Encouraged that both babies were still in head-down position, I was still trembling because I did not feel emotionally ready. I braced myself as the contractions began hard and fast. It was so odd to be so quickly in the heat of hard labor without the gradual build-up, that I was a little out-of-sorts. I was not convinced that my endorphin level was up to the same level as the contractions, because the labor was agonizing. In my mind I was still expecting the same type labor to which I was accustomed. I was not factoring in starting labor at 5 cm. dilation.
The room was filling rapidly. Sitting upright at the very end of the bed, I leaned back against Phil's chest, holding onto his legs for support. Sitting on mot much more than my tailbone, I felt that I was falling during the whole labor. Surrounding us were my two midwives, a nurse and a sweet lady OB who just stood there as backup, smiling and nodding approvingly. I wondered how she could smile at a time like this. The perimeter of the room was a stadium. There were nurses for each baby, an anesthesiologist-all there 'just in case'- and other nurses who had heard what was happening and just wanted to watch. Normally a prude, I did not care that they were spectating.
I prayed with every breath. I was in my own world of pain and toil - no one else seemed to notice. The eyes around me were not reading the physical suffering inside. I wanted...needed...someone to do something. Couldn't anyone do anything to make this easier? Can't they see what's happening? An earthquake is happening inside me and no one is panicking. I was too deep into my labor to be able to communicate how much I needed help. In the midst of all these people, I was alone with my God. Every drop of air inhaled, every draft breathed out was a crying out to my Father. I lost track of whether I prayed aloud or silently, but I could hear Phil whispering prayer in my ear, in Hebrew, in English, in Hebrew, in English. The midwives kept speaking to me, but I no longer heard anything but Phil's voice. I must not have been completely silent, because I could see tears in the eyes of some of the spectators. Natural childbirth is unusual at this hospital, so they aren't used to seeing the pain of childbirth so raw.
"All-Compassionate One, shorten my suffering..."
Almost instantly I was in transition. No one checked, I just knew. My faith in myself was failing. I could not do this...what had I gotten myself into? Suffering had taken me to that beautiful place of surrender where I knew the only way I would survive was if my Father carried me through. Transition indeed.
I began pushing out the first baby. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. Normally encouraged and strengthened by the thought that, "This is almost over", I had to force myself not to think about having to do this again momentarily. Blessedly, the pushing was uneventful. Digging deep to pull up strength greater than what you have...the ring of fire...the relief! Baby A was a girl!
The contractions stopped cold immediately. Baby A was whisked off to the other side of the room. She was beautiful and fat from afar. Six pounds, 12 ounces was incredible for a twin. I was relieved. The room was eerily still as we waited to see what would happen with Baby B. Second twins are famous for flipping freely once they have so much room in the womb, and becoming breech. Not a flicker of a contraction...not a word. After catching my breath from pushing, I looked around at the eyes. Meeting my midwife's eyes, she whispered, "Just rest", and smiled at me. After seven or eight minutes went by, the contractions began anew.
These contractions were harder. Baby B was not low in the womb like Baby A was. I had to work to get her into position, then to push her out. The pushing was easier...another girl! Seven pounds, six ounces...even better weight, and just as beautiful.
Twenty-three minutes had elapsed between Baby A and Baby B being born.
In the pause waiting for the contractions for the placentas to begin, we were all overwhelmed by the perfect, textbook twin birth. Relaxing some, I turned to the wall-sized window and noticed that it was darker. Well before sundown, I strained to see without my glasses that it was raining. Placid, rhythmic rain was the ending blessing on a beautiful birth. My midwife and I both produced a few tears. Even in the hospital, even in the crowd, peace was there because YHWH's spirit was there.
I sighed and muttered praise to my Father. It had been intense, but it was over. Really over. I had done it. Both babies were head down, both babies were fat. I carried twins to full term and delivered them naturally. YHWH had been faithful to me.
I looked at the clock. It read 6:20 p.m. Seventy minutes ago I was convinced I was not in labor.
"All-Compassionate One, shorten my suffering..."
This is Part 3 of a 3-part series.
You may read Part 2 here.
Part 1 is here.
I will be posting one more installment in this story to help other twin Mommas find information and to give the advice I wish I had been given - a sort of 'moral to the story' post.