It has taken me almost three years to write this post. I have had a word doc saved on my computer since E was one week old. Elijah’s birth was the event that set me on my path towards birth doula and childbirth education.
My husband and I had been married 1 year exactly and decided we were ready to start our family, it didn’t take long and we quickly found out we were expanding. At our first ultrasound we were surprised to see not one, but two babies on an ultrasound. My husband was literally jumping up and down in excitement and I was dumbfounded at the idea. I myself am a twin so the idea of having twins overwhelmed me. Throughout the next few weeks we learned that we would end up loosing one of the babies. I had a terrible experience with a very insensitive OB who told me, “well at least one of your babies is going to make it.” I didn’t feel that way and mourned the loss of that child.
Due to those circumstances my pregnancy was very up and down. I started off with a midwife, switched to an OB (because in CO you can’t have twins at home) and then back to the midwife when we knew that we were back to a singleton pregnancy. After the first trimester things seemed to calm down and we became excited to meet our little boy.
Well 40 weeks came, and went, then 41, and then I was staring 42 weeks in the face. You can’t birth at home after 41 weeks and 6 days and I was 2 days away from that date. My due date got changed a few times due to the twin pregnancy and they gave me a few more days. My midwife was very hands off and so we let well enough alone. I turned my phone off and stopped answering the non-stop question: “Have you had your baby yet?” I knew we were two days away from not being able to have our homebirth and was just hoping we would be able to still have it. At 41 weeks and 5 days my contractions started. I had contractions all day, just off and on. I ventured to the dog park, ran some last minute errands, did some cleaning and tried to just ignore it.
Around 6 pm my doula came over and took a nap on our couch in preparation for a long night. Around 10pm things really kicked in and my husband called our midwife and her assistant. From that point on I don’t remember a whole lot. I went into the labor zone and no one took me out of it. I had terrible back labor, which was helped by my doula’s TENS unit. I tried the pool a few times and hated it because my back labor was so bad I couldn’t handle it without the TENS. I spent the whole night laboring in my room and small bathroom with either my doula or husband. I never knew who was there, but knew I was never alone. The next thing I remember after 10 pm is the birds chirping outside. I couldn’t believe it had been the whole night already. Around this time is when I really began to get tired.
The back labor was SO bad. I was pretty sure he was face up because I never even felt my contractions in the front. About this time is when I told my midwife I was done. I needed to go to the hosptial and get an epidural. I was SO tired, and felt like it was never going to end. She decided to check me and I was found complete. That was all I needed to finish it out. I decided I could do it and realized I was probably just in transition. I began pushing and ended up pushing for almost 3 hours. My water finally broke during this time as well. Thankful to my doula and my husband I changed positions every 30 minutes or so. I never had the “urge” to push like some say they do and was tired it took everything in me just to get him out. He was born 833 am, with the cord wrapped around his neck 4 times and a nucal hand.
He was quite greyish blue and the midwife wanted him out as quickly as possible. He had his first meconium BM right after birth.
My husband got to catch him and we were both just so glad he was here. He pinked up really quickly and we just got to enjoy skin to skin for the next hour. Around 30 minutes the midwives started to encourage my placenta to detach. They ended up giving me some pitocin to encourage it out; however, it just wouldn’t come. After about 45 minutes they started to get concerned. We tried everything. Latching the baby, massage, pitocin, different herbs and I just kept bleeding. They decided we would be transferring to the hospital. When I tried to stand up I thought I was going to pass out. I told them that and they decided to call the ambulance. Within 5 minutes they were there and loading me up. It was a whirlwind. David quickly cut the cord, and I got to ride on an ambulance to the hospital, only 3 miles away while he took our brand new baby in the car behind me. While on the ambulance I was very calm, and remember chatting with the EMTs, they continued to give me pitocin and my body just kept having surges of blood. Once we arrived at the ER I told them I was going to pass out, and I did. I remember hearing them say, “she lost her radial pulse” and that’s when I knew things were getting very scary. Once in the ER bed I told them I needed blood, the doctor looked at me and said, “are you a nurse?” I said yes and I need blood now. My heart was in SVT and I had lost so much blood.
Almost three years later this is still hard to write. I somehow knew my baby was ok, he was being loved on by my sweet doula; and I requested that they take out the placenta right there with fentayl and versed. Thankfully there was some on call who had done that before and before I knew it I had had two transfusions and they had finally gotten the placenta out. My husband was so strong, but at this point he totally lost it. We both knew I had almost died; I immediately asked to have my baby back, to which they replied, we don’t normally allow that- and I said I don’t care. The nice thing about being a nurse is that you know you can get what you ask for. Once settled we were placed in a room for 24 hours for observation, while Elijah was never admitted and just joined me as a guest in the hospital that night.
This is where my love of birth and the whole process began. Being an RN I know how to navigate hospitals, but I believe so much in the power of the body to birth babies. I knew I was capable and I did it. I also know things happen, and birth trauma is real. While I never want my story to influence what others want in their birth- there is power in my story because it launched me on my journey towards being a doula and a childbirth educator. I am pleased to say that my second was a piece of cake and nothing even remotely the same happened. The theory is that due to the twin pregnancy, the second placenta didn’t attach which is why it ended the way it did. In the end we were so pleased to have our sweet, 8 lb. 3 oz baby boy healthy and happy.