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5 Twin Birth Stories – Variations of Normal

5 Twin Birth Stories – Variations of Normal

A Birth Story of Twins {IVF}

The first week was hospital bed rest and I begged to go home. Around then is when my husband was able to feel the boys kick, so it was then more early tracking to be told that the hospital doubted I would be carrying them past 22 weeks. Well, they sent me home on strict bed rest and had to make appointments with my MFM to see him once a week. We lived 45-50 minutes from the MFM and the hospital we were planning on delivering at.

Twins Born at 27 Weeks {A Mother’s Story of the NICU and Coping}

I had a doctor appointment that morning. I was so excited because it was an ultrasound appointment and I was going to get to see my little boogers. I met with the doctor after the appointment and he kept me a little longer because he was afraid that I had twin to twin transfusion. They tried to hook me up to heart rate monitors but said I wasn’t far enough along for them to work…. So he sent me on my way and made an appointment for the following week.

C-Section for High-Risk Twins

There are many aspects of my pregnancy which I did not share because I was scared to do so. I did not want to fall apart every time someone asked me about it. There were only a few people who knew what we were going through, not even all of our families knew.

Simple Hospital Birth of Twins

Today is officially my due date so I thought… no better time to post my birth story. It’s taken me a while to get into a groove and to be honest, it’s taken me even longer to wrap my brain around all the events that transpired. Alas, here it is…

Traumatic First Birth Followed by an Empowered Surrogacy Birth of Twins

I was scared, I was tired, and I felt like I was drowning. I sobbed and begged to be admitted. I had hardly slept in days and wanted something to take the edge off. They agreed to keep me over night and give me a dose of Stadol. After it wore off, I danced, rocked on all fours in the shower and I vocalized with determination in the dark until sunrise.

Overcoming Placenta Previa, NICU, & Hospital Policies to Birth a Beautiful, Healthy Baby Boy

Overcoming Placenta Previa, NICU, & Hospital Policies to Birth a Beautiful, Healthy Baby Boy

I was 16 weeks pregnant when I thought I was miscarrying. It would be my second miscarriage. I was on a business trip in Minneapolis, 750 miles from my home in NE Ohio. Seven hundred fifty miles from my husband and family. As soon as my plane landed, I realized I was bleeding more heavily than the light spotting I left home with earlier that morning. My cramps were worsening. I climbed into a taxi and awkwardly told the driver I needed to get it the nearest ER as I texted my husband the warning that I thought I was losing our baby.

I managed to hold back tears until I entered the ER and started to explain my situation to the registration desk. I was immediately offered a wheel chair and whisked back to a room. After a painful internal exam, I was finally taken to have an ultrasound. My baby looked great. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. I texted my husband the good news as soon as I made it back to my room in the ER. He had been an emotional mess, frantically searching for airfare to Minneapolis as we tried to determine whether he should come out to be with me.

The doctor came in a short while after my ultrasound and confirmed I had placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta forms low in the uterus and fully or partially covers the cervical opening. I was told that ninety percent of previa cases resolve on their own as the baby and uterus continue to grow throughout pregnancy. If unresolved by late pregnancy, however, I was destined for a scheduled c-section around 37 weeks. Women with placenta previa have a high risk of bleeding with labor and delivery. To avoid hemorrhage, previa cases are typically delivered via c-section before a woman has the chance to go into natural labor. I was diagnosed with a marginal previa, the least severe and most likely to resolve. My baby’s placenta was on the very edge of the cervix, but not quite covering the cervical opening. In partial and complete previas, the placenta partially or completely covers the cervical opening respectively, blocking baby’s way out. I was optimistic that the previa would resolve on its own so I didn’t dwell on it too much, though I was terrified of the thought of having a c-section. My first-born came into this world through a stress-free vaginal birth and I hoped my second would do the same.

At my twenty-week growth scan, I learned we were having another boy. My marginal previa persisted, though the ultrasound tech assured me I still had plenty of time for it to resolve. The rest of my second trimester went smoothly. I was insanely busy with work, helping plan for my organization’s annual conference. When the conference started, I spent the morning of the first day excitedly setting up and preparing for a full two days. By lunchtime, I was starving. I scarfed down a huge meal and had just sat down to prep for my upcoming breakout session when something felt off. I scurried to the bathroom where I realized I was bleeding. Heavily. I was 28 weeks pregnant.

I made my way back to the conference and tearfully explained my situation to my supervisor, who offered to drive me to the campus medical center (I work for one of the largest universities in the nation). I once again found myself away from home in a medical emergency. I spent the night in a hospital two hours from home as nurses and doctors monitored my bleeding. The bleeding quickly tapered and I was discharged the next evening. My baby boy was doing great, but the previa persisted.

A week and a half later, another bleed. This time, I was home. My husband left work and we rushed to our community hospital five minutes from home. I stayed overnight for monitoring. The bleeding tapered and the baby looked great, but the previa persisted. I remained optimistic that my previa would resolve and I could deliver a full-term baby vaginally. I was shocked to learn at my 32-week appointment, however, that if my previa didn’t resolve by 36 weeks my doctors would have me deliver in Cleveland or Columbus since our local hospital doesn’t have the resources for a blood transfusion. Because of the previa and because I had a posterior placenta, I had a high risk of heavy bleeding during surgery. My doctors explained that they were more comfortable having me deliver in a hospital that could better handle a blood transfusion.

