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twins at home?

post #1 of 303
Thread Starter 
I have a friend who has a very attached 3.5 year old (still nursing) who has just found out she's having twins. Her first was born at home, no complications, and she hates the fact that this pregnancy is being treated as "high risk" with no possibility of homebirth, and a very high likelyhood of a c-section. Anyone know anything about normal, natural twin births?
post #2 of 303

See if you can get ahold of breathingmom by pming her. She doesn't post on these boards much anymore although she posted on this topic just today in the Midwives forum. She had a fantastic homebirth with twins. If you can't get ahold of her, let me know. I can email her -just need to locate her address.

post #3 of 303
Yes, it's possible. My midwife has done a couple of twin homebirths. The biggest factor, I think, is the position of the babes at the time of birth. Head down or butt down, it doesn't matter that much... but she has to be sure that one is not transverse... and she has to be sure that her attending caregiver has had experience catching twins.
post #4 of 303

I had my twins at home almost five years ago. Since then I have discovered that it can be very hard to find a midwife to attend a homebirth of twins. I understand your friends concerns and frustrations with being labeled "high risk". Luckily our midwife chose to consider it a "special needs" pregnancy instead.

After touring the hospital that we would need to go to if the babies were premature, I was adement about staying out of the hospital situation. Most (if not all) of the hospitals in Washington state required that you be moved to the operating room when it was time to deliver the babies. I knew that my labor would come to an abrupt halt if that happened to me and most likely lead to interventions that I would not want to happen.

My daughters were born at 37 1/2 weeks with a wonderful group of midwives and midwife students. Both were over 7 pounds and wonderfully healthy. We allowed the second baby to come on her own time rather than forcing her out in five minutes. There was an hour and a half between the babies.

I would recommend the following things for your friend:

#1 Surround yourself with people who do not see a twin pregnancy as "high risk".

#2 Maintain a high protein diet (especially in the last trimester) to keep the babies from becoming premature. I believe this is key!

#3 Read the book "Having Twins" by Elizabeth Noble.

#4 Have her email me at: birthingtwins@yahoo.com.

While it can be challenging for your friend to find a midwife that will attend her (she may have to go to another area) I think it will be worth her while to continue a search for someone who is willing to do it. A lot of times it is just that the midwives do not have much experience with twin births.

I personally know two other mothers who have had their twins with midwives and who have had beautiful birthing experiences with wonderful outcomes.

Please tell your friend congratulations and that she is at the beginning of one incredible adventure! Blessings, Jill
post #5 of 303
I would highly recommend the Brewer diet--see www.blueribbonbaby.org. We're ttc, and I've been reading about it to prepare--had a very low birth weight baby last time, and want to do all I can to prevent that. It's very high protein, and doesn't place restrictions on weight gain--with twins when moms follow the diet, babies are usually full term and a good weight.
post #6 of 303
I'm in Arkansas, and it's illegal here for a lay midwife to attend a twin birth--I have heard it through the grapevine that some will do it anyway. I went to a CNM clinic, but the babies came at 32 weeks, and the midwives weren't allowed to attend the birth unless it went to 35 weeks.

I can hardly say that I got the birth I wanted, but I managed to avoid epidural despite much medical protest. One male nurse was trying to convince my husband that I needed to have the epidural, "In case we need to slap a section on her." They made me deliver in the operating room, but I didn't have a c-section. Both babies were head down and born healthy. They spent three weeks in the NICU.

One of the babies was breech almost the entire pregnancy. I was told to try pelvic tilts to get the baby to turn, and I think that's what did it.

Good luck to your friend!
post #7 of 303
I believe Sheila Kirtingzer (sp?)--the lady who wrote a book on Home Birth had her twins at home with no complications of course.
I really don't see a problem with it as long as the mom is healthy and the labor isn't preterm (before 36 weeks for twins I believe) and as long as the midwife feels comfortable and confident. I think that feeling of confidence does make a difference for both the mom and the midwife.
I hope your friend gets the home birth she wants.
post #8 of 303
I seem to remember reading in another thread, your mentioning that this friend had planned on giving birth unassisted but gave up the thought upon finding out she had twins. Personally, I think the reasons you gave above are perfect examples of why unassisted birth is often preferable in a situation where a healthy variation of normal will be treated as a complication.

Almost any birth attendant she finds will be on high alert, lending fear and stress to the environment and along with it, dangerous and unnecessary intervention or at least inhibiting her in birth. So long as nothing is wrong with her or the babies that requires some sort of medical treatment, I don't see why she shouldn't continue to explore her heart's desire of unassisted birth. In my opinion it could turn out the be the safest birth possible in that situation.

