I also have to apologize and warn that this is rated PG-13 for adult language, but those who know me, know it's really just part of who I am.
The Birth of my surrogate twins C & L
After almost two week of prodromal labor, constantly thinking “Okay this is it, I just need to wait for these contractions to ramp up” without any actual progress I was exhausted, disappointed, and ready to deliver the twins.
For months I had been dealing with SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) and had been in a great deal of pain. Walking or standing for more than 15 minutes or so would have me in hours of agony that nothing really helped. I had basically been on self-imposed modified bed-rest for at least the last 4 weeks. I’d hit my physical and emotional wall.
These two things in particular had me asking my OB to sweep my membranes on 3/13/13. I was already dilated to an “almost 3” and over 50% effaced. He had been telling me for weeks that he kept expecting me to go into labor and was surprised that I hadn’t already. He agreed that a membrane sweep would be fine as both babies were measuring over 6lbs each according to the latest sonogram and I was 36 weeks already.
That was not a pleasant experience!
After the procedure he said I would be seeing him in 24-48 hours, most likely in the next 12. I was so excited to be moving forward and my IF was thrilled that he would see his girls in the next day or so. Just to make sure it worked, I also got an acupressure massage to help bring on labor after the appointment.
This was Wednesday.
Friday I was still pregnant.
I called my OB early in the morning and left a message with his nurse that I wanted to schedule an induction. This was a very tough decision for me because I feel that babies come when babies are ready, but I had hit my wall and was desperate to be out of constant pain.
A few hours later he and I spoke and agreed that I would go into L&D at 7:30 Monday morning.
I took the weekend to get things organized, arranged for my IF, my doula, and close family and friends to show up throughout the day as things were to be progressing. We were all excited and eager to meet my two belly buddies.
Monday morning I get checked in, I’m fully 3cm and 70% effaced – we looked good to be having babies later that day. They hooked me up to Pitocin around 10am and were going to bump it up 3ml every 15 minutes with a max of 42ml a minute.
Contractions started quickly but were light and manageable.
My Doula Dawn showed up at 1:10, my friend Kayla showed up at 1:20, and my IF M. showed up at 1:34. We were all ready to get this show on the road. My parents, my IF’s twin sister (whose wife is also pregnant with twins!) and his mom all showed up shortly after as well.
At around 2:30pm my OB came in to check me – I had zero change!
As a group, he, my doula, and my DH and I discussed our choices. After some deliberation we decided that we would break my water after he returned from a late evening meeting – approx. around 9pm.
After he left my contractions actually picked up quite a bit. Everyone other than my doula and my DH left the room to let me labor more peacefully and since it appeared it would be a very long day most left to eat or run errands.
I think one of the worst parts of the whole labor was since I was on Pitocin the babies had to be monitored the entire time. Baby B has been my trouble maker and flip flopping around the whole pregnancy. She was so difficult to keep on the monitors that at one point I had 5 nurses trying to get her to stay on long enough to run a strip (20 minutes) so they could bump up my pit. One nurse said, “Look I’ve got two hours left on my shift, I’ll just sit here and hold this. You can call me if you need me.” Of course they didn’t do that, but rather spent nearly an hour trying. When they were finally done, I nearly burst out laughing because at that point I really needed to get up to pee. I held it for the 20 minutes needed to see if they were tolerating the pit and my nurse bumped it up again before I broke the news to her. She laughed and told me to go.
This happened over and over and over again throughout the entire day/night I was laboring. I’d get comfy, they’d spend 20-30 minutes looking for either A or B’s heartbeat, finally find it, and either I would have to get up to pee again or I’d need to change positions because I was uncomfortable. It was tedious.
At 9:15pm, almost 12 hours after starting the Pitocin, my OB returned to break my water. I was only 3-4cm and 90%. I do not exaggerate when I say that I went from, “okay these are mildly painful contractions” to “OMFG I am going to DIE – FUCK EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER – GIVE ME THE DAMN DRUGS” in about 90 seconds.
