Before I even begin to tell you about this crazy twin birth, let me just say that after four relatively uneventful pregnancies, expecting twins was seriously one of the most difficult experiences of my life (and I’ve been through a lot!). I won’t recap in this post but you can read all about it here.
So, imagine you are 36 weeks and one day into a difficult pregnancy and your last child turned a year old just two days earlier. I cannot tell you how weak my mind and body were at this point. I had so many health problems going on and wasn’t sleeping so, yes, I was ready to just have these babies but I wasn’t expecting how they arrived.
At 1:30am, my water broke and I noted that I wasn’t having any contractions. I rushed in to the hospital too soon with my last so I decided to take my time. I took a shower and decided to rest for a while. Josh and I fell asleep and I woke up to the feeling of the second water breaking. At that point, I felt like I should probably just go to the hospital. I told Josh I would just take a second to pee, collect my things and be on our way.
Is That a Foot????
Not to be too TMI but I wiped after peeing and distinctly felt something extra down there. I took a moment to mentally process how full my vagina felt too. Again, I put my hand there and very clearly could feel a body part. My heart told me it was his foot. I could feel it. With the whole house asleep, I tried not to scream but I know Josh could sense the panic in my voice. I told him what was going on and he helped me carefully lay on the bed. I didn’t even have to do very much for him to see that there was something trying to exit my body.
I started to panic. With all of the calm, natural births in my repertoire, all of the pep talks I’d given other women about letting nature do its thing, I stood up and started trembling from head to toe. I wanted to go back to sleep and pretend this wasn’t happening but, obviously, that wasn’t an option.
I kept asking Josh what I should do. I asked him if I was going to die. I asked him if I was going to give birth on the bed, on the stairs, in the car, or in an ambulance. He kept insisting that he drive me to the hospital. Our hospital. The one that was 25 minutes away – at best – because he’s a slow driver.
He told me an ambulance would take too long. He promised me he would get me to the hospital safely, so we set out on our journey. He didn’t even change out of his Doctor Who pajama pants.
There were like 7,000 steps in our townhouse (okay, more like 14) and I gingerly took each step fearing the absolute worst. By now, the contractions had started in a BIG WAY and I knew that my body was trying to force out the babies. I was so terrified that my baby was going to be split in two.
I did my slowest meditative breathing, laying flat in the van with a towel beneath me. I kept praying that we would make it through this. I could sense how focused Josh was even though I couldn’t see anything. I tried to stay in a bubble of positive, relaxed, restrained energy and it took everything I had not to completely lose it.
At one point, he asked me if he should call ahead to let them know. I indicated, somehow, that he should. I heard him make the call but I was already back in some far-off place, breathing and willing my body to give me more time. Josh got us there in 17 minutes.
All Hell Broke Loose
When we arrived at the hospital, it was surreal. We had been to that entrance so many times and it was never in a state of panic. We had Caleb just 12 months and 2 days earlier and had started my prenatal visits again just a few months later. This was our home, in a sense. Yet, it felt like some distorted reality.
We didn’t park properly. I was still lying down but I knew that Josh had sprung from the van like a crazy man. It felt like he was at my door with a wheelchair instantly and, again, fear set in. I didn’t know how to stand up. I didn’t know how I would be able to sit down in a chair. I didn’t want to damage my baby. I was almost paralyzed but Josh, normally so mild-mannered, took charge and got me in that chair safely.
When we got inside, he announced our arrival and they hit the button to open the double doors to Labor and Delivery. Inside, an enormous team was waiting in the room where little Caleb had been born with a Midwife under far different circumstances. People were ending their shifts and the doctors were screaming for volunteers to stay. In total, there were about 20 people working on us.
As soon as they got me to the room they stripped me. Josh describes seeing my shoes flying right off my feet – that’s how urgent the situation was. They lifted me onto the bed and, immediately, they saw the little foot. Josh had said it was an umbilical cord and, from that angle, I know they couldn’t tell but I knew because I could feel it internally.
A doctor touched it and said “it’s not pulsing” and I looked through the sea of people at Josh’s stricken face. He gasped and started panicking for the first time. I heard them calming him down and I also heard them say that the surgeon, a doctor in my practice whom I’d never seen, had left the hospital to head to a neighboring facility. They asked him to turn around. That’s when my calm disappeared and fear returned.
I hadn’t ever had an epidural or a c-section before. I was nervous about that but, above all, I was scared for my boys. I couldn’t sit up or hunch forward for them to put the tube in my back so they struggled to numb me. It seemed like it took forever so I started begging them to just put me under general anesthesia so that they could get the babies out right away. After I repeated this a couple times, a nurse, one who had stayed after her shift had ended, grabbed me and said: “positive energy for your babies, mama. Believe in God”
I snapped out of it.
After that, I tried to be calm. I felt real gratitude when the contractions disappeared under the blanket of the epidural and I tried not to freak out over how weird it felt to be numb and flat on my back while they tugged and pulled inside my body. They brought a barf bucket but I focused on not even acknowledging its presence. I remember thinking, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”
I could see the door opening and closing from time to time and catching glimpses of Josh, still wearing those Doctor Who jammies, getting dressed for the operating room. When he finally sat beside me, I cannot describe the relief I felt. We were together. We could do this.
They pulled the boys out two minutes apart – less than an hour after he called while we drove to the hospital. I could hear them screaming and I could just barely utter, “their legs… please tell me – are they okay?” They led Josh over to see them and I just wanted him to tell me that everything was alright.
And it was.
Despite being Footling Breech (that’s the term – we just say he had a leg sticking out), they were fine. Benjamin weight 6lbs 12oz and Oliver weighed 7lbs 5oz. They have already stolen my heart <3