Saturday, November 12, 2011

Weston and Isaac's Birth Story (Part 1: Labor)

After many months of preparing and learning (using mainly the Bradley Method), we were able to achieve the natural, unmediated childbirth that we had hoped for. We had a beautiful, peaceful labor and a delivery that can only be described as "dramatic" but one which God's hand of protection was completely involved in every step of the way. We also have to thank our incredible team of nurse-midwifes who took such wonderful care of us during the pregnancy and allowed us to let the twins come when they were ready (which happened to be 6 days past their estimated due date) and encouraged us to still go for a natural birth, even though Isaac was breech until around 38 weeks (when he turned on his own). Truly, I can not say enough positive things about midwife care - personal, encouraging, sensitive, relaxed and fun. I've honestly missed those ladies since we've had the twins - something I would never say about any other health care provider I've ever had. 

Now, without further ado, here is part one of Weston and Isaac's birth story: 

Friday night October 14th, after trying for ten straight days to induce labor naturally at home, I was pretty desperate. Desperate enough to make this video, and crazy enough to actually post my shenanigans on the Internet. Pregnancy does strange things to people. 

Saturday morning around 10:00 a.m. I started having mild, but consistent Braxton Hicks contractions, about 30 minutes apart. By that afternoon, I was having stronger, but still mild, contractions about 10 minutes apart. Devin was ready to rush to the hospital, but I wanted to wait. I didn't feel they were strong enough yet. Around 9:00 p.m. we called our midwife and doula to let them know what was going on and decided to try and get some rest as we assumed we'd be heading to the hospital later that night. 

Well. After timing contractions all night long, we were no better rested and no further along in labor. By 1:00 p.m. on Sunday I was very discouraged and very tired. I called the midwife on-call (Diane) to give her an update and beg her for some tips to get labor going stronger. Her recommendation was to "Stop timing contractions for heaven sakes and relax! Ignore the contractions until you can't anymore." She also may have prescribed "sex and a shot of whiskey"... which we may or may not have tried... 

Afterwards... I was able to sleep for a couple of hours and woke up to much stronger contractions about five-to-ten minutes apart. This is when I would say my labor actually started in earnest. I had to move around to manage the contractions - I sat on a yoga ball, did a lot of swaying and dipped into plié squats. As the contractions increased in intensity, I found it most comfortable to lean forward against the wall or door jam, do some pliés and have Devin press against my lower back. We turned the lights down, lit some candles and listened to praise and worship music. So while the contractions were intense, I was very peaceful and relaxed laboring at home. Devin was such an amazing coach - softly speaking words of encouragement to me during contractions and making sure I drank plenty of water and ate a little something in-between contractions. He was my hero the whole night. 

In labor and ready to go to the hospital
Around 6:30 p.m. we had our doula, Jacqueline, come over and I labored a little in bed with Devin rubbing my back and Jacqueline rubbing my legs/feet. Around 8:00 p.m. contractions were still very strong and about four minutes apart. I decided it was time to go to the hospital because I didn't think I could handle more than four or five of these contractions in the car (it was about a fifteen minute drive). 

When we got to the hospital, I had to concentrate very hard on my labor and try to drown out anything else that was going on around me in the waiting room. I hate hospitals and the last thing I wanted was to get distracted or stressed and slow down my labor. Finally, I got checked-in and Diane was right there to meet us in triage. She checked my progress and was delighted to announce that I was already at 6cm and 90% effaced. I was so excited that I'd progressed that much on my own at home in such a relaxed atmosphere. 

Laboring in the tub - so grateful that our midwives
pushed for the hospital to get one of these 
We moved into the labor room and because I wasn't hooked up to an IV, epidual or any monitors, I was able to sit in a labor tub which was beyond amazing. I'm not even kidding when I say being in that warm water cut the pain in half. It also made it easier for me to move around and maintain a low squat while relaxing on the side of the tub. We had the lights low, the room quite and worship music on softly. Devin was constantly by my side offering love and encouragement and pressing my back through each contraction. Jacqueline was there to assist Devin and she quoted uplifting scripture verses often. Diane sat back and let me run things, only checking the babies' heart rates every-once-in-a-while, but otherwise staying hands-off an allowing Devin and I (with Jacqueline's assistance) to do what we needed to do. Diane kept the "hospital feel" of the labor down to a bare minimum and I was so grateful. While it was certainly difficult physically, I felt at peace and was in complete control of my labor.

I started transition around 2:00 a.m. (maybe??) and the contractions were very intense and one right on top on another. If I wasn't in the tub, I was shaking like crazy and in horrible discomfort. It was incredibly hard, but I knew transition meant it would be time to push soon and meet my babies. I was so focused on the labor that I had to come out of a comma-like haze anytime someone asked me a question or gave me something to drink.

Then, I'm not sure what happened (neither were our doula or midwife), I just seemed to stall. I was still in transition with horribly intense, constant contractions, but I just stayed in that phase for hours. I think maybe my body was just worn-out because even though contractions were only minutes apart, I was falling asleep in-between them. It was an exhausting few hours, but I knew my body was doing what it needed to do and I was thankful to have a birth team that wasn't rushing me or telling me I had "failure to progress." 

Sometime between 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. I started trying to push while in the tub. Then I moved to the bed and pushed a few times on my hands and knees and then used the squat bar. It was so helpful to be able to move around like I needed to. It helped me feel calm and in-control, which helped me to be able to manage the labor better. 

By 6:30 a.m. Diane announced it was time to move into delivery. Unfortunately, with twins, the hospital policies forced us to delivery in the O.R. "just in case". As they wheeled me into the O.R. I had to fight really hard to stay focused and calm - the peaceful atmosphere of the labor room was replaced by movement, bright lights and lots of people I'd never seen before. Just as we reached the O.R. our other midwife Belinda joined us. She had been in Las Vegas all weekend and had joked with me that she and I had a "date" on Monday to deliver my babies. Sure enough, she had stayed abreast of our labor via texts from Diane and had made it back in time to catch our little ones. Which ended up being such an answer to prayer because while Diane's calming, hands-off presence gave us a beautiful labor, we were going to need Belinda's spunk and determination to get us through what was waiting for us in the O.R. 

Up Next: "Part Two: Delivery"


  1. I loved your YouTube video, saw it last week! "Part Two: Delivery" link isn't working... I'm anxious to read the rest of your story :-)

  2. Beautiful post! Beautiful and fun video! I loved your Part 1 and am anxiously awaiting part 2.

    I am a birth and postpartum doula, a massage therapist and an infant massage educator and everyone I know has recommended and facebook "liked and shared" your video. Hope you share some pics of the boys too!

    Many congratulations to you and your family.

  3. I enjoyed reading your twins' birth story on the Valley Women for Women Midwives' Blog and just wanted to ask if you ever found out who the surgery-happy doctor was? It wasn't a Valley Women for Women OB was it? Hopefully it was just someone random because it would be so disappointing to find out one of the OBs at Valley Women for Women acted that way. I am planning on using the midwives anyhow, but I like to think the OBs there are pretty spectacular too.

    1. Thanks Anna for your comment! Sadly, the doctor was one of VWFW doctors. HOWEVER I just discovered that she is no longer with the practice (happily) . And you will LOVE the midwives! Tell Belinda and Diane I said hello. :-)

  4. I wouldn't recommend this I played basketball to try to induce labor and the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck so many times her face was black as coal when she was delivered by emergency csection


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