My twins are 32 and one of them is on the brink of birthing her second child. Reading Dooce makes me want to write my little story from the dark ages. Actually my son is 38 and he was also a wonderful natural delivery (foreshadowing) in the days when natural childbirth was just beginning to rear its head. I read books and practiced exercises from the books with him and relied on panting for my breathing. I remember a kindly nun patting me on the hand and saying "You shouldn't breathe like that, you'll hyperventilate". I had a fantastic 8 hr labor and delivery. Jump 5.5 years up in time and I not only read books but took a class. I was in that class still not knowing I was having twins as my OB said I had made a 3 month MISTAKE and I was most certainly NOT having twins even though my abdomen extended to just above my knees when sitting(and I am 6ft tall and very long-legged)AND he was going to wire my jaws shut as there was no earthly reason to gain 10lbs a month for 3 months running. And to think I went to a real OB and let him talk to me that way....you young women these days would punch him in the nose and find a midwife and a doula. Not sure the term doula even existed yet in 1977. Since my first baby was 11 lbs6ozs, I thought the OB might be right and no telling how big the second was going to be, they're usually a bit bigger, right? 20lbs maybe?
Much to my Ob's dismay the pregnancy continued way past his last chosen due date and much closer to mine. By the end I was going to the IGA after Larry got home and walking down one aisle with a cart and calling it a success. Not sure I should have been out there, though. Two weeks before MY selected due date (the right one, March 23) the doc decided my body could take no more so he would induce. I think I sat on 2 folding chairs in a hall and used up 1/4 of my health insurance benefit for having a baby. You will know this was the dark ages because they X-rayed me.....repeat....repeat...repeat... techs were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I was starting to panic as my little niece had already been diagnosed with a terminal cancer and I was having my baby blasted with cancer rays. I asked how many heads they saw and of course, they could not tell me, but I knew it was more than one.
Doc told me I was carrying twins, they were 38 weeks and OK size not great big. (laughs later)He could tell by the cartilage in the babies how many weeks they were. I must go home and stay pregnant for two more weeks, yes we are talking full term here and whose date? MINE of course. The last two weeks of my pregnancy were filled with the sensation of babies growing, an actual sensation, a growth day would completely exhaust me. We shall know why later. I had no stretch marks from my first baby and a completely flat stomach after, but from 6 months on with these babies I could feel my skin zinging and tearing, another sensation indescribable. Or maybe I did just describe it. I give thanks to my sister here for coming to stay with me, she may have stayed 6 weeks and was important beyond measure in my success as a twin mother. I will thank her again later.
Today is your birthday, for some strange reason, the date I arrived at from counting on my fingers is the date the doc is going to induce me. Early to rise and to the hospital we go. Good old pit. Pitocin... you all know it. Hours, hours, hours, nothing, then the doc does the hook the water thing and off I go. The breathing techniques I learned really worked! There was space between contractions which I did not have the first time, so nice. Nurses and docs still did not understand natural childbirth and were still offering drugs. I was able to lie on my side and found I had real control of my contractions. In those days you had to move from the labor bed to the delivery table, and as huge as my abdomen was, I did not want to make the trip across that grand canyon. My abdomen listed to the right, one baby in the center and one to the side. I would walk in one direction and my abdomen pointed in another direction. OOOH here comes the urge to push, I am not going to tell a soul because I do not want to get on my back or move to a table...I think I am being very sneaky, but my husband knows it instantly and he yelled out to the nurses, "you better get back in here...she's pushing." Damn him. Now I am going to have to move. Extra people stayed for a twin delivery, for a natural twin delivery, and for the ungainly size of the mother (me). One young nurse was a 6 footer like myself and she literally lifted my abdomen to the center as I somehow rolled to my back (beached whale comes to mind)and held it--them on the top as I scooted. They got my left leg in a stirrup with my knee pointed back and my foot to the ceiling and my right leg in a stirrup and my foot mere inches from the floor. The cloths were neatly folded on my abdomen. I assumed I'd have an episiotomy and did not scorn that but Leah slipped right out with the doc barely dressed and my legs hilariously askew. One up, one down. I was really great at the delivery part! It was a healthy looking girl, looked like a nice weight, a good 6 or 7 pounds--yeah right. She got name number one Leah now known as @leahjones. The doctor yelled out, "get her god damned legs where they belong!" cloths were spread, and then he gave me a shot for an episiotomy, what the hell? I probably had the big one first! He was so discombobulated he shot right into his own hand. The nurse, measuring Leah started yelling out 10 pounds 10 pounds this baby is 10 pounds, excitement ensued in the room. Another doc walked in, no proper clothes or shoe coverings and that really pissed me off. Then I needed to push, or my OB said I needed to push. I really had lost my concept of what that meant. He reached in for baby number 2, centered it, and pushed on my abdomen and out came @devivo in 3 or less minutes. 5 years later I had reason to understand why it was so great for her to be out so quickly.
Among the books I read was the Bradley method and I learned the secrets of cold cream. I had nary a tear nor a loss of a drop of blood and no episiotomy, in spite of the injection which was now taking effect, why I ask you why?
Baby 2 was 8lbs12oz edging out the other biggest baby of the day and being my smallest twin. Lastly the placenta was delivered, 2 mashed in to one as they are fraternal twins, a mighty huge looking thing. I forgot to ask what it weighed. My labor and delivery was 4 hours. Exactly half what my first delivery was. At this point I began to feel like a Salvadore Dali painting with my empty abdomen hanging off the edge of the recovery table. One of my first pleasures of the evening was being walked to a bathroom and peeing for the first time, and peeing and peeing and peeing. By the next day I could see the bones in my feet again. I nursed my babies but did not get angry when the nurse gave Jenny a bottle, second time around I knew I could deal with that at home. We all went home in two days and I have always been inordinately proud that all my babies had 10's on their apgars right from he start. Yes they all aced their first standardized tests as they went on to do all other standardized tests they had to deal with!
My sister, Kathy, stayed on for at least another month and totally and 100% supported me in breastfeeding. I started out thinking I'd have to alternate with bottles but ended up completely nursing them for 10 months when they began a rather quick and painful weaning and never looked back. I am not sure I could have been as successful without her encouragement and active support. Thanks again, Kathy.
3 years later, my girls ended up in preschool with two other girls born on the same day, one waiting in another hospital for my OB to deliver my girls and the other in my hospital who saw me in the hall and felt great pity for my gargantuan abdomen. Sorry to the mom who had to wait, but first things first!