Normalizing Twin Births; Twins Born Naturally in the Hospital

*A few parts of Jess’ birth footage were used in part 3 of More Business of Being Born, so if you’ve seen that, you’ll see her!

Nothing about my pregnancy went according to plan. After nearly 13 years of marriage and completion of my clinical social work graduate program, we decided it was finally time for us to start thinking about a family. It took us about 6 months of trying before I figured out there was a problem with the luteal phase of my cycle that was making conception more difficult than it should be. But after about 8 weeks of weekly acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic, and dietary changes, we got that plus sign we’d been waiting for. (The day after starting my new job, incidentally). Part of me always knew I’d have twins and so when I began dreaming of twins in the 5th week of my pregnancy, I had a feeling then that something magical was happening. And when I would talk to “baby” in my tummy, my whole body said, “That’s not right”, so I always talked to “babies” instead, just in case…

Each time we had a midwife appointment, Mitch would ask, “Can you tell if there are two in there?” (Mitch and I have been together 14 years – long enough for him to know that my intuition isn’t just a fluke.) My best friend was pregnant at the same time, due the same day, and I was consistently bigger than her, and MUCH sicker than her. I remember one day shopping for maternity clothes together – the two of us standing in the dressing room and seeing how much bigger I was, telling her, “Look at my belly compared to yours. I think there are two babies in there.” In retrospect, I also started feeling movement around 12 weeks – like little ping pong balls bouncing around my belly – what my midwife referred to as an “early quickening”. So there were lots of signs backing up my intuition.

By the time our first ultrasound came around at 20 weeks, I told Mitch I was pretty sure they would find two babies. But I didn’t completely believe it yet – my heart knew it, but my head had not quite caught on. The sonographer put the wand down on my belly and two perfect circles appeared on the screen. She immediately removed the wand, looked at us, and said, “So, …um, is this your first ultrasound?” Thinking this was a standard question, I told her that it was. “Ah,” she said. She put the wand back down and said, “Because here’s a head, and here’s baby number two’s head.” Mitch immediately started laughing and I screamed and said, “I knew it!” The only place my intuition was off was that I had dreamed of one boy and one girl. Instead, there were clearly two sweet identical little boys in there.

Our first glimpse of the babies! Two beautiful heads…

twins sonogram

This was the first of many changes to how I imagined my birth would go. I’d been planning a home birth or a birth center birth and had been getting my care through a local birth center. My midwife offered to do a home birth for us since they could not birth twins at the center due to their license. (No twins, no breech). I did some serious soul-searching and intuited that these babies were not meant to be born at home. So my midwife recommended an amazing OB in just over the border in Wisconsin. Kind of a drive, but totally worth it. Dr. H is more midwifey than many midwives I’ve met, and I felt totally calmed to be working with him. He had a lot of experience with twins and is regarded as a local expert on vaginal breech delivery – something that is fairly common with twins. “Breech is a perfectly valid way to come into the world,” he told me. I have never been afraid of a drug-free natural childbirth, but the idea of a hospital birth has always scared me. Dr. H and this small community hospital were as close to a birth center as I would get this time around, and I knew it was the right place to get my care.

We certainly experienced some major “twinshock” – I spent the day after our ultrasound alternately laughing hysterically and crying hysterically. But once the news sunk in, we began to realize what an amazing miracle was taking place. Feeling the boys grow and move in my belly over the next few months was something I’ll never forget. As the months went by, I got bigger and bigger. I was measuring 40 weeks by 28 weeks pregnant, so… fun.

One of my final belly pictures, at 34 weeks…

pregnant with twins

Fast-forward to 34 weeks: I’d been feeling restless the past few days. I’d gotten up at 2 in the morning and taken a shower one night because I just…had to. Mitch later told me that the late-night shower was when he started to think that the babies would be coming sooner than we thought – I’d never done anything like that. On a Thursday, I took a nap on the couch and woke up to a feeling that wasn’t quite right. Turns out I’d lost my mucus plug. I saw Dr. H the next day and he said not to worry – losing the mucus plug was a “nonspecific” sign. For the next few days, I started passing mucus regularly. Again, not necessarily anything to be concerned about. Still, we scheduled our second meeting with our doulas for that Monday just in case we were closer to the big show than we’d thought. Tuesday morning, I woke up with another feeling that a change had happened and found that I’d had some bloody show. We drove in to the L&D unit at our hospital and they put me on the fetal monitors, found that both babies looked good and saw that I was having some mild Braxton-Hicks contractions (which I’d been having since about 20 weeks). I was 80% effaced and just 1 cm dilated, (normal for twins) so they again weren’t worried.

That night, some friends came over for a visit. In retrospect, I was having a low “restless” backache, and some crampiness in my thighs, but I chalked it up to the fact that I’d been laying on that hospital bed all day. I was in denial that I would go anything less than 40 weeks, so why would I think that labor would begin any time soon?

1:45 am, Wednesday 1/12/11: I was asleep and heard/felt a slight “pop!” and felt what seemed like a tidal wave of amniotic fluid rush out. (Good thing we’d just put the waterproof mattress pad down). Our joke now is that Mitch and half our bedroom furniture went rushing down the hall on the gigantic wave of amniotic fluid. Mitch woke to me saying, “Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit.” There was no mistaking what had just happened and it was too early. Just as Mitch asked me what was wrong, he started getting drenched and realized what was going on.

