Although I had stated all along that I didn’t expect these babies to come until 39 weeks, a part of me really believed I’d go earlier because they were twins. By 36 weeks (my midwife’s cut off for a homebirth) I was ready, and by 37 weeks I was really ready. I still wanted to prove everyone wrong and carry the babies to full term, but I was so big and miserable (my uterus measured 57 cm at 39 weeks). Near the end I cried almost every day because I was still pregnant. I just wanted to hold my babies!
By 39 weeks (on the 11th) I was afraid I would never give birth and talked with my midwife about what I could do safely nudge labor along. We agreed that on the 14th she would use a Foley catheter to try and dilate my cervix. She said that will usually dilate a woman to about a 3 and for many women that is enough to get labor going. There weren’t any real risks and if it didn’t work we would reevaluate. I left my appointment that day excited because I thought my babies might come that weekend, but also a little sad, because I was agreeing to an intervention and I wanted my body to just do things on its own. For the next few days I talked to my babies and begged them to please just come out on their own, so we didn’t have to use the catheter. I was disappointed that my desire to have the babies finally outweighed my desire to do so without interventions.
Thursday morning, the 13th , was like any other. I’d had no signs of labor and reported to Phil and Tara that I wasn’t having the babies that day. Around noon I noted some bloody show when I went to the bathroom. I was so excited! I came back and immediately reported the news to Phil and Tara, warning them not to get their hopes up but based on my past experience it meant I’d have the babies within the next day or two. Shortly after that I noticed I was having contractions that felt a little crampy. I was very excited, despite the fact that they weren’t very painful or frequent. I started drinking tons of red raspberry leaf tea in order to help things along and prepare for the birth. I spent the next couple of hours visiting with my mother in law and sister in law.
Around 3:45 I called my midwife to let her know what was happening. I still felt very good, energetic, and happy so I didn’t think labor had progressed far, but I knew she had a meeting out of town in the morning and I wanted to give her some notice of what was going on. I asked if I could come in so that she could check my cervix. We discussed the fact that even with that knowledge, we would have no idea how fast my labor would progress, but at least we would know something. My contractions were about 15 minutes apart.
(My midwife and I had discussed that it was important that she get to the birth in plenty of time so that there would be enough support there for myself and the twins. I was struggling with knowing when to call her because I wanted her there at the last minute so I didn’t have to labor with a houseful of people, but I knew it was important to not wait until the last minute so that she wouldn’t miss the birth. With Naiya she arrived about a half hour before I delivered and neither of us wanted to risk that happening this time.)
I asked my mother in law and sister in law to drive me out to the midwife. When she checked me, she initially told me I was at a 3, which was very disappointing. I’d hoped to be at least a 4. My cervix was also still very posterior. She said she could feel a head though, and part of the bag of waters. Then the waters shifted and she said, “Wait, that can’t be right. No, now you feel like a 7…a very stretchy 7!” She verified that I was indeed a 7 and sent me home with chux in case my water broke on the drive home. She promised to be at my home very quickly. Because I still felt so good I told her to go ahead and see her 4:30 client (this was at 4:20) and come to my house afterward. I was so excited on the drive home that I was a 7 already, and still without much pain. I thought I’d have a quick and easy delivery a few hours later, with not much pain at all. My contractions were now coming 5-10 minutes apart.
I arrived home and everyone busily went to work tidying the house and getting ready for the midwives. My husband got the birthing pool out to inflate it and it was different than the one I’d had with Naiya. It wasn’t quite as big and didn’t look nearly as supportive, and it didn’t have a heater. I was very upset and he called Suzanne, our midwife, who said that she had the old pool at home but they were now using this one. He made it clear that I really wanted the old one and she agreed to go home and get it before coming out to my house.
I sat on my birth ball and read between contractions, occasionally getting up to help get the house ready. I kept drinking the RRL infusion I’d made earlier. Around 6:00 I noted that my contractions were about 4 minutes apart and getting more painful, but still very manageable. My midwife and her assistants arrived between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. and during that time I alternated walking outside to help my labor progress, and coming in the house and visiting because it was so cold outside. Sometime after 7:00 my midwife offered to go into town with the 2 assistants because my contractions seemed to be slowing down. They left and I continued to alternate walking and resting. After awhile my contractions seemed to be picking up again so I had Phil call Suzanne and ask her to come back. Shortly after she arrived my contractions started to slow down again. At this point I was getting frustrated that things weren’t happening more quickly. I went back outside to walk and after a few minutes kind of tripped, which caused my pubic bone to really hurt. Phil and I thought it might mean the baby had dropped so we hurried into the house and I asked Suzanne to check me. She did and reported that I was still about the same as when I’d been in her office several hours ago. She offered to break my water and gave me some time to think about it.
I was so frustrated at this point. My labor hadn’t progressed like I’d expected, and I was feeling a lot of pressure to hurry up and have the babies since I had a houseful of relatives and midwives there waiting. Everyone was very nice and maintained a respectful distance, but I felt that people were waiting and I didn’t know how to move things along. I felt that that pressure was holding me back, as well as my fears about having the twins at home (that something would go wrong, that I would hemorrhage or have to transport). I also feared that having Suzanne break my water would lead to a chain of interventions ultimately resulting in a C-section. I asked Phil to give me a Priesthood blessing and he blessed me with patience, and comfort, and that things would happen at the appropriate time. I relaxed and listened to my Hypnobirthing CD in the dark while Phil rubbed my back. Then I asked Suzanne to break my water. This was at 10:25 p.m.
Within a few minutes I wanted to get into the pool and my contractions became more intense. I labored in the pool while the midwives set up for the birth. My contractions started to really hurt and I started saying, “I can’t do this. This is not a good idea. I would rather be pregnant than do this (!)” I knew this meant I was in transition, but because I had dilated to a 7 so effortlessly, I had expected to skip the pain and I was very upset.
I moved through transition fairly quickly and felt the urge to push. Phil called everyone in (Moana, Heather, Marcee, Tara, and our kids) and after about 4 pushes Indigo Justice was born at 11:54 p.m. She had a very short cord, which was immediately cut. I was surprised, since I had expected Taran to come first. Indigo was 21 ½” long and weighed 8 lbs 2 oz. I held her for several minutes and then handed her off to Phil thinking I was almost ready to push again. I rested for a couple of minutes and then felt the urge to push. I pushed once and heard one of the midwives say, “His hand is up by his face.” I cried out, “No!” because I was already working so hard and didn’t think I could possibly handle more pain, but then I pushed again and he was out, much easier than Indigo had been. I think he was born in the caul, since on the videotape it looked like the midwife pulled the sac away from his face as he was coming out. It was 12:06 a.m. when he was born, and Taran Jackson weighed a whopping 9 lbs 2 oz and was 21” long. I never dreamed these babies would be so big, but it explains why I was so uncomfortable in the weeks before their birth.
After delivering Taran, Suzanne cut his cord and helped me move out of the pool for a shot of Pitocin, to prevent me from hemmorhaging. When I delivered the placenta it was huge – the two placentas had fused and the midwives estimated the combined weight to be 5 lbs! I climbed into bed to snuggle and nurse my babies. Before leaving Suzanne gave me a shot of Methergine.
Our first night was rough with only a few hours of sleep, but slowly we are getting into a routine and things are getting a little easier. What a blessing it is to have two little babies to love!Pregnancy & labor picturesIndigo & Taran - 1 week old