Disclaimer: Every mama with the help of her care provider must decide what is the best birth for her. For Melissa it was the help of an OB & midwife through her pregnancy and a homebirth with midwives and a doula present. This video is graphic and not workplace appropriate unless you work somewhere where your boss is awesome and perhaps a birth junkie!
1) Please introduce yourself, where are you from, tell us about your family (how many kids, etc).
My name is Melissa I was 29 when I conceived(30 at birth) husband John 28 (his first children). I am from omaha, ne John from Roanoke, VA. We married after first ultrasound (dated 4 yrs). Noah and Liam were babies 4 & 5. Older brother Aiden 7, sister Madison 6, Makenzie 4. First 3 children were planned natural hospital birth however were vaginal but augmented with pitocin and medicated epidurals in transition (all after 8cm) due to lack of support and encouragement from hospital and CNM and my natural fears that I now know is a normal part of transition with proper support a natural/unmedicated birth is wonderful.
2) What pregnancy symptoms were you experiencing that made you take a pregnancy test?
I took pregnancy test 4 days before my expected period I had tender breasts a little more than normal but mainly I took test bc I had a strange feeling I should (motherly instinct). 1st test had 1 vertical line but not the horizontal line to make a + so I immediately retested with digital test that was instantly positive. (I had a copper IUD in place at this time) confirmed with blood test at hospital at 5wks pregnant. My IUD was removed at this time.
3) When did you have your first ultrasound, what did you discover and how did you feel about it?
First "dating" ultrasound preformed at 6.3 weeks. I went alone hubby was out of town for work. I expected a normal u/s although motherly instincts kicked in night before appointment and I found myself "googling" possibility of multiples with pregnancy with IUD. To this day I have no idea why I searched this other than instinct. The u/s revealed 3 beating heart all dating within weeks of 6.1 & 6.3wks 2 babies in 1 sac 1 baby in another sac and 1 undeveloped baby in another sac. I was expecting TRIPLETS! I was scared excited and in shock my response was oh my god are you kidding me? I cried all the way down to my midwife appointment where they were equally in shock. The immediately deemed me high risk (multiples) denied me care and a follow up call was made by the perinatalologist in the practice. I was even more confused on what to do or not do and what to expect. I was simply sent home to wait.
4) Why did you choose the care providers you did during your pregnancy?
I saw the perinatalologist around 11wks and was shocked to see only 2 babies in 2 sacs but fused. No bleeding no cramps no symptoms. I was told identicals sometimes reabsorb without symtoms. I didn't feel comfortable or reassured by this Dr so I searched for a natural minded dr or mw that would care for us and treat me as low risk. I saw a family care doc and a lay midwife throughout pregnancy to keep all options open. The dr's appointments were stressful and not reassuring I was facing a csection all though I was told a trial of labor would be "allowed" if both babies were head down although talk of a breech extraction of B was brought up my research and instincts said home birth was best
5) What did you dislike and enjoy the most about being pregnant with multiples?
I enjoyed watching my belly grow quickly and feeling my babies move. Other than morning sickness the first 3m and heartburn throughout it was easy.
6) At what point did you decide you wanted to have a homebirth? Did you have support about this choice from your family? friends? medical providers?
I had friends that had used this midwife with singletons at home. She has a great reputation and a lot of knowledge. I had always researched and wanted a home birth but wasn't in contact with the "natural community" until this pregnancy. My husband was nervous but we agreed to go through pregnancy keeping both hospital and home as options as long as checkups and my instincts supported home birth this was our first choice. I had zero family support I reached out to the natural community and found other moms through social media, support groups, and references through my midwife of other twin moms that had home births or planning them. The backup family practice Dr said it was our choice but did use scare tactics and bullying to get us to NOT have a hb but admitted if legal he would attend our home birth and medically the babies and myself were perfect.
7) What resources did you use to make this decision (books, movies, research, community groups, etc)?
Resources stated above also documentaries like "The Business of Being Born", Pregnant in America and videos on YouTube of moms of multiples having natural birth. My midwife was the best resource I could have had.
8) Did you know your babies were breech? Would it of affected your decision either way?
Throughout my pregnancy I had u/s that showed B breech most times so I prepared for B to be born breech bc he seems to like it that way. Baby A was always shown head down. When labor started it was difficult so say so we were unsure of his position and we still felt very comfortable and safe staying home. My midwife was comfortable and confident with breech births so no it didn't change our minds.
9) What was the most rewarding part about your babies' birth (other than meeting them :D )?
Most rewarding was that I did it! We did it! Everyone was safe and healthy and we knew we made the best choice for us! Regardless of people who thought otherwise.
10) What would you change if you could?
I would have kept all kids home from school during the entire labor and birth. The older 2 went to school just as I entered the tub. My 4 year old present entire time and helpful. She is the closest sibling to her brothers I believe it was bc she played a part in the process.
11) What did you learn from your birth experience and how would you like it to effect other women expecting multiples?
I learned fear causes pain. Also that are bodies are meant to deliver without intervention it is natural it is safe and it can be painless and rewarding in many ways even with multiples. I share my story as inspiration for other moms who would like a natural/vaginal birth no matter what kind of birth they strive for it can be done. Ask questions believe in yourself and your babies and don't be scared to say no and do what you feel is best for you and your babies. Knowledge and confidence is power!!
12) What are your hopes and dreams for your little men as they grow up?
I hope my boys grow up knowing we were strong and always wanted the best for them. Also to be strong supportive men (husbands) and believe in birth. Overall to be great positive people and always follow their hearts.
Thank you Melissa for having the grace and courage to share your journey. :)