My water broke at 5:15pm Thursday, as I was IMing with Ben, who was on his way home from work. I had been nursing Iris some, and we'd both just had a couple hours of nap. There was a weird crack and pop feeling and sound inside me, and it took a minute to figure out what had happened. I told Ben and Stefan, and then started getting things done: I took in and put away the laundry, installed the babies' carseats, watered the garden, fed the cats, packed an overnight bag for Iris, put my phone on to charge and packed up the camera, and helped Stefan get started on some spaghetti for dinner. Somewhere in there, contractions were picking up, but I kind of figured I was in for a long night, and we shouldn't even head off to the hospital until the evening rush hours were over.
Ben got home around 6:30, and Stefan said we should head over to the hospital right then. Eventually, I realized he was right and drank a glass of milk in lieu of dinner. We got in the car, and he drove us to BART.
There was a train right at the station when we got there, and it even had empty seats. On the ride over, I had a contraction pretty much at every stop, and a couple in between. I remember thinking, "Oh this sucks. Why did I do this? I don't want to be in labor ever again, and I can't believe I've got to get 2 babies out."
We got over to SF, and Ben offered to call a cab, but walking felt a little less bad than sitting still, so we walked the half mile or so to St. Luke's.
When I got there, all the L&D rooms were full, so they stuck me in the recovery room at first. Nurse Alex checked my soaked pad with pH paper, and got some monitors hooked up around my huge belly. Of course it's amniotic fluid, babies' hearts are chugging along, and I'm having angry, spiky contractions every couple of minutes. She asks if I have a birth plan, and I say, "vaginal, no drugs, and I want to hold the babies ASAP". But I was thinking to myself that knocking me out and slicing me open sounded pretty appealing and why was I so stubborn about this? I decided to try pushing a little during the contractions to see if it helped a little, because they hurt. It did, and I felt the first baby move down some. I whispered this to Ben during a moment when the nurse has left the room. I felt like I didn't want to tell anyone official because I really don't want a cervical check or coached pushing right then.
Dr. Tran, who is on loan from UCSF comes in to talk to me. There's some quick ultrasound to see if the twins are still both vertex. They are, of course. He goes on about how the second one might turn after the first comes out, and I might need a c-section anyhow, so I should be in the OR. "No, I want to be in a labor and delivery room." That's okay, but I do need an IV placed, just in case. Fine with me. Dr. Tran says something about my PhD and asks what it's in. "Microbiology." He wants to know more specifics. "I don't want to talk about it right now!"
An L&D room opens up, and we waddle over there. I immediately avail myself of the bathroom, because I feel like I've got to poop, and I'm not sure whether that's because there's actual poop in addition to the baby who's about to come out. There is some actual poop, and yeowtch! it hurts. It's got to come out first, because there's no way it and baby can come out at the same time.
After that, I give Ben my underwear and climb up on the bed on all 4s. I've still got my shirt, bra, and skirt on. Nurse Alex comes and tries to put an IV in my left hand, but the vein blows out. She gets one in on the right, and then I let her know, "I think the first baby is crowning." I feel this really weird sensation of a lot of little movements where her head an body are. Maybe she was turning some?
Immediately people come running in, and there's talk about anesthesia on standby and get a cart, and we need the ultrasound. Dr. Tran tells me "Don't push." I say I am pushing. He asks Ben if he wants to help, and tells him to get gloves on. I ask if they can delay clamping the babies' cords until the stop pulsing. They're fine with doing that for the second baby, but not the first. I'm just pushing in little pushes and the baby's head is coming out slowly and it hurts it hurts it hurts. And then it's out. The rest of her came pretty quickly in the next push or two.
She gets whisked over to the warmer and rubbed down. There's more quick ultrasound, and the second baby has managed to stay head down, hooray! Somebody, I think the midwife Emily, checks to see that my cervix is still open. It is, of course.
I turn over to sitting and keep asking to hold her. It's probably only a couple of minutes, but the feel long. And then I'm holding a little bundle of blankets with a hat on with my baby in there somewhere. She's quietly alert and looking around and so tiny. I think about nursing her, but then I get a contraction. And another.
I think I started pushing with the next one, and I feel the next head move down. Another and his head is out. And then there's something about the heartrate and the midwife asks me to quickly give a big push for the rest of his body.
He's out, and I get to hold him right away before they clamp the cord or anything. He's not crying quite as much as they want, and there's some suctioning with the snot sucker. The midwife notices that his cord has stopped pulsing, and clamps and cuts it. Except that she was wrong and it sprays blood all over her face, me, and the boy.
I get the girl back and we try some nursing. She immediately gets the hang of it. The boy took a little longer to catch on, but he soon got the hang of it too. Cool!
Then it's time to get the placentas out. I give a good, hard push, even though I feel no urge to, and the midwife pulls a little on the cords. They come out as one big, fused mass, and everything is intact. They ask if I'm okay with a shot of pitocin, and considering the hemorrhaging I had last time, I'm game for anything that keeps me from losing too much blood and whatever choice of action is least likely to result in the manual removal of blood clots from my uterus.
After a little examining, the midwife announces that I have no tears. I get a second shot of pitocin in my thigh, since I'm still bleeding more than they'd like and somewhere in the midst of everything, my IV lock fell out.
I'm shaky and shivering, but in good enough shape to walk to the bathroom. Nurse Alex gets me cleaned up and into the mesh panties and pad. My clothes are a complete mess, so I wear a hospital gown for a little while.
Ben and I each hold a baby and marvel over the whole thing. He makes a bunch of phone calls. Stefan and Iris come visit. Iris loves the babies' tiny, soft, squishy feet and keeps asking to see them. We're all moved to a recovery room on the 5th floor. Nurse Alex is about to take off for the night, and mentions how amazing that whole birth was and that if I'm going to have another baby, we should do it at home, because we know what we're doing. Iris asks to hold a baby once we're settled in, and she does a really good job of it. I get Iris pottied, diapered, pajamaed, and brush her teeth. She's amazingly cooperative throughout all this, until she realizes that only she and Stefan are going home and I'm staying at the hospital without her.