Birth Story of Saige and Claire
On Sunday June 18th I lounged around the house. I was feeling tired and somewhat disappointed that the herbs I used didn’t get contractions started. At my last OB appointment a couple of days before the OB said we were going to have to discuss induction. I tried to have my afternoon nap, but was too restless. I had been having braxton-hicks for a couple of weeks10-15 minutes apart for a couple of hours, then going away. My feet were slightly swollen by the end of each day so I swished them around in a big bowl of cool water and lavender oil and then Mike would rub them with peppermint lotion. We finally went to bed at mid-night. I just laid there telling the babies that they needed to come soon and that if they came tonight then daddy would be home & I wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else to get me into the city since daddy had to go back to work the next day.
While I was musing and talking to the babies, around 12:15am, my chest suddenly felt really tight like it was being squeezed. I was sitting back against a bunch of pillows. I thought I was having a really bad asthma attack or something. Even my brain felt weird. Then I really had to go pee. I realized when it happened again, but more in the abdominal area on my way back to bed, that I had a “contraction” This went on every 15 minutes until 2:00am. Then the contractions went to 10 minutes apart and I was up every 10 minutes to pee and my bowels were active too! I was contemplating whether this was really labour. I was hoping that I would labour for a couple of hours longer, so that we wouldn’t have to wake the children too early as they were coming to the hospital with us. What a silly thought considering my son was born 2 hours after my first contraction. I also was thinking about when to wake my husband as I waddled to the bathroom, again, at 3:00am. Even though I was in and out of the bed every ten minutes, he hadn’t noticed or stirred at all. Our hardwood floor in the hallway does not have a water-proof finish on it yet, so luckily I had just crossed onto the linoleum in the bathroom when my water broke. “SPLASH!!” In a normal tone of voice I said “Mike my water just broke.” I had barely turned around to sit on the toilet and he was already there. “Are you sure ?”, he asked. “Yes, you are standing in the middle of it!!”, I replied. After he cleaned it up for me ( hey he had to do his feet anyways) he woke up the 4 kids. Three of them got dressed quickly, while the 8 year old told us we were nuts, it was still dark and she was NOT getting out of bed. We had to repeat the babies were coming to her a couple of times.
We managed to get out of the house in a record 20 minutes. Oh yes, my contractions went to 2 minutes apart right after my water broke!! My DH had already called the hospital, the mid-wives, the neighbour ( to come over to feed & let out the dog), and my friend who was going to tend the children at the hospital. My DH drove as fast as he could as it was 45 minutes to the hospital and one of my babies was born 40 minute after my water broke. We arrived at the hospital at 4:00 am. I had to have a wheel chair as the contractions were at least a minute long and 2 minutes or less apart. My friend arrived just as we did. We had called ahead so that no one else would get the “twin” LDR room. The kids went with my friend to the “family room”.
We were in luck our own OB was on call ( only 1 in 11 chance ). So I did not have to go over the birth-plan. The midwives were there too. The Dr suggested an IV lock and I told the nurse okay if she got it in the first try. She didn’t so I told her to forget it and go away. We did an ultra-sound to check on the babies’ positions. “A” was head down and tight against the cervix ( I already knew that!). Twin “B” was now transverse, so we had no idea which way she would go. We did a “strip” for each baby, both at the same time. We broke the bed down so I was in a supported squat position. The Dr. checked me and I was already 7 cm. I was coping with contractions with gentle breathing. The OB had 2 other births going on. By the time the “strips” were done the Dr came back and said that if I didn’t have an epidural and there was a problem, especially with “B” being transverse, he would have to do a general for a c-section. He then added that if “B” was footling breech they’d have to reach up and grab her and that would be extremely painful. With a mid-wife on each side of me and my DH holding my hand I said “NO epidural, I know I can birth both these babies naturally, thanks for your concern”. My DH said he trusted my judgment and knew that I had a high threshold for pain and he was confident I could do it too.
