Birth

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Friday, Dec 9th, we went in for a planned and carefully reasoned out induction of labor. Although I was frightened of the idea of Pitocin and induction, I was also exhausted by the pain of my daughters in my hips, and at 39 weeks 3 days, I was full term and quite ready.

My physician (Dr. Nathan Meltzer, a truly fantastic man) and the nurse who assisted him (Heidi, who is also a founder of BloomSpokane and a wonderful woman) were in and out all day, always caring and attentive.

The day was fairly ordinary- boring, you might say. My only complaint was being on the monitors all day, due to the Pitocin use.

And then my doctor (with my permission) broke my water.

********

For Kaeldra

I could feel you as you descended, and the sensation of you moving and shifting. You pressed your way out, and I kept reminding myself that this pain was an opening, because you were making your way through. You were pushing open a door for yourself and your sister. I kept that in mind, and I sang you further down. Each song was whatever came to mind first- you pressed through to the sound of Christmas carols and Yule songs, and sometimes, near the end, to nothing more than a single, held note. Your grandmother held my hand and kept me focused, and I was okay until you decided you had waited long enough and you wanted out. I wasn’t quite dilated enough to push, but the urge was too strong to resist. The doctor who escorted you into the world helped us both- he held the last of the door out of your way, and it was time to push.

Pushing was a blessing- it relieved so much of the pressure and pain. You descended so quickly, once you were free of the last of the obstacles, and the burning when you crowned was incredibly intense. But the pushes were further apart, and I had a chance to breathe between each. The nurses were insisting I push, push, and I was very direct- I would not push just because they were yelling at me! The yelling stopped and I could  focus again, and I pushed and you turned just slightly, and your head slipped into the world.

Your grandmother commented afterwords that you looked just like your brother when he was born.

I felt your shoulders, then your torso and your hips and last your legs come into the world- I could feel each part of you. They lay you immediately on my stomach, although your pediatric nurse would not listen when I told her to stop rubbing and cleaning you. I held you close to my chest, defending you against the outside, and I was sure that after all that, you must be afraid. You looked up at me, though, and you didn’t cry. You just watched me for a minute, and then you snuggled against me and were content. You knew better than I did that there was nothing to be afraid of, and you were safe. They left you there, still connected to me, and when your father cut your life-cord, it was still and you had fully come into this world. I had five or so minutes with you, my love, and then I could feel your sister moving her way into the world as well. So I kissed you and I gave you to your Ben, and he protected you while the doctor and I brought your sister into this world.

*****

For Ayla

The doctor was a huge part of your arrival. He reached up to find you, and he broke your waters as well to bring you down to where you needed to be. You were bottom-first, my heart, and you nestled down with your legs crossed. I pushed you gently, and the doctor guided you out, gently freeing your legs when they stuck. I could feel as you worked your way out, slowly but surely. Instead of the rushed, slippery arrival of your sister, yours was measured and careful as you worked with us. You had one arm up over your head, and the doctor freed you gently from that- although he was worried he may have hurt you, he was gentle and careful and you were fine. Then all that was left was your head, and you turned your chin up slightly. Worried for your safety, the doctor made a small cut to free you, and then you were out- but because of your entry into the world, however gentle we had been, you were still in shock, and so the doctor cut you free of your life-cord before it could stop beating, and instead of to me you were taken to the nurse, where you were given some small treatment to help you waken fully in this world. You were purple and pink when they carried you to the nurses, and for a moment I was frightened for you, but the doctor reassured me that you were just in shock, and that you would be fine. I’m afraid that I couldn’t see, so I don’t know precisely what happened. But I know they soon brought you back, and you were bundled up so tightly. I unwrapped you and brought you to my skin, so you would remember me and know my scent and my touch, and you, too, knew there was nothing to fear. You didn’t cry either, and you snuggled up to me, without so much as a twitch.

*****

Afterwords, the doctor was less gentle- he massaged my abdomen to cause the uterus to clamp down, and he was worried about bleeding. Ben gave me the herbs I had prepared, dosing me every five minutes with shepherd’s purse/yarrow tincture in water, and the bleeding slowed dramatically- dramatically enough that the doctor commented on it, pleasantly surprised. The placenta released and he continued the (very uncomfortable!) massage until it was fully expelled, and then let me rest while he tended to my one small injury- the small episiotomy he made to free Ayla. I was awake and I was alert, but unlike when your brother was born, I was calm and content. I trusted the doctor and I trusted my children and my body, and in the end I came away feeling respected and well-cared-for, and well loved. I needed no pain medication, and very little by way of active intervention.

To me, I came away from this birth feeling like I had been given the chance to do something precious- I had not only done what I had set out to do (Have a respected, respectful birth), but I had also paved the way for another woman to do the same. Twins are often delivered in the OR, with much fuss and worry. Breech twins are almost never delivered vaginally- they’re most often delivered by cesarean birth. To say that I had delivered twins, with the second twin breech, unmedicated, vaginally, in the labor and delivery room- what this means for other women! Take hope, take heart, and know that it can be done! Of course, all my gratitude to my fantastic doctor and the wonderful nurse (who used to be a doula!) who helped me.

I have been graced by two beautiful daughters and a wonderful experience in their delivery. I am blessed.

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