Birth Without Fear inspired me.
When I found out in December that I was expecting two babies, I was stunned. How is it possible? My mother had twins… Doesn’t it skip a generation? (Answer: no). After reality set in, we got two infant car seats to squeeze alongside my then 9-month old’s, and traded in the sedan for an SUV. We got a triple stroller and started searching for two more of everything else since my son still regularly used his high chair and other baby necessities.
After ending up in L&D with contractions at 25 weeks (stopped with medication and sent home same day), I started to believe what so many friends, acquaintances, strangers, and doctors had told me – don’t plan to make it full term with a twin pregnancy. Don’t for a minute expect a vaginal delivery for both babies. And breastfeeding? It’s nearly impossible with twins.
As moms in my online multiples birth group would meet their babies earlier than planned through preterm labor and emergency c-sections, each week I was surprised and grateful that my twins were still in utero. But I genuinely expected to be right alongside the moms of preemies in the NICU any day. I bought preemie clothing and diapers, scaled back responsibilities at work, and did my best to finish decorating the nursery and before the babies arrived. And then I waited for the inevitable – an early labor, cesarean birth for at least one, and long NICU stay for the babies.
Then I read a story on BWF about a strong woman who had a medication free, vaginal delivery of triplets at 36 weeks and my eyes opened to a whole new world of possibilities. You mean, that can actually happen?
Birth became my new passion. I was inspired. I joined the Birthing Multiples Naturally Facebook group mentioned on the BWF blog post and began gleaning information and support from experienced moms. I promptly decided on a new obstetrician who was willing to attempt vaginal delivery for both babies. And I connected with a doula – someone who was immeasurably valuable to me throughout the pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Additionally, I saw a chiropractor for Webster Technique adjustments to encourage Baby B to turn from transverse to a more desirable position for delivery. Things were going well. So well, in fact, that I had no preterm labor scares beyond 26 weeks and experienced no other complications at all.
We induced labor at 38 weeks 1 day. Arriving at the hospital having made it full term was the most empowering feeling I’ve experienced. I felt like I was made to carry these babies – created to be pregnant, labor in strength and grace, breastfeed with confidence, and love my children fiercely. I was ready; excited to meet these little ones who’d been the subject of so many prayers, thoughts, and dreams over the past 9 months.
We arrived at 5:15 am with a labor team consisting of me, my husband, and our doula who was prepared with a birthing ball, rebozo, essential oils, camera, snacks for my husband, and so many other items that were helpful. I was so excited; my husband remarked as we entered L&D that this was the fastest I’d walked for months. I checked in at 5:15, changed into a black Pretty Pushers gown, and received an IV while signing consent forms. There were difficulties keeping both wiggly babies on the monitors so Pitocin was not administered until 7 am. Once the drip began, contractions came promptly and close together. It did not take long before I was antsy and uncomfortable. My doula did a phenomenal job ensuring my comfort. It was almost as if she was inside my head, anticipating how I felt and which positioning changes would help even before I asked.
My OB stopped by at 8:30 for one final ultrasound to be sure both babies were still head-down. The ultrasound tech found a third head hiding near the top of my abdomen. We were stunned, but I kept reminding myself of my 16-month old’s car seat nestled between the twins’ infant carriers and assured myself we would at least be able to get three babies home. Further investigation revealed this was not indeed a third baby that had hidden itself throughout the pregnancy, but rather a reflection of Baby B’s head. Whew!
At noon the doctor broke my water. I requested an epidural and took a short nap. We hadn’t eaten since before midnight, so I encouraged my husband to get lunch around 2 pm. He was still gone during my next cervical check at 2:45, at which time I was determined to be 6 cm and 90% effaced. I texted him to speed him along and fell back asleep.
Around 3:20, I began experiencing pressure and called the nurse. She suggested we give it a few minutes before she did another cervical check. I couldn’t wait, so I asked her to see where we stood and then learned baby is coming! I did all I could to keep from pushing. The pressure was so intense that I was moaning and grunting, using all of my strength to breathe and refrain from pushing. My husband jumped into the scrubs jumpsuit, cap, mask, and booties while the nurses got together all of the cords and equipment necessary, then we were whisked off to the operating room for delivery. I was moved to another bed under these huge white lights. The room was very cold: I shivered from the cold and moaned from the pressure; I felt helpless and scared. I told my husband I was afraid and didn’t want to do this, didn’t know how to do this. He held my hand and told me to look at him. I kept looking away and closing my eyes, but he just kept bringing me back. His presence and support was very calming, yet I began spouting off panicked statements like, “Where is she?? The doctor needs to get here now!!!!” and “I’m not ready!!”
My OB arrived after what felt like forever and we could finally begin. I was able to feel the presence of the baby’s head/body, and after 10 minutes of coordinated and efficient pushing, Baby Girl arrived and was placed on my belly. Her cord was short so she couldn’t quite reach my chest while cord clamping was delayed. We opted to have it cut and I finally got to hold my sweet baby girl. She was so beautiful and perfect, covered in vernix. She was calm and peaceful in my arms. Meanwhile, the doctor was doing an external version to guide Baby B closer to the birth canal. I felt a warm gush as the doctor broke his water. I began to feel panicked again – if ever, this was the time the c-section would surely come. Did he cooperate? Would he? Had he flipped transverse – his favorite position during pregnancy – yet again? The nurses took Baby A aside for weighing and vitals while I prepared to push. I only pushed a few times and 8 minutes after his sister, my baby boy was here! We were able to delay clamping his cord until it stopped pulsing while I held and loved on my darling little boy. I kept caressing and kissing his head while saying, “hi, sweet boy!” The nurses handed back baby girl and took pictures of us as a family. I held my babies while I delivered the placentas, which had fused together, and had a small first degree tear stitched. My husband, the proud papa, had skin to skin time with one baby at a time. It was perfect.
After baby boy had his weight and vitals checked, we all moved back to the labor room where my doula was waiting with a twin nursing pillow. Both babies latched on quickly and nursed for an hour while I just stared at them in awe. It was such a sweet time with just my husband, our babies, and our doula assisting with nursing. After this hour, the babies went to the nursery with my husband for baths and more thorough examination. I changed into a different gown and chatted with my doula about the delivery. Several hours later, we had our son and my husband’s parents visit to meet the babies. Big brother took to them instantly and loved kissing and hugging his babies.
After a failed attempted home birth and complicated nursing experience with my son last year, I found this birth to be very healing. I was previously anxious about delivering in a hospital and surrendering my ideal birth, but we had excellent care and the best delivery I could imagine. Additionally, breastfeeding is going amazingly. We are four weeks into our nursing relationship and both babies are gaining weight well and love to breastfeed! I hope to make it to one year, and if the past few weeks are any indication of the months to come, I think we will do just fine.