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Birth Story (sort of)

This isn't going to be much of a birth story, since I had a c-section.  Let's face it, even when it's completely necessary (which I've no doubt mine was), most things about a surgical birth just kinda... suck, and I'm not interested in writing all the details.  So...

I started having contractions Friday evening.  They weren't terribly strong or even all that regular, but they were definitely different.  We decided to go ahead and take the kids over to Mom and Dad's, just in case.  Around 10pm or so, I was sure that I was in labor, so I called Abby (one of my midwives).  I could tell from poking around my abdomen that Pixie was still breech.  After some discussion, we decided it would probably be best to just head on to the hospital, and she and Kelly (the other midwife) would meet us there.

A little backstory on how we decided the hospital would be best... the day before, at my 39w appointment, I was 4cm dilated, and Pixie was still breech.  After a lot of thought and discussion with Abby, we decided that with me being as far along as I was, attempting a breech birth at home was probably just too risky.  We had no idea how big the babies were, and although it was still possible that Pixie could turn once I went into labor, we all felt that the best place for me to be was in the hospital.  If I got there and the ultrasound showed that she had turned, great... off to a birthing room we go.  If she hadn't, than surgery it would be.

Sidenote: Yes, I know that breech birth in the hospital can be a safe option.  However, the safety hinges on having an attendant who is a) willing and b) experienced and skilled with breech births.  I had neither.

We got to the hospital around 11:30pm.  Checked in, went back to triage, and the OB on duty came to do an ultrasound.  Sure enough - Pixie had her butt right above my pelvis, and didn't show any signs of budging.  A cervical check showed me to be about 6cm dilated.  It was time to get moving.

-Insert lots of icky stuff in preparation for surgery here-

We got into the OR at 1:40am, Reagan (Pixie) and Sera (Dixie) were born at 1:59am and 2:00am respectively, and I was headed back to recovery at 2:30am.  Thanks to a digital camera, Lee was able to film the birth while pretending he was just taking pictures.  If you're interested, you can see the video here:  Reagan & Sera's Birth.  It's surgery, so yes... it's bloody.  Don't watch while eating lunch, or if you have a weak stomach.

There are three things that helped me be ok with having a c/s:

1) I went into labor.  I can't begin to describe the difference that made to me.  If anyone faces a necessary surgical birth, I highly recommend waiting until you go into labor, if at all possible, rather than scheduling it.

2) Abby and Kelly were at the hospital with me.  Their calm reassurance that I was doing the right thing was wonderful.

3) I basically demanded that the babies come to the recovery room with me, assuming they had no immediate medical issues.  Of all the things I pushed back on that night, I pushed the hardest on this one, and won ("hospital policy" is that all c/s babies go immediately to the nursery for observation for at least an hour).  Being able to bond with them and nurse them immediately was HUGE.  I will never forget Reagan latching on for the first time... I don't think I've ever seen a brand new baby latch so enthusiastically!

The one thing I wish I had pushed harder on was having Lee with me during the prep for the surgery.  They wouldn't let him come in until the surgery started, and I think having him there for all the icky stuff prior to the surgery would have helped a lot.

Overall, I'd say my hospital stay was a good one.  The nurses were all very nice, and most of them were genuinely impressed with how quickly I was recovering and adapting to nursing two babies.  One of the night nurses told me, "Most of my moms with ONE baby are freaking out about nursing - I just can't believe how great you're doing and how calm you are with two of them!"

A few things I'm glad I either learned from friends who've been there, or figured out on my own:

- DEMAND that healthy babies come to recovery with you.  This is so incredibly important for bonding and the start of breastfeeding.  I can not imagine how miserable I would have been, sitting in recovery for two hours without my babies. 

- The nurses are not trying to torture you when the come to get you up and moving.  It's essential for a quick recovery.  Don't overdo it, but definitely get up as soon as possible, and continue to get out of bed frequently.

- Bring your own comfy pajamas, and shower and change as soon as possible.  You will feel worlds better once you're clean and in your own clothes.

- Bring (or ask for) several extra pillows for nursing.  The most comfortable position in which to nurse is the football hold, and it's hard to do without supportive pillows.  A Boppy is out of the question for the first few weeks - you won't want anything across your belly.

- Anyone who's given birth in a hospital has laughed at the disposable net underwear they give you.  TAKE HOME AS MANY PAIRS AS POSSIBLE!  Unless you normally wear gigantic, stretchy underwear, most of your usual underwear will continue to be uncomfortable for awhile (truth be told, mine still is!)

- Take your pain meds on schedule.  If you wait until you're in full-blown pain to take them, you'll be behind the curve, and wind up taking more meds in the long run.  I talked to my nurses, and they helped me find a schedule that kept me as comfortable as possible while still being alert enough to care for and interact with my babies.

So... that's my birth story, of sorts.  Although I am sad that I didn't get to have the birth I wanted, I have no doubts that this is what was best for me and the babies.  I know there are many women who are bitter and angry about their surgical births, and I'm incredibly thankful that I don't feel that way.  I do think that waiting until I went into labor made all the difference for me, along with standing up for myself, having a doctor I trust, and having all the right support people with me.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)
Once again, so glad everyone is doing so well. I love the names you and Lee chose as well.
Jul. 30th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
Jul. 28th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're satisfied with your birth, that's the most important part (aside from healthy babies/mom of course). I'm glad that Lee took my idea of taping the birth with the digital camera and that they were none the wiser. :-)
Jul. 28th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
We actually ended up showing the video to one of my nurses the next day. She thought it was awesome that we were able to record it. Her response to the hospital's "no video" policy was, "That's bunk!" LOL
Jul. 28th, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC)
I'm so very happy for you! What a journey you've been through, and it's clear you handled it with grace and dignity (and obstinance when needed!) I saw Kelly at the CHOICE potluck Saturday and she seemed quite proud of you. Blessings! -Karen
Jul. 28th, 2008 03:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)

Abby and Kelly were so wonderful... I can't imagine doing it without them.
Jul. 29th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC)
Congrats! A birth is a birth and a good birth if you're satisfied - and it sounds like you are. The babes sound healthy and a great size as well. Go breastfeeding in tandem and heck yes, the french loaf hold is the one to go for!
Jul. 30th, 2008 09:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I really thought that nursing two newborns would have me completely overwhelmed, but it really hasn't been a big deal at all. Of course, it helps that these two really seem to know what they're doing!
Jul. 29th, 2008 12:16 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! Do you need any help- food, baby supplies?

Jessica Lietz
Jul. 30th, 2008 09:25 pm (UTC)
Re: congrats!
Thank you! :)

I think we're pretty good on supplies and such for now. Luckily, they don't need much!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )