Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Twin Birth

The obstetrical nurse on the other end of the phone line just wasn't getting it.

"I'm 39 weeks pregnant with twins, and I just saw a little tiny bit of orange and thought it might be the mucus plug, and so I'm coming in."

"Oh honey, " she tried to reassure me, "how far along dilated and effaced were you at your last checkup?"

"Not at all" I replied "see you in about an hour."

"No no dear" she continued. "It could still take hours to days. How far apart are the contractions and how strong?"

"No contractions. No dilation. And I'll still see you in about an hour. And I'm not leaving without my babies - outside of my body."

It had been a long month. I'd held off on a C-section at 37 weeks. But enough was enough! I mean my SINGLE babies had been born earlier than this! I knew I was fortunate; I'd seen the other twin moms at the hospital, 27 weeks along, groggy from medication to stop early contractions and just praying that they'd keep them in just a little bit longer. Or mothers of preemies born at 26 weeks, weighing in at one pound, while I lumbered along the corridors with TWO perfectly healthy full-term babies in my swollen belly.

I knew I was lucky, but I also knew I wasn't doing this anymore. C-section was fine with me. My next appointment was tomorrow and the doctor had said she wouldn't let me go much past 39 weeks anyway, so I was ready. MORE than ready.

I got to the hospital three hours later. Still no contractions. Just a determination to get this over with. To my relief I was 3 cms dilated. Looked like labor. I was still worried they would send me home, but then all of a sudden I had the urge to vomit. Damon pressed the emergency button frantically as I held my hand over my mouth - there was NO WAY I vomitting into the clothes hamper at a German hospital as he'd suggested! 5 nurses rushed in - Damon was really pushing frantically - and I made it into a kidney pan.

Damon has never been more disgusted. I never felt better. "YAY" I thought "there is no way they can send me home now, contractions or no." And I was right. They immediately inserted an IV catheter and prepared a room. Relief.

Trying to be accomodating, I also felt the first twinges of what MIGHT have been a contraction, at 5PM, about 6 hours after first calling and informing them I'd be a staying guest, like it or not.

Having been through this twice before, I knew EXACTLY what to do. I sent Damon out for fried chicken and fries. As the contractions increased pretty regulary, I snuck in as much chicken as I could before the nurses could tell me I really shouldn't be eating anything anymore. It felt great. Once again, Damon was less than happy, when I vomited a second time somewhere about five hours after the chicken, but I have never regretted anything less.

This was like my best delivery ever, thoroughly disgusted husband or not.

The staff also asked if I would like something to speed the labor along; some homeopathic concoction whose only ingredient I remember is something alcoholic. Now this was my kind of delivery! I didn't really expect it to work, having labored for two days with my first child and 24 hours with my second, and so I sent Damon home at 8PM so that he could sleep before the birth the next day.

By midnight I was pacing the halls and hoping I could hold them in before he came back.

I did. It took five hours total, a real breeze in comparison to the first two. I did get my epidural. Although it took a good deal of swearing and threats to get the nurse to actually insert any pain medication INTO it!

And at 5 AM, honestly just as the sun was coming up and I was noticing that the birds were beginning to sing, the little guys decided to come. Or the nurse decided I could start pushing. The epidural having FINALLY taken effect, I really could have waited as long as they wished.

Aidan popped out so quickly - as the nurse was rallying the medical team and the student nurse was alone in the room with us. Nice. Poor girl literally held him in until help arrived. Thank goodness for epidurals.

And within seconds you heard a stampede in the hall and the room filled as the obstetrical team arrived followed closely by two perinatal teams. I think the nurse handed Aidan to the doctor - probably just so he could get paid - and then Aidan went off to his team while the rest of us - the doc and at least 4 hurses - focused on getting Matthew out.

There was a bit of playing with the U/S and fetal monitor. Two nurses were pressing on my abdomen to keep Matthew from doing flips in my now spacious uterus, another was on the U/S, another at my feet and another apparently monitoring the heart because after a few minutes of fumbling - I believe the plan had been to turn Matthew from breach to head first - the doctor firmly called everyone off and told me I needed to sit up and push, NOW! In retrospect, there was some real concern with a rapidly dropping heart rate, but I was blissfully unaware at the time.

All I remember thinking, along with the U/S nurse, was "Hey, wait a second, didn't we skip a part here? Isn't his HEAD supposed to come out first?" BUt there was a note of seriousness in the room, and a couple of the nurses spoke to me softly about REALLY needing to push HARD and to do it NOW. They sat me up - and out he came. I really wasn't worried about pushing out baby number four - I'd had TWO come out before the doctors were fully in the room - and butt-first made no difference.

It was quick and I never learned what had happened. Although Matthew's APGAR was only 5, so I can well imagine it had been a heart concern.

And the doctor fairly kissed me with relief. "You can do that again any time you like" he told me before even cutting the chord.

I was wheeled out of the room two hours later - with two bundles in my arms - and the first thing I could think to ask Damon was whether we could do this again.

"I'll think about it." he answered. "But there will be NO fried chicken EVER again!" Wimp.


  1. I hope things go as well for us :-) It's always good to hear how it can start out of nowhere: one day no contractions, no dilation, and the next day babies!

  2. Like I would write anything else knowing you are reading! But really - I have no scary stories. Whatever happens - at the end you are holding TWO bundles in your arms and it's ALL worth it. It is the most amazing feeling in the world. 24 hours later I was in shock and in tears since I hadn't been able to figure out how to get out of bed and make it down the hall - and butter my own roll and get my own breakfast - with TWO babies demanding attention. But I look calm and composed and totally in control of the situation in the pictures - so fake it til you feel it! HAVE FUN!