I share my birth story with the intent of encouraging others to seek out natural birthing alternatives to typical hospital birthing. I do this with an understanding that sometimes medical intervention is necessary, and any woman who wishes to have a natural birth do so with the right support, and education. Thank you for reading!
I honestly thought I was never going to go into labor, as much as I knew that no one is pregnant forever. My biggest fear was going past 40 weeks, which I knew was a possibility since I went to 41 weeks with my first. Each day came and went after I hit 38 weeks and I just felt more depressed. I was having Braxton Hicks like crazy and they were getting more uncomfortable and closer together with each day. Two days before I went into labor I spent all day timing my contractions, only to end up disappointed. I lost my mucus plug a good four times at least. I’m not sure exactly what prodromal labor feels like, but a part of me wonders if that’s what I was going through. I did everything recommend to start labor, within reason, including walking up and down the sidewalk, sex, nipple stimulation, ball bouncing, visualization, and nothing was working.I did in fact have an outright mental breakdown the day before I went into labor. I was done. Done with waiting, done with trying, and having all the symptoms, with no progression.
At 5am on July 23rd, after totally giving up on going into labor, I was woken up by a strong contraction that felt more like a menstrual cramp and less like a Braxton Hick. I blew it off as more fake labor and tried to go back to sleep, but felt myself peeing my pants. I got up and realized that it was amniotic fluid that I was leaking, and knew it was finally time. I woke up Dio, my partner, and told him it was (freaking finally) go time! I sat on the toilet for a while and let the water leak, got the shakes, had all the bowel movements, and called my midwife Anissa to let her know. She told me to call her when I was closer to the 4-1-1 also known as, contractions that are one minute long, four minutes apart, for one hour. I was so excited, and so ready.
I figured it would be awhile before things really started to heat up, so I went back to bed, and tried to sleep to conserve my energy. Dio helped me turn on my birthing affirmations and started to set things up. He went and got my mom and let her know it was time.
I think I maybe made it through one contraction before I realized sleeping was not happening. I tend to have pretty strong back labor, and I had our room setup so I could be on the floor laboring. I labored on all fours for 30 minutes before I started to time my contractions. By 6 am (yes, only an hour later) my contractions were one minute long and three minutes apart so I called my midwife Anissa and let her know things were rapidly heating up. She told me she would be there around 7:30am as she needed to round up everyone and pack up everything. I focused on my birthing affirmations, and worked through each contraction using breathing exercises I learned from HypnoBirthing and from my body worker. I labored in the shower for a while, and eventually went back to laboring on all fours in the bedroom.
The constant pressure of being on my hands and knees was excruciating, and when Anissa arrived I asked for the birthing tub immediately. I had thrown up at some point too, and was over the smell!
My mom and Dio took turns squeezing my hips to help me through contractions. Anissa checked me around 8:30-9am, and I was so excited when she told me that I was complete. I couldn’t believe it and was relieved because my labor was extremely intense and I was wearing out quickly.
The tub was still cold when they filled it but I couldn’t care less. I got in and felt immediate relief on my joints and knees. I continued to labor in the tub as more of the midwives arrived, as well as the birth photographer. Pretty soon it was time to push.
Sage was head down, and came out in 4 pushes. He had his hand by his head, which is likely what caused me to have a first degree tear. I got to hold Sage for a minute or two before I felt the surges start again. Sage was handed to Dio for skin to skin while I pushed out Oliver.
Oliver was breech, and en caul until his foot popped out, breaking the waters. At this point I could feel tension in the room. With him being footling breech, there was a chance that his cord could prolapse, so my midwives all encouraged me to push. I wasn’t ready, and wasn’t having a surge, but I dove deep into my body and willed myself to push him out. The surge started immediately once I started to push, and I believe I pushed Oliver out in one push, maybe two. He took a bit longer to cry, since he was born breech, but soon enough I had both babies safely earthside. Sage was born at 9:51am, 8lbs 5oz and 21.75 inches long, and Oliver was born at 10:05 am and a whopping 8lbs 10oz and 21.50 inches long.
When the pandemic started, we had no idea that we were in it for the long haul. We expected it to be a few weeks at the most. We live in Texas, so this wasn’t the case. As the numbers in our state continued to grow, so did my anxiety. The virus pushed me even more to stay healthy and ensure I could have a home birth. We ended up in the hospital once for monitoring around 34 weeks due to Sage having a heart rate of 200bpm at our Maternal Fetal Medicine check up. We were there for 8 hours straight monitoring the babies. The experience was horrible and further grounded me to birth at home.
