Birth Story #2

This week’s story I thought was pretty interesting. I have always been told that twin births were high risk and they had to be in the hospital with an IV, just in case the second twin needed to come out in a hurry, being an emergency c-section.

With all the reading I have been doing, most books say that twins are no different than single babies if you have a professional that can handle them. Twins can come in a VBAC without problems, they can be carried full term, and you do not have to have a c-section and induction with twins.

I also think this story shows that not all labors are the same, even if this is your third or fourth labor.

–Just as an FYI: this story is kind of long, so if you don’t want to read it, you don’t have to 😉 —

The Homebirth of Twins
Ah, where do we begin along this wild road? Maybe it’s when I came to realize that my period was late. Though I didn’t really believe it was possible for me to be pregnant, I thoroughly enjoyed teasing my husband about it. He was calm, cool, and collected. I finally broke down and bought a pregnancy test, just to tease him! (HONESTLY!)
So, as I took the test, I just knew it was going to be negative. I remember running out to show the test to Kevin. He was on the phone with his mother. I’m waving two fingers in the air and screaming, as quietly as possible, “There are two lines!”
Kevin swears he knew what it would show. I was totally shocked! I couldn’t be pregnant yet!
So we did wat every parent of four other children does upon hearing number five is expected — we ignored it. Finally around week seven we decided to go in for our ultrasound to rule out ectopic pregnancy. After several previous pregnancy losses, including one that cost us my left fallopian tube, we wanted some reassurance all would be well.
The ultrasound did nothing of the sort. It showed a fetal pole, no heartbeat, and an area of bleeding. A week later, at a follow up, we saw our beating baby’s heart and were thrilled! Then I said that teh bleed looked bigger. Kevin and I looked at each other and exclaimed, “It’s another heartbeat!” And so this pregnancy began.
Our last three children had been born at home with midwives. WE had a lot of questions about this with twins, including would it even be a possibility. There were so many variables. Could we go full term? What positions would be safe to attempt a vaginal birth? How big would the babies be? How would I feel, physically? Mentally? Emotionally?
We eventually decided to seek dual care. We saw our homebirth midwife just as often as if she were our only practitioner. And we saw a doctor the same amount of visits. We had ultrasounds galore to track their growth. We even had a short scare for preterm labor.
In the end, it was decided; homebirth would be our safest choice.
The weeks immediately preceding the birth were filled with holiday happenings and wonder. We had spent so much time being told that twins were always early, that we began to believe it ourselves. Though we laughed and told people that meant I’d go 40 weeks, at least. I was always late.
The first baby, Baby A (Owl) was head down and vertex. The second baby, Baby B (Nose) was breech. Because I had previous babies, and Nose was not first, it was safe to attempt a vaginal homebirth. I’d spent many a night trying to figure out all the posibilities of potential complications. I weighed risks and benefits. I plotted and planned. I worried. Eventually I simply prayed that there would be a clear sign that I would know where I was meant to give birth. I’d have to trust my body, my babies, and my team.
About two weeks before my due date, a few friends organized an awesome Blessingway. (This is kind of like a baby shower, but is all about the mother and helping her through her fears and doubts of becoming a new mother, or a mother of more babies). It was so empowering. I really needed to feel the uplifting strength of my friends and other women. THey even gave me a great necklace with beads that each told a story of a baby.
At 38 weeks and 5 days, I started having contractions. They were painful and I had to work with them, but I knew it wasn’t time to call everyone. I call our head midwive, who had a drive ahead of her and I called Denay, our doula for the children to help with them. All night long, Kevin and I worked with the contractions. The next day, no real progress and the contractions ceased. I was horribly disapointed.
The midwife said she’d go with me to my last scheduled ultrasound. Kevin was actually going to go as well. Denay took the kids to school so we could do all this. When we got there it was the surprise of our life. Our first miracle – baby Nose had turned head down! Those contractions had been helping the baby turn. We were all on cloud nine.
All was quiet, except my horrible cough, until my due date. Again, contractions started in the middle of the evening. We called the midwife and her assistant. They both came and stayed the night along with my sister. Once again, morning light brought an end to the contractions. I couldn’t even face work again. I stayed home.
The midwife and my sister joked that they were moving in until the end. I just smiled and wondered if there would ever be an end. I was not as calm and peaceful about being overdue as I had been with Lilah, nor as calm as I desired to be.
My sister took the kids under her wing and let Kevin and I go out alone. The midwife went shopping and to the movies. Kvinand I went to the office holiday party. Have you ever tried to attend a holiday party overdue with twins, when you work with a group of OBs? LEt me tell you, it was an interesting night. They were all so thoughtful and sweet. It’s nice to have people care.

