In this episode of High Risk Birth Stories, Devorah shares her experience delivering twins. During her eighth pregnancy, Devorah chose care from a midwife and didn’t find out she was having twins until 32 weeks. She then delivered baby A vaginally after a long labor, but had to be rushed into a C-section for baby B.
“Devorah’s Story: Some resentment over my twin delivery”
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Dr. Fox: Welcome to “High Risk Births Stories,” brought to you by the creators of the “Healthful Woman” podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Nathan Fox. “High Risk Birth Stories” is a podcast designed to give you, the listener, a window into life-changing experiences of pregnancy, fertility, and childbirth. Devorah, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for volunteering to tell your story. How’re you doing today?
Devorah: Good. Thank God. Happy to be here.
Dr. Fox: Tell us how you found our podcast.
Devorah: I’m friends with Nahama [SP], who has been on your podcast recently. She told me about it. She sent me the link to her interview. And that’s how I found you.
Dr. Fox: Had you heard her story before in its entirety like that?
Devorah: No. I have not heard all those details. Wow. What a story.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, no, it was a great story. And as we were speaking about before we started recording, there is some overlap, you and her have some similarities in your story, which is really, I guess, fascinating. Have you discussed that with each other before?
Devorah: So, interestingly, we’ve been friends, we grew up together, and then we kind of lost touch. And then we both ended up in Miami and, you know, friendly, but nothing major. And then we found out that that we’re both expecting twins at about the same time. And then we just hit it off after that. That was just super, super interesting. And, like, we were both expecting twins, you know, within just a couple of weeks. And then we both ended up having twin boys, one delivered vaginally and one C-section. It was just super interesting.
Dr. Fox: That is pretty interesting. We’re gonna be focusing on that pregnancy. But just so our listeners get a sense of, you know, how that story unfolded. When you got pregnant at that time, tell us where you were, where you were living, how many kids you had at the time, you know, sort of what your story was up until that point for that twin pregnancy, so we can set the stage?
Devorah: At that time, I had seven children. I had five girls and two boys. My boy, that I had after my five girls, was about a year when I got pregnant, and I was living in Miami. Pretty hectic already with seven children. But, you know, I was pregnant, another pregnancy. And, you know, it was exciting.
Dr. Fox: Up until that point, were any of your births eventful in a way, any of them stand out to you as either unusual one way or another?
Devorah: So, I think only one of them stands out, in general. You know, I guess for each person, their own birth story stands out in their mind.
Dr. Fox: Sure.
Devorah: Yeah. My second was a boy who, you know, the pregnancy went amazing. And then I was in labor for a really long time, very, very heavy labor. And when the baby was born, the baby’s head was really, really big. And the doctor was very disturbed that he delivered a baby with such a big head. If he would have known, he would have done a C-section, and the cord was wrapped around his neck, and they had taken the baby to the NICU. And just that whole thing unraveled, you know, with he was a special needs little boy. Had a lot of issues right there in the beginning, which had nothing to do with the pregnancy or delivery. And so, yeah. That definitely stands out in my mind.
Dr. Fox: Did they not know his head was big because they hadn’t done, like, an ultrasound or something beforehand, or they did but they just didn’t suspect it?
Devorah: So they did not do an ultrasound later on. I had one ultrasound in the beginning, and that was it.
Dr. Fox: Okay. So, he was your second, you said. And so you had five more after him before this pregnancy? Right?
Dr. Fox: Okay. So, you have your seven kids and you get pregnant. Tell me about how the pregnancy went, and when you found out you were having twins.
Devorah: Okay. So everything just went really smooth. You know, nothing that would come to mind that was anything spectacular in any way, except that, I would say, I did not have any of the morning sickness or any of that stuff. Very smooth. I was gaining a little more weight than usual. And I think that was my only indication that there was something a little different about this pregnancy. Other than that, everything was just smooth, and I felt good. And, you know, everything seemed all right. My husband started telling me, “You’re, like, really big. Are you having twins?” And I’m like, “No, those things don’t happen to me. Like, no.” You know, after a couple weeks of that, I started thinking, like, “I don’t know what it is. Like, I really am gaining weight.” So, my next appointment, I asked my midwife, “You know, I’m gaining a lot of weight.” And she’s like, “Yeah, you are. Are you eating a lot?” And I’m like, “Yeah. I’m eating a lot.” So, she is like, “Well, that could be from that.” You know, and I was just measuring on time, and she would always feel the baby, “Here’s the head, here’s the back,” and never felt the second baby. And I was like, “Okay. I guess it’s just one baby.”
