I keep assuming that my experiences this pregnancy will be similar to the ones I had in my singleton pregnancies. I have been wrong over and over again. My first Ob appointment was no exception… totally different.
My Dr. started my first visit by saying ” I know since you’ve done this three times you feel like you’re an expert, but you’ve never been pregnant with twins”. He then went through a whole list of ways this pregnancy would be different: 2 gestational diabetes tests, more weight gain, more caloric demands, no more running, more appointments, more ultrasounds. None of those phased me. Then he hit me with “Now you know you’ll have to labor and deliver in the OR and you’ll have to have an epidural.”
He then went on to explain that he understood how I felt about having natural births, but I needed to get comfortable with a very different experience “For the safety of the babies”. When I asked if I could try laboring without an epidural he said that it was my choice but “he’d just put me under when it was time for my C-section”
I literally didn’t know how to respond. So I didn’t.
With each of my births I have used less and less intervention. W’s had the works: pitocin, epidural, the Dr. broke my water, and constant monitoring. G’s had a little less. O’s was intervention free: My water broke at home, no pain meds, no IV, and intermittent monitoring. I am proud of and happy with all of my births. They each resulted in a healthy baby. One of my friends asked me recently why I prefer natural birth. I explained to her that she competed in triathlons and I had babies. I love the challenge of getting through the pain and watching what my body can do. I am seriously weird in that I look forward to labor.
When I found out I was pregnant this time my husband and I decided that we’d like to use a midwife and deliver at a free standing birth center. He’s an ob/gyn so this decision didn’t come easily for us. We talked and talked and read and read. We felt confident in our decision. Then we found out it was twins and our plans changed. We agreed that we both felt safer having the babies at a hospital. We felt better knowing that if something did happen we’d have experts on hand to help and we wouldn’t have to waste time getting to a hospital.
So here’s my dilemma: How much intervention is needed in order to be responsible? I had already happily come to terms with delivering in a hospital. I’d also decided that I could deal with having to labor and deliver in the O.R., but is having an epidural really necessary? Also, why is my Dr assuming I’ll have to have a C section? And telling me he’ll “just put me under”? is he being flippant?
All I want is the CHANCE to have these babies vaginally without an epidural. Is that being irresponsible?
I’ve had one more visit with Dr. Doom (my new name for him) since the awful first one. I didn’t have the nerve to bring up our discussion. I didn’t ask any questions and realized I was smiling and shaking my head a lot. If you asked him I’m sure he’d say the visit went fine. I left the appointment feeling like I either need to find a new Dr. or have a very open conversation with him. Neither of those options sound particularly fun.
Per my usual I have launched into research mode. I’ve questioned other twin moms about their experiences, I’ve read all I can find on birthing multiples, and I have talked with my husband and a midwife friend about their approaches to delivering twins. I’ve learned a lot and in the end I think I’ve realized that I still need to know more. So much of this decision to birth vaginally or by C section and with what interventions is dependent on my babies.
Right now my plan is to become comfortable with not knowing how I will give birth to these babies. This is very hard for my type A uber organized self. I still want the chance to deliver naturally, but I won’t dig my heels in and refuse other options. I think being open is the only responsible choice.
Talk to me about your birth experiences. Anyone deliver their babies naturally? How much intervention did you find was truly necessary? Would you change anything about your birth?
Elizabeth lives in Central Texas with her husband and 3 sons. She is 13 weeks pregnant with twins.