At 30 weeks, I had a startling realization. At some point in the near future, I am going to have to go into labor.
(Brilliant, I know.)
I haven’t taken any birthing classes this time around, which makes me nervous about not remembering what the process of labor was like. After scouring the web, I couldn’t come up with a single refresher birthing course that fit into my schedule. (But if I’m still pregnant on July 14, I’m definitely going back to Blooma. http://www.blooma.com/childbirth-education)
So clearly, the next logical step was to do what I do when I can’t figure out how to hang pictures straight, make meringue, or align myself in a new yoga pose. I looked up non-graphic live twin birth videos on YouTube.
For the record, this was a Bad idea.
There’s a reason that women get a rush of the happy hormone oxytocin directly after they give birth. It helps us erase the ridiculousness of what just happened and bonds us immediately with our offspring. But watching a video of a birth? Guess what – no oxytocin. No happy feelings. No babies. Just the reminder that in order to finish this process, some nebulous, unpredictable, and potentially dangerous activity is going to occur.
The good news is, when it’s all said and I done, I might be able to stand up and see my legs again. That’s something, right?
For those of you that are wondering about the logistics of birthing twins, here are some fun facts.
1. Having twins does not mean having to have an automatic C-section.
2. How a woman carrying twins will deliver depends on the position of the babies: the presenting baby must be heads down, and either larger or very close in weight to the other twin to ensure that he/she will handle the process of labor and delivery well.
3. Doctors secretly laugh at people who have “birth plans”.
4. A majority of women carry twins to 36-37 weeks. Making it to 38 weeks is like striking gold, and anything after that is all glitter and sparkle.
5. Not being induced can be somewhat of a bargaining game, but it’s worth it to play if you’re scared of effects of Pitocin.
6. Twin deliveries are usually faster than single deliveries. That being said, after baby #1 arrives, delivery of the second baby can take anywhere from two minutes to two hours after the delivery of the first, depending on the mood of the cervix. Yep. The mood.
7. Delivering the placenta between Baby A and Baby B will result in an emergency C-section (uncommon, but not impossible).
8. Labor can take place in the normal birthing center rooms, but delivery will be conducted in an operating room with an audience of no less than 9. (One doctor and one nurse per baby, a doctor and nurse for me, an on-call anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist in case C-section becomes a reality, and any other supporting cast of characters who want to join the fun – AKA, Jason).
9. Pain management options are the same for single births as they are for twin births.
10. The bigger the babies are when they are born, the more likely they are to stay out of the NICU, eat better, and sleep better.
What does all this mean for me?
Baby A has been solidly heads down for months now, and since she and her sister are very similarly sized, my doctor has no qualms about a regular delivery. (Spoiler alert: at 32 weeks, the babies were 4.1 and 4.2 lbs and ounces – on target for being at least six lbs when born.) This makes me happy, given my ridiculous fear of needles and medical intervention.
In terms of going natural and non-medicated vs. having an epidural, that one’s up in the air. Ellis was born 10 days “late” via an all-natural labor, and it was great. Seriously. I’m not lying or sugar coating it. I labored for 12 hours total, pushed for 45 minutes, and welcomed my baby girl with grateful arms. If I had to rate the highest pain on the pain scale, I’d put it at an 8.
I also think it might be a little naive to think it will happen exactly that way again. Especially with twins. This is worrisome.
But so much of this seems to be about letting go. About not just talking about living mindful of my goals, or posting inspirational facebook messages about them, but choosing to make them a daily practice. About prayerful meditation through everyday action. About speaking truthfully. Honestly.
About remaining calm, even when every fiber wants to scream “How in the HECK am I going to do this?”
I have no idea what the process of meeting these girls will end up entailing. But I spend a lot of time lately flipping through pictures of my daughter’s birth, reminding myself how amazing she was. What a miracle the whole experience ended up being. How strong I felt when it was over.
And how I’m never allowed to watch YouTube for anything other than home tutorials again.