Monday, May 14, 2012

Birthing Twins Naturally

 If you haven't read it yet, you can read all about my twin pregnancy here.

(I should have known I was about to go into labor. My face was so swollen. Actually I kind of hate this photo. I look so miserable in it. ha!)

I was closing in on end the thirty-fourth week of my pregnancy. I decided I needed a few new nursing bra's before the babies came so we went to the mall. Motherhood Maternity was right inside the entrance but apparently even that was too far. I came home so sore and tired. Being pregnant with twins is intense y'all.

I tried to take a bath. Tried being the key word since my knees and feet were pretty much the only thing that fit into the tub. I remember wishing so badly that we could go down the street to my inlaws hot tub. I was just so sore. I had already lost a little mucus at 31 weeks and that night I lost some more.

I knew the boys would be coming soon but I had hoped on waiting it out a week and a bit longer. At 36 weeks my midwives could deliver them. That evening my husband and I went through the boys things and talked about what we would want to bring along with us to the birthing center.

The next morning I woke up with mild period like cramps. I recognized this feeling from E's birth as the very early labor, but since I did not want to start labor yet we jumped in the car and raced straight to the birthing center to stop it. The birthing center was fourty-five minutes away (which was nothing compared to the two hours I drove for E's birth). We arrived and I was checked and found to be at 5cm. I was shocked. I was about 5cm during E's birth when I bit my husband (something I am sure to never live down). This was much more mild. We did everything we could to stop labor. They had some herbal drops that they were giving me and they even called their homeopathic doctor who had them give me may have been pulsatilla but I was so out of it I didn't notice.

Nothing stopped labor. The boys were coming. My midwives (Molly & Emily) called their back up OBGYN who agreed to meet us at the hospital. I briefly considered jumping into the birthing tub and not consenting to be moved but there was no way for us to know if the boys lungs had fully developed yet. We got into the car to drive the two hours to the hospital where the OB would deliver my twins (with baby A breech) naturally.  Molly rode with us and Emily followed in her car.

Click here for info on breech being just another variation of normal.

I felt a lot of pressure on the drive and communicated what I was feeling as we drove. Molly asked me if I needed her to find a closer hospital but I knew that meant automatic C-section. I told her no that I was going to Dr. Cummings and for my husband to keep driving. I was not that concerned about birthing in the car. I had an excellent midwife and my husband who was EMT certified with me. At one point in time I was so miserable because I had to pee so badly. There was no way I could have stopped and made it in the bathroom so my midwife pulled out a disposable pad to put under me and I peed in the car on that. (I almost didn't admit that, but it is part of my story)

We arrived at the hospital around 2pm. A nurse picked me up at the curb and wheeled me away from my husband and my midwife towards the room. I kept asking her to wait but as you will soon find out she was not a very patient or considerate nurse. This part was all so surreal. This was not where I wanted to be, or felt was safest, or most conducive to a normal, natural birth.

I remember going to the bathroom again and being given a hospital gown to wear. Then I was put in the bed where they strapped a monitor to me. I was also administered an IV. They told me over and over again to lay on my back and I ignored them every time. Not only is it the most uncomfortable position to be in but it is also the worst position you can be in for labor. Meanwhile my impatient nurse, named America, asked me a million questions. She did not care that I was experiencing intense contractions or rushes. She would not wait for me to finish and she would not allow my husband to answer for me. I was so thankful to have my awesome midwives with me. They acted as doulas and helped me manage the rushes by kneading my lower back and gripping my foot. They took great care of me.  I also remembered something that my doula at E's birth had said. During a particularly intense rush she told me "to just follow it all the way through". It was so helpful at the time so I just kept saying it to myself. ( see what a good investment a doula is? they not only help you through the birth that you hire them for but also through the ones after that.)

At some point in time a nurse came in and insisted that I have an x-ray done so they could tell exactly where the babies were. I thought this was absolutely ridiculous and a terrible thing to do to my babies but I really was given an ultimatum. Do this or they would not deliver them. I hate hospitals. I really do. They did the x-ray. Twice actually because the stupid techs screwed it up the first time. The boys were exactly where my midwives told them they were which they found out by palpating.

Finally Dr. Cummings came in. They said it was time and got ready to transport me to the OR since that is where they deliver twins. The nurses would allow me nothing to drink so everytime they left I had Nate hand me my big cup of water. This was yet another stupid hospital policy that I was not about to fall victim to. But I knew that I couldn't sneak anything while in the OR. So I asked Dr. Cummings for something and he told America to get me some ice chips. This was very satisfying because she had just told me that I could have nothing.

America told me in the OR I would have to lay flat on my back. Dr. Cummings is awesome though. I asked if I could lay on my side until my water broke and he allowed me to do that. There are a lot of benefits to keeping your bag of water intact until just before the baby is born and all that vitamin C I took really payed off by making that possible.

At 3:02 (just an hour after we had arrived at the hospital) F, my baby A, was born. He was born frank breech. He came into this world balls first. He had a little trouble breathing at first and was given a bit of oxygen. He never needed assistance breathing but because he gave them a little scare with the breathing they took him straight to the NICU. I didn't even get to see him. I could hear him crying and I was worried about him ,but I didn't have much chance to think about that.

When F was born, D moved down the birth canal. In doing this he had a bit of cord prolapse. His heart rate was still fine (although one nurse picked up my heart rate and flipped until the other nurse showed her the mistake). This was a bit tricky. A lot of OB's probably would have sectioned me right then and there, but not Dr. Cummings. He explained to me that he would break D's bag of waters, reach in and manually move the cord out of the way, and then I would have to push D out as quickly as possible. This was far from pleasant but made a lot of sense to me. I stayed very calm and trusted God, Dr. Cummings, and my body. I know that this was painful but I don't really remember that. I remember feeling a lot of pressure on my bladder and I told him that. He assured me that was normal.

