Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TWINS // THE BIRTH STORY PART 1

It's been nearly 6 months since our twins arrived, and I finally feel I have the time to write a detailed account of when they entered the world. It was the most amazing, taxing, tiring, and rewarding thing I've ever done. I am so thankful to have had the support from my husband, midwife and midwife-apprentice during the whole experience; not to mention my far-away family and friends.

Without further ado let's get right down to it. The date is February 9th. It's a Wednesday and the boys arent' due until one month from today, March 9th...

I woke up this morning feeling groggy and "strange" -- it's not a very descriptive way to put it, but it was hard to put into words. I just felt different. After explaining to Bob how I felt he offered me to call into work. My reply was "I haven't called in because of this pregnancy yet, I can get through this day." So I went.

I arrived at work at 9:00 am like usual. Typically I was serving food in the restaurant but since I was SO HUGE and could hardly walk or fit in to any clothes, they agreed to let me roll silverware in the back, to avoid an early maternity leave. I made it through one hour and 34 minutes of work before "SPLOOOOSH!!" My jaw hit the floor. It felt like a giant water balloon had just exploded inside of me. I was SOAKED from the waist down. It was time to go.

I called to my manager who came running, face pale, and offered to call me an ambulance. I felt embarrassed and began crying saying "no, no, I just need to go home, I'm sorry... I'm sorry..." He sent over two women who work in the back, both of whom started speaking instructions to me in Spanish (I do not speak Spanish fluently.) One of the ladies, Aracely, was nice enough to walk me to my car, past the Health Inspector who was doing a Quality Assurance Inspection (Needless to say that with a giant puddle of amniotic fluid on the ground in the kitchen we didn't score well.)

I made it to the car, dripping wet, and lined the seat with whatever I could find -- I'm pretty sure it was reusable Babies-R-Us totes. I called my husband "Bob, My water broke. I'm coming home" I said through sobs. He assured me he would call our midwife, Diane, and find out what to do next. Luckily we only lived a short 5-minute-drive from where I was working.

I tried to steady my nerves as I drove, but as I was exiting the highway I remembered that I hadn't clocked out at work. I quickly called my manager while sitting at a red light. His response was "you didn't have to call me, kiddo." -- Phew! --

By the time I got home it was nearing 11:00 am. I remember the first thing I did was sit on the toilet and try to clean up. I can hear Bob on the phone with Diane, he put it on speaker-phone so I could hear, too. She says she's on her way, first stopping by her office to pick up the birthing tub and then will be at our home, 15 minutes. She tells us Liz will get their first. Still sitting on the toilet I ask Bob, still not sure, "Are we having a baby today?" (I cried then and I'm crying now reliving the feeling.) Through watery eyes he says "yes".

I remember Liz arriving at the house, but I don't remember exactly what was said. As soon as Diane arrived she, Liz and Bob unloaded the supplies. The birthing tub and hoses, surgical gloves, a scale for the babies and two baby packages complete with nose-suckers, homemade hats and a sharpie for marking one "A" and one "B". Not to mention tons of pads for lining the bed and floor.

Diane checked me when everything had settled down. By now I was wearing a loose pink summer nightgown and Bob's flip-flops, since my feet were too swollen to wear anything I owned. I was about 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced- which was great! I was having pretty regular contractions, about 5 minutes apart each and lasting anywhere from 20 seconds to one minute. Bob and I decided to take a walk to help speed things up. I put on a coat and we strolled around the block, stopping every couple of feet for me to catch my breath or breath through a contraction. One house we stopped in front of had an older man outside with his wife. He said "I think today's the day!" To which we replied "you're right, it is!" We all smiled at each other and then Bob and I continued on. When we made it back to the house Diane offered me something to eat but I had no appetite.

By this time I was starting to get quite uncomfortable due to the growing amount of pressure on my back during contractions. I asked if we could begin filling the birthing tub, and we did. Of course by "we" I mean everyone but me. :)  I'm glad that I asked because it was only a matter of minutes before I felt desperate for that hot water on my body. I remember snottily demanding that I was getting into the tub, despite it being only half-full. In order to fill the tub Bob was working very hard with 4-5 pots of water on the stove, running up and down the stairs with them full, after the water heater had done all it could do through the sink.