And then, I don’t know, at a certain point, it’s probably like 32 weeks, and my husband’s like, “I really think you’re having twins, like, just get an ultrasound.” And I’m like, “Okay.” I went to my midwife, I’m like, “You know, I really want to take an ultrasound, just want to make sure it’s not twins.” And she said, “You know what? I’m setting up an appointment for tomorrow.” And I got the appointment. And my husband was not able to be with me, unfortunately. But I went in and the ultrasound technician had no idea why they were taking the ultrasound. But she’s telling me, “Okay. Here’s the head, here’s the back.” And I’m like, “One?” And she looked at me, and was like, “What do you mean?” And I’m like, “Okay. I guess there’s just one.” And then as she keeps going, she’s like, “Here’s the feet.” And she’s like, “Oh, my god, there’s a second head.” So, I was like, “Oh, my god, it really is twins.” I just called my husband right away. And I’m like, “It is twins.” And it was 33 weeks by then.
Dr. Fox: Now, 33 weeks is a little on the late side to diagnose twins. Were you not getting ultrasounds beforehand because it was something your midwife doesn’t normally recommend? Or because she normally does, but you chose not to, for one reason or another?
Devorah: Right. So, I chose not to. I had one ultrasound also right in the beginning. And…
Dr. Fox: In that pregnancy, you had one ultrasound in the beginning?
Devorah: In that pregnancy.
Dr. Fox: Oh, and they didn’t see twins?
Devorah: And they did not see twins. So, that was also like another reason. I’m like, “I did have an ultrasound and, like, can’t you tell twins from right in the beginning?” So, that’s also one of the things that kept coming back. Like, “I can’t be having twins, like, they would have noticed that at my first ultrasound.”
Dr. Fox: I mean, they get missed from time to time. I mean, they shouldn’t really get missed, but they do. I mean, things happen. Is this something you had done for, or not done, I guess, for all your pregnancies, or was there a certain point where you said, you know, “I’ve had all these ultrasounds. I’m not into that. I’m done.”
Devorah: You know, for each pregnancy, I looked at that pregnancy if there was nothing that indicated any reasons to have an ultrasound, I did not want an ultrasound. So, I probably say about half of my pregnancies, I’ve had ultrasounds, and maybe the other half, I didn’t, or probably most of them I did.
Dr. Fox: Okay. So, you’re 33 weeks, you have twins. Did you find out at the time if it was with one placenta, an identical twins, or two placentas, probably not identical twins? Did you find that out at the time? Or was it too late?
Devorah: So, they told me that it looks like it’s just one placenta. And, of course, I started doing a ton of research, you know, because as soon as I heard I was having twins, I’m like, “Okay. I’m already 33 weeks, I could be giving birth tomorrow.” And I just started reading everything I could about twins. And usually, they’re early, but not always. And usually, you know, they want to deliver them early. And then they told me that they think there’s only one placenta, so I started reading up on that. And then reading that one placenta can mean that it’s identical, but it’s possible that they confuse. So it’s really two placentas, so not necessarily are they identical. They couldn’t tell exactly.
Dr. Fox: If they know it’s one placenta, they’re gonna be identical. But it’s sometimes hard to know at 33 weeks is it 1 placenta, or is it 2 placentas, because the placentas are usually touching each other. So, unless they’re completely separate locations, or unless you see one boy, one girl, and you know they’re not identical, it’s very hard sometimes to know that late, which is I’m curious. Now, what did your midwife think when she found out, I guess, right after you did, that you were having twins?
Devorah: Oh, right away, she’s like, “I cannot be delivering you. I don’t deliver twins.” And that was one of the things that I was really nervous about. I had done hospital births for my first three, and each of them were not good experiences, so I did not want to do a hospital birth. And right away also C-sections were also, you know, one of those things that were very scary to me. And I was like, “Oh my goodness, twin birth, does that mean it’s for sure a C-section?” And then I started reading up a little bit more about trying to have natural deliveries, and my midwife told me right away which would be the best doctor to try on natural delivery with.
Dr. Fox: Where did you deliver numbers four through seven? If your first three were in the hospital and you weren’t so happy, what did you do with four through seven, at home or a birth center? What’d you do?
Devorah: A birth center.
Dr. Fox: I assume with the midwife?
Devorah: With the midwife. Yes.
Dr. Fox: With this midwife, or a different midwife?
Devorah: My fourth was with a different midwife, and then my fifth, sixth, and seventh were all with the same midwife. And then this pregnancy I was also with that midwife. She told me she can continue all the prenatal checkups with me, and she can do the postnatal checkups with me also. It’s just the actual delivery that will have to do with the doctor in the hospital, and she would come with me.