My doula, who should win “Best Doula of the Year Award” (for many, many reasons) talked me through the most painful hour and a half of my life like a champ. I think she told me, “Just relax into the bed, deep breaths, low sounds” about 9 million times before I flipped her off. She suggested trying a new position but every move I made brought on another contraction so I had nearly zero time in between to rest. They were coming hard, and very fast. Despite her suggestions I found myself squeezing the rail of the bed and my husband’s arm and tensing up dramatically with everyone.
At 10:15pm I was checked again and I was 5cm and 100%. I was crazy at this point. I had literally lost my ever loving mind and just wanted to leave. I found myself near tears, wanting to scream, or bite someone (weird I know, but I kept having the urge to bite my husband’s arm to work through the pain) and I didn’t care how it happened but I had to get the contractions to stop. Looking back now, I was probably hitting transition around this time as I had really started to shake as well.
At 10:28 I looked Dawn in the eyes and said, “I can’t do this, I want the epidural.” It was the first time I had actually asked for meds. She pushed back and said, “Yes you can do this, let’s get through this next one…” (At this point I quit listening because I was peaking with another ridiculously hard contraction) “…and…..” This time I just interrupted her with, “Fuck you, I want the epidural” or something very close to that.
The next 22 minutes are a bit of a blur because I felt one long giant contraction and wanted to murder everyone responsible for doing this to me. The nurse told me she had to get me pumped full of an IV before they could do it. She grabbed the largest bag of saline (or whatever it was) that has ever been made, in fact I think it was a giant balloon and not really an IV bag, and hung it up. I had a momentary panic attack since she said she had to get ¾ of it in me – that was going to take FOREVER! She had this plastic sneeze guard thing that she was trying to wrap around it with sloth-like urgency. She said something like “wrong one” and I responded with ‘Well hurry the fuck up and get the right one, I need my Epidural!” In my defense, I was still having that giant-never-ending-vagina-splitting contraction.
Amazingly she got the right sleeve thing on and within minutes the bag was nearly empty. I think there was more magic involved than science, but at this point I wasn’t going to argue.
(I really was out of my mind in pain with all of this)
So in walks Mr. I think I’m God anesthesiologist who immediately cops an attitude about how only one person is going in the OR when we deliver and how I better follow his instructions. Seriously, to any men who might be reading this, if you have never gone through labor SHUT THE FUCK UP and just do what you’re asked. I didn’t want his opinions or a lecture, I just wanted the damn drugs! Besides, my OB had already cleared my DH, IF, and doula to come in the delivery room.
So at some point he says “I don’t mean to be rude but…” (I can’t remember what he said here ‘cause that really set me off), to which I replied, “I don’t mean to be rude, but don’t take it personally if I tell you to shut the fuck up.” I was joking, obviously.
Then came the reply – “There is no need for that kind of language and I don’t appreciate it,” said Dr. Dickhead.
“Oh, you’re one of those,” I replied while rolling my eyes all the way to the back of my head in great over dramatic flair. “I guess you haven’t read recent medical studies showing that cussing during pain actually increases a person’s pain tolerance in general. You really should read up on it.”
Of course, I said this right before he stuck the giant needle into my spine. Did I mention that I was insane with pain at this point?
Everyone in a 30 mile radius of the hospital was happy when about 20 minutes later my contractions were back to a manageable point and I was laughing and joking around, this time with much less cussing out of the staff.
At 12:20am Tuesday morning, about an hour and a half after getting my epidural, I thought I felt some pressure to push and mentioned it to Dawn. It was really gentle so I didn’t worry about it too much but Kayla suggested we go ahead and get checked. My IF stepped out of the room to give me a little privacy while Nurse Kim checked my dilation.
