Johanna Faith and Charlotte Grace

by Leslie Lytle on October 17, 2010

My birth story…

I guess the story begins with my first pregnancy and the birth of my daughter.  It was not until my third trimester that I realized that if possible, I wanted as little intervention as possible during the labor and birth.  After a discussion with my OB at the time (38 weeks), I realized that it would be unlikely that she would respect my wishes.  At the very end, almost 39 weeks, I ended up switching to a more naturally minded doctor.  I was so grateful for her.

I was patient and waited out labor with my daughter.  It didn’t start until I was 41 weeks and 2 days!  It was a very difficult labor that ended up with a cesarean section.  I never really felt like I was pressured or the section was not indicated.  Samantha needed to come into the world that way.  However, I knew even though her birth was hard and not what I had anticipated, I wanted to try a VBAC for my second pregnancy. It was important to me for the baby to decide when and how to come, and to make it clear.

Emotionally, I spent a long time recovering from my cesarean even before getting pregnant the second time.  In addition, I also thought a lot about who I wanted to be at the birth.  With my first pregnancy, I didn’t really think about that until the end.  By now, I was more familiar with the providers in my area who trusted the birth process, and believed in a woman’s ability to birth their own babies.  That is why I decided to go to [local midwife] Nancy and Dr F this time.

At my first appointment, everything looked great.  I did not really want an early ultrasound or any extra testing.  I started to feel big at about 12 weeks or so.  I would tell people and they would say that you just feel bigger because it is the second time around.  However, I kept having dreams that there were two.  I am an L&D nurse so at about 13 weeks, I used a doppler and realized I thought I could find two heartbeats.  So the next day at work I had one of my friends
scan me and yup ………TWINS!!!  I found it humorous to tell Nancy and Dr F there were two babies in there.

When I asked him about VBAC’ing twins, he just said, “I don’t see why not.”

The pregnancy seemed to fly by.  For a twin pregnancy, I did really well.  I worked up until 34 weeks, and then when my blood pressure started to climb, I stopped.  That was really the only concern other than getting huge.

Apparently, I am really good at keeping babies inside because I carried them until a day before my due date.  The whole week before I went into labor was such a tease.  I had a lot of set-up contractions where I would start to think maybe it was time and then they would fizzle away.

On Thursday (10/14) I had an appointment and Nancy said I was 4 cm and 80 percent.  Come on babies!!! She “talked to my cervix” and also told me that it was time to help them along with the birth drink.  I was over 39 weeks with high blood pressure.  Twins tend to be 2 weeks ahead so really it was like I was 41 and a half weeks in the world of OB.  She said Dr F wanted me to do it Thursday or Friday.  I opted for Friday just to give a little more time.

Friday night (10/15) I drank the drink.  It wasn’t all that bad.  I did exactly what I was supposed to, rested and then when the contractions started, went for a walk.  I had to run back due to the “ehhh” side effects of the drink.  I did get contractions but they never got bad.  I was updating Nancy but the contractions fizzled out.  At around 1 am I went to sleep, very sad that it didn’t put me into labor.

I woke up, Steve made me breakfast, sulked that I was STILL pregnant and then realized I was contracting again.  This time they got stronger and stronger.  By about 3 pm, I realized, okay this could be it and called Nancy.  At home, I was walking room to room, watching TV, and drinking fluids and sitting on my ball.  We were waiting for the contractions to come every 3 minutes and hard enough that I couldn’t ignore them or go on with regular life, have to only focus on the contractions.  I updated her every few hours.  By about 8 pm, they were every four minutes and I knew we’d be heading to the hospital that night.  I really had to work through them and only focus on them.

I was to call Nancy at 9 p.m. and update her unless they got to every three minutes before that.  At 8:45 p.m. she called me and said that Dr F wanted me to call him and that he wanted to check on the babies and have me head to the hospital sooner.  I got really upset.  I didn’t feel emotionally ready to head to the hospital even though it was getting close to time.  I knew it was the best place for us, I just am not good at being a patient.  (If I wasn’t a VBAC/twins, I would have wanted to have a homebirth).  I called him and while talking to him had ZERO contractions.  I told him I wasn’t even sure if it was labor.  He said, “just come in and we will check on your babies and then see what to do.”  I asked for a little more time at home and he said fine, but come in soon.

