Caden Alexander Nash
It was a cold Friday evening January 18th. The weekend had been planned out to have a January Christmas celebration with my sister and brother and their families. We started out by meeting at the Depot downtown Minneapolis for some ice-skating fun. I watched and took pictures of course! After the Depot we went over to the Old Spaghetti Factory down the street for dinner. Our waiter had served our drinks and would soon be taking our orders for dinner when I heard a “pop.” Time started moving very slowly and my mind raced. Could it be that my water broke? I grabbed my purse and rushed to the restroom. It didn’t take long to be absolutely sure that my water had indeed broke. Relieved that I had avoided having a scene in the dining area of the restaurant, I huddled in a bathroom stall and quickly called my husband, Corey. I told him “Don’t order anything…we have to go and we have to go now.” He agreed to meet me outside of the restroom. I waited until I stopped gushing. My sister came in to check on me and then she helped me to the lobby to wait for Corey to bring the minivan around to the door.
Now I needed to contact my birth team and get them ready for action. My primary midwife, Paula, from Morning Star Birth Center was out of the country. She left instructions with me about contacting the “backup” team. So, I called my midwife Rachel and left a page. I called my birthing center contact Erin and left a message. My husband picked me and my sister up with the minivan. I finally got a live person on the phone when I called my backup primary midwife, Jessica. She told me that the birth center plan wasn’t panning out the way we had hoped and to talk to Rachel for more details. We dropped my sister and our firstborn son Griffin’s car seat off at my sister’s hotel so she could rejoin her family at Old Spaghetti Factory. Corey and I went to our home to finish packing our hospital bags. Finally, I heard from Rachel and she confirmed that the birth center was no longer an option. Erin called and said that she would meet us at the hospital. She also mentioned that the backup doctor wouldn’t be our first backup (the primary backup doctor being the husband of the primary midwife, Paula, was also out of the country) or our second backup (a doctor that the first doctor lined up in his absence was out of town for the weekend). Our doctor would be a family practice doctor on call that night. Erin assured us was a stroke of luck because she thought that he was better than the second string doctor. I was beginning to feel a little nervous that I was now going to the hospital instead of the birth center. Next I needed to contact my doula. My doula, Jessie, was on vacation in Florida with her family. For several minutes I fumbled through my phone contacts trying to remember my backup doula’s name. I figured it out and called my backup doula Rita and found out that she was still too sick to attend and she needed to find a backup doula. We arrived home. Next the Doctor called us from the hospital to introduce himself and assess our situation the best he could. I handed the phone over to my husband and scurried along to finish the packing between the now present contractions. On the phone with my husband, the Doctor let us know that he had not delivered twins before and asked my husband if we were comfortable with that. My husband replied to the Doctor “Are you comfortable with that?” the Doctor was comfortable with that. Rita called back and said her regular backup was not available either, but we were going to be happy with the doula she did find for us, Emme. This would be my team my husband Corey, a midwife in training from the birth center, Erin, my backup backup backup backup doctor, and my backup backup backup doula, Emme. We would all be meeting at my backup location, the Red Cedar Medical Center in Menomonie, Wisconson.
We were about to leave in the minivan, when the Christmas party arrived at my house from Old Spaghetti Factory. Oh I wish I had been able to eat at the restaurant! I put my cold toast and some yogurt in the van. Honestly, I was relieved to see all of them because I felt sad for not saying “Goodbye” and “I love you!” to my two and a half year old son, Griffin. We said goodbye to our son and family and pulled away from the house. the Doctor calling again. He was checking our progress again and wanted to finish talking to me. He asked me if I was comfortable with the fact that he had never delivered twins before. I thought to myself about how I read in Ina May Gaskin’s book about women knowing what to do and listening to my body and trusting my body. I really felt that I could do this myself and that the doctor would be there for more “options” “safety net” purposes. I told Dr Sorenson that I was comfortable with that. Then we talked about how “baby B” might be breech. I asked him if he was comfortable delivering the second baby breech. He told me that he had been reading about that and found that in many cases breech delivery of the second twin statistically was a good possibility. He also strongly stated that I needed to be open to making tough decisions quickly if something went “wrong.” I told him that I was prepared and I just wanted a chance…that is all I ever wanted for this day…a chance.
It was about 10:30PM when we left our home. The drive ahead of us from the northern suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota to Menomonie, Wisconsin would be about 90 minutes. We discussed which roads to take and took a little time making sure we were on the same page about who and where. We made one stop to get gas on the East side of St. Paul. Shortly after that I picked up my iPod and started listening to my Hypnobabies “Special Place” track. I held my husband’s hand and squeezed his hand during each contraction. I chose this track because I remembered that I could meet up with my babies there and we could all “wait” together until we got to the hospital. I felt peaceful and excited through my track. When it was done I opened my eyes expecting to be 30 minutes or so away from our freeway exit. I was delighted to find out that our freeway exit was the next one! The contractions were beginning to feel a little uncomfortable sitting there in my minivan. My husband somehow was able to keep his cool through all of this. He wasn’t excessively speeding, but he did show some concern because my contractions had been consistently coming every three minutes for the last half hour. We drove through Menomonie and arrived at the ER entrance to the hospital (per their instructions because it was so late at night.)
