Did you know that twins can and do flip breech in the third trimester? I didn’t think this was possible until it happened during an ultrasound at 33 weeks. My OB (I was risked out of homebirth and risked out of midwifery practices locally) was concerned that my baby B was not growing concordantly with her sister, Baby A. I was flat on my back for about an hour, so I imagine that was how it happened. Still, I insisted on planning for a VBAC as I had read numerous times that as long as Baby A was vertex, a cesarean may not be necessary. My OB begrudgingly (at first) got on board.
We had friends in town near my due date but decided to drive 3 hours to Glacier to show it off. I hadn’t planned on going, but I didn’t want to be left behind, and even though I was 37 weeks pregnant with twins, I wasn’t concerned about imminent birth. I had been having pretty awful pelvic pains since about week 30 due to Baby A’s position, but I thought an easy walk up on Logan Pass might do me some good. I’m sure I was a terrifying site! We returned to Missoula and went to an orchestra concert in the park. Man oh man was Baby A hurting me.
I was so disappointed to discover at the next ultrasound (checking growth on B and position on A) that Baby A flipped breech. No, I didn’t feel it. Crazy, huh? It was very hard to palpate me and know what and who you were feeling. Everything felt like bums and heads and legs and backs. Hence the continued desire for ultrasound. (Please reserve your criticisms if you have any for some other venue. I am not an advocate for the overuse of technology. When you’ve been down my road, you’ll see why certain decisions were made by me and for me.)
Around midnight of August 21, 2010, I was plopping myself in bed. I had gotten into this ritual of listening to hynobabies tracks (twins affirmations, turn baby turn), trying to relax my pelvis, and trying to get in some sort of a position to sleep. I usually had to start in some sort of child’s pose. Baby A would wiggle and squirm and hurt me, owie!! This was the dance. We tried everything to get these babies turned – acupuncture, moxibustion, swimming, handstands in the pool (yeah, but don’t try summersaults in the water because you might pass out), chiropractic care. But I knew that I was still feeling feet in my pelvis. This night was no exception.
Kick . . . kick . . . squirm . . . kaPOW! And just like that my water broke everywhere. I cried, “they’re going to cut me open.” I gathered my wits about me and started getting ready for the hospital. I didn’t even bother calling my doula. I knew it was feet. I knew she wouldn’t be allowed in the surgical suite. Can you believe that at nearly 39 weeks pregnant I still didn’t have a hospital bag packed? How’s that for denial.
Contractions started about 15 minutes after my water broke. I was in full on labor by the time we got to the hospital, oh about an hour or so later? My doc didn’t come in for me. No surprise. These doctors here in Missoula! Great prenatal care, but they don’t give a rats ass who takes care of you when it comes to birth. He told me he was in town, but technically he was on vacation. It was the middle of the night. I guess I wasn’t important enough for him to show up. Luckily the on call doc had a good reputation.
I was laboring away in L&D. I agreed to be prepped for a cesarean but insisted on an ultrasound to confirm breech baby A. The doc agreed that if A was vertex we were a go for VBAC. I was glad to know I wouldn’t have to fight him on this. Most docs would balk at a primary VBAC with twins especially if they didn’t already know you. Ultrasound confirmed that Baby A was still breech.
The anesthesiologist wheeled my hospital bed down to surgery. We arrived at the room, and he asked me to walk to the table. Seriously? How bizzare, but ok, it at least makes for a strange thing to post on my blog, eh? The doc was very nice, and his CNM was his surgical assistant.
I was a disaster. I felt like I couldn’t breath. I was afraid I was going to feel cutting. It seemed like they really had to tug at little Baby B to get her out. They told me that my uterus was unusually thin. WTF does that mean? What sort of implication SHOULD that have for future births, if there are any? No one really seems to have answers. I saw my regular OB for my 6 weeks check, and he didn’t think it really meant anything predictive. Who knows who does or doesn’t have a thin uterus unless you’re cutting into it, right? Oh, and the OB who delivered my babies nicked my bladder, so that was lovely. Surgical error! Does it happen, yes, but it shouldn’t. He never apologized – of course that would be admitting to making a surgical error!
The babies were just perfect. Ultrasound did NOT in any way help us with growth concordance because Baby A was 7lbs 5oz, and Baby B was 5lbs 3oz. Good sized babies for twins, but still the disparity was surprising to my regular OB.
Recovery was fine except for the horribly annoying catheter and pee bag I got to carry around thanks to the hole in my bladder. The first on call doc to check on me suggested that I go home on Sunday after a Friday morning cesarean. Was he nuts!?! I decided to leave on Monday, and when my OB checked in on me, he thought I should be staying until Tuesday. I didn’t feel the need, and the hospital recovery room was way too small, and I did not enjoy sharing a shower with the neighboring room. So, we headed out – the new little brood, my hubby, and me.
9 months later, we’re doing great. E (my baby A) is crawling all over the place and has a big personality. L (my baby B) is the most chillax baby ever and has a great sense of humor. I am still sore & tender on the left side of my abdomen. I think it’s mostly from E’s position in utero, but it could also be from the surgery. My pelvic bones still move & pop – it’s really creepy. I’m still grieving the fact that I haven’t birthed a baby from my body. Three babies have been removed surgically from my body. I don’t know that I’ll ever experience a natural birth. Perhaps that’s not my destiny. What is my destiny is to love and care for my three precious daughters, my husband, my students, my colleagues and friends, my extended family, my home, my amazing garden, and all that God’s grace provides.