The Dr checked me again and I was fully dialated except for a “lip”. He pulled it back while I pushed. He said I could push when I felt like it, or not. He went to check on the other mom. She had delivered her baby, so he came back & said I could push anytime. Ha, ha I had been doing it all along. I knew the mid-wives were there. Baby “A”’s heart tones were starting to fall to 100-80 and this was worrisome. He said I needed to push more effectively. The MW verbally described to me what I needed to do. They were great. My DH did everything I asked him to. The sun was starting to come up. And we had my loon tape playing in the background and my husband was rubbing my tummy with the Clary-Sage essential oil I brought with us. The Dr told me my pushing was not as effective because this was my 8th pregnancy and baby 5 and 6 and because of twins, my uterus was very stretched (duh).
Because of the low heart rate and twins the NICU was on call in the hall way just outside the door. I asked that they not come in. So I pushed more effectively. As the baby was crowning and I felt the burning sensation on my perenium I calmly said “ gently baby, slowly baby, gently baby, slowly baby” and at 38 weeks and 2 days on Monday, June 19th, 2000 at 6:09am Saige Charlotte was born. She was covered in vernix and had jet black hair. I reached down and touched her and welcomed her. My DH cut her cord and she was placed into my arms only 19 minutes after I was fully dialated. We had to rub her a bit but she quickly took some deep breaths and became pink. Her Apgar was 9 and she was 20.5 inches long and a head circumference of 13 inches and she weighed 5 pounds and 13 ounces.
All was well so the mid-wives did her after-care & NICU continued to wait in the hallway for twin “B”. I had a minute to snuggle Saige and the Dr reminded me that twin “B” was needing to arrive too. The concern was a prolapsed cord since she was transverse. The mid-wives gingerly and peacefully carried Saige over to the bassinette to check her out so I could concentrate on birthing Twin “B”. The resident reached up inside to check the baby’s position. Twin “B” had decided to enter the world feet first. After breaking my water, the resident tugged on the babies ankles while I pushed with all I had. The resident joggle her a bit to one side to get the first shoulder out and then over to the other side to try get the other shoulder out but it stayed up by her head, so then I pushed out her head and arm. I could feel the resident’s hand up inside, but I felt no pain!! Honestly, NO pain. The perenium must have still been numb from Saige’s entrance into the world through it as I had no burning as I pushed the second baby out. I reached down and welcomed her too as the resident proclaimed in an amazed voice “ an intact perenium ”. Claire was being held by the resident while the OB had my DH cut the cord. I was leaning down and stroking her tummy and cheek. Because she was born breech fluids were forced up her nasal passages so she was gasping for air and the mid-wife moved quickly and suctioned her. Now I had my second baby in my arms. It was hard to believe it all happened in 3 minutes. Claire Virginia arrived 3 minutes after her sister at 6:12 am. Apgar was 8, 21 inches long, head circumference of 14 inches and 7 pounds 15 ounces.
The mid-wives gave me Saige and took Claire to examine her and her breathing was a bit laboured, so they gave her some whiffs of oxygen over her face. She quickly pinked up and her breathing became normal so the NICU teams were sent back and the mid-wives did her after-care too.
Then my kids all came in. We decided that because of the lower heart tones and the breech issue that it be better we wait. The placenta was right at the opening so I just gave a gently push and it ploped into the too small container 12 minutes after I birthed Claire. It flowed over the edges. Then suddenly there was a huge gush. My blood splashed all up the Dr and residents’ shoes and pants. I suddenly felt dizzy. They suggested pitocin, but I asked to wait and try Shepherd’s purse homeopathic and to nurse the babies &/or do nipple stimulation. Claire had about 75% of the placenta and Saige about 25%. They looked like two separate lobes that were joined. It was huge!! The Dr was examining the placenta and announced that the girls were identical. The placenta appeared to have two amniotic sacs, but only one chorion. There was also a “communication” between the blood vessels. We could see how one side had more blood vessels off the main trunk than the other side.
