Birth story. (Or, really, a love story.)

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I always wanted to be pregnant, but never really believed it would happen – and certainly didn’t expect twins. I didn’t plan for a c section, either. But with all these things, I must say that I had an ideal birth. My wife and I laughed a lot, it was pretty relaxed on the whole, and I really enjoyed the experience. Here it is…

I slept surprisingly well on Monday night, but this might be attributed to the fact that I didn’t really believe my stomach would be cut open and babies pulled out the next morning. That sort of thing is surely science fiction?

We awoke very early on Tuesday, and got to the hospital at 7:50 (ten minutes early). We rocked up – well, I was wheeled down – to labour & delivery, who promptly apologised and said someone else would be the first section of the day. This person was an emergency section after a long labour, so I didn’t blame her too much. We were sent to the antenatal waiting room, where I spent some uncomfortable time sitting up in The Wheelchair of Doom, watching Friends, doing arrowwords, and trying to be calm. Eventually they moved us into the ward to be prepped, where I had to wear a giant hospital gown on the front of me and a regular sized one on the back because nothing would fit over The Bump ™. I was shoved into hospital stockings, filled in a questionnarie, etc. The lady across from us in the Waiting For A C Section section apparently recognised me/us from the week before when we’d been organising the section (it pays to be a lesbian couple with an earth-sized bump and wheelchair…makes you memorable).

We were then sent back to L & D, ahead of the other lady, much to my relief. TMD was told to put on scrubs (she looked HOT), and about a zillion doctors, nurses, midwives, etc kept popping in to ask questions and introduce themselves. I was a bit nervous at this point, especially because we had had all the extra waiting time. Then it happened – stupid ass lady from upstairs went into labour and got to have her section before we did.

At this point I grumpily climbed into bed and sort of drifted in and out of consciousness, because I had not had any water or food in so fucking long. We took some pictures, but mostly I kept snapping, ‘What time is it? Has it been an hour yet?’ We also laughed a surprising amount, and all worry sort of leaked out of the situation. Then a guy with bright red clogs came and said it was time to go!

TMD pushed me into the operating theatre, and the first thing I saw was the two infant heater/bed/resuscitation things – which made it more real. They also had little steps leading up to the operating table, and I said, ‘Uh, I can’t actually climb stairs.’ So the bed was lowered, I scooched myself on, and they put the steps backwards so I could brace my feet against them for the epidural.

The epidural is the bit on tv shows where a woman might grimace, but it takes about 20 seconds of tv time. In real life, it takes about five minutes (or so we were told, afterwards). In our life, no one could sort that shit out. The lovely anaethetist had several fails, so her supervisor lady tried and had a few more. What do I mean by ‘fails’? Oh, you know, where they jammed the needle in and it hit bone. And I sucked in my breath hardcore while helpful professionals (about 700, since it was twins) said things like, ‘Did that hurt?’

TMD was very reassured by the fact that every time I said I felt something, red clog guy was like, ‘An electric shock?’ And everyone else was like, ‘Did you feel it in your legs? HOW ARE YOUR LEGS?’ So yeah. Continual jamming into bone, continual me cheerfully telling them it was to the right of my centre line (followed by utter silences, which I broke by laughing nervously and saying, ‘Well, this would be a hell of a time to find out I had scoliosis’….followed by more uncomfortable silences.)

Eventually I went into a fugue state, which made everyone constantly ask if I was okay. Jeez, people, I needed to shut my eyes and CONCENTRATE, since everyone was always pointing out the fact that I needed to be very, very still…..the ‘or else’ being implied. They were ripping through the lidocaine, thinking this would ease the bone pain, and then more and more anaethetists kept showing up. We ended up with about four, finally, with the top guy in the hospital. Thank god they were so patient, although they started talking about just doing a spinal since the epidural was clearly fucked. I said a few times that I wanted them to do whatever it took, no matter the pain, because I very definitively did not want to be put under for the birth.

