Monday, April 28, 2008

Two years ago today...

... I was giving birth to my beautiful daughters at home in my bedroom.

I can't believe that it has been 2 years. And I can't believe that just 2 years after having identical twin girls I am now preparing to give birth to identical twin boys. I never could have imagined...

In honor of Leila & Sarah's second birthday I'm going to share their birth story and video again. (Nothing graphic as we didn't get any pictures anyway!)

Happy Birthday Leila & Sarah!

Leila & Sarah’s Birth Story

Background info:
First birth was in the hospital and augmented with Pitocin. I had PIH during the pregnancy and a few complications, but nothing too serious.
Second birth was a planned homebirth but I risked out of the midwife’s care at 42 weeks and ended up with a c-section because the baby showed late decels. He had a tight nuchal cord. He weighed just over 11 lbs at birth.

I know this story will be long, but this has been the most incredible experience of my life! I have learned to trust in God more and to be patient and surrender my concerns to Him. I can’t even begin to express how this has made me feel. I could go on and on about my previous pregnancies and births and what I went through with this twin pregnancy. But I will try to keep it short…

My third pregnancy was a total shock because we found out at 22 weeks (on Dec. 30, my birthday!) that we were having twin girls. We had been planning a homebirth but knew that the midwife would no longer see us since she did not attend twin births. Added to the fact that I was planning a VBAC, I was sure things were going to be more complicated. Thankfully, my pregnancy was not complicated at all! I never went on bedrest, never had any problems, the girls were both good sizes… Baby A was breech and we were told she had a single umbilical artery. She flipped to vertex after 3 visits with my chiropractor. I went into labor at 39 weeks, 1 day, on the day the backup OB had wanted to perform an elective repeat cesarean, which I refused.

On Friday morning, April 28, 2006, my water broke at 12:53. I had gone to sleep just before 11 pm and was already in a pretty deep sleep but my eyes opened when I felt the “pop” and I was immediately awake. I flooded the entire side of the bed and soaked through our new king size mattress. When I sat up I was wet up to the neckline of my shirt in the back! I stood up and gushed on the floor right in front of our dog Delmar.

I was pretty sure things were going to happen quickly so I woke Jason and then called the midwives and my mom. At that point I was having contractions every few minutes, but no more intense than the ones I’d been having for weeks. The midwives had a long drive so I wanted to make sure I let them know right away.

I also should mention that I had never met 2 of the midwives that attended the birth. Two weeks before I had the babies I got a call from one of my midwives saying that because of some recent “bad outcome” births, they were not going to attend my birth because I was too “high-risk” and they could get into trouble if anyone found out. I understood but I was crushed anyway. I knew I would have a hard time finding another MW, especially so late in the pregnancy. This is when I started to question things myself and through several small miracles, I found my “angel” midwives.

My friends helped me search and offered alternatives to birthing at my home. I considered driving out of state or attempting an unassisted birth. I thought about going to the hospital when I was ready to push…. Then one day I got a call from an angel I’ll call “L.” L told me she had been given my name and wanted to see if she could help. I was almost 38 weeks pregnant at this point. I loved talking with her and felt comfortable asking her to attend my birth. Nothing was finalized though. The Tuesday before the girls were born I got a call from the midwife who had dropped me a week earlier. She had reconsidered and wanted to attend the birth if I needed her there. I’ll call her “T.”

When I called “L” at 1 am on Friday, she called the MW who would assist her, “B.” I had never met, nor spoken to B before. I quickly learned though that she was the same MW I had emailed a few days earlier at the suggestion of a friend! I thought it was great how things were coming together. I paged T but she didn’t get the pages and didn’t call back.

I’m not sure when it was, but at some point around 4 or 5 am the contractions started to get pretty intense. I took a shower at 4:45 am which helped a little bit. I remember telling Jason that I need the MWs to hurry up so I could really get going. I felt like I could slow things down at will and I made myself relax on the couch and rest for a couple of hours.

