You’re probably going to think I’m crazy as I elected for a natural childbirth with twins. I’d also like to begin with a disclaimer, as my 37 hours in labor spanned a little longer than the “day” I became a Mommi. But for the sake of continuity, I’ll keep it moving. I was expecting twins, and it was my very first go-round, but surprisingly I was cool, calm, and collected. I was prepared and because I’m extra like that, I delivered my twins naturally.
During my pregnancy, I had a very strong desire to bring my twins into the world naturally, with no medications. C-sections terrified me and I wanted nothing to do with being cut! My sister’s traumatic experience with a cesarean was enough for me. I also knew that once the labor was done, two babies desperately needed their new mommi at 100%. I had very little margin for my recovery.
Thankfully, my husband and I found The Bradley Method, a husband-coached childbirth program. It advocates for a healthy and natural childbirth. Through our 12 week program, our doula coached us through the process. It was much like training for a marathon with the strict diet guidelines, exercising for stamina, and pain tolerance training. But in retrospect, this valuable training prepared me for my most amazing accomplishment yet.
At 37 weeks and some change, I had awakened much like any other day. Work and my hour-long commute for my career in higher education fundraising loomed. But something was up (as evidenced by a queasy belly and a bout or two with the commode.) I’m a person with a very high tolerance for pain, so, oddly enough, I wasn’t quite sure if the discomfort in my abdomen was truly contractions or nerves. I called my doula for clarification. She had a good feeling that I was in labor, so she headed down to my home to check on me.
I originally planned to labor at home, monitor my labor stages, and retreat to the hospital at the very last second. But most of my loved ones were pretty nervous about that. None of us, besides the doula, had any experience with a natural childbirth with twins. Moreover, who else knows how things turn out with a bossy, southern mama? No, not me, as at that point I was only bossy and southern. I’m speaking of MY mama! She felt uncomfortable about me laboring at home and urged (read: guilt tripped) me into getting to the hospital sooner. Not in a position to argue, hubby, my doula Elizabeth, and I headed out to the hospital, where I would remain for an overnight stay.
Now y’all know I’m extra, right? Not only did elect for a natural childbirth with twins and hired a doula to coach me through the process, but I also arranged for a professional photographer to capture the moments as well! I mean, I was embarking on the most major turning point of my life, was I going to risk NOT capturing the moment? Again, let’s reflect upon those big screen moments… Mom glammed up, hair perfectly coiffed, belly looking like she swallowed a basketball – perfectly and daintily awaiting the arrival of her bundle of joy. This lady was NOT me, and I have photographic evidence of it! Ha! I recall having the fleeting thought to comb my hair and slather a mound of concealer over my hormone-induced pregnancy acne, but exhaustion and sheer DGAF prevailed.
I’m not a modest person, as a matter of fact, I’m a sucker for the spotlight, but during labor, there is literally a stage that you reach when all modesty goes out the window. It’s as if your intrinsic animal instincts come through. You’re no longer Jane Q. Citizen, you become a tigress! Tiger Mom! Any and every regard for politeness and decorum follows modesty through that very same window.
Remember seeing all of those labor scenes on tv and movies? The lady laid up in a hospital bed yelling and screaming at everyone and hankering for ice chips? Yeah, that’s pretty much real life. But that’s just it. It’s real life – raw and uncensored. And thanks to my photographer and my lack of modesty, I have a jump drive full of the uncensored, bare boobies, directives to “just BREATHE!” and babies.
Because I’m extra like that, I delivered my twins naturally and preferred an elective natural birth because I studied the effects of natural birth on the mother and child. Besides not wanting my twins to come into the world intoxicated by medicines, I was terrified of being in a paralyzed state with an epidural! I’d also learned other rationale for my preference during my Bradley classes. New moms experience a “natural high” oxytocin and endorphin rush soon after giving birth. According to childbirthconnection.org:
“High endorphin levels during labor and birth can produce an altered state of consciousness that can help you deal with the process of giving birth, even if it is long and challenging. High endorphin levels can make you feel alert, attentive and even euphoric (very happy) after birth, as you begin to get to know and care for your baby. In this early postpartum period, endorphins are believed to play a role in strengthening the mother-infant relationship.”
The article also states that,
“[Women] may have higher levels of endorphins near the end of pregnancy. For women who don’t use pain medication during labor, the level of endorphins continues to rise steadily and steeply through the birth of the baby. (Most studies have found a sharp drop in endorphin levels with use of epidural or opioid pain medication.)”
I’d heard moms share that it in the moment they received their babies, the rush felt like the most amazing drug. Also, they had experienced those feelings singularly during their natural childbirth. It may sound silly, but I was not going to let anything stand in the way of my natural high! I wanted to be coherent and in my most lucid mind for my moment to meet my twins!
A headstrong woman, I am, and I was NOT going down (the c-section road) without a fight. So we three, Matt, my doula, and I worked my twins out of me by a hook or a crook. I squatted on an extremely low birthing stool, sat backwards on the commode, and rolled my hips on the exercise ball. These exercises helped the twins descend to the birth canal. After a day and a half of this grueling exercise circuit, I was completely exhausted! But my will to get my babies successfully out of my womb and into the comfort of my arms was strong. It prevailed against my desire to quit.
The intensity of the pain is almost impossible to describe using mere black words against a white screen. I joke sometimes and ask people if they remember as a kid, placing a D battery against their tongue to determine if it has juice or not. The baby girl in a family of six pranksters, I’d felt my fair share of battery licking trauma. (Disclaimer: Do not try this at home, unless you fancy a police taser shocking as a delightful experience.) But yes, the D battery tongue trauma reminds me of labor pains. (Well, like 1/100th of labor intensity… And also contractions are felt all throughout the body as compared to simply on the tongue, but you get the point!)
As I reflect upon the day I became a mom, I am flooded with emotion. Reliving those hours, minutes, and moments leading up to and during the twins’ births is all encompassing. I was one with nature with the spirit and sheer being of womanhood. And though pain preceded the pleasure of receiving my babies in my arms, the instantaneous bliss and connection in that moment is unmatched and unrivaled.
My natural childbirth with twins experience was the most epic day of my existence. I have never felt so vulnerable yet triumphant in a concurrent space of time. On one hand, my babies entered into the world safely and soundly. For their debut, they were wrapped in love and care and shared a moment with mommy to seal a bond that is forever unbreakable. On the other hand, I accomplished a goal of naturally birthing twins, which is a feat that very few women and babies have the pleasure to experience. Quite honestly, my friends and family thought I was crazy to even set out to do such a thing. But as I mentioned earlier, there isn’t much persuasion of a bossy, Southern mama!
As I held my two babies in my arms, I understood that God was speaking purpose into my life in that moment. He showed me my entire future as I looked down into those two sets of glistening brown eyes. I changed in the moment that I became a mom. I felt a different type of womanhood than I had ever experienced before – a fierceness, not unlike Beyonce’s “Sasha Fierce” alter ego. The confidence flowed like breastmilk and the insecurities melted as we stared into each other’s eyes. I was theirs and they belonged to me. I “became” that day. Kerri Paul became a mother, and I was also christened into a new phase of purposeful womanhood.
Check out the how we went from twins to “Irish Triplets” here!
Have any of you delivered naturally? Did you have a birth plan? Please share your thoughts and take-always with me! I’d love to hear from you guys!