of everyone in triage I was the only patient with consistent contractions, yet I was the one with the scheduled c-section. Ryan started to get hungry too, and although he promised solidarity, my mom enticed him with a sub so he ate it right next to me. That was tough and I think I was upset but now I just think its funny!
I read the readings for the day. It was the feast of St. James. Before I knew it my doctor was coming in and prepping me. A nurse had asked whether I was going to have my tubes tied so I talked to my doctor to make sure that was a mistake, as I definitely did not want my tubes tied. They fixed the problem.
My doctor prayed with us and then the started to wheel me in. They got all the scrubs on me and transferred me over to the operating table. My husband was not allowed in the room until the spinal was administered.
The epidural wasn't bad at all, but feeling it go through my system was harder than I thought. I had read a lot about the panic that sets in when you can't feel your legs, so I knew to relax. But I wasn't prepared for how it turns your stomach. I felt so sick! My blood pressure shot down pretty low and I felt so tired I couldn't keep my eyes open or respond to the medical professionals around me. I was honestly quite scared and I just wanted Ryan to be in there with me.
After a couple of minutes, I'm not sure what they did to change things--maybe the epidural just passed, but I felt great and very warm. They finally brought Ryan in. He looked a little uneasy himself. I'm sure the whole thing was just so surreal.
I really wanted to not pay attention to my surgery. I knew if I listened to the sound of them cutting me open, or if I looked in the mirror, I would be sick and it would creep me out. So I just tried talking to Ryan about random other things, but he was staring at them. He looked shocked. I mean it must be pretty hard not to look at someone having surgery next to you, but I kept talking to him and he kept staring--it was actually pretty funny.
Before I knew it I heard a nurse gasp and say "Happy Birthday".
"Is she here?" I asked.
My OB informed me Baby A was out and they were counting to do delayed cord clamping.
I wanted to see her but I couldn't. I asked them to hold her up, and finally they did. I saw her face and it was the most precious moment of my life hands down. Her cry was so soft and she sounded so helpless it warmed my heart and I felt an immediate need to comfort her. I looked at Ryan and we both teared up. He started taking pictures. They took Baby A over to the table to assess her and the nurses took Ryan to follow suit.
Next I hear, "Oh, she's bigger"
& then they held up Baby B to me. Her cheeks were so chubby and adorable. Her cry sounded the same.
I wanted to see them so badly but they had to sew me up. Ryan was with them as the nurses and NICU team assessed them and got them dressed. The nurses brought my daughters over to me and laid them on my chest. They were both looking at me and crying, but in the sweetest way. Baby B was blowing me bubbles, and I kept asking the nurses to move them closer to my face so I could kiss them.
I was in love. In love. In love.
They wheeled me into the recovery room, and it becomes a blur after that. I got to hold each of them for the first time. We decided who had which name. My family came in one by one to meet them. Clairvaux peed on me. I was so out of it and so tired.
The recovery from the surgery was hard. The first time they tried to have me get up and walk, I walked four steps away from the bed and couldn't handle the pain so they had to call a wheelchair escort to go four steps back to the bed. I stayed in the hospital for four days. The pain of the incision was immense. Terrible in ways I didn't expect but not as bad as many people made it seem.
Ryan was a great helper. I never changed a diaper in the hospital. He brought our girls to me each and every time they needed me. My family stepped in and held them so we could get some sleep. & we began the arduous but amazing task of getting to know our little family of four.
I have never written or shared my birth story because I guess I thought it wasn't worth it. I thought that it was just a scheduled c-section and I don't know anyone who would have an interest in that story.
But birth stories matter. Each story matters. No matter how it goes, a baby is brought into the world this side of the womb and that is a story worth telling.