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My Twin Homebirth

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Travis and Harris were born on May 11, 2010, at home, at fourty-one weeks and three days. It had been a wonderful pregnancy, but it was seriously time for birth. I had been having mild contractions on and off during the last week, feeling my body right on the edge of birth and constantly wondering what was going on with my baby boys inside–surely they were feeling ready to be born!

Any minute now.

Every morning, waking up pregnant again was starting to wear on me physically and emotionally–especially since all our friends and family were waiting so excitedly, and of course multiples so often come early or are induced. We had been thrilled to be past 36 weeks, which meant we were clear to go ahead with our plans to have the babies at home with our midwife. I always felt confident I would carry the boys full-term, but was surprised to see their due date come and go.

We were feeling pressure to try induction to get things moving, especially after a nerve-wracking appointment with our perinatal doctor. He had been telling me from the get-go that there was no way my uterus could handle much more than ten pounds of baby, that I would likely end up in the hospital with preemies, and that birthing my baby B vaginally in his breech position would be impossible without a manual breech extraction.  At that appointment the day before they were born he recommended we go directly to the hospital and get the babies out by whatever means necessary, either begin induction, or birth them by cesarean section. The ultrasound showed my amniotic fluid levels were normal and both placentas were functioning normally, the babies showed no signs of distress and had strong heartbeats, the three of us were completely healthy and I wanted to hang in there to allow labor to begin spontaneously. I was grateful for the information about my sons that this perinatal practice provided through their ultrasound services but I fully understood that the doctor’s medical point of view was just that, as he had never attended a mother in unmedicated labor and had never witnessed a gentle, active, mother-directed birth.

These twins were my third and fourth babies. My previous pregnancies had brought me on a journey of discovery: I fully immersed myself in reading everything I could about labor and birth, and contrasting experiences birthing my first baby in a hospital, and my second in a birthing center under the care of midwives.

 The more I learned about the reproductive function of a woman’s body and the way her baby works with her to be born, as well as the role hormones play in the birth process, the more I became convinced that gentle, active, mother-directed birthing where the physiological function is supported, creates the best opportunity for a safe and healthy outcome.

There is such hot debate surrounding the safety of home birth, it was very challenging to navigate all the conflicting opinions. I took every opportunity to pick the brains of my perinatal doctor and my midwife, and will be forever grateful to both of them for being willing to answer my exhaustive questions and respect the decisions I ultimately made. In an ideal world, the physiological process would be supported and medical intervention would be only used when completely necessary. At the time I was preparing for this birth in Austin, Texas, I researched all the local hospitals and made a list of the obstetricians I would seek service from if something presented outside of the scope of practice of my Certified Nurse Midwife. Some hospitals would not allow a vaginal birth for twins and only offered birth by cesarean, others did allow for a vaginal birth but only if both babies were vertex and would require an epidural, one would allow me to birth vaginally while unmedicated but would require me to birth in the lithotomy position and use a manual breech extraction for my second breech twin. After researching the rates of brachial plexus injuries to newborns during a manual breech extraction, I became increasingly uncomfortable with the safety of birthing under the hospital requirements and worked with my midwife to develop emergency transfer plans with the nearest hospitals to support our home birth. We expanded our team of midwives to include two additional CNM’s who had more experience with breech birth. I had gone through many valleys of doubt during this process, so worried about making a wrong decision, but in the end I became more determined than ever to focus on faith rather than fear, factual information rather than emotion, sound reason rather than irrational worry.

Our whole family turned to prayer, I interceded every way I knew how while my husband took a four-wheeler ride up to the top of our property and wrestled with his own emotions and worries, giving them up to God. He put the kids to bed that night and told me of the precious way our four-year-old daughter prayed for her new brothers to be born, asking Jesus to keep them and her mommy safe.

And the next day, at 4:00 am I began to feel stronger and more regular contractions, and after a couple of hours I called my midwife and my mom to excitedly tell them “I’m in labor!”