Because I was 34 and 6/7 weeks, it meant we couldn’t have the delivery at our Wisconsin hospital that we’d wanted, but my wonderful OB could catch our babies at a local hospital in the Twin Cities (ha!) with a NICU attached. Already one of my biggest labor fears was being realized: I’d be delivering in the most medicalized possible environment. Quite the change from my initial dream of a water birth at home. But I knew it was best for my early boys.

We called one of our doulas, who told me to take a shower, have a little meal, and take some time to breathe and reflect on the fact that my babies were coming today. This really helped me calm down and feel more centered. I’m so glad I took that time.

Mitch printed out my birth plan, put my labor playlist on my iPod, and made me some oatmeal. I sat on the couch and cried some tears – both happy and scared, and listened to a favorite song from my labor playlist, Djorolen, by Bela Fleck and Oumou Sangare. I hummed quietly to my boys and connected with them, and let them know that it was okay that they decided to come earthside today. I didn’t remember it at the time but the translation of the lyrics to this song are, “The worried songbird cries out in the forest. Her thoughts go far away. For those of us who have no parents, her thoughts go to them.” Looking back, this was a spiritual moment. At that moment, I was that worried songbird whose thoughts were far away. I felt worried, lost, happy, excited, calm – all at the same time. But from that moment on, there was no fear. I knew somehow that it would all be okay, that I would push both these babies out of my vagina with little problem, that my body knew how to do what needed to be done that day.

About two hours from when my water broke, we were on our way to the hospital. By the time I got to there at 4 AM (on all fours in the backseat, which felt GREAT), I’d begun having some mild contractions – nothing worse than period cramps. Our doulas Sarah and Amber met us in our labor room and we met Lori, our nurse for the day. Much to my pleasant surprise, she was totally accommodating of my natural birth plan – not wanting pain meds, epidural, or continuous fetal monitoring, etc. It really was the luck of the draw because depending on the nurse, she could have required continuous fetal monitoring due to hospital twin policy. The nurse checked me and I was dilated to 4 cm. I couldn’t believe it – I’d barely felt a thing at that point.

I spent the morning in the early labor phase doing lots of hip circles on the birth ball, doing squats and lunges, and yoga led by Sarah. This was where I was sooooo glad I’d gone to prenatal yoga classes during my pregnancy. I felt so strong and powerful. I was able to moan through contractions and recover my sense of humor and ability to converse between contractions. Both my doulas and Mitch had their hands on me almost all the time, which was exactly what I wanted – I felt so supported. I had my labor play list playing which was also tremendously comforting – it helped the sterile hospital space feel more like home.

Sometime around 10 or 11am, a distinct shift in my labor occurred. We’d taken a class at the Childbirth Collective called “The Natural Rhythm of Labor” where the teacher, an experienced doula, acted out the stages of labor in a very realistic manner. This proved to be one of the most helpful things throughout my labor because I sort of knew based on how I was acting where I was in the labor, and that how I was behaving was normal. Once I felt this shift, I knew we’d moved to the next level. I was beginning to feel tremendous downward pressure in my bottom and a need to bear down. The contractions were intense and I could no longer talk between them. I was less able to be present with my low moaning and tensed up quite a bit. Again, my doulas and Mitch were amazing in helping me to relax as best I could. Because of the urge to bear down, my favorite place for the rest of my labor was on the toilet in the dark bathroom. I spent some time in the tub, but it wasn’t very deep and didn’t provide the relief I’d hoped it would. While I was in the tub, our nurse checked me again and even though I was sure I must be at about 28 centimeters at that point, I was at 6.

We went back to the labor room and this was when I was beginning to tell my support team, “You guys, I don’t think I can do this anymore.” Again, I remembered from the Childbirth Collective class that this was a good sign because it meant I was getting closer to the end. “You ARE doing this!”, my support team reminded me. Eventually I began begging for an epidural – supposedly another sign that things were progressing. Sarah, Amber, and Mitch knew I didn’t want the epidural so they helped me through more contractions. All the while, I was begging and saying I couldn’t do this anymore. I was so exhausted – I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t just let me lay down in the bed! It was hard not to tense up so much, but Amber helped me do a low roar through my contractions. I also threw up several times at this point – I again remembered from our Lamaze class that this was a “good sign”. Even deep in laborland, I was somehow able to remember that barfing was often an indicator of transition.

Amber and Mitch, helping me through a contraction…

husband and doula

The nurse checked me again because I was doing so much grunting in my contractions that she felt sure I was ready to push. She discovered that I was still at 6 cm, had a slight fever, and that my cervix was beginning to swell from all the downward pressure over the hours. Sarah and Amber had me switch my breathing technique so that I wouldn’t bear down so much, but it was nearly impossible not to. The nurse said, “Okay, I know you don’t want an epidural, but I think we need to do something to take the swelling out of your cervix.” There was part of me that wanted to look at my labor support team and say, “See!? I won! Epidural!” Even though I didn’t want it, the idea of relieving the intense pressure of the contractions had taken over. The anesthesiologist came in and as he was prepping me, he said, “I see you have some acne on your back. That can increase the potential for infection which can lead to paralysis and death.” I was like, “Yep, paralysis, death, got it. Sounds good. Let’s get that epidural now, please!”

