Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bradley Birth Story for Twins Jay and William

First I will start off with some numbers to emphasize the significance of how big our twins were at birth:
  • Average Twin Birth Weight: 5.5lbs X 2 = 11lb
  • Average Singleton Birth Weight: 7.5lb
  • Heaviest Boy-Girl Twins born in the UK born by C-Section: Total 18lb 12oz
  • Heaviest Australian Twins born with an Epidural:4.245kg and 3.2kg = 16.41lb
  • Our twins Jay and William: 8lb 1oz and 9lb 7oz born naturally with no pain medication = 17lb 8oz!

William and Jay at 4 months old

Why were our boys so big?:
  • Katie carried them to 38 weeks, which is a long time for twins
  • I am 6'9"
  • Katie's family has traditionally had big babies

Katie and I had decided that we wanted a natural birth with no pain medication because with natural births:
  • Recovery is easier
  • Breastfeeding is easier
  • The mother feels an intense feeling of love when the babies are born
  • Epidurals can cause nausea and headaches
  • Epidurals can start a spiral of interventions that lead to a C section
  • Some research suggests that epidurals may be linked to autism

For us a natural birth was unlikely since for this to happen either both twins have to be head down or the first one is head down with the second one breach. Also the pregnancy has to go smoothly with no complications, which is not always very likely with twins.

After miscarrying twins a few months earlier, we were eager to do all we could to ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth.

Baby A and Baby B at 14 weeks

During the pregnancy:

·         We attended a local Bradley birth class to learn about how to have a natural birth

·         We practiced relaxation and massage every evening

·         We walked/ran and did a strength workout most days

·         We found a doctor (Damla Dryden) and hospital (Texas Children's) that were supportive of natural birth

·         We made a plan for our birth

·         We assembled a bag of massage lotion, heating pads, snacks, tennis balls, and birth plan aka “Bag of Tricks” per the suggestion of our birth instructor.
·         Somehow Katie completes a semester of school

In the weeks before the birth:

·         Katie is measuring 46 weeks pregnant and is feeling very uncomfortable:

·         Regular ultrasounds to ensure the babies are growing.

·         Katie has constant Braxton Hicks, which send us to the hospital for a false alarm at one point

Once Katie is at 38 weeks we realize we need to get things moving:

·         She has her membranes stripped twice
·         She tries castor oil to induce labor.

·         Dr. Dryden says we should go in to get induced.

Now I'll describe the hour by hour detail of the day Katie went into labor. Katie's Mom flew to town to help us and kept a detailed record of what happened, which is why I know what happened when. Katie's Mom also took wonderful pictures that I have shown here. Here is the play by play (listed in bullet points and not long paragraphs with smiley faces. This is what happens when a man writes the birth story):

Labor Begins!:

·         10:23am entered hospital.
At the hospital bright and early
·         10:38 entered labor and delivery room.

·         10:46 in bed got blood pressure, put on gown. Katie was really excited and cute and saying hi to everyone with a twinkle in her eye.
Getting settled in

·         Gave cookies to our nurse who was surprised that we made cookies for her beforehand.

·         At first the nurse seemed ok.

·         As Katie and Erik start discussing the birth plan with the nurse she starts telling them that certain parts of it won’t work out.

·          Nurse gives Katie antibiotics and says she has to wait 4 hours for antibiotics to settle in before her water is broken.

·         Katie and Erik are starting to get a little discouraged. Erik wonders if he should ask for a new nurse.

·         11:30am Dr. Dryden comes in and tells the nurse that she has already agreed to our birth plan and that it will be followed. The nurse is not happy about this.

·         Dr. Dryden breaks Katie’s water.

·         Katie is excited that Dr. Dryden came in and saved the day.

·         Waiting for labor to start so we started watching the BBC version of “Pride and Prejudice”. Katie, who usually loves “Pride and Prejudice”, finds it annoying and is anxious to turn it off.

·         Erik realizes that things are starting to pick up so he runs down the street to grab Chipotle before the labor gets serious.

·         When Erik gets back Katie is starting some serious labor.

Long Hard Labor:

·         Erik starts massaging Katie.

·         Katie tries to go onto her side as taught in the birthing class, but is in too much pain to do it.

·         Erik tries arm stroking technique to reduce pain and it works moderately well

·         Around 1:00 contractions are two minutes apart and Mom helps Erik massage Katie.

·         Erik helps Katie in the bathtub at 1:30pm. Katie already has some pushing sensations.

·         1:35pm Erik turns on the YouTube playlist of Josh Groban type inspirational songs.

·         Katie rotates between birthing ball, bed, and bathtub while being massaged by Erik and Mom during contractions.

·         4:04pm. Contractions are 1 minute apart.

·         4:20pm. Contractions are between 2 and 3 minutes apart.

·         Erik and Mom start using the massage lotion, which turns out to save them from developing massive blisters.
Birth dance

·         Because the babies’ heart rates are doing well the nurse allows intermittent heart rate monitoring. Before this Katie always had to have the monitor on.

·         5:00pm. Katie is 5 inches dilated.

·         Nurse starts helping us massage and stays with us nearly the whole time. Our feelings towards her become much more positive.

·         Katie tries to lay on her side and still can’t do it

·         At 7pm new nurse Crystal comes. She is good

·         8:02pm. Katie is dilated to a 7. The labor is getting really hard.

·         Katie was feeling very frustrated and wanted the doctor to check her, but no doctor is available.

·         Katie asks: “Why did I not get an epidural?” Erik can’t remember why.
"Why didn't we get an epidural?"

