My boys were born April 30th 2011 at 11:07pm and May 1st 2011 at 12:56pm…almost 14 hours apart….
The first question I am always asked is where you in active labor for 13 hours?!
No… I was in active BIRTH for 13 hours.
Not the birth of my boys but the birth of me as a mother. This truly is my birth story more than it is theirs. They were born yes but seriously, they couldn’t have stayed in there forever.
So to begin my story I have to start one week before the twins were conceived… on July 17th 2010 I married the most incredible man in the world. We met and were married in Kenya and I know that every wife says she has married the most… man but I know I truly have. He challenges me every day, calls me on my insufficiencies, fuels my passions and puts my scattered pieces together.
One month later we found out we were pregnant (despite numerous “safety nets”)… one month after that we found out we were having twins (at our first ultrasound) … we never intended to have children… sometimes you just have to laugh at the ironies of life…
After discovering we were having twins we decided I should deliver the babies in the US in case anything went wrong. Thus began a grueling journey of fighting immigration and morning sickness… ill take morning sickness any day over immigration complications.
In January 2011 I left my husband in Kenya knowing if I waited any longer I would not be permitted to fly, praying that he would make it before the twins did… he didn’t.
As my due date grew closer and closer I had to come to terms with the fact that I would be doing “this” on my own… I needed to be “Naturally Prepared”. I was told about Samanda’s class by my midwife who suggested not only her class but her doula services as well. I made it through 5 of 6 classes with my mother as my partner. I’m pretty sure I cried through each one. Seeing the love of the other couple in my class as they prepared for their little one was nearly too much to take into an already highly emotional pregnant woman.
Through the ups and downs thinking my husband was coming and being disappointed when things went wrong Samanda was there for me. I felt like a women in a village, having left my husband to find solace with other women who had journeyed before me into motherhood. Side note: I’m pretty just her chicken in the house added to my village visualization….
Looking back on the lessons from Naturally Prepared and looking back on my birth experience I can say objectively that I swore I would not use the pool to deliver in because it was “gross” and I swore I would not vocalize because it was “crazy” and I didn’t practice with ice because it made a mess…both of my boys were born in the water… I sang like an opera soloist in a grand finally and through each contraction I had no husband to hold but I did have ice to squeeze the water out of.
But that was just the physical aspects of my experience… the truth is Naturally Prepared thought me to fully “be” to fully be in each contraction to fully be in each moment to fully be however, wherever and doing whatever each breath needed me to be not worried about what was happening around me not worried about who was or wasn’t there not worried about modesty or decency not worried about anything. I was prepared to revert to my natural self without constraints to let my body do exactly what it needed to do, exactly what it was made to do and what no one could have helped me do.
When my first born made his final decent into the world I heard myself say I quit, I cant do this I don’t want to and I remembered Samanda saying that when I reached that point I would have to let go and push through because the time had come. With my mouth, arms and legs spread wide open in surrender I released my breath, my control and my little boy into the world ready to take him into a completely new first time mother’s arms, heart and soul.
But all of life cant be so warm and majestic… some things are cold and point blank. Baby A had a hard time catching his breath, he laid on my chest while the midwifes gave him breaths then he was transferred to the heating pad because he needed to be warmer. Finally I had to decide to transfer him to the hospital. It took about 20 minutes but seemed like seconds to me. My little sweet pea was whisked off in an ambulance with my mother and I had to defend my secondborn’s right to be born at home against the strong will of several emts. Signing paper work and speaking diplomatically until finally they left my birthing space.
Over the next several hours I tried to sleep, had some food and awaited updates from the hospital regarding my little one. Twin B was just relaxed, stretching out in his newly acquired space, not in any hurry. By 11am I was hearing pretty awful things about my first born. He was recovering fine but being treated like an alien specimen in the NICU. Poked and prodded, tied down to wires and tubes. My mother to afraid to use her voice just watching.
I don’t have any pictures of that time… I am having trouble controlling my emotions now as I think back on it. In the days after bringing him home from the hospital (getting him out was a whole other trial) he was jumpy to the touch and his poor little hands had little cuts and bruises. I am grateful that they were able to give him a little extra oxygen that he needed but everything else is heart breaking. I cannot urge partners enough to take seriously your preparations in the event that you might have to transfer from a home birth to a hospital birth. Your wife fought to bring your little one into the world…you’ll both spend your life fighting for what’s best for him in a world that is very far from natural.
My second delivery was far from the first. Having now the passion of a mother lion growly about the circumstances of my firstborn I needed to do whatever needed to be done to have both of my boys in my protection. Stair climbing didn’t bring about contractions for Twin B, homeopathies didn’t work, petocin didn’t work and finally breaking my water didn’t work. However, if I rolled on my back from one side to the other each time I would role I would have a contraction. I lost count of how many times I rolled after 5 but the whole ordeal took only about an hour. I the final moments I dug deep inside myself, no self doubt this time, jumping to my feet and squatting down that baby was coming out if he liked it or not.
He didn’t seem to mind. Not a word came from him be just laid up on me with his eyes wide open and I felt peace. I guess I figured the old me who was laid back and go with the flow couldn’t handle the pending battle with medical personal to regain my rights as a parent but the Mother I had become just shot out a baby in an hour with conscious contractions and was rearing to go to do ANYTHING necessary for MY babies!!!
Unfortunately my mental zeal was a bit much for my physically body which had gone through a pretty tiresome few days. I had too much on my mind to concentrate of getting out my placentas and began losing a lot of blood. With my second born safe in the arms of my closest friend I was taken to the hospital and reassured of my decision to have the babies at home as I was overwhelmed by the bright lights yelling and poking. While I disagree with my father’s decision to let my younger brothers see me in the emergency room I did appreciate it a bit when I saw my 10 year old brother from the corner of my eye turning white which revved up that Mother in me again as I consoled him in a calm voice and in all seriousness told the lady standing over me to get the **** out of my face give me back my arms and legs and let my midwife in the room because she was the only person who knew what she was talking about.
I under when a blood transfusion, spent a few days in the hospital recovering and fighting off nurses who thought my firstborn should be fed on their schedule instead of his and finally we were able to come home. All of us. Yeah, I had a negative opinion of hospitals before my boys were born… It’s no better now. But the fact is you cant hold it against the staff. They are just doing what they are trained to do… like in any factory… all I know is that my babies… aren’t cut from some mold… they’re individuals. Yeah… im still bitter…but ill be ok.
On father’s day my husband arrived in the US. Just after the babies turned one month and we have spent the past three months figuring out what this second year of our marriage might bring. It has been a crazy year but I’m ready for what’s next. You can never prepare yourself for what life has in store just like you can’t know what your birth story will be until it is over. What you can do is reach in to yourself to find your inner strength, reach out to others and learn from their stories and reach up to the one who gave you life trusting that the way which is true, pure and natural will lead you to victory.