Where to begin.....We had our dd at home with a direct entry midwife, and felt very positive about how it went. When we learned that I was expecting again when dd was about six months old, we initially planned to use the same midwife and have another homebirth. I called her, and learned that she was planning on retiring shortly after our due date, and she didn't sound very enthusiastic....She had been dealing with some serious health issues, and was just getting tired. After talking it over with dh, we decided to find someone else. I knew we had made the right decision when our midwife was relieved to hear it. She recommended someone to me, but I had had a bit of experience with her after our dd's birth and just didn't connect with her, so we decided to look elsewhere.
We learned that the lay midwives in the area just wouldn't work out for us. There were couple of ladies, but various friends' experiences left me feeling reluctant to use them, for different reasons....So, after much prayer we decided to have a hospital birth. I pulled out the provider's guide our insurance company gave us, and started making calls. After interviewing several different CNMs, we found Annie. She's a very sweet, older lady from India--which made me feel at home, since my former employers were Indian. She was a bit more into the technology end of childbirth than I really wanted--ultrasounds and whatnot--but she was just fine with us refusing them, also.
We refused the standard ultrasound--what would it diagnose, twins?--what were the odds, snicker....We did agree that I would have an ultrasound a few weeks before my due date, to make sure the baby's head was down. I had an uneventful pregnancy, although I seemed a bit bigger than last time. I'm big anyway, so it wasn't overly noticeable. I did have terrible heartburn for the last several months. We never once heard more than one heartbeat on the Doppler.
At about 34.5 weeks, I started having some contractions, so Annie put me on modified bed rest. Our dd was 13 months, so I had a lot of help caring for her, and lived on the couch for a week and a half....which brings us to the big day!
At about 2:30am on a Saturday morning, when I was 36 weeks exactly, I started having regular contractions. They were about 20 minutes apart, so I had a while to go, yet. I didn't wake up dh, but tried to sleep some more myself. I slept fitfully for a few more hours, waking up when I had a contraction and then drifting back off. At about 6:30 I realized that the contractions were about 10 minutes apart, so I woke up dh and asked him if he would like to have a baby today....He didn't believe me at first, because I was being so mellow, but the contractions really weren't that bad. We called Annie's office and learned that she was already at the hospital, because she was attending a birth. So, we called my parents' house and arranged to drop off dd on the way, and then headed to the hospital.
When we got to the hospital, I was having contractions about every five minutes. Thankfully, we didn't have any problems getting admitted or anything, even though we had not yet pre-registered. Dh was able to stay with me the whole time. The admitting nurse had me put on a gown, and checked me--and I was at 6cm! This was very different than my previous labor! She also did a quick ultrasound, to make sure the baby's head was down. She saw a head, and turned off the machine.....Later, we had a fetal monitor high on my belly, monitoring the baby's heartbeat--we figure now that they saw a baby on the ultrasound, got a heartbeat with the monitor, but they were two different babies!
When we got to my room my mom arrived. She was a great support during my previous labor, so we really wanted her there--and it turned out that it was important that she was there this time, also! Annie came in and examined me, and confirmed that I was pretty dilated, but the baby was not putting much pressure on my cervix. She said I could expect to deliver about a 7.5 lb baby, given my size, even though it was early. She also told me that I would have to have an IV put in, because it was hospital policy with preterm deliveries to give an antibiotic.....sigh....not a big deal, though, since I'm not a walker during labor. I laid quietly on my side for a couple of hours. The Bradley relaxing method really helped me during this labor, and I felt as though I handled the pain pretty well. At some point, they asked to put a fetal monitor on, and since I could still lie on my side it didn't bother me.
At about 11:45 Annie checked me again, and said I could go ahead and push. I was really surprised, because I hadn't gone through the incredible pain that I had felt in my first labor. In fact, I even asked, "Did I miss transition?" She just laughed.
I pushed a couple of times, and then Annie broke my water, and the dilation went back down to about an 8, so she said she would wait for me to feel like pushing again. It didn't take long, and at 12:15pm little Charles Edward was born. He was 4 lb 8 oz, and looked like a scrawny little chicken--but he was beautiful to me! It didn't really register to me that he should have been bigger, since I was so enthralled with my baby boy. I held him right away, and was cooing over him and playing with his tiny little fingers. My mom called home and told everyone I had had a boy, and Daniel called his mom. One of the nurses took Charlie to clean him up a bit and weigh him (we waived the eye drops), and Annie checked me to see what the hold-up was with the placenta--and felt hands and feet!!!! She said, "There's another baby!" I said, "How is that possible?!!?!?!!" Daniel hung up on his mom, saying, "Mom, there's another baby, pray!"
Suddenly everything got very serious very quickly. Annie called for an ultrasound, stat, and did a quick swipe over my belly--and I saw a baby's face. There seemed to be twenty people in the room, and they all seemed very anxious. A gentleman came in, with his jacket on, and examined me, and then talked with dh and me. He told us that the baby was doing okay for the moment (they had put the monitor back on), but that he was compound breech and transverse--hands and feet first, and sideways! He said that if this were my fifth or sixth pregnancy, he would try to turn the baby, but since it was only my second he thought my uterine muscles would make it too difficult. He also thought that might be too stressful for the baby, and cause him to go into distress. He was very gentle as he told us that it was his recommendation that we have a c-section, but it was our choice. Dh and I agreed very quickly that we didn't want to try to turn the baby, but that we should go ahead with the cesarean. (We later learned that this gentleman--who did the c-section for us--was the high-risk OB, who delivered all the triplets and many of the twins in our area. He was not on call, but was providentially there to check on a patient--God is so good!)
As they prepared to take me to the operating room, I got worried--I didn't want Charlie left alone in the nursery! I was relieved to see that my mom was holding him. I later learned that while they were prepping me for the surgery, dh was lecturing the nurse that no-one was to take Charlie away from my mom! I am grateful to this day that Charlie spent his first hours being held by his grandma, who loves him, rather than being alone in even the nicest of hospital nurseries.
The c-section was uneventful. Dh was there with me, holding my hand. I didn't see the baby, and he didn't cry right away--they whisked him off to the NICU right away. When we heard he was a boy, we decided to name him Owen Richard. Then I went to the recovery room, and dh went to the NICU. Owen was fine--no problems breathing--but his legs and arms were horribly bruised from the position he was in while I was contracting.
I was pretty dopey after the surgery, and just slept for a while. Soon I woke up, though, and I wanted my babies!!! Dh came in with Owen, then, and I got to meet him for the first time....he was tiny, too--only 4lb 10oz. He was sleepy, and I was, too--so we snuggled and I thanked God that he was safe.
Later, when we were all settled in our room, dh and I just sat and looked at the babies and said--there's two of them!!!
Update: Our guys are 4yo, now, and have always been very healthy. They were breastfed exclusively until they were about 9mo (with me pumping for the first 2.5 months, because of their weak suck). They got onto the growth charts for full-term babies by their 1st birthday, and are now solidly in the 50th to 75th percentiles for their height/weight.
They are identical, but we keep their hair cut differently so we can easily tell them apart. They are very different in personality--Charlie is more introspective and tends to be a bit quieter; Owen talks and talks and talks--and whines--and talks some more!
They are outgoing, fairly easy-going preschoolers--very into their bikes, trucks, legos and imaginative play....and dh and I still sometimes look at each other and say--there's two of them!