The Birth of Jaiden and Jarom

  • Warning: This post will contain pictures that are somewhat graphic. If that makes you uncomfortable I suggest you skip this one. And on that note here is a shout out to Salt City Birth Photography for the great photos. Rowan was amazing. I didn’t even notice her taking pictures and she got so many great ones. It was hard to choose which to include in this post. https://saltcitybirth.com/

A recliner isn’t a horrible place to sleep. But after several weeks of sitting propped up with pillows in an effort to feel reclined without actually reclining for half the night and then in a desperate attempt to snag some sleep before the sun fully rises moving to the bed to try to sleep in my nest of pillows only to find that, an even more uncomfortable option I was done and desperate for some relief.

The last four nights I spent a good portion of the night trying to decide if I should call my midwife. Every time I would lay down surges would start. They would get harder and harder until I could no longer deal with them in that position and I would wriggle and worm my way to the edge of the bed and then using one hand to push my belly ahead of me and the other to catch it on its way over I would use my legs to attempt to propel myself over the edge of the bed. If that didn’t cause round ligament spasms or painful abdominal strain, it usually resulted in getting me off the bed. Upon getting to my feet I would give my body a chance to adjust to the weight that settled down in my middle and onto my hips, give my bladder a chance to register the fact that a mere teaspoon was inside and causing a desperate urge for a potty break and I would make my way to the bathroom waddling across the darkened room all the while feeling deeply envious of Joseph’s deep breathing as he peacefully slept away the hours nestled in his burrito blankets and soft pillow.

As the sun rose Tuesday morning March 19th I knew I couldn’t keep this up much longer. I gave my pelvis a break by pushing my arms down on the sink and letting my belly hang. I looked at my tired face in the mirror and thought “just one more day Vilate, just do one more day” I knew the only way this was going to be possible was if I spent the day finding and enjoying things that eased the pain I was feeling. The first thing on the agenda was a bath in Mother’s jacuzzi tub. I felt an exhaustion I hadn’t before, for the first time I felt like I didn’t really care anymore how this birth turned out. I just wanted it done.

I tried to talk myself through it, reminding myself of everything we had invested into being able to have a healthy home birth. I reminded myself of all the reasons I had made this choice, I wondered if I would feel as though I had given up, None of it mattered. I had truly reached the capacity of all that I had to give.

Later sitting in Mother’s tub I talked it through with my sister who had also given birth to twins, I weighed all my options, talked it out with my mom and several others, thought through my motivations and reasons for doing what I was doing and finally came to the conclusion that I was ready to go to the hospital and get this done. I was happy to say that I didn’t feel fearful about the decision. I felt what I had felt from the beginning of this pregnancy which was a deep and sure feeling that all would be well but that it was time to take some action.

I called the OB. Dr. Burgett couldn’t get us in until thursday, That meant an induction on Friday at the earliest. That wasn’t an option. Joseph came to pick me up and I told him we are already half way to the hospital lets just go. I bet if we show up to labor and delivery at this point they would just start us. We started driving and I realized I didn’t have any ID with me. We drove home to get the ID and decided to let Johannah have a nap, pack a bag, find a baby sitter and go prepared to stay.

In the mean time my midwife Richelle called. “Do you want me to come try a natural induction?” she asked. I almost said no. I had worked through the emotions of settling for a hospital birth and was going into it so tired I just wanted all the help (and pain relief) that a hospital had to offer. I didn’t feel strong, motivated, or empowered. I almost said no but I thought about all that she had put into making this home birth successful as well and decided that we all deserved one last effort.

She suggested that I do one last emotion code session while I was waiting for her to get here. I called Dani and we did the session. If you aren’t familiar with the emotion code I wont bother trying to explain it because I won’t do it justice. If you are, I will say that the practitioner, Dani found that because of severe morning sickness early on in the pregnancy the physical (energetic) tie between me and the babies had broken and that messages that my body and their bodies were ready for labor were not connecting. She reconnected us and released several energies that were stopping things from progressing. I left the session feeling fresh and excited to try the induction even though I was not very convinced it would work.

Richelle arrived around 2 and we got started, things were crawling a long and if nothing else I was occupied and resting, as well as actively doing something to bring an end to this pregnancy so I was happy.