As I tried to wrap my head around the idea of having a c-section two hours from home with a doctor I never met, I still tried to remain optimistic that the previa would resolve. My optimism came to a screeching halt, however, when I was 35 weeks pregnant. I had just arrived home from teaching my last big program before maternity leave. I was tired and contracting every 2-3 minutes. The contractions were normal for me. I was diagnosed with irritable uterus earlier in the pregnancy and suffered from periodic episodes of regular contractions. I crawled into bed hoping for a decent night’s rest. Within 20 minutes, I felt a gush of fluid. I thought my water had broken.

I made my way to the bathroom where I realized the gush of fluid was blood. My husband and I woke my two-year old son, Milo, and loaded him in the car before making our way to the hospital. Upon entering the labor and delivery unit, the nurses at the registration desk notified us that the hospital had a restriction on children under 14 due to RSV. Despite telling the nurses that my in-laws were currently on their way to get my son, we were told my son would have to leave. The hospital refused to allow my son to stay in my private room for the hour it would take for my in-laws to drive to the hospital. I refused to be admitted without my husband by my side so we angrily left and decided to drive an hour to a larger city hospital, where my family could be together. At this point, I was still operating under the assumption that, like my previous bleeds, I would spend the night in the hospital and be discharged the next day.

We arrived at Akron City Hospital and I was quickly taken to labor and delivery triage. I was hooked up to the monitors the doctor performed an excruciating internal exam. After looking at my records and consulting with my OBGYN over the phone, the doctor advised that I would need a c-section. We assumed we could wait until morning (it was about midnight at this point), but the doctor explained they were going to start prepping me for surgery and I would deliver within the hour. I tearfully called my parents to let them know we were having a baby as my in-laws made their way to the hospital to pick up Milo.

Before I had time to process what was happening, my beautiful baby boy was born. Doctors held him above the drape just long enough for me to catch a glimpse of his face before he was whisked away. He was taken to the NICU for what we hoped would be a short transition. I remained in surgery with my husband by my side as doctors began to close my incision. I was losing a lot of blood and I remember feeling lightheaded and nauseous throughout the almost hour it took to put me back together. Once in recovery, I continued to lose blood. Each time the nurse massaged my uterus, more blood would pour out. I begged to see my baby, but was told I would have to wait until the bleeding subsided and the feeling in my legs returned before I could go to the NICU. At one point, the doctor came into recovery to break the news that I would need to go back into surgery and have a D&C under full anesthesia to stop the bleeding. I tearfully asked if I could see my baby boy before surgery. The nurses graciously wheeled my bed into the NICU where I was able to see and touch my boy for the first time. At this point, it was about 6 hours after delivery. Little Leo was in an isolette with tubes and wires covering his little body. He was 5lbs 8oz.

After holding his hand for a short while, my doctor advised me that they would try an injection of Methergine, a drug meant to help the uterus contract, before taking me back to surgery. Fortunately, after several injections of Methergine and lots of massaging later, I stopped bleeding enough to be taken to a room. At some point amidst the chaos of the early morning, we were told that Leo had been admitted to the NICU rather than just being there to transition to the well baby nursery. When asked how long he could be in NICU, doctors told us it could be one week or three, depending on how well he does.

Leo would spend two full weeks in the NICU as a “feeder/grower.” He didn’t have the stamina to take a full feed by mouth so much of his food was given via a feeding tube. My milk supply was very slow to come in, most likely due to a combination of blood loss and stress. Our hospital did not offer a guest room program for parents of NICU babies, so once discharged, I would not have had a room to stay in while Leo was in the hospital. I would not have a private bathroom, a shower, or a bed and I didn’t have time between feedings to go home since we lived an hour away and I was attempting to nurse every three hours for each feeding. In addition to having no guest room program, the NICU lacked a bathroom (parents had to go to the hospital lobby to use the bathroom) and although I was told I was welcome to stay at Leo’s bedside, I barely had room to recline my chair. The facilities weren’t exactly parent-friendly, especially for any mother dedicated to breastfeeding her baby around the clock.

After conversations with numerous nurses and doctors, I was allowed to stay in my hospital room for three nights beyond discharge at no cost. While I was appreciative of the accommodations, I was reminded multiple times each day of how lucky I was for the hospital to have made “unprecedented” accommodations for me. The floor was half-empty for the length of my stay, so I couldn’t fully understand why it was such a big deal. For three days, I worried non-stop that I would lose my room. During that time, Leo’s NICU doctor attempted to facilitate a transfer to our local community hospital in Wooster so we could be close to home. Our local hospital has a “special care nursery,” which is a step-down from a NICU. Wooster, however, only has five beds and they were full. It would take three days for a bed to open and for us to be transferred. Ironically, once transferred, we were the only family in the nursery for the remainder of Leo’s stay. The space we had in Wooster was massive compared to what we had in the NICU at Akron. The lights were dimmable and noise was kept to a minimum, which allowed for my family to get much needed rest. I was also provided a free room and two free meals per day since I was breastfeeding (Akron also offered two free meals per day for breastfeeding mamas).

After one week in the NICU at Akron and one week in the special care nursery at Wooster, Leo was discharged. He was finally taking all his feeds orally. In a matter of 48 hours, we went from thinking we’d be stuck in the hospital forever to preparing to come home. We were elated that Milo would finally be able to meet his baby brother and we could return to some sense of normalcy.

Although hospital policies made our first week in NICU a nightmare, the nurses and doctors that cared for me and Leo were nothing short of amazing. It’s a shame that hospital policies prevent staff from subjectively assessing each patient’s unique situation. From not allowing our son, Milo, in our local hospital for an hour while my in-laws made their way to pick him up to making me fight for a guest room so I could be near my son in the NICU at Akron while I continued to recover from my c-section, stagnant policies added unneeded stress to our already stressful situation.

