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Archive for April, 2010

“Women’s bodies have near-perfect knowledge of childbirth; it’s when their brains get involved that things can go wrong.”

Peggy Vincent

“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.”

Laura Stavoe Harm

“Birth is not only about making babies. birth is about making mothers…strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.”

Barbara Katz Rothman

“Just as a women’s heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when andhow to give birth.”

Virginia Di Orio

On April 7, 2010, at just about 36 weeks pregnant with my twin boys, I got ready to go to the Mt. Auburn Hospital for a routine Midwife checkup and ultrasound.

When you’re 44 and pregnant with twins, they do ultrasounds often in the final weeks of pregnancy, to be sure that both twins are continuing to thrive—that one isn’t eating more of the food, etc.

And although I’m all about doing things as naturally as possible, I have always had the attitude of “whatever works so my babies are delivered healthfully and happily and safely…whatever it takes, Super-people.  No attachment to the ‘how.’”

As I gathered my stuff together for the checkup, I intuitively knew to have our 3 and 6 year-olds hang out at our neighbor’s while we went in to the hospital—whereas they usually accompany us to learn about hospitals, ultrasounds, eastern and western medicine, doctors, midwives, nurses, etc—homeschooling at it’s best!  (Our 12 year-old is in Public Middle School and so she usually only joins us for a few of the ultrasounds—when her “busy schedule” allows for it—LOL).

So I texted our good friend and neighbor about my kids coming over for a play date while we scooted to the appointment and spontaneously grabbed my overnight hospital suitcase and threw it into the back of the minivan.

“Hmmmmmm,” I thought to myself.  “I wonder if my guys are coming today.”

At the ultrasound, the babies looked perfect.  Dr. Lim said in his sweet and calm manner “They look great and there’s no need for alarm, but I’d like to induce you on Friday morning (this was Wednesday afternoon).  On Friday morning you are officially 36 weeks—full term for twins—and I’d like them to be born then because Baby A is now 4 pounds 12 ounces and Baby B is 5 pounds 14 ounces, and I think that they’ll do even better out of the womb—nursing and getting equal nutrition from you.  It seems that Baby B is eating more of the food.”   ;)

I immediately said with joy “Great!  Let’s have them now!  Why wait?  I have my overnight bag with me!”
I was surprised to hear this come out of my mouth, but my intuition said it was time.
I had no ambivalence.

No confusion.

Complete clarity.
Dr. Lim smiled and said he’d like my Midwives to check my cervix dilation and then he’d like me to do a non-stress test up in labor and delivery (A NST is when they monitor the babies’ heart rates for 15 minutes and make sure that they’re doing great), and then we’d talk again.

Robin, my midwife, checked my cervix—3 cm dilated—and Nikki, the non-stress test technician, confirmed the twins were doing great.

Philippe and I talked with the Nurse in labor and delivery about the possibility of inducing me that day.  She said it would be fine; however, the hospital was “full” for the following day with planned labor and deliveries.  So Friday morning would be better logistically.
She also said that the Doctor wanted to wait until “officially” 36 weeks.
“We’re talking 30 hours difference, Sister!” I said, laughing.  “That’s ridiculous.”
She laughed and agreed that it was silly; but nevertheless, it was “protocol.”

A believer in paddling downstream, I smiled, let go, and we booked my induction for Friday morning.

They wanted me to come in at 8am on Friday to be induced (helllooowww?!), I suggested noon, and we settled on 10am.

“Supermom needs her sleep before labor, and I need to do my practice so I can be calm and focused and grounded,” I explained.

We drove home elated—knowing we’d be meeting our sons within a day or so.
And it all felt right.

It felt right because our sons’ health and safety was our first concern—not the how’s and what’s and details of labor and delivery.

Yes, I am a Yogi.  Yes, I am a Yoga Instructor.  Yes, I am a Spiritual Teacher.  Yes, I am a raw vegan.  Yes, I don’t take drugs.  Yes, I don’t drink alcohol.  Yes, I believe my body can heal itself.  Yes, I love natural medicine and Eastern medicine and acupuncture and many alternative healing modalities.

And yes, I would do whatever my Midwives and Doctors recommended for the safe and healthy delivery of my baby boys.

Unless it was something that felt off and ridiculous and out of balance—like getting to the hospital at 8 am and losing much needed sleep before labor.

So I did push against the scheduling piece briefly, and we found a happy compromise.
Once we got home I began to walk our neighborhood.  For the first time ever!  We’d moved to our new home on November 25th and I hadn’t walked in our neighborhood because I’d wanted to keep my babies in utero full-term.

Now I was focused on going into labor naturally, if possible—since that would be best for my twins (for them to come out sooner rather than later) and why not bring it on naturally if I could, Super-people?

I walked, or rather waddled J, through our beautiful neighborhood while neighbors smiled as they watched me pass.

Girl, what a sight I must have been—my belly was ginormous!

Huge LOL–emphasis on huge.  ;)

I felt the contractions coming on and getting stronger, and I continued to walk.