Moments later Kim removed her gloved hand and said, “It’s time to have babies.” She rushed out quickly to get my OB any everyone else ready. Dawn and my DH started suiting up and Kayla stepped outside to find my IF. He was nowhere to be found. She rushed back in the room and grabbed her phone and started calling him. When he finally answered he says “I’m trying to pee.” All the while they are wheeling me back to the OR. He gets suited up and a few minutes later all three are brought to the OR.
Things went quickly from this point on. I was moved to the OR table and my legs strapped up in the giant stirrups. This was not my ideal labor position, but with the epidural I really couldn’t do much on my own anyway. My DH sits next to me and Dawn and M. stand near the back wall behind my head.
So it’s time to push, I take a deep breath, curl up and push while the nurse counts to 10. The only problem is that she is counting SO FREAKING SLOW that I can’t hold it in after about 6, and she tells me to take another deep breath and push again. I feel C move down and nearly crown.
Push #2 – My OB stops the nurse and tells her that she needs to let me stop and take a breath in between pushes and basically to count faster. I was a little busy to realize it at the time, but later it cracked me up how he had to teach her how to count.
Before push #3 I could feel C crowning and even asked if that was what I was feeling. It was a really amazing sensation – not at all painful. Then moments later I felt my OB clip me twice for an episiotomy. This wasn’t the plan, but I didn’t have time to ask. I was pushing again. At the end of this push, out popped Baby A, born at 12:50am 3/19/13. She was whisked away to the waiting team. M. was called over to see his first born for the first time. I was able to look over and see him tearing up. My heart filled with pride for what I had done. It was short lived though as it was time to bring B into the world.
My OB literally reached in, grabbed B’s feet still in her sack, popped her bag and yanked her out feet first. Three minutes after her sister, B joined us at 12:53am.
Things got really intense here. She came out blue and not breathing. I couldn’t see what was going on but I saw M. told he had to back up and come stand back near me. I could see he was upset and very nervous but he was holding it together. The room went nearly silent as nurses were aggressively trying to resuscitate her. Of all people, when I started to panic and no one answered me when I asked what was going on, Mr. Arrogant Anesthesiologist leaned over and explained what was happening. I hear, a moment later, “Code Blue – Labor & Delivery – OR 1” - Probably the scariest thing you can hear.
(Side Note – I was told later that the code was heard out in the waiting room as well. My parents, my IF’s parents, sister, and our friends knew that was where we were and they saw over 10 nurses run down the hall to us. They didn’t know if it was me, the girls, or both. Very scary.)
I will always be eternally grateful to my Doula who stood next to M. with her arms around him explaining what was going on and that things were going to be okay. She was a major comfort to him, and to me knowing that someone was there to be with him at that intense moment. When the extra help rushed into the OR, one of the nurses already in there said, “False Alarm.” They had meant to call NICU rather than a code blue.
Everything from here on out went okay. B was taken by the NICU team – she had aspirated and had wet lungs and trouble breathing but would be fine with a little extra care and some extra Oxygen. As of today (3/21/13) she is still in the NICU but should be going home in the next 48 hours.
A – Born 12:50 am 3/19/13 6lbs 8oz 19 ½” long
B – Born 12:53 am 3/19/19 6lbs 2oz 18” long
New Daddy, Baby A, and I were all taken back to my L&D room and were quickly joined by all of our friends and family. M.’s family was so gracious to share the exciting first moments with my family as well. We were one big happy unconventional family at this point.
I got into surrogacy to share what my husband and I have with our love for our son. Seeing M.’s immediate bond, gushing pride, and overwhelming love for his new babies was exactly the moment I did this for. I have such pride in myself for what I accomplished and how I helped create a new family.
Wednesday my IF, Kayla (who is going to be the girls nanny as well), and myself spent most of the day together in my hospital room with baby A, just talking and passing the baby around. It was wonderful to spend that quiet time together bonding and reminiscing about the process and where it would go in the future. M., wants to wait 18 months or so and do another journey for a son. I said we’d talk in six months and see if he feels the same way, but I’d be honored to do it again.