In the end, Leo is a beautiful, healthy baby boy. He’s eating well and gaining weight accordingly. Our nurses and doctors listened to our concerns, provided emotional support, and fought to have our needs met and for that we are forever grateful.

Story and photographs submitted by Danae W. 

NICU, Transfusions, & the Prepared Doctor: A Triplet Birth Story

NICU, Transfusions, & the Prepared Doctor: A Triplet Birth Story

I knew pretty early into my triplet pregnancy that a C-section would likely be my birth story. And honestly, I was perfectly fine with that. After struggling for so long to have a child of my own, I didn’t care too much whether I delivered vaginally, naturally, cesarean–I just wanted my babies to be healthy. And I was beyond grateful that I had life growing inside my womb.

My pregnancy was a breeze for triplets. I had no morning sickness and felt pretty good the majority of my pregnancy. I had a cerclage at 14 weeks to help my cervix stretch to help keep my babies in me as long as possible. I was put on strict bed rest at 27 weeks and managed to make it to 34 weeks 1 day. My pregnancy was nothing short of a miracle. In fact my initial Doctor believed I would have an unsuccessful triplet pregnancy. According to her, I was “too short, too thin, and it was my first pregnancy.” I learned pretty quick to find Doctors who supported me throughout my journey who were supportive of my situation and willing to help me have a successful pregnancy. Not only did I find a Perinatologist who delivered my miracle babies, but she saved my life too.

Delivery Day finally arrived.

After my Doctor did an ultrasound and checked on each baby and the remaining fluid in each sac, my Doctor told me “You can go a few more days if you want to.” But I absolutely didn’t want to. My body was tired and the pressure of carrying my tiny humans was a lot on my body.

All of our family waited at the hospital with extreme anticipation to meet the newest additions. This meant a lot to me. My husband was finally taken back to a room in the OR while our nurses and Doctors prepped me. And my Mom waited in the recovery room so I could have someone with me after the babies came.

I remember walking into the delivery room. It was hard to walk because the pressure of the triplets felt heavy. My heart was so full of anticipation and excitement. After the spinal block and prep, my husband finally came in. I was feeling numb and a bit shaky, which I didn’t know would happen, but other than that I really couldn’t feel much. I felt better having my husband there with me holding my hand. He stared directly into my eyes and told how beautiful I was. I could feel the joy in him. He was about to become a Dad.

In a matter of moments, I felt a tug as my Doctor was about to deliver our daughter, Charlize. “I think something is happening,” I told my husband. And in that second Charlize was born. Our Doctor held her up for a quick second. She was beautiful with dark hair and bigger than what I expected. Our Doctor then pulled out Sawyer, I didn’t get to see him. And then finally, Jax. When she showed me Jax I thought he had the cutest little nose I had ever seen. The NICU team was moving quickly to stabilize them and see what their needs were. My husband walked across the room to dote on the newest loves in our lives. My heart felt so satisfied. I was finally a Mom.

I was kind of going in and out. My husband headed to the NICU to be with the babies while my Doctor stitched me up. I woke up in the recovery room with my Mom and my labor and delivery nurses. I kept asking for pictures of my babies but there was a mix up and Mom didn’t have her phone. It wasn’t long after that that my world became a blur and my memory of my delivery became more of a fog and what I was told happened rather than what I remember.

Every so often my nurse would press on my stomach to make sure my uterus was contracting back to it’s original size. This was incredibly painful. I do remember that. My Mom told me I would squeeze her hand so tight it turned deep red. I could barely keep me eyes open. Blood clots the size of golf balls were coming out of me. My Mom knew something was wrong. I was losing a lot of blood. My nurses called my Doctor who agreed that the situation was life threatening and I needed to get back to surgery right away. It was a whirlwind. And my poor Mom was in the midst of it all.

“I need an OR. If it is not available we are going to have to do this now, right here” My Doctor said as she turned to my Mom. “Please go find Ryan and pray. She has lost a lot of blood.”

I was rushed back to the OR. My Doctor needed to stop the bleeding and I needed blood transfusions. I was experiencing uterine atony, which lead to excessive hemorrhaging. My mom had to tell my family what was happening. My husband was in the NICU at the time, along with my sister and her husband. He was beaming as he walked toward her, she said. Talk about a high of highs and in an instant low of lows.

Fortunately, my Doctor was really prepared. I remember prior to my delivery she talked about the risks of delivering triplets, she mentioned I was high risk for uterine atony and that it could lead to death. I thought nothing of it. I just never thought it would happen to me. My Doctor, even prior to my c-section, had my blood type ready for me in case I needed transfusions and thank God she did because they had to move quickly to stop the bleeding and stabilize me.

It was hours later when I woke up in the recovery room. I was so thirsty and my husband was feeding me ice chips. I couldn’t even keep my head up to look at him, I was just so tired and really had no idea what had happened to me. Nurses checked on me all throughout the night taking blood, re-bandaging my c-section wound, and changing my hospital underwear and padding. It hurt every single time. My body was so weak. My husband slept next to me on the couch and left every hour or so to go check on the triplets.

In the morning our Doctor came in to share with me what had happened. I could barely keep my eyes awake to really understand. At one point I even said “I am so sorry I am trying really hard to pay attention but I just can’t keep my eyes open.” I lost two liters of blood that night. I could have died. My Doctor inserted a vaginal pack to help stop the bleeding. And I have experienced nothing more painful in my life than having it removed.

