Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Twin Tuesday: Evelyn and Olivia's Birth Story

Here's the birth story of our two precious baby girls, Evelyn and Olivia. They joined big sister Madi (birth story here) making us a family of five. :-)

Wednesday, July 8th

We headed to the hospital for our 9 am appointment to discuss induction. (Norway likes to deliver twins at 38 weeks.) We were still torn on what to do regarding induction. We spoke with the doctor about our previous birth experience and hesitation about pitocin and breaking my water to initiate labor. He was very reassuring in telling us they avoid breaking the water now and use pills to induce labor taking 2-3 days in a slower and more natural process. After doing an internal exam he told us we still had three options: break my water (but not recommended), start taking the pills, or try stripping my membranes. We opted for the third choice.

They explained that we will still need to come back to the hospital the following evening (so Thursday, July 9th at 7:00 pm) to start the pill if labor hasn't initiated on its own before then. We will stay in the hospital hotel that evening and see if things begin. The next day (Friday, July 10th) we will be admitted to the hospital and need to take the pills every couple of hours to start labor.

They also did a quick ultrasound to check that both babies heart rates were good and they were moving and had enough fluid around them. They also did another non stress test to check movements. Both were great and the babies were doing wonderful.

Jason dropped me off at home after the appointment and we updated our family on the plan forward.

Thursday, July 9th

We checked back in at 7:00 pm with the Labor and Delivery ward. They did another non-stress test and the midwife talked about breaking my water. She said we would have to start the pitocin drip 2-3 hours after breaking my water and that was in conflict with what we'd experienced before and what we wanted to avoid. We told her we didn't want to do that and would like to try the pessary pill first and check into the hotel. I was dilated about 5 cm at this point.

When we went to check-in at the hospital hotel we learned that they had accidentally made the reservation for the previous night and not Thursday night. The hotel was completely booked. They made arrangements for me to stay at the hospital in a shared room on the 7th floor (the natural birth delivery floor) and I had to say goodbye to Jason for the evening. Throughout the night I was getting contractions, but nothing regular. They also seemed more intense when I was laying on my sides rather than walking around so I didn't get much rest that evening.

Friday, July 10th

They told Jason to be back at the hospital by 8:00 am for a check. I got hooked up to the monitors for a third non stress test. Both babies were still looking great! Jason and I talked and we decided that if I was still at 5 cm that we would go ahead and break my water. The oral pill that they can start to help induce is similar to the pessary I'd already had and they both are just intended to ripen the cervix, which mine already was.

Our midwife on Friday was a God-send. The one the previous night was incredibly nice, but didn't speak very good English and scared us when she started talking about breaking the waters right away since that wasn't the same discussion we'd had on Wednesday. We did find out that the hospital policy is to start pitocin 3-6 hours after breaking the water. We prayed that when she broke my water we would get regular contractions and not have to use the pitocin drip.

Fortunately our prayers were answered! After Elsa, our midwife, broke my water around 9:15 am, I started getting very regular (2-4 min) contractions of pretty good intensity. They continued for sometime and I used the laughing gas to help alleviate stress on the more intense ones. Once Elsa was comfortable with the regularity of the contractions and their intensity she called for the epidural to be administered. (It's standard in Norway to receive one with twins in case something happens after delivery of Baby A and they need to get Baby B out quickly.)

I received the epidural around 10:30 am, but was still having some lower right back pain and continued using the laughing gas during some of the contractions. Around 12:30 Elsa wanted to check and see how far dilated I was. When I moved forward in the bed, Elsa noticed that my epidural was bleeding. She called for the anesthesiologist to return to check it and try to fix it. She said it would take 15-20 min, but tried to give me a little "boost" on it to help. I was dilated 8 cm at this point.

By 12:50 pm I was 10 cm dilated but Baby A wasn't far enough down the birth canal to begin pushing. Things started to get a bit hectic at this time. When you deliver twins there are two doctors, two midwives, and two baby nurses in the room. We ended up having three doctors, two midwives, and two baby nurses. The doctors came in to setup the ultrasound and discuss who would have what role during delivery. Since Baby B was head down, someone's job was to hold my stomach and guide her down into the birth canal after Baby A was delivered. Another doctor would monitor Baby B via ultrasound to make sure she wasn't in distress and check her position before she was delivered. The other doctor would pull Baby B out if she was breech. Our midwife Elsa would deliver Baby A with the assistance of the other midwife.