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My husband and I got in the shower, hugging and kissing through the contractions–we were both so excited and feeling so grateful that this day was finally here and we were about to meet our sons! My husband put his ‘birth shirt’, the same white button-front he had worn at the births of our daughter and son.

My midwife and her apprentice arrived at about 7:30, and the other midwives came shortly afterwards, making a team of five. The three Certified Nurse Midwives (Julia, GB, Kristie) and two apprentices (Nina and Kate) were busy setting out all their supplies and readying the room, while I worked through the labor that was getting really intense very quickly. Angie, our nanny, arrived around 8 to take care of our older children; we kissed them and said ‘your brothers will be born soon, better start working on their birthday cake!’ So Angie kept them busy baking and playing for the morning. 

I had planned on laboring in the tub and birthing the first baby in water, but my midwife felt more comfortable having easy access to me, so she recommended setting up a birthing stool off the edge of our bed. As soon as I laid eyes on it I wanted to sit on it and let this baby come! He had been descending quickly and I was ready with William to my right and Kristie to my left for support. It wasn’t long before my baby’s head appeared. I reached down to feel him and loved feeling his thick dark hair.

Another contraction and Travis’ head was fully born, after that his whole eight pound, eight ounce body shot out like a rocket at 8:41am!

He was perfect, we were overjoyed, and it felt so good to take him right into my arms. Things slowed down and relaxed as we kissed, talked, laughed, and held him. I was so excited and happy to see that sweet face I had felt nuzzling the inside of my lower right belly for so long. It turned out that his face had actually been quite smashed against me and had flattened his nose, left ear and left eye but in my blissed-out state I only saw complete perfection in him.

We wanted to be patient to allow my body and second baby to adjust to the new room inside, so the midwives held me and massaged my belly a little to help. I felt the urge to lay down on the bed to rest, and William lay with me. It wasn’t long before I put Travis to my breast. He was a fabulous eater right away, and had quite a persuasive way with my uterus, which began to contract again, moving his brother down. Over the next two hours we continued to nurse on and off and tried a few different positions as things ramped up again.

I had been so curious through my pregnancy as to what it would be like waiting for my second baby–how much time would pass between their births? I really hoped to have some good time with Travis, to nurse him and get to know him. Julia had talked about how useful he could be in getting labor going again so while it was part of the plan, experiencing it was a wonderful surprise. I was so proud of him to be playing such an important part in his little brother’s birth and the process of the three of us working together was confirmation of what I knew to be the truth about birth: that a mother’s body and her baby’s body are designed to work in perfect harmony, and yes even with multiples!

Her body wants to birth, and her babies want to be born. Un-medicated and unforced, as long as a mother is willing, intuitive and calm, her babies have the best chance to be born well.

I was so incredibly grateful to be attended by the group of intuitive women around me. The mood was so joyful and expectant. They were so in tune all three of us, knowing just what I was feeling by how I was behaving, gently offering me sips of water, massage, and pillows for support before I even knew I needed them. It’s a great thing to see people who love their work. I appreciated how skillfully they worked around us, monitoring the baby still in my belly, the baby in my arms and myself while communicating with each other in soft whispers, allowing me peace to get totally into my primal state. Travis’ birth was a perfect warm-up for birthing Harrison, as it was all so fresh in my mind. Too bad I was panting straight into my handsome husband’s face and was told later I had forgotten to brush my teeth–oh well.

So things started getting really heavy, Kate took Travis so I could really concentrate on the pushing I was about to do. I was in sort of a standing position, with my butt on the edge of the bed, leaning back on my husband behind me with my feet propped up on the birthing stool. I have never forgotten a birth video my doula had shown me years ago when I was preparing for my first birth with my daughter. It showed a Brazilian woman who was birthing twin sons, and her second baby was breech. She stood there like a queen, supported only by her own two feet, and silently brought her baby into the world feet-first with a smile on her face. At the time seeing one little baby leg slip out and hang down between her Amazonian legs completely bent my mind. I thought it was the most insane thing I’d ever seen. And now five years later that scene seemed completely normal, she had become my muse of the last few months and the moment was here, my time to shine and emulate her as best as I could.

