Thursday, October 8th: my husband and I had our first and only (voluntary) ultrasound scheduled for 3pm at a local place and had a nice dinner date planned for afterwards as a last outing before Silas arrived. I typically don't get many ultrasounds in pregnancy, usually just the anatomy scan (I have a highlight on that) but this one I hadn't had any due to the current climate of the pandemic and just not wanting to deal with a hospital. Throughout this pregnancy I measured a few weeks ahead which was consistent with previous pregnancies.
Over the last few weeks, however, as I got bigger and more uncomfortable, we decided together that IF there were 2 babies in there (we assumed the likelihood was low since we never heard 2 heartbeats the whole pregnancy and I never really felt more kicks than previous pregnancies), that it would be nice to know before delivery. So off we went to the ultrasound. Baby was head down & had “a lot of hair” according to the sonographer. We heard a strong heartbeat, and only one baby was seen. In hindsight, I truly believe this was the Lord’s provision and grace. If I had found out there were two babies that I would be birthing with such short notice, I probably would have been fearful of labor starting and possibly even delayed progression. Being able to labor without that mental roadblock was for sure a real life example that "His mercies are new every morning".
Friday, October 9th (due date): I had my 40 week home visit scheduled with my midwives at 10am. I was having pretty consistent & strong signs of early labor that morning & when the midwives arrived I was leaning over the exercise ball in the living room trying to relieve some of the discomfort. Baby’s heartbeat was strong & I was measuring 43 weeks. I had her do my first cervical check of the pregnancy just to see where I was - I was dilated to a 3 & baby’s head was down. Throughout the appointment my contractions continued at a pretty consistent rhythm– they weren’t painful but definitely noticeable. My midwives left & told me to call if things progressed. They had another home visit scheduled that morning 2 hours away. At 11:30am I got a text saying they decided to stick closer to our home & had gone only about 30 minutes away to do some work in case I called. Around 11:45am I texted them to let them know the contractions remained consistent & that so far they were just in my back. She asked me to time 3 of them – how far apart & how long they were lasting. Once I texted back that they were 3 minutes apart & lasting about 45 seconds each they said they would head back soon. During this time I walked up & down our long driveway mentally preparing that it could very likely be the day. They arrived to our home around 1:30pm & did initial assessments. At this point I was dilated to a 4 & baby’s head was still down. I continued to labor pretty much on my own during this early phase, listening to my birth playlist, walking outside, checking in with the midwives periodically, rubbing clary sage oil on my belly every so often to keep contractions going, & hanging my birth scripture and affirmation cards up around our room. Around 5:30pm I was due for another vital assessment & doppler check. I requested a cervical check as well & was pleased to hear I had dilated to a 7. All my (literal) labor was not in vain! For many pregnant mamas, questioning if she’s actually in labor is very much a mind game. You don’t want to get your hopes up that you are & you don’t want to waste anyone’s time. I was prepared to head into transition soon. Or so I thought…
I had my husband go ahead and blow the birth tub up and get the bed set up with extra sheets and mattress protectors. My ultimate desire was a water birth, but we wanted to be prepared for whatever the Lord had in store for this birth. (HA). We filled the tub up with as much hot water as our water heater would give us and I very happily climbed into the tub around 7pm for the first time. The water was SUCH a welcome change and relief. Up until now I was having back labor, but sometime around this point my contractions switched to mainly being in the front. (they would go on like this and then switch again to my back right at the end. Something I didn’t understand then, but obviously do now – 2 babies, 2 positions!) Over the next 3 hours, I labored in varying places and positions, but the transition phase never came. Around 10:15pm my midwife could see I was becoming a bit discouraged with the lack of progress (I’d had another cervical check around 10 and was still a 7). She suggested I lay down and try to nap in between contractions. Noah and I laid down and I actually was able to get a bit of welcomed rest. It was apparently just what my body needed because around midnight I woke to 3 of the most intense contractions so far. I went out to the living room to let my midwives know that if they continued that it likely wouldn’t be long. In hindsight I think because of how different and intense those were, it was possibly one (or both) of the babies flipping.
