Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

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I’ve written at length about homebirth – my own two homebirths, attending others’ homebirths, supporting homebirths – and so I want to go back and write about my first birth experience. That was Animal and Mineral, in 2003. It was NOT a homebirth. It was in a large teaching hospital, in an Operating Room full of maternity unit staff and NICU staff, and I could have only one person in the room with me (I was single and chose my mom).

Animal and Mineral are monozygotic (“identical”) twins who had Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome while in utero. I discovered via ultrasound at 18 weeks that I was having twins. A few days after my ultrasound, I received a call from a staff assistant at a high-risk Ob/Gyn office, with information from a doctor who had examined my ultrasound pictures. He had recognized that my twins had TTTS. I was instructed to transfer my care to their clinic immediately so the “twin expert” doc there could monitor my progress.

The doctor I saw suggested bedrest, drinking lots of Ensure or Boost, and a weekly appointment with a non-stress test or biophysical profile every other week to check their statuses. (Or statii. Google seems to have a lot of answers to the question, “What is the plural of status?”)

At a NST or BPP a few weeks before giving birth.

So I did that, from 18 weeks til 34 weeks: I drank my Ensure, I stayed on bedrest, I went to my appointments, I watched TV — this was before DVR and before high-speed internet connections were everywhere; I had dial-up. I worried about Animal and Mineral, although they remained stable every week and the doctor was very positive and encouraging.

I did not want a cesarean section. I was a single mom-to-be, I was going to be a single mom of twins, and I’d heard and read that recovering from a cesarean was painful and challenging. I already had enough challenges. I was not yet as crunchy and natural as I am today but I was practical.

I agreed to an induction of labor at 34 weeks because Mineral was showing signs of Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction, and had had several heart rate decelerations during one of my non-stress tests. My induction began with Cervidal — and was supposed to continue with pitocin the next day — and ended nine hours later when I gave birth to Mineral, and then about ten minutes later to Animal.

A few hours after the Cervidil was started. In eaaaaaaaaaaaarly labor, clearly, since I’m still smiling.

It was not natural. I was in an incredibly UNNATURAL setting: not just the hospital, but the high-risk maternity floor. Not just monitoring but continuous fetal monitoring — and that’s no small feat with two babies to monitor. (See the hand in that picture? It’s my friend Gretchen. She was my doula and she was incredibly helpful.) Not just an epidural but an epidural and a bunch of lidocaine for that my epidural “window,” where the spinal medication didn’t affect me. Not just flat on my back but flat on my back in an Operating Room. Not just full of maternity floor staff but also full of NICU staff, with everyone debating whether or not I needed a cesarean section because Animal was a foot-first breech. (You should have seen the looks on their faces when my water broke and his foot slid out. Priceless.)

I did it! With some random nurse who was probably nice while I was doing it!

I had never considered that giving birth could be an EXPERIENCE; I just thought of it as a means to an end. The boys would go from my uterus to outside my body, hopefully via my vagina. Yet, for me, it was an experience. Emotionally, I was not expecting that. I was shocked by how much I’d enjoyed and loved giving birth. I was surprised by how intensely I felt afterwards when I looked back on what I’d accomplished.

It was by far my least natural birth. Yet the experience was incredibly beautiful. Giving birth showed me I could do something I’d never done before. I could survive physical pain unlike anything I’d experienced before. Even though I was young, even though I was single, even though Animal and Mineral weren’t planned, I achieved something that day that I had never dreamed of before.

Not every woman considers birth an experience, but that’s how it felt to me. And I will always cherish that first experience.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

 
 

37 Responses

  1. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  2. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  3. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  4. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  5. Wow – I wish *I* could have been a witness to a foot first breech – you are a trooper! (Also, I just realized what a birth junkie I am when that was my first thought. Heh.) I have a friend who had a c-section b/c her twins also had TTTS. It was a very educated choice, and while she wishes she could have had a natural birth, she is at peace with the birth she experienced. I’m glad you could birth vaginally!
    ~Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

  6. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  7. What an awesome story! I had my one person, my step-mom, with me for my first hospital birth. I can absolutely see how birth seems like a “means to an end” until you’ve been through it. Honestly, I don’t even think I truly realized it until my 2nd child. I wish I’d had more of an appreciation for it with my 1st.

    Nonetheless, I’ve had 4 in hospitals… all great experiences!

  8. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  9. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  10. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  11. It sounds like you had the best birth you could under the circumstances, and I think that’s what’s most important. I didn’t have twins but I also gave birth at 34 weeks, so I know about having a whole team and continuous fetal monitoring and all of that. But I still gave birth – and so did you. That’s the part that really matters.

  12. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  13. I love how you described the whole experience – especially the way you felt about it afterwards – and embraced it as the best birth you could have had. What a neat story!

  14. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  15. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  16. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  17. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  18. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  19. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  20. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  21. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  22. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  23. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  24. I wish more people could read these. There are too many women bickering about natural vs. medicated births and they all need to realize there is no right answer. Only what each woman wants mixed with the what actually happens during your birth. It is lovely to hear how much you loved all your births and how special each one was no matter which side it fell on. My daughter was born with me using an epidural, with this pregnancy I plan on trying natural again but have no shame if I need an epidural again!

    http://taurusmom18.wordpress.com/

  25. What a story! I really admire your willingness to take things as they come. (Even a foot first breach.) And you still have a sense of humor about it. Thanks for this.

    • Thanks for reading. At the time, it wasn’t funny AT ALL. But now it is. I didn’t share how at one point I told the doctors, CALM DOWN! One of the nurses said, No, YOU, calm down and push!

  26. Wow. Twins. So jealous. And a footling breech. Again, jealous. Because it wasn’t me being yelled at to calm down. And kudos to you on the vbac(s)!! Loved your story!

  27. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  28. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

  29. Oh, Erika, This is great. I think backing into the “birth as experience” is a great way to do it–I’ve seen so many women obsess on the experience part that they forget about the “means to an end” part. You are incredible.
    k

  30. Wow! How intense!!! Congratulations on this amazing achievement and on sticking to your plan as much as you could!

  31. […] Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience — Erika at Cinco de Mommy cherishes her very first birth experience, in all its unnatural glory! […]

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