“that crazy lady who carried her twins overdue”
Disclaimer: There is no 'one-size-fits-all' when it comes to birth. So often mothers expecting multiples are told 'You must birth this way, or that way, there is only one safe way to birth twins.' This birth was right for this family; please work with your health care-provider, a Doula, and your own intuition to plan the birth that is right and safest for YOU and your babies. -Sarah
1) Introduce yourself, where do you hail from, and who is in your family?
My name is Cori Ramsay, and I am happily married to Matthew and have been for 7 years, and we have three kids. I have a brilliant 4 year old girl named Amy, as well as boy/girl twins, Alex and Amber, who will be two in May 2013.
2) When did you find out you were having twins? What was your reaction? What was the reaction of your health care providers?
We had decided to have a home birth and had retained a midwife. I wanted very minimal interventions in my pregnancy and refused most tests. Our 2 year old daughter was asking a lot about my growing belly. At around 21 weeks we decided to get an Ultrasound to see a picture” of the baby inside. So far, the only real intervention I had was a heartbeat check around 12 weeks. My husband was to meet me at the lab, but of course, that morning there was the the worst snowstorm of the season. I was 5 minutes late and my husband texted he was stuck and had no idea how long he’d be, but would get there as soon as he could. I went in for the Ultrasound alone, and the lady was chatting away and then looked at me and said, “Oh! You don’t know, do you?” “Don’t know what?”, I said, but in that moment I had a feeling I knew what was coming....”You’re having twins!” I yelped, “What?!” I didn’t realize how loud I had yelped until the lab security stuck their head in the door and asked if everything was ok. The tech said calmly, “Oh yes, we’re fine. I just told her she’s having twins.” She proceeded with the pictures. Meanwhile my husband texted he had arrived. I asked if someone could go and get him, but they said no. I was just bursting, wanting to tell him so badly. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I faked a urinary emergency and ran out instead to the waiting room and stage whispered “Honey....it’s TWINS!!!!!” and then ran back into the Ultrasound room. It was then that they decided to let him in the room after all. We gazed in awe at the two little babies. We locked eyes. Our older daughter had been a really difficult baby. I saw fear intermingled with elation. We had an exciting 24 hours letting everyone know our special news. My midwife was new to Canada and was dismayed to find out that in Alberta midwives must transfer care of twin pregnancies because they are considered “high risk”. Although neither of us was happy about this, I retained an excellent doula and we proceeded to find a doctor who would understand my desire for minimal intervention and a hospital that would allow me to take the home birth experience and move it into a hospital setting.
3) You ended up going "overdue" with your babies. Why did you make the decision to skip induction?
I was induced with my oldest daughter. I had not researched induction and was tired of being pregnant. When my doctor calmly said, “Well, you’re a week overdue, I’ll schedule your induction for Friday, ok?”, it sounded like a good idea to me. Well, although my head was in agreement, my body was NOT. It fought the induction and they had to up the picotin (the IV drip that induces labour) until I was just having one, giant, massive contraction. Despite all my faith that I could pull off a drug-free birth, I ended up begging for an epideral after hours of solid contractions. I lay there, no longer in pain, but feeling defeated. They upped the picotin even more and after another 6 or 8 hours my body finally gave in and I pushed Amy out. The nurses in the hospital didn’t let me make any choices. I was being treated as if I was unable to give birth by myself, which seemed, to me, unreasonable. Women had done it for millions of years, and deep down I found conviction that my body *was* built to have children, and *not* built to have the hospital remove them. In an emergency situation, it is wonderful that we have hospitals. But the overbearing concern and that mental stress we pile on expecting mothers these days can’t be good for the mother or the unborn child(ren). I decided that I would take control of my next pregnancy. I would be informed of the real risks. My twin pregnancy was completely unremarkable and I was healthy throughout. Had I experienced any difficulty I would most certainly have checked it out, but I didn’t. I firmly said I would *not* induce. I would *not* do further Ultrasounds. I would *not* have internal exams (although when my 40-week “due date” came and went, I did ask for a check, only to be completely disappointed by him saying “you are not dilated at all” and then chiding myself all the way home, “Well now Cori, what good did that do, exactly?”). I knew that fully developed lungs is usually what triggers labour. I looked inward and found a peaceful, quiet centre, where I knew my babies were ok, that no babies had an exact “due date”, and made the decision. I would let my babies be born when they were ready. It took until 41 weeks, and 3 days, and when they came it was QUICKLY. From the time the first contraction hit until I held them in my arms was less than 3 hours.