It was just after midnight when we pulled up to the hospital. Erin was just walking up to the door. I was glad to see her familiar face. Besides my husband, Erin was the only other person that I had previously met. I had sat down with her for a couple of hours a couple of weeks before today. The ER nurses were expecting me. They offered me a wheelchair, but I opted to walk. We walked slowly toward Labor and Delivery as Corey parked the van and then caught up with us. We were greeted warmly by the nurses and the Doctor when we arrived. They guided us to a regular birth room (not an O.R.) and began to talk about the status. My husband dug out our birth plan. We started talking about IV, O.R. and antibiotics since I had tested positive for Group B Strep. Emme arrived and introduced herself to us and started looking over my birth plan. I said yes to IV because I hadn’t really had much for fluids at the ice arena, the restaurant, at home or in the minivan. It took them three tries and two nurses to get one in place. I opted to stay in this nice birthing room and only go to the O.R. if absolutely necessary. I was undecided about the antibiotics. In my mind I was thinking that I wouldn’t have enough time to run the whole course of antibiotics during labor. At about 12:30AM the doctor asked if he could check my cervix. It was assumed posterior “out of reach.”
Not being too discouraged by my cervix’s status, I was prepared to keep moving around as much as possible, keep hydrated and tell my cervix to open. And that is what I did. I stood, I sat, I rocked, I swayed. The only time that I spent sitting still was when the nurses came to position my two external monitors time and time again. I had remembered the bit of advice about opening my mouth to open my cervix and that I could tell my cervix to open…I didn’t have to wait and wonder and worry. Also, I was using my Hypnobabies finger-drop technique to relax through the contractions. At about 2:00AM the doctor checked my cervix again. I am at 7-8 centimeters! Things started getting more and more intense. I thought that I should probably listen to my Hypnobabies Birthing Day tracks. I turned on my iPod and quickly decide that the pacing on the track doesn’t match where I was in my birth process and give up on trying to listen to the track. I found that the finger-drop technique and a feeling of quiet confidence was enough for me to continue on. I am still amazed that I am at the hospital, in a regular labor room, birth plan respected all the way and only having a nurse or two and a doctor in my room with me. This was what I had originally envisioned. By 2:40AM I escaped the whole annoying external monitors slipping and not working by excusing myself to the bathroom. Still feeling delighted that I was progressing quickly (just like my Hypnobabies Affirmations track told me I would), I reminded myself to rejoice in this moment because my babies would be born very very soon. I laughed, behind closed doors and with my husband at my side, I laughed!
After exiting the bathroom, I knew that I felt a lot different than when I had entered. I started feel that the babies would be here soon. I felt really uncomfortable in positions that previously felt good to me. I remembered that shaking my hips and doing belly dance like moves can be helpful for discomfort. Shortly I am feeling that getting ready to push and the Doctor is brought back into the room. It is now 2:50AM and I am 10 centimeters! Again, respecting my requests, I am helped into an upright pushing position on the hospital bed. With my hands over the top of the bed I knelt and pushed with each contraction (and sometimes a little without a contraction). At 3:13AM Caden Alexander is caught by the Doctor. Corey is allowed to hold Caden while he is dried off. Caden’s cord is cut by Corey after it stops pulsing. I was feeling very satisfied with myself and everyone around me and eager to hold my new little boy. I am able to hear the Doctor and nurse converse about wanting to check me again and wanting to be able to “see” this breech “baby B” during delivery. I could feel a little tension building as everyone seemed possibly nervous and unsure about this breech delivery. I was prepared for this request, but it was never “requested” as I simply just turned to help everyone to do their part. As I turned my second water broke and it felt like this baby just slammed into the birth canal. Disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to hold Caden before I birthed his brother, I tuned into the intense contractions that I was now feeling with “baby B.” the Doctor stated that “baby B” may be footing breech. “Baby B’s” heartbeat starts to drop and the Doctor states that this baby needs to come out with this next contraction. I was worried, but calm. I started pushing quietly and when the contraction came I bared down and pushed through and after the contraction until Rohan William is caught by the Doctor at 3:28AM. Rohan came out foot and rump together. His heartbeat picked up within a few seconds and he let out a cry to let us know he was fine. Finally after about 15-20 after his birth, I get to hold Caden and offer him my breast. Corey in the meantime was now holding Rohan. Cord clamped and cut Rohan was taken to the warmer with Corey at his side. Corey, still standing by Rohan, holds Caden again while I focus on birthing the placenta. It was a single huge, fused together placenta in fine condition. Once again I am able to hold Caden and he latches on to nurse. Dr Sorenson repairs my 2nd degree tear. At about 4:00AM I am able to hold Rohan at about 30minutes old and he latches to nurse.
