I have had the enormous pleasure of attending a beautiful woman and her husband during the wondrous birth of their twin sons.
My husband had met her at the gym and, as many men whose wives callings are the same as mine, began talking about birth, babies, doulas, and midwives.
Soon, I found an email in my inbox.
Soon after that, we were meeting for coffee at a late-night area coffee shop.
They said they would call me on Monday for their decision.
Tuesday they apologized that they hadn't made a decision yet but would call me soon...
Thursday they were calling me for a birth instead.
She was induced and was doing beautifully when I arrived, rocking on the ball, legs planted wide, swaying quietly with the rhythm of her body's waves.
I began applying acupressure to help her contractions become more 'worksome' and less tedious. After showing her husband how to do it as well, we worked together for a time. There was easy conversation between contractions and she worked quietly during them.
I encouraged her to be whatever she needed, including noisy, and we talked about good sounds. She used the bathroom with her husband's help and I changed the pad on the ball and placed one on the ground. For awhile, they danced beside the bed, but she had been up most the night before and was tired.
Soon, she was on the ball again and moaning her birthing call, announcing the imminence of her babies births.
She and I had discussed, previously, her doctor's desire to have an epidural in place 'just in case'. Although she wanted a natural birth, that was not her main goal, and she was not too tightly joined to the need for an unmedicated birth. With that in mind, she had decided to get an epidural, not for the pain's sake, but for the 'what if's sake...
She had wanted, though, to wait to get it until her labor was well established, to hopefully reduce the length of time she was immobile and decrease the chances of it adversely affecting her labor's progress.
Back to present, she asked if this would be a good time to discuss the epidural with her doctor. I noted her noises, saw her rhythm, and knew that, if she were going to get it, this might be the time to do it. I recommended being checked first, though.
Her doctor did a quick check and said 'well, do you want an epidural or do you want to push?'.. She was complete!
She sat in tailor position while the room was broken down and she was prepared to be transported to the OR (where they do all of the multiple's births).
As we hadn't had any prenatals, we hadn't had time to discuss this part of the birth. Dad was given scrubs and I began giving them a quick set of pointers as they prepared to wheel her away.
Their confused expressions told me that they didn't understand that only one person was allowed in the OR at any given time beyond the medical personnel.
Once they understood this, they made sure that the nurses in attendance understood that they wanted me there. Doctor came in and told them to give me a set of scrubs 'just in case' there was room.
I hurriedly changed as they moved her out of the room and down the hall 2 doors.
I didn't have much hope at being able to witness the moment of their births, but I ran behind them. At the door, I was told to wait until the room was set up. I began breathing prayers heavenward for the babies safe arrival and for peace for the parents in the midst of the OR chaos.
One lone nurse darted in and out of the room continuously. She would smile at me hesitantly every time she passed, but never said a word to me. She paused once before going back in, look at me, and then seemed to change her mind about saying whatever was weighing on her mind and, instead, went back into the room where the momma was 'oooh'ing her babies down.
The nurse suddenly stuck her head back out and said, 'you better get in here if you want to see these babies born' and threw a mask at me.
We grinned at each other as I hurried to her side. There, whispering in her ear, was her husband. He was quietly praying the same thing I had been in the hall, peace for them both in the midst of the chaos, and a thankfulness for bringing their true desires to fruition.
The first twin was crowning, and slid easily from his mother's womb in the next two waves. He was small and wiggly, weighing in just over 5lbs.
As he was rubbed and weighed and given a few whiffs of oxygen, she waited for her work to resume. It took nearly 40 minutes before she began again... it was only after she was given her first-born twin for a few moments that her body returned to it's work.
1 hour and 15 minutes later, his twin brother burst his way into the world. His sac remained intact until near-crowning. With the next contraction, we all saw his hand opening and closing on the top of his head. With the very next contraction, his ears (and elbow), then his neck (and shoulders) , his torso (and left leg), and finally his lone right leg, all came out in one yolping wave of intense power.
He weighed in at 7lbs even.
Beautiful twin boys, as different as night and day, welcome! Welcome into a beautiful family of two adoring parents and a curious big brother!
And thank you, family Jeremiah, for the gift of hope and reminder of miracles.