4) Did you have support for the choices you made?
Of course, nobody thought I would go overdue. Until I did. Then, I enjoyed tremendous support from my husband, doula and midwife. But I’d have to say the group that really helped me out was Ten Month Mamas on facebook. It is a group devoted to “overdue” mothers. I found many other moms who had come to the same decision I had. I found other mothers of twins who had gone overdue! (It was only two, but they were out there!) I found stories of mothers who consistently carried their babies to 43-44 weeks, just as their mothers had. It helped me believe that there was nothing wrong with my body, which to me is implied when we suggest inductions to women for no other reason than their supposed “due date” has passed.
5) What research/resources were most valuable to you making the decision to go as natural as possible?
Again, my resolve mostly came from deep introspection. During those pregnant months, I read. A LOT. The sites I visited most were kellymom and givingbirthnaturally.com, but I found many, many personal stories of better birthing through natural means all over the internet, and these were what I focused on the most. I also spent a lot of time in European midwifery sites and forums, where some of them claimed the “real” estimated due date should be 42 weeks, not 40 weeks. I decided to consider my personal due date to be 42 weeks, too.
6) What did you learn from this birth experience?
This birth experience left me feeling stronger. I felt empowered. I had trusted my instincts and had birthed two healthy, beautiful babies naturally. I learned that I did have the power to decide how I was treated in the doctor’s office, in the hospital, and during post-care. I took charge of myself and my children. I felt peace and wonder instead of worry.
7) Would you have done anything differently?
I would have either left for the hospital sooner, or else just had them at home. The van ride during transition, with my husband pressing on my back and my doula fighting traffic, was excruciating!
8) What do you hope other women pregnant with twins can take from your story?
If you are having twins, or just a singleton, I would urge you to stay away from induction unless absolutely necessary. Twins not being born by 38 weeks is not a complication, it is just your body being very good at cooking babies. If you want to have a vaginal birth with a breech baby, you can. You just need to find a doctor or midwife willing to deliver that way. If you do not want to do a test, you don’t have to do it. If you don’t want to have Ultrasounds, you don’t have to. If you want to wear your own pajamas in the hospital instead of that horrible gown, you can! If you don’t want your baby to get drops in it’s eyes or have a Vitamin K injection, they don’t have to! If you want to breastfeed twins, YOU CAN. A lactation consultant and a couple Le Leche meetings will help you tremendously. I would encourage mothers to do their own research on all of our modern birth practices, and make informed decisions about what they want for themselves and their children. Make a definite birth plan and take control of your birth story!
9) What are your hopes for your children as they grow up? Is there anything you want your daughters to learn from you when they start having children?
My kids are 4 and 2x2 now. I want them to have love and support from our family no matter what they do with their lives. I love how having twins has allowed me to see so clearly how very different each child is, despite being raised in similar circumstances. I really hope that I can support my girls when they have kids. I had a little bit of support, but not a lot. I’m hoping they will allow me to help them and make those first few months easier. I’m hoping also to let them know that their bodies are amazing, and that they should learn about them and take control of them, from the food they eat to the exercise they get to the medical attention they receive.
You can read her full birth story in Birth Issues magazine here. Just go to page 8.
Thanks again Cori for sharing your personal story with us all -Sarah :)