So Saturday morning (when I was exactly 35 weeks) my whole birth team was ready and arrived at Woodwinds. My husband, mom, Lindsay my doula and Erika my birth photographer all settled into my room. My mom was prepared to be my guard dog with any medical questions/decisions, which I think worked out fabulously because I was able to stay in my bubble and only be bothered if actually necessary.
Dr. Hartung came in and explained how we would start the pitocin, and I’d need to have a magnesium sulfate drip to prevent seizures and keep my blood pressure down during labor. Then he gave my husband and I an hour to just settle in (completely free of monitors and IVs and nurses) and everyone just left us alone. It’s amazing how that little bit of time really helped calm both of us down.
We got me all hooked up to fetal monitors, an IV (with three different drips going into it) and we were off by 11 am. My doc checked me to know my starting point and it turned out I was already 3 cm dilated and 75% effaced. My bishop score was a 9, which is great for a successful induction. Not that I was told any of this until well after the fact. He even told my doula we’d have these babies by dinner time. (She was like really? Are you sure? And doubted him. Turns out he was right!) The worst part about the interventions was the mag sulfate, because it meant I wasn’t allowed out of the bed except when I wanted to use the bathroom. (There was a real risk I would get lightheaded/dizzy and pass out. I learned they weren’t joking after my birth when I was still on the mag sulfate and tried to stand up and almost passed out.) But as long as I stayed in bed, I could move however I wanted.
During the next few hours they would slowly increase the pitocin at a manageable rate. I would turn my light switch off during a pressure wave, then come up and be totally fine. We would chat, my husband brought me a popsicle, and I’d periodically snack on some beef jerky. It wasn’t a particularly quiet room if I wasn’t off, but the mood was light and cheery. My doctor came in after we put up our door sign and spoke in a whisper (when clearly no one else was at that point) and I just had to chuckle. I told him it was okay, you don’t have to whisper right now, but thank you for being awesome enough to do so.
Once the pressure waves got slightly closer together and more intense, I started to rely on my support team more. I have vivid snapshot memories of this period of time. I remember Lindsay ad lib-ing birth prompts on one side of me with my husband periodically whispering peace or relax in my ear. I LOVED super cold washcloths because the stupid mag sulfate made me super hot. I got all annoyed that my mom’s hand was hot, but it turns out it was mine, ha.
The video below shows me using my Hypnobabies tools: Listening to a cd, with my husband and doing using the Release and Relax cues, and Lindsay doing birth prompts.
A few times my doctor would come into the room and I wouldn’t even realize he was there if I wasn’t facing the door (he even took the time to take his shoes off so they wouldn’t squeak). He’d just stand there patiently waiting if it looked like I was focusing on a pressure wave. One time I was startled by his presence and laughed at the fact that he snuck up on me.
By 5:30 or so I was checked again and I was a 9! So I’m very glad my doctor didn’t freak out that after 5 hours of pitocin I had only progressed to a 5. That whole 1 cm an hour thing is just silly.
At that point my doctor said that everyone should start getting ready to go into the OR. Because I was having twins, Woodwinds has a stupid policy of having the actual birth in the OR (super lame). After that I kept fixating on “when are we going to the OR? When? Why not now?” because I knew that once we actually went, that meant I’d get to meet my babies soon. Around then my nurse, who was okay but definitely not my favorite person, said you’ve only got one centimeter left, and for a good minute I was super angry. I was totally in my birth bubble and even then I thought “hey bitch, don’t you know the rules of my room, I said I don’t want to know.” She also kept forcing Baby A’s heart monitor to stay on and the strap was horribly uncomfortable, so I did my damnedest to keep moving it off (the pressure bothered me).
There was also big hubbub about my nurse telling us earlier that I could have three people in the OR (husband, doula, and mom), and then came back and said oh wait, sorry, only two - doctor says. (None of us believe it was actually my doctor because he couldn't care less). I got really upset having to choose between my mom and doula, but eventually picked my doula.
