BIRTH STORY (ABRIDGED)
In fact, the labor-stalling drugs did work, and I made it all the way to thirty-six weeks, which is considered full term for twins. My daughter emerged easily. My son was in line behind her, but he had spent the last two months of my pregnancy doing somersaults. I know this to be true because the daily fetal monitoring while I was in the hospital showed that his head was sometimes on my left side and sometimes on the right. He’d gotten himself tangled up in his umbilical cord, and my doctor couldn’t get him untangled. Thanks to her foresight, it was a simple matter to ramp up the drugs coming through my epidural. It was only then that I did feel numb from the waist down. A screen was put over my middle so I wouldn’t have to watch myself getting sliced open. Twenty minutes after our daughter, our son came into the world, just as big and healthy as she was.
The epidural did cause me to have less contact with all of the realities of the birth process. I didn’t feel every single element of my daughter’s arrival, and of course didn’t feel my son’s arrival at all— didn’t even see it because of the screen. Some would say I missed out because of the epidural that reduced pain to such a low level during my daughter’s birth. I had more contact than my husband did, since I experienced her birth firsthand and he experienced it as a spectator. But I had less contact than someone going through natural birth. I was aware of a lot less of the process. Then again, for the sake of more contact, I don’t think I would have wanted more pain, nor would I have wanted a more risky delivery for my son. As much as I do care about naturalness and athleticism in some contexts, I didn’t care much about them in that context—not enough to tolerate more pain or risk.