At around 7 pm the Relief Society president in my ward messaged to check on me (can you say inspiration) she offered to take the kids for a while. She came and got them just as Richelle and I were trying a procedure that required me to lay down for 30 min. Every time I had lain down in the last 4 days I had hard surges so it was a great time to have the kids gone. By the time the 30 min. was over I was having surges hard enough I found myself making birthing noises to get through them. About this time the kids were just arriving home and I called my mom to tell her that things might be moving along but that I didn’t know, and she could come if she wanted.

As soon as my 30 minutes were up and I got up the contractions stopped and labor felt miles away. It was around 9pm when my mom got there. I felt silly for having called her because nothing was happening. She and my sister got my kids put to bed and Joseph arrived home to help Richelle get the tub set up. We wondered if it was premature but set it up anyway. I didn’t want to suddenly go into labor and need it and not have it.

Around 10 it was set up and filled and I was having pretty regular surges. I hadn’t bothered to time them but they were coming more frequently and a little harder although not yet uncomfortable. I got in the tub and breathed a sigh of relief at how good it felt. That lasted about 2 minutes because the next surge came and hit hard. It reminded me what labor feels like and I felt my first twinge of fear.

“I’m scared,” I told Richelle. Thats what has to happen to get labor started my mom reminded me. “This is what you’ve been wanting.” I imagined myself being grateful for the pain but it was a bit of a stretch. One more surge and I needed a potty break. By the time I finished in the bathroom I was pretty sure this was it. I messaged the birth photographer and told her I thought she could come now. It was 10:20 and Richelle sent her other midwives a text saying “I might need you tonight. I will let you know.”

When I came back from the bathroom I didn’t want to get in the tub just yet. I wanted to stand and move as long as possible. I did one or two more surges standing at the side of the tub, swaying my hips and breathing deeply. Then it became too hard to stand and I got down on my knees and leaned on the side of the tub now making low moaning sounds as I tried to think and breathe my body low and open. _DSC1064

10:40 Richelle sent another message telling the midwives to come now. It was becoming harder and harder to stay low. Joseph and Mother started hip pressure. I could hear the sounds of labor progressing in my voice. I began to dread each coming wave. As the pressure began to mount and the tightening increased I would take a deep expanding breathe while repeating over and over in my mind “I can do all things through Christ…,” at the crest of the contraction I lost myself a little in the intensity of it and just made tiny low moaning sounds as I tried to keep from losing focus. Then as the contraction would ease off I would think “Who strengthens me.” Then I would take a minute to regroup and tell myself “that was one down, this wont take very long and I will be done! My babies will be here and I will have accomplished this just as I had dreamed of.”

When I could no longer focus enough to do that, I told Richelle I was scared, and I needed a break. I was starting to feel like I couldn’t do this. She walked me through visualizing breathing in white light and breathing out blue pain. If nothing else it was something new to focus on, it was something to think about and try. It was something to get me through a few more waves.

Sooner even than I had imagined, and almost before I was ready for it I started feeling my body bearing down and pushing, I could feel everything opening, I remembered Richelle telling me that doing “horse lips” would slow things down and keep me from tearing. “Its coming,” I said and then started doing my best to do horse lips. It was harder than I thought because my body insisted on pushing and I couldn’t push and do horse lips at the same time so it came out in little short puffs that sounded more like I was spitting watermelon seeds.

I widened the space between my knees and fought the urge to freeze up and just scream. I knew i wanted to catch my baby so i made myself reach down and cup the round bulge emerging from my body. As I marveled at holding my babies head in my hands it burst sending water cascading through my fingers and down onto my thighs. The bag of waters had just burst and soon after the real head started to emerge. _DSC1090I held it in my hands and continued to try to slow down the urge to push.  As the shoulders came out quickly followed by the rest of the body I caught the baby in my arms and the midwife reached around me to unwrap the cord from his neck before I pulled him up to my chest. I couldn’t believe that I had caught my own baby! What a dream come true for me.  Jaiden was born at 11:02_DSC1097

 

At that point I wanted to lay back and enjoy my baby. I wanted Joseph with me. He got behind me and supported me as I laid back but just then the second baby started to make his appearance. _DSC1148-2Two little feet came first and I reached down in time to feel a skinny little leg. I held it in my hand for just a moment before things got a bit more intense. At that point the midwife had to step in and do a little maneuvering in order to get the second baby out. My position on my back on the floor wasn’t ideal for delivering a breach baby. I simply got through it by telling myself this is it, we are almost done. Joseph was reassuring me and doing his best to comfort me. There was a good amount of screaming and then just four minutes after his brother was born baby Jarom made his appearance.

