I wanted a space to share my story about the birth of my twins, and shed a little bit more about why I am so passionate about providing physical therapy services for women.
So in June 2017 I got the shock of a lifetime. Surprise!!! Its twins!!! Overall the pregnancy wasn’t too bad. I had some morning sickness, and some migraines in the beginning, but as the pregnancy progressed, that all subsided, and I was just left to deal with a really really huge belly. Well, I take that back, the end was kind of rough. I was so exhausted all the time, I needed a bathroom stop every 5 minutes, and I was so out of breath! I remember a couple weeks before I had the twins I literally could not complete my short run into Target to grab some almonds for a recipe I was trying.
One thing I will mention though, is Baby B (the one on top) was breech, so his little booty was down for the entire pregnancy, instead of his head being down. For delivery, most providers prefer or require that the baby be positioned head down in the womb before they choose to deliver the baby. Throughout the last trimester of my pregnancy Baby A was head down, so she was in the correct position for a vaginal delivery. Now after receiving this news, I was told over and over by multiple providers that sometimes after the first baby (Baby A) is delivered, it encourages the second baby (Baby B) to turn and become head down so I could attempt a vaginal birth, and worse case scenario would have to have a c-section for the second birth.
Now what makes the story interesting is not the pregnancy, but what transpired in the days before the birth of the twins that I really would like to share.
So at 36 weeks gestation, I was on my way to a routine ultrasound appointment. It was raining that day and the roads where wet. My vehicle hydroplaned, and my car hit the center barrier, I swerved out back into traffic, was hit by a driving vehicle on the highway, then was forced back into the center barrier a second time. When my vehicle finally stopped moving I frantically called my husband and told him I was in an accident. After getting my vehicle off the highway, My husband came rushing from work to pick me up and take me to the doctor’s office.
The provider I was to see, said he was shocked that I came to see him after the accident, and immediately sent me next door in the hospital to triage to be further assessed. The medical staff determined that I was going into labor, and admitted me to the labor and delivery floor of the hospital. My husband stayed with me the first few hours, but had to leave to go pick up our older son who was 2 years old at the time.
Once admitted, an OBGYN that was on call greeted me and told me that she has reviewed my medical files, and recommended that I have a c-section because my second baby (Baby B) was in a breech position. I calmly explained that I was told I could attempt a vaginal birth, and was interested in going that route. She preceded to continue to list the risks of a vaginal delivery. I felt at the time that I was being pressured into a decision I was not comfortable with. I asked if the delivery could be delayed until my husband had returned. Upon my husbands arrival the OBGYN explained again that she was uncomfortable with attending a vaginal delivery and was encouraging a c-section. When my husband confirmed my request to attempt a vaginal delivery, the OBGYN continued with listing all the possible complications resulting from a vaginal delivery, and proceeded to tell me that I was being selfish for wanting a vaginal delivery. When she realized that we were quite firm with our decision, she then proceeded to tell us that there a perinatologist on staff who could attend the delivery, and was even comfortable with breech deliveries, and asked if we would like to consult with her. We were like YES! DUH! I’m still not sure why she continued to lecture unnecessarily when a staff member was available that could meet our needs. What’s even more interesting is that when the c-section was on the table as an option, everyone was all game, preparing the operating room and what not, but the minute it was decided to attempt a vaginal delivery, all the birthing preparations came to a halt, and I was placed on strict bed rest.
My genuine feeling from the situation was that there was some financial gain on behalf of the initial OBGYN (I mean I do work in healthcare, I know how the cookie crumbles), and I was being treated as a money source rather than a patient.
My labor ended up coming to a stop at 5cm dilated, and I was admitted to the antenatal unit and kept in the hospital until their births. There was an attending physician who came to see me the next day, and applauded me for holding off on the c-section and attempting the vaginal birth. He started his belief was that too many C-section are performed on twin mother’s.
I ended up having the vaginal birth I desired, but that was not the end of the story.
After delivering the twins my husband had to leave the hospital to go care for our toddler, and so I was left by myself at the hospital with 2 newborns, shortly after giving birth. As the day went on and the fatigue set in of having labored, then the round-the-clock breastfeeding of the twins, being disturbed by nursing for vitals and such, I found myself incredibly drowsy. I asked my nurse if I could leave the twins in the nursery for a couple hours in order to get some rest. The way the nurse looked at me and responded, I never felt so belittled in my life. She stated that I could not leave them in the nursery because the nursery is for children that need extra care. It really gave some credence to that article that came out about how African-American women are mistreated during labor and delivery and have abnormally high death rates. I mean, here I am, after just having given birth, alone by myself for several hours with not 1 but 2 newborns, and exhausted beyond all measure, and the nurse did not believe I needed assistance. Another nurse came along at the next shift, heard my situation, and whisked the twins away without another word so I could get some rest.
I was in excruciating pain after the delivery of the twins. My back actually hurt more after the delivery of the twins than it did during my pregnancy. I had difficulty with bearing weight through my right leg and had a limp for several weeks. At the hospital I was prescribed ibuprofen for pain management. I tried to explain that I was still having an incredible amount of pain, making it very difficult to hold and care for my babies, and was told that, because my babies came out vaginally, I could not have any stronger pain medication. Even though there was 2 deliveries, and the second one came out backwards (breech position), all I could get was ibuprofen. I mean I get the opioid epidemic, but seriously… In my follow up appointments I mentioned my back pain and was only offered a SI belt.
I cried often, the pain was so bad, and ended up visiting another women’s health therapist. This is the event that got me back on track with finishing my continuing education and becoming a women’s health physical therapist myself. She was incredibly helpful and instrumental to my healing process, explaining what was going on with my body.
Currently our healthcare system in the US doesn’t have a whole lot in place to assist women recovering from childbirth, and it is truly needed.
My intentions on sharing this, is simply to shed light on my experience, and highlight some of the issues I encountered. A woman’s body is quite incredible, and I strive to provide services that helps each woman feel her best and return to the activities that are important to her.