Nearly a day had passed and I was desperate to meet my babies. I was so weak, but I knew I had to use all the strength I could to somehow get out of my bed and get over to the NICU to meet my long awaited miracle babies. With the help of one of my labor and delivery nurses, she was able to help me get to a wheel chair. The heart of this nurse in particular was like nothing I have seen before. She was with me the night before and stayed after her shift just to make sure I was okay. She was determined to help me get to the NICU. I remember crying through every movement as my nurse helped me to the wheelchair. “We don’t have to do this now, if it is too much.” She told me. But I needed to meet my babies. I needed to see them, to hold them. My nurse wheeled me into their NICU room with my husband right beside me. Talk about a moment. I don’t think I ever understood the power of love until I for the first time finally met my hope babies. They were so wanted, so loved, and they were finally here. I first saw Sawyer, then Charlize, and finally Jax. My heart was truly overwhelmed with some of the greatest love I have ever felt. I was able to hold Charlize and Sawyer. We had to wait a couple days to hold Jax because he needed breathing treatment. The triplets were healthy for the most part. All weighed about 5 pounds each and needed to work on growing and feeding. One of the hardest things I experienced in my first days as a Mother was leaving them in the NICU. I ugly cried the whole drive home. I knew they were in the best of hands. I firmly believe NICU nurses are angels. The triplets only spent two weeks in the NICU and all came home with us on the same day.

My birth story was not what I imagined it would be and I wish I could remember more, but it is my story and it has made me a stronger woman. I know how terrifying the situation must have been for my husband, for my family. However, for myself, I think it took me some time to realize and understand how terrifying the experience really was. My birth story could be considered traumatic and truthfully, if my Doctor wasn’t so prepared I could have died. Thankfully, I had nothing to compare it to and because I was so out of it, a lot of my delivery and the days following are kind of a blur. Even those moments I met my babies are fuzzy. However, nothing can take away that overwhelming feeling of love that was planted in my heart the moment I became a Mother. I brought life into this world, three lives. I am proud of my journey. I am proud of my story and what my body did. I could never repay my amazing Doctor who took care of me so well throughout my whole pregnancy and delivery.

Being a Mother is undoubtably one of the most incredible things I have ever experienced. My journey to become a Mother is one of Hope. And my heart rejoices in this absolutely undeniable love I share day in and day out with three of the most precious tiny humans!​

Story and photographs submitted by Desiree Fortin

Oh, That Smile – From Preeclampsia to Emergency C-Section to NICU

Oh, That Smile – From Preeclampsia to Emergency C-Section to NICU

nicu, c-section, hospital birthIt’s that feeling you get as a pregnant woman. The one that’s like, “Holy crap, this is finally happening. I’m finally going to have this baby.” However, for me, I experienced those feelings more than once with my first daughter.

I was starting to show signs of preeclampsia in the 28th week of my pregnancy. My feet and ankles started to swell and my mom mentioned it could be preeclampsia. I thought she was crazy because everything was going great up until that point. A couple nights later I started seeing flashing lights. I asked my husband to google “flashing lights during pregnancy” and the first thing that popped up was preeclampsia. I called my doctor the next day and told her my concerns. She suggested that I go in and get checked out.

When I got to the clinic the nurse took my blood pressure right away. After doing so she said, “Hmm, that can’t be right. Let me try again.” After the second attempt she told me she was going to grab another nurse and have her try. Once the new nurse came in they proceeded to take my blood pressure again. Once they took it they looked at each other and immediately told me I needed to lie down. I asked if everything was okay and they told me my blood pressure was a little high but there was nothing to worry about. After about 45 minutes they sent me to have blood and urine tests done. My urine came back showing signs of protein in it. At this point we hadn’t even talked about preeclampsia. I asked my doctor if that’s what I had and she was quick to tell me no. I “wasn’t showing enough signs” for it to be. Let’s see, swollen feet and ankles, seeing flashing lights, high blood pressure and now protein in my urine. All signs of preeclampsia. I went home frustrated but my thought was, “She’s a doctor. She obviously knows more than I do.”

My next appointment came and again, high blood pressure and now even more protien in my urine. The doctor ordered an ultrasound to make sure baby was doing fine, which she was. (We didn’t find out she was a girl until she was born.) Again she told me it wasn’t preeclampsia. Having another high blood pressure reading she wanted me to go and get my own blood pressure cuff. I was told to take it throughout the day to make sure it wasn’t getting too high. Around the 31st week of my pregnancy my husband and I went to the ER with my blood pressure reading 170/110. They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and once they were confident baby was fine they sent me home. We couldn’t have been there much longer than an hour. Both my husband and I were frustrated they weren’t admitting me to be monitored more closely. We felt like we were the only ones taking this seriously. No one was listening to our concerns. At my 32 week appointment it was the same type of thing. High blood pressure, more protein. Baby was still doing fine though, so she saw no concern. And still, no preeclampsia.

About an hour after my appointment I got a call from the hospital saying my doctor had consulted with another doctor and he wanted me admitted right away for close monitoring. Finally, someone was taking this seriously!

Once admitted I felt like I could take a huge breath of relief. The new doctor came in and said he wanted to do a 24 hour urine test. I asked him what he thought was going on since my doctor said I didn’t have preeclampsia, and he responded by saying he was taken aback by the fact she said it wasn’t preeclampsia. He informed me I did in fact have preeclampsia and it was severe. As much as I didn’t want to hear that, it was nice knowing I was no longer the only person thinking that.

I stayed in the hospital for three days and two nights before being sent home on bed rest with appointments every other day. Our goal was to make it to 34 weeks.