After the epidural was placed, it took only about 10 minutes to realize that I was one of the small percentage of women the anesthesiologist mentioned for whom epidurals don’t work. The intensity of the contractions had only increased and I had full feeling and movement from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. I could have stood up and tap-danced, no problem. (If I knew how to tap-dance). Sarah and Amber sent Mitch to go get something to eat thinking that we’d have some time now that the epidural was in. Wrong – nurse checked me again since I was still bearing down and clearly feeling the increasing intensity of each contraction. In retrospect, this was the final part of transition.

25 minutes after my non-functioning epidural was placed, I had gone from 6 cm to 10 cm! Sarah called Mitch and told him to get back upstairs quickly. The nurse got scrubs for everyone (Twins automatically have to be delivered in the OR at most hospitals. Lame.). And even though I was in a deep internal place, I knew we were at the end and the birth was near. I have never felt so fully in my body in my life – it was the most profound physical experience I’ll ever have. Sarah told me it would be okay if I started doing some little pushes when my body felt like it. My OB was on his way from Wisconsin (at about 4pm – rush hour!) and I could tell the nurse was beginning to get a little nervous that she was going to have to catch these babies. Luckily, we rolled past Dr. H as they were wheeling me to the OR. Seeing him smile was very reassuring.

There were about 15 people in the OR – a team of NICU nurses for each baby plus the NICU resuscitation team, and some nurses for me. Mitch was at one side, my nurse at the other, and Sarah was at my head. Amber was videotaping. Side note: I’m SO glad my delivery was videotaped. I tell everyone to video their birth if possible. It was very healing for me to be able to watch what I did during the birth of my sons. It was tremendously empowering to be able to see the whole experience from a different vantage point. In the time since the birth, I’ve watched the video literally 50 times, and I will show it to anyone who will watch it so they know the amazing things I am capable of. UPS guy? Thanks for the package, want to watch when I pushed two babies out of my vagina without the aid of any pain medication?

So anyway, pushing. I didn’t realize how much pushing a baby out feels like the exact same sensation as pooping. My pushing wasn’t super productive at first, but once Sarah started telling me to push into my bottom, it made all the difference. No wonder I’d wanted to sit on the toilet for the last several hours. At one point, I reached down and felt my little baby A’s head as I was pushing. That really helped me focus as well – there really and truly was a baby coming out of me! All this pushing wasn’t for nothing!

I was in such a deep internal place – a place I’ve never been before. Most everything just melted away and I had a singular focus that I wasn’t in control of. It was as if my body was pushing, rather than me pushing. I was aware of Sarah at my ear. I was aware of Dr. H’s gentle encouragement. I was certainly aware of the intensity of the physical sensation. What I was most aware of, though, was my sweet Mitch at my left side. With each push I could hear his words of excitement, telling me I was amazing and telling me how each push got us a little closer to the end. I could hear the smile in his voice. I could tell he could see the progress I was making – the first baby’s head making more and more of an appearance with each push. I didn’t hear a trace of worry in his voice – only joy and amazement, and that more than anything got me through.

After what felt like an eternity, but what was actually less than 40 minutes, Oskar Jeffrey was born at 5:09 pm. O had a tough time at first – he was gray and floppy and did not cry for quite some time. They whisked him off to the NICU team as soon as Mitch cut the cord. Mitch went to Oskar and Sarah told me to talk to him so he could hear my voice. He had to be incubated because he was having trouble breathing on his own. But Sarah told me, “Jess, if they were really worried about him, they’d have taken him out of here by now. He’s going to be okay.” I don’t know if that was true, but it calmed me down. Even as she was saying that, I could see that he was pinking up, much to my relief.

No sooner had she said that than I began to feel the urge to push again. I’d sort of forgotten that I had another baby in me. I heard Dr. H say, “There’s another bag of waters” and as he was saying that, my second bag of waters broke. When that happened, I heard him say, “And there’s a head!” Those were some of the sweetest words I’ve ever heard. My second little boy, who’d been breech the whole time in utero, had somehow managed to turn after his brother was born. I was honestly thinking, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this a second time.” But one contraction and about 3 pushes later, Henry Christopher entered the world at 5:13pm, wriggling and crying. I barely felt him come out. They were able to put him on my chest for about 15 seconds and it was amazing – the biggest high of my life. I cried out, “Baby, baby, baby, baby, sweet baby! I’m your mom!” I felt an almost primal urge to lick him, and I wanted to kiss him nonstop. But he had to be intubated as well, so he was taken off pretty quickly also. I didn’t even notice delivering the enormous placenta that my boys had shared over the last nine months.

Meanwhile they’d stabilized the boys and were able to bring them to me briefly before transporting them to the NICU. I couldn’t believe how much I loved them. It was scary seeing them with their ventilators in, but I had the feeling that everything would be alright. I knew they were in good hands. Something in me knew they would be okay.