They asked me how I was feeling and told me I was looking really pale and that a lot of blood was still oozing out. The Dr. pressed on my uterus and I gushed again and then I really felt dizzy. He told me I had lost a lot of blood and that I didn’t look very good so we better give the pitocin. He did “ask”. As we had tried “natural methods and they hadn’t worked and as I was feeling faint now, I could see I had lost a lot of blood and my speech was starting to slur ( I sort of felt like I was drunk ), and from my reading I made an informed decision to take the Dr.s suggestion and have the pitocin. As soon as I said yes, he acted very quickly and got the IV in on the first try, ouch that hurt though. They gave me the pitocin in with a “fast” bag of saline. Then they did another bag of saline as I was still “gushing”. I was still bleeding so they added a third bag of saline and then gave me a shot of ergometrine ( or methergine, ergotamine tartrate. ). The needle didn’t hurt, but the drug sure burned going into my rear-end. I was still bleeding even with one of the babies nursing and doing nipple stimulation. The other baby was not interested in nursing at the time.
I really wanted to go home the same day, even if it meant another shot and I reminded the Dr of this. The Dr suggested I may have some clots in my uterus and that’s why I was still “gushing” and that they could reach up and remove them, before trying anything else. I heard the word “transfusion”. I also knew the danger of bleeding out and having to have my precious uterus removed to save the mother, me. I even saw it on “ER” a little while ago, luckily she didn’t “lose” her uterus. Mind you this is very rare as the other methods usually work.
My DH and a mid-wife held each baby so that another different resident could come in and she found that I did have a lot of blood clots so.. she reached up inside and started scooping them out while pressing really hard on my uterus. Ouch, ouch, ouch!!! Luckily the kids were busy admiring their new sisters. I had to keep reminding her to put more gel on her glove as it was getting stuck on the way up. Finally she figured she got most of them. Give me actual labour any day. That resident and the new nurse did not realize I had NOT had an epidural!!! Otherwise I think and hope that they would have been more gentle with me. Finally the bleeding was under control. They wanted me to try to pee, but didn’t force the issue. The nurse helped me into the shower and said I could try while I was in there. This could help the bleeding too. NO GO!!
The nurse then wrapped me up in a huge warm flannel sheet and she and DH helped me dry off and get dressed. The mid-wives were snuggling with the babies and showing them to the children. I really wanted to try to pee and tried again. The nurse and DH kept opening the door and asking if I’d gone and this was making me not able to go. They were worried about me with all the blood loss though. I lost over 1 litre of blood. They didn’t tell me till a couple of days later. I told them I would leave the door open a crack so they could see me, but not to talk so I could concentrate on peeing. Yeah it worked, now I could go over to the other side without having to worry about trying to pee.
All the semi-private and private rooms were taken so I had to go to the ward. My DH would not be allowed to stay in the ward over night, but the staff was not prepared to help a rooming in and exclusively breastfeeding twin mom. We had to get home! It was so noisy too. The other 3 must have had a least 10-20 visitors each, coming and going all day. When not visiting they were chatting on their phones. I was eating and drinking with no nausea or vomiting (pretty good considering it was hospital food). No more blood clots and the bleeding was under control even with me getting up to go pee. Yes we could go home. The babies’ discharge papers were done up around 4:00pm by the mid-wives, but it took till 9:30 pm till a resident had time to discharge me. The nurses on the ward were very gentle when they checked my uterus. When they came to check me they said they had heard about me already and that I did not want meds right?! No pressure from them at all.
We arrived home at 10:30 pm. The kids had gone with my friend and our dear neighbour had come into town to take them to her house for a sleep over. I hadn’t slept since getting out of bed Sunday morning and it was now Monday night. I got one hour that night. The babies nursed the whole time together other than that and all day Tuesday. The mid-wife came out (oh what a luxury ) to check on us all. We are doing great. She asked how often the babies nursed and we had to tell her all the time! She asked how my milk was going and I squeezed my areola and almost got her in the face with milk. Then I nursed the babies and we could hear them gulping and swallowing. They nursed all the next night too and then as the sun rose they fell asleep for two blissful hours. I got 2 hours of sleep!! It is amazing that even after having 4 babies that each one is still a most incredible miracle.!!
Claire and Saige were exclusively breastfed until just over 6 months when they started indicating they wanted solid food.
By: Kerri Paquette mother to six wonderful children
Joy, & Raspberry Leaves
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