Born at 4:40 am, Thursday, July 26, 2007
At St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.
8 pounds, 8 ounces
22 inches long
14" head circumference
1 minute and 5 minute APGARs of 9
28 hours of incredibly intense labour, approximately 23 of which were unmedicated and intervention-free.
He is perfect and wonderful and marvelous and I feel so incredibly overwhelmed (in a good way!) by his presence in my life. I have a baby boy! and I get to keep him! Wheeeee!
twins and now just one
So yeah, let's just get this out of the way first: I conceived and carried twins up to a certain point in the pregnancy. I know this as an absolute certainty and anyone who questions this can take a flying leap.
My best guess is that the one I was always worried about (Monkey) got reabsorbed at some point during the 2nd trimester. A very unexpected case of Vanishing Twin Syndrome (VTS)... I will never know for certain, but I can pinpoint several instances during the pregnancy that pointed to possibly losing one of the babies. I even remember telling DW, at around 20 weeks, "I can't find Monkey at all; it's like she's completely disappeared." I didn't think it was possible that late in the pregnancy, so I discounted it and worried about her off and on until I felt regular movement -- about the time when Peanut (Aidan) was big enough to compensate for a missing womb-mate. I never miscarried -- I never bled or had any spotting of any sort.
There may be evidence of a 2nd fetus on Aidan's placenta, which we were able to keep, thankfully, but it's in the freezer now, so I won't be inspecting it anytime in the immediate future. Maybe in a week or so. I need to get the hang of the basics of caring for Aidan right now. The bulk of the rest of the crap I have to deal with is going to have to wait for a little bit.
There may also be evidence of a 2nd fetus still kicking around in my uterus. They were pretty quick with the ultrasound scanning at the hospital, so I have no idea what may or may not still be in there. I will be watching for signs of infection and signs of hemorrhage, but if nothing happens in the next day or so, then there's nothing else in there.
I'm still pretty stunned about it. I'm feeling such an incredible mix of emotions: embarrassment, dismay, shock, sorrow, disbelief, fear that others will think me delusional or attention-seeking for claiming I was carrying twins in the first place, relief that it'll be easier with just one, stress at the thought of getting pregnant again so that the other one, my Monkey, can be born in her own time, concern for Aidan experiencing that kind of loss so early in life. It's a lot to deal with... especially on top of having to transfer.
so... the transfer
Alrighty, here's the long and short of it: I transferred due to exhaustion.
I went into labour pretty much directly following having sex with DP for the first time in far too long. We finished up around midnight. By 1am, I knew I was in labour. By 2:30am, I had called certain people to let them know. By 4am, the pool was ready, though I wasn't far enough along to warrant getting in. I did at some point and ended up staying in there for what seemed to me to be a couple of hours.
I hit transition for the first time at 9:30am, which culminated in various substances being expelled from their appropriate orifices at pretty much all the same time. Thankfully, I was in the washroom when that happened. I hit a bit of a lull after that, which is also why I suspect that was transition.
The primary issue at this point was that Aidan's head was not engaging. At all. I felt absolutely NO cervical pressure, which kind of has to happen if baby is going to come out vaginally.
At some point, the contractions picked up again, with the same intensity. I wasn't so much screaming through them as roaring through them like a lioness or a bear. It was a little insane. This kept up for hours. I had called R (best friend, fellow-UCer who had to transfer, former doula and certified midwife) around 2 or 2:30 and asked desperately if she would come over. She came a little while later and when she saw/heard me, she said I looked/sounded like a woman in transition. Yeah, I'd been sounding like that for a very, very long time and not for the first time that day.
At different stages, I asked if she would check me (externally) to see if she could tell what the issue was. We were thinking that Monkey's head still wasn't engaging and that it could be due to some sort of entanglement with Peanut -- it could be that they were wedged together tightly enough to make engagement impossible. So we tried belly lifts and belly shifting during contractions (so. not. fun.). No luck.
Eventually, I asked if she would do a vaginal check to see if I was dilating effectively. She did and said I was nearly fully dilated but I had a bit of a lip. The lip would have been resolved had a head engaged, but nothing doing on that front.
I can't remember if it was that check or a subsequent one where she was able to feel a head surrounded by the amniotic sac.
We tried damn near everything we could think of to get the head engaged and to get the sac to break on its own, but we had zero luck.
At some point, we started discussing transferring to a hospital and what that would mean. I was getting so utterly exhausted -- transitional-type contractions had gone on for the majority of the day and I was getting to a breaking point. And my voice was wearing out due to all the roaring. No, I was NOT quiet. Thankfully, no one knocked on our door to find out what the heck was happening -- despite the fact that the landlord was on site and, we think, was showing the apartment downstairs to potential new tenants. Great timing.