I was on such a high after the delivery. They wheeled me back to my room and right away I asked for the room service menu. I ordered grilled cheese and chocolate pudding and nothing ever tasted so good. Mitch was shocked to hear me say, “You know, that wasn’t so bad. I’m really already starting to forget how much that hurt!” About an hour after that, I started to feel like I’d been put through the ringer, and was so so anxious to go see my boys. It was such a strange and empty feeling to have given birth so triumphantly but to be without my babies.

The first picture of the four of us, in the NICU at Children’s…

twin boys

When it was all said and done, even though almost nothing went according to plan, it worked out exactly like it was supposed to. I had what can only be described as an amazing, magical labor and delivery. Because of my experience, I also feel strongly that beautiful, sacred, soulful birth can happen anywhere: I have had two truly transcendent experiences in my life, and one of them occurred in a brightly lit, sterile OR, on my back, in stirrups, with a literal crowd of people looking on. I felt every second of each passing sensation and now I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I ended up getting my natural childbirth after all, and I’m really glad now that the epidural didn’t work.

In the difficult days after the birth when my boys spent a few weeks growing and getting stronger in the NICU, I thought over and over about how strong and amazing and powerful I was during their birth. If I was capable of that, I am capable of anything. One of my best friends told me later, “You’ll never get tired of telling that story as long as you live. It’s an amazing thing that you did and you should never forget that.” We are now approaching my boys’ first birthday and hardly a day has gone by that I don’t think about the day that I gave birth to them. I’ve often heard the saying that when a baby is born, so is a mother. This has held true for me – I feel like when my boys were born, I was reborn. I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I was not a strong person, but after birthing my babies I know that I have strength I never knew I had. I’ve since become a doula and I always tell my mamas, “You have no idea how strong you are.”

So to whoever reads this, please know that twin birth can be just as normal as singleton birth. It’s a bummer that as twin mamas we have to fight that much harder for our births, but we can still have the birth we envision for ourselves and our babies. My advice from my experience is to hire a doula (or two!), and find a care provider who is experienced with both twins and breech vaginal deliveries. If you have a good birthing team in place, you can focus on birthing those beautiful babies without all the extra worry. If you are expecting twins you are not automatically a high-risk ticking time bomb. Twin birth is just a variation on normal birth, period.


  • Zhandra

    This is absolutely wonderful! You know, this has to be one of my favorite birth stories ever. It shows that even a preterm, multiple birth doesn’t have to be a terrifying, overly medicalized one. Bravo mama!!!

  • Kelly

    Beautiful story! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m thinking this is same ‘Dr. H’ worked with me to vaginally deliver my breech little guy! He is an awesome doc!

  • Liz

    Congratulations. Very Inspiring and uplifting Story. Can you share more about how you overcame your luteal phase issue? I have the same and would love to more about your change in diet and alterative therapies.

    • Jess

      Hi Liz,
      Thanks so much. For me, fixing my luteal phase defect involved a couple things: The biggest was weekly acupuncture. I did it once a week for two full cycles and was pregnant by the end of the cycle after that. I was charting my fertility signs and could really see a difference in my periods over those 8 weeks. It was an out-of-pocket cost that seemed worth it at the time, and turned out to definitely be worth it! I also found a specific fertility yoga class that involved lots of guided meditation, visualization, deep relaxation, and restorative poses. I practiced that at home, too. I got gentle chiropractic adjustments as well by a chiro who specialized in women’s health (covered by insurance, luckily). Dietarily, I cut out caffeine, processed foods, sugars, and just ate lots of fresh whole foods and healthy fats. Honestly, my gut feeling is that it was the acupuncture that affected my LPD. The other things helped in my journey to reduce stress and its effects on my body. Good luck to you!

  • Kristi

    This is exactly what I needed right now! I’m 32 weeks with twins and hospitals are NOT my place of choice to birth. Certain circumstances require a hospital on this one, tho. I cried! I smiled! I related to someone with similar feelings and goals w/o ever knowing who she is. Thank you! Thank you SO much for sharing!!

  • Arika

    I am from a small town in WI and would also be transferred to the twin cities if something was to go wrong. Great birth story!

  • Tonja

    Amazing story. Until I found BWF I only knew of twins being born early and by c-section. I understand that empty feeling you are talking about. My 3rd was born with a condition where her intestines were outside of her body. I was allowed a glance at her(that’s not even an exaggeration) they took her away so fast I couldn’t even reach up and touch her. She was two months old before I was able to hold her.

