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With the discovery that I was carrying twins came a fun new label: high-risk pregnancy. As if I didn't have enough worries. Everyone gave me unsolicited advice: "Don't work too much." "Don't eat too much." Don't you just love how many people suddenly have an honorary doctorate during your pregnancy?
My OB was a seasoned veteran with twin births and told me that hardly anyone ever gives birth to multiple babies vaginally. That statement was enough to ignite my stubborn side and I became adamant about having a vaginal birth. I knew there was a high probability that I would have to have a c-section, but I'd do my best to not have that happen.
As time ticked by, my OB became more insistent about scheduling my birth. Later, I found out he had a big vacation he was planning around my due date. I held my ground, determined to let my little babies cook as long as possible.
Finally, at 38 weeks, I knew it was time. I was ready to be induced. I could barely stand (I was over 60 inches around!) and the twins were growing well.
At 38 weeks and 5 days, I came to the hospital prepared, with my birth plan and all sorts of items people told me to pack. We had our laptop ready to play The Office DVDs (this was before Netflix streaming).
When we got to the hospital, we found out our OB had gone off for that vacation. Actually, all of the doctors I had seen over the past few months were gone. Great!
Someone we'd never seen before glanced over our birth plan and rolled his eyes at the "VAGINAL BIRTH UNLESS LIFE IS AT RISK" note. I was once again asked if I wanted to schedule an induction to make things go quickly.
Now that I have four kids, I know that birth plans aren't the be-all and end-all ... but the lack of respect for my requests was wearing on me. I made my husband, Ricky, promise to advocate for me if I wasn't able to.
The induction didn't kick things off as quickly as they were expecting. I was in a lot of pain, but since I wasn't dilating, they couldn't do anything about it; they were afraid to begin the epidural too early because it might start to wear off before I was in active labor.
By hour 15, I was screaming for some sort of pain relief. The over-the-counter drugs I had been given weren't doing a thing. Once I got to 2 cm dilated, they finally agreed to start the epidural.
Although it was uncomfortable for a moment, the relief I got was a game changer. I was able to go through the rest of my contractions with a lot more ease. By the 18th hour, I was ready to push.
As a safety precaution, all multiple births happen in an operating room. It makes complete sense, but it can be a little scary. At this point, it was nearing the early hours of the next day and I was becoming delirious from lack of food or fluids (all were banned, just in case I needed an emergency c-section).
My first twin, Olivia, was born after minimal pushing. She was whisked away and it was time for round two. Since the twins are fraternal, they had to break the second, Maddie's, water and I had the lovely task of pushing all over again.
About 10 minutes in, I was seriously questioning why I had been so adamant about the vaginal birth. It was so much work … but it turned out I only had about 10 more minutes to go. Maddie was born 22 minutes after Olivia. In the grand scheme of things, it was quick.
Without the epidural, I don't think I ever could have delivered the twins vaginally. It truly helped me relax enough before the birth. But I am so happy and grateful to know my own strength, which enabled me to hold my ground, and reach my goal of a vaginal twin birth.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.