Dr. Fox: So, she said she’ll come with you in labor. But there was a certain doctor, group of doctors that she recommended, who could be there for your delivery to try to lower the chance of ending up with a C-section, right?
Dr. Fox: And did you meet with that doctor before you showed up in labor, or did you have a consultation with him or her, an appointment in the office, like…
Dr. Fox: Okay.
Devorah: Absolutely. Yeah.
Dr. Fox: And how did that go?
Devorah: It went really well. I spoke to him, he seemed very natural. He would do a lot of deliveries in another country. I don’t remember where, somewhere in, like, Central America where he would kind of volunteering. And I felt like he was just a man with a heart and somebody that was really gonna look after my well-being. You know, not just one of the hundreds of births that he’s doing, just another one up.
Dr. Fox: Sure. And when you met with him, I’m just curious, did you go over sort of the details of what he would do if the second baby was not head first? Because if the first baby’s head first and you push the baby out, and then the second baby’s head-first, you push the second baby out. So, conceptually, it’s like just two births back to back. I mean, it’s not that simple, but whatever, conceptually, that’s what it is. But if the second baby was not head-first, did you guys go over what he would do, right? Because one option is, “Well, if it’s not head-first, I’m doing a C-section.” Another option is, “If it’s not head-first, I’m gonna try to maneuver the baby into head-first and then have you push.” And the third option is to say, “No, I’m going to do what’s called the breech extraction and deliver the baby, the second baby by its feet.” Did you guys go over those options?
Devorah: So, we went over the options and the two options that came up was either… Well, they were gonna just keep an eye on the babies and see the baby A was head down already, and baby B was breech, or transverse, actually. He was going to keep an eye on them and just watch to see if baby B would change position and go to head down. He said, “If head-down, no problem.” He’ll deliver them both. But if the baby stays in that position, then as baby A is delivered, he will maneuver baby B that he will come down head-first.
Dr. Fox: Okay. So, it was the middle option that he was gonna do whatever he could to make sure baby B came down at first. Did you even know that delivering baby B as feet-first was an option?
Devorah: I have no idea. No idea.
Dr. Fox: So you have the meeting, seems like a nice guy, seems like he knows what he’s doing, seems like he cares. Ultimately, I assume you went into labor at some point?
Devorah: So, I did finally go into labor at 39 weeks and 3 days.
Dr. Fox: Were they trying to induce you beforehand? Or they didn’t want to?
Dr. Fox: Okay.
Devorah: We had spoken about that also, that he will not induce me. And just at 40 weeks, we will meet and see what’s happening.
Dr. Fox: Okay.
Devorah: I was happy about that. I also didn’t think I’d make it that far. I just never heard of anybody that went that far with twins. So, I’m like, “Yeah, that sounds great. That’s fine.” And then as the weeks are going by, and I got 37, and 38, and 39. And I’m like, “I can’t walk anymore. I can’t move. I just want these babies out.” And I kept thinking like, “I don’t know, maybe I do want to just get induced.” But I really didn’t want to get induced but just wanted them out. And then I finally went into labor at 39 weeks and 3 days. So, that was exciting.
Dr. Fox: Did you get an epidural?
Devorah: No, I did not get an epidural. I came into the hospital at first after being in labor for a couple hours. And then it was, like, midnight, and everything just stopped. So, they were like, “Okay. You can go home.” I was like five centimeters dilated. I think I’ve been already pretty dilated for a while. And so they’re like, “Yeah, nothing’s really happening. You can go home.” And I was like, “I am not leaving this place without those babies. So, I’ll stay here, and hopefully, something will happen overnight.” So, my husband went home. I stayed there. And nothing happens. So, morning came, and still nothing. So, probably by at about 9:00, the doctor said, “Maybe we’ll start some Pitocin.” And I was like, “I don’t care. Just give me whatever it is to help.”
Dr. Fox: Mercy.
Devorah: For labor [inaudible 00:14:15]. Yes, it was, like, I couldn’t handle having them inside anymore. So, I’m like, “Okay, start with a Pitocin.” But I didn’t realize how complicating the Pitocin would be. And as the nurses are coming in, they were not being very helpful. I had to be in exactly a certain position, and they had to make sure both babies were being monitored.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, yeah. Because when you’re on the Pitocin, there’s a concern, and this… Yeah, it’s tough. I hear you. Logistically, they need you in a certain place, and you’re trying to move around and stay comfortable. It’s not easy. Yeah.
