Due Dates, Midwives and Old Wives Tales
Twins always arrive early. Right?
That's An Old Wive's Tale.
I look at my striated belly with the doughy soft puckers that have never flattened back into that gentle swell that used to be my belly.
If my twins had been early, I would not have this. At 36 weeks, my belly was a gigantic, unblemished orb. I had 1 or 2 stripes at 37 weeks.
Ar 39 weeks, my midwife and I were laughing at the incredible, angry red vortex radiating from my bellybutton. The stripes were something out of a science fiction story. Like a chick pecking the egg from the inside, it looked like my stomach was getting ready to rip open.
At 40 weeks, I wasn't laughing anymore.
Actually, I wasn't doing much of anything at all! Eating, cat-napping, going to the bathroom, and having sex and getting massaged, in a futile attempt to bring on labor.
For two weeks I tried every over-the-counter remedy and Old Wive's Tale I could find: Spicy Lamb, Evening Primrose Oil, Caulophylum, spicy food, massaging pressure points, squatting, visualization, Raspberry Leaf tinctures and teas. I read about castor oil and shuddered.
I was sure of my dates. My first baby had been born 11 days late and women seem to have "a style."
On the eve of the deadline, the last day my midwife was comfortable having the twins be born at home, I called a Resonance Repatterning Practitioner I worked with during my pregnancy who had helped me overcome my fears of being pregnant with twins; of being the mother of twins; of having a homebirth; and of having a vaginal birth after a c-section (VBAC).
She muscle-checked what I was resonating with. She said, "Hmm. Interesting!
"You and one of the twins resonates with the word 'Stop.'"
She muscle checked what I needed to do, had me do some breathing patterns, some eye movements, and checked the resonance again. The baby and I no longer resonated with "Stop." To be honest this time, I didn't feel much different, but I did feel relieved to have some kind of reason for the extended pregnancy.
The highest risk for twins is preterm labor.
I am not really sure why. For me, pregnancy with twins was scary and stressful, but I was healthy and eating well. Pregnancy was also enjoyable and exhilerating. And, PTSD from my first birth gave me an irrational fear of going to the hospital. I was not going there until I absolutely had to. Resonance Repatterning sessions had eased those fears, but I still had some other business to take care of.
I was fully supported medically at home. I was fully supported by my family. I could do everything needed to keep holding a pregnancy. 36 weeks came and went. 40 weeks came and went.
At 42 weeks, pregnancy has a different set of risks. These were ones I was well familiar with, from the first go around. Insufficient amniotic fluid, meconium, meconium aspiration, and cord wrap.
I had to face my fears of a vaginal birth.
I am tall and muscular. I have a frame that can carry a lot. Even so, I looked and felt hugely pregnant. With my first, I was sure I could birth vaginally, but placed in the pressure cooker of a busy hospital birthing suite, I felt self-conscious, unsupported, and scared.
I was in pain throughout my natural labor and my midwife was busy with appointments and other births. She wasn't with me. My dedicated labor nurse was bustling between laboring mothers. I was fortunate I had a room. I heard other mothers were laboring in triage, waiting for a room.
My attention naturally turned inward to my baby but was constantly being pulled out by the demands of a busy corporation asking for my insurance information, insisting I wear a fetal monitor, checking my baby, checking my dilation, and writing copious notes to cover their end in case of a lawsuit. All in the name of safety...and it made me anxious.
Long story short
I was put on a deadline to give birth. I didn't make it and the result was an unwanted and traumatic C-Section. It led to a deep postpartum depression that affected me, my husband and our baby. It also gave birth to fears of hospitals, doctors and giving birth.
Back to 42 weeks pregnant with twins, wanting a VBAC homebirth.
That morning, I made an appointment for acupuncture to stimulate labor. My midwife came to check on me and the babies.. The babies were head down, with strong heartbeats, and active. I felt rested, restless, huge, and ready to give birth.
15 minutes after she left, the first wave hit me. Then another, and another. Contractions came one on top of the other. My husband held me through them. After a number of them, we realized we should probably call the midwife.
Our midwife was pleasantly surprised!
She asked, "How far apart are the contractions?" and my husband replied, "I don't know, they've been coming so fast, I haven't had a chance to time them! How long will it take you to come back?"
She reassured us, "I'll come straight back and have my husband bring my kit as soon as he can." 40 minutes later, she was back. Her kit arrived shortly after.
The rest of the day is a blur of fragmented memories.
The pain was intense and I kept running from it. My midwife and my husband kept bringing me back into focus. By dinnertime, I was allowing the pushing contractions to do their work, and working with them.
One was born at 6:35, and the second slid out, en caul, at 7:05.
We did it! VBAC twins at home!
The two babies were beautiful--so plump and healthy. So awake! But, they looked very different in terms of gestation. The first was 7'10" -- plump, fresh and covered in vernix. The second was 6'0" -- smaller and leaner and had very little vernix. The second twin's skin was wrinkled and peeling.
It will always be a mystery which twin wanted things to 'Stop.'
Did the first want things to stop because they weren't ready? Did the second want things to stop because they were still so small?
The family tale is that the second twin kicked the first out because they wanted to stretch, and they were ready be born. After birth, the first cried inconsolably until the second came out. Maybe the first cried because they weren't ready to be born? Or maybe the first missed being nestled into the other, and thought they were now alone forever?
I don't know, but they are very close, still good friends and they still have that same dynamic of pushing and pulling each other.
I have never forgotten the way the repatterning worked. I learned the Resonance Repatterning system and use it regularly in my work with parents, and in my own life.