Tuesday, September 11, 2012

All Natural

So maybe it's this whole 9 months in thing. Or the fact that I'm having to plan logistics for the twins if/when I should go into labor. Or that my in-laws keep asking me what my plans are (so they can get here from six hours away to help us). But I'm pretty much thinking about labor nonstop these days.

My labor with the twins was a beautiful experience. Even with all of the challenges that occurred -- the twins were labelled as IUGR at my 38 week ultrasound and faced possible NICU time, both were low on fluid. I was induced at 38 weeks, 2 days and I delivered them 22 hours later.

{ 38 weeks with the R's, on my way to my last OB appointment }

One of the things that I'm struggling with right now is how dictated my labor plan was for their birth. Having twins really limits your options (and I am one of the fortunate ones that had both kids presenting vertex and a practice that was supportive of a vaginal delivery and breech extractions, if necessary). Here was my "have to" list:
  • I had to labor at the hospital from the beginning,
  • I had to have an IV (I tested positive for Group B Strep, so it was necessary for my antibiotics and for the epidural),
  • I had to wear three monitors (and they put a spring monitor into Ryan's little head :)),
  • I had to have an epidural placed at 4-6 cm, and
  • I had to deliver in an operating room.
Lots and lots of had-to's. I came with a birth plan in hand, and whether it was a result of being in labor with twins or the fact that no one really pays attention to those things anyway, most of the stuff on the list was ignored. I found out SUNDAY NIGHT (i.e. 20 months later) from my husband that my OB cut me while Ryan's head was crowning. Just a little snip. And here I thought my request that no episiotomy take place was honored. I guess that's what happens when you can't see your crotch to know what's going on.

I was on pitocin for 14 hours before my labor started. They broke both of my waters too. Two hours later I was in incredible pain, having contractions that were 3 minutes apart and lasting 2.5-3 minutes each. No break. They came in to check me and I remember thinking, this is it I'm going to push now. When I heard I was only 4cm a wave of panic hit me. I asked the nurse how much longer it would be and when she told me that the average dilation is 1cm per hour (so I had roughly another six hours to go), I begged her to page the anesthesiologist.

Within an hour my epidural was placed and shortly thereafter I fell asleep. It was glorious, especially since I hardly slept the night before between my anxiety, fears over the twins, the fact that my mother insisted on sleeping in my hospital room and snored the whole night. Honestly I was so exhausted that I needed that break. When I woke up THREE HOURS LATER I was fully dilated and ready to go. I didn't feel a thing. They turned off my line and brought me down to the operating room where they set up for delivery. It was roughly an hour to 90 minutes later when I finally started to push.

It took 56 minutes to deliver Ryan. The beginning was confusing -- I couldn't feel the contractions so I had people pushing my legs up to my chest (holding Reese in place so I could push over her), they told me when to push and when to stop. I couldn't feel anything and I was frustrated. By the end of Ry's delivery I had started to feel the contractions more and was able to work with them. Once he was delivered they checked me and Reese was already in the birth canal. I could feel so much more by then. She was out in 2 contractions (13 minutes).

After delivering the twins I delivered both placentas at the same time, which hurt like a mofo. Whether that was because my epi was gone or because I had just delivered two humans and my vag was really tired, I have no idea. Maybe both.

While my recovery was pretty good, the first few days I struggled to walk across a room. I hated that I didn't have bladder control (from the foley) and that I didn't know when I needed to go to the bathroom. I remember standing in the shower roughly 48 hours after delivery and cleaning myself for the first time. I almost passed out and I was all alone in the bathroom and I was terrified. Why didn't I bring someone in with me? I hate the memory of feeling that out of control.

Now that I am facing delivery again I keep reflecting on how much easier it was to labor when I could actually feel what was happening. And I am strongly considering the idea of going natural. But I'm terrified. Between the memory of those pit contractions and stories of the ring of fire, I don't think I have it in me. My mind is racing these days -- "could I really feel EVERYthing or was it just a slightly less painful version of everything?" "how much of my epidural was gone?" "what if I get to the end and I change my mind and want meds and it's too late?".

So ladies, share with me your stories. If you delivered without induction, what was the experience like? Did you get an epidural? Would you get one again? Did you deliver naturally? Would you do it again?

Thanks in advance for any insight or advice.

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