Birth is always on my mind.
I saw the photos from my own birth when I was five or six. They were in this old album, stuck to the pages, that presented this story about how strong this seventeen-year-old girl was to push out this six pound and seven-ounce baby. She had a unmedicated birth and a look of fierce determination on her face.
I’ve been reading books on midwifery and birth since I was fifteen. I have my collection of Mothering magazines dated back to the 80s. I read the newest research on labor, delivery, postpartum whenever I can get my hands on it. I knew pregnancy could be challenging, but a healthy baby and birth were my goals. While people grew up planning their weddings, I grew up planning my birth. We choose our house based on if it would be a good place to give birth.
We don’t have our home anymore and my birth plans have changed due to having two babies.
My dreams of a home birth, especially in our new state, have changed to being able to have the absolute best hospital birth that we can achieve. There are certain risks that come with twin births – though low risks with di/di twins – but with it being my first time giving birth, I worry. Also, with this states’ law, it would seem that no homebirth midwife would accept me as a patient. Even the ones who have hospital privileges. It was very discouraging to arrive here and receiving some very abrupt responses from those midwives (a simple, “no, we are unable to provide care to twin births” would have sufficed rather than an “of course we don’t, why would you ask that?”).
So, we found the next best option. We found a midwife group in a hospital setting that have low cesarean section rates for twins and who sets the goal for a vaginal delivery.
We are making a lot of compromises having a hospital birth but I am trying to focus on what we gain. Even though with a twin delivery, we have to birth in the O.R. in case of an emergency, we get to labor in labor and delivery. I get to move around, be in whatever position that I want to be in, and really get to try to utilize techniques that I know will help. If something does go wrong – we will have an entire team right there to take care of everything. The midwife will always be there, even assisting in case of an emergency c-section, the ob will be there, and there will be a team for each baby.
A vaginal delivery is my ultimate goal for both babies. To have this, Baby A has to be head down and in the correct position, but its very possible to have a vaginal delivery. I plan to create a great birth/labor team to help support me and we are planning to take a hypnobirthing class in hope that it gives me the tools to cope with labor and birth. I’m trying to start to do yoga and look into spinning babies and really trying to arm myself with every tool and resource that I can have to help facilitate their coming hearthside into this world.
But I am also spending equally as much time mediating (often in the bathtub, because pregnancy is uncomfortable as hell) and being at peace with whatever birth will bring them here safely.
In doula training, we did this exercise where we laid out our perfect birth. Then we introduced certain situations and we had to pare down the twenty or so things we wanted to the main five. I thought a lot about that exercise when trying to come to terms that my birth will look different than I had always imagined. I might need a c-section. I might need to have them a bit earlier than expected. What were my goals?
When we went in to meet our midwife, I had those goals with me.
I want to try to keep them in as long as possible so that we can avoid the NICU if possible.
It’s important that we have skin to skin immediately after birth – I was reassured that this hospital practices gentle, family-centered c-sections where they have clear sheeting where you can see the birth, super low lighting, they’ll play our personal playlist, and they have me wear a tube top kind of thing where they will slide baby into immediately after they are born. They’ll do the same with my wife. That immediately made me feel better.
Breastfeeding twins are challenging, even more so with PCOS. I want to have my best chance at being able to be successful at providing them breastmilk. So, being able to have that “golden hour” after birth is important to me. They try to establish breastfeeding after everyone is stable and they really encourage family bonding.
I do have a very real worry about the healing of a c-section and the small amount of time that my wife has off but I feel like we can work things out with a postpartum doula to help in that situation.
I realized that as much as I want a specific birth – the immediate postpartum is what matters the most to me. Their health, their bonding with me, the establish breastfeeding, and them being with us was important.
So, we will find our doula, finish paying off our photographer, take our hypnobirthing classes, and pray for the absolute best outcome.