Sasha & Willow’s Birth Story

The twins are just over three weeks old – high time for this tired mama to finally write down some memories of their birth before amnesia by sleep-deprivation  sets in – if it hasn’t already!

If you had been following along with my pregnancy updates, you will remember that at my final OB appointment at just under 38 weeks my cervix was as closed as fort knox and ruled “unfavorable for induction.”  This seemed to surprise everyone but me – one of the OBs had already told me I’d NEVER make it to 38 weeks, but I knew better.. after having carried Jasper to 41+ weeks and then laboring for about 12 hours to get to about 2cm I had more than just a suspicion that I would be able to carry my girls all the way to 40 weeks or even beyond if allowed.

But for some reason the medical community has this idea that 38 weeks is as far as a twin pregnancy should go – which I’m not entirely sure I believe, but what I DID believe is that I don’t think I could have survived a day over 38 weeks in the condition that I was in. Because the weeks proceeding the the twiglets birth were so crazy for me with releasing my app etc, I didn’t blog much about what it was like those last few months being pregnant with twins.. so let me fill you in just a tiny bit.

I was in pain – a lot of pain – as a result of Pubic Symphasis disorder (pelvic instability which cause a ton of sharp pain doing even the most simple of activities like walking!) and could barely breathe. Lying down was uncomfortable, sitting up was uncomfortable – lying on my back was perhaps the most uncomfortable of all!  A fact that I was reminded of all to frequently at my weekly NSTs (non stress tests) at the MFM where they would attempt to monitor both girls’ heartbeats while I lay on my back for 20+ minutes – tears rolling down my face from the amount of pressure on my lower back AND the feeling of not being able to breathe – like an elephant was sitting on my chest.

How could I endure hours of labor in that position?I honestly couldn’t imagine it.

I was essentially an invalid – in the end I stopped driving, would only go to stores if they had an electric cart or wheel chair and even went on our hospital tour in a wheel-chair. If I was on my feet walking for more than 2 minutes I’d have contractions and between that and the pelvic pain it was unbearable.

Going in for the pre-op testing 48 hours before my scheduled c-section was no exception, I got around the large hospital in a wheel-chair – that JASPER insisted on pushing! Yes, we did hit a few walls:

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OK, so enough of the preamble… the decision was made, right or wrong and the C-section was set for 7:15 am October 1st, which entailed us getting up at 4:45am in order to be at the hospital by 5:15am.

Before I go any further, here is a shot of me that I made Jeff take just so we could remember how HUGE I was!

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OK, so we arrived and I went up to Labor & Delivery while Jeff parked the car and there were two staff members (nurses?? I still don’t know what they were) there to “prep” me for surgery.   Things got off to a bad start when they told me they needed to do a NST. I mentioned before that the NST is SUPER uncomfortable for me, AND very difficult to actually get both heartbeats on the monitor. At my MFM we sometimes had to use the ultrasound just to figure out their positioning in order to find the heartbeats, particularly Willow’s as she was anterior and really far down and to the right.

Predictably, these two women could NOT find the heartbeats and gave up after a few minutes, but left me in a very uncomfortable position in the bed with the ultrasound goo on my belly which made my severely overstretched and highly sensitive skin INCREDIBLY itchy and basically chatted to each other the entire time. Neither of them filled us in on what was about to happen or saw to it that I was at least comfortable, so I had Jeff adjust the bed into a position I could tolerate and we wiped of the ultrasound goo.

Unfortunately this is when I also found out that they would NOT allow my friend Heather in to take photographs of the actual birth – it’s not mentioned in the hospital literature which only says that 1 partner and 1 “support person” can be present at the delivery (it doesn’t exclude c-sections from this statement which is odd given that the c-section rate at Englewood hosptial is around 30%!).

That was disappointing, but they explained that particularly with twins there is very little room due to the extra staff members to take care of two babies post-delivery etc etc.

At any rate, after I’m in my gown and Jeff has gotten dressed in scrubs, they wheel me in to the OR by myself to start the spinal.

OUCH!  I don’t know if it’s because I had the epidural during my labor with Jasper and so in comparison to the contractions it seemed painless, but I don’t remember it hurting nearly as much as the spinal which seemed to have a lot more pricks/pinches because the local is injected and THEN the spinal.

It took effect immediately and they brought Jeff in and began.

I have to say the whole experience was completely surreal. In comparison to Jasper’s birth, it didn’t really seem as much like a birth to me so much as an operation and “oh, here are your babies!” I can’t describe it, it’s just such a PASSIVE experience compared to laboring and pushing out a baby. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone who has birthed by c-section only, I don’t mean to imply that your children didn’t have proper births at all, that’s just how the difference in experience felt to me at the time.

