My sweet twin babies are turning 1 year old this Friday, May Day! They were born on their estimated due date, 7 lb. 14 oz and 7 lb. 10 oz., at home in our bed. They were healthy, alert and started nursing minutes after birth. I could not have been a happier!
Never did we imagine that we would be the parents to twins. I had discovered I was pregnant for the fourth time and scheduled a routine 20 week anatomy ultrasound. The technician surprised us when she announced there were TWO babies! Baby A and Baby B!
This news did not change our minds on continuing with my midwife and planning a home birth. However, it did alter our original plan and I knew I needed to prepare for the alternative in case of complications. My husband and I discussed certain terms under which we would be comfortable having our babies at home. We wanted to be sure both babies were a healthy weight and 36+ weeks. I ultimately had 3 ultrasounds to measure their progress and the results were positive and encouraging.
I scoured the internet. I read forums on home birth, free birth, breech births, twin births and twin HBAC. I also read the other side. I gathered knowledge on birthing twins in a hospital or whether a birthing center could be an option. I read about inductions, c-sections, epidurals, and more.
I read endless stories from women that had birthed twin babies. Joyous ones, and heartbreaking ones. Stories of women debilitated by their c-sections, their tiny, premature babes in NICU for weeks and weeks and others where twins were born with no complications and of a healthy weight, brought safely home from the hospital days later. There were stories of women bearing twins at home as well. Birthing two babies in water births, in their beds, or in their living rooms. Some needed to be transfered to nearby hospitals. Other twins born without worries.
On both sides, there were some favorable and unfavorable results. I had to drink in all that information and let it swirl inside my heart. It was an important decision that would ultimately effect our lives and everyone around us. More importantly, I wanted what was best for the twins.
I researched the standard of care for twin births at our local hospitals. The twins would most likely be induced at 37 weeks gestation, earlier if any problems arose. I would need to have a mandatory epidural, just in case of complications. If I wished to attempt a vaginal birth with Isabella then Grace would most likely be delivered by c-section due to her breech positioning. Also, only my husband would be allowed to be present during the birth. The end result was that we should pre-schedule a c-section and be done with any more decision making. I was greatly discouraged by this news.
Women prepare for their babies for three-quarters of a year, sometimes starting even before their pregnancies! They take their pre-natal vitamins, eat healthy, drink plenty of water, diligently go to doctor visits and rest as often as possible. They avoid certain chemicals while cleaning and stop their daily doses of caffeine to then be told to throw their convictions to the wind and succumb to “hospital procedures”? It felt like I was studying hard for that big final exam that I would end up cheating on at the last minute! I wasn’t convinced this was the best way.
Our ultimate decision was that we would plan for a twin home birth with the option that if either one of us ever felt uncomfortable or any testing came back unfavorable we would pursue a hospital birth with our midwife attending as a doula.
We waited for the moment, the day when I’d begin labor and we could meet our two new daughters. I was very sick during my twin pregnancy. Some days I had to literally force myself to eat. Twice a day, I took Floradix, a liquid iron supplement, to avoid becoming anemic. I avoided caffeine altogether and I ate protein bars in between meals for extra calories. I stayed as active as I could without stressing myself and made sure that I napped whenever I could.
My three older daughters, Madelyn, Lana and Sophia were a flurry of excitement each day, kissing my belly and feeling for each individual babies’ kicks! They drew us pictures and stories and chatted to their friends and teachers about meeting their new sisters! Their anticipation was incredible!
We waited and waited. 40 weeks hit and I was still shuffling to pick up my two oldest from school. I walked as much as I could to start labor but it was rough and I was tired. I went into labor the night of my estimated due date, April 30th.
I recall murmurs and whispers, the smell of tea and a warm room, the window was open and my mother and sister were cooling me with makeshift fans. I could hear my husband making sure things were in place and I was taken care of. The waves of contractions coming closer together and the babies shifting, ready.
Isabella was first and it seemed like forever until I heard her cries but how sweet they were. I patted Gracie’s body, still inside, whispering to her to be patient for she was next. Grace's birth was quick, and 18 minutes on the heels of her sister, she arrived safely. She had turned from her breech position to a full vertex and all was well.
In those wee hours on May 1st, I shared a birthday cake with 3 wonderful midwives and 14 family members. They had just witnessed an event some may never experience in a lifetime... and then they were blessed enough to see it twice!