At 7:22 am B and L arrived and I was moaning away in the bedroom. It was crazy because the second I saw them (for the very first time!) I felt totally at ease. They truly felt like angels. They checked me and determined that I was 5-6 cm and stretchy to 7 cm. I remember thinking “is that IT?” I had wanted them to say I could start pushing but in a way I knew I still had more work ahead of me. They also discovered that a bit of Baby A’s cord has slipped in front of her head but they slid it back and everything was fine. It must have been around this time that Jason got a call from T because she had seen my missed calls. She got in her car and hurried to get to our house. She lives about 3 hours away.

I remember changing positions a lot… I took a shower at 8:20 am. I was on the bed at one point when they checked me and said I was 7-8 cm. This was at 9 am. I couldn’t stand to be on the bed though. I spent a lot of time leaning over the edge of the bed on my knees, using the bed to rest my arms and head. I remember moaning “oouuuuttt” and telling the babies that it was time to be born. Finally I felt like I almost wanted to push. They checked me (it was 10:30 am) and said I was complete but had an anterior lip. I was ready to be done by now. The contractions were incredibly intense and I was worn out. I wanted to get those babies out of me!

At 11 am L and B went into the kitchen and I moved into Jason’s computer chair. I had a cold washcloth that I was rubbing on my face and I got really quiet during the contractions. I sat with my eyes closed and thought about the lip of my cervix melting away. I must have looked like I was asleep because I heard L tell B that I hadn’t had contractions in several minutes. I wanted to tell them otherwise but I couldn’t make myself speak. They were still in the kitchen when I suddenly started to bear down and knew that I was pushing the baby out.

I dropped to my knees and draped myself over the edge of the bed. I guess I made some noise because L and B came running in and started putting pads down under me. Around this time T showed up. I was pushing with every contraction but I wasn’t really doing anything, my body was. I felt like my body was in control so I just kneeled there and let it do its work. This was around 11:30 am. Jason and both of the boys were in the room watching as Baby A was born.

I reached down and felt Baby A’s head as she crowned and every thought disappeared from my head. She was born seconds later and I lifted her into my arms. It was 11:53 am. She had a very short cord though, so I had to cut it before I could nurse her. I put her to my breast and immediately felt the urge to push again. I passed the baby to the MWs and told them the baby was coming! L checked and felt a tiny hand presenting. I sensed a little urgency as she pushed the hand back up and told me to push even if I wasn’t contracting.

Let me say it is not easy to push when you don’t have the urge and your body is tired from pushing out a baby already. I tried but it was weak. Thankfully I had another contraction right away and my body took over again. Baby B was born at 12:07 pm. I felt like I had no break in between babies, they both came so fast. Matthew had decided that baby A was Leila so Jason told me that we had figured out who was who.

I climbed back into Jason’s chair with Sarah still attached. I nursed her and Leila as we waited for the placenta. I cut Sarah’s cord and the placenta came shortly after at 12:15 pm. It was huge and looked almost as big as a baby! After that I got into bed and we were all checked out. I had a minor tear from the incident with Sarah’s hand presenting. I didn’t get any stitches though. We weighed the girls and they were both exactly the same… 7 lbs, 6 oz! God is good!!! I honestly believe that He provided me with 3 angels to take care of me and my babies and ensure that they had a safe and gentle entrance into this world.

I should also mention that although I was loud and at times I said I was not going to “do this anymore”, there was never a point when I didn’t feel totally safe. I completely trusted in God, the midwives, and my body. The thought of complications never entered my mind and I was never concerned about uterine rupture from my previous c-section. I think God took away all of my concerns that I had lifted up to Him in prayer so many times. It was just an incredible, wonderful experience!!!

Leila Beth born April 28, 2006 at 11:53 am
7 lbs, 6 oz
20 ½ inches

Sarah Grace born at 12:07 pm
7 lbs, 6 oz
20 ¼ inches

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