Devorah: So, not only I couldn’t move around, I had to be in some, like, upside-down position. Because if I was not in that position, then baby B was just off the monitor. So, every time I’d make a move, the nurse would come running in, “The baby’s off the monitor, you must stop moving.” And I’d be eating, and, like, “You’re not allowed to eat.” You know, it was just, I was not happy to be there. I was like, “I’m eating, I don’t care. I need to eat right now. I need to drink, and I have to move. I can’t be stuck in one place. Like, that’s just not physically possible.” And they’re like, “Well, sorry, you have to.” And they, like, get me into that position. And then, you know, within a couple minutes, I’d be out of that position, and they’d be back. So, I was going through a lot of nurses during those a couple hours. I would just call the head nurse, like, “Get me a different nurse, this nurse it’s so rude. You know, I need somebody that’s, like, here to care for me and not yell at me.”
And so we went through a couple nurses and, you know, slowly, finally, I’d have like 20 minutes, I think they had to have the baby on before they’d up the Pitocin. And nothing was… It was just taking so long, like, to up it a little bit and a little bit. And with every time, the baby was off the monitor. And, like, finally, I’m like, you know, have a nice amount of Pitocin, but still nothing. And then the nurse came in, and again, I’m like, I’m not staying in my position, or maybe I was eating. I don’t know what happened. And she got really mad, and she just turned off the whole Pitocin thing. And left the room. She’s like, “Well, you can’t be on Pitocin if you’re gonna be like that.” And just shut it off completely. And then I had to start again. So, I was so upset, I was, like, so upset that, like, you know, here I am. Got to start the whole thing again. I can’t even stay on the monitor anyways. Is this even gonna help? The Pitocin wasn’t helping. And the whole time, also, I didn’t see the doctor even once.
Dr. Fox: Had they broken your water, or not yet? That usually works, put you into labor.
Devorah: You know, I’m trying to think about the broken water. I have no recollection about any broken water.
Dr. Fox: Maybe they did.
Devorah: So, maybe at some point, they did and I just don’t remember.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Maybe they did. How long did it take you ultimately, to get ready to push and deliver the first baby?
Devorah: Okay. So, I did not end up starting the contractions again until 11:00…about 10:30 that night, so.
Dr. Fox: So, you’re basically there 24-plus hours?
Dr. Fox: Okay. So, 10:30 at night. All right.
Devorah: 10:30 at night, the doctor comes in, and he’s like, “Okay. I hear you’re having a really hard time and nothing’s happening. Let me see what’s going on.” And then he checks me, and he did something. I’ve no idea what, but I felt him do something. And then sure enough, within five minutes, I was in labor.
Dr. Fox: Maybe he broke your water. I don’t know. Who knows?
Devorah: Contractions started coming fast and furious. And at that time, also, I started yelling like, “Oh, my goodness, this is like crazy.” Like, straight from nothing to the contractions were so fierce. My midwife was with me and she was just, you know, helping me breathe and all that. And then within about 20 minutes, I was ready to push. And I told the midwife, like, “I’m ready to push.” And so she said, “Okay.” You know, she’s like, “I know you already. When you say you’re ready, I know you’re ready.” And as she’s saying that, she’s calling the nurse and saying, “Go call the doctor. She’s ready to push.” And the nurse comes in. “No, I have to check her and make sure she’s 10 centimeters.” And she’s like, “She knows what she’s talking about. She had seven deliveries already.”
And the nurse was like, “No, I have to check.” And she’s like, “No, she’s only seven centimeters. I’m not calling the doctor.” And the midwife started going…you know, she was like, “Oh, my goodness, she’s still in the labor room. They have to get her to the OR, and the doctor got to come because he needs to maneuver the baby.” And she started trying to call the doctor on his cell phone. And we’re trying to get the doctor and I’m pushing. And she’s like, “Oh, my goodness, the baby’s crowning.” And she’s yelling at the nurse, “The baby’s here. You must call the doctor.” And then finally she’s like, “Okay. I’ll go call the doctor.” And then by the time the doctor came, the baby was out. And baby B was already coming down breech.
Dr. Fox: And you’re in a delivery room. You’re not in the operating room where you plan to deliver?
Devorah: I am in a labor room which is teeny, teeny, tiny. Not a delivery room. Like, there was nothing there for a delivery. As soon as the baby came out, the doctor just yelled, “C-section, go prepare. She does not have an epidural.” I didn’t know what that meant.
