This is the story of how my twins made their way earthside at exactly 37 weeks gestation. I desperately wanted to go into labor naturally but for medical reasons I will describe later, it was the safest option to induce and get them out. I was scheduled at 7:00 am on a Thursday morning, December 7th 2017.
When I showed up in Triage at 7:00 am to check in, I was surprised to have to wait in the waiting room for about a half hour. It wasn't really a big deal, I guess the nurses were prepping my room, but it was just something I hadn't expected. I also wasn't expecting to go straight to a Labor and Delivery room. When you go into labor naturally and show up in Triage with contractions, they keep you there in a room for a bit and monitor you for 20 minutes, take a urine sample and if you're far enough along, they take you to a L&D suite.
I asked Matt to take one last bump photo once we got to the room. It's still hard to believe that there were two babies in my belly in those photos!
I was started on 2 milliunites/minute of Pitocin around 8 am. The plan was to bump it up by 2 every half hour until I had consistent contractions and then I was hoping to be able to come off the pitocin and continue progressing on my own. Luckily, I was 4-5 cm dilated when I came in which was a great start. If I had not been dilated at all, the plan had been to start with a prostoglandin gel to help soften my cervix first with the hope that it would also set me into labor. If no contractions started with just the gel then I would start on pitocin 4 hours after it was was applied.
I expected to start having some contractions almost immediatly after the pitocin drip was started since I was already so dilated and my body is generally pretty sensitive to medications. I had also been fighting preterm labor since 24 weeks pregnant all the way through 35 weeks, so if I was having contractions then, shouldn't my body be easily encouraged to start having them again now that it was time?
My first labor went so quick and naturally, I did all my early labor standing and walking around which helps to speed things along by applying pressure to the cervix via gravity and movement. I knew that even with this induced labor, I wanted to be up and active as much as possible because I did not want to be there though the wee hours of the next morning trying to get these babies out. I wasn't messing around, I was here to have them so I was serious about getting this show on the road!
My doula and the L&D nurse assured me it is totally normal not to start having contractions right away; that it's all about finding that perfect dose for the mom that sets her into steady contractions. Each time we increased the dose, I thought hopefully, is this going to be my dose?
Around 10 am, my OB came in to visit me and see how things were going. He offered to break my water to help get things going but I declined. I wasn't ready for that just yet, I was still holding out that things would pick up soon with just the pitocin. I was also hoping that my water would break naturally when it was time because I know that often times after the water breaks, contractions are insanely intense. I needed time to wrap my head around getting my water artificially broken and to prepare for the intensity of labor that quite possibly would ensue. He said that he would come back on his lunch to check on me and see if I was ready to have it broken then.
In the mean time, I was going to do some yoga and try to bounce these babies out on the exercise ball. I set up my yoga mat right next to my bed since standing on the hard floor hurt my feet and I was required to be hooked up to monitors to keep an eye on the babies. I asked for a portable monitor but they said they could not monitor twins with the portable ones so I had to stay hooked up. I had four lines going; the pitocin drip, a cord for each baby and one to measure my (nonexistent) contractions. We kept loosing the baby's heart rates on monitors because they were moving around so the nurse had to basically hold them on my belly the whole time.
I was pretty bored and discouraged that noting was happening. Each time the pitocin dose was increased, I was so hopeful and then discouraged when nothing happened. My husband ran to the Coop which is just down the street from the hospital, to get us all some food. I ordered a fresh juice that was mostly kale and beets with some apple. It was something light that would give me good nutrients and blood sugar but nothing solid that I might *ahhem*......poop out later.
My doula, the nurse and I chatted to try to pass the time. I lucked out with the nurse I got; she was super pro natural births and had her doula training and happened to know a lot of the same holistic practitioners that my doula and I know. It made for a really supportive environment for me and interesting conversation since there was not other action to keep us occupied.
My doula rubbed some clarry sage on my belly to try and further stimulate my uterus to perk up and start contracting. By now I was getting a little tired of just standing, squatting, rocking and bouncing to try and get things going so as we crept into the afternoon hours, I decided to take a little break and rest up a bit since it was looking like it might end up being a long night.