Once our 34 week appointment came I was feeling really good. I made it to the target date and that was huge for me! I fully expected to go to my appointment and be sent home just like every other appointment. I was hooked up to the fetal monitor and everything seemed fine; baby was active as normal. The nurse came and checked on us a few times. One of the times she came in and tore off all the paper with the baby’s readings on it. She didn’t say much and I really didn’t think much of it. A bit later my doctor came in. She told me the baby’s heart rate wasn’t quite where she wanted it to be and she was no longer comfortable with the pregnancy. She told me to go home, take a nap, pack my bags and be to the hospital by 3:00pm. I was being admitted. Wow. Not at all how I planned my day!

I was admitted at 34 weeks exactly. Once at the hospital we went over the plan she had put together. They hooked me up to the monitor, and I was only allowed to leave the bed for using the bathroom. She was going to insert a foley catheter on both sides of my cervix and fill each side with saline solution to help soften my cervix before inducing me. She inserted it around 9:00pm on our first night in the hospital. It was not a fun experience and I was thankful when it was over. She told me if it fell out on its own it meant I was dilated to a four or a five, and that’s when they would induce. I woke up at 5:0 am to use the restroom and to my surprise it fell out. Yay! I was very relieved that I had dilated so quickly.

At 5:30am a nurse came in and started the pitocin. It was happening. We were (hopefully) going to meet our baby that day. Soon after they started the pitocin I started having contractions. I tried to fall back asleep so I could be rested and ready for delivery.

At 9:00am my doctor came in and told me she was going to check to see how far I had progressed. I was very hopeful I’d be dilated to at least a five if not more. As she was checking me, she informed me I was only dilated to a one. Umm, what? She said she must have inserted the foley catheter wrong and that’s why it fell out. Talk about a disappointment! I was so frustrated with both the nurse for not checking me right away, and myself for not insisting on being checked.

nicu, c-section, hospital birth

So there we were. Back to square one. They stopped the pitocin and said they were going to insert another foley catheter. This was definitely NOT something I wanted to go through again. At this point, we found ourselves playing the waiting game. Again. Almost right away I started to have really bad cramping. By 5:00pm I was in active labor. Contractions were coming roughly every 30 seconds and lasting around a minute to a minute and a half.

Now to truly appreciate (haha!) this whole situation, one needs to keep in mind that I was not allowed to get out of bed and move around. I found that to be one of the worst things. I wanted SO badly to get up and walk!

nicu, c-section, hospital birth

My doctor came in and talked to me about getting an epidural. I told her I really wanted to try a natural birth, and that I’d rather not receive it. She then informed me that my blood pressure was too high and the epidural would be the best option to help bring it down. Reluctantly, I agreed that would be best. After about a bag and a half of fluids were pumped into me in preparation for the epidural, my doctor came back saying the anesthesiologist wanted to save the epidural for the next day when I would most likely be delivering. So at that point, the epidural became a no-go. Plus, I was still in active labor.

At that point it was around 9:00pm and 12 hours after the catheter was put in. The doctor pulled on it a bit and said I wasn’t dilated yet and she wanted to leave it in. This was a bit concerning to me, because she had previously told us it could only be in for 12 hours before needing to be removed. She said it would be fine as long as they removed it after another 12 hours. Around 10:00pm they gave me a pain medication to help with my blood pressure, and to hopefully get me some much needed rest. Surprisingly, I slept really well!

At 9:00am the next morning my doctor came in to remove the catheter. She pulled on it and it came right out. She checked me and said I was dilated to a four and she could feel the baby’s head so she was going to break my water. Okay, this is it. Things are really starting to progress! After she broke my water they were having a hard time monitoring baby’s heartrate. She decided to stick a little probe in the baby’s skull that hooked up to the machine to help read baby’s heartrate better.

My contractions were really starting to pick up, so around 10:00am she put an order in for the epidural. The anesthesiologist came up around 10:45am or so to administer it. He explained what all he was doing and said if he hit a nerve it would send a shock through that side of my body. As if I wasn’t scared enough already! He said it probably wouldn’t happen and not to worry. Well, as luck may have it he hit a nerve on my right side. Talk about a surprise! After the epidural took effect the doctor wanted to check and see how far dilated I was. I was so surprised when she told me I was at a nine! We were so close!

She then went on to say, “I don’t think I’m feeling the baby’s head anymore.” Huh? She had been head down for weeks up until this point. When did she flip? We thought that maybe because the catheter was left in for so long and I was in such active labor she had nowhere to go and ended up flipping. Our doctor said she was head down when she broke my water though. At that point, she had to put an order in for an ultrasound. It was now around 11:30am and baby’s heartrate is starting to drop. They gave me oxygen and turned me on my side. I don’t remember what my blood pressure was at but it was dangerously high. They informed me that once the ultrasound tech got there and if baby was turned they would have to do an emergency cesarean right away. It was Thanksgiving Day so they didn’t have the staff they normally would and were having to call people in. Once the ultrasound tech got there (which felt like forever) he confirmed baby had flipped. Baby was sideways so when our doctor broke my water thinking she felt the ridges on baby’s head she was actually feeling her ribcage.

As if they weren’t already, that’s when things got absolutely crazy. At that point baby was in so much distress and my blood pressure was only going up. They gave me a couple pieces of papers to sign agreeing to the c-section, while they gave my husband his clothes to quickly change into. Someone hopped on my bed and started putting my catheter in as two other nurses started wheeling us toward the door. Somehow, I was able to stay surprisingly calm through all of this. My husband stayed behind as they quickly wheeled me away.