 

Things get a little hazy in my memory after that. I recall watching the midwife perform mouth to mouth on Jarom but I never worried. I knew she would get him breathing and he would do great. I nursed Jaiden, and Joseph did skin to skin with them while I delivered the placenta and moved to rest on the couch.

The last I remember was feeling more tired than I ever have in my life and then I guess I went to sleep because when I woke up, the room was dark, everyone had gone home and the babies were upstairs sleeping with Joseph. The sun was just coming up and I felt great! I couldn’t believe the incredible birth I had just experienced, as I replayed it over again in my mind I couldn’t think of one thing I would change. _DSC1504-2_DSC1514_DSC1539-2_DSC1671

Jaiden was 6 lbs 13 oz and 20 3/4 inches long.

Jarom was 6 lbs 12 oz and 20 1/2 inches long.

They appear to be identical.

I don’t know if I will ever have another baby but I feel so great knowing that everything I experienced and learned through each of my births brought me to a place where I could experience such a powerful, peaceful, natural home birth of twins.

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My Perfect Birth (Preston’s Birth Story)

The last picture that I took before Preston was born. This is with my niece Aliyah on her birthday. We had hoped that Preston would be a birthday present for her.

The last picture that I took before Preston was born. This is with my niece Aliyah on her birthday. We had hoped that Preston would be a birthday present for her.

I’ve been dreaming of writing this post for what seems like forever and now that the time has come I don’t hardly know what to say. Birth rocked my world and changed me forever. It was nothing like what I imagined, it was nothing that I could have ever prepared for, it was truly nothing short of a miracle. One big giant miracle.

Preston was due on the 25th of April. So when I started having some pretty good surges during the first week of march we were concerned. I was watching tv with my mom when I felt the first one. It felt exactly like what I had imagined and prepared for. It started as a crampy feeling in my lower back and increased with intensity as it wrapped around my belly and washed over me in a way that made a surge a really good word for it. Than it stayed for a while and retreated the way it had come. After a few of these I started timing them. They were coming about every 10 minutes.

After about 90 minutes I told my mom what was going on and asked if she thought I ought to call my midwife. She suggested that I try taking an herb that she was familiar with that has been very effective with stopping premature labor. I took it and the surges stopped. I called my midwife the next day and told her what had happened. She came and checked me and found that I had dilated to a 1.

When I started leaking amniotic fluid the next day we decided that I needed to do bed rest. I stayed down for the next 6 weeks or so and then at 37 weeks we felt it would be safe if I were to have the baby. I expected him to come any day. I felt crampy and achy and had sporadic contractions every day. But no baby came. My due date came and went and at 40 weeks and 5 days I went to see my midwife and we decided to schedule a natural induction for that weekend.

That night the surges started again. This time they were just 8 minutes apart. I was excited. They continued for about 5 hours and then stopped. I went to bed disappointed. That weekend I drank castor oil, we stripped my membranes, used essential oils and messaged pressure points. I took black and blue cohosh. The surges started around 6pm. They were exactly 4 minutes apart and continued that way until about 10:30. At that point they started coming about every two minutes. I thought we might be getting into active labor. Around 2 AM just as the surges were starting to get intense enough to hurt they suddenly stopped.

My midwife went home and we decided to just wait awhile and see what happened. At 41 weeks and 6 days I called my midwife in tears. I felt I couldn’t take another minute. The cramping and aching and pain I was feeling was just more than I felt I could handle much longer.

Just a little something that we did to pass the time while we waited for Preston to "pull the plug."

Just a little something that we did to pass the time while we waited for Preston to “pull the plug.”

She agreed that if I had not had him in two more days we would try a natural induction one more time if it didn’t work this time we would go to the hospital. I really had my heart set on a home birth and so I sat and talked with the baby for a while encouraging him to come.

Many people have asked me why I was so set on a home birth. I will try to explain.

