Wow! It seems like yesterday that I was anticipating their arrival. I didn't think they were ever going to come out. After carrying them for 39 weeks 6 days, they were finally evicted, and boy, was I ready! Can you tell?
Here they are on their BIRTH-day! Benjamin weighed in at 7 pounds 4 ounces, and Joseph weighed 6 pounds 7 ounces.
And here is their birth story:
Here I sit, writing my 5th birth story! I am so amazed at my God and how he made the woman’s body to grow and bring forth life. And He has allowed me to do it 5 times (well, 6 really)!!! And I praise Him and thank Him that all 5 of my pregnancies were healthy and uneventful! I love that the Lord has made me to be a good “baby-baker.” This birth story is a little different than the others, mainly because in the end, we had two miracles in our arms.
I was induced with 3 out of my previous 4 pregnancies (baby #1-3) and went past my “due date” with 3 of the 4 (baby #2-4) as well. So, I thought that since I was carrying twins I had a really good chance of beating those odds and going into labor a little early, and on my own. I wasn’t going to get my hopes up too high because of my history, but statistics showed that women carrying twins deliver 2-4 weeks early, so there was a chance!
Women carrying twins also have more testing, more interventions, and more problems than singleton pregnancies, and I sure didn’t want to fall into that statistic. Well, God had a different path for me. I didn’t have a “normal” twin pregnancy. Instead, I had a normal pregnancy. The only difference between this pregnancy and my other pregnancies, was that I had monthly ultrasounds starting at 22 weeks. Also, women carrying twins have an increased chance of delivering via C-section, but, thankfully, the Lord helped us find a wonderful doctor that had no problem delivering twins vaginally as long as baby A was head down. Praise God, they were both head down in the end. I have never had a C-section and had complete faith that these babies would come out the way God intended.
My due date was March 6th, and we scheduled our induction for Friday, March 4th at 6am. To be able to carry the twins, both physically and emotionally, that long is truly God’s doing; there is no way I could have made it without Him; I give Him all the glory. I was instructed to call the hospital at 5am that morning, just in case they were too busy for me to come in. And sure enough, they didn’t have a room for me so they told me to call back at 9am; not what a woman who is practically “overdue” with twins wants to hear! I called back at 9am on the dot and the nurse told me she was going to check and see if the room they wanted to put me in (across from the OR) was ready and she would call me back. She called back a half hour later and told us to come in at 1pm. What a relief to know that we were finally going in!!
When we arrived and checked in at the birthing center, the receptionist handed me 3 charts. It was at that moment that it really hit me!! We were finally at the hospital for the birth and we were there to have not one baby, but two!! We headed to triage where the nurses were expecting us and one of the nurses took us to our room right away. She gave me one of the fashionable hospital gowns to put on and she left the room. It was then that my emotions started overwhelming me and I began to cry. Of course I was a little nervous, but I was mostly crying tears of relief, excitement and joy! Jorge and I just held each other as I gave into my emotions.
At 2pm, I was hooked up to the monitors and at 2:45pm they did an ultrasound just to reaffirm that both babies were head down. After that, my IV was put in and the Pitocin was started at 3:15pm. I was 3cm at my last appointment, so they could go ahead and start with the Pitocin and not have to soften my cervix first. All my previous inductions have been pretty similar – slow to start, and quick in the end – so I assumed that this one would probably be no different.
I was right. At 5:30pm I was 3-4cm and 70% effaced, and by 9pm, I had made no progress – still 3-4cm and 70% effaced. I thought I would have made a little progress because the contractions were frequent (about every 2 minutes) and uncomfortable. At 10:45pm I was still only 4cm, so the doctor suggested breaking my water. At this point I was getting frustrated and was fighting back the tears. I didn’t want to cry and get upset because I had anticipated this. Jorge and I took a minute to discuss our decision; I knew that once my water was broken that the contractions would get much worse and that it wouldn’t be long until I was ready to push. I even asked the doctor if I could get the epidural before she broke my water because I knew what was in my near future! She suggested waiting just in case my labor didn’t pick up.
I knew going into this labor that if I was induced, I would most likely get an epidural. Having experienced labor both with and without Pitocin, I can say that labor without Pitocin is much more enjoyable and tolerable. What a difference Pitocin makes! Before I got the epidural, my labor was getting increasingly uncomfortable, but mainly because I was stuck in bed and really couldn’t move much with the monitors and IV attached to me. Just to get up and go to the bathroom was a huge production! I’d say the must uncomfortable part before the doctor broke my water was the discomfort of a full bladder (I would hold it as long as I could so I wouldn’t have to get up as much since it was such a hassle), a pain I was experiencing in my lower left abdomen and groin which was worse with each contraction, and the agony of not being able to move and change positions very much. I couldn’t move around much because it was difficult to keep the babies’ heart rates on the monitors. At one point, one of the babies’ heart rates was a concern because it was elevated, so one of the nurses spent the majority of her 4 hour shift just holding the monitor in place! So, I knew that once she broke my water, I was in for much worse.
