Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Birth Story

I thought it would be good to record how Micah and Caleb came into this world. Thanks to what I think was going off work early, eating lots and resting even more, I made it to the 38 week mark... the furthest point my doctor was willing to let me go for reasons I can’t remember (something related to twins). Hoping I’d go into labour on my own, but knowing it was unlikely, I was scheduled for an induction the morning of June 8th. I was told there was a very high chance they would just insert something and send me home to get the process started, so Joel went to work. We wanted as many of his precious vacation days being spent post-babies, not in waiting mode. So my mom drove me to the hospital, I checked in and settled into a bed where my babies’ heart rates were monitored. I was an old pro at that part having done weekly non-stress tests for several weeks prior. Eventually the doctor on duty saw me just before lunch and determined I was 2 centimetres along. The conclusion: time to break my water. “So I’m not going home?” I asked in shock. Nope. Time to call Joel and tell him to get his butt over here. My mom grabbed me some lunch and I was transferred to my labour and delivery room where I waited and waited some more. (Side note: During our many previous visits to the hospital I was careful to point out to Joel what exit to take on the highway and we practiced the route several times. Of course in his frazzled state he missed the exit, sure he would miss the birth of his babies. Thankfully we were nowhere near that point, but I found it amusing).

Several hours later the doctor came in to break my water. Seeing the long metal hook that was used to do this, it was a surprisingly pleasant experience. Then I was hooked up to a Pitosin drip to start labour. My contractions were mild and by the next check I was at 5 cm. I was thinking this whole labour thing wasn’t really as hard as they said it would be. I was quite proud of myself. Then all of the sudden in one contraction... boom! Ah yes, that is what they were talking about. Intense. Painful. Not so fun. Joel was an all-star coaching me through each contraction. Another check and I was still at 5 cm. The Pitosin was increased and so did the pain. All the while, they were closely monitoring each baby’s heart rate. At one point Baby A’s (ie. Micah) heart rate got a little higher than the doctor was comfortable with so they dropped the Pitosin back down. The downside was, I didn’t progress any further in labour. I was stuck at 5 cm. For whatever reason, I went into labour feeling like I might get stuck so I wasn’t that surprised. Unfortunately Micah’s heart rate wouldn’t go back down so eventually the doctor told me the safest thing was to get him out as soon as possible and since I wasn’t progressing, that meant a c-section. The entire time I was pregnant I didn’t want a c-section. I knew I had a much higher chance of it because of the twin- factor, but all along they were head down so things were looking good. But I also knew that giving birth often doesn’t go as planned and not to have expectations. There wasn’t much for Joel and I to talk about. If the babies came out now, she was pretty sure they would be fine. If we waited and tried to keep labouring Micah could be at risk. It was an easy decision. After a few tears and deep breaths, I was ready to go.

I didn’t feel nervous going into surgery. As they were prepping me we chatted and I told them I hadn’t found out the sexes. I basically didn’t feel a thing. Knowing it was a high possibility, I had read about c-sections to prepare. I had read about a ton of pressure and feeling like you were having a heart attack, but I didn’t feel anything besides a bit of tugging. I didn’t even realize that my babies had been born until I heard crying on the other side of the room. I found it very strange that the doctor didn’t really announce the arrival of the babies, and even stranger that she didn’t tell me what they were. I waited the entire pregnancy to find out if we were having boys, girls or both because I wanted to have that moment at birth. It was going to be even more special because I’d have that moment twice, but that part didn’t quite turned out as planned. I overhead one of the nurses say something about a brother, so I assumed that there was at least one boy but knew there were two. I remember asking, “Can someone please tell me what I had?” It wasn’t until then that they I was finally told I had two boys. Because of something to do with their sugar levels they had to be taken to the nursery right away. I gave them each a quick kiss and they were gone. I was told it would probably only be a few hours.

After getting stitched up I was wheeled back to the room where I went through some shaking spells... apparently pretty normal but not fun. Then we called some family (yes, it was about 2 am by then!) to share the news. At some point we were transferred to a semi-private room for the rest of the night. It was a rough night... trying to sleep post-surgery with another mother and baby a few feet away, Joel uncomfortable in an upright chair and just wanting to see my babies. I didn’t get a wink of sleep. At some point in the morning I started to ask when I would get my babies. I wanted to breastfeed and those early hours are important, not to mention the fact that I had virtually no bonding time with them. After a lot of inquiry, around 11am and still no babies, I got myself into a wheelchair and Joel took me to the nursery. It was a weird moment entering seeing all the tiny incubators and cribs and not being able to identify which ones were mine. When I finally got to hold them for the first time, I lost it. After all this time, I got to hold my precious baby boys.

Eventually they were both released from the nursery and we crammed their two bassinettes into our already crowded room. I attempted breast feeding which went okay and not long after Micah had to go back... something about one of his blood tests not coming back right. Thankfully it wasn’t long before they we got a private room and that made all the difference. Caleb, Joel and I spent the first night together while Micah stayed in the nursery. We finally got him back in the morning and our family felt complete. We stayed several days, thankful for the support of the nurses as I recovered and we got used to life with two little ones. I was particularly grateful for the lactation consultants that came to see us every day and helped us get started on the wonderful road of breast feeding. Overall, my birth experience was nothing like I pictured with several ups and downs but it was the end result that mattered; two beautiful, healthy little boys who were ours. There’s nothing quite like that feeling!


Not Hip Enough To Blog said...

Love hearing birth stories! Thanks for sharing yours Julianne :) A good reminder to not have any expectations going into things....I think all of us plan it out perfectly in our minds when really we have no control over how it will all pan out. Thanks for posting! :)

cheryl said...

love you huls and your boys! good for you writing out your story.

the smiths said...

Thanks for sharing. :) God was definitely preparing you by keeping you open-minded. It's way less stressful that way. Congrats on your boys (again).