While in the OR, I had roughly 10 people all doing something different to me. Once I was cleaned and ready to go (it only took them a couple minutes) the surgeon did the pinch test to see how much I could feel. Unfortunately, I still had much more feeling than I should have had at that point. Since a nerve was hit on my right side while administering the epidural, the insert got moved more to the left and I had more feeling on my right side. The surgeon quickly told the anesthesiologist to put me under, because they didn’t have any time to push more epidural and wait for it to kick in. He put the mask on me and I knew I needed to go under as fast as I could so I took three great big breaths. He quickly removed the mask while saying my blood pressure was 187/118 and he couldn’t put me under with it being so high. I began by trying to go under, only to find myself fighting to stay awake! She did the pinch test again and asked what I could feel. I didn’t know how much I was suppose to feel with this being my first birth. I told her it felt like someone was pinching me really hard using their finger nails. I asked the anesthesiologist if I could hold his hand because my husband wasn’t there yet and at this point I needed someone. I remember him looking at the surgeon and saying, “You can’t cut yet! Give her at least another minute!” and then she said to me, “I’m sorry, sweetie, we don’t have a minute. I need to cut now!” And that’s what she did. Thank goodness my adrenalin was pumping because I think it would have hurt much worse if it wasn’t. About a minute into the surgery they finally let my husband come in. I had never been so happy to see him! About 30 seconds later we heard “cord around the neck, cord around the neck” immediately followed by the cry of our first child.

A beautiful little girl.

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They got her out in just under two minutes. She was 4lbs 4oz at birth and 18 inches long. She was perfect, ours, and worth every single thing we went through to bring her into this world. Once I knew she was born and safe is when I really started to feel more pain. I was pretty out of it due to the anesthesia, and was trying my best to stay awake. I was not going to miss seeing our daughter for the first time! Over at the table the pediatrician noticed a huge bruise on the one side of our baby. The probe our doctor thought she put in our baby’s skull to monitor her heart rate had been stuck in her ribcage which had caused it to bruise, and weep. Once she was bandaged up, my husband was able to bring her over to show me. At this point my vision was so blurry I could hardly see anything. I remember trying to close my one eye and focus the other on her as best as I could. She was able to stay in the OR for a little bit and then was taken to the ICU for closer monitoring. Once she left the room I was finally able to close my eyes and pass out.

I was brought back to my room after about an hour. I wanted so badly to see and hold our little girl! I kept asking but my nurse kept saying no. I realized I needed my rest, but I felt as though I could just as easily rest in the same room as my baby. At the very next shift change I got a new nurse who agreed to wheel my bed into the ICU and I was finally able to see our daughter! Five hours old. It was the most incredible moment.

The next day our surgeon came in and told us just how lucky we were to have our daughter. She said her cord was abnormally short, and would have been too short to deliver vaginally. She said if I would have tried pushing it would have most likely been stretched too far, and with it being wrapped around her neck would have cut off oxygen. She continued to say that if she hadn’t flipped forcing us to do a c-section, we would have most likely lost her.

There were so many things I thought were going “wrong” in the moment they were happening. Looking back, it all went perfectly.

nicu, c-section, hospital birth

nicu, c-section, hospital birth

nicu, c-section, hospital birth

nicu, c-section, hospital birth

Submitted by Lauren V. 

I Am Strong – MoMo Twins

I Am Strong – MoMo Twins

I am strong, because the day the test finally said, “Schwanger” (pregnant) was the best day of my life.

I am strong, because I had a solid plan for a natural pregnancy and birth.

I am strong, because my seven week ultrasound showed two heart beats, but only one amniotic sac.

I am strong, because for two horrible weeks they were thought to be conjoined.

I am strong, because my pregnancy vocabulary expanded to include monoamniotic monochorionic, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and cord entanglement.

I am strong, because I spent six weeks inpatient under intense monitoring.

I am strong, because I mourned my natural birth, but embraced my C-section.

I am strong, because I gave birth at 31 weeks and five days to beautiful, healthy boys.

I am strong, because I stayed another five and a half weeks in the hospital so I could room-in and bond with the boys.

I am strong because, although everyone said it wouldn’t be possible, we left the NICU exclusively breastfed.

I am strong, because in the hardest phase of my life, I chose love over fear, joy over sorrow, and was blessed with gifts greater than I could have ever imagined.


Quinlan’s Birth Story

Quinlan’s Birth Story

It took me over a month to write my son, Sawyer’s, birth story. There was so much to process. Some parts were so traumatic and others felt triumphant. I spent over a year in therapy after his birth, to work through my anger and fears associated with the violation that came with being physically and verbally assaulted through my labor. The on call OB had been very resentful of my natural birth plan when we had to transfer, due to Sawyer’s early entrance at 35 plus weeks. Knowing that the OB can no longer accept transfers and had to go through a medical board hearing gave me a small peace of mind, but many emotions were still looming over my head when we started trying to get pregnant for the second time, at 18 months postpartum.

The next month, we were pregnant. We were still nursing and I have irregular cycles due to P.C.O.S., so I was shocked that things happened as quickly as they did. I went back on the hunt for a midwife, asking many more questions this time. I was looking for someone who wasn’t afraid of a challenge, someone who could help me work through my fears, and accomplish my goal of another natural birth, despite my fears. After interviewing three awesome midwives, I met Christy, and knew she was the one, despite being the furthest away from our home.

The pregnancy was very different from my first in many ways. I was much sicker than I had been with my son and the heartburn was so intense! I tried to rest, as much as one can with a two year old, and maintained a very limited work schedule. At 23 and 29 weeks, I lost a piece of my mucous plug. It was the exact same timing as I had with my son. I opted out of cervical checks this time, hoping the lack of stimulation might help me go a little longer, but I started preparing for a possible early arrival.