·         Nurse asks Katie if she wants an epidural. Katie says no.

·         9:19pm. 100% effaced. Cervix had melted. Dilated to 7. Stage 1. Working hard

·         10:08pm Katie is feeling lots of pressure

·         10:56pm Katie is in transition and wants to bear down

·         11:20pm Katie is dilated to a 9. She can’t help pushing and bearing down.

·         Nurses comment on playlist, which included the Backstreet Boys “As long as you love me”

·         Erik and Mom have to choose between giving Katie water, getting themselves food or water, or resting during the one minute break between contractions.

·         Erik tells himself that the baby will likely come in 12 hours to keep himself motivated.

·         Katie is disturbed by any talking during contractions.

·         Erik and Mom were yelled at if they didn’t start massaging Katie when a contraction began.

·         Between contractions Katie says: “relax me”, which means she wants Erik to softly kiss her cheeks. This causes Katie to relax between contractions.

·         It was nice having the monitor on because it assured us the babies were OK and also let us know when a contraction would begin.

“Time to Start Pushing”:

·         Around 11:30pm a doctor and three nurses come into the room and Katie starts pushing to get baby A to crown.

·         At midnight Baby A is crowning and they move us to the OR room. Erik and Mom put on hospital clothes.

·         Katie is wheeled to OR room where there are about 30 doctors and nurses from labor and delivery, anesthesiology, and neonatology.

·         The anesthesiologist does not let Katie labor on the labor and delivery bed even though Dr. Dryden said we could.

·         Katie is moved onto the OR room bed.
Hang in there!

·         12:27am Baby A is born!
Baby A! 8lb 1oz
·         Dr. Dryden asks Erik if he wants to cut the cord and he says no since he would much rather have a professional do it.

·         Dr. Dryden puts baby A on Katie’s chest.

·         Baby A starts crying the way Erik cried when he was a baby (GAH! GAH!) .

·         They find out that baby A is barely breathing due to fluid in the lung as his heart rate decreases.

·         The neonatologist start getting Baby A’s fluid out of his lungs. He is almost sent to the NICU. Katie and Erik are unaware of this since they are focusing on pushing out baby B.

·         Originally in our birth plan Erik wanted to hold baby A, but given the prospect of having to push out another baby Erik was happy to let the experts take care of baby A while he helped Katie push out Baby B
Baby A grabs onto Mom's finger

·         At 12:44am Katie starts pushing out baby B. Dr. Dryden is concerned that when she reaches inside of Katie she feels a hand and not a head. Luckily with some pushes on Katie’s tummy to engage the baby in the head first position, but unfortunately the baby is sunny side up (baby’s face is not facing Katie’s tailbone).
Dr. Dryden runs the show as her Doppleganger helps her

·         After about 45 minutes the doctor informs us that the baby is not yet crowning. Katie and Erik are disheartened. Doctor asks if we are OK if she uses the vacuum to get baby’s head past a certain point. Erik and Katie agree.

·         Dr. Dryden successfully gets Baby B’s head past the point he was stuck at with the vacuum. Erik and Katie are grateful that she used the vacuum as little as necessary.

·         For another hour and 15 minutes Katie pushes as hard as she can. It is frustrating that she is using her entire effort.  We learn later that Katie was extremely frustrated that Erik wasn’t holding her leg for her very well.

·         Erik continues to relax Katie by kissing her cheeks softly in between contractions.

·         At times over half of the baby’s head can be seen but Katie can’t quite get him out.

·         At 2:21am Katie pushes out Baby B. The neonatologists take him away immediately to make sure that he doesn’t have trouble breathing
Baby B. All 9lb 8oz! Took 2 long grueling hours to push out!


·         Katie is immediately given Pitocin and another drug.

·         Dr. Dryden starts massaging Katie’s belly extremely hard to get the placentas out and to contract the uterus.

·         Dr. Dryden stitches Katie up.

·         Katie continues to have fairly strong contractions

·         Katie is completely exhausted and is grateful to finally have her babies out of her!

·         Everyone goes to the labor and delivery room with the babies.
Baby A, Jay Alexander Wenzel, Born at 12:27am, 8lb 1oz.
Baby B, William Laurence Wenzel, Born 2:21am, 9lb 8oz.
  • Everyone in the hospital is amazed at how big the boys are!
  • Katie is completely exhausted. She passes out when trying to get up to go to the bathroom
  • In total Katie lost about a liter of blood

What would we do different next time:

·         Have Erik actively push Katie’s legs during pushing

·         Massage Katie’s hips so they don’t cramp.

·         Practice birthing ball before birth.

·         Maybe hire a doula

·         Drink a lot when not feeling like she will throw up

·         Try to side lay earlier.

Did the Bradley Class help?

·         Yes

·         It motivated us to learn more about birth.

·         Allowed us to prepare mentally so that we could make decisions more rationally in the heat of the moment.

·         Got us to practice relaxation, which helped Katie relax during the birth.

·         Got us to practice massaging, which helped Erik build up the endurance to massage for 10 hours.

·         Gave us a support network of people in the same situation.

Erik’s Impressions:

·         It takes a special kind of person to be an obstetrician

·         Extremely grateful for Dr. Dryden who did not rush things even though it was 2am and everyone was tired.

·         Amazed at how Katie was able to find strength even when she was completely exhausted.

·         Katie asked me to run out and get ibuprofen from CVS at 5am. I was so exhausted and confused and overwhelmed with joy that it took me almost an hour because I kept getting lost in thought.
Since the birth Jay has surpassed William in weight! Babies, Mom, and Dad are doing well and enjoying life.