Dr. Fox: And C-section because he did not have the opportunity to do his plan, which was to manipulate baby B into head-first. Meaning, because it was already too late to do that?
Devorah: Right. Right.
Dr. Fox: Okay. What’s going through your mind at that time? It must have been pretty crazy.
Devorah: Yeah. So, my first thought was like, a C-section? Like, my worst fears are coming true. But I didn’t have much time to think about anything because they just start pushing the bed through the hallways and yanking things all over. I don’t know what they were doing, but I just closed my eyes, and I just kind of, like, detached.
Dr. Fox: Was your husband there?
Devorah: My husband stayed with baby A.
Dr. Fox: I mean, he was in the room and you delivered, the first baby?
Devorah: He was in the room. Yes.
Dr. Fox: Okay.
Devorah: Yes. So, he was holding baby A while they were just pushing me into the OR. And I was just, like, “Just don’t start anything because I’m awake and I’m feeling.” And they put something over my face, I guess, I don’t know, whatever they give you to pull you out. And they just put me out completely.
Dr. Fox: And you wake up, and it’s all done, right? Because you’re asleep in the whole operation?
Devorah: Correct. I wake up, no idea where I am or what’s going on. It was just… I just remember it was very…like, the lighting just hit me really hard, and there was nobody there. And, “What’s going on here? And there’s something over my face.” And then the nurse comes, maybe a minute or two later. And she’s like, “Your mom is here with your husband.” I’m like, “Okay.” And I just remember being just super groggy and maybe crying. And I don’t know. And then I just fell asleep, probably within like a minute or two of that. And I didn’t wake up till the morning.
Dr. Fox: When did you find out that your baby was okay?
Devorah: I just totally didn’t even realize that I was having babies. It was like, I didn’t know what was going on. So, finally in the morning, like, I wake up, and my mother’s like, “Yeah, it’s twin boys. They’re all great, and here they are.” They were in the room with me.
Dr. Fox: How big are they?
Devorah: They were both 6.7.
Dr. Fox: Beautiful. All right.
Devorah: Same size. Yeah.
Dr. Fox: So, 2 boys, both 6.7. Tell me about your recovery from that because, again, this is so different for you. I mean, you’ve had seven births, you know, the last four in a birthing center with the midwife. And here you are, you have a twin pregnancy, sort of longer labor than you would normally have. And then you get put to sleep and have a C-section and then you wake up. What was that recovery like for you? I mean, mostly, like, emotionally. I guess, physically, obviously, it’s harder because you had an operation. But tell me emotionally what that was like for you?
Devorah: So, I just was…you know, the more I thought about it, the more upset I would get. So, as I would recall all the details of what happened over the birth, I just was, like, you know, these nurses who are so terrible, the doctor that maybe came in, like, once or twice to see me throughout the 24 hours. And then the nurse not listening to me or the midwife to go call the doctor. And that’s why I ended up with a C-section. Like, I just felt like it could have been avoided. And just the thought of that was, like, really disappointing to me. Like, an unnecessary surgery, you know, and it was such a difficult recovery. And I don’t know if it was partly difficult also, because the emotional aspects, but it was horrible. It just took a really long time to recover.
Dr. Fox: Did you ever get the opportunity to talk to any of them about it, whether it be the doctor or even the nurses? You know, sometimes you have an opportunity to meet with them again, and sort of rehash what happened, and other times you never see him again the rest of your life. Did you ever have that opportunity?
Devorah: Yeah. So, at my six-week checkup, I did with him.
Dr. Fox: With the doctor?
Devorah: And at that time… Yes. I had done a little bit of research, you know, post the babies being born. And I found out that many doctors do deliver babies breech. And that just made me even more upset. Because, not only did everything lead up to the cause of needing the C-section, but the C section, even though the baby was breech, could have been delivered. So, when I came to the doctor for the six-week checkup, I told the doctor, I’m like, “I don’t understand what’s going on here. You weren’t there. What was going on with the nurses the whole time? Just super upset with the way everything turned out.” And then I kind of just…I don’t know if I yelled at him, but definitely said like, very strongly, like, “You could have delivered that baby. It did not have to be a C-section.” And he said, “Well, I’ll tell you the truth. I wish I could have delivered him. I wish I could have known how to do a breech delivery, but they don’t teach that anymore. And I’m so sorry. I really wish I could have done that for you.”
Dr. Fox: Did that help hearing him say that?
Devorah: It did help in a way. Like, it was nice to hear, but at the end of the day, I was still upset. Like, that resentment was still there, and it just kept festering. And as much as I would tell myself, “You know what? It happened already. It was meant to be.” I just couldn’t get it off my chest.
