Friday, August 29, 2014

A Labor of Love: Meet Clarke & J.R.

Thank you TH for the best coming home present STORKS!!
It all started on Tuesday, August 12th at 6:30pm. I thought I may have had a little accident, but as I stood up to use the ladies room, I realized this clear fluid accident of sorts was still coming and I was completely unable to control was game time. As I squealed at my TH with delight, we took the necessary steps to ensure that I was in fact going into labor. Once we felt pretty confident, it was time to go through our checklists and prepare to head to the hospital. My doctor and I had agreed that I could have four to six hours at home after my membranes released before I had to head in, so I knew I had some time. My TH and I decided we would head in around 10:30 PM at the earliest. With only a few hours before we left the house, I did what any TW would do...a quick tidy/clean up of the house, showered, shaved my legs, touched up my hair and tried to finish a blog post. Once the surges started kicking up a bit my TH softly suggested that maybe I shut down the laptop and start relaxing.  Fiiiiinnnnneee, fine! We made some calls (my TM, MIL and of course, Doula Nic) and I went slowly to my bedroom, laid down as my TH lit some candles, turned on my HypnoBirthing relaxation scripts and I started to get in the zone.  I was two days shy of 39 weeks, not too bad considering I had two babies in there!

Before I knew it, I started to feel sick. I mean really sick. I yelled to my TM to grab me a bowl, I was going to vomit.  And vomit I did....(sorry, gross I know). With my nausea not going anywhere soon, I started to get pretty anxious about the car ride to the hospital. It was nearing 10:30 and the thought of even being in a moving vehicle made me feel that much sicker. I told the troops it was time to get this party really started. They loaded the passenger seat with towels, made sure we had all our bags and I held tight to my trusty bowl. We made it to Newport Beach in no time and soon my TH was wheeling me up to the floor where the magic would happen. I continued to focus on my breath and visualize myself feeling better.

As soon as I was checked in and it was confirmed I was going into labor, Doula Nic bustled around making sure the room was Hypno ready. A beautiful picture of a rose opening (supposed to represent my cervix) was placed over the clock so that my labor wouldn't be set to a time. I was just to go into my body and let it and my baby boys do what they knew how to born. With my surges coming on strong, I had the insane and overwhelming urge to push. Is it really time already?! No, that couldn't be it. But what was it?  I looked at Doula Nic with tears in my eyes and asked her what to do.  My body was telling me to push (and scream) through the surges and wasn't that what I was supposed to do?  It was the only thing that felt right. She redirected me to my breath, holding my eye contact the entire time and setting the pace for my breathing. Some of my most vivid memories of labor are looking into her eyes as we breathed as one through each surge.

Nearly 39 weeks pregnant belly!
Over the course of 12 hours I went from the bathroom, to a "polar bear" position in bed (think modified child's pose for super pregnant people) to finally being able to lie down in bed and use my body and breath to imagine that each surge was a wave crashing on the shore and trying to keep as relaxed as possible. When my doctor came in at 7:30am the next morning to check on me I knew she was going to tell me I had made incredible progress and we were ready to go. However, to my surprise I had only gone from 4 to 5 cm in 13 hours and I had a swollen cervix to boot. SAY WHAT?!  My wonderful doctor, took time to share in my disappointment and express how she fully supported my choices and my birth plan, but since my uterus had been working hard for so many hours, she was fearful that it would over work itself (like all muscles) and quit.  It was time to explore options I had NEVER thought I would have to consider; drugs and medical intervention. But after getting out a good cry, talking it through with my TH and Nic it was time to consider those "special circumstances" that HypnoBirthing prepares you for.  Before any decisions had to be made, my doctor gave me the ok to try natural methods to get things sped along. She said I had two hours to make things happen.  We used every second and were hopeful and positive, but sadly, they too didn't work.  More discussion and then I calmly said, "I am prepared to calmly meet whatever turn my birthing may take", textbook HypnoBirthing statement.

