Friday, December 08, 2006

Please advise

As D-day approaches, I'm thinking more and more about the realities of labor and delivery, and formulating something resembling a birth plan to give to my doctor and/or bring with me to the hospital when it's time. I'd very much like to have as natural a delivery as possible, and avoid pain drugs if I can. Not that I would feel like I'd failed if I do end up using them. I have no idea what it's going to be like, or how I'll cope, so it seems a little nutty to take a hard line on the issue, especially with twins.

Here's the thing, though. In a twin delivery, there added risks to consider -- a higher likelihood that one or both of the babies will go into distress, the possibility that the second baby will flip to breech during the course of delivery of the first, a higher chance that a last minute C-section will be needed. And then there are the risks of any delivery -- that forceps or suctioning will need to be used, etc.

The doctors are supportive of the natural birth thing, but would greatly prefer me to have an epidural, in case of unexpected complications, so I don't have to be put under general anasthesia at the last minute if time is of the essence. I don't want to be put under general anasthesia either. Seems like an awfully big moment in life to be unconscious for, and it's not so great for the babies, either.

A compromise would be to have the epidural catheter placed, but not run meds through it until (unless) it becomes necessary. That way, if they need to juice me up quickly they can, without putting me under. Again, I'd rather have nothing at all. And having had a horrible experience with a spinal tap, I'm not terribly keen on having a spinal placed, but most likely it would go OK.

Of course, nothing is hard and fast, and there will be plenty of opportunities along the way to assess how things are going. I'm just imagining I won't be at my most clear-headed in the the throes of labor, so I'd like to have some general plan in mind. Any words of advice or wisdom from those of you who have given birth (or not)??

In other news: yesterday I got a pre-natal massage (a most excellent shower gift) and they had the table with the belly cut-out, so I got to lie on my stomach, which was bliss. We also got our first Christmas tree ever yesterday, and it looks very cute in our living room. Expect pictures of babies beneath it. Meanwhile, I feel like someone is slowly, gradually prying my hips apart with some kind of medieval torture device, and I walk around like an arthritic, 12-year-old golden retriever when I walk at all.

Fa la la la la.


Blogger Churlita said...

The best advice I can give you is to be prepared for anything and cut yourself slack no matter what. I thought I would do natural childbirth with my first daughter, but after almost 36 hours of labor and a prolnged latent phase, I took an epidural. I was so tired, I needed it.

I thought it would be similar with my second daughter, but I labored for only three hours and didn't need anything for pain.

I hope your birth is awesome and your pain is manageable.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Motel Manager said...

I have no advice to offer. Could you post this q on a twin moms' message board? They might be able to help you navigate these issues (and what the odds really are of various perils) to help you make a decision.

It's so soon! Oh, my!

2:00 PM  
Anonymous RCH said...

I second churlita's advice - be prepared for anything and decide in the moment. It's best to have SOME idea, or at least some preferences, but also very important to play it by ear. I didn't know what I was going to decide, but after 16 hours of labor, I was very happy to have the epidural...especially since it was followed by 10 more hours of labor and an unanticipated c-section.

No matter what happens, you'll do great and should feel good about whatever you decide.

2:15 PM  
Blogger T-bone said...

The epidural was excellent for me, but I totally understand not wanting to get it. I think I have a very low pain threshold though. I definitely third the motion by Churlita.

On another note, I kind of wish I had planed my labor at home better. In the early hours of the morning when labor had started I couldn't sleep, and the movies we had at the time weren't the best.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous RCH said...

Ha! I echo t-bone's sentiment about having good movies on hand. My memories of my at-home labor are TV news coverage of Ronald Reagan's funeral, a bad TV movie about a baby-snatcher, starring Jo from The Facts of Life (what's her name, again?) - not a great choice while in labor, and the Birdcage, which happened to be on at midnight on some random channel. My sister played Boggle while in labor, but I'm far too competitive a boggle player to play in a "compromised" state.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Nancy McKeon. Yikes. There's someone I wouldn't want to watch during labor. I'm thinking 'Wayne's World' might be good...

One time I was up all night with a raging, terrible urinary tract infection, and the only thing on was some 70s airline disaster movie. Actually, it was so bad it was kind of great. Obviously the source for much of 'Airplane!'

5:02 PM  
Blogger Churlita said...

I forgot about movies during home labor. I watched House Party 2. Please don't make that same mistake. If you weren't violent from pain and hormones before, Kid 'n' Play will definitely take you there.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

I first must say I LOVE your blog, I've been reading it for months now, and you look great for having twins!

With my first daughter I was set against an epidural, afraid of the possibility of a headache afterwards. I chose the intrathecal instead. This at least enabled me to move around when I wanted to and try different positions.

The BEST thing though was the tub! I didnt have a water birth but spent alot of time in there. It helps to soften the "area" down there and relaxed me enough to dilate faster.

My water broke at home at 2am and my baby was born 9 hours later. I think the bath was what helped speed things along. Lets just hope the next one goes as smoothly, 19 weeks left!

1:56 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Thanks, Amy!

I've heard great things about the tub strategy too. A few of the labor rooms at the hospital where I'm delivering have them, so I'm definitely hoping to give it a try.

Hope your pregnancy continues to go well...

3:55 PM  

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