  • Melanie

    I am so proud of you. You are strong. Fierce. A warrior. I had two vaginal, unmedicated hospital births with midwives. My third pregnancy was a surprise in itself, and at nine weeks I saw twins on the screen. I laughed with excitement and cried in grief….my midwives, my trusted confidants, could not deliver these babies. I went to the OB they recommended. She was nice. Professional. Good enough. I couldn’t stand her though. She was in the way of me giving birth MY way, the way I had done it before. And then my baby A went breech and never turned. I searched and searched and I just don’t live in a community that had an OB that would encourage & support a vaginal delivery. What a sad fact. But, much to my OBs dismay, I went into,labor at 36 weeks (when I called her very early the birth morning of these twins, she was skeptical….’are you sure? Are you really in labor? Blah blah blah….’) this was my third labor….I knew I was in labor the night before – it’s that ‘baby-sense’ we get. If I couldn’t have a vagunal delivery, by damn I was gonna will these babies to put me into labor before my c-section. Such smart babies! My c-section was very emotional, scary, out of control feeling for me. I was doped up when I met my last children for the first time. Swollen, loopy, and sick in those first pictures. Threw up in front of my family (graceful moment.) but yes, in the end, I was holding two perfect children – 6 & 7 lbs, respectfully. A girl and boy to join their older brother and sister. Yes, in the end, it’s the health of babies and mama that is most importent but I will continue to advocate for and protect the EMOTIONAL transformation that occurss when a child comes earth side. Again, I am so proud of you. You had the birth many of us wished/fought/pleaded for….reading your story has allowed my tender heart to feel the joy of your experience warm the sadness of mine. Thank you.

        • Mary Laurent

          I would also like to know the name of this doctor. I am expecting twins in August (babies #9 and 10), and had two c sections with my first two babies. I am looking to give these two the best chance at natural birth as possible and am having trouble finding a provider with experience who supports this goal as well! Thank you!

  • Stephanie

    Thanks for the great story! It’s good to have a plan but thanks for the reminder that really the goal is healthy babies and healthy mama.
    We just found out at 24 weeks that baby #5 had some company with baby #6 (now 27 weeks) and I was a mess that next week. I had felt compelled before we knew twins to do this L&D different from the other 4-all hospital, all epidural. So when I thought my “perfect” plan of birthing center and midwife were in jeopardy I was very anxious. When my husband and I met the OB over my midwife, he was cool as a cucumber and supports me delivering at the birthing center with her and may just stop by to make sure everything goes well.

  • Margaret

    Jess your story amazes me every time I see it, hear it and feel it. I so love knowing you and being a very small part of your post birth life. Your an absolute amazing mother, wife and friend! And now DOULA!!

  • Dina

    Thanks for sharing your amazing story! I am glad to hear each new natural twin birth story…it brings hope to the fight that each twin mom has to fight in order to have a chance at natural birth! Part of normalizing natural twin birth is to get as many of these empowering stories out there as possible. I have shared my story many times, even on internet radio once! I too have twins born naturally. My pregnancy was healthy and normal, but some professionals still put me in the “high risk” group solely based on the fact that there were twins. Mine were boys born at 6lbs 13oz and 7lbs 11oz at 37wks, in a WI hospital, with a random on call doctor (long story), no OR, only a few people in the room, bigger baby B born breech. It wasn’t the Birthing center birth I had dared to dream, but I was respected and very empowered by my experience. Also, I had the wonderful experience of the Hypnobabies home study course for prenatal and labor and the inner confidence strengthened by the written words of Ina May Gaskin. I will tell my story to anyone who asks.

    • gwen

      Dear Dina,
      Just read your Feb. 9 response to Jess’ twin birth story and would love to hear yours. My son and his wife are expecting twins –EDD mid-April 2013. They got pregnant just one month after getting married –their “plan”. We live in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I am a doula-in-training being mentored by an experienced doula. My huge concern is that my daughter-in-law be able to give birth vaginally with the least amount of medical intervention. She wants to deliver in a hospital setting but is open to the challenge of fighting for a natural childbirth. Any recommendations for us?
      Thanks so much for your response.

  • Kerri

    Lovely story! My twins were #5 & #6. I had my 4th at home & adored the mid-wives! I started labour around 12 am, my water broke at 3am, we got to the hospital at 4 am & my twins were born at 6 am! I had a hospital birth with no interventions during the birth. My twins were almost 6lbs & almost 8lbs at 38 weeks & 2 days. They wanted to do a trial epi, but I had back issues to refused it for my own medical reasons. Twin A was head down, Twin B was not given the chance to flip & instead the OB told the resident to grab her feet & pull, while I pushed. She was also looking up, not down. The resident “hung” her the wrong way & hyper-extended her neck. So I reached down & grabbed my baby! The OB was balling out the resident while the mid-wife observed (as I had & indicated it to her) that baby was struggling. She asked MY permission to suction and I agreed. We both spoke loudly, hoping to be heard, but were not. I am so thankful the mid-wives were there for labour support and to care for the babies. I was home, with the babies by 10 pm that day. It is hard to believe they will be 12 years old in June!

  • Lana

    Thanks so much for sharing your story! Like you, we found out at our 20 week u/s that we were having twins. Our midwife could not legally attend our planned home birth, so we searched high and low for an OB that would be willing to work with our goals for a natural, unmedicated, vaginal, possible breech, non-induced delivery. We are having to travel approximately 3 hours away, but are grateful to have finally found one, after a month of searching. I am 27 weeks and was so encouraged by your story. I am looking for a doula in that area. I had thought about the fact that the hubs and I might need to start getting our “travel” stuff ready a bit early, and your story has me thinking that too. 🙂 I am praying that these little ones stay put until 40 weeks…but I know that they might surprise us again. 🙂

  • Amy

    I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Dr. H and if I ever was pregnant with twins, I would make the drive to the other side of the cities to see him. Also, I delivered my first at the same hospital you did (although mine did not go as well and ended in a c/s), and the food really is that good.