Alas, the time had come; to fully accept medical intervention. If I wanted to stay on the path of avoiding a C-section, then it was either an epidural (to let my body rest and hopefully the break would allow things to move forward) or drugs (to speed up the surges and get my body back on track). After a lot of discussion and even more tears, I decided to go with the epidural.  I had worked hard to stay relaxed for 16 hours, but I was fearful if my surges sped up anymore I wouldn't be able to stay ahead of them as I was barely staying ahead of the urge to push as it was. Once the anesthesiologist came in at 10am and gave me the epidural, I felt nothing.  I laid down, asked my Thriving Mommy to help me brush my teeth from bed and was instructed to try and get some sleep.  I did my best to relax and just wait/pray that the birth plan I had worked so hard to create and practice would finally be mine again.

The epidural that was supposed to allow my body to rest and my surges to come back naturally wasn't doing as we had hoped. It was time to introduce more medication to hopefully get my body surging again. Little by little they slowly increased the dosage in hopes my uterus would kick into gear. It didn't. Next step? Take me off the meds for 30 minutes to let my body rest then we would try again. No matter how much I put it out in the Universe that it would happen and saw my body responding to the interventions, my mommy parts were kaput. My poor uterus had been working for 24 hours straight and had no more to give. Despite my boys being strong and stable, my doctor's concerns quickly shifted from their health to mine. There was no more time to waste, there were no other options to consider. I was now getting into the territory of risking infection as well as hemorrhaging; it was time to face the most special circumstance of them all...a cesarean.

I was terrified. I was incredibly upset and felt that I had somehow been robbed of something I not only wanted more than anything, but also something I had also prepared for for MONTHS. After my third breakdown of the day, I was again reminded that part of my training was to accept special circumstances and be confident in the choices I made. So, that is exactly what I did. I accepted that I had done all I could do for myself and my boys. After 26 hours of labor, I was wheeled in where I again allowed myself to fall into a deep level of relaxation and peace. Within minutes I heard my two boys crying and full of life. I too started to cry as I was overcome with joy, relief and utter exhaustion. As they were laid on my chest and I felt their little heart beats against mine, the past 26 hours were erased and every second that had passed was all worth it.

Despite my labor not going as I had planned, I am so thankful for all I experienced. I now feel I have experienced the many stages of labor and learned so much along the way. After the boys were born we learned that my Clarke (twin A) had his cord wrapped around his neck twice, so I know now that I wasn't progressing in labor because my body was keeping him safe.  Had I gone through a natural birth as I had hoped, he would have been in distress and the outcome of a cesarean may have been the same.  No matter what happened, it all ended in the best outcome possible; a healthy mommy and two healthy babies.

JR is on the left, he is our "Old Man Winter" and Clarke is on the right, he is our "Baby Dragon"
Wednesday, August 13th at 8:06pm and 8:07pm brought two angels from my belly to my arms.  Clarke Salvador was 6 pounds, 13 ounces and 19 inches. While J.R. (Joseph Richard) came in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces and 18.5 inches. I spent a magical two hours with their soft skin pressed against my chest as we practiced nursing. We left the hospital three days later happy, healthy and complete.

I would like to give a huge, massive, enormous thank you to my doula, partner, friend and most thriving of wives, Nic. You not only took time to prepare me for this day months prior, but you kept me motivated and strong every step of the way. I will never truly be able to thank you or show you how grateful I am for all you did for myself and my family.  We are so lucky to have you and you are incredibly talented.  Your future clients are so lucky to have you by their side throughout their birth experience just as I was.  From the bottom of my heart and uterus, thank you!

I would also like to thank my amazing TH for all his support and love as well as my Thriving Mommy for making sure I was always well taken care of and never scared for one second.  I love you both so much and am so thankful to have had you by my side.

Nothing has brought me more joy than my two baby boys.  They are easily the greatest loves and the greatest accomplishment of my life.  I am the luckiest mommy in the world!

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