Twenty-Six Weeks, Six Days ~ August 27, 2004
~ Class time!
So, we're starting on our HypnoBirthing classes. I checked into the Marvelous Multiples class, and after talking to the instructor, we decided to skip it.
I'm over-educated. Sigh. I keep doing that. I read more than anyone, do more research than anyone. Everyone involved keeps saying that I'm 'not your typical twin mommy' - okay, I knew that, but it always means I'm not suited for the usual setup, don't fit the usual things provided. Sigh, again. Neither the instructor nor I felt that an 8-hour class was going to give me anywhere NEAR 8 hours of benefit, given what I already know. So, instead, I have to do it in bits and pieces. That is, I'll be going to the NICU to visit, asking questions of both hospitals, etc. And continuing with my HypnoBirthing class. (Bonus, the instructor of the multiples class knew my OB and was completely thrilled that I was using him, which just makes me feel extra good. She clearly had a good feeling about how things would go if I'm under his care. Nothing like a third
We're using the same HypnoBirthing instructor as before. She was my doula last time, and will be my doula again, presuming enough goes as planned. We're friends now, and it is definitely useful. But she's still a professional in all that, and is fully able to tell me when I need to do more work. I sometimes need a bit of a kick to get moving, and she provides that.
For now, we've only had the one class. Next class is Monday night. We're going to need to modify a bunch of the scripts to suit a twin birth, but that's okay.
Since that first class, I have started feeling like I can do this, really and truly, that I won't have to fight for everything, I will have the support I need, and so forth. I've been seeking out birth stories on the Web that reflect the image and experience I'm looking for, too - natural, safe, smooth births. There are a remarkable number of them out there. And every time I think 'but what if .' I remember my last birth, and shake my head. What if? What if is a silly concept this time. I know 'what if'. What if is what I handled smoothly last time. LOADS of what if's that I never contemplated showed up last time! And I still had a smooth, painless, lovely birth. Not perfect, but I'm not entirely sure that perfect is what my life is about - perhaps my life is something about getting things 'good enough', instead of perfect. I still long for perfect, but ya know what? I'm not a perfect anything, and perhaps I should just get over it! Smack me on the wrist and give me a reality check. Good enough is, well, good enough!
But getting back to the 'perfect' thing - it is useful to know what perfect WOULD be, so you know what is also 'good enough.' So I wrote up what I am hoping for in this birth, a kind of idealized image that I can use as my goal point. I know better than to expect that every blessed detail goes as I hope - heck, getting half of them to go 'my way' is a good deal! But I want to have that positive image in my mind, because if I don't know what I want, how the heck am I going to ask for it? Beyond that, visualizing a negative experience isn't exactly useful. A lot of twins-birth experts believe that a negative attitude about the birth, how close to term you will get, etc., actually increases the odds that you'll go preterm. It makes sense, even at the most basic level - they know for certain that stress will increase the risk of preterm labor in twin pregnancies, so if you are stressing out all the time about having a preterm birth. well, it just adds up.
So I'm setting my sights higher, and looking forward to having two big fat babies, full term. 38+ weeks, anyway. We'll be doing some hypnotherapy scripts specially to handle all possible routes, but the 'goal' one will be full term, easy, natural, vertex/vertex (both
head-down) birth. Aiming for 8 lbs each!
And yes, they are going to be big fat babies. Already, they are big for dates! I had my ultrasound, and they did a weight estimate. While both are about spot-on for general measures for dates (that is, leg, arm, head sizes all are right on dates), the weight estimate takes in the abdominal size as well. And these are two chubby-bellied little tykes! At this stage, that doesn't mean fat, it means ORGANS. Their organs are developing well. Hooray! Okay, they actually also have a little fat on them, too, but just a touch at this stage. Cheeks, mostly - I got one face shot that shows that one of them at least has cheeks like my other babies have had cheeks. Nice and plump - and at 26 weeks, that's saying something! Both measure (estimated) just over 2 lbs, and only an ounce difference between them, if I remember right. YAY! That's about 4 oz bigger than typical at this age, which may not seem like much, but it is significant to me.
So, here's my ideal twins birth:
It is a beautiful day. Labor has started, and is progressing steadily, but isn't too much to deal with by any means. I relax into it, and let my practiced methods take over. My doula(s) show up, and my sister-in-law arrives quietly to take care of the boys. They're excited to go to her house and play with their cousins, but they both give me and my belly a hug and smooch before they go. I relax some more, and eat a little soup. It is cool out, because it is November, and the warm soup (split pea?) feels soothing. Someone rubs my feet. I relax some more, sitting on the birth ball, rocking a little to see how it feels.
Gentle voices guide me in a few visualizations as things begin to pick up. I can tell that labor is progressing, Will makes the call to the hospital, to check whether the perinatologist is there. He is. We call the OB and let him know we're about to head over to my preferred hospital for the birth. I can feel the first baby start to descend on the way there, but it is a gentle slow descent, not too intense or fast. The ride is much more peaceful than I expect - no discomfort from the trip. I waddle into the hospital, and decide to accept a ride in a wheelchair - the baby is continuing to descend, so I'm more comfortable resting. I get into the birth room, and the same nurse who set my IV seven years ago comes in to set my IV this time. Same as before, she hits it perfectly, first try, not even a pinch. Hep lock only, no fluids.
My OB comes in just as they get the first heart rate check, and my water breaks. They don't even have to check to see if I'm complete, because they can see the baby's head showing just a bit. They move the entire bed to the OR, because this hospital requires twin births to occur there, but they've decided to let me bring in the bed, so I don't have to birth on a gurney. I barely notice the change of location. I feel the baby's head start to bulge outward out of me, and Dr. C says something quiet and encouraging. Only a little tiny bit of crowning burn this time
- not even annoying.
Sloop! Baby's head is out. I can feel its body rotate inside me and the next contraction slips the rest of the baby out as well. Hot wet baby against my leg, and Will tells me what the sex is. The baby is resting in my arms for a moment, a nurse draping a blanket over it immediately, and Dr. C is quickly checking the position of the next twin. No need! With the next contraction, its head begins to slip down, faster than the first. With the next contraction, it is almost out, and the water breaks at that point. The contraction after that, it slips out after its twin. Two babies! The first one is still being wiped down on my belly as the second is lifted up into my other arm. One baby's arm rests on the other, and they settle in against me. It is a few moments, with us all looking at each other, before they take them to be weighed and measured. The placentas slip out easily, as they have always done with me, and my bleeding is well within normal. Both babies are over 8 pounds, and healthy!
Ah, yes, that's how I'd like it to go. Possible? Absolutely. Chances that one or another little detail will be different. Most likely. But what if they aren't in position? If I need a c-section? I've got an image for that one building in my head, too. One with no side-effects from the meds, with good lung compression and drainage for the babies so they breathe well, with the same doctor telling me what he's doing at every stage, so that I am participating in the experience, even if I'm not doing the 'work' part of it. That's part of my homework for class, too.
So, I'll be doing my classes, and doing my homework, and eating vast amounts of food, and resting. keeping those babies in, and making sure they have the best chance at the smooth, beautiful birth I'd like them to have.