Dr. Fox: You know, I mean, I’m not saying that would take away all the resentment because there’s resentment over the outcome, the fact that you had a C-section and maybe could have been avoided. And that statement is not gonna get rid of that. Yes, with time, maybe you sort of come to peace with that or whatever. But the statement is more so that, like, the personal resentment. Like, “Why didn’t you do it?” And he’s like, “Listen, I wish I could have. I don’t know how.” And I can see from the doctor side, I mean, there are some things that we know how to do and some things we don’t know how to do, and everyone has different skill level. And absolutely, the last thing you want someone who does not know how to do it, you don’t want them delivering your baby breech if they don’t know how. And he’s right. It’s not really taught. And I would say, most people who go through training nowadays are not competent to do a breech delivery. And that’s a tough situation.
And, you know, it sort of brings up the question, like, on the doctrine, like, what do you do if someone comes to you for, you know, twins, do you say like, “You shouldn’t see me, you should see someone who does breech deliveries.” But you were specifically sent to him because he was the person your midwife thought was the most capable in that area of doing it, to who is he going to send you to? Right. It’s a tough situation. I hear you. I mean, absolutely, positively. If someone was taking care of you in labor, who did breech deliveries, the overwhelming likelihood is you would have delivered both babies vaginally. But you weren’t seeing that person, like, what are you gonna do? It’s sort of…it’s tough. There’s reason for resentment, but it’s hard because, again, it’s complicated with this. Like, how does someone know to find a doctor who can do the breech delivery? And does that doctor have sort of a responsibility to tell you all the things that he can’t do? Right? I mean, do we have to list all the things we’re not able to do? It’s, you know, ultimately, you’re healthy, the babies are healthy. So, I guess he did a good job. But should he have told you that at the front end? I don’t know. It’s hard. I don’t know the answer to that question.
Devorah: What was hard for me also was that I had been very clear about, you know, that I wanted this to be natural, and that I want to do everything that we can for them to come out vaginally. I had spoken about my fear of the C-section, and about so many unnecessary C-sections that are being done, etc., etc. So, I did have this thought in my head, like, we knew that the baby was transverse and we were hoping to be able for the baby to come down head-first. But it was a strong possibility that it would have come down feet-first. So, that definitely…it wasn’t something so out there that he would say, you know, like, “Why should I even mention that?”
Dr. Fox: Yeah. I mean, if you had to go back and do it all over, what do you think you would have done?
Devorah: Well, what I’ve realized after is one of the things also just throughout my pregnancies, I’ve realized more and more that I need to come armed with the information that I need and come to the doctor’s, “This is what I want, this is what I do not want.” And the more I got to know, the more I realized that, you know, I can be very firm about this because there’s actually no reason for this specific thing that they’re doing. You know, a lot of it is just worst-case scenario, “We’re going to do this just in case, just in case.” So, if I knew that, I could just say, “You know what? I just want to sign off on that.” And then just, you know, “I don’t want that,” or, “I do want this specific thing.” And I think the more information that I have come to know, like, the more conviction I was able to come to the doctor with, and then they were much more accommodating because they saw that I knew what I was talking about. And I had my rights. So, you know, that’s the way it was. And I think if I would have known that breech was a possibility, I think that would be one of the questions that I would have asked. So, I didn’t know. It wasn’t one of the questions that I specifically asked.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, no, I think there’s so many important things you just said, I think just on a more… We’ll start in this specific example, you know, with you, yeah, I think it’s really important for people who are carrying twins, particularly if it’s important for them to have a vaginal birth. And it’s not important for everyone, some people I see with twins, like, “Nah, whatever. Like, no, I’ll have a C-section. I’m fine with that.” And so, “Okay, fine. That’s not a priority. It’s not a priority.” But if it is a priority to have a vaginal birth, you wanna ask, like, “Do you do vaginal birth of twins?” Like, “How many do you do? Do you do breech of the second twin?” And sort of to get that information so you as the patient, I guess the consumer, you called, can really make a decision, like, “Am I staying in this practice? Or am I going to try to find someone else who maybe has more experience of twin deliveries?” And, yeah, there may be downside to that too, and might be a different location, and might be logistically harder, might cost more. I have no idea, but it’s a decision you make but you can’t make it unless you know to ask the question on a micro-level.
