December 4th, I had finally hit 36 weeks, so my deprived partner and I decided to have sex before bed. We hadn’t been doing anything in that department in order to avoid preterm labor. That night, I woke up around 3:00 a.m. not feeling too great. Turned out I had a bug, or food poisoning…or something. Either way, it was not pretty: I was throwing up out of both ends, had stomach cramps, and found it difficult to keep my heavily pregnant body comfortable. I lost a lot of mucus plug that night and was getting some contractions.
The next day, as I was having a few more contractions, I joked to my husband that I’d be mad if I went into labor when I was sick…I was so exhausted and hadn’t eaten anything all day, only water.
Amniotic Fluid Gushes Out
December 6th, after a full night’s sleep, I felt much better. I was able to eat all day, and I drank lots of fluids to help me feel better. I also took a really nice nap. After I got up from my nap, I went to go get something to eat. As I was standing there, I noticed I felt kind of…wet. I felt myself, and I thought, am I leaking amniotic fluid? I went to the bathroom to check it out. I sat on the toilet and peed; right away, there was a small “pop.” Some fluid gushed out, and I felt everything move down as it happened. Still not quite believing it, I stayed on the toilet to see if I still leaked after I wiped. Yep. I happily informed Jason that my water had broken, I was almost sure of it. (I later proved it to him by dribbling it all over the carpet…oops.)
It was about 8:40 p.m. when my water broke. Still on the toilet, I started to feel crampy after the “pop,” and it felt good to lean back, so I did. I called my mom to tell her my water had broken, since she requested to be informed when I went into labor. It felt like things were happening fast. Right when I started talking to her, I started to get shaky and anxious. I quickly realized that I didn’t really feel like calling or talking to anyone while I was in labor, so I told her I’d call her back. After that, I undressed, wrapped a towel around myself, and moved to the living room.
I sat on the couch on a towel, and began having contractions while fluid gushed out of me off and on. I waited for my birth pool to fill; meanwhile, contractions quickly picked up in intensity. It was not long into my labor that I couldn’t talk through them, so Jason began answering my phone for me at my request. One thing became very apparent: I did not want to talk to anyone. As I went further into labor land, I made the decision that I would not be inviting anyone over because I knew it would only hinder my birth. This was something I needed to be fully in tune to and experience without anyone’s input.
Contractions on the Couch
Once the pool was full enough, I got in and took one contraction. I immediately felt a loss of control, and the pain was more intense, so I got right back out. I decided that sitting on the couch was the best way for me to labor. Contractions were so close together, it didn’t leave much room for thinking about labor positions. The position I found on the couch was most comfortable, and it made the contractions more bearable. Each time I would have a contraction, I would instinctively lean back onto my right elbow.
At about 11:30 p.m., my mom showed up and tried to let herself in. My husband informed me that she was at the door. After another contraction was over, I breathlessly told him to “make her go away.” I was really starting to have to concentrate. Throughout most of my labor, contractions were intense and less than two minutes apart. Sometimes I got lucky and I’d get a lighter contraction after a particularly gripping one. Jason argued with my mom, who tried to get us to go to the hospital. He reassured her that we were just fine and told her she could not come in. My husband trusts my intuition: If I was not panicking, he saw no reason to panic.
After my mom left, contractions started to pick up even more. All I could think about was being ready for the next contraction, and all I could do was take a sip of water between each one. I would stand up periodically, and rock my hips from side to side, just to make sure sitting on the couch wasn’t keeping the baby from descending. Through some of my contractions, I could not get comfortable and would flail around in frustration. I began to vocalize with my contractions, which were getting fairly rough. I started feeling nauseous. Suddenly, I vomited a little bit of water on the towel in front of me. Surprised, I turned to Jason, who was quietly observing, and said, “Sorry…can you clean that up a bit?”
Since the contractions were becoming fairly unbearable, I decided I needed a better coping method. I closed my eyes and began to visualize what was happening with my body and my babies. Whenever I’d get one of these huge contractions, I mindfully relaxed my uterus, cervix, and vagina. I breathed deep knowing that the contraction would end, and things would be over before I knew it. Relaxing helped keep me calm and lessened the pain. I became quiet and focused – I could now feel my baby’s head descending into the birth canal instead of just the crampy pain I was feeling before.
Jova Is Born
I knew I couldn’t push a baby out with the way I was sitting, so I began to stand up and squat a little. Each time I did that, I felt more pushy. The last time I stood up from a squat, my body pushed on its own, and I knew it was time. I turned around and kneeled on the couch, to which my body responded with a crazy contraction, and made me start to push. I gripped the couch tightly and began groaning loudly as baby number one began her journey through my birth canal. Jason responded by coming over to take a look and asking me if I wanted any sort of perineal support. I told him no. After a few pushes he says, “I see a head!” I thought I might stick my hand down and have a feel, and sure enough, she was crowning.