I think the first reason is simply that I have seen (not actually SEEN, but been aware of and close to) hundreds of home births that all went just fine. One of my moms was a midwife and I was used to seeing her head out to deliver babies and come home to tell us that so and so had given birth to a beautiful baby boy or girl.

I had watched my mothers, sisters, friends, cousins, in-laws you name it. Everyone around me has been having successful home births for as long as I can remember. It makes it difficult to buy in to the fear that home birth is dangerous when it is so common place and successful in my experience. I have not personally known of one case where either the mother or baby was seriously harmed or died in attempting a home birth.

I had seen a few who attempted to do a home birth but found they were having complications and decided to transport. But I was comfortable with that idea.

The concept that birth is a natural function of biology came easily to me. I am not anti doctors I just like to use doctors for medical emergencies not for naturally occurring and healthy processes, which I consider birth to be.

Another reason that I was set on home birth is because of the comfort. No where is more comfortable than at home in my bed, with my music, my clothes, my family and my smells around me. To not have to get in the car and go somewhere when my time came and to not be at the mercy of hospital staff coming in at all hours of the night for routine check ups and blood work, to be just a part of a process, and decisions made based on protocol seemed like a pretty good reason.

Another reason was that I wanted to labor and give birth in the tub. I had read so much and talked to other woman who had done both and they said that the water birth was significantly easier and more comfortable. I just couldn’t stand the thought of giving birth on my back with my legs pulled up under my chin, the space in the birth canal reduced by 20% and pushing till I’m blue in the face. I had seen many videos where the woman gave birth in a tub and she seemed so calm and peaceful, you could hardly notice her pushing as she carefully “breathed her baby down and out” and that’s what I wanted.

I did not want an epidural, I did not want pitocin, I did not want to feel rushed or that I must progress at a certain rate. I did not want to be “checked” for progress throughout the labor. I just wanted to have my baby in peace and quiet of my own home.

Also one of the biggest reasons is that I wanted to have time with my baby un interrupted after he was born. I wanted skin to skin time with him as soon as he was delivered. I did not want his cord cut or to have him weighed, measured, bathed or anything until I had, had several hours with him.

I had taken a hypnobirthing class and had been listening to the recordings and practicing since the day I found out I was pregnant. I felt SO prepared and excited for this experience. I believed that fear causes tension and tension causes pain and I felt like I understood what was going to take place in my body, and I was not afraid. I was so excited to finally be experiencing for myself this incredible experience of childbirth.

An important part of the preparation was choosing a midwife. I talked to a friend who was a doula and asked her to recommend a few midwives that she felt were good. I was looking for a couple of specific things. It was important to me that I have a midwife who was confident in her own skills. I wanted a midwife who was willing to work through difficulties. I wanted one who knew how to handle complications so that our only option wasn’t to just transport. I asked my friend which midwife she had seen in the scariest situations remain calm and have solutions and pull of a successful home birth in spite of complications.

It was also important that I had a midwife who wasn’t too prideful to realize when she was in over her head. I needed someone who I felt confident would know when and how to get medical help if I needed it. For both of these my friend recommended Rochelle. I wanted a midwife who would encourage me in my decisions when I felt like I couldn’t do it any more. I wanted one who would push me beyond my limits or what I believed my limits to be.

When I called Rochelle and spoke with her I told her of the Ugandan doctors prediction that I would not be able to give birth naturally and that I would have to have a C-section. She assured me that she believed in my body’s ability to birth this baby. When I met her in person my initial reaction was to want to hug her. I knew right away I had found my midwife.

Joseph was a little hesitant at first, mostly just unsure of how the whole process would go. But when we did the home visit and skyped him in to meet Rochelle and her assistants he was sold. We knew we had found a team that would see us through whatever would come. Once we knew that Joseph wasn’t going to be home in time for the birth we had decided that my friend Renae would attend the birth to help me. She took the classes with me and was prepared to help me remember the relaxation skills that I had learned. My sister Hannah would be there to take some sweet photographs that would capture the beauty of the birth. And my mother and other sister planned to be present as well. We had it all planned.

I wanted a birth that was comfortable, safe, and loving for my baby and I wanted a birth with as few interventions as possible for myself. I know that in birth as with everything in life things rarely turn out they way we expect them to. I couldn’t have ever anticipated how my birth would actually turn out.

To Be Continued…