But I think on a macro level, what you mentioned is so critical with all aspects of pregnancy and healthcare that it’s really important to be open and clear about what your values are, what your wishes are. You know what things you want, what things you don’t want, and why. Because we as doctors, we need to know that because people are different. People do feel differently about induction, about Pitocin, about C-sections, about a whole…you know, that’s just related to pregnancy, but a whole host of things. And, you know, we don’t know how we’re going to possibly tailor it. And usually, it’s something that can be accommodated, say, “Okay. We’ll try to this way versus this way, and we’ll do this.” And if it’s something that someone asked that I’m just totally uncomfortable with, at least we know that on the front end, and we could figure out what to do, right? Either I’m gonna give, or she’s gonna give, or she’ll go somewhere else. And that’s fine. But these things have to be discussed openly.
And I think people sometimes have this fear or hesitation of talking with their doctors and their midwives or anyone in healthcare about what they want in a firm way. I don’t know why, maybe because they’ll be branded as like a troublemaker or something. But no, it’s really important to us to know what people want so we can either accommodate or say, “Listen, these are the things we can accommodate on. And these things, I just can’t. Either I just can’t logistically, or I just don’t think it’s safe, or whatever, and then figure out what to do.” But you don’t want to be having that argument in the middle of labor. Like, that’s a bad time to be talking about these things. You want to have this weeks and weeks and weeks in advance, so everyone’s on the same page. Do you still have that lingering resentment? I know because these are not your youngest kids, twins, right? What did you do next?
Devorah: So, actually talking about the resentment, I think slowly, I just had to keep telling myself, “You know what? This was meant to be.” As much as I did research, for whatever reason, that specific area of information, I never came across it. There just has to be a reason why things happen this way. And I started coming to terms with it and kind of being okay with it. And then when I got pregnant with my next child, you know, pregnancy went fine. I was gonna be with a midwife. I wanted a VBAC. So, I went back to my midwife who now has to do a home birth because they’re not allowed to do VBACs in a birthing center. I don’t know what the difference between a birthing center and home is, but…
Dr. Fox: Birthing center is safer. “So, let’s tell them to go home. All right, so go home.”
Devorah: They don’t let you. Right. Exactly. It’s like, you can’t do in the birthing center, you can only do it at home. But whatever the case was…
Dr. Fox: It’s a little backwards, but okay. Since you’re talking to me, I guess it worked out. All right.
Devorah: Right. So, at first, I was really nervous. But then I kept thinking, like, “Really, what’s the difference between a birthing center home, it’s like a home.” She brings her emergency equipment with her oxygen, or whatever it is, like, the emergency things that at least we can get to the hospital, and whatever. I don’t know why that’s different than the birthing center. So, it was a little nerve-wracking, but I had to convince myself that it was definitely… I didn’t have to convince myself that it was better than the hospital, but just, you know, to be calm about giving birth at home. So, yeah. That was gonna be the plan. And everything went great. And we ended up going to Israel, Israel trip, just me and my husband. And I was 29 weeks. And I thought, “Oh, 29 weeks, there’s plenty of time before the baby, you know, it’s perfect. We have the opportunity now, we’re grabbing the opportunity. You never know when the next opportunity will come.”
And we went, and I was doing everything, all the hikes, and the climbing, and whatever it was. And then sure enough, after about a week being there, I felt something happen. And I’m like, “I don’t know, am I going into labor?” And I just started totally freaking out, like, “Oh, my gosh, I cannot get birth in Israel. And it’s 10 weeks early, like, no, this can’t be happening.” And I ended up going to the ER. And when the nurse was asking me about all my other deliveries, and I came to the twin birth. So, I said that it was…the first one was vaginal, the second was C-section. She’s, “Really? What happened? Was the baby not breathing,” or whatever. And I’m like, “No, the baby was perfectly fine, but it was a breech delivery.” And she’s like, “Really? They would do a C-section for a breech delivery. I mean, that’s normal practice here is that you do a vaginal delivery for a breech baby if they’re the second baby.” And that just brought back all the resentment again. And I’m like…
Dr. Fox: Thanks, nurse. Thanks, nurse in Israel for bringing that all up again. All right.
Devorah: Exactly. And it was just like, “Oh my gosh, are you kidding me?” You know, Miami is so backwards. Then I started going through this again, you know, which has been in my mind, you know, like Miami so backwards. The doctors here are just so backward then so, you know…
Dr. Fox: I’m curious, in the next pregnancy, did you have an ultrasound before that point, to check it wasn’t twins?
Devorah: I did. I did because I was actually gaining a lot of weight again.
Dr. Fox: Like, “Oh, my god, I need to know early.”