My husband kept asking me for direction, and I told him, you’ll be fine, you’ll do great. (Just let me push!) I continued pushing until most of her head was out, and while I took a breath, Jason noticed she was coming out with her hand on her cheek. One more big push, and Jova’s body shot out of me. I immediately heard this tiny little baby cry, and it made me so happy. I heard Jason talking behind me, saying things like, “Oh my god,” and “What do I do,” and he was just in awe of the whole thing. He did such a great job. He untangled the cord from her body and passed her under my legs to me. The first thing I noticed when I saw my firstborn was that she was so tiny! I was not expecting to be handed a baby so small. I kneeled on the towels in front of the couch and we greeted our precious new arrival. She was so alert, just looking around with big blue eyes!
Sunny Is Born
Then we remembered that there was still work to be done. While still kneeling and holding Jova, I began rocking my hips back and forth and up and down, to help move the other baby down. Sure enough, I got another two contractions, and *pop* went her water, all over Jason’s arms, since he was getting ready to catch! I immediately felt the urge to push. I cradled Jova against my chest and began groaning and pushing her twin out. Jason started getting anxious because I was only a few inches from the ground, and he asked me if I could move up.
In the moment, I told him “no,” but as soon as I felt her crowning, I moved up and pushed her head out into his hands. For some reason, it felt like more of her had come out, and I was confused as to why she wasn’t sliding out of me as easily as Jova did. I reached down and discovered that only her head was out. A little tired and dismayed, I leaned forward and gave another few pushes, until Sunny slid out into Daddy’s arms crying, along with another shower of amniotic fluid. I stood up, swung my leg over the cord, and sat on the end of the couch with both babies on my chest under a towel. Sunny was so cheesy with vernix, but I couldn’t help but kiss her lovely head anyway. Both babies were born within a few minutes of each other, around 12:40 a.m. on December 7th.
As we looked in awe at our newborn baby girls, Jason asked about the placenta. I said it would come soon enough and asked him to go rinse out the placenta bowl. He went to do that, and I again squatted on the towels on the floor to let gravity help ease it out. Then I realized that it was already coming out…without any help. I had to hold the placenta in (as well as I could, anyway), and told the husband to hurry up! He got over just in time to catch it in the bowl, along with a pool of blood. It was a huge 2.5 lbs, thick, round, and slippery with two umbilical cords right next to each other in the middle.
Sunny and Jova’s cords were short, so we decided to cut the cords right away. We clamped and cut them, and wrapped the babies in some blankets. We called our friends and told them to come over – we had babies!
About ten minutes later, we heard a knock on the door. We were expecting our friends, but it turned out it was a couple of cops. My mom had called the cops out of fear. We didn’t let them in, as it was still quite the birth scene. Aside from all the nudity, there was a big bloody mess in front of me, including my placenta in a bowl. I just didn’t see a reason to let them in, so Jason went out and talked with them on the porch. They explained to him that we’re not in any trouble because we hadn’t done anything illegal, but since they received a call, they had no choice but to check things out and call an ambulance.
A few minutes after the cops left, two EMT’s arrived, and I decided to let them in just to humor them, and so that they could see for themselves that the babies and I were just fine. They looked at us without touching us and said that we all three looked great, and one of them commented that homebirth was becoming less uncommon. After they asked us a few questions, they left, and I thanked them for their help. They were very respectful.
Then our friends Dustin and Rhoda arrived, and Dustin, having attended several other unassisted births, reassured us the twins were both doing great. Our friends helped us weigh the babies: first Jova, who was just 4 lbs., 2 oz., then Sunny, who weighed in at 5 lbs., 6 oz. They looked so vastly different in size, and Jova’s head was a little smaller. Later we measured them: Jova measured about 17 inches, and Sunny about 18 inches. Short babies!
Our other friends Debbie and Al arrived shortly after Dustin and Rhoda. Everyone helped clean up and hold the babies for me while I recovered. Debbie was so nice to give me a sponge bath since I had blood all over my legs and feet, and she cleaned up my bloody towel mess. Dustin and Rhoda emptied my birth pool, and Dustin took care of my placenta.
I felt so exhilarated from the birth and meeting my babies that I didn’t sleep until 5-6 hours afterwards. I just sat with them forever on the couch while they slept, and while I processed everything. It’s a weird feeling to have such a huge uterus, and then suddenly…it’s empty! I still felt crampy, and nursing made me more crampy, of course. I was thankful that the babies wanted to sleep for so long after the birth. After my husband and friends made sure I was comfortable, everyone decided to go home and get some sleep. I was so grateful to have my friends there to take care of me after the birth. All in all, it was such an amazing first birth experience.