After my visit to Labor and Delivery on the 29th every day felt like we were on red alert. We tried to distract ourselves by working on projects so they’d be ready for when the girls came. I reupholstered the cushions for our rocking chair and Jason painted the frame. On the 6th Jason decided we needed further distraction and wanted to take me to the open house for the Provo City Center Temple. He had volunteered as an usher a few weeks ago but hadn’t gone on the full tour yet. I was hesitant; I wanted to go and see it too but it was so much walking and standing in line…I wasn’t sure if I was up to it. But after a little convincing I agreed to go.
We didn’t have tickets and the standby line was supposed to be only an hour’s wait. No…didn’t work out that way. I was whiney and miserable. I hadn’t stood on my feet for that long without a break for a few months and my poor pregnant body wasn’t happy about it. But about an hour and a half in I took off my jacket and lo and behold, the giant belly was now distinguishable and ready to work it’s magic! Within minutes a sweet family approached us offering their extra tickets. Sweet little angels! Jason and I did have a laugh about it though…why hadn’t we thought of that earlier? My coat hid my belly but without it I started getting a lot of people asking when I was due and what I was having etc.
The temple is GORGEOUS. We loved getting to see it. Jason and I both grew up going to the Provo Tabernacle frequently so seeing its transformation into a House of the Lord was very special to us. We also feel strongly that one of these twins will get married there someday. We’ll see! Anyway, because the belly was out and doing its job, Jason and I got to take the elevators. Hallelujah! I needed that. However…somehow, we missed the elevator at one point and were corralled into the tight spiral staircase of one of the towers. I thought I could handle it and I didn’t want to have to shuffle backwards with the oncoming crowd so up we went. Mistake! I got to the top and immediately had to sit down. Again, hadn’t gone up that many stairs in months so I was winded and I also felt pain and tightness all over. We found a bench and I took my time to catch my breath. The line of visitors filed past us and more than one group had things to say. Yes, thank you I’m ok. No, I don’t believe I’m in labor. Yes, this would be a great place to go into labor. Yes, it would be a cool story if I had my baby at the temple. Thank you, fellow mom, for telling me I can do this and good for me for making it this far. It was slightly embarrassing but also really funny. I shudder to think about if I HAD had the twins at the temple…I would not have handled that well!
As we were walking back to the parking lot I was very aware of how low Ella was in the birth canal, more so than I had felt before. It was almost like she was chaffing my legs, that’s how aware of her I was. We figured it was probably from the walking and the stairs and decided to keep a very close eye on it and for any other weird symptoms incase I had triggered labor.
The next day I could still feel how low Ella was but nothing else was new. I jokingly texted my nurse sister about it and how I was surprised Ella hadn’t just slid out at this point since she was so low. Well, nurse sister informed me that that IS a thing and babies can in fact slide on out like comical scenes in movies portray. What?! I had NO idea. Why do the movies lie? First the water breaking thing, now this…how dare the media do this to me! Ha! Anyway, sister was very concerned. She’s a float nurse who works with Mother/Baby, NICU, and Pediatrics and that day she happened to be at UVRMC working in the NICU. She consulted with her other nurse friends and the on call Valley OB doctor and they all agreed with her that I should come into the hospital asap. Better yet, I should go up to the U asap. My head was spinning. All because I had sent her a joke text? I hadn’t thought it was anything serious. Nurse sister recommended I call the U and see if they thought it was serious enough that I should come up to them or if I should just go to UVRMC to get checked out. I did so and the U told me to come up immediately and go to the OB Emergency ward. Ok then…Jason and I were still skeptical and were 90% sure it was nothing and we were wasting our time, but up we went.