She may want a little more post partum help, cleaning and cooking and that sort of thing that may be doubly difficult with twins, but just as breech birth flows best "hands off", a twin birth will likey flow best with the hands, eyes, and ears of outsiders respectfully away from the birthing space. I do know that other women have safely given birth to twins without birth assistants, and some stories can be read at www.unassistedchildbirth.com. I found one by searching the stories pages at: http://ucbirth.com/coreytwins.htm
Hope that's helpful! Laurie
post #9 of 303
I was just about to post a thread on the same topic. I am 33 weeks pregnant with twins and we are still planning a home birth. My practice is a group of doctors and midwives who do homebirth and they have sone many twin births at home. The conditions I have to meet are that i at least go to 36 weeks and the baby presenting first is head down. Right now the bottom baby is head down and the other is breech. So far i am good to go for homebirth (although I would feel more comfortable if they were both head down). I was curious about others experiences at home with twins.
post #10 of 303
gogi, it sounds like things are going good for you! How are you feeling?

It is wonderful that you have people who will attend your homebirths! Our daughters came at 37 1/2 weeks. We had a wonderful experience and being at home was incredible!

I hope you keep in touch and let us know how things are going for you! Blessings, Jill
post #11 of 303
Things are going great. I am 33 weeks and my last visit was on Monday. The babies seem to be fine. I am busy eating, eating, eating. I am sick of eating. I have no appetite so this has been a challenge. I am making sure I am eating 150 grams of protien a day and drinking plenty of water. My family is helping out with my 2 year old so i can get rest. The only thing that keeps me worried is the amount and strength of my Braxton-Hicks contractions. This has been going on the whole pregnancy and there is no cervical dilation yet.

My husband and I just went to buy the supplies for the home birth (matress protector, underpads, washcloths etc.). I am lucky to have a practice who will allow for homebirth with twins. They have treated me and this pregnancy like it is a normal event. Go figure. I will keep you updated on what is happening. I have to get to 36 weeks to be able to birth at home. I would love to go the full 40 but will feel relief when I make it to 36.
post #12 of 303
gogi, I also had a lot of contractions through out the pregnancy. At around 34 weeks I could not walk around the block without getting them!

I understand your frustration with eating all the time, it can be a real challenge! It sounds like you have educated yourself and that you are doing a great job of keeping those babies in there!

When I was pregnant I loved soy protein drinks. Since I didn't have much room for food, it was much easier to get a drink down! I would use yogurt, milk, vanilla flavored soy protein, and fresh fruit (especially frozen strawberries).

How are you sleeping? Are you able to get comfortable? At about 36 l/2 weeks I started sleeping in a recliner. I could lay it back to sleep and then when I had to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom I would catapolt myself out of the chair.

Keep in touch! Blessings, Jill
post #13 of 303
I have been drinking protien drinks. It has been very hot lately and they have had the added benefit of cooling me off. I don't eat any sugar so no ice cream or frozen yogurt, but fruit juices with the protien and fresh fruit have worked out well.

Sleeping has been terrible. I have a hard time relaxing body and mind. My husband has to give me a massage every night just so I can fall asleep. Now that I am getting up at least 5 times to go to the bathroom it is hard getting back to sleep. I also eat a hard boiled egg evry time I get up during the night. The last 2 nights I have had to wake him up to help me back to sleep. I don't have a recliner, but that sounds like exactly what i need. I arranged pillows on my couch so I was in a reclined position and slept half the night like that. I almost dread night time because I know I won't be able to slip into a deep sleep.

I am glad to hear that others have had the same experience with contractions. They can be kind of scarry when they are so strong and frequent.
post #14 of 303
Jeannine Parvati Baker (author of Prenatal Yoga and Natural Birth) had her twins at home. She actually left the hospital while she was in labor after being told she needed a C-section. Everything went fine. You'll find some interesting twin stories here - http://ucbirth.com/twins.htm

Personally I believe you're safer having twins at home than you are in the hospital. Good luck!
post #15 of 303
laurashanley, those are beautiful stories and pictures!!! Thank you so much for sharing them!! I think Mom's who are pregnant with twins need to hear as many positive stories as they can! Blessings, Jill
post #16 of 303
I couldn't have read those stories at a better time. Tonight I started feeling a little afraid of the birth and the "what-ifs". It was encouraging to read all the positive stories. I remember with my first birth that I read a couple pages of Spiritual Midwifery everyday just to keep positive thoughts about by upcoming birth. These stories have kind of the same effect.
post #17 of 303
Hi ladies!

I also had my twins at home naturally and drug free. It was the greatest experience in my life. I wanted to be at home from the begining because I'm not to keen on hospitals. When I found out at 18wks. I was pregnant w/twins my midwife at the time said I was "high risk" and wouldn't be able to have a homebirth. Needless to say I switched midwives! I had to drive an hour to her office but it was completely worth it! I gave birth at 37wks. both girls were head down (I don't know if I owe that to my husband who is a chiropractor and performed the Webster technique on me or if the babies just knew what to do). I was in labor for 22hrs. and the second baby wanted to stay inside! She finally came out 3 1/2 hrs. after her sister. I liked having control of my birth.

During pregnancy I drank at least 2 protein shakes a day in order to get the 100-150 grams of protein. I took the Bradley Method class and that helped inspire my homebirth.

Hope this helps!
post #18 of 303
Tammy, thanks for sharing your story! Did you have the support of friends and family or did they think you were crazy?

