The birth of MouseyMoo and MonkeyMoo
I thought MouseyMoo and MonkeyMoo would be coming soon. For a few days I had been having crampy contractions, feeling extremely emotional (crying at the drop of a hat), and feeling mildly nauseous.
The next day I went to see a physical therapist, in the hopes that he could help with my RIDICULOUS swelling that had been getting worse over the last 2 weeks. The physical therapist also happens to be my midwife’s husband, so I asked her to check my blood pressure while I was there. I had been checking my blood pressure in between prenatal appointments because the swelling was freaking me out. My blood pressure was elevated just a few points, nothing scary. So, that evening at home I got in our spa for a while to relax. After being in there for a while I felt super relaxed and decided I wanted to go see what my blood pressure was then. I had a contraction as I was getting dressed and it felt a little crampy (10pm). I went to the grocery store a couple miles down the street, checked my blood pressure and saw that it was great. As I walked out of the store I had another contraction. This one was enough to make me walk a little slower, and being super pregnant, I remember thinking that if someone saw me walking in the parking lot they might ask if I was okay because it probably looked like I was focusing. I headed home and had another contraction in the car that was a little stronger, although I didn’t think much of it until I was approaching the stoplight by my house. I could feel a contraction coming and I was thinking “Don’t turn red! Don’t turn red!”. Naturally, the light turned red and I thought, “Dude, I need to hurry and get home. These are not contractions to drive through!” I drove quickly through the neighborhood and went in the house and sat down. I had another contraction or two and decided to call my friend Allyson, with whom I was talking with like 20 minutes prior on the way to the grocery store.
Allyson: Hey, what’s up?
Me: So, I loaned my Bradley workbook to Deanna and it has this really cool page about
the stages of labor. I could really use some guidance on that right now.
Allyson: What’s going on?
Me: I’m having contractions.
Allyson: Ok, what are you feeling?
Me: Hold on a sec . . . . . (hangs up the phone)
Me: (Calls back) Sorry about that. I just felt like you were listening to me . . . and
watching me . . . . and I didn’t want you doing that.
Allyson: I think you should call your midwife.
Me: Really? It’s 11 o’clock and I really don’t want to disturb her for nothing.
Allyson: I think you should just call her and give her a heads up.
Me: (sighs) Ok.
So, I call my midwife who we lovingly coined “Mayreina”. A name my 3 ½ year old made up a few months before, which we used to have as a way of referring to my midwife without revealing her identity. (In the state of AZ, it is outside of the scope of practice for a LM to assist with a twin birth at home). So, I call Mayreina.
Laura: Hi Mayreina.
Mayreina: Hi Laura, what’s going on?
Laura: Well, I’m having contractions. I haven’t timed them because I was told not to bother timing them by someone else but Ally suggested I call you just to give you a heads up.
Mayreina: Well, timing a few can be helpful just to get an idea. How about you time some and maybe take a bath or a shower if you want to and see if anything changes? And, then give me a call back in an hour or so and let me know.
Laura: Ok. (feeling good that I totally didn’t waste her time and loving that she said “Yes, go ahead and time them”. I had kind of felt like I was told I was “doing it wrong” when I wanted to time them and it kind of brought me back to my first birth with my son when the OB had told me I was wasting my time timing contractions. This is just one of the many reasons I LOVE Mayreina. She always made me feel like she trusted in me and what I was feeling and encouraged that.)
I went to the bathroom and started to run the water for a bath. I really just wanted to wash the product out of my hair and then get in the spa. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to be able to wash my hair since just getting up from a sitting position at this point in my pregnancy was a feat of its own. I tried to lean in the tub to get my hair wet and quickly realized that wasn’t going to work so I just got in the shower. And out of the shower and in the shower and out of the shower. My contractions were 2 minutes apart and I was miserable trying to stand and wash my hair and time contractions on my fancy phone app. After I was done washing my hair I got in our spa on the patio. I put on Josh Groban’s “You are Loved” and listened to it repeatedly. I was just trying to relax and use some imagery that Mayreina had suggested. When I was pregnant with my son everyone told me to “give in and ride the wave” so I was absolutely determined to do that this time. Mayreina had said something similar. So, I kept telling myself just to walk into the wave and go with it. I think that worked for maybe 1 contraction and I could feel the tension in my forehead and was really frustrated I couldn’t simply relax .I found myself having this conversation:
Laura1: walk into the wave, Laura
Laura2: (stands there not walking into the wave)
Laura1: What’s wrong? Why aren’t you walking into the wave?
Laura2: I don’t want to get my face wet.
Laura1: Aw, you are afraid of a little splash in your face?
Laura2: Well, um yea the water is kind of annoying.
Laura1: Okay, fine I will build you a boat. (Proceeds to build boat in head that looks like Nathan’s toy boat for the bathtub) Here you go.
Laura2: (Gets in boat, lays down and grips the sides of the boat and is squinting trying not to notice water getting near her eyes)
Laura1: (Notices Laura not getting in the boat now). Get in the boat, Laura.
Laura2: (Standing there defiant)
Laura1: Get in the boat, Laura.
Laura2: (No response)
Laura1: Get in the Fing boat, Laura!