The one true magical moment to me was peeking through to the right of the curtain when they brought baby A (Willow) over to the warmer – seeing her for the first time the overwhelming reality set in that “OMG we are having babies here!” set in and I just couldn’t believe how beautiful she was with her full head of black hair – my DAUGHTER!!! Tears started sliding down my checks at that point and somewhere amidst all that emotion Sasha was born just a minute later. My girls were here!

(Photos by Jeff – he did a pretty good job don’t you think?)

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I don’t remember too much except asking my OB (only half joking) when I could get a tummy tuck! She must have taken pity on my because she said something very kind about how thin I was that she barely was able to find enough fat under the skin to stitch the incision or something like that..

The next thing I remember we were wheeled into a nice large recovery room where I was told that we had to wait until I could move my legs before they brought me the girls. So I tried REALLY hard to will my legs to move which they did after 30 minutes or so and then Heather was allowed to come in and the girls too, so she was able to capture our first few hours as a family!

I will always be grateful to her for the beautiful images she took: http://www.heather-photography.com/2012/10/ariana/

Later that night, my parents came by with proud big brother Jasper.. and I will never ever forget the LOVE he had in his heart for his baby sisters from the first second that he saw them:

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The rest of our stay at the hospital was, well.. interesting. Suffice it to say the hospital was NOT up to it’s supposed “award winning mother baby unit” reputation, culminating in the ridiculous episode where they actually got our twins mixed up and freaked out because they thought Sasha had lost 6 oz in one day! Um no, you just got them confused. Because they look so alike (being sarcastic here!)

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More on that in the next post!

PS: All the blog board templates in this post were made without leaving Lightroom using the new print module Present it and Display it sets from MCP Actions.  Huge time savers!

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Steph says:

I am wondering how your platelet situation turned out. I am at 115 at 38 weeks and I don’t want to have to go under general anesthesia in the event of the c-section. Did you end up trying the steroids? Did they work? What was your platelet number at scheduled section? Thanks!

Stephanie

Kate says:

Two little cherubs!! Both of them have the sweetest little mouths, I can’t stand it!! I love that you can see the little nursing blister on Sasha’s top lip.
I too love birth stories. You looked so slender this time- did you gain much weight? The stomach was out there but the ass was tiny! I’m envious as I was so “large and in charge” with my son, gaining 70 lbs. Hoping it goes a little better this time around. The hunger is becoming a problem again.

jbhat says:

Oh this was wonderful to read!! I love reading birth stories–and believe me, you gave birth– there is always so much joy and wonder in them. I too love the photos of Jasper with Jeff and the babes–and BEAR! He’s going to be a very good big brother. And those pics of the girls crying and crying and then spotting each other and gazing into each others’ eyes and not crying anymore? Amazing.

I hope all is going well as you re-adjust to new motherhood times 2.

love,
jbhat

Sarah says:

Congratulations! I also had my twins by c-section at about 38 weeks, you described it really well. It really was so very surreal! I remember hearing my baby A yelling, but he sounded very far away, and when I commented on that, the OB said, well, I haven’t pulled him out yet, he’s still inside you. WHOA.

Sorry about the mixup nightmare, wow that’s really disappointing. I was so worried about not being able to tell my twin boys apart without the hospital ID bands, but it turned out we almost immediately could tell them apart by their voices.

Enjoy! The twin bond is absolutely beautiful to watch. For the past 8 years, my husband and I say to eachother how envious we are of our boys’ relationship. It must be wonderful to have your best friend right there with you. :)

CJ says:

Ariana – Your girls are beautiful! I want to try to get pregnant next year via my frozen embryos and if I had twin girls after having twin boys, I would totally be okay and IN LOVE with that idea…..

Congrats and good luck your ipad app and raising those beautiful girls. Get a night NURSE!! :) I can’t believe I’ve been reading your blog since before Jasper was born! Time flies!!

Tamara says:

Beautiful girls, and your birth story brought back some memories. I remember I had to have the epidural before I was even in labor because laying on my back for the dual fetal heartbeat monitoring was so painful!

We can’t wait to meet the girls. Call or email if you need any twin momma support!!!

Amy W says:

Congratulations! I’ve been following you for a while and also went through IVF and a csection to be a mom. So happy for you and your family to have 2 healthy little girls!

pam says:

congrats!

i’ve only ever had a scheduled c/s, but i feel weird ever saying thing like “when I delivered the boys” or whatever. i just say, “when they were born” or if i’m being silly, “extracted”. :P

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