I had been having contractions during my pregnancy from about 23 weeks on, so I didn't think Too much of it when a few of my contractions were slightly more painful & crampy. They began to feel like this about 2 weeks before I delivered, but I didn't mention it to my doctor. My main concern when going to my 36 week appointment (on August 16th) was discussing not getting my membranes stripped (see my previous post).
At my appointment, my OB checked my cervix and asked, "how far along do you think you are?" I told her I didn't know. She let me know I was already 4cm dilated. This meant I was already in labor and "didn'tknow it." (So no need to strip my membranes). She wanted to send me down to L & D right then. I was hesitant, because I didn't feel like my contractions were regular yet. However, my doctor talked me into it.. by saying I shouldn't be laboring long at home with twins. If I came in 8cm dilated in the middle of the night, they would have to hurry to set everything up, etc.. and it wouldn't be as safe for the second twin (who would come out by breech extraction).
So.. I shakily told her I would go to L & D. Completely in shock.. I thought I had another week or two left (even though I had made it to 36.6 weeks with twins). My mom had come with me to my appointment, so I let her know what was going on, and we both called our husbands. Then we walked across the street to the hospital. (It was a very anti climactic trip to the hospital I must say.. for actually being in labor).
I got checked in to L & D, IV started, blood drawn & hooked up to fetal & contraction monitors. The contractions were coming every 5 minutes exactly, and I was only feeling about 1/3 of them! This was around 3pm. About 5pm, my OB broke my water & hooked baby A up to an internal monitor. I was still around 4cm then, and still not in pain. Several hours later I was 4-5cm and started on a small dose of Pitocin. I kept expecting my contractions to get painful, since my water was broken & pitocin started.. but they still felt like my contractions from the last few weeks. (Only slightly more painful than the contractions I had been having for months!) Several more hours passed.. by this time both sets of parents had arrived, along with my younger brother and a couple of our friends. I still wasn't feeling much pain at all, but I knew I needed to get the epidural because of the breech extraction (and the possibility of an emergency c-section for twin B). I really didn't want to get the epidural without feeling a few really good contractions though. I felt like that would be cheating the whole process! (Plus the epidural scared me)
I did end up feeling about 5 really good contractions before I got the epidural. Getting the epidural was probably the worst part of the labor. I lost count of how many times they tried to get the needle in, but it was at least 4 or 5. At one point, I told her to stop trying.. I needed a break. My husband was so wonderful during this part, he let me squeeze his hand really hard, and he didn't tell me how horrible the needle looked, haha. My labor nurse was also really good. Once the epidural was in though, it acted really fast. I can only describe it as if my legs suddently felt "warm and fuzzy". I didn't feel any more contractions after this. About 3 hours after the epidural, I had gone from 5cm to 8-9cm. (I napped during this time.. so I kind of did cheat my way through the labor). My nurse told me to let her know if I felt an urge to push & she would check me again. Well... I was really worried I wouldn't feel the urge since I had an epidural. I kept saying.. I think I may feel Something. She eventually checked me again at around 12:50am, and I was fully dilated. She called the doctor, the anesthetist, the NICU team (they had told me they would be outside the OR as a courtesy), and a few other people while they prepared the OR for the delivery of the twins! I don't know why, but it still didn't feel real to me!
The doctor arrived around 1:20am or so, and I was wheeled to the OR & moved to the OR bed. (Alan was with me in his surgical hat, shoes, and outfit). There were tons of people in the room, but I was mainly just focused on my doctor, the labor nurse, and Alan.
I had no idea what I was doing when it came to pushing, my my doctor & nurse were really good about instructing me on what to do. I couldn't feel my contractions, so I told them to let me know when to push. I had no trouble actually pushing though once I got the technique down. I pushed through about 5 contractions, and pushed out our little Adam! It was a strange sensation giving birth to a baby.. and I still yelled as he came out even though I had the epidural. My first thought when he came out was that he was too tiny to be 6 lbs. (He ended up being just 5lbs 0ozs.) Alan cut the umbilical cord, and that sent blood spraying around the OR.. sone even landed on my eyelid, so I have blood on my face in some of the OR pictures... haha.
Matthew's birth was a little less straight forward. He was breech and my doctor reached in & grabbed his feet & pulled him out. I started to push, but my doctor told me not to do anything.. to just relax (that's why I needed the epidural). According to Alan, she pulled, turned, pulled, and turned the baby until everything was out but his head. Then she called in the NICU team, while the head was still inside. That scared me because I wasn't sure if something was seriously wrong with getting the baby out. She used piper forceps to get the head out, and kind of flipped the baby out onto my stomach. He was born 2 minutes after Adam, but it was the longest 2 minutes of my life! The baby was blue, so the NICU team gave him some blow by oxygen & he was fine.
Next I delivered the huge placenta, which felt like delivering another baby! I watched as the babies were cleaned up & given to Alan. After the doctor was finished with me, they handed me the babies, and we took a few pictures before being wheeled back to the labor room. The grandparents were there to take pictures as we went back to our room. :)
(The babies are hungry now.. so I will continue with the rest of the hospital story in a different post)