The whole while I was clutching a pillow, TMD’s hand, and bent over. ‘Just curl forward.’ ‘Arch your back like a cat.’ And my favourite – ‘Pretend you are a prawn.’ That almost made me laugh until I remembered the whole paralisation thing, and was also jammed in the bone by a needle again. (People kept getting longer and longer needles. TMD really needs to tell you about that.) I was hunching as best I could over my giant bump. Sweat was running down between my boobs and blood was running down my back.

Eventually when even the top guy failed to numb my ass (literally), he suggested I lie down on my side. Har de har har. This operating table was just about large enough to treat a wounded kitten, so you can imagine how delicate and poised I was. I mean, I was as graceful as a ballerina during pregnancy – why wouldn’t I be able to lift my legs onto a table, move back, and lie down on my side?

FOOLS.

It took about eight people. When I was finally on my side, they had to use a big fucking plastic sheet under me in order to shift me – much like the sort of thing I’ve seen beach rescuers use for stranded whales. When all was said and done, I overhung the table on both sides, but at least I didn’t have to curl up like a fucking prawn anymore, right?! It was around this time that the head numbing guy managed to slide the epidural and spinal in with barely a peep, and suddenly the left side of my body was just gone. It took a lot longer for the right side to kick in. I think the odd part was when they eased me onto my back, it felt like they had forgotten to take along my left leg. I kept asking if it was still bent and to the side. I think they thought I was quite weird (but also hardcore – remember this series of shananigans had taken well over an hour, causing the anaethetist to actually miss her clinic, and multiple people to refer to my ‘high pain tolerance.’ High pain tolerance? Bullshit. I am just a people pleaser and ass kisser when it comes to medical professionals.)

At this point, the twenty other people in that room and the next started to stir into action. (Oh God, I want to remember the bee keeper type lady in the next room, her clear face shield and the way she jumped when I screamed, ‘Ow ow OW.’ The way they all just stopped talking and stared at me, all of us frozen in a terrible dance of waiting….waiting….waiting.)

I made a few nervous jokes about them needing to test I was actually numb before cutting into me. They whipped out this ‘ice cold’ spray and started getting all willy nilly with it. ‘I’m spraying your arm. Feel how cold it is? Okay, I’m spraying your stomach – tell me when you can feel it. Okay, you feel it – now, is it the same temperature it was on your arm?’

They also broke out what looked like a thumbtack and were poking away. I was like, ‘Uh, yeah, I guess I can feel it. It’s not actually sharp, is it.’ The lady fucking poked hard at my arm with it and I barely blinked (maybe I do have a high pain tolerance?). I heard her worriedly whisper to someone else, ‘Well, it feels sharp to me.’

Then they decided I was numb enough, but not too numb, etc etc. The blue curtain went up, TMD took her spot at my head, and we just looked at each other. ‘Babies,’ I said. (I seemed to say that a lot on the day.)

The anaethetist (one of the few who stuck around to witness the birth of twins from the fucked up medical marvel that was their epidural-resistant mother) was kind enough to let me know when they had started cutting. Oddly, this allowed me to fully relax because I then knew I couldn’t feel it. It seemed like a very short time – probably around five minutes – before someone said, ‘Okay, Existere, you are going to feel some pressure and pulling sensations now.’

It still felt odd, unreal, unbelieveable. Then someone said, ‘Here is your son!’ and held him up over the screen, so I saw his face for a few seconds before he was taken to the side and things continued. Exactly a minute later, they exclaimed, ‘You have a daughter!’ and I only saw her tiny foot over the screen.

I was still on this table, wondering what the hell was going on. Someone had grabbed TMD’s camera and took loads of pictures (we even got a nice shot of the placentas in a big plastic bucket!! They were MY kind of people, let me tell you), TMD was over by the babies, cutting their cords, and people were still apparently rummaging around in my stomach. Both babies were over at the baby tables for a while – being weighed, getting Vitamin K shots, being wiped off, making sure they were a-okay, etc.