We told them it couldn’t be much longer…
Amanda (my sister) and I went out to pick up a game table for her kids that they had on hold. I drug y body back to the house exhausted and discouraged. Another usual night – up and down to the bathroom. Left hip, right hip, laying on the pillows – just a few positions I’d try every night. It was while I was lying over my pillows that I awoke to the feeling of water pouring between my legs. Ugh, I thought, more coughing leads to more peeing on myself.
Then I looked at the clock – 4:30 am. Deep down I kenw it was my water breaking and I felt relieved. I laid there a minute and then got up to go to the bathroom. Everything I did pointed to it being my waters. Finally I looked in the toilet and saw a few chunks of vernix – definitely not my bladder.
“My water broke,” I told Kevin. “That’s nice,” he said as he rolled back over. I went to my sister’s room, “My water’s broke, but I don’t need you yet, just wanted to let you know.” I went downstairs, “My water’s broke,” I told my midwife. “Are you having any contractions?” “Not yet,” I replied.
She suggested we got up and listen to the babies to see how they were doing. She said she’d meet me up in my room after brushing her teeth. I had a few minor contractions as I made my way upstairs in the dark. I went back to the bathroom to change my pad.
The midwife listened to the babies and they sounded good. I had her confirm that they were both still head down. She said she was going to go wake my sister and make the bed for the birth. She also suggested we call everyone.
By now I was having a couple of contractions that hurt much like Lilah’s labor. I was fearful for a minute. Kevin had gotten up while we listened to the babies; he came over and calmed me down. He reassured me that I’d do a great job and that I shouldn’t fear labor.
I really went inside myself at this point. I was aware that there was a flurry of people being called and arriving. I was asked to make a couple of decisions, like should we wake the kids. I was feeling a lot of pressure with the contractions and figured that, like Lilah’s birth, once I really started pushing that would be all she wrote — it would be over soon.
The bed was made and I assumed my position that I usually assumed. After testing around the pushing sensations, I said to the midwives, “Maybe youshould check me. While it feels better to push than not push, I could still be three centimeters.” (Sounds really level headed and cool, huh?) They agreed. But as luck would have it, I was 9 centimeters dialated, 100% effaced, and baby Owl was at -2 station.
I remember feeling smugness at this point. It was almost over. I’d give little pushes through a few contractions. The lip of the cervix would disappear and soon, I’d be holding the babies. HA! About 15 mintues later (6:15 am) I asked them to see if the lip was gone. A different midwife checked and it was still there and felt like more than a lip. My spirits sank.
I wanted to know if we could be more agressive about the lip and move it. They said sure thing, whatever you wanted. One midwife suggested a position change. I knew she meant hands and knees, but I just didn’t see myself moving int hat position, given how my body felt size wise and mobility wise. I opted to push with someone pushing the lip. A few pushes later it was gone.
NOw for the show! Once again I was wrong. I pushed for about 15 minutes semi-sitting on my bed. I was being praised and told that it was bringing the baby down, but where the heck was the baby!? I’d never pushed this long. I finally opted to move to the side of the bed and sit on my aerobics step.
During my pregnancy as I’d tried to imagine giving birth to two babies, I’d often imagined using the stool on the side of the bed. Mainly I choose this image because I kept thinking I’d be having a breech baby and need to squat or stand for that birth. So it felt instincively right to go there.
As I got down on the floor, I noticed Isaac and Lilah asleep on a couch pillow in the corner of the room. I saw that my friends, family, and support team were all gathered. I’d really been oblivious before. Everyone was sitting quietly on the floor waiting, even the kids.
Because of the slower pushing phase, I was actually able to really feel the progress of the baby. It was really neat. I felt when baby A slipped righ tunder the pubic bone and stayed. I was very aware of my body. Kevin and one ofhte midwives were sitting by my feet, awaiting the arrival of the first baby. We had hoped Kevin would be able to help catch the baby as he had Lilah.
After the head was under the pubic bone, it was just a few more pushes and the baby was born very quickly, probably due to the small size in comparison to my other kids (Owl was 8 lbs). Kevin handed the baby to me and I started crying right away. We turned the baby over to see if it was a boy or girl. It was Isaac’s job to tell us, he just stared at the baby. He finally said, “It’s a boy!” The midwife said, “Are you sure?” “No, it’s a girl!”
I just sat there and cried and cried over my baby girl. Kevin cut the cord fairly quickly so that we didnt’ hav eto worry about baby B not getting enough blood.
After a few mintues I felt like I really needed to focus ont he next baby so i handed my girl off to a friend. I felt I would crush her if I held her while pushing out baby B.
The baby spent a few minutes on my pubic bone. The head midwife was awaiting the baby with Kevin and the other was listening for heart tones. I lifted my semi-deflated belly up so she could find a good spot. When I did that, the baby started to move off my pubic bone. So I kept doing it.
The baby sounded great and there wasn’t any hurry. I was worried. All along I knew there would be more potential problems with baby B. It had been 15 minutes since Owl was born, so I started to obsess.
Finally I could feel Nose moving down more. My water broke with a HUGE EXPLOSION. Everyone was covered in amniotic fluid. They had to wipe my midwive’s face and glasses off.
I finally felt the baby move to my pubic bone and past. I began pushing with all my might, while belly lifting with one hand and doing fundal pressure with the other.
There was no ring of fire with the second baby, and the baby went from partially visible to born in about 20 seconds. Another baby girl!
Baby Owl weighed 8 lbs and Baby Nose came in at 7 lbs 8 oz. Fine sized twins!
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