An hour later I was checked in and the nurses were running tests on me. After a while a doctor came in and talked to us. Yes, Ella was super low in the birth canal but if it was just that they would be discharging me and things would be fine. But while they had been running their tests they had discovered that I was dilated to a 5+ and oh, my water had broken at some point. Say what?! How did I miss that?! Well, apparently because of where Ella’s head was, she was creating kind of a plug…so IF any water had actually gotten to the outside world, it would’ve been a little trickle…so that’s why I hadn’t noticed. Jason and I are pretty certain that the ordeal on the tower stairs at the temple is to blame…but we’ll never know! Bottom line was, I was officially in labor, had been for hours, and I wasn’t going anywhere until these babies were born! Yikes!
The doctors didn’t know if I would deliver that night or if it would take a couple of days but I was officially on maternity leave. They monitored me and I was steadily progressing with my dilation and more and more contractions were showing up on the monitor (still didn’t feel a single one, by the way.) The plan was to let me progress naturally and hopefully I wouldn’t be ready to deliver until the day shift had arrived. The night shift staff would all be perfectly capable to deliver and care for my babes but if I could make it until the day then more of the Cardiac team who were already aware of Ella would be on staff and it would be better if she did have to have surgery right away.
We tried to rest but between the nurses coming in to check on me and our excitement/terror/nervousness, we didn’t get much sleep. At 4 am I was at a 6+ and at other great numbers for the rating system they use. Now it was time to help my progression speed along so I would still be within the day shift when I was ready to deliver. They started Pitocin to speed things up and continued to check on me throughout the day. At about 2 pm it was time to start my epidural and to start practice pushing. Remember how we could see all my contractions on the monitor but I couldn’t recognize or even feel them? Ya. I only felt two before I got my epidural. Don’t get me wrong, I was having lower back pain still so I wasn’t completely off the hook for labor pain, but it wasn’t contraction pain. I was right–if it hadn’t been for nurse sister pushing for us to go to the hospital, I would’ve had no clue I was in labor until the very end. Yes, we would’ve had enough time to get to SLC but it would’ve been a very tight time crunch.
Anyway, the epidural was wonderful. I am a big wuss when it comes to pain and there was no way in heck I wanted to go the drug-free route. Kudos to those women who can give birth the all natural route, that is a type of strong that I can’t even fathom being able to do myself. But I am very much of the opinion that God gave us the advancements in medicine for a reason and I’m going to take advantage of those drugs! The epidural took away my lower back pain completely and hid the pain from the contractions that I’m sure I would’ve been feeling hard!
The nurses had me start doing practice pushes and I still could feel well enough to do as they coached me. Mentally, I had not been planning on a vaginal birth for these girlies. I had been told that if both babies were head down I could definitely do a vaginal birth but if they weren’t I would need to do a C section. While Ella had been head down the entire time, Livi was not so compliant and had been head up and at an angle for months, so I assumed a C section was my only option. Nope! Apparently if the first baby is head down the doctors can flip the breached baby to get them out. I’d heard about breached babies and doctors moving them around in the past but didn’t realize those were still done. Apparently so, really only with twins though. Dr. Schemmer had let me know about this about a week prior to labor and I was all for it! But… I hadn’t taken any classes at all to prepare for a vaginal birth so I had no idea what I was doing. I was really nervous about it but the nurses assured me that they’d guide me with breathing cues etc.
They were wonderful and definitely made me feel like a million bucks, cheering for me the entire time. They told me when to breathe and what to do. Basically, when a contraction would start I was supposed to take in a big breath then hold it and push like crazy while they counted to ten. It took me a while to get a hang of it; for some reason it took a while for it to click that I needed to take a bigger, fuller breath even if that meant I didn’t start pushing when they said one. Once I figured that out, my pushes were much more effective.
The whole experience was so unreal for me. I couldn’t believe it. I was here in labor, I was pushing out a baby, I was experiencing this first hand. Everything I expected and dreamt about for so many years, finally coming true after years of wondering if it would ever be my turn. Having my wonderful, loving husband by my side as this happened made me love Jason even more. Two hours of pushing finally resulted in my first baby girl coming out into the world, with her sister not far behind. It was amazing..it really was a beautiful, magical experience.