I pretty much decided immediately on a home birth with my twins once words like, c-section and epidural were thrown around as if they were handing out lollipops!
Right from the start my twin pregnancy was different! Being a week late with my period, I had taken 3 tests that all said negative. Even though I was beyond emotional I was easily able to dismiss these signs due to stress because we were having our back yard wedding that week.
One week after our wedding I took another test and suggested hubby look at it this time. There it was… that extra line, smiling happily at us! We giggled together and went and told the kids! They were all so excited. Baby number 5 was on the way!
I had recently discovered that our medical covered home-birth with a midwife! I was so over hospitals. With 4 kids at home and one still nursing at the time; I had no desire to be in the hospital away from them. I wasn’t in a hurry to find a midwife as I felt really comfortable in knowing how pregnancy went. However, as I said, this one was different. I shrugged it off thinking the extra symptoms were because this was my 5th and I was “getting up there” in age.
Morning sickness set in. It was stronger and continuous throughout the day. It also lasted weeks longer than normal and I had to eat a TON and very often. My emotions, though usually “touchy”, this time were through the roof!
23 weeks we went in for my first ultrasound.
I did it more to appease my midwife than anything, however I was not showing any signs that there were more than one! In fact she
usually had a difficult time finding a heartbeat at all and I was measuring right on track! We brought the whole family to view the ultrasound as we were sure this would be our last!
The tech was taking PAINFULLY long! When everyone was finally let in, they were instantly glued to the screen watching for our baby. I however was looking at the kids, I wanted to see their faces as they soaked up the fact they were viewing right into mommy’s tummy to see the baby within! The tech, tapping my arm gently says to me, “mom, look at the screen”! To be honest I was a little frustrated she interrupting my viewing of my children’s awe! I reluctantly looked at the screen to see two round blobs… OK.. I waited… she didn’t move the wand… and I didn’t clue in! The tech slowly leans forward and softly whispers to me “mom, there’s two”! My mouth drops open as my eyes whip from the screen to the technician. My eyes fixated on her as I repeat her words “there’s two”.. my mind racing, trying to fully grasp what this meant as though I were introduced to some new mind-blowing, reality altering concept or something!
All at once my brain made the connection!
Uncontrollably I started to laughed and cry at the same time repeating it over and over “there’s two!!!” Looking at my husband who had a stunned look on his face, quietly, slowly makes his way over to the chair and sat down. All the kids excitedly dancing around “mommy’s having two babies, mommy’s having two babies!” My daughter saying “I knew it mom!! I said you were having two!” And so she did.. she teased me throughout those first few months that maybe I was having twins! Good intuition my girl!
At the next midwife apt they informed me that I was no longer to remain under their care as they considered me “high risk”. I would be transferred to an OB and would have to deliver in hospital. She also said that I would most likely end up with a c section, especially if baby A was breech. If I was able to find a doctor who would “allow” me to birth vaginally, I would be required to have an epidural in place “just in case” I needed an emergency c-section. Excuse my language here but my immediate response was “not F*@#king going to happen”.. I asked for a discharge of their care and with much push from them to refer me to an OB; I let them know that I understand they need to protect their butts, however, I was capable of finding my own doctor and to please draw up something I can sign to release them of responsibility… done!
Even though I knew I was going to have a home birth, I still searched for an appropriate doctor who would follow my birthing wishes; even considered some as far as a couple of hours away from us but I just was not satisfied. Onto social media I went, looking for others who had home birth stories to share. I was so positive my body could deliver two babies, even if one or both were breech. So I chatted with women who had done vaginal births with twins, some even breech babies. Read everything I could get my hands on including medical papers, blogs both for and against, every birth story involving breech birth and twin birth… Soon after, it was settled for definite sure, as I was now armed with a lot of knowledge (little tip.. knowledge is empowering!)….
home birth it was.. unassisted if I had to!
I was really blessed however to have ended up with an “off grid” midwife with 30 years experience. Her legal term is “birthing assistant”. Having been to many twin births herself, she was a wealth of knowledge and encouragement. Our family instantly fell in love with her!