We decided to do a Mother’s Blessing way this time. I felt like I could use all the support and encouragement I could get from my mama friends as time got closer. A pendant was made with positive messages and birth affirmations. There was also a lovely bead ceremony where everyone said how we met, attributes they admired, hopes for the upcoming birth, and why they chose the bead. It was one of the most emotional and spiritual things I had ever done. I feel like every woman should get the honor of being surrounded by the people they love and be uplifted by that. We strung the beads together and I wore them through the birth.

At 33 weeks, I met with a resonance re-patterning therapist who helped me clear some more of the birth fears. I had never done it before, but Christy recommended it. We met over three hours. At the end of the session she told me I needed to write down a list of affirmations and tuck them into a safe place. She said I would need them at some point in the labor to confirm that I was making the right decision, not coming from a place of fear. I didn’t think much of it and tucked it into my nearly packed birth kit.

At 34 weeks on the dot, I was scheduled to teach a makeup class to mothers. When my mother came over to keep my son, I commented that the baby felt low. The class went well and was hosted in a beautiful home. The last 30 minutes of the class, someone dropped a glass of red wine on a beautiful, white wool rug. A few minutes later, a bottle of tequila was dropped on the glass kitchen table. The bottle didn’t break, but a big hunk of the table broke off! My friend, who had hired me said, “These things come in threes! I hope your water doesn’t break!” I told her to knock on wood! We rode back out of town together and I came in to snuggle and nurse my two year old.

I felt a small gush and knew that my water had broken. It was very strange, because my son’s labor had been 60 hours and the only intervention I asked for was to break my water. I called my mother and midwife who were really hoping that it was just pee. I told them that pee doesn’t come from that particular area. I was hoping for a high tear and that maybe it would repair itself so we could stay home as long as possible. Every so often another uncontrollable gush would happen. I hopped in the shower to slow things down and collect my thoughts. I asked my husband to get in with me and he sat behind me, holding me so I could gain the strength I needed to move forward.

Contractions started coming every 45 minutes, then 30, then 15, then 3. We decided to go to the closest hospital, which also had an excellent NICU. I called one of my clients, who works as the head nurse practitioner of the NICU, and asked her to see who the doctor on call was. She told me I was in very good hands and I got ready to face my biggest fear, another hospital birth. I remembered the paper in my birth kit and read over it twice. I wiped my tears and we headed out.

When we got to the hospital, I opted to take the stairs. I think my husband and mother thought I was crazy, but I knew this labor was going much faster than my last and I needed it to move quickly before I could get caught up in my own head. I had one cervical check the whole labor. I came in the hospital at 100% effaced and 6cm dilated. My last labor, it had taken me 3 days to reach 6cm. This birth, it had taken about 3 hours.

The nurse was very pushy about paperwork and consent forms, which was a huge trigger for me, due to my last birth experience. We argued through contractions and I finally sent my mother out of the room to talk with her. Whatever she said changed the nurse’s attitude and I signed the papers not really worrying about it this time, because I knew this baby would be here soon.

I started squatting through contractions and holding onto the bed, vocalizing through the contractions. My midwife showed up around the time things started getting more intense. Since my first son was posterior until shortly before birth, the back labor was awful and everyone took turns doing counter pressure as hard as they could. This time, I did not want to be touched at all, so my poor husband, who thought he knew what to expect this time, was thrown yet another curve ball.

At some point, I got onto my hands and knees on the floor and started rocking my hips. I knew it wouldn’t be too much longer. I hadn’t met the doctor yet, and thought she might not make it in time. I pondered this for a moment and decided that it didn’t really matter, because I had the people I needed right there in the room! I decided not to say anything. Shortly after that, I got an overwhelming sensation that I had to use the bathroom. “I have to poop!” I said. My midwife grabbed a bed pad and laid it underneath me. I was squatting and felt the head moving down. Just then, a tiny piece of poop came out. My midwife looked over and said, “That is the tiniest turd I have even seen!” We both died laughing, as babies head kept moving down. My midwife asked if I could reach in and feel the head, trying to see how far away we were from go time. I got one joint of my finger in and felt the head. As I said this, my mother asked if I felt any hair. My two year old is still pretty much bald. I told her I hadn’t noticed as I was kind of busy trying to have a baby right then!

The urge to push was getting stronger and the doctor must have heard I was getting close, because she came in and was all business. Here I am, on my hands and knees, butt towards the door, and she asks me how I would like to deliver. “On my hands and knees,” I said. She showed no emotion, but told me that was fine, but we would NOT be delivering on the floor! I then looked up at the hospital bed, which had suddenly become as tall as Mount Everest. Somehow, I climbed up and it was time to start pushing.

Since my first had ended in an unnecessary third degree episiotomy against my written and verbal consent, staying on my hands and knees made me feel grounded and less vulnerable. I did not want any coaching on how and when to push and I think everyone instinctually knew that. My midwife and husband stayed by my head, holding my hands, and giving me encouragement. They helped my tones stay low, so I could harness my energy on pushing. My mother and doctor stayed at the foot of the bed, watching the baby descend. My mother was very excited to see that the baby had hair and was so ready for me to push baby out, but I stayed calm and pushed slowly and on my terms. I needed to move with my body’s instincts and did not want to tear after my last experience. I pushed through the pain and slowed things down as she was crowning. The body quickly followed the head and they cut the cord, which I was bummed about, to take her over to the NICU team.