Then I went home, made my kids the best raw dinner ever, and then we all went out to walk again.

My contractions continued to come, and increase in intensity and frequency.

A more exciting time I cannot recall.

Time seemed to stand still.

I put my 3 and 6 year olds down to bed and finished up a few things for Prana Power Yoga and The Prana Café, tied up other loose ends for my Consulting Practice, cleaned out my email box, and then stopped and noticed—amazingly, that everything seemed to be “done” and “in place.”

There was a sense of calm that pervaded my home, my office, and my entire being.

“They are coming,” I smiled.

“And I’m ready.”

At Midnight Philippe and I called my Sister on the west coast and talked for almost 2 hours.

I hung up with her at 2am (!!), and fell asleep.

At 3:30am I awoke in labor.

I woke Philippe with the classic words “IT’S TIME,” and called my dear friend and neighbor, who came over within minutes to stay with my kids as we began the journey to meet our baby sons.
We met my doula at the hospital, they gave us a beautiful room—overlooking the Charles River, and we all settled in for the best labor and delivery ever.
My midwife came in and exclaimed happily “I remember you!  I was there with you last May when you lost your baby.  I’m Susan.”

I was amazed by the synchronicity.  I smiled and said, “Of course you were…and now you’re going to deliver my beautiful babies and it will all have come full circle.  Last May I told you that my baby wasn’t gone—that he was coming back with his brother—and now he is.  It’s all perfect.”
Susan smiled, said she had gotten the chills when I said what I said, and that that was one of the most amazing and Spiritual things she’d ever heard.
They did an ultrasound to see the babies, and I heard Susan say to one of the nurses “Hmmmmm, Baby B is in an interesting position.”

I continued to focus on my contractions, which weren’t debilitating yet, and deliberately ignored the comment.

Susan came back awhile later and announced that Baby B was now breach and so we’d need to do a C Section, as none of the Doctors at the Mt. Auburn Hospital were comfortable delivering one twin breach.  She explained that they’d “been burned” and/or “had bad experiences” trying to do so.

Baby B had been head down the afternoon before at my routine appointment.  Both babies had been head down.  Baby B had done a 180 flip in the middle of the night.

“Rock on!  Let’s do it!”  I exclaimed without skipping a beat.

My first and only concern was my babies being delivered safely and healthfully.  I was not attached to the “how”—yoga and Spiritual teacher or not.  J

My doula stepped in, however, and asked Susan if she could find a Doctor who would do a vaginal delivery with one twin breach.

I stopped her in her tracks and said “Much gratitude, Sister, for advocating for Supermom; however, are you out of your mind?  I believe in paddling downstream and if the Doctors weren’t comfortable for the reasons mentioned (and not because they are scheduling a C so that they can control the process and be out on the golf course when they choose), why would we question that?  My babies’ safety is the first priority.  Period.”

My doula got it, and we proceeded down the path of least resistance–and most safety.

Susan, my midwife, went to talk with the Doctors again and came back with another report—“they would like you to go home and come back tomorrow morning for a scheduled C section—at the same time you were scheduled to be induced.”

Supermom burst into tears.
“I’m not going home,” I said firmly.   “Are they out of their minds?  I’m in labor, for God’s Sake, and I have 3 children at home who are totally taken care of by my good friends and they want me to go back home IN LABOR and take care of my 3 kids and then leave again on a moment’s notice while in hard labor?  Do you know how that will mess with my 3 kids’ minds?  And they want me to let my labor get to the point of excruciating–and then do a C?  Nope.  I won’t do it.  I’m not going home Sister.”
My midwife got it.
She left the room again to advocate for me.
At that point, Philippe said “Supermom, there’s no way the Doctors are going to agree to do it today.  They have their ‘schedule’ and they’re stickin’ to it.  It’s ‘protocol’ and it’s ‘CYA’ (Cover You’re A**).”

But I had hope.
“There’s still a chance they’ll do it today.  I’m going to pray.” I responded, and closed my eyes and meditated and prayed.
Susan walked in again—no idea how much later—time was oddly irrelevant at this point, and said with a huge smile “BLAST OFF!”

I squealed with delight.
Susan said smiling, “You are totally clear about this—you have no ambivalence.”
“Yes!”  I exclaimed.  “Let’s do it!”

“Have you eaten anything?” Susan asked.
“Nope,” I said quickly, noting how hungry I was since I’d forgotten to bring anything to eat to the hospital.

“Taylor, you had a bite of my apple,” my doula reminded me.

“OK, then,” my midwife explained, “we’ll need to wait 8 hours till surgery.  It’s an anesthesia safety thing.”

“Great!  I’ll sleep!” I said, secretly praying I wouldn’t go into hard labor during that 8 hour time period.

Fast forward to 3:15 pm.  The anesthesiologist came in and spent 30 minutes explaining the entire procedure to me, so I’d know what to expect.
He was a love.

I had had no fear–until he started explaining everything to me.
Now I felt nervous.

