This is a beautiful breech twin homebirth…enjoy!
My official due date was September 15th, 2009 but Saturday, August 8th, as I climbed in bed, I felt HORRIBLE. I told Dave that I thought I was getting sick and just wanted to throw up to feel better. About 10 minutes later, I ran to the bathroom and started throwing up… I was up for most of the night.
Sunday morning I called my midwife, R, to let her know what was going on, and she agreed to stop by that afternoon. When she arrived she said I looked horrible and we really needed to rehydrate me. I had her check me for dilation because I’d been having pressure waves (contractions) along with the vomiting and diarrhea. I was at 1 cm, which is basically nothing for a 4th time mom, and good news for me.
Tuesday, August 11th – now exactly 35 weeks – R stopped by again to check on me. She said I looked much better, and I felt well enough to move around a bit more, but when she checked dilation again – my request – I was already at 3 cm. We needed to make it at least one more week so that we could safely have our homebirth, and we were all nervous that too much movement would jump-start labor much earlier than we wanted.
R ordered me on strict bed rest for the next week. I called my visiting teacher and explained what was going on, and a few hours later I had meals and childcare lined up for the next week. People from our ward came and picked up my kids early in the morning – around 8 am, then dropped them off around 5 pm. Dave also decided to work from home so he could properly care for me. I spent that week sitting/laying in bed… bored out of my mind. I have no idea how women handle bed rest for longer periods of time…or in a hospital setting.
Wednesday, August 19th, my bed rest was over and I had another appointment with R. Now I was at 4 cm, and we were hoping labor would start any time.
Breech Twin Homebirth: 39 Weeks
September 8, 2009 – 39 weeks
Wednesday, September 9th… after staying at 4 cm for another week, I then progressed to 5cm on the 2nd, and was again 5 cm at my 39 week check-up on the 9th. R, Dave and I were all very surprised that the boys were not here yet, but still grateful that they had been able to stay in for so long.
We discussed possibly trying some natural induction techniques at my next appointment, and I went home. Every morning when I woke up still pregnant was kind of depressing… I just wanted the boys to be here, and I was really getting sick of being pregnant – which has never happened to me before.
Monday, September 14th, one day before my due date: I awoke around 7:30 am with a funny feeling… I got a drink of water and started poking my boys so I could make sure they were doing well – I’d been doing kick-counts every day for the past couple weeks. I noticed that Jacob – baby A, was not very responsive… he would move around and kind of squirm a bit, but not really kick around. I decided to call R and see if she would come check his heart rate to put my mind at ease, but since it wasn’t an emergency, I decided to check my email and such while I waited for a more decent time to call.
Around 9:30 am, I noticed a couple of pressure waves that came about 8 minutes apart… but they were definitely *different* than the Braxton-Hicks I’d been feeling for weeks. I got up to go to the bathroom – since changing positions will often stop pressure waves if they’re not the real thing, and felt a couple more. I called Dave at work to tell him I thought this might be it.
10:00 am: Getting a bit more excited, I started picking up the toys and things in the family room while I called R. I explained what I had been feeling with baby A, and also told her that I’d been having pressure waves for about 30 minutes and thought I might be in labor. I called Dave back and told him I was sure this was it and to come home NOW! After my previous 2 1/2 hour labor with C, and the fact that I was already at 5 cm, we all thought this would be a super fast labor and I really didn’t want Dave to miss it.
I also called my sister, Lindsay, who was planning to drive an hour to come watch the girls, and my mother, because I wanted her to know I was in labor.
10:15 am: R called me to tell me she was on her way and to ask how I was doing…she wanted to know when she should call the rest of the birth team. I told her they were getting stronger and I was having a hard time moving through them. She said she’d start calling everyone. I managed to start a movie for the girls between pressure waves.
10:30 am: Dave got home, R showed up and we started to get the bedroom set up for the birth. I was still feeling pretty good, but I really just wanted to sit down and listen to my HypnoBabies CD. Dave started the CD for me on his computer and I sat down on my birth ball while R got some baseline stats on me and the boys. She said we all looked good. I was now 6 cm.
I was actually a little discouraged by this number, since I’d been expecting a super fast labor, and I felt like I started to lose a little focus. Other birth team members started arriving and as soon as Lindsay arrived I asked for Dave to come be with me. He leaned over and whispered that I was doing awesome and R and the others were having a hard time telling when I was having a pressure wave. From the outside I must have appeared totally calm and relaxed, while inside felt like an incredibly intense tug-of-war.
I spent the next couple of hours laboring on the birth ball, in the shower – I really wish I’d been able to use a birth pool! – and hanging from Dave. I asked to be checked again and was at 7 cm. More discouragement…
Breech Twin Homebirth: The Birth of Baby A
September 14, 2009
The worst part of this labor was in my back. BOTH boys were posterior as well as breech and my back pain was constantly with me even between pressure waves. I asked for counter-pressure and soon had several women with their hands on me pushing where I asked them to… it helped to relieve the pressure on my back and felt wonderful to be pampered by so many women – and Dave.