At 37 weeks, we received news that Dio’s close family member had caught the virus. This was beyond devastating as we lost all the help we had with Mason, since we were potentially sick. We had to get tested ourselves, and the anxiety of not knowing if this would ruin our chances of having a home birth were immense. I knew if we ended up in the hospital I would likely have another c section. We also had to cancel all our appointments, including the ones meant to help me with pain management. Fortunately, we tested negative and my mom arrived from out of state to stay with us for six weeks. We were in the clear to continue our home birthing plans.
My labor was fast, intense, and powerful. I physically felt my babies come onto this earth. It was truly the most painful and spiritual experience of my entire life. After spending months following a rigorous diet, ensuring I stayed healthy, reading anything and everything I could to prepare myself, I knew I was ready. When I knew it was time, I didn’t feel any fear. I felt nothing but excitement. I was going to meet my babies, and I was going to do it my way. My goal was to become, essentially, a labor and birth expert to the best of my ability.
Not once was it ever easy. I had to fight daily to ensure I had enough protein, enough exercise, enough rest. The physical strain of carrying two babies at once was hard on my body, and my emotions. So many times I wanted to just give up trying so hard, and many times I did. I opted for one day a week where I didn’t push myself to hit my protein goal, my calorie goal, my exercise goal. The evidence of my hard work presented itself in the fact that I not only made it to full term, but I grew two large, healthy babies. My placenta was vibrant and beautiful.
I had almost no swelling except during the few days before labor, my blood pressure and heart rate were, for the most part, within normal ranges. I followed the advice of my midwife. I listened to my body. I made sure to get plenty of sleep (and took a sleeping pill to help). I stuck to the brewers diet specifically for twins (so many snacks). I sought out support in different online groups that had similar views to mine. And most importantly, I gave myself a lot of grace.
Even with multiple setbacks, we powered through and had the labor I had always dreamed of having. To me, it was as if I had healed myself from my first labor, which ended up in a c section after I labored naturally for 24 hours, and pushed for six with Pitocin and with an epidural. Mason, my firstborn who is now a rambunctious toddler, was sunny side up and kept getting stuck on my pelvis. I was extremely sick, and kept blacking out between contractions.
During my entire pregnancy with my twins I relived my first labor, faced it head on acknowledging that it didn’t go the way that I wanted it to. I went over everything I wanted to not have happen again, and I made sure to voice any and all fears out loud.
HypnoBirthing helped me to let go of my anxiety around labor and birth, and to accept my birth no matter what may happen. I had to remind myself that even if I had a c section again, I was still in control. This time, I was prepared for a potential hospital birth. I didn’t go into my labor assuming it just wouldn’t happen. I had three birth plans for the three different scenarios that could occur, one for a homebirth, one for a hospital vbac, and one for a c section. With my first labor, I felt like I wasn’t heard by the doctors. My birthing requests were ignored. I vowed that this wouldn’t happen again no matter what. I made sure Dio knew everything about my birthing wishes, so if I didn’t have a voice, he would be my advocate.
Overall I am amazed by my body, grateful for the support of my mom and partner, and beyond grateful for my birthing team. I want to thank Anissa, my midwife, for not only supporting me through my pregnancy and helping me stay healthy, but for bringing me into her circle of resources. Thanks to her we had a totally supportive Maternal Fetal Specialist who never once pressured me into anything and who supported our home birthing plans. She also helped me find the team at KeKino Massage Academy, who helped keep my body relaxed and give my babies plenty of space. And lastly she also gave us our nanny for Mason, whom we all adore.
Thanks to Anissa we also had a full team of midwives, including Linda who specializes in twin births, and Jennifer who took over for Anissa while she herself was on maternity leave. They were so supportive and helped ensure I had a safe labor and delivery of my twins. I also have to give credit to the Dr. Brewer Pregnancy Nutrition group for helping me stay healthy and strong during my pregnancy. I highly recommend this group to anyone who is pregnant and wanting to avoid preeclampsia, high blood pressure, and have healthy full term babies. I hope to inspire other women to seek out a natural labor experience, to question their medical providers, to raise awareness to the lack of birthing education out there, and to trust in their bodies’ ability to birth their baby without unnecessary medical intervention. My experience in having a natural birth has helped me survive these first few weeks in my postpartum recovery. It is a beautiful memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life.