Actual Honest-to-God Email I Sent to My OB

When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted what every sage-burning, moon-cycle-following hippie wants: a med-free home water birth with a midwife and poetry readings. But when I found out it was twins, my insurance and the one-size-fits-all fear mongering that mothers of multiples automatically endure dictated I’d be having a hospital birth and would be taken care of by the High-Risk OB Team. At least I got UCLA, which is among the top 5 best hospitals in the nation. But as time wore on and I found out the potential details of this birth, such as the requirement that I deliver my twins in the operating room “just in case,” I went through a period of stress and fear.

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Subject: Freaked Out!

Hi Dr. A!

I’ve been trying to deal with this on my own through meditation and such…but ever since my appointment on Wednesday I have been nervous and freaked out about my impending birth experience.

From my perspective, it feels like I keep getting new doctors who don’t know me and whose names I can’t remember, and each new person seems to treat me like a 45-year-old carrying triplets because I’m “high risk.” I know I’m classified as such simply because it’s a multiple birth, but I have di/di twins who are both head-down, average weight, and have perfect heartbeats and fluid levels. I’m only 32, and still either walk a couple miles, swim, or go to yoga class where I kick the butts of the singleton moms…and I am dying to have a normal delivery that won’t cause me to have PTSD and postnatal depression!

You and Dr. S have been the two competent, calm presences I feel I can trust, who make me feel like a healthy, normal woman with a brain, and I am so grateful for you both! …But I’m so afraid that on D-day I’ll end up with someone who looks at me and says in their mind “It’s twins so let’s just plan on a C-Section!”

Sorry I’m flipping out…I know it’s crazy. It’s just that at my last visit, after the new doc talked to me about the “plan,” I came away feeling like

a) there was no way possible these twins would start labor on their own, thus I would have no choice but to endure the pitocin, which I SO hoped to avoid,

b) I would be forced to get an epidural even if I didn’t want one,

and

c) (the clincher) I would have to deliver in the operating room, with fluorescent lights blaring, 15 people present with surgical outfits on, and a table full of sharp instruments just waiting to cut me open.

The first two fears I can bend on if needed…but the third is keeping me awake at night. When I expressed this, the last doc just shooed away my concerns like “it’s not so bad– it’s clean.” But the prospect of delivering in the operating room makes me want to not show up and just hire a midwife or something. I have stayed so natural and meditative this whole pregnancy, but my heart is palpating wildly just thinking of being on that “stage” surrounded by all these strangers, no peace anywhere, scary instruments around, unable to move because of an epidural.

Until Wednesday I’d been really looking forward to my labor. On my hospital tour I was led to believe I’d get my own labor room with dim lighting and an ambience conducive to creating the labor hormones that will guide my babies out gently and naturally. If I am forced to give birth in an operating room, I fear that my body will be filled with panic hormones that will slow my contractions and lead to unnecessary complications. Isn’t the OR just a few doors down from the labor suites anyway? Can I not just be wheeled there in the event of an emergency like the singleton moms who have sudden complications? This is going to be my only birth ever, and I really don’t want to look back on it and shudder with horror, feeling like I wasn’t in control of my fate and was forced to do things I didn’t feel comfortable with.

I know I’m going off the deep end. I just have a phobia of hospitals in the first place, and the only thing keeping me going was the prospect of a private birthing room and staff that was on board with my hopes to deliver vaginally. I am willing to sign a waiver or anything to avoid entering the OR unless medically necessary. Is that a possibility?

Sorry this is so rambly and full of bad vibes. I just want to get back to my peaceful waiting and excitement!

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I hate hospitals, I’m scarred from having been talked down to by so many doctors and nurses, and I hate that multiple births are automatically medicalized. Luckily, my main doc actually is a cool, with-it lady who treats me like a human possessing a brain. After this, she called and talked to me at length. She said that I would only have to go to the OR when the babies were actually coming out, and that it would not be fluorescent or scalpel-laden, but just a larger room, and I could even play music and light candles if I wanted. She also said that if I absolutely didn’t want an epidural, it was up to me, and most of the other concerns that the less-than-communicative doctor had frightened me with were not, in fact, mandatory. I am at this point just ready to meet the twins, but I hope my doctor is right and that I won’t feel pressured into any procedure that is not medically necessary. 

It’s Really Happening.

I have these dumb apps on my phone which tell me week by week what fruit the babies supposedly resemble, size wise. The Bump says they’re cantaloupes this week, while What to Expect says “ear of corn.” (Huh? How can a baby be the size of an ear of corn? And furthermore, who decided to put “endive” on the list? Who knows anything about the size of an endive?) These comparisons are supposed to get us moms-to-be excited, picturing what’s happening within us more vividly, I guess. But, needless to say, picturing two ears of corn in my belly doesn’t really make me feel motherly.

However, one thing did make me feel it this week. We took a tour of the UCLA BirthPlace, where, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will be escorting these two precious souls into the physical realm in 14 weeks or less. That doesn’t sound like long.

As we walked the hallways with other couples, looking at the amenities in the private rooms, with their adjustable lighting for ambience and their couch where my husband will be sleeping, the reality began to set in. THIS IS HAPPENING. I actually began to get excited by the prospect of giving birth, once the nurse clarified some things I’d been worried about: UCLA supports natural births and only intervenes when absolutely necessary. They let you wear your clothes, play your music, put flameless candles around the room…they even give you lavender oil if you want, and they make sure that every baby gets skin-to-skin contact with mom as soon as possible. Babies aren’t taken to the nursery; they stay in the room with their mom and dad. And there’s an iPad menu where you can order whatever food you want, rather than eating smelly hospital food. I’m sure it’s not going to be the most fun I’ve ever had, but it doesn’t scare me at the moment.

I know that, depending on the babies’ placement and size and such, I may not be able to avoid an intervention when the time comes, but I am at least going to do everything I can to make sure these two cook as long and healthily as possible so we can keep them out of the NICU and bring them straight into our arms.