Besides the 3 medical system midwife appointments, I think I did some blood test and one ultrasound, my pregnancy was medical free. No tests, including the glucose or vaginal swab tests, no cervix checks etc. I trusted my body and my babies, focused on eating really well throughout and found a few things that were helpful with morning sickness. I will include those details at the end for anyone interested!
I’m not gonna lie, it was a tough pregnancy.There was no nice second trimester, only hard and tiring third. I read that being 32 weeks with twins is like full term with a singleton.
It was around the 28 week mark that I went on strike from all bending over duties and hired a house cleaner to come once a week.
I focused mainly on seeing that my other children remained happy (and alive), made meals, did dishes and laundry and left all else. Afternoons were often spent
swinging in the hammock as my children played in the sand box. I felt it was my job to grow these babies, having them “cook” for as long as possible and keep my sanity! There were times I had to eat every 15 MIN. I’m talking full meals!! If I didn’t, I would get wicked heartburn that would make me want to vomit, dizzy spells that sometimes caused me to black out, weak, shaky and a headache! I tell you, I hated food by the end of it all!
Sleeping was another challenge all together. It was really hard to breath and then on top of that I got a nasty sinus infection. But we made it though.. a lot of pillows, sometimes the lazy boy and others just a good cry and a movie.
38 weeks… Finally!!!!
I had made it to the date the medical system said they would induce because it’s considered “full term”. Can you believe that baby b was still flipping from breech to head down. I have no idea how she found the room but it was very clear when she was doing it!
“ok babies! We made it! Your welcome to come out any time now, though waiting another week or two is probably best for you two!”
At this point I was experiencing fake labor nearly every day. The contractions would be stronger than Braxton Hicks but not painful. They would be consistent for a couple of hours than taper off. This was very mentally exhausting and left me feeling a bit defeated! However, I daily reminded myself (with a little help from my midwife) that babies know when they are ready.. I trust them and my body!
The days slowly passed. Around 39 weeks my mom came to stay and help out in preparation for and after their birth. She could only stay 2 weeks as she was in the middle of a move.
40 weeks …
“Full term babies! I’m so pleased we made it! You can come out anytime now!”
At this point I had gained more than 60 pounds and I was as big around as I was tall! However I still received comments that I was so small for carrying twins!! I bet you can imagine the thoughts that went through my mind as I smiled politely!
41 and 3 days.. mom had to leave. I was so looking forward to having her help during that first week but… sigh!
Here comes the Babies!!!!!
11 pm on 41 and 3 days, just 12 hours after by mom left, one hour after I went to bed, I felt a pinching “pop”. I laid there waiting for a gush or something.. nothing. Tried to go back to sleep but the tightening came. “More Braxton Hicks maybe?” …10 min later another, though a little stronger… by the time I had two more I knew I was having contractions. There was no sleeping through them as they were getting more painful with each one.
Got up, cleaned up some dishes and started to get ready for the birth. I decided to wait calling my “birth attendant” as I wanted to be sure it was going to stick due to all the fake labor I had experienced. After about an hour of laboring, I started thinking I should probably make that call. After going to the washroom for the third time, I stood up, blew my nose and *gush*. My water broke!
Yay it is real!! Made the call, and woke up hubby as I knew it would get pretty serious now. And so it did! About 45 min later I told hubs he better prepare himself to catch the babies as it was not gonna be long and the birthing assistant was not going to make it!
Not long after this, the urge to push came ever so slightly. The next few contractions brought intense full on pushes, getting stronger with each one.
OK.. so keep in mind that this was my first home birth, first time following the lead of my body and the first time allowing myself any position I felt comfortable. All 4 of my previous births were on my back with my first being a c-section, so I felt a bit like a newbie!
So now envision this moment; I’m standing at the kitchen counter, of course it was not the place I readied to have my babies but it was
the most comfortable place at the moment. The counter-tops were the perfect height for leaning on.. go figure! Another contraction.. hubby asking me questions, most I can’t even remember but I do hazily remember him begging me to move to the room prepared. This resulted in me chuckling (kind of) in a “I’m gonna kill you if you ask me that again” type voice.. of course, all while having an intense pressure building contraction!
I remember thinking I needed to slow it down but I really couldn’t think of a way to make that happen. Now, however, I realize that going on all fours probably would have helped with that!