1:30 pm-ish: Some trickling on the chux pad under me made R think Baby A’s sac may have broken – it turned out to be urine… that’s how relaxed I was… We decided to move to my “pushing position” which we had discussed beforehand due to the breech presentation. Under normal circumstances I would have pushed in whatever position I felt was most comfortable at the time… but we had a different situation and knew things needed to be done a bit differently. I sat on the edge of my bed, leaning back against Dave, with each foot on one of our storage ottomans which had been wrapped in plastic. I spent the next few pressure waves squatting on the ottomans, while supporting myself on the bed. I didn’t really feel a physical urge to push… but mentally I wanted to get the boys out. I asked to be checked again and was now around 9 1/2ish cm.
Sometime around 2pm we started discussing breaking Baby A’s sac. R felt that it was now acting as a water balloon and preventing Baby A from descending farther. She felt around to make sure there wasn’t a cord in the way and broke the water (which actually took quite a while because the membrane was super thick). As soon as the sac was broken, Baby A descended and began to turn. Now that he was no longer posterior the pain of the back labor completely disappeared… transition also ended and we were officially in the pushing phase… suddenly I felt wonderful between pressure waves, and useful during them!
Unfortunately, though I was a full 10 cm when R checked me before breaking the sac… I regressed to 9cm once the pressure of the “water balloon” was gone… so I still had some dilating left. That didn’t matter though because a few pressure waves later I started really feeling pushy, and started getting into a good pushing rhythm. As Baby A started to descend – but first- R and the rest of the team prepared to help support him as he was born.
The best, safest way for breech babies to be born is to allow gravity to help keep their backs arched so they instinctively keep their chin’s tucked. If a baby comes too fast, they can startle and if he un-tucks his chin, there can be some pretty massive tearing, or he could get stuck while compressing the cord by his head. So, we planned to have Baby A hanging off the edge of the bed, with R supporting him with receiving blankets to keep him warm, while we carefully waited for my body to push him out (once he “crowned” I was supposed to stop actively pushing, and by the way… a little baby butt “crowning” felt exactly the same as a head).
Baby A came out butt first, his legs were tucked Indian style and dropped very quickly. He came so fast there wasn’t really time for R to do all the procedures she’d planned on while we waited for him to come “slowly”. Basically, she told me I could push a little to get his butt out… but then she told me to stop pushing… I did stop, but he just kept coming anyway.
As soon as Jacob was out I felt wonderful. We welcomed little Jacob at 2:35 pm and lay back to relax a bit. He was beautiful with super dark hair, and very pale skin. He also seemed a bit mad about the whole experience, but fell asleep on my stomach during the commotion of his brother’s birth a few minutes later.
It was wonderful to get a little break before Baby B, but it wasn’t really fun knowing I’d have to push another baby out – at least I didn’t have to dilate anymore.
Breech Twin Homebirth: The Birth of Baby B
About 3 minutes after Jacob was born, Baby B’s heart rate started to drop dramatically. They’d been monitoring with the doppler for a while. R told me he had to come out NOW and she reached in, broke his sac and grabbed his feet. I pushed with her and Joseph was born double footling breech about 60 seconds later at 2:40 pm.
His head and face were completely covered in blood, which was wiped off quickly. Apparently part of the placenta had detached already and Joseph was quickly losing oxygen. He came out completely purple, but still definitely had a heartbeat… They gave him one puff of air from some little ventilator and told us to talk to him. After that one puff of air he took a deep breath and started screaming.
Now, I really feel a need to explain something… R, Dave and I spent a lot of time praying and meditating about this birth and we all felt very reassured that everything would go well… When Joseph’s heart rate dropped and R declared it was time to get him out, it was NOT a scary thing… I instinctively knew what was happening – it was one of the possible risks of twin birth we had discussed and prepared for… but I wasn’t worried at all. R and I were so in-sync, and I trusted her so much that it was easy and not stressful at all to follow her directions immediately.
I’m sure I would have been much more stressed out if I had been in a hospital and that would have translated into a much worse situation – except of course that no hospital/OB in this country would have allowed me to attempt a vaginal breech birth of twins.
The other risk of twin birth is an increased likely-hood of hemorrhage due to an extremely enlarged uterus. I did end up hemorrhaging and was given a shot of pitocin and put on bed rest for two days, with lots of supplements to build my blood and iron supply back up. I didn’t tear at all though, and never felt swollen or sore “down there” at all. Other than being a bit more tired than usual, I didn’t feel like I had just given birth.
You can read about breech births here.