Every time I did relax a bit, my head would tilt down and my nose would dip into the water. That would startle me and it was totally annoying. Clearly, the water wasn’t working for me so I got out of the spa and went in the house. Gary had set up the decorations from my Blessingway on the table in the dining room. I had purchased some fresh flowers like the ones that were in the little vases for the Blessingway and he even cut the flowers and put them in the vases. He asked me if I was going to be in the dining room and I said without the birth pool I had no reason to be in the dining room. (We didn’t end up having a liner for the birth pool so we didn’t set it up. It worked out well anyway though because I knew I wouldn’t need the pool as long as I wasn’t laboring in 100 degrees in the middle of the day- I could use the spa instead.) I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom so I did just that and sat on the toilet for a while. I actually thought I was having a bowel movement (and was pushing) and was totally surprised to look in the toilet and not see anything! I came out of the bathroom and Gary had moved all of the decorations to the coffee table in the living room. I really wasn’t sure where I wanted to be or where else to go at that moment so I sat on the floor and rested my head on the ottoman for a little bit. I was thinking that wasn’t the best place to be because that wouldn’t be the prettiest picture to walk into- a naked huge pregnant lady sitting on the floor right when you walk in the door. Naturally, Ally arrived just a bit later while I was in that perfectly presentable location. She came over and said hi and sat with me for a little bit.
I was feeling really hot and started putting my water glass up to my forehead. I remember pushing the towel on the ottoman aside and resting my forehead on it. It felt so cool! I remember Gary putting a hand on me too and me instantly pulling it away. His hands were hot and totally didn’t feel good. Ally's hands felt cool though so that was a welcome touch. I was hoping Gary wasn’t taking it personally that Ally’s touch was okay but not his. Ally had only been there about 15 minutes before my midwives arrived. I wasn’t facing the door but I could feel them behind me and I could see Sonoma (our sweet puppydog) get excited. Gary got some cookies for her and I asked for a cookie and gave one to her- just to bribe her to be close to me for a second so I could love on her.
I wanted to go back to the bathroom and sit on the toilet but I wanted to be checked first. I said that out loud and then went back to focusing on a couple contractions. At some point in there my midwife came over to say hello to me and just leaned in to me and whispered in my ear that I looked beautiful. I thought that was so super sweet but man she must be full of it because there was no way my huge naked body facing the door (ass first) could be beautiful. I told her that I wanted her to check me but was waiting for someone to get a blanket to lay on the floor. She said it was all ready, so whenever I was ready she could check me. I totally hadn’t realized what was going on around me in those few minutes apparently. I laid back which was excruciatingly uncomfortable and she said, “Okay Laura, you are just about complete. There is just a little lip of cervix there so where do you want to have these babies?” I said the backyard and it seemed like everyone hopped to it. I told Gary to grab a couple things to lay out in the backyard and everyone else grabbed the supplies and took it out back. I walked outside to the blanket and rested on my hands and knees. I spent some time on the birthing stool but it required too much effort for me to hold my weight and balance on it so I got back down on my hands and knees.
Someone (who is apparently totally brilliant) brought an ottoman outside so I leaned on that and pushed. After I think about an hour, at 2am, Baby B (MouseyMoo) was born. I held her for a few minutes down low at my belly. I wanted to hold her higher but the cord wouldn’t accommodate that. I pulled the towel that was wrapped around her to the side a little bit and saw that she was a girl. I was so relieved she was a girl! I guess somewhere in the back of my head I put having 2 boys on the bottom of my “preferred list” because I thought a life with 3 boys sounded crazy scary.
So, we just sat there for a few minutes and I kept telling her what a great job she did. Four minutes after she was born, my contractions started coming again so Mayreina got things ready so I could cut the cord. I’m pretty sure I remember Ally asking me if I wanted to cut it, which was an awesome save because that was really important to me and I wasn’t completely with it. We handed MouseyMoo off to Gary and I got back on my hands and knees. He sat right next to me and that was the best motivation EVER for pushing. I wasn’t thinking that I wanted it over or that it was painful or anything. I just wanted to hold that baby again! . . . . totally not even thinking that there would be another bonus baby to be held too. Twenty-three minutes later MonkeyMoo was born. This time I was even more tired and my midwife was saying reach down and grab your baby, reach down and grab your baby and I just kept saying saying “I don’t have the baby. I don’t have the baby!” I didn’t have the energy to pull my body back up to a sitting position and grab the baby and I heard Mayreina telling the other midwife to grab the baby. I sat back and held MonkeyMoo in my arms. I saw a part of his “parts” and was thinking he might be a boy! Sure enough, I moved to the towel out of the way to see he was indeed a boy! He gave a little cry and Mayreina was telling me to rub the baby. She was rubbing on him too and told me that she just wanted to hear him cry a little bit more. I thought maybe she was a little nervous about him just because he hadn’t done the practice breathing on a non-stress test we had done a week prior. He was just perfect though and not much longer later I started having contractions again. They got things ready and I cut his cord. They asked who I wanted to hold that baby and we handed him off to Ally. I pushed out the placenta 9 minutes after MonkeyMoo was born and then we headed back inside to check out our new bundles of sweetness.
Gary and I sat near the couch and admired the babies. I nursed them while the midwives examined the placentas and did placenta prints for me. Then they had Gary help them with the weighing and evaluated their awesomeness. Two perfectly healthy munchkins! MouseyMoo (Rachel) weighed 6 pounds 4 ounces, was 18.5 inches long and MonkeyMoo (Evan) weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces and was 18.5 inches long.
While I sat there nursing them and the midwives were evaluating, the student midwife made me toast and my most favorite tea. Then, they helped me to get settled in bed and checked out how things were looking down there. Eventually, everyone left and I attempted to get some sleep. I felt so amazing though and was so excited about everything that had just happened! I wanted to get to know my babies and share the news with the world. I had little interest in sleeping. I am so grateful for how beautiful the birth was and how every step of the way I was asked what I wanted. It was absolutely perfect and what I had pictured for the birth. I felt like I was in my own world birthing these babies on my own. I remember a comment here and there from the people that were in attendance, so I knew there were people there for me if I needed them. But, I did it! I totally did it! My labor was only 4 hours from first contraction to the placentas being delivered and it was so much easier than I ever could have imagined.