  • Shelley

    Jess… this made me cry! It’s so beautiful!
    What a wonderful journey! 🙂
    Our 2nd baby was a planned natural vaginal breech birth and it was an amazing experience! Good on you for trusting in your body and baby to birth your twins!

  • Katie Ott

    This is such a wonderful story, thanks for sharing! I had the same experience (just about) with my twins. I did have a doula, and I don’t think I could have done it naturally without her. My water broke at 35 weeks and my identical boys had to spend 12 days in the NICU. I had also planned a home water birth, but it didn’t happen. I gave birth in the OR, under bright lights with a crowd of people looking on. I didn’t get to hold either one right away, sadly, but I did get to hold them both briefly before they whisked them away. It was 6 long hours before I was strong enough to go see them. I had a major and unexpected drop in blood pressure and couldn’t even sit in a wheel chair. But we are all healthy now, and we celebrated 14 months together a couple days ago 🙂 Happy birthday to your little ones, and to you too!

  • Lexxie

    This birthing story is so inspirational for me! I’m currently 27 weeks+6 days with b/g twins (its mine and hubby’s firsts) and I’m really hoping for a nonmedicated natural birthing as well… I have read your story probably 30 times and it has encouraged me to want a natural birthing vs c/s!! At first I wanted a c/s because I didn’t think I was strong enough to handle birthing two babies naturally but after reading your story, I definitely believe I can do this! (babies willing of course lol) Thank you for sharing your story and for offering your words of encouragement and strength. It truly means a lot to me and to other moms of multiples that I have shared this story with 🙂

    • Jess

      Oh, Lexxie, you have no idea how happy this makes me. Your comment totally made me cry and is the reason I chose to put my story out there in the first place. You definitely can do this. I will be thinking of you and sending you love and good birthing vibes.

  • olivia gleeson

    I had a similar experience with the vaginal birth of my triplets in Australia.
    Here is the link to an article I wrote about our birth story for the international chiropractic paediatric association

    Natural Birth: Wow! How Amazing!!??

    Labels: Birth, Issue #17, Author Olivia Gleeson
    Written by Olivia Gleeson
    Saturday, 01 March 2008 00:00
    Article Index
    Natural Birth: Wow! How Amazing!!??
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    “Wow! How amazing! You had a natural birth!!” is something I have heard repeated since we welcomed Clancy, William, and Tomas into the world on the 15th June, 2007.

    Yes, we have triplets. Yes, I had a vaginal birth of all three.

    I am extremely proud of myself: that I continued to question and reject the premise that my so called “high risk” pregnancy had to end in a caesarean delivery and grateful that we got the birth outcome I wanted for my babies and myself.

    At 19 weeks we had our first ultrasound as we thought there was the chance of twins due to my rapid growth. I still thought there was only one baby as I had had very little nausea, no vomiting (don’t people with multiples get REALLY sick?), and the only symptom was the fatigue— which was considerable, but I was pregnant and that’s something I expected to go with the territory so I soldiered on. We had chosen not to have the earlier ultrasound, trusting that nature was taking its course. The sonographer immediately pointed out two heads; “Did you know you were having twins? There’s one head, there’s two. Hang on, count with me—there’s one baby, there’s two babies, there’s three babies…YOU’RE HAVING THREE BABIES!”

    “OH MY GOD,” was about all I could say between bouts of laughter, Mick looked a bit pale and we were definitely shocked to say the least. When we told each of our family members it took about half an hour to convince them we weren’t joking. We were extremely excited right from the start, even amongst the shock and a few days of fear at the unknown of what we were in for.

    The fear at whether all three of our babies would be healthy and whether I would be healthy was the first thing to hit after the initial buzz wore off. This was not helped by the labeling of my pregnancy as “high risk” in connection with my hospital appointments and checkups (I had been planning to birth in the family birth centre with midwives).

    I was (and am) healthy and fit and I reflected on this after I had started worrying. Up until then I was working full time, running my business, adjusting patients regularly, keeping up my routine exercise regime (at a slightly lower intensity than pre-pregnancy) and maintaining an active social life. Anyone who knows me knows I like to be busy and am not one to sit around. It was at this point that I had a few stern words with myself, as I knew I had to be aware of the possible risks but that I was not in the “average” category and my journey would likely be different than what I was reading and being told: (a) that I would be lucky to carry my babies to 32–34 weeks at which point a c-section would be scheduled and (b) that it would be lucky if my babies were all similar weights and healthy and thriving and not hospitalised for some time after birth.

    I chose to believe and trust in the innate health of my body and the growing, and so far thriving, bodies of all three of my babies and my ability to continue to be healthy and strong. I continued to get adjusted regularly (of course) to ensure my nervous system was communicating with and co-ordinating the function of my body and that of my unborn children at their highest level. I meditated daily, used affirmations as well as guided imagery and hypnobirthing CDs to keep my mind focused as well, and read and watched as many positive natural birth experiences as possible to mentally and emotionally prepare for the birth ahead. I continued exercising to my body’s ability, followed my naturopaths advice on diet and supplements, had massage, kinesiology, reflexology, facials, pedicures, and shopping sprees— not all necessarily essential but spoiling myself had health benefits too.