By 6AM we are moved to a postpartum room and settling in for the next couple of days. Without the antibiotics during labor, the Doctor urged us to stay for “wait and see” symptoms just in case. We complied willingly especially after all of the respect that we were given by the Doctor over the last few hours. That night we met some of the most incredible people we have ever known, the doctor, the doula, Caden, Rohan and hypnobirthing mama Dina. Amazing and Unforgetable!!
January 19, 2008 3:13AM
6# 13 oz
January 19, 2008 3:28AM
7# 11 oz
Another part of my “birth story” that should be told is about my prenatal care. I started seeing the midwife group at HCMC in Minneapolis about 12 weeks into my pregnancy. I thought that I had asked all the right questions about “can do” and “can’t” hospital policy issues to make sure that they were a great fit for me. I had a doula lined up already. I knew I was doing Hypnobabies for “pain management.” I received the Hypnobabies home study curriculum and started the program. Right away – prenatally – I gained benefits from following the Hypnobabies course. I felt great. I got good sleep. I was in good spirits, when before I was just beside myself…mostly because I was freaking out that I was having twins and partially resenting them because of the birth option trouble that carrying twins was bringing me. I wanted a chance to birth not just vaginally, but also naturally. Hypnobabies reinforced that desire and helped me make a birth plan; one that I would soon start having difficulty with. After 20 weeks I started having to visit during “high risk” day with the midwives, and then some of the answers to my questions began to change. It got worse as I started directly asking things that were on my birth plan draft. I was told that I would comply if I didn’t want to put my babies in harm’s way. I was told that I would have been able to make those requests, except for the fact that I was birthing twins. I was told that I didn’t understand the risks. I was told that midwife nurses didn’t know how to handle my situation so I would have to labor in the regular labor and delivery rooms. I was told that I would have to have 14 people in my room (counting my husband and doula). Due to the number of people required by hospital policy at my birth, I would be moved from my room to a nearby operating room when I was ready to push. Constant monitoring would be mandatory from the time I got there. An I.V. would be mandatory. Moving around would be allowed, but limited. My “Twin B” had been spotted in a breech position in the most recent ultrasound and the breech delivery was not sounding good. The midwife wouldn’t be allowed to do a breech delivery. It would have to be done by probably the chief of OB (a very confident and “policy driven” woman). Also, especially with a “risky” breech delivery, an epidural would be recommended so that I could easily have an emergency c-section if necessary. I was told all this while also being told that I was healthy, my babies were healthy, my blood pressure was great, and I was handling a twin pregnancy very well. My health and the normalcy of my pregnancy apparently had no bearing on how they were going to treat me. The last three visits I had at HCMC were stressful and tearful. I would call my doula afterward looking for her strength and thoughts. I would use my finger drop to calm myself down so that I didn’t have to worry about my blood pressure being high while I was at the stressful visit. At what turned out to be the final visit I felt compelled to abandon the HCMC group and look for an alternative. It was the last straw. The moment that I had to argue with my supposed midwife about using an upright position for delivery, I knew that this wasn’t going to work. She stated that it just wouldn’t be allowed. She admitted that this was mostly for the benefit of the midwife and doctor, so they would be able to see everything and monitor my progress. That was it. I knew my birth was no longer my birth. My input wasn’t considered valuable and my midwife/doctor team certainly would not be listening to my instinct and my body. I feared intervention. I could no longer trust my midwife or anyone from that midwife group. My doula took my decision to leave HCMC in stride. She still felt I had choices. Home birth came back into the spectrum. My doula suggested a new option that she had recently discovered – going over the Minnesota/Wisconsin border to a stand-alone birth center. I agreed, visited the website, and called the birth center immediately. I visited with Paula over the phone to get a feel for her willingness to take me on “last minute.” My first visit with Paula at Morning Star Birth Center was the first week in January. I was about 35 weeks along. Everything she offered seemed to be a dream come true. I quickly clung to this new path. The only gap in the new plan was some planned out of town travels of Paula and her doctor husband. I did meet her husband once at the hospital to register there as it was my backup plan. I totally did not expect to give birth at 37 weeks. I totally did not expect to make completely new plans on the day of my labor. But the important thing was that I fought to find the right people and the right place and in the end it all worked out. Interestingly enough, I had originally envisioned a hospital birth that was respectful, natural, and problem free – and that’s what I got!