Healing Through Writing: My Birth Story Part 3


I am so sorry it has taken me so long to get back to finishing my birth story. I started these posts back in March but life of course has just gotten in the way. If you missed them, here’s My Birth Story Part 1 and for more details, My Birth Story Part 2.  I will continue to journal through these events as my birth story didn’t happen on just one day after several hours of labor. It was a two month long traumatic experience. This is my journey and how I hope to heal.

Just mere days before labor

Just mere days before labor

Coping with the realization that I wasn’t going home was hard. Coping with the fact that I was having babies that day? Definitely would have been harder. Too bad I had no clue. I naively believed that this was just another scare. My perinatal specialist got ahold of my OB with the news: I was 2 cm dilated and 80% effaced. My presenting twin, Purple was finally head down after being breech for the last 8 weeks. Baby B though was in a very scary position. She was footling breech, which by itself isn’t always an emergency, but my placenta was low between the two babies (but not covering my cervix or causing a partial previa) causing Pink’s cord to be hanging directly under her foot. As the ultrasound tech mentioned this, it didn’t even faze me. Remember, I wasn’t delivering.

My OB was really concerned that the contractions were starting to make more progress again so she admitted me to Labor & Delivery. I was still very relaxed about all this. I figured they’d do some monitoring and I was just hoping I’d get back upstairs to my room to shower and sleep that night and not have to stay over. They were quite booked so after some shuffling around of rooms, told me I’d be in room 16. I overheard the nurses talking about who was going in what room because there was three of us being admitted at once. One of the nurses made the statement “No, she needs to be in 16, she’s really in labor” I didn’t think anything of it until I was the one being put into room 16! (They have observation rooms in L&D as well as actual delivery rooms.) I got settled in around 4 p.m.

I should mention that transport was nice enough to sneak me back by my room before heading to L&D so I could grab my water (which was short lived since they quickly took away my eating privileges), my phone, my pillow and a change of clothes. I was determined to get a shower in.

I called Princess Daddy who was still at work once I got settled in to my L&D room. I told him I wasn’t quite sure what was happening yet so he just stayed where he was. He was closer to me at work than if he’d be at home and I didn’t want him stressing out over being with me all night. Nana Bear had already taken Orange home from school coincidentally because baby girl wasn’t feeling well. I guess it just worked out since Princess Daddy was normally in charge of pick up.

By around 5 p.m. I was still showing contractions every 1-2 minutes but they were picking up in strength because I was starting to feel some cramping. My doctor came in and checked my cervix since she was done with patients and on call in L&D now. She had nowhere else to be and said she’d be right by my side no matter what. I was now 3 cm but I was nearly 90% effaced. Since it seemed like labor was progressing, I went ahead and called Princess Daddy back and told him to come to the hospital. I finally called Nana Bear as well who was of course in shock. She had a bunch of questions but I simply had no answers at that point.

Since I was progressing, they wanted to try to delay the labor at least another 18 hours so the girls could get the benefit of the steroids I’d had earlier in the day. Since I was already on Procardia, it was unlikely that taking any more of it would have an impact. I had had terbutaline several weeks prior that had little effect so my doctor wanted something fast and strong. Her choice was a magnesium sulfate drip. I had been on bed rest this whole time telling myself every day that I didn’t care what it took, as long as I didn’t get put on mag. I’d heard stories about just how bad the side effects were. At this point though, I was very accepting of anything they needed to do. I still didn’t feel like I was in true labor, I simply thought they were doing this to stop the contractions. After 4 attempts, they got my IV started and hooked me up to a 20 minute bolster of mag. I was surprised by how little the side effects affected me. I was expecting to feel sick and dizzy but I mostly just felt flushed and tired. I remember needing to pee finally (after 2 full bags of IV fluids) and waiting miserably for a bedside commode. They wouldn’t let me walk the 4 feet to the private bathroom claiming my balance would be too off. The commode finally came and I emptied my bladder, better than I’d been able to in months. In fact, there was so much output, the commode wasn’t big enough. As if being in labor wasn’t gross enough already, right?

Once I got through the bolster, they hooked up a larger bag to give the mag continually over a long time. By this time, the bolster should have settled things down but instead I was feeling more and more of the contractions. And rather than just feeling them as contractions, they were really moving together and feeling more like labor. I was so tired from the mag and even though the contractions were really intense, I just melted into the bed and had a hard time keeping my eyes open. The monitors that I had on kept sending alarms to the nurses’ station because there was some kind of glitch that caused the monitor to not pick up what I was feeling.

I told my nurse that I was concerned by my discharge and by how intense the pain was. I asked her how likely it was that they’d stop the labor. I knew if I was really in labor that I’d be getting an epidural as a precaution from being pregnant with twins (in case an emergency C-section ended up being needed). After Orange’s birth, I really wanted to have a natural birth the second time around but I made compromises with myself about what kind of things I would fight. I wanted my babies out healthy and so many things could have gone went wrong.

The nurse said the plan was still to stop labor and they wouldn’t do the epidural until my chart was changed from “stop labor” to “in labor.” She offered a painkiller by IV but I declined. Jeremy held my hand and felt horrible that he couldn’t do more. The resident came in to check me while my doctor tended to some other patients (or maybe she was sleeping in the on-call room? Eating dinner? Who knows?) I was glad to see a friendly face. This resident saved me from my Labor & Delivery hell when I was 25 weeks along. I wasn’t completely sure that she remembered me but I didn’t really care. It was about 9 p.m. at this point. I was fully effaced and 5 cm dilated. Funny enough, this was the point that the alarm started going off in my mind.

I’m not normally in denial about such important life events but after two months of being in labor and NOT progressing, this realization that I was only a few centimeters away from delivering finally triggered that panic area of my brain. My babies were coming out. Ready or not. I was 31 weeks, 6 days pregnant.


About Heather Campbell

I'd like to say I'm fun and interesting, but that all depends on who you talk to. I have everything I've ever wanted. I've been married, mostly happily since 2006. Together we have a spunky redhead and giggly identical twins. I am a mom/homemaker, doula-in-training and a freelance writer. Our story is magical. Our life is chaos.

6 responses »

  1. Ready or not indeed! When my doctor told me it was time to head to the hospital after what I thought was going o be a routine visit I remember crying like a little school girl. Denial hit me hard!

  2. Pingback: A Little Chat About Maternity Care and America’s Broken System

  3. Pingback: Healing Through Writing: My Birth Story Part 4, The Conclusion | Magical Chaos

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