Actually the most horrible part of it all was the nurses who gathered around and screamed at me to push. They were telling me that I was doing it wrong and they were encouraging me to purple push (or to hold my breath while pushing which is not good and can result in broken blood vessels in the mother and tearing of the perinum). Thank God I knew better. I wish that I could have gotten out of my head and screamed at them to shut the hell up. I wanted to so badly but I was too busy working hard to get this baby out. Dr. Cummings knew this was wrong I imagine because he instructed Emily (who had been at my feet) to get closer to my head so I could hear her instructions to me. I remember squeezing Nate's hand and the poor anesthesiologists hand.

At 3:12, nine minutes after F, D was born. Both boys weighed 5lbs 5 oz. They took him and did all of the things they do when babies are born, swaddled him up tight, and let my husband hold him, before they took him to the NICU also. He was taken to the NICU because he had low blood sugar. This is extra annoying because letting baby lay skin to skin on their mother's chest helps regulate blood sugar after birth. Also allowing him to nurse would have been ideal. But they whisked him away and left me to deliver the placentas.

At this point in time the anesthesiologist looked at me and said, "I'm hooking up the pitocin now.".  I was shocked. I just birthed 2 babies naturally without anything. I didn't need pitocin to birth the placentas or to stop any bleeding. I said "no thank you.". I don't know why I was so polite. I'll blame my southern roots. She looked shocked that I had rejected the drugs though. Dr. Cummings okayed my decision and everything was fine.

I remember feeling freezing as I was wheeled out of the OR. I was thankful for the heated blankets. Upon returning to the delivery room I asked America if I could go to the bathroom. I needed to pee so badly.But she told me no, that I didn't actually need to pee. It felt so weird to be without the babies I had just birthed. I asked to go to them but they wouldn't let me.

I was finally taken to my room in the maternity ward and finally allowed to get up to pee when the nurse there couldn't even feel my uterus because my bladder was so full. Around 5:30 I was finally allowed to go to the NICU to see my boys. I was not allowed to hold them as they didn't want to stress them. Which is the biggest bunch of bullshit ,but I digress. They were told that they needed to stay because their blood sugar was low. However they would not let them nurse as they did not know if they would be able to suck, swallow, breathe. Of course how can you know if you don't let them try? They were given a gavage tube and donor breastmilk.

I had a terrible time with the NICU.  I will write about that later because it really is it's own story.

So I fought for my boys to have a natural birth and they did. I was very disappointed by the way everyone treated us in the hospital except for the OBGYN himself. I also knew what birth could should be and I know what hospitals do wrong so that in itself has given me a different outlook on a lot of things. (If you are interested...which really you should be if you plan on birthing in the US...I recommend watching "The Business of Being Born" and reading "Pushed " by Jennifer Block )

You can watch the trailer for TBoBB here and you can watch the whole thing on Netflix Instant watch.

This week I am linking up with  For MOMs by MOMs: Pregnancy With Twins. So be sure to head over there to read more twin pregnancy and birth stories.


  1. Wow, I got so emotional with this story! I can't believe they didn't let you nurse them immediately. I get scared with hospitals and their ability to use ultimatums and insurance policies to coerce patients. We had to stay in the hospital three nights for stupid non reasons and couldn't leave if we wanted our insurance to pay for the birth. So frustrating.

  2. I am amazed every time I read a story like this, how behind the times hospitals can be. I can't believe they were so strict! My girls ended up in the NICU for the very same reasons your boys did. One had breathing issues and the other had low blood sugar. Honestly, I feel like both would have been ok without going to the NICU.
    Thanks for linking up with us!

  3. Oh wow wow wow. You are awesome!

  4. You are awesome! And everything you wrote is exactly why I would never trust a hospital or birth in one unless I HAD to.

  5. You are one of the bravest, most incredible twin moms I know! Amazing birth story. Even with all that I know you wish had happened differently. Thank you for being my friend.

  6. Love reading your story! I'm visiting from the link up. I'm Amanda one of the hostesses who blogs at Your story is awesome!

  7. I want to give you a high-five for standing up for yourself and your babies when giving birth. But I am also mad on your behalf for how they whisked them away. That OB/GYN deserves a high-five, too.

  8. I read "In this wonderful life," who linked up with "The Vanzant Family" and saw your link for a natural twin birth. Low and behold we had the same OB!! I used Dr. C for my VBAC last month!! (well I didn't end up delivering with him because he was out of town, but had a successful VBAC with Dr. Bartos)

    My VBAC story is crazy and goes to show how awesome Dr. Cummings is. I remained his patient after moving to Louisiana at 24 weeks pregnant and came back to live temporarily in DFW starting at 38 weeks until I finally went in to labor at 41+3.

    What a small world! :)

  9. Good for you, knowing what was bst, saying no to Pitocin, and having the babies vaginally and naturally! I'm "mad on your behalf," too (like Tipper said), but thank goodness you had Dr. Cummings, the midwives, you remembered what your doula had said to you, etc. :) -@littlemanda

  10. It seems us "Natural birthing twin mothers" are the minority! Unfortunately hospitals in England will ALWAYS suggest a C-section for twin mothers. Especially one like myself that was pregnant with identicals, as it is usual to have complications during birth because of them sharing 1 amniotic sac and 1 placenta. However my amazing OB and I managed to compromise and I had mine naturally ;-)If you want to read my story here are my 3 links