On the evening of Tuesday 21st August 2012 our journey began. I was getting mild contractions regularly at 12 minutes apart. I was starting to get excited about meeting our twins though I knew it could be a good while yet. We decided to go to bed and get some rest and see what the morning brought.
The following morning at 5.40am Otis came in to us, got into bed and cuddled up. We had lovely cuddles all the more appreciated with the thought that this may be the last morning that he would stroke my tummy and say ‘Ah hello little babies, you alright little babies?. By now my contractions were more regular and stronger than I’d anticipated.
Having been induced with Otis and only having short mild contractions before my waters were broken, I was surprised how long they were lasting and that they were as strong they were. My waters were still intact. Feeling like I didn’t know really what to expect as I was induced with Otis, I finally started to believe I was going to birth our babies that day. I asked Doug to call his dad to come and take Otis to his (what 3 ½ year old doesn’t want to play in the swimming pool that would be in our lounge once the birth pool was filled?) I phoned Jane our independent midwife at 6am and said I thought she should come.
Grandpa came and got Otis, Doug started filling the birth pool and I listened to my twin Hypnobirthing CD. I’d listened to it throughout my pregnancy but had always fallen asleep but this time I heard more of it.
At 8.30 Jane and Jacqui (student midwife) arrived and came up to the bedroom. Jane seemed excited and smiley. Everything felt very calm. My contractions were already every 3 minutes and lasting a good 90 seconds and so I’d regularly stop mid sentence and go into my breathing and focus. By 9am Valerie and Sue the support midwives had arrived and came up to meet me. They seemed genuinely excited to be there and already I felt an immediate connection with them. It’s like their faces and smiles were saying ‘there’s nowhere else we’d rather be than here with you having these babies’
Having heard the water stop I knew that Doug was waiting for the hot water tank to heat more water. When I heard the water start to run again downstairs I was relieved as I was keen to get in the pool. Time moved on and I opted to go downstairs to be closer to the pool. It took me some time to get down the stairs but suddenly our small home cluttered with furniture all in the wrong places to accommodate the birth pool was ideal as I was never short of something to hold on to!
Once downstairs during contractions I would feel gentle loving hands massaging my back or stroking my arms and only discover who it was after coming back round from my inner birthing place. Sometimes it was Doug, sometimes one of the midwives. I was amazed how intuitive the midwives were and how they were birthing ‘with me’. The level of care and love was nothing short of beautiful.
At 10.30 the pool was ready and I could get in. I was really looking forward to it but nothing could prepare me for the relief and relaxing feeling of the water when I got in. Doug put on the Hypnobirthing CD and everything felt very relaxing calm and gentle. I was surrounded by smiling faces and a feeling great support and trust. I trusted the midwives totally and they, like me, trusted my body to birth my babies.
I was expecting to feel the ‘I can’t do this/I want to go home’ feeling so common during the transition phase but just wasn’t getting it. I never did. Within very little time I started to feel the contractions change from opening waves to birthing waves and I knew my baby would be coming soon. Three contractions later and I felt a pop and was sure that my waters had released and baby had moved under my pubic bone. I felt so in tune with my body as I felt baby move down until I could feel babies head. Everything felt dream like as I birthed my baby into the water calmly and gently and lifted her out of the water.
Our daughter Rosa Evangeline had been born, 8lbs 1 oz. “Look what we did!” I was keen to nurse her as soon as possible but her cord was just a tiny bit too short to lift her high enough and we wanted to delay her cord clamping so I held her close whilst Jane and Valerie checked my tummy for presentation of twin 2. It was decided that twin 2 was not feeling traverse, thank goodness, and as it was believed baby 2 was breech it was more sensible for me to get out of the pool so that they could double check and I could work more with gravity to bring baby down. So Rosa’s cord was cut and she had a little nurse before she went to Doug for some daddy baby skin to skin cuddles.
Once out of the pool I continued to have birthing contractions though baby 2 was still high up in the uterus though every contraction felt like she could be born with it and the contractions were good, powerful and of good duration. I could feel my body doing all the work itself. I’d kind of niavely thought that twin 2 would be birthed more easily given that twin 1 had ‘opened the door’ so to speak but hadn’t anticipated having ‘pushing contractions’ whilst baby was high and needing time to move down.
Finally I felt baby coming though it felt very different from a head first birth with the bottom coming down. Baby’s left leg popped out first followed by the right leg pinging down from around babies ear. My contractions remained good and strong and of good duration. There was only just enough time in between contractions for a quick sip of water but I felt they were doing a good job. Baby moved down to the chest and I was sure with each next contraction baby would be born but that wasn’t happening. I believed that I only had her head to deliver at this point but it was actually her head and shoulders. I was sure I just needed to push harder though I was already giving all I had. The reality was it wouldn’t have mattered how hard I was pushing, she was stuck. With the next contraction Jane worked to free the arm that seemed to be causing the problem. At the time I didn’t know what the problem was and the truth is, I didn’t need to know. All I needed to know was that I was doing great and to keep focused. The experience of the midwives shone through here as they must have been worried but never let on and kept that worry away from me. I trusted them implicitly and felt we were all working together. There was no need for them to tell me what they were doing. Valerie tried to free the arm and managed it and in one push Edie Hope was born 7lb 15oz.
She was slightly blue floppy and not breathing. The midwives calmly loved her into breathing and as they gently rubbed her, used the oxygen mask and listened to her heart they calmly and gently radiated positivity “her heart rate is above 90 and picking up, she’s still getting oxygen from the cord, her colour is coming, come on little baby come on’. I instinctively stroked her head and talked to her “come on sweetie, come on”. She responded. She started to breath and cried. It sounds odd to say I wasn’t worried, but I wasn’t. I knew she’d be alright, somehow I knew. Perhaps it was the midwives calm but effective response and their lack of panic that made me calm and confident. Whatever it was, it made a potentially distressing situation a beautiful experience, and that that is possible, is amazing and a huge credit to them.
In a matter of a couple of minutes the placentas were birthed and literally fell out. They were two that had fused together, both with quite short cords which explained Rosa’s short cord when I birthed her.
Moments after birthing I was snuggled up on my Sofa with my 2 beautiful daughters skin to skin covered with soft towels and with my lovely husband Doug. Rosa began nursing and was a pro from the start, and as I looked down at Edie, she looked up at me and chatted away with her little voice as content as can be.
The midwives stayed a while, cleared up, finished writing their notes, made us tea and generally looked after our new family. Even with Edie being breech and delivering twins I didn’t need any stitches. With our family all cuddled up we looked forward to our beautiful little boy coming home to meet his new little sisters, ate pate on toast and Galaxy cookie chocolate and had a nice cup of tea.
I’ll never be able to thank the midwives enough for their love and support, for birthing our babies and giving our girls the calm gentle welcome into the world that we wanted for them.