Saturday, October 10: around 12:30am I was vocalizing through some intense transition contractions on the birth stool when I reached down to feel something bulging. I asked my midwife if that was the head and she said it was my bag of waters. Soon after it was as if someone was blowing up a balloon from inside my body. It was the craziest sensation as my amniotic sac expanded outside of my body. I wish I would have thought to look down but I was too worried about it exploding on everyone. 😅 Thankfully my midwife had prepared for that and there were plenty of tarps down when it inevitably ruptured. Now things kicked into high gear..
1 am – I get back in the tub after a refresh on hot water and my contractions switch to my back yet again. I vividly remember this phase right before pushing. My husband stood beside me providing counter pressure through each contraction, my birth playlist filled the room, and my midwife calmly began to speak the affirmation and verse cards over me. It was so peaceful. Thinking about it makes me tear up because it was everything I wanted for this birth. Compared to my previous natural hospital births, I felt empowered, trusted, and able rather than bullied, incapable, and questioned every step of the way.
Around 1:12am I felt the urge to push and let my midwife know. She calmy said okay as I switched positions in the tub with what seemed like each contraction. After 8 minutes of pushing, at 1:20am, Silas Paul came out (bottom first) crying and perfect. The relief after birthing your baby is unlike anything else. I hear my husband saying, “you did it! Good job!”, and all I can do is sob with joy and relief. I did it. I brought my baby into the world – he was safe in my arms. My midwife told me he came breech and that I did an amazing job. I turned to lean against the back of the tub as surges of contractions continued. Looking back at the pictures and the little video my husband took, my belly was clearly not just still holding a placenta, and the way I was contracting based off my facial expressions was not just afterbirth contractions. In the moment, none of this occurred to me. I was riding the post birth high. At 1:26am I gave a push with another contraction, following my body’s cues. With that effort, I looked down as another screaming baby with a head full of jet-black hair was brought up to my chest and placed right next to Silas. I heard my midwife say, “we have a hidden twin. A boy - breech”....
I was in shock – how does one even process that?! The next few minutes were a haze of confusion for me. I kept looking up at my husband like, “what just happened?!” I later asked my midwife when she knew another baby was coming. She said based off my facial expressions & body cues while contracting after Silas that she suspected then that it wasn't a placenta.
After the cords stopped pulsing & were cut, they moved me & the babies to the bed while we waited for the placenta to come. My midwife checked my belly and my placenta felt so hard & large that I heard her ask her assistant for the doppler. I looked up at Noah who had the same face of complete terror that I'm sure I did as we thought about the possibility of triplets. That was the longest 20 seconds of my life while she checked for heart tones. I was able to birth the 2 placentas (that totaled nearly 3 lb.) while the boys nursed. In total I lost close to 20 lbs. of baby, placenta, & fluid. I soon became pale & cyanotic around my lips & was administered some oxygen. I also had a small piece of retained amniotic membrane that my midwife had to remove (if left in she said my body would continue to attempt to flush it out meaning I would hemorrhage), but thankfully no tearing. They worked on me in the bed for about an hour. My husband was out in the living room during all of this with the twins & said he was just praying for my safety. Once I pinked up they got me up to the bathroom but I became extremely dizzy. They lowered me onto a pad on the floor & the next thing I remember is eating a plate of lasagna, completely naked in front of my whole birth team on the floor of my bathroom, but I was feeling much better after that. Nothing like birth to humble ya, amirite?!
I’m so thankful to my incredible team of skilled midwives. To my husband, my rock, who was by my side the whole time. And most of all for the Lord’s sovereignty, protection, & goodness through the process of carrying these boys. So many details where His handiwork is evident. I know God has something big in store for these two boys and I cannot wait for Him to receive the glory from their story.
Silas Paul 7 lb 8 oz, 20.5" long & Gideon Samuel (dark hair) 7lb 12 oz, 21" long
Surprise twins - born at home on October 10th at 1:20 & 1:26 am respectively. Both boys were born in the frank breech (bottom first) position (Gideon must have somehow been tucked behind Silas) and we are so thankful to the Lord for bringing them safely to us. Even though we didn't know about the presence of 2 babies growing in my womb over the last 9 months or their position at birth, the Author and Perfecter of Life did and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for these two brothers.