By 1:20 pm, I felt like I was ready to push. This was a bit quicker than everyone was expecting and it was a scramble to get everyone back into the room. Evelyn Grace (Baby A) was born at 1:24 pm. The ultrasound showed that Baby B had turned breech so the doctor reached inside to get a hold of her feet and pull. She worked her a good bit pulling her torso out and then each shoulder, however, she couldn't get her head. She tried multiple times moving her around, but she wouldn't budge. I recall one of the doctors telling us that they would need to use forceps to deliver her safely. Olivia Ann (Baby B) was born at 1:28 pm.

I got to hold Olivia first while they were checking Evelyn. Jason's encouragement to focus on Evelyn's cries and that it would be over soon was what helped get through the last bit of pushing. I held Olivia while I delivered the two placentas and the midwives and doctors checked me. The forceps had caused tearing and I needed to be stitched up. They also felt that the size of my uterus required receiving the pitocin drip to contract it back down so they got those setup and going.

I was able to hold and feed Olivia first and then hold and feed Evelyn second. My first thought at seeing them was we were not going to have any trouble telling the apart! Evelyn is the spitting image of her Daddy and Olivia looks like her big sister Madison. :-)

                           Evelyn Grace Stingerie                                            Olivia Ann Stingerie
                    Born Friday, July 10th at 1:24 pm                           Born Friday, July 10th at 1:28 pm
                      2905 grams (6 lbs, 6.5 ounces)                                3180 grams (7 lbs, 0.2 ounces)
                             48 cm (18.9 in) long                                                 47 cm (18.5 in) long
                  33 cm (13.0 in) head circumference                         35 cm (13.8 in) head circumference

Darcy's thoughts on the birth:
I felt like overall we were much better prepared to question why things were being done and advocate for ourselves more than we did with Madi's birth. I was grateful we didn't break my water Thursday night and waited until Friday. I cannot express how grateful I am for Elsa our midwife. She truly made a huge difference in our birth experience! Madi's delivery was so long we cycled through three midwives and to have Elsa the whole time was truly a blessing.

I am also incredibly grateful that we did not have to use the pitocin drip to speed up delivery. I am glad that we had the epidural in place since Olivia turned breech. But the thing I am most thankful about regarding the delivery is that we were in Norway. Statistically speaking, my chances of a vaginal delivery with twins in the States were incredibly low. I am so grateful that they would deliver breech here and that both babies were born vaginally. Overall, it was a much better birth experience than our first, but dang, it would be nice to deliver without stitches! ;-)

Jason's thoughts on the birth:
As Darcy said I think we were much better prepared with what questions to ask and what we were comfortable doing. With Madi I felt like we were rushed into some things that we probably would have done differently. I think it could have gone the same way this time had we broken her water on Thursday like the midwife wanted to. Everyone that was there on Friday was great, listened to our questions and concerns and explained what they were going to be doing clearly. When they checked Darcy at 12:30 this was 3 hours from when they broke her water, had she still been at 5 cm they would have started the pitocin drip at that point. We are thankful that she had progressed to 8 cm by then and everything went very quickly after that. The Dr's and midwifes were very organized and had prepared everything ahead of time and explained what was going to happen to both of us. They were surprised things had progressed so quickly after their first visit but I feel everything went smoothly once they got back into the room. Being in Norway for the birth was a huge blessing and I'm thankful that this is one of the few countries that still train their Dr's in doing a breech delivery. Things would have been a lot different had they rushed Darcy off for an emergency c-section once they noticed Olivia had flipped breech. I'm so glad that the twins have arrived and am amazed at how tiny they are. I've already told them multiple times not to grow up so quickly, but judging by how poorly their big sister listened to this we're going to have two 2 year olds before we know it.

Now get ready for baby picture overload as we introduce you to our precious little ones, Evelyn and Olivia. :-)

And lastly, a video to capture some of this cuteness! Welcome to the family baby girls!! :-)

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