We got to the hospital at around 11 p.m.  I met Nancy there.  Since it was twins and a VBAC Nancy was going to be there as my labor support, but was not going to catch the babies, Dr Fitzhugh did that.  They monitored the babies, I walked the halls, but they did not check my cervix.  At the hospital my contractions slowed except for some killer ones here and there.

I tried to sleep that night but couldn’t.  Nancy and Steve were resting (though sweet Nancy would jump up every time I tossed and turned to make sure I was okay).  I had this awful backache and couldn’t stay still in the bed.  But it wasn’t the same as the contractions I had at home.

At around 7 a.m., Dr Fitzhugh came into the room.  He looked at the monitors, did an ultrasound and then went and sat on the couch.  He had a very serious look on his face and I really thought he was going to say it was over, he wanted to do a cesarean.  Then Nancy said, “why don’t you just check her and see where we are.”

So he did…. he got quiet and just said, “I’m sorry I can’t let you go home until you have these babies.”  I almost burst into tears at that point.  I said, “but I’m not in labor.”

He then laughed and said, “you are 7 to 8 centimeters, you ARE in labor.”

Things got quick from there… all of a sudden Martha was starting an IV and setting up the room for delivery.  I started contracting again, though they were not as strong as the night before.
I tried to just go into labor land and let it happen.  I went inward and although I knew what was going around me, it didn’t seem to matter.

An hour later, he broke my water and nurse Martha added a little pitocin.  At that point, I really was in labor land.  I remember talking to people but was totally just in another world.  Time seemed to stop.  I remember looking up at the clock at one point and being so surprised that so much time passed.

I had to stay on the monitors but was able to move around.  I sat on the ball, leaned back on Steve, swayed, and squatted.  At some point it was decided they needed to turn the way Johanna was facing and so they had to reach in and turn her.  I also had to push past a little bit of cervix while Martha held it back.  I pushed on the stool, squatting, and in the bed.  Pushing past the cervix was hard because I really didn’t feel an urge to push yet.  But I knew that they were having me do it because it was what needed to happen for my babies to be born.

While I was pushing on the stool, an image flashed in my head.  It was the warrior birth woman.  She was red and seemed so strong.  I tried to hold onto her strength as I brought Johanna down lower.  She did just that and moved really low.   Martha and Nancy had me get back into bed.
Then all of a sudden my doctor was back in the room and I was uncontrollably pushing.  I remember reaching down and I felt her squishy head right there.  Nancy got a mirror and I watched Johanna come lower and lower.  That was so amazing to see.  Things happened fast from there.  All of a sudden, I felt a burn as she crowned.  But as soon as I realized it hurt, Johanna was up on my belly.

I got to look down and say it’s a girl.  I loved on her.  Steve loved on her.  She also got to nurse a little bit because my contractions slowed down.

Then it was time to help Charlotte be born.  She had turned transverse but Dr F easily turned her to head down.  Her hand came in front of her head and he did need to move that out of the way.  I know it sounds like that should have really hurt, but honestly, it was all numb there.  I really did not even realize so much was going on.  Dr F, Nancy, and Martha all seemed so calm.  Then contractions started back up.  Pushing Charlotte out was much easier, I think it took a few pushes and she was then up on my belly.

I got to hold both of them and nurse them.  It was absolutely the most amazing experience ever.  While it was very hard, it was worth it and so much easier than my first birth.  I was fortunate to have such an amazing team – Steve, Nancy, Dr F, but also my nurse Martha who was completely supportive and really worked with all of us.

Johanna Faith 10-17 at 12:50 pm 6lbs 4 oz 19 inches
Charlotte Grace 10-17 at 1:15 pm 5 lbs 4 oz 18 1/2 inches


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