The feeling from the water was INSTANT relief. It didn't make things 100% better but once I was in, there was no getting out. And after having that experience I think it will be a staple in any future pregnancies. When I first got into the water I was wearing a nursing bra for "privacy" but all of my cares about being even somewhat discrete went out the window as the pain increased. I was soon in the nude, and much more comfortable.

During this time of water laboring I was very quiet. When Bob and I attended our home-birth-birthing-class I didn't know what pain management techniques I would utilize, but knowing me I should have known that I would be a silent sufferer. Bob was very kind and encouraging and brought me a juice box and some ice chips. Occasionally he would rub my back or bring in a cold towel for my head, too. I remember Liz taking photos of us together, looking into each others eyes, and how I felt the pain leave me when I could focus on him. Then another time I remember feeling like a rat in a cage with all eyes on me and so angrily I said "please stop watching me." Everyone quickly faced away.


What I remember next was that I decided I was going to get out of the tub. Immediately I regretted it but I decided to try to go to the bathroom since I was out, and I felt I had to go. I squatted over the toilet and... "AHHHHHHH!" I let out a giant wail - I was not ready for the sensation it had created. Diane and Bob asked me what was going on. I said that I had felt the urge to poop but when I squatted I felt so much painful pressure! I saw Diane give a knowing look to Liz and I felt relief. She had me lie down in order to check my progress. Sure enough I was at 8 cm. and nearly 100% effaced. It wouldn't be long now before I was pushing!

Amped up by the good news I decided to be done with the birthing tub and stay upright in order to assist gravity in pulling the baby down onto my cervix. We knew from previous ultrasounds and check-ups with Diane that baby A was going to be breech, and therefore I might be in labor longer than most. I never asked what time it was, I felt like it had only been an hour. I swayed my hips back and forth and squatted as far as I could with my giant 58 cm. around belly. (I'm not sure what you know about pregnancy but most women with singleton babies grow to be about 40 cm. around- one cm. for every week of pregnancy. I clearly was enormous!)

Soon I had this unmistakable feeling. I said to Diane "I'm either going to poop, or push." She told me it was time to lie down, and I was ecstatic! The moment I had been waiting for! I was going to meet my first baby, and soon! Liz checked mine and the baby's vitals-- all looked well and we were ready for a wave of contractins to lead us through the first push. Diane and Liz held my feet on their thighs and stood at the side of the bed with instructions. Bob was cradling my head and neck beside me and I was holding his arm for support. I told Diane I was ready and PUUUUSHED as hard as I could. She told e I had done a good job and that with every push we were going to check both babies' heart rates to make sure no one was in distress. Everything was fine and with the next contraction came a huge PUUUUSH. I could literally feel Baby A moving underneath my pelvic bone, I was so impressed with myself! (I call him Baby A now because at this point we havn't told anyone his name- we decided late (literally days before they arrived) and wanted to announce their names as they entered the world.)

I don't remember exactly how many times I pushed, but I do know that it only lasted 50 minutes. I could feel the babies little butt slide out with a "POP" and Liz held up a mirror and  took some pictures to show me for encouragement. I didn't know exactly what I was looking at at first but I knew we were all doing well! Not to mention pooping ;) When I knew it was only his head left to come out I was very encouraged and bore down with all my might. One giant push and I could see my baby boy! His umbilical cord was only 6 inches long and so as soon as it stopped pulsing with blood, Bob cut it and he was brought up to my chest. I remember saying "Oh my God, Oh my God, He's not attached to me anymore?" His hands were folded and his eyes were wide-open. He was looking around curiously, covered in vernix and lanugo, very purple and cone-headed. It was 6:30 pm and I was in love.


His name is Taylen. We came up with it based on my first and middle names: Crista Lynn. Bob and I took turns holding him, kissing him, and just taking in the beauty of our new family. I knew my work wasn't done, afterall there was still Baby B inside of me, needing to come out, but I enjoyed some time with Taylen before getting back to business. Diane and Liz weighed him in our room. He was a little bitty 5 lbs. and 1 oz. and 18 inches long. We didn't have any clothes that fit him snug so he wore a "nightie" from my friend Jackie. His head was adorned with a homemade hat from Diane and his foot was marked with an "A" so we wouldn't confuse him and his brother once there were two.

He is one of the lights of my life, but I do have more than one. I love him more than words can describe. This has been the story of bring Taylen to Life.

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