Then TMD came over, a baby wrapped in a thick towel (neither of us can remember at this point who it was – is that terrible? I know they were worried about Baby Boy a little, and Baby Girl was fine from the get-go, but TMD definately was holding him and that is my memory…possibly faulty.)

TMD’s face was shining; she looked complete, radiant, knowing. Her eyes were sparkling with tears, and she held our child like she’d already done it over and over again in her dreams. Me? I felt a bit of panic, a bit of, ‘What? Who is this child? Can this really be our child?’ Then someone else came over with Baby Girl, and I reached out to touch the side of her face. Lying there, with two babies in front of me, my wife beside me (as well as the helpful Extra Baby Holder Lady), was surreal. That moment lasted forever, and also was over too quickly.

TMD and the babies were taken next door into recovery, while the staff kept congratulating us on how beautiful, big, active, and healthy the babies were. They acted like it was the first birth they had ever witnessed, and I am amazed and grateful about that.

Me? I hung around in surgery for maybe ten more minutes max while people counted cotton balls and knives, making sure that ‘whatever they put into me had come out.’

I was taken into recovery, and both babies were immediately given skin-to-skin contact and put to my breasts. One midwife held each baby with one hand, and a nipple with the other! TMD stood there watching and taking pictures. Baby Girl was a breastfeeding champ from the get go, while Baby Boy took a bit longer. I think that is when it hit me – how odd it was that this was not odd. I had two naked infants (in tiny, tiny diapers) pressed against my naked chest, and they felt like they were supposed to be there.

I still won’t say I was overwhelmed immediately with a crush of love. It was more like a steady, strong, obvious feeling that all of us belonged to each other.

Then I threw up.

And up. And sideways. And across. People looked at me, and I would smile cheerfully (see? a good patient) and say, ‘I’m fine now, feel much better. NO WAIT I AM LYING. Going to -‘ and then throw up violently green acid yet again. Ah, morphine. If I ever feel the need to go on a vomit bender, morphine will be my drug of choice. We stayed in recovery for a good bit of time, what with the vom-ing and all of us attempted to get two individual babies sucking on my nipples.

I was happy.

It’s a month later, and I still am.

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7 Responses to “Birth story. (Or, really, a love story.)”

  1. Jinxy Says:

    I am so glad you had a good birth experience.

    I can’t believe they told you to curl like a prawn, that is just silly. I love how getting an epidural on tv looks so easy and quick. I swear that was the worst part of my labor and delivery.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Tatiana Says:

    The epidural thing? sounds terrifying. I’d have been freaking. Although I guess you didn’t really have a choice, so freaking out wouldn’t have been productive.

    Awesome story. So different from mine, so different from what you had wanted, but an absolutely perfect outcome :]

  3. ninefirefly Says:

    My epi sucked too but just cause I do not have a high pain tolerance! When I first saw our baby I made sure with everyone that she really came out of me. I’m glad everyone had such a good experience and came home safely. The babes are beautiful.

  4. 2momswithaplan Says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us! I can’t believe they poked you so many times but am thankful you weren’t harmed in the process! You did a wonderful job through it all. Congrats to you both again!

  5. Birth story. (Or, really, a love story.) existere (latin): to … | All For Your Babies Says:

    […] Someone I’ve heard of created an interesting post today on Birth story. (Or, really, a love story.) existere (latin): to …Here’s a short outline […]

  6. Vikki'n'Kd Says:

    that has to be possibly the most funny but also heartwarmingly beautiful thing I have ever read!!! I’ve welled up good and proper reading that!!! One question, TMD means??? xxx

  7. The Cesarean Secret. « existere (latin): to stand out, to emerge. Says:

    […] More info: Welcome entry just after babies were born – pictures galore! My birth story. […]

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