    I was determined to have a healthy pregnancy, natural birth, and healthy babies and thankfully I did.

    Once we knew it was triplets everyone assumed “so you’ll be having a c-section.” I was told by lay people, other parents of multiples and doctors that natural birth is a risk because the babies would be at risk of oxygen deprivation, brain damage and death. What about the risks associated with a caesarean delivery and the loss of benefits that a natural delivery affords the newborn?

    One of my sisters is a nurse and a naturopath and she asked people in the medical field who the best specialist was for me to see. The ob/gyn maternal fetal specialist who I transferred to as a private patient was a big factor in us getting the birth we wanted. He is one of the best health professionals I have seen in any field. The first impression I had of him was his positivity and caring nature; I trusted him from day one. He listened to me, treated me as an individual—not a statistic, and recognised my above average health.

    He also pointed out the pluses that were in any options we considered. He is an advocate for natural/vaginal delivery and is actively involved in research into women’s health. That’s not to say there wasn’t any difference of opinion in planning the birth: there was discussion and sometimes debate and give and take on both parts to reach a plan and ultimately an outcome we were all happy with. For the birth I also had a private doula (birth support person) who was an enormous help in staying relaxed and focussed.

    It seems that the benefits of natural birth have been forgotten, or at least downplayed, and the effort involved seems too much for many who see a c-section as a ‘normal’ option without downsides. Certainly there are some cases where a c-section is warranted, and in emergency situations medicine is in its element: knowing I had the backup of some 15+ medical staff on standby for me and my babies if needed was wonderful. (I think also seeing a natural triplet birth was a drawcard for many of the staff who went out of their way to be there until after midnight.)

    However, the fact that my natural birth is viewed as such an accomplishment and rarity is for me cause for concern. When did nature take such a backseat that by doing something my body is made to do it became such an occasion for fanfare?

    My recipe for a positive, natural birth experience:

    I was healthy prior to conception: I was adjusted regularly, ate well, exercised, meditated regularly, and was drug free.
    I maintained my mental, physical, and emotional health during pregnancy
    I educated myself to the point that I knew without a doubt that I could birth in a positive, natural, and healthy way and what exactly that looked like for me.
    I surrounded myself with positive birth stories and experiences, and very importantly didn’t take on board other people’s negative opinions or outlooks.
    I investigated and searched for health professionals for our birth that have a similar health philosophy as me, people that I trusted and felt safe with.
    I embraced the process of pregnancy and birth was extremely grateful for the gift it is to create new life and the gift of giving birth naturally (which I almost didn’t have).

    About the Author:

    Olivia Gleeson is a chiropractor and resides with her family in Australia.

    Gleeson Chiropractic
    61 Carrington St.
    Palmyra, WA Australia 6157


    View article references and author information here:

    This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #17.

    • Mrs. Octavia Williams

      You are amazing. I had a all natural birth to twin boys at 37 weeks. Baby A was 6lbs 11oz and baby B was 6lbs 5 ozs. I didn’t receive any pain medicine. Your so strong and blessed that you didn’t allow any negativity into your pregnancy. I wasn’t so lucky. My now mother in law ruined Everything for me.

  • Becky

    Amazing! I recently read an inspiring book written by Laura Kaplan Shanley titled, “Unassisted Childbirth”- unassisted childbirth is a natural option that some mom’s are now considering, and I found it to be an intriguing idea. I love that there are so many birthing options for women now, and that women are pursing these options- in my opinion natural childbirth just makes the whole experience more personal.

  • Miranda

    Love this! My twins were born via emergency csection when my doctor felt a foot, she’d agreed to birth baby B breech but not baby A. I was disappointed but I’ve had two successful vbacs since and I really hope that if I ever end up pregnant with multiples again I can have a vaginal birth.

  • Diane

    I am a fraternal twin, so is my mom, and my dads sisters, so I knew, I was prone to have twins. All my doctors told me that as well while me and my husband tried for a little angel. After months of trying, it finally happened. When we went in for our first ultra- sound we weren’t surprised that sure enough, two eggs were fertilized. What did surprise us, it that we were having both identical, and fraternal twins. One of the eggs had split. This came as a huge shock! I was scared to death! I was a tiny little 22 year old girl expecting what happened to be 3 beautiful little girls! 5 1/2 months later I was messing around on the computer and came across your story. After I read this I knew I could do it to! The next week, at 34 weeks, I had 3 little girls. Hailey May, Bailey Marie, and Railey Lynn entered this world through a natural, vaginal birth. They are now 7 1/2 months old, but they wouldn’t be the same without your story, because believe it or not, I had three babies, no epidural.

  • Kelly Lindquist

    Thank you for your story. My husband and I were hoping to have a home birth and just found out today that we are expecting twins. It is a relief to know someone was able to have a natural twin birth in a hospital. We hope to find the same. Thank you again.

  • Theresa

    Thank you. I found out I’m having twins with my fifth pregnancy. Four natural non medicated births under my belt. Your story is the first I haven’t cried reading. We found out four days ago at 23weeks.

