Whew what a ride! Labor started with my being admitted to L&D to have Cervidil applied to ripen my cervix. If you’ve never tried this, it’s kinda icky. They put a cloth string into your vagina that’s infused with prostaglandin to ripen the cervix. About 4 inches of the string hangs out for 12 hours and you have to be careful not to pull it out when going to the bathroom. The nurses monitor the babies and check the string several times during the night. Not much was going on by morning and we were discouraged that my cervix hadn’t changed. I’d been contracting quite uncomfortably but it didn’t seem to be changing anything. By 11:30 AM the 12 hours was up and I was checked again. I was 2 cm dilated and my doctor wanted to try a Foley type catheter that inserts a balloon on either side of your cervix that is expanded with water to try to get it to dilate. Yuck! I was not excited by this prospect at all. So I walked, stood, swayed whatever I could do as much as I could to keep the contractions working while I waited for the doctor who does the catheters to come in. Once in I’d be confined to the bed. Ugh!
By 2pm they were getting that catheter set up and the doctor checked me again. He told the nurses to stop because I was already a 3 (past the point of the catheter working) whooo hooooo! He broke my water and put a scalp clip monitor on Baby A because she was impossible to track with the fetal monitor. I hated the idea of that but knew it was needed. Then the bad news was that my BP was shooting up. 180/100 (very bad) and they needed to give me Magnesium Sulfate in an IV to prevent seizures. This was the preeclampsia kicking in. I also had 2 beats of clonus (sp?) which is where your legs shake when they check your reflexes. It’s a bad neurological sign.
Count yourself lucky if you’ve never had “Mag” cause it’s awful stuff. It makes you sick, your heart race, skin burn, eyes feel swollen etc. The anesthesiologist came in to do my epidural. He looked really familiar and I realized our kids go to the same school! Yikes he’s seen way too much of me now! I have mild scoliosis in my spine so his first attempt didn’t work and hurt like hell! Finally the 2nd place he tried worked and I got to lay back down. The whole thing took over 30 mins. Ouch!
So if you are keeping track of labor interventions I’ve had cervidil, constant external monitoring, a fetal scalp monitor with the wire taped to one thigh, rupture of membranes, IV magnesium, a blood pressure cuff and an epidural. Coming up next are a catheter taped to the other thigh and pitocin because the magnesium is slowing contractions. Also inflatable leg cuffs to prevent blood clots. I joked to the nurses that I didn’t think there was an intervention left to do to me. Or at least not any room to tape or strap anything on me! I’m usually an earth mama natural laborer so this was all very surreal but needed give all the complications I was having.
At 5:30 pm my OB checked and I was 5 cm dilated. The epidural was working pretty good and I was just left laying there with all the crap hooked up to me. At 6:30 I asked the nurse to help me roll over. I thought changing positions would help the baby move down. I rolled to my left side and Baby A’s heart rate plummeted. I was really glad she had that scalp monitor on! My OB walked in just as the nurse pointed this out and was rolling me back to my other side. He said he wanted to check me even though it had only been an hour. As I turned onto my back I felt more pressure. He reached in and said he felt the head and it was time to go to the OR for delivery!
All hell broke loose. DH was given a space suit and hair net. My bed was broken down to roll to the OR, IV’s attached. My mom who desperately wanted to be present for the birth had gone to the cafeteria. I was telling DH to get his suit on then call her quick! She’d never let me forget it if she missed the birth! LOL The nurses grabbed an extra space suit for her and luckily she met us in the hall just was I was wheeled into the OR. (you have to deliver twins in there in case you need an emergency c-section plus it’s where they keep the recusitation stuff for preemies) At least 20 people were assembled in there. Some angel nurse remembered to set up the mirror I wanted to watch the birth, my legs were in stirrups and it was time to go! Two pushes and I could see the head. One more and she was out! OMG she was soooo tiny. I gasped when I saw her.
OB hands her off to one NICU team then palpitates my stomach to figure out where Baby B is. He decides she’s going to come out breech and reaches inside (yes up to his elbow!) to grab her feet and pull her out. I knew this was the crunch time because if he couldn’t grab her I’d be getting a c-section. We all held our breaths and watched. I have to say it didn’t really hurt. Or maybe I was so in the moment that I don’t remember. I was just watching in the mirror. Then he told me to push and I gave it everything I had. One more push and she was out! Bigger than her sister but limp and blue. She was handed to the 2nd NICU team and they went to work. I would see people huddled around the babies but couldn’t tell what was going on. DH kept standing up to see and getting in my line of vision. I started to cry, soooo relieved that I’d given birth vaginally.
Then I turned to look at the OB and saw he was quite concerned. I was losing a lot of blood. The nurse was massaging my stomach, they pushed some more pitocin in my IV, someone gave me a shot of something for clotting in my thigh. I delivered the placentas and prayed that I wouldn’t end up needing a hysterectomy NOW after all I’d gone through for a natural birth. Thank God it slowed down and he stitched up a 1st degree tear.
I was still watching the NICU teams work on the babies. Baby B (Vivian) wasn’t crying and they were concerned. There was lots of activity and I couldn’t tell what was going on. Finally DH turned to me and told me they were both okay. All the medical people started to vanish. The last one handed me both babies wrapped in blankets and they started wheeling me back to my room. We couldn’t believe they weren’t taking the babies away to the NICU. I thought they’d made a mistake and come back for them but they never did. We were back in the room at just a little past 7 pm. The whole delivery had taken less than 20 mins. The girls were born 3 mins apart and we were all fine. It went so fast we couldn’t believe it. It didn’t seem real but there were our girls!
I had to stay in bed with the IV’s running to prevent seizures. I wasn’t out of the woods yet with the preeclampsia. I was also super anemic from blood loss. The OB said I’d lost twice the normal amount. The babies and I were checked every hour for our vital signs. This basically meant we were up all night. Georgia was having trouble staying warm and Vivian was wheezing. They would occasionally put both babies under a warmer in our room. The next day we talked the OB into turning the magnesium off because I was totally miserable on it and my BP was leveling out. I also had a spinal headache from the epidural that was kicking my butt. By afternoon I got the catheter out and was allowed to go to the bathroom. On the 2nd day I was allowed to shower and they removed the IV. They said we could go home that morning but took another 8 hours to do all the paperwork, car seat checks, hearing tests etc. We finally got home around 6 that evening just 48 hours after giving birth.
I’ve heard from several of the nurses and the OB himself that our birth was the slickest twin delivery they’d ever seen. My OB said he’d like to take credit but most of it was due to me! :-) I’m so glad I found a doctor who trusted in my ability to birth these babies regardless of Vivian being breech and bigger than her sister. Technically they don’t do vaginal births in those scenarios but I convinced him to try since I’d birthed 9 lb boys before. I knew I could pop those girls out no problem given the chance. Even with all the scary stuff with my BP, I don’t regret any part of the birth. It went as smoothly as possible.