Birth story - Megan and babies Mabel and Martha
It’s taken me a while to get round to writing this with a toddler and newborn twins at home! The positive birth course was the best thing I did towards achieving the birth I wanted for my twins, and I’m so glad I did it. I recommend it to everyone now! I’d had a very medicalised induction and forceps delivery in theatre with my first daughter so was keen to avoid the same second time round, even more so when we found out we were having twins as there is a tendency for lots of intervention ‘just in case’ with twin births.
The consultants were keen for me to have an epidural and deliver in theatre as a precaution. Luckily I met a fantastic consultant midwife who told me all that was not needed unless medically necessary, and urged me to push for the natural birth I wanted. She helped me write a very detailed birth plan and gave me the medical back up to keep interventions to a minimum. A friend told me she had over 20 medical staff in the room when she delivered her twins and I definitely didn’t want that.
I downloaded the PBC course at 30 weeks when I started maternity leave as I knew, with a toddler at home, it was the only time I’d have to be able to properly concentrate on it! I generally listened to the videos like podcasts while I was pottering around the house. I’d tried a few hypnobirthing tracks previously but couldn’t really get into the ‘visualising myself on a beach in the sunshine’ type mindset. I have a science background, so the ‘science lesson’ part of the course definitely resonated with me the most. It makes perfect sense the conditions we need to create to birth naturally, and really helped understanding exactly what my body needed to do at each stage.
I knew early on that with our type of twins, identical, and sharing a placenta, its standard NICE guidance to induce at 36 weeks and I was happy to go with this as there is much research highlighting the increased risks of later labour. Additionally, in the last few weeks of pregnancy, growth of both twins started to tail off suggesting the placenta was starting to deteriorate.
I was admitted to the induction unit on the 29th, and an examination showed I was already 3cm dilated, so I didn’t need a pessary and could be admitted to labour ward as soon as space was available to have my waters broken. It was the following day before a bed was available and I was moved to labour ward. My midwife here read my birth plan detailing my wishes to use hypnobirthing and have as little intervention as medically necessary, and she was totally on board, they immediately turned the lights low and promised they’d keep the consultants and potential ‘spectators’ outside the room!
My waters were broken at 11am, and they allowed two hours for surges to start. Nothing happened so then I was started on the syntocinon drip which was steadily increased from lunchtime until around 6pm when I started to notice surges. I used up breathing to manage the surges and it worked really well for the first hour and a half. I was definitely breathing harder but it was still working! Around half past 7 I took some paracetamol, but then my surges suddenly ramped up rapidly and I asked for gas and air to take the edge off. Shortly afterwards I had a really strong surge and I clearly remember saying the classic ‘I can’t do this any more’!. In the back of my mind I had a ‘rational voice’ telling me I must be in transition and it wouldn’t be long now.
Time seemed to speed up as it felt like the very next surge my body changed completely, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the urge to push, and I could hear myself uncontrollably mooing. Again that voice in the back of my head was telling me ‘this is it, you’re ready to go’ and the midwife obviously recognised it too as I could suddenly hear them rushing around opening birth packs and I heard her say I think we’ve got a baby on the way!! I had spent the whole labour to this point standing or on the birthing ball and remember her saying she had delivered singletons standing before, but not twins and it might be easier if I could get onto the bed!
I tried to get on my knees leaning over the back of the bed, but it was too uncomfortable so I ended up on my back half lying half sitting, but for me it was the best position at the time. Time just seemed to fly from this point on, there was no time for another examination, and before I knew it the first baby was crowning and then lifted onto my belly. A doctor arrived to give me a scan to check the position of twin 2 and then I started pushing for twin 2. Each baby was born in what seemed like only minutes and a few pushes. The most painful bit for me was the crowning, but I managed it with just gas and air. I completely forgot about down breathing at this point, my body just seemed to do its own thing.
It was 19 minutes before twin 2 arrived, but it could have been 30 seconds for all I knew. I remember thinking briefly after twin 1’s birth ‘this is so unfair I’ve got twins, everyone else gets a rest now and I’ve got to do it all again!!’ Twin 2 was back to back so took a bit more effort to push out. I remember seeing her head come out of me, and her little eyes looking up at us all before her shoulders were born, I could reach down and stroke her face, it was incredible. Twin 1 was laid on my belly until I handed her over to my partner just before twin 2 popped out. I got immediate skin to skin with both and each latched on shortly after. My partner got to cut both cords and also had skin to skin with each twin while I had the other. In the end we had just two midwives in the room, and a doctor briefly, and it was all very calm and peaceful throughout.
I had a slight tear and 4 stitches but otherwise it all went very smoothly and with no complications or interventions. The girls didn’t need any special care and we were able to all stay together on the ward to recover. Afterwards loads of staff were coming up to me to congratulate me on such a smooth and easy twin birth, it was lovely! I am so so happy I got the birth I hoped for with the twins, and it is definitely down to doing the PBC. It gave me that understanding of what my body was doing, and the confidence to ask the medical staff to do things in the way I wanted. Thank you Siobhan!!!
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