Realizing this was happening, I start to lower myself into a squatting position. Hubby thinking I needed help standing, starts trying to lift me up… me breathlessly saying in a an urgent tone “I will hold myself up you need to catch the baby!!!”
He announces he’s getting a towel and leaves to get one.. because of course, this was not the space prepared…. me now holding the counter top with one hand while holding babies head with the other, I yell to him to “HURRY”!! He comes running with towels draped over his hands. Just as he gets to me, the bottom half of our baby’s body flops out into dads toweled covered hands with me still holding his head! Phew! He entered this world with a grand total of 3 good pushes and weighing 8 pounds 12 oz. His name: Ian Victor!
Phone up our midwife or rather “birthing attendant” and let her know our first baby was in my arms! Being 2 hours away, she still had a bit of a drive to us yet. So she suggested I lay down and enjoy him, she would be there soon. However our baby girl would have nothing of that! Ian and I had just gotten comfortable on the twin mattress hubby brought in for us from the prepared room, when contractions started again. I tried to relax but minuets later the contractions were too painful to stay laying down, so I got up on my knees. Second bag of waters broke at this point. I placed our baby boy who was still attached by the umbilical cord on the mattress under me while I labored on all fours.
A couple of contractions in, the urge to push started, though not intense. Now, I was always under the impression that the second twin comes easier because “the way had been paved”! However she took way more pushes to get out. At one point, after having 5 milder pushes, I took a feel to gain encouragement that we were almost done. Expecting to feel a head, hopefully close to crowning, I instead found a little hand about an inch still within.. uhm. .. what!!?? Yes our girl came into this world waving, her arm above her head. And even though she took many more pushes and it felt a whole lot longer, she came only 30 min after her brother. FYI bigger, heavier babies are easier to push out! She was also caught by dad and weighed 7 pounds 2 oz. Her name: Edith Mary Helen!
Our birthing attendant made it just in time to see our little girls hand pop out! I was so thankful to have her there afterwards as she took care of the placenta, cleaned up and made me a comforting, healing tea. She also washed up our Edith as she had taken her first large poop all over mommy’s tummy! She checked them over and weighed them when I was ready a few hours later. She was truly an angel!
Birthing attendant also said that our girl appeared to have been conceived weeks after her brother as she had a few signs of being slightly premature! For example: Her ears were not fully formed, the cartilage was still very flimsy and looked the same as when you rolled dough really thin on the edges. Also her vagina lips were not fully closed as with full term babies. Makes total sense now why we went “over due”. Its called Superfetation. Apparently its rare, but I would challenge that and bet it happens way more often than the medical system says. Either way, How Amazing!
That is our story! It was unforgettable! Im so thankful for all the beautiful, brave ladies who shared their stories with me. And for my amazing midwife who I am eternally grateful for!
My birthing assistant says that “A happy baby is a baby that wont want to come out early”! She was responding to my fear of my twins coming to early. A good deal of emphasis was put on eating more greens. So I set out on a mission to eat very well as I did not want early or small babies! I think I was pretty successful!!
My Go to *snack* meals:
- Wraps were my go to thing; Chicken or steak for protein, spinach, avocado (healthy fats), hemp (omega 3), cheese (protein), tomatoes.
- Smoothies were a fave. Loaded with seeds like flax, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, chia; sometimes nuts, fruit and veggies and a good handful of greens!
- Yogurt and fruit with home-made granola
- Chia seed pudding
- crackers, cheese and meat
- nut butters (not penut butter) and toast
- Salads.. as many as I could handle, usually with hemp hearts on top and cheese. So much nutrition to be found in greens like Kale which has an abundance of vit K.
- Scrambled eggs with cheese were the best thing to eat in the middle of the night (which I did at least twice every night) I was sure to get free range, grass and produce fed chickens when possible.
- drinking water constantly. I always had a water bottle where ever I went.
For morning sickness Natural Calm magnesium powder was amazing. I took it every 12 hours. I knew when I missed it as the morning sickness would hit super hard again but this brought it down to a dull roar.
Bonus webpages I love:
Love the woman behind this website: http://wisewomanwayofbirth.com/