I'm really fuzzy on time, at this point. They tell me we called an ambulance at around 8:30-ish. It was determined that this was not an emergency transport, so I could pick which hospital I went to. I chose St. Mike's and am SO GLAD I did. They asked if I could walk down stairs or if I would need to be carried in a chair. I got my clothes on and my purse with my health card in it and proceeded to walk down the stairs. When I got out into the hallway, one of the EMTs said I didn't have to walk and they could get me down there through other means. I remember telling them that I'm up now and walking so they needed to get out of the way. I didn't want to lose momentum.
I got down to the sidewalk, where there was a firetruck and an ambulance. They had me get on a stretcher. I was roaring through the contractions, people were stopping and staring. Our neighbours -- the idiots -- had plastered themselves to the front window watching everything that was happening. It was quite the scene to behold... and really fucking surreal for me. Not at all how I wanted things to proceed, obviously.
My primary concern with transferring was that I'd automatically get sectioned: twin pregnancy, mother in distress due to exhaustion, stalled labour. I discovered, much to my amazement, that no one at St. Mike's was section-happy. I was able to answer all of their obvious questions regarding prenatal care, etc., and while I got asinine commentary from a couple of nurses, they disappeared and were replaced by an absolute angel. The obstetrician on staff that night was absolutely vile. She needs to die. I am eternally grateful that she was there only for the initial assessment and didn't return until the resident needed help stitching me up afterwards. I hate her. Die, die, die! Her lack of bedside manner was a startling contrast to how well nearly everyone else treated me.
The trauma of transfer continued when they had me get up on the delivery bed and lay on my back. I hadn't been able to even lean back into a car seat for months and now they want me to lay all the way on my back? Screw that! But I did it because I didn't have much choice at that point. They did a vaginal exam, and really roughly, too (one of the evil nurses). I was assessed at being dilated ONLY 5cm. 10cm is the goal, and I know I was nearly there at several times earlier in the day. R said I must have closed up, and the staff countered that by saying that once you get to 5cm, you don't go in reverse. Shows what they know. Morons.
After the vag exam, they did an ultrasound. My first of the entire pregnancy. This is where they assessed that there was only one baby in there.
Let's pause for a little moment here and let that sink in, k?
For 9 months, you believe you are carrying and growing two babies. You have concerns that one of them may not make it the whole way through the pregnancy, but you know that the other one will have no problems. At several points, you have worries but they are all assuaged. You are reassured that everything will turn out well and at the end, you'll have two healthy, wonderful babies.
And then, you are told quite plainly, in a condescending tone suggesting you are the idiot they initially surmised you to be, after having laboured for close to 24 hours, that you only have only one baby to birth.
I've come to terms with it in my own way. My primary issue is letting everyone else know and worrying what they will think.
Anyhow, after having dealt that blow to me, pretty much shattering my world at that point, they began looking at how to get me to labour more effectively. They suggested a birth ball or a jacuzzi. A jacuzzi?! You mean, I can sit in a tub of warm water and have jets shoot into my back? Woohoo! Take me to your tub; let me labour in it.
So I got to labour in a jacuzzi! Whee! except that it didn't do a damn thing for the contractions. Boo. I had to get out anyway because they had to take my blood to run tests and couldn't get the blood to flow while I was in the water (They did try and I have a hideous bruise on my right arm to show for it. The angel of a nurse apologized profusely for that.).
I was back up on the bed, hooked up to all sorts of monitors, not making any sort of progress -- Aidan's head still hadn't dropped into place. (Aidan is Peanut, btw -- the one I thought was a boy the whole way through the pregnancy.) The question of the epidural was brought up and I was sent into another quandary of decision-making. I didn't want any complications from the epidural (most of which are rare, but who the hell knows what'd happen to me), and I didn't want the drugs to adversely affect my sweet li'l Peanut. I'd protected him so well throughout the pregnancy, only to dope him up and surround him with ultrasound crap in his final hours in utero. I felt horribly guilty, and still do, but I knew there was no other way around it. I needed the epidural to get some rest while my body laboured. So I asked for it.
Getting it was no fun because I was contracting throughout the entire time it ws being administered, of course. The rest I was able to manage after the drugs took effect was a godsend. They broke my waters (it took THREE TRIES to do so) and let me rest for over an hour before they decided to add Pitocin to the mix to augment the contractions and make them a bit more effective. I didn't want it, but, again, I knew it was necessary in this case. I was cursing my having had sex, since that started the whole thing off before it was time. If only I had waited a few more days. I'd've had no problems doing so if I knew I was carrying just one, but I didn't and was getting a little anxious to get the show on the road. I had no idea it was to turn out this way... *sigh* Next time, no accidental inductions! (No purposeful ones, either, unless there's a really freakin' good reason for it.)