Was it important for you to hear other positive natural twin birth stories? If so, were you able to find any?

Are your girls your first babies? (The other moms that I personally know all had twins that were later in the birth order). I am so excited that there is someone else out there that had a wonderful homebirth of twins! I am really glad that you can join us in sharing your experience! Blessings, Jill
post #19 of 303
Leilah McCracken just posted this on a list I'm on and I thought I'd pass it along.

Excerpt from Having Twins and more, 3rd edition, 2003. Boston, Houghton
Mifflin. Elizabeth Noble. www.elizabethnoble.com

Triplets Born at Home after a Previous Caesarean

The three bouncing babies shown in the birth announcement were all born at home.

This story began when Mary simply sought a natural birth after her first child was delivered by Caesarean. While the general policy held by the doctors in her small town was to allow a trial of labor for a subsequent birth she felt she would have had was "hope with a very uncertain outcome."

Therefore, Mary looked for a midwife who would assist her at home. When it become apparent that "twins" were on the way, she felt it would be impossible to achieve the vaginal birth she wanted if she "plugged in to the medical establishment." Thus, she decided against an ultrasound, feeling that it would be only the beginning of a lot of medical interference. As the
midwives would never have agreed to a home birth for triplets, Mary is glad that she did not have the ultrasound!

Carrying twins under the care of any of her local doctors would have meant a Caesarean at thirty-eight weeks "to avoid uterine rupture from the uterus growing too large." Mary¹s midwife says,

"I agreed to help Mary and her husband do their prenatal care and see what things felt like when she got closer to term. I didn¹t feel right sending her off for a lot of obstetric technology she didn¹t want and a C section she didn¹t need, so we started looking for ways to make it feel safe at home. They didn¹t want an ultrasound and I didn¹t take the possibility of more than two babies very seriously, although the father asked if I thought
there could be more than two after reading Having Twins."

Mary¹s husband was working in the home and available to help at the end of pregnancy. During the last few weeks, Mary rested in bed a lot of the time and was lucky to have a good friend staying with her. She helped feed Mary and provided the couple with invaluable emotional support. Eating every couple of hours, Mary took in about 200 grams of protein a day and gained
nearly 70 pounds.

Two midwives took turns visiting Mary every other day to check her urine and blood pressure, which remained normal. One week after the due date, labor began. The first two babies were born, head-first and uneventfully, nine minutes apart. At this point the family doctor, who had been listening to the heart rates and checking her belly, said that she felt a head. The midwife reached in and felt a foot way up high, but the baby was facing Mary¹s front so the midwife turned her around to face the back. This breech baby was delivered ten minutes after the second. Next, with three umbilical cords dangling from her vagina, Mary pushed out the one single placenta and two fused placentas. No episiotomy was necessary, and there was only a slight tear after delivering the breech baby. The first-born was a boy of 6
1/2 pounds. The second-born was a girl who weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and the third, the largest, was a girl weighing 7 pounds. The total weight of the three babies was over 20 pounds! All three babies nursed within the first hour and were entirely breast-fed for five months.

Mary had a little trouble urinating at first, as the size and stretch reflex of her bladder was diminished from months of pressure. This cleared up within a few hours after birth. For a week or so, her balance was shaky when walking because her skin and muscles were so loose that "her belly swung back and forth" when she moved! But she has three wonderful, healthy
children, born without any medical intervention and for a total financial outlay of only $1,000 (although the midwives did not even ask for that much).

As midwifery services were not covered in her state by health insurance, the family practice doctor billed the insurance company. However because there were no complications or special equipment, the insurance paid only for a single birth! This is deplorable, when a hospital birth of a singleton could
not be had for as little as $1,000 at that time. Perversely inverse
insurance reimbursement is yet another way to penalize natural birth. In this "triple high-risk" pregnancy- triplet, vaginal birth after previous Caesarean, home birth- the mother¹s competence and self-reliance should have been rewarded. She saved herself, the insurance company and society at large, hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs. In fact, Mary had a friend
in her town who also had triplets, but under the "care" of an obstetrician who restricted her weight again and put her on bed rest. The babies were preterm and low birth weight, spending weeks in NICU and costing a fortune paid for by health insurance.

I believe all women should be supported in their birth choices. It is better to plan intelligently with committed caregivers than to do as one mother of twins did: she tricked a doctor into responding to her "single" delivery in a motel room because she didn¹t want a hospital birth!


Leilah McCracken,

BirthLove-The Revolutionary Passion of Mothering...
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post #20 of 303
Hi Jill,

The twins were my first birth, and yes my whole family thought I was crazy. My mom was nervous but she went along w/ my decision to have a homebirth. When I went into labor we didn't let anyone know except for my mother because I wanted her to be with me. I didn't want everyone coming over to the house. I wanted to be able to do whatever in my house and still feel comfortable. Now my mom has a brag story! I never got to talk to anyone that had a twin homebirth I just did a lot of reading to prepare myself.

Nice talking with you!

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