On the morning of Thursday, June 6th Paul and I woke at 4 am to a very clean and very quiet (sans toddler) house, excited to meet our sons. It was with a touch of bittersweet that I struggled for the absolute last day with the size of my baby bump to shower and dress. I took photos of myself in my skivvies, sensing my twin-sized belly might, for some unfathomable reason, be missed or forgotten or of lore in the future. I had barely slept and woke to an anticipation that had me holding back ridiculous grins. Today was the day. What a wonderful feeling!
The night before, my sister, Amanda, had, after venturing out with me for a pedicure (my 1st ever), drove away with Thomas in the dark to stay overnight. I had a particularly difficult time on the brink of my one last hug with my first born. We had to close the door on the season of just the three of us and I scraped up just enough maturity to actually let him physically go without melting right then and there as one hot mess of sappy love and pity and hopes for my boy.
Due to the nature of the high risk mono-di pregnancy, an induction at 36 weeks was strongly encouraged by our doctors. We had finally made it to that day, a day I hadn't envisioned making it to, and after packing up the last few items into our suitcases and my purse, I sighed relief and gratitude for an unexpected gift of carrying the twins as long as possible. That was the 1st of many unexpected blessings during the arrival of our twins.
Our induction started shaky. They accidentally had us swapped with a 7 o' clock appointment. Once that was fixed and we were settled in the labor & delivery room, my i.v. blew. Shortly after that, the nurse decided to do a quick ultrasound on the boys to double-check their positions, but the machine kept shutting down. I laughed off what seemed to be some comical bad luck so early in the morning and was ready to see if the Pitocin could get things moving.
The week prior I was 50% effaced and 1/2 cm dilated. I confided in Paul that I knew nothing had progressed. Not only was I sure of that, I had emotionally calmed to a total inner lull one week prior to the induction, knowing I would make it to the last day and that my body still wouldn't be ready. A quick check confirmed my suspicions. No progress. Same numbers. Time for the Pitocin.
Although my heart was light and Paul and I were in good spirits, the 2 by 2 increments of Pitocin, which started sometime around 8:30 that morning, brought about predictably little to none in terms of progress. My chest felt heavy when we hit 12 because we were over halfway to what I was allowed (for VBAC) and I was experiencing irregular, moderate contractions that only served up enough discomfort to simulate a superbly full bladder.
The time had come for me to let hopes for the VBAC go. My goal for this birth was to experience everything to its fullest in the moment, to be at peace, and to choose joy. So it was that just a few hours after arriving at the hospital I let a few tears fall while confiding in the nurse my specific fears about going into my 2nd c-section: recuperating from surgery with twins, not getting another chance at a VBAC, and (my greatest fear) someday listening to a doctor tell me I couldn't get pregnant again. I turned to Paul and told him I knew it wasn't going to happen and that while we would ride out the rest of the power of the Pit, I would be preparing my heart for meeting our boys via surgery.
Paul didn't get to coach me through contractions. He didn't rub my back while I labored on top of a ball or groaned next to a bed. But he was the best darn coach I could have ever dreamed of. He told me jokes, listened to me, showed me his love, and fulfilled, as my best friend, my ultimate goal of showing up and being fully present in our experience. We talked and laughed and made a time of it. When we reached 18 or 20 on Pit we were standing next to my bed, closely tethered to machines due to monitoring of the boys. I asked Paul to go to my purse and find the letter I had written to him, the contents of which were meaningful and intimate, a wife's charge to grab life by the horns. He held my hand and we watched random contractions rise and fall on the monitor as he finished the letter. The timing of him reading the last line which read "let's do this!" was uncanny considering it was just a matter of minutes later that our nurse rushed in and immediately started lowering my bed, urging me to get on it as soon as I could physically do so.
We were closer to meeting our boys than we knew.