Utilizing ujayii breath, visualization, mediation, and anything else I could pull outta my sleeve J, I stayed calm as they prepped Philippe, my doula, and me for surgery.
And in I went.
Talk about surreal.
I don’t even watch TV and yet, this was reminiscent of shows I’d watched back in the day (ER?), but this time, it was me being operated on.

The spinal was a joke.

I said to the team “What?!  That’s it?!  That hurt less than when the nurses take my blood to check my thyroid every 3 weeks!”
Everyone laughed, but there was still a sense of seriousness in that OR that was palpable.

The other two things that were supposed to be “difficult” or “weird” during the section were a feeling of not being able to breathe and a feeling of “pressure” on my abdomen.
The breathing thing was accurate—but I just inhaled and exhaled calmly and told myself that it was an illusion (it was) and that I was breathing fine.  It was more of a “tightness” at the very top of my throat.

The “pressure” description—inaccurate.

It more accurately felt like what it was—people sticking their hands into my body.

No pain my Sisters, but a weird and uncomfortable sensation.
Easier that an all-natural vaginal birth?
Absolutely!
Easier than a vaginal birth with an epidural?
You bet!

It was the best ever!

When I heard my first-born twin son’s cry, tears of joy streamed down my face immediately, and as they showed me my precious son Dakota, I was in heaven.

Dakota Aspen Wells was born.  Safely and healthfully.

Next came Montana.  Exactly 4 minutes later.

There was a pause—I didn’t hear him cry immediately—and as the anesthesiologist kept asking me how I felt (he would do so every 15 seconds during the surgery to adjust the medicine accordingly) I ignored him and asked repeatedly “Is my baby OK?  Why isn’t he crying? Is Montana OK?”

It seemed like a long time but was actually only a matter of seconds, and soon he was crying like his brother—they’d just had to suction out some fluid.  Very standard.

Montana Sky Wells was born. Safely and healthfully.

I was relieved and elated beyond belief.

Joy pervaded every cell of my body, mind, and Spirit.

My sons were born, healthy and perfect—weighing in, ironically, at 5 pounds (Baby A—Dakota) and 5 pounds 4 ounces (Baby B—Montana).

Ironic because remember that Dr. Lim had wanted to induce me on Friday morning, at 36 weeks exactly, because the (inaccurate) ultrasound had said that Baby A was more than a pound less than Baby B, and he wanted to be sure that Baby A was getting enough food.

But in reality, they were only 4 ounces apart.

LOL.

And all was well in my world.
Long recovery from a C-section?

Didn’t care.

Had a spinal and morphine during the surgery?

No worries.
My sons were healthy and happy and in my arms, and so it was, in fact, the best labor and delivery ever.

“Birthing is the most profound initiation to spirituality a woman can have.”
?

Robin Lim
“I never knew true beauty until I held you in my arms for the very first time.”

Reece’s Momma
“A baby’s smile melts the heart and calms the soul.”

Taylor Wells

“I never knew how much love my heart could hold until someone called me Mom.”

Rose

“Having a baby changes everything.”

Mo Jo

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Super-Mom Betsy Parsons:

I expected motherhood to change me.  How could it not?  Everything was new.  But what I didn’t expect was that motherhood would strip me bare – drop me to rock bottom – force me to face that I had lost myself – demand that I pick up the shattered bits of me and piece myself back together.  It was all at once brutal and gratifying.  I am grateful for all of it.  I have learned who I am and how great my support system is.  I learned how absolutely wonderful my husband is, what a fantastic dad he is, and what a loving and supportive family surround us.  It’s not just me who is a super mom.  It’s my husband, my mom and dad, and my mother and father-in-law who make up this super family.  Each one of us plays an important role. Life is a tremendous gift, and we were all starkly reminded of that during the first six weeks of my daughter’s life. We almost lost her.  The first six weeks of her life were spent in the NICU.  She was a full term baby but a very sick one.  After she came home, every milestone was carefully watched.   She thrived.  And I almost missed it because I was worried about what could be wrong.  It was 9 months later when I started to splinter apart.  She was walking and I was cracking – emotions needed to be expressed.  I needed to feel again.  Not surprising, but I hadn’t been taking care of myself.  I was just trying to make it through a minute, then an hour, and a full day.  I wasn’t taking care of myself.  I wasn’t sleeping well.  I was sleepwalking.  I rationalized that all of this was well within a first-time mom response (ha!).   Eventually, I was diagnosed with PTSD and got help.  I began to piece myself back together.  It took another full year for me to hear the stirrings of my voice.  It’s been over two years, and just recently I realized that I am whole again.  I experienced such joy in finding myself.    I had really missed me!  But losing myself and finding an improved version had taken hold – makes me so grateful for the journey.  It has allowed me freedom to be myself, to slow down and enjoy the moments of motherhood, to rely on my family to play significant roles raising my daughter, to trust, and to embrace the unexpected.  It’s often what I need most!  I’m so thankful for my super family – including my husband who is embracing his role as stay-at-home dad!  Collectively, we’re a super team with a super daughter.