Around 6:15 pm I was on all fours and bearing down again, but definitely in a different way than before. My doctor came and checked me again and I was +1 and 10 cm. (He was jotting down my progress on a sheet for my doula, and for this one he actually wrote “10!!” and the double exclamation point still makes me chuckle.) As he checked me I was pushing and he was like oh! Time to go! So I have to assume I was pushing effectively.
I finally got to be wheeled into the OR. The nurse tried to tell my doctor that I needed to lie down to be moved, and he was like no. and put his foot down. (Did I mention I love him?) So off I went down the hall on all fours (I was wearing a hospital gown, but backwards so it was like a robe). As we went, my doctor crouched down by my face and rubbed my back and said “you’re going to be a mommy!” and even in all the craziness I grinned.
Once in the OR it was super bright and there were quite a few nurses (for the babies) and I think it threw me for a bit. I was in the same position, but my pushes became ineffective. My doctor even tried to talk me through how to bear down “like I’m pooing” (My husband jokes that he totally understood what my doctor was saying.) Someone suggested I try a different position so I did side lying, with my doula holding one of my legs up. That definitely worked better, and was all it took to get my pushes to be effective again. I remember trying to breathe through the pushing (aah baby out right?), and someone said “hold your breath!” so I did and bam! I could feel his head right there and knew exactly how to push. It turned out I was a momma who needed to really push. (Editor's Note: In Hypnobabies we teach mother-directed pushing. Some Moms find they need to actually "push" very little to give birth, and others push quite a bit and both ways are wonderful!)
At 6:58 pm I gave birth to my baby A, Jackson. I even felt that flutter kick reflex as I pushed his body out. He came right up onto my belly (couldn’t reach my chest because he had a short cord) and took a few seconds and then started screaming. All the special care nurses were anxious and annoyed that my doctor let his cord stop pulsing, but he knew we were all fine (apgar scores of 8/9!). Eventually he clamped the cord and let daddy cut it. He was all gooey and had lots of vernix, and I couldn’t stop talking about how much hair he had.
Once I started feeling pressure the nurses and daddy took him over to a warmer. Daddy was right there the whole time, even though I’m sure the nurses would rather he had gotten out of the way. He even took his shirt off to do more skin to skin with him. The nurses tried to tell him this is an OR, you have to wear a shirt, but he didn’t pay much attention. So they awkwardly draped some gown over his shoulders (because that made it more sterile).
At some point during this time, my doctor checked me to make sure that baby B was still head down. She was, so he broke her amniotic sac. He ended up keeping his hand up there for longer than I expected, and apparently I said “what are you doing down there?!” I’m still not sure what his answer was.
Either way, her head engaged right away and with the next pressure wave I was ready to have her out. My doula said that I said something about “oh gosh, I have to do this again!” Poor daddy was so distracted by Jackson that he had to be reminded I was ready to have his sister! He quickly came back and grabbed my hand, and with three or four pushes (just one pressure wave) I had Mackenzie at 7:09 pm, 11 minutes after her brother. She was a bit smaller, but no less feisty. And she peed on me the second she came out, ha. It took her a second to start crying, but once she did she was letting everyone know she was there. Two perfect babies.
Daddy went back to hold Jackson skin to skin, and by the time Mackenzie’s cord stopped pulsing he almost didn’t want to cut her cord (too distracted, not enough hands). Well the doctor didn’t give him much of a choice because he just put the scissors in his hands and said here you go! So he’s wearing a gown that looks like a superhero cape, holding Jackson and cutting Mackenzie’s cord. Behold – super twin daddy!
We spent about a week in the special care nursery. Thankfully, they did fantastic for 35 week babies, and just needed to gain some weight. I was so thankful to have the support system I had, and my doctor truly advocated for me to have as close to my original birth plan as medically possible. I didn’t plan on developing pre-eclampsia, but I’m very very happy with how my birth went.