Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Twins Birth Story, Part 2

The miracle was that I made it through the week. It was a blur of resting and counting contractions, fighting for any minutes of sleep around the clock. The dress washing-cycle also continued. For months I was down to two outfits that fit, one to wash and one to wear, over and over. Friday arrived again, with Phil home and another midwife appointment looming.

Unsure of whether I was more frightened at the prospect of beginning labor so fatigued or having to continue carrying these babes another day, we headed to town. Again I planned to not return home until I had my babes in arms. I just hoped my midwife would be in agreement.

At the 11:00 a.m. appointment I was found to be 5 cm. dilated, reconfirming my assessment that some of those contractions with which I had been dealing all month were not-your-average-false-labor-contractions. Deep relief filled me as my midwife assured me that I could not go "all the way home" in this condition, and that my babies would be born today. She stripped my membranes, gave me specific instructions for black cohosh dosage over the next few hours, then sent Phil and I out shopping to keep me walking while waiting for labor to begin. In what I discovered later to be foreshadowing, we were strictly instructed not to go more than 10 minutes from the hospital. If nothing was happening, we were to report back to her at 4:00 p.m.

It was mid-August, the temperature was in the upper 90's, and the humidity was 85% even though it had not rained in weeks. We dropped by my favorite thrift store, ran a few errands, then went to lunch at one of those fancy grocery store cafes. Far too many choices at the grocery store left me walking lumbering around in circles. I kept stopping because the contractions were too difficult to walk through. This was the same type contraction I had been having for a month; they felt the same, acted the same, lasted as long. Even though I was used to folks looking at me too much  (because I had been e-nor-mous for months), as discreet as I was trying to be, it was still drawing too much attention in the form of weird looks from other shoppers. I was convinced by the contractions that I was not yet in labor, but the emotional signposts were concerning me. (My midwives had taught me during other births to read those as much as the physical symptoms.) I was at that point where I did not want anyone looking at me anymore. I wanted to be alone.

After taking our sweet time sitting to eat - I was stalling because I did not want to have to walk anymore - we opted to go back to see the midwife again, an hour earlier than she had instructed. Still at 5 cm., she stripped my membranes one more time, then left me with instructions to take a nap while she went to a phone conference. I 'rested' as best a whale could atop a doctor's exam table with slippery paper with nary a contraction for an hour. I prayed as much as I could remember of The Childbirth Prayer, reciting especially the line, "All-Compassionate One, shorten my suffering."

After the meeting, both midwives were able to give me their full attention, and not wanting to miss a chance at adding another twin birth to their experience, stayed with me. I continued to argue that I was not in labor because I only had contractions if I was sitting in a certain upright position. I could get them to stop by lying down, which had always been a test of true labor in all my experience before. They all, both midwives and Phil, encouraged me to go to Labor & Delivery and allow them to break my water so we could meet these babies. My fear was beginning a long labor as drained as I was.  Exhausted, I gave in.

In the delivery room, I asked for a few minutes of privacy so Phil and I could pray alone together. Phil prayed over me, I took a deep breath, and the midwives came in. I glanced at the wall clock which would dishearten and encourage me in turns. It read 5:10 p.m.

You may read Part 1 here.

Part 3 is here.


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