  • Debra

    Could someone tell me who “Dr. H” is please. I’m 35 weeks with twins and my current OB is trying his best to c-section me.


  • Courtney

    thank you so much for sharing your story…I had a home birth with my 13 year old daughter and I am now expecting twins…the news that they must be born in an OR with an OB was devestating. I am extremely uncomfortable with hospitals and hospital birth practices…but your story is giving me strength to be open and trust the process. Thank you

  • Kara

    This story is so inspirational!! I’m 37 weeks 4 days pregnant with boy/girl twins. Both babies are head down and I, too, want to attempt a vaginal birth. A lot of family and friends are urging me to get a c-section because of how dangerous childbirth can be with twins. I’m the first in our family since my great grandmother to have twins, so what do they know?? I just know that if I don’t try to have these twins naturally that I will regret it in the future. This story is such amazing encouragement for me that I can do this and will be so proud of myself when it’s done! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  • neela

    nice to hear all of your experiences I am visually impaired from india and thinking that I am carrying twins, now I really don’t know whom to approach as I am in Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh. I am trying to conseev for second and all docters whom I have approach won’t give proper medication.

  • sarah

    This gives me hope! 13 weeks pregnant with twins and i suspected from very early that there are two babies. It was shocking anyway to see the little heads just last week and now I’m adjusting my expectation from home birth to hospital birth. thanks for sharing your story!

  • Todd

    I know that guys shouldn’t be posting comments on a blog like this,but when I saw the pic of your 34 weeks twin belly I just couldn’t leave without telling you how AWESOMELY BEAUTIFUL it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Brynn

    Thanks for sharing your story. We’re expecting twins and are navigating the waters of an OB and hospital birth after having our first at a wonderful birth center. You story encouraged me to fight for what we desire and ensuring our doctor feels comfortable delivery vaginally. Thank you!

  • Tais

    Your story is amazing! It made me cry! I really hope I’ll be blessed to go through this amazing experience! You definitely inspired me! Thank you!

  • Carla

    Thank you!! I gave birth to our daughter six and a half years ago and it was the proudest moment of my life. My birth was similar to yours but faster, no docs, only midwife, nurse and my husband in hospital setting. I will never forget seeing my girl emerge with a startled expression, eyes open, arms flared in the air. (I gave birth squatting.) I thought I could do anything and was made for childbirth.
    Then we got our secondary infertility diagnosis (male factor). After TTC for nearly five years and three years of ivf we are pregnant and get possibly with twins thanks to embryo donation. I’m scared. I thought I was so strong. But twins? Your post helped me

  • Kristin

    It was so amazing listening to your story. I am pregnant with twins now and was looking for a story like this, but as I was reading it was exactly my birth with my two-year-old! And that’s all I’ve been thinking about is how can I re-create that first birthing experience for these twins. And you have given me hope! XO

  • Meg

    Wow. We just found out today that we are having identical twins – reset! While this was a truly magical, wonderful surprise, it was also a bit scary. We found out that we can’t deliver with the midwife we felt so great about, and we are just trying to…positively process and reset our minds. A preliminary search on google wasn’t very confidence inspiring, and then I found your post….thank you. From a first time Mama trying not to let the fear win, I thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story!!

  • Rose

    This is actually what I’ve been looking for, I’m expecting identical twin boys myself, I’m 4 month along, they told me at 1st that I had to have c section because they thought they were mo/mo twins, it terrified me, but then we found out they r mo/di and that I can have them naturally if I wanted to, my 1st son who is not 5 was a natural birth, and was perfect till afterwards, I tore so badly they had to stitch me up and I tried to climb up the bed to get away so they shot me up with something I didn’t ask for 🙁 , but this time, they told me I would need an epidural incase 1 turned breech, I hate needles, 1 near my spine hits my phobia very badly, right now they r worried that 1 is getting more than the other, James has more amniotic fluid than scott, so we shall see about that, I need to do some more research and talk with my ob about what the perinatalogist and I have discussed, I’m just still worried things won’t go the way I want them to :/

  • Raf

    I LOVED reading your story. I am currently 32 6/7 with boy girl twins. Both babies are head down and I am really hoping for a vaginal delivery. I feel in my heart that my body will know what to do, but having to give birth in an OR AND with an epidural (hospital protocol) makes me feel a little like my power is being taken away and replaced by medical knowledge. Reading your story has given me some hope that I can still have the birth experience I am hoping for, even in an OR. Thanks for sharing your beautiful story!

  • Faith

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I found out last week that we are having twins and the emotional rollercoaster I am on is serious. This is my 3rd pregnancy and my desire is to have a waterbirth at home. Reading this has encouraged me. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  • Anastasia

    Such a beautiful story! My story is almost the same! I’m now on my 21st week of twin pregnancy with 2 baby boys! We found it on a 20th week when we did first ultrasound and the reaction of the woman who did ultrasound was exactly the same! 🙂 I hope to deliver them naturally, just like you did! Thank you so much for inspiring me! God bless your family, especially your beautiful boys!

  • Lily

    This Dr. H sounds really wonderful… Could someone please tell me his name/contact info if he’s still practicing?

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