Devorah: Right. So, this time, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, am I having twins again?” And then also because I was giving birth at home, I’m like, “I must know what’s going on here.” And they’re like, “No, one baby.”
Dr. Fox: Well, I can tell you, Devorah, if you’re a patient of mine, we would have delivered the twins vaginally and I would not have had VBAC at home. But okay. All right. A little this, a little that. So, it ultimately worked out okay and the VBAC went well. You got out of Israel, you got back to Miami and your midwife delivered that baby at home?
Devorah: And the midwife delivered the baby at home, and it was just beautiful birth. Everything just went like clockwork the way you’d imagine it. Baby came out very quickly, and I was just home, like, in my own bed. It was just so beautiful. But I feel like that was kind of, like, almost, like, a closure, too.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. It’s like payback.
Devorah: Like a payback, exactly.
Dr. Fox: Like, you’re owed one.
Dr. Fox: You’re owed uncomplicated, uneventful, peaceful delivery after the one before. Looking back on all of this, I mean, obviously, you’ve done this a couple of times and, you know, the twin birth is the one that stands out. Just, you know, for our listeners who are hearing your story, what is it you wanna impart to them from your story? Like, what is the lesson you think that you took away from this, or that you want our listeners to take away from your story?
Devorah: So, I actually have three lessons. I was thinking of two but another one came to mind now.
Dr. Fox: All right. Three it is.
Devorah: So, the first one is be educated. Besides for knowing your rights, just know more about pregnancy, know more about delivery, which kind of things are things that need to be happening or things that can be helpful to you, just get as educated as you can. I just find that’s so important, instead of just being like, “Oh, the doctor knows what they’re doing,” and just leave it up to them.
Dr. Fox: That was probably an unintentional plug for other podcast, “Healthful Woman,” to get educated. All right. So, I appreciate lesson number one, get educated. All right, number two.
Devorah: Number two is once everything’s over and passed, there’s nothing you can do to change anything is to let go. Let go of what happens. This is what happened. This is what was meant to happen. And to work on your own healing, however that would look. So, when I had all these resentments, I didn’t want to have the resentments. And even though my head was telling me, “Let go. This happened already. It was meant to be. Who knows what would have happened, maybe if you would have gone through with the vaginal delivery?” And then just to do whatever it is to help you get through that. So, you know, just because your mind says something, doesn’t mean you’re feeling it in your body.
Dr. Fox: That’s a great lesson number two. What’s number three?
Devorah: Number three, also is to listen to your body. So, even though in my head I was thinking, “What’s so traumatic about this? Like, everybody has C-sections, the babies were fine. Like, were there really any problems throughout this whole thing?” Like, you know, you were fine the whole time, the babies were fine the whole time. Like, I kept telling myself, “This is really not traumatic. Like, what is really traumatic about this?” And I just came to realize that my body was feeling the trauma of it. For whatever it is, the way I looked and viewed at this experience was traumatic for me. And just to listen to that, and to do what it takes to help resolve that.
Dr. Fox: Great story. Great lessons. That’s amazing. How are all the kids now? How are the twins doing?
Devorah: They are a ton of trouble. They’re super cute.
Dr. Fox: They’re wreaking havoc on the world. Tearing up everything.
Dr. Fox: Beautiful. Devorah, thank you so much for volunteering to come on the podcast. I really appreciate you taking the time. It’s a great story. I mean, it is. Obviously, it leaves you with a little bit of a bitter taste in your mouth, but, you know, you had such good takeaways from it. And I think that those lessons are really important for all of us, and any of the challenges we have in our life, whether they’re related to pregnancy or not related to pregnancy. And it’s also very just interesting, very interesting stories. I really appreciate it. Thank you.
Devorah: My pleasure. And have a great one.
Dr. Fox: Thank you for listening to “High Risk Birth Stories,” brought to you by the creators of the “Healthful Woman” podcast. If you’re interested in telling your birth story on our podcast, please go to our partner website at www.healthfulwoman.com, and click the link for sharing your story. You can also email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you liked today’s podcast, please be sure to check out our “Healthful Woman” podcast as well, where I speak with the leaders in the field to help you learn more about women’s health, pregnancy, and wellness. Have a great day.
The information discussed in “High Risk Birth Stories” is intended for information and entertainment only, and does not replace medical care from your physician. The stories and experiences discussed in our podcasts are unique to each guest, and are not intended to be representative of any standard of care or expected outcomes. As always, we encourage you to speak with your own doctor about specific diagnoses and treatment options for an effective treatment plan. Guests in “High Risk Birth Stories” have given them permission for us to share their personal health information.