Yes, it was a girl! We hadn’t found out the gender and were thrilled to find out she was a beautiful little girl. She weighed 4 pounds 14 oz and was 17 and ¼ inches long. She was actually bigger than her brother, who had come at nearly 36 weeks. She had some trouble breathing on her own, and I got to see her a few minutes before she began her 12 day stint in the NICU. She is now two weeks old and home with her family, nursing like a champ, and growing every day. While her birth wasn’t the dreamy, home, water birth that I had been dreaming of, it was healing in its own right. I faced my biggest fear of another hospital birth and had a beautiful birth on my own terms, in my own way. I am proud that I accomplished another natural hospital birth and that I am able to show hospital providers what birth can look like.

The Birth of Luna Pearl: A VBAC Story from Home to Hospital

The Birth of Luna Pearl: A VBAC Story from Home to Hospital


For three years I’ve wanted to send in the birth story from my first daughter, born in 2012. She was a planned homebirth, with a transfer to hospital for a cesarean section. She was posterior and asynclitic, and super stuck. I planned my second homebirth this past summer. This time a VBAC and I never felt more ready. I love birth, believe in every bit of birth and had the support of a strong, confident, loving midwife. I let go of so many things this time. Well, my water broke on July first and I never went into labor on my own. After every induction trick in the book and close monitoring by my homebirth midwife, at 56 hours post water breaking, we chose to go to the hospital for Pitocin. The hospital staff was amazing and respectful every step of the way, welcoming my husband and I, and my midwife without judgement.


I received the maximum amount of Pitocin for 11 hours and didn’t feel ANYTHING, zero pain. The morning of the 4th of July, I finally felt a contraction and my daughter was born two hours later. During labor there were absolutely no signs of distress for either of us and I gave birth to her on the birth stool in peace with my midwife, husband, sister, and best friend.


Everything felt so right. Every push was relief and I did exactly what my body told me to do. After my previous Cesarean and the torture and uncertainty of being patient with broken waters, I was finally having the experience where I could be in awe of our amazing bodies! I was able to pull my daughter up myself in a room full of happy tears.


Pretty quickly we realized she was non-responsive and as floppy as could be. She was intubated and taken to the NICU for five days, where she was on a cooling mat for three days and then received an MRI and formal EEG. The belief is, that in the last moments when her head was born, she was somehow oxygen deprived, perhaps a compressed cord. The MRI of her brain and EEG came back perfectly normal, and she is six months old today, and as beautiful and happy as can be. I wanted to believe so badly that I was the woman that could squat in a field, alone somewhere, and birth my little miracle.


For some reason, that has not been my story. I still believe so much in everything: home birth and the power of our bodies.  All though I wasn’t at home and it was absolutely nothing that I planned, I had that powerful labor and birth experience with my little moon baby this summer. There are days that I can’t help but feel resentment – Why did she come out not breathing? Especially when I hear other birth stories and there are many obvious signs of distress, long and drawn out in a rough labor, and the baby comes out kicking and screaming… Now that we can look back on her birth day, while holding a healthy, resilient little one, I’m still trying to figure out a way to disconnect the wonderful, powerful, redeeming qualities of my experience, from the terrifying experience at the very end. I’ll let you know when I gain a deeper understanding. Maybe some other mamas out there have some words of wisdom for me. For now, I would Love to share with you the beautiful photos my photographer caught and the amazing slideshow she created. I am proud of these, because I didn’t get to feel the experience of truly pushing my first daughter down and out. This time, it was so strong and real and powerful. The song “Keep Breathing” is perfect in so many ways, from beginning to end.


Thank you so much for this blog it has been my absolute go-to and number one recommendation to my mama friends for four years.

Photography done by Paige Driscoll from Santa Cruz Birth Photography. Please enjoy the video they created below:

Our Twin Miracles

Our Twin Miracles

My husband and I got pregnant right after we were married. I was told I would probably have a hard time conceiving because of ovarian problems so we decided to start early. I guess I didn’t have any problems after all.

A couple weeks after we found out I was pregnant my husband left for boot camp for the Army. The pregnancy started out well. I was shocked that I was having twins and had to tell my husband in a letter since he couldn’t talk on the phone.

When I was 6 months pregnant my husband started Advanced Individual Training and I decided to move from Oregon to Georgia to be closer to him and so he could be there when the twins were born.

When I was 28 weeks I went to the hospital for cramps and didn’t know I was in labor. They were able to stop it but I was so far along I needed to stay on bed rest at the hospital. At 30 weeks I went into labor again and this time they couldn’t stop it.

Since both babies were breech I had to have a c-section. Both girls were taken straight to the NICU and I had to wait a day to see them and then another few days to hold them. Both girls were 3 pounds. Besides being small they had no health issues. They stayed in the NICU for 7 weeks.

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The whole thing was very traumatic and stressful but they are now healthy, beautiful two year old’s. They are my little miracles.

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Emergency C-Section Picture {Husband Support in the OR}

Emergency C-Section Picture {Husband Support in the OR}

My second born son, Ryder, was brought into the world via emergency c-section due to low fluid and complications at 34 weeks gestational age- 6 weeks premature.

I went in for a routine appointment and ultrasound around 9am the morning of October 5, 2011. He was not moving or responding to outside stimulation, his heart rate was dropping every few minutes, and he was struggling in my womb, so my OB decided it was best to deliver.

He weighed 4lbs 8oz and was 17in long. My husband was my rock through the entire ordeal. He cried with me, held my hand, and took care of me like a faithful husband should.

This picture really captures the love he has for both of us and is one of my favorites. Ryder was life-fighted to a hospital 1.5 hours away 4 days after birth to be cared for in a NICU. He came home at the end of October. It was easily the hardest time of my life, but it’s made me so much stronger, as a woman, as a mother, and as a wife. I can conquer anything!



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