Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Helping with the birth of twins

I was thrilled to be invited to help out two of my friend midwives with a family expecting twins. I'd only been to one homebirth twin birth and that was early on when even squeezing the bulb syringe deserved a review. After meeting me, the parents agreed to include me as one of their midwives.

A couple nights before these girls were born the lead midwife and I were chatting. She said in her early years, 26 years ago, her faith in birth got her through where experience was thin. She trusted the Lord and birth itself. But now, after many years, the things shes learned through experience can sometimes be a burden.

I knew what she was describing. Learning birth at home builds the trust first. There are fewer complications and less fear. But as we grow older we learn about the unexpected firsthand, not just in a book. We've found that something often comes up that wasn't in the books.

My friend said when she reflects on that, that she goes back to the faith she had in the beginning when birth seemed so simple. We have a choice. We can breath fast, let our heart rate race and get tense. Or we can breath deep into the trust.

We still know what we know. We bring together nutrition, rest, trust and a good fetal position. Yes, there is the unknown, but it can be allowed, not feared.
We have a plan, we have a plan B, and we have a plan for going in to the hospital if needed-- Within these "plans," we take into account the unique qualities of the birthing mother, the baby or babies, in this case, and yes, the spirit of the birth. Communication is expressed through all these sources from one Source. And we must communicate our own thoughts, too. First by being receptive, then by speaking the truth, not the wish, of the moment. This is what I feel, see, touch, smell or hear. Not, this is what I hope to be or what I wish were true.

If it is given to you to know, you will know. Some things we can change, some things we are not given to know and then we must experience the course that unfolds. When we are receptive we can trust this mechanism to be protective. We move forward. When we fear, a lack of receptivity hides us in denial. We seek stability and stop hearing.

When control is an expectation, trusting birth seems ridiculous. But what can keep birth within the bounds of the known world? Monitoring every body function? Surgery without birth? Warnings and doubts expressed? There is no magic there, only an exchange. The unknown risk is traded for a known side effect. As if the frequency of induction makes the higher death rate of late prematurity acceptable. Believe it or not it is more medically acceptable than, say, the rate of death due to shoulder dystocia, which is lower than that the deaths in the first year due to complications of late prematurity.
First of all, preparation for a natural twin birth is quite different. Prenatal care for twins includes a woman's self care, 100-150 grams of protein daily, a gallon of fluids, salt to taste, chlorophyll liquid and Floradex with Iron, etc. etc.
Are women under medical care hearing this sort of nutritional counseling? No, they are given weekly ultrasounds and bed rest. Then once past 36 weeks, surgery. Are babies faring better?
Well, we have to look at twins born with after emotionally and physically nourishing prenatal care compared to the usual medical care. The food and supplementation we suggest has led to full term twins for my friend's other twins experiences and many other midwives, too.
As a doula for twin moms, The Brewer Diet, natural supplementation and Chiropractic care helped women get to 38 weeks and beyond. Much good can come of technical birth interventions when it is needed. I'm not naive. One family wanted their twins born at home, but one twin wasn't doing excellently at term and a cesarean helped them have a safe delivery, one that wouldn't have been safe at home.

I was the first midwife to arrive the other night. Thoughts went through my head as I drove closer to the home. Will I be prepared to handle the unexpected? Will my brain freeze? I stopped myself. Taking a deep breath I let trust in. The preparations were made, the prayers were said. Just take a step and walk in the door. The birth will be waiting for you there.

Two healthy babies were born a few hours later. And mom did great during and after. So that I'm not telling the family's story, let me just say that together the babies weighed just one ounce less than 15 1/2 pounds.
Every thing turned out so well at home that night. Everything went just about as expected. Everything went according to plan "B." So well in fact, the little ones' Apgar scores were 8-9 and 9-10 respectively. Praise God.

No comments:

Changing the Earth by supporting Birth

Mothers bring forth life; medical corporations do not. Birth can be simple, powerful and loving. Fetal positioning, natural birthing and practical help for normal birth.