Esthers Story – twins at home!

Judith,

The girls are 6 months old now and doing good. Anna is over 20lbs and Emma is a few lbs lighter.  Here is our birth story.

Labor:
Thursday morning our new pack and play came. So I felt a little more like nesting. We unboxed it and put it together and then the kids and I
started cleaning and rearranging things in my bedroom so we had a place to put it. I generally putzed around all day. Around 3:30 or 4:00 I sat
down to knit a pair of mittens for Matt’s Grandma for Christmas and started having contractions…it was not unusual for me to have them
when I sat on the couch for any length of time. They were coming very regular though so I decided I should get up and go lay down and see if
they stopped. Well, they slowed down but didn’t stop so I let Matt know and I was off to take a bath and see if that changed anything. I didn’t
want my midwife to have to drive 3 hours to get here and I wasn’t really in labor. After my bath around 6:30, the contractions stopped so
I just laid down in bed. The picked up again at around 8:30 but they were weaker and didn’t last as long – only around 20 sec. About 10 I
decided that I was just going to go to sleep. We were going to have company over the next day to help us with some things around the house
so I wanted to get some sleep.

I woke up at 4am on Friday morning – still no contractions – but I was wide awake so I got up to bake bread. Around 5 I sat down to finish the
mitten I had started the day before and my contractions started up again. 5:30 I laid down in bed (just to see) and they continued. 6 minutes apart and fairly strong. At 6 I decided to take a bath again and see if that changed things. I went to the bathroom and had some pink
spotting so I told Matt to call our midwife, Judith – It was the real deal!! I was exactly 36 weeks – I had been praying to make it to 36 weeks so that we could continue with our plans for a home birth. I had made it to our cutoff date!!

I was asked to labor in bed for awhile until the midwives got closer so that things didn’t progress too quickly. I made some phone calls to
arrange for our children, cancel our visit with friends, and a couple calls to some prayer warriors.

My good friend Heather was the first to arrive at about 8:30. I had asked her to come for some moral support. She had 5 of her children at
home and this was my first home birth and I knew she would make me feel calm.

Matt spent the morning getting things ready. A fire was started in the cook stove, and I helped make up the bed. He got the older children up
to go out and do their chores. My mom came over to take the children to her house and I snuggled in bed with Clara and Sarah for a little bit
and by about 7:30 or 8:00 the children were off to Grandma’s. My midwife called me about every 45 minutes to get a status updates and there were really no great changes from the time my labor started. Contractions were the same and still 6 or 7 minutes apart.

When Heather arrived, she helped Matt set up the pool and they began filling it. My midwives were close so I got out of bed and sat in the
living room while Heather clipped coupons and we just talked and joked around.  Judith and her daughter arrived soon after. Babies heart beats were checked and were both around the 140′s even through a contraction so we were doing good. I spent some time in and out of the pool over the next couple of hours and we all just talked and joked around. I was so nice and relaxed and it really didn’t feel like I was there laboring and they were all watching me like a pot ready to boil. It almost felt like a social call except the fact that I was stripped down to a sports bra and floating around in a pool in my kitchen/dining room. Matt had started a batch of soup on the cookstove around 12:30 or so and had finished the bread that I started baking that morning. It was all smelling so good but I really didn’t have the desire to eat more than a slice of fresh bread with butter and some juice.

My contractions never got closer than 6 or 7 minutes apart but they were getting stronger. The last 6 contractions were pretty painful and I
needed to squeeze Matt’s hands and couldn’t talk through them. I had the last painful contraction at about 1:52 or 1:53 and immediately after that contraction my water broke…It was time to have babies!!

The Birth

My water never breaks before baby is crowning so I knew when my water broke with the last contraction, I was going to be pushing a baby out
with the next one.  The next 5 minutes were like a whirlwind.  Judith, my midwife was standing at the opposite side of tub and I asked
her if it was ok to push with the next contraction. She gave me the ok and said to push slowly. Well, I tried to push slowly but my body took
over and out my first baby came at 1:55. The first thing I saw was her little butt float up to the surface. I said something about her being breech after all and Judith assured me that she came out head first. The babies had done been head down since 21 weeks but had done some flip/flopping the last few weeks and I had been concerned about them being head down. The baby did a little somersault on the way up to the surface. I was holding her and she was breathing as we rubbed her down with towels to stimulate her.  Judith and Sha clamped her cord and Matt got to cut it.  Another contraction hit me – only about a minute or two had gone by since the first baby had been born. I asked that somebody take the baby because the next one was coming. Judith felt and there was another baby, right on the heels of her sister. After that we needed every pair of hands we had to get me out of the pool and in the bed with both babies!

The contrast in the two babies was so distinct. The first baby was not breathing as well as she should. She was breathing but she was retracting and needed some oxygen. Judith thought it would be best to call a colleague of hers for support and assessment of our first twin. I consented, the call was made and the other midwife was on her way. The second baby was very pale but alert. She was a bit cool and Matt was sent to throw some more dry towels in the dryer to warm our babies up.

The minutes immediately following their birth is like a blur, it all happened so much quicker than I had expected but still I felt no fear about what was happening. I was laying next to our babies and taking turns letting them latch on and nurse.  I was having a few problems with bleeding but after a little while and a few different remedies we got that under control. I trusted Judith fully with what was going on, I was not fearful at all. I
really wanted to avoid a transfer and didn’t mind Judith doing everything in her power and expertise to get things under control. I knew she would let me know when and if we needed to do something more or seek additional help.

Matt and I were spending some alone time with our new bundles. I was taking turns nursing them both. Judith and her daughter came in
to show us the placentas and told us that we should really be praising God that our first twin is even here. The condition of the placenta was
such that it probably would not have sustained her much longer.

The placentas were like day and night. The only way I can think to describe the first one was that it looked like it had been put through a
meat tenderizer. It was pale and spongy and when you held it up in the palm of your hand and looked at the side that attached to the uterus, it
just fell apart at the cracks and looked like a minute steak. The other placenta was dark red, firm, and solid.

Matt continued to get fresh warm towels periodically from the dryer and snuggle our babies with them.  Soon it was time to do assessments and weights. I was dying to know how big they were. I had been praying all along for 6 pound babies. I was going to be ecstatic if I had 6 pounders, especially at 4 weeks early.

Baby A was weighed – exactly 6 pounds – I was thrilled. She was also 20 inches long. Baby B’s turn – 5lb and 15oz and 19 inches…WOW! I was
just on cloud 9 – they were exactly what I had been praying for.

My mom had arrived with my older children so that they could do their evening chores and she came in to quickly peek at our new bundles. My oldest son Danial, who is 12, came in to strain the milk and got to peek at his new sisters. We had a few other quick visitors later that evening.  Around 9:00 Judith and her daughter went home but would be back in about 24 hours to check on us. We were left with specific instructions and a list of things to monitor over the course of the next 48 hours as well as strict instructions to call if  anything looked concerning. We didn’t get any sleep that first night and I don’t think that I could have slept even if given the chance I was so pumped up from the events of the day.

It was just an amazing experience. My first home birth – twins no less – and it was just awesome. It was by far my best labor and birth experience.