The birth of our babies was the most incredible experience I’ve ever endured. It was something I spent a lot of time trying to prepare for and thank goodness, when the time came, everything seemed to fall right in place.
For the safety of everyone, I wanted to deliver my babies in a hospital and Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville, Oregon is where we decided that would happen. But I also wanted the most natural birth experience possible, not an easy thing to ask for when you’re having twins. I developed a birth plan but I was often met with warnings. “Don’t get too attached to your birth plan,” they said. “This isn’t a normal pregnancy.” But I stuck to my guns anyhow.
At 37 weeks and 2 days, we decided induction was inevitable due to my increasing blood pressure. I was past 37 weeks so the babies were far enough along for proper development and I was healthy enough that we wouldn’t need to rush things so it seemed like the right thing to do. My feet and underbelly were so swollen and retaining so much water, I was so uncomfortable I started feeling like it was time to get things moving. But I was still overwhelmed as induction wasn’t part of my plan. When we checked into the hospital Thursday night, October 2nd, 2014,I felt defeated and was afraid I was going to watch the vision of the birth I had wanted fly out the window.
But that was not the case. Aside from the induction, I managed to have a natural, vaginal delivery with no medication and I never could have done it without the attentive and responsive care of the amazing teams at WVMC.
I felt so confident in every call that Dr. Neeld made. He didn’t rush the induction, making it easier on my body and safe for the babies. Time passed and my contractions had stayed pretty mild. Saturday morning came and I hadn’t been getting much traction. We even discussed the possibility of me going home at one point. But by Saturday afternoon, my water broke and we knew the time had come.
It took about 7 hours to go from 2cm to 8cm. I did my laboring in my labor and delivery room and was attended to by my husband Nate, my sister and an amazing team of nurses. When it came time for delivery, I was to be wheeled to the operating room. I was originally upset by the idea of having to deliver in the operating room but when I started feeling the urge to push, I couldn’t wait to get there. I knew it would be the safest place for me. Around 11:00pm, I was wheeled down where a team of over a dozen people assembled, ready to meet any situation that might arise.
Little did we know, it would take over 4 hours of painful laboring to get those last two centimeters dilated. During this time, some of the team left to take a catnap, Dr. Neeld snuck out to operate a c section in the room next door and I got in every position possible trying to make it to 10cm. It was well past three o’clock in the morning when the team was gathered back up again and the pushing started. Another hour or so later with everyone’s help and encouragement, Karson emerged and was placed directly on my chest. I held him for the 45 minutes while I pushed Lucy and soon they were together again but this time, in my arms, in front of my very eyes at last.
I’ve heard it said that the labor process is an important part of the journey into motherhood. After the pain and exhaustion I experienced, I feel I can do anything including the round the clock tandem breast feeding every two hours.
It was the hardest, most excruciating, exhausting demanding thing I’ve ever done and hopefully will ever have to do. There’s no way to describe the intensity of a contraction that is helping your body do things that seem impossible. But in the end, the reward was worth it all and the pain was soon forgotten.
I couldn’t have done it without Nate’s love and he and my sister massaging and putting pressure on my back through every contraction during active labor. Or the entire team who spent the wee hours of that Sunday morning waiting on me, including Susan, my nurse who stood by my side counting me through every push. I’m so grateful for the calm, supportive, understanding nature of Dr. Neeld and his experience and wisdom that always seemed to provide just the right solution. And I can’t even begin to sing enough praises for the entire nursing staff. During our stay of 6 nights, I became convinced that nurses are incredible angels that serve us in our most vulnerable and needful times in our lives. They work long shifts, tirelessly, and trudge through some serious dirty work. I am so thankful to have their compassionate care and the wonderful experience they provided me.
My birth experience may not have gone exactly how I had pictured it but it was pretty darn close and in the end, we are all safe, healthy and couldn’t be happier. There’s nothing more we could have asked for.