I relaxed and waited for a contraction, worked with it and was rewarded with excited gasps from everyone as one little foot emerged. Cameras flashed, and Harrison thought twice and drew that foot back inside, which made everyone laugh again. Then he showed us both of his fat little feet. Another contraction and he was born to the waist, another and his body was born, and his little arms slipped out. He did so beautifully through his whole birth, his heart rate never dropping below 140 as his body dangled from me, supported gently by Julia as his head remained inside. So this was the one, the clock was now ticking and they were telling me I needed to work with this next contraction like I have never worked before, and push my baby out. The semi-reclining standing position had worked well as my midwife had theorized to help his head ease under my pubic bone, but now that his head was there it wasn’t feeling right anymore and I wanted to be more upright and leaning a bit forward. I could feel the tension in the room building, but I had read many birth stories and commentary from obstetricians and midwives in the U.K. where they do many successful “hands off” breech births and knew they had a standard of up to ten minutes to allow for cord compression. It had only been a few minutes for us, and his heart tones were still steady so I was not fearful, and filled only with faith and expectation. That contraction came and I dug as deep as I could, closed my eyes and envisioned graphically what was happening. I saw my body easily opening wide to expose a little chin then chubby cheeks and round sweet eyes like my daughters. And then my final prize, the very top of his perfect hairy head. That little head I had patted and massaged and watched poke up at me from the top of my belly for months. I imagined planting a big sweet kiss right on top and with that, he was born! All eight pounds and fifteen fat ounces of him at 10:50 am.

Ecstatic joy from everyone and a few tears from my husband followed. We had both of our sons, live, healthy and perfect–the weight of the world was off his shoulders, and off my belly.

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 The relief and gratitude we felt was overwhelming.

The boys placentas were fused together and both came out with one contraction, which was nice. My midwife cleaned me up and began to check me over; I was thrilled to hear her say I didn’t need any stitches! Minimizing the risk of injury during birth was really the reason I had initially become interested in active gentle birth and I was so pleased to be walking away intact, with two perfectly intact and unharmed infants. Looking around at our family of six felt so dreamlike, experiencing the birth of our latest members all together in our own home made it an extra precious event that I will be forever grateful for.

  • So grateful for our beautiful new sons!
  • So grateful I sought out and considered differing opinions, did my own research, made my own decisions, took responsibility and birthed in the way and place I knew was safest for us.
  • So grateful I chose reason and faith over irrational worry and fear.
  • So grateful I allowed our boys to grow so big and healthy, and be born when they and my body were truly ready.
  • So grateful for those last frustrating days of waiting for them, each day something happened within our family to prepare us for the boys in ways we didn’t even know we needed.
  • So grateful to the friends and family who encouraged and truly supported us. You know who you are!
  • So grateful for the strong decisive man I married, who decided to trust and stand by his wife!
  • So grateful to live in Texas, where midwife attended homebirth is legal for multiples and breech babies. YEE-HAW!!!

This pregnancy and birth was a spiritual lesson and experience for me, so most of all I am grateful to the Divine Intelligence of the Creator who made this body of mine so full of energy, elasticity, and strength to love. God is so good, I am beyond grateful to walk in His grace. 

God is so good, I am beyond grateful to walk in His grace. 

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About the Author
Katie Reeves
Author: Katie ReevesWebsite: http://theguidingstarproject.com
Katie Reeves is a wife and mother living in Austin Texas where she spends as much time as possible appreciating the gift of the great outdoors with her family. She facilitates breastfeeding classes and is working toward certifications in breastfeeding education and provides labor and birth support and postpartum care as a doula. Improving human health holistically is a passion, she sits on the board of directors at the Guiding Star Project which seeks to bring care providers and educators together to meet the needs of people in all ages and stages of life. Please find them at The Guiding Star Project on FaceBook and Instagram. She also explores holistic health, beauty and fitness on Instagram and FaceBook as NaturalFullCircleBeauty.

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