The doctor broke baby A’s water at 10:50pm and it was only a matter of about 10-15 minutes after that that I was ready for the epidural. I just wanted to say to the doctor, “I told you so!” Of course the anesthesiologist couldn’t get there fast enough; it seemed like an eternity waiting for her to arrive. The process of getting an epidural is never enjoyable, especially this time because it took her three tries to get it right. I felt like I was having more contractions during the procedure than I remember having during my previous epidural experiences, which made it that much harder to endure. But I knew that relief was not far off.
About an hour later (12:50am) I started feeling a little different; I felt like the epidural wasn’t working as well because the contractions were becoming a bit painful again and I was feeling some pressure “down there.” I told the nurse how I was feeling and she had the doctor come in and check me. She checked me and I was fully dilated and at 0 station! It was finally time! I couldn’t believe we were finally at this moment; it was time to start pushing and meet these sweet babies!!
We didn’t rush off to the OR right away. The nurse told me to let her know when I was ready to push and then we would go. I stayed in my room for about a half an hour and let the contractions help move the baby down a bit more to lessen the work I was about to do. I never really had the urge to push, but was finally ready, emotionally, to push. So, off to the OR we went.
When we were situated in the OR, the resident had me start pushing, but immediately told me to stop. Benjamin was about to be born and my doctor wasn’t there yet. The doctor arrived quickly and Benjamin was born just as quickly; a few pushes and he was out. He cried right away and it was such a sweet sound! Benjamin was born at 1:40am. I would have liked to have held him right away, but I still had some work to do so away to the warmer he went to be assessed. Little did I know that the next 10 minutes would be the longest 10 minutes of my life!
Now it was Joseph’s turn to be born, but he wasn’t going to make it easy. I was pushing, but he just wasn’t coming out as easily as his brother and his heart rate was dropping. I could tell by the look on the doctor’s face and the tone of her voice that something was wrong. Her attitude had completely changed and she was very focused and all business. The position Joseph was in was making it difficult for him to come out and his cord had dropped in front of him which was making his heart rate drop. I heard the doctor tell someone to call the anesthesiologist and at that point I knew it wasn’t good. I remember thinking, ‘Now that I’ve delivered one vaginally, I’m going to have to deliver the other by C-section!’ I was okay with it though; I just wanted my baby to be alright. In the meantime, they were still having me push, and I was pushing like I had never pushed before. At the same time, the nurse was pushing on the top of my stomach and the doctor was up to her elbows trying to get him out. The doctor also used the vacuum extractor to help get him out. After a very long 10 minutes, Joseph was finally born, vaginally, at 1:50am. He was limp and blue and didn’t cry. They rushed him right over to the warmer to stimulate and assess him. Amazingly, through all of this, I had this awesome sense of peace and calmness. I wasn’t worried, and at no point did a negative thought of him not being okay go through my mind. I can only attribute this to the Lord! He brought such serenity to me during that time when I clearly needed it!
It was such a relief to finally have them both out and to look at them and touch them and make sure they were okay. I reminded Jorge to take pictures but he said he couldn’t right now and he had a really worried look on his face. I couldn’t really see Benjamin from where I was, but I could see Joseph and it looked like he had a HUGE birthmark covering half of his face. I soon learned that it was a HUGE bruise that covered his right eye and forehead which he had gotten from the vacuum extraction. After the boys were assessed and stable (their Apgar’s were 8 and 9 for Ben and 2 and 7 for Joe), they weighed them. I was actually surprised by how “small” they were; since I had carried them to the day before my due date, I was expecting them to be at least 7.5lbs each. Benjamin weighed in at 7lbs. 4oz. and Joseph weighed 6lbs. 7oz. They seemed teeny to us, but big to the nursing staff for twins.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hold either of the boys immediately after they were born, which I had done with all my other babies. But the important thing was that they were healthy and they were here! Joseph was taken to the special care nursery because they wanted to make sure he didn’t have any internal bleeding on his brain from the trauma and bruise. Jorge went with Joseph and I got to hold and nurse Benjamin for the first time. The rest of the nursing staff and doctors left the OR shortly after that and I was left alone with Benjamin for what seemed like an hour. There are no words to fully express the emotions a mother feels the first time she sees, holds and nurses her child! It’s just amazing. I wish I could’ve had that moment with both of the babies together, but I knew it was best for Joseph to be in the nursery and it wouldn’t be long before I got to hold him too.
Joseph was only in the special care nursery for about 14 hours before he got to join his brother. Everything looked good with him and his bruise would just fade away with time. They were both awesome nursers from the start and it wasn’t long before I started nursing them at the same time. We had the most wonderful post-partum experience at Rochester General, the best one we’ve had by far. The nursing staff was so caring, friendly, understanding and accommodating.
By the end of the pregnancy I was definitely ready to meet these little guys and I had grown a bit impatient. When I look back at the whole birth experience and waiting for it for 9 long months, it seems like it went by in the blink of an eye; so fast that a barely had time to enjoy it (yes, enjoy the birth, pain and all). I just wished I had savored the birth a bit more than I feel I did. I wish I could relive every one of my children’s births over and over again because it is such an amazing, amazing privilege to be able to bring life into this world. I will forever replay these moments in my mind. Life happens so fast and babies don’t stay babies for long. It’s just a bittersweet reminder to enjoy every moment with the precious gifts the Lord has given us, our children!!
Happy Birthday Benjamin & Joseph!