I sat on the bed and my doula gave me a divine hand massage which was so relaxing and amazing. I felt a little sleepy so I decided to lay back and get some rest while things were still slow. I was wondering if my OB was coming back since it was getting a bit late for lunch but I also knew that his office often runs behind because he really takes his time with each patient and makes sure all their needs are met. I was able to doze off for an hour or so.
My OB finally came back around 2:30 pm and I told him I was ready to have my water broken. He checked my cervix and said that I was a 5 but easily stretched to a 6 and he broke baby A's sac of water. For some reason I thought it would hurt a little but it didn't. They put a bunch of towels under me and the only way I knew it had been broken was that that there was a small warm gush of fluid and then it just kept trickling. The nurses told me to hang out on the bed for a while and let it mostly empty.
Matt left to grab some coffee and about a half hour later, I had to pee so I asked to get up. I was defiantly a little scared that once I stood up and the baby's head was pressing directly against my cervix that the contractions would kick in full blast. I got up, went to the bathroom in my suite and came back out. I decided to stay standing for a bit and try to get things going once again.
I told the nurse and my doula that I thought maybe I had to poo but I wasn't sure. They both studied me suspiciously and asked questions like, "Are you having contractions?" "Is it like you have to push?" "Is it pressure thats constant or does it come and go?" They were so worried. I just kept telling them, "I don't know. I mean I feel fine. Not having any contractions. I think its constant pressure but its really subtle. I just think I might just have to go to the bathroom.... I mean I hope that I do because I'd rather go now than later when I'm pushing..."
I decided to go back into the bathroom and try to go. I could tell that they both wanted to come in with me but I wanted some privacy so I promised I'd call if I needed anything. I sat there on the toilet praying, please let me poop now, please I just want to go so I'll feel more confident moving forward with this labor.... it's super common and totally normal to poop during labor, especially when pushing, but I really didn't want to if I could avoid it. I wanted to keep some sliver of privacy and dignity though pretty much all modestly goes out the window during childbirth.
I felt a familiar uncomfortable sensation that I remembered from my first labor as I sat there on the toilet. It wasn't as intense as I remembered it, but I also started to feel pretty emotional. I thought I was just feeling uncomfortable and frustrated because I really wanted to poop and get it over with but I wasn't even sure if I actually had to go. I was feeling nervous about the impending labor and the lack of progress so far. I was just flooded with emotions as I sat in the bathroom alone.
I spent about 5-10 minutes in there and I did finally poop a little which made me feel a little more confident so I decided to head back out into the room. I was met with two faces full of anticipation, I laughed and said "I'm fine guys. But I do think I might be getting close to transition because I'm feeling a little emotional." My doula looked at the nurse and warned her again that I don't show pain or my labor progress. She told her I'm a tough read based on my first labor (she is my good friend and the same doula that we hired for Sterling's birth). At this point, Matt came back into the room from his coffee run and he headed into the bathroom.
Out of no where, I suddenly had a massive, painful contraction. It came on so fast and so hard I cried out and almost crumbled to the ground. My doula rushed to me and placed a gentle hand on me until it passed. I whined in a scared voice just because labor had escalated so quickly without warning, "I'm pushing..." There was almost no rest time before I had another big contraction. This time I grabbed ahold of my poor doula (who is almost half my size) by the shoulders and almost tackled her to the floor.... Matt came busting out of the bathroom and in a booming, concerned voice, "Whats going on?"
I remember a sudden flurry of activity in the room. The nurse was on her phone franticly calling my doctor and the other nurse assigned to my delivery who hadn't been in the room much (which was fine by me because I didn't like her energy). They wheeled the bed over to me and had me get in. I took off the hospital gown I had been wearing and they placed a sheet over my lap so I just sat there in my sports bra and the sheet. Matt was handed a pair of scrubs to change into and I was whisked away to the Operating Room. All twin deliveries in Idaho are required to happen in the OR even if they are vaginal so women get transferred right before the pushing starts.
To be continued....