They told me to wait until it felt like I needed to have a bowel movement. No, wait. What did the nurse say? Wait until it felt like I needed to make a poopy. Yes, the nurse really said this. What am I? Three years old? Sheesh.
It took a couple more hours, I guess (time's still fuzzy, despite having a clock facing me the whole time). I don't know how long it took to push him out (30 minutes, I'm told), but he was born at 4:40am on Thursday, July 26th. Nearly 28 hours after I initially knew I was in labour -- I think maybe only the last four of which were medicated. I gave it my all and, due to the circumstances, still needed assistance. It was not because it was my first labour. It was not because I attempted to birth unassisted. It was because I went into labour before my body was ready and before my baby was ready. This speaks much more to the dangers of induction (accidental or not) than anything else. Wait until your body and your baby is ready and things will likely go a lot more smoothly than otherwise.
I ended up with a mild 2nd degree tear that needed stitching. I got them to put him directly on my chest post birth, though I was not at all able to get them to even delay for 2 minutes clamping and cutting his cord, which they did as soon as he was out. Then he was put on my chest. I was able to discover for myself whether I gave birth to a boy or a girl. I shushed a nurse in mid-sentence when she was about to announce his sex; she complied easily, fortunately.
I had a wriggly, crying baby on my chest and I was doing my best to comfort him. We'd both been through birth trauma -- he was forced prematurely (and unintentionally) from his womb home, birthed under the influence of drugs into a cold, spotlit world with strangers touching his body unlovingly and then had his cord cut and his placenta detached forcefully and tossed inelegantly into a plastic bag. Thankfully, they saw no need to suction him, so he avoided that trauma, at least. Someone asked if I knew what he was, and I said very plainly, "I don't care." And I didn't. I really, honestly didn't. I loved that little baby already and needed to spend time with Baby. Not Boy. Not Girl. Baby. One that I grew for 9 months. One that I just birthed.
Eventually, I looked, just to confirm what I already suspected. I had gotten the boy I knew I would.
I was able to avoid them sticking him with a needle to give him a vitamin K shot and I got them to not stick erythromycin gel in his eyes. And I got them to let me keep his placenta. I signed waivers for all of this.
All in all, as far as hospital transfers, this one was one of the less traumatic -- minus, of course, finding out I was only having one baby and having to deal with that aftermath. It's going to take a fair bit of time to sort through all of my feelings about both of these issues, but I've come to terms with the fact that I needed to transfer to the hospital to get him born effectively. I did my best to do everything right, and that included knowing when I needed to go to the hospital. There is nothing I did that I regret (except having sex the night before). I gave my boy everything I could and I am going to have to be content enough with that. It's hard, though. Really hard. I am so incredibly blessed to have him in my life. If I had to do it all over again, I totally would.
My UC baby was a twin also, but I miscarried one fairly early on. It's not all that unusual. Please don't be embarrassed. I'm so sorry for your loss, and for the unexpected changes in your birth plans. I'm sure that having sex the night before wouldn't have started labor if it wasn't the right time for it.
Hooray for Aiden! Enjoy your babymoon!
Congratulations on the birth of Aiden. May you two have a beautiful babymoon and be strengthened in the time to come.
Midwifery Student and Mama to 2 daughters and 3 sons.
I have given birth a variety of ways and I am thankful for what each one has taught me.
So sorry about your loss... of both baby and birth wishes. May you have the healing that you need.
Missionary, birth-worker, midwifery student
Mama to DD (9yr), DS (3yr), & UC twin DDs (5yr)
i'm sorry for your loss of Monkey and all of the feelings that go with that for you and Aidan (he lost his womb mate!). much love to you both!
I can completely sympathize with you as I lost my Twin UC too and ended up with a c-section to boot (which i'm ok with but this isn't about me). Don't be embarrassed about "thinking it was twins". Once a twin mama always a twin mama even if monkey left you early (or even if she was Aiden's spirit twin). You know she was there and that's what matters. Enjoy your new bundle of joy and i'm here if you need to talk, vent, cry whatever.
~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister
Livin' in the sticks with my chicks and lovin' it!
2014: 4/52 projects 0/2014 things 0/52 books
Wow what ride! That was a trip to read!!! So much happened and it felt like I was right there with you while reading it! You have a lot of character in your writing. I like that. Congratulations!!! You did a fantastic job bringing Aiden into this world, considering the circumstances. Monkey, may your spirit rest. Enjoy your babymoon.