I can and I am! Part Two of my twin breech birth story

vaginal twin breech birth story twin a

Friday 24 February 2017 was the twins due date. The day arrived but the twins hadn’t. Nor had they turned from their breech positions. You can read part one of my twin breech birth story here.

I’d convinced my amazing Obstetrician to wait until Monday for labour to start spontaneously. I’d be 40+3. The littlest lad was born at 40+6 after a stretch and sweep. With that in mind, I had a stretch and sweep on Friday in the hope it’d kick start labour. Despite being 2-3cm dilated and having a soft cervix, I went to bed that night with no sign of the twin’s arrival.

I woke at about 5.30 on Saturday morning and lost a lot of mucus. The babies were surely on their way. I started singing to myself ‘Saturday night, do do do do do do do’. It was exciting! I was cramping a little but managed to go back to sleep. At about 8.30 I sent my dear friend Lisa a text saying I thought this might be D day.

I got up and pottered around the house, throwing some last minute things into my hospital bag. I got a text from Lisa at about 12.30 asking how things were going and whether I was able to go about my daily business. To which I said ‘yes, with pauses’. I hadn’t started timing contractions but guessed I was having one every 10 minutes and each lasted about one minute. Nothing especially painful.

Mr Wallace had taken the boys out for a while. I was tidying up and folding washing. During each contraction I’d pause and lean forward on the bench or the table, swaying my hips from side to side. I was also holding a heat pack on either my back or under my belly. I felt a bit of discomfort between contractions but was managing fine. The contractions had started to come more frequently and I had the odd ‘bitey’ contraction that caused me to mutter under my breath.

Some time during the afternoon, I’m guessing at about 2pm, Mr Wallace’s parents arrived to wrangle the boys. I was able to talk to them between contractions but once one came I had to get up and walk, or lean forwards on the bench and sway my hips. Labouring in front of your in laws requires a fair amount of self control!

At about 4pm Lisa shot me a text asking how I was going. I simply replied ‘struggling a bit’. We were still at home. Mr Wallace had packed the car and changed his outfit a good three times. Around this time Mr Wallace’s parents took the boys out for an ice cream. I asked Mr Wallace to run me a bath upstairs. That’s when things started to get serious. The contractions were coming a lot closer.

I kept repeating to myself ‘I can and I will’ during contractions. Things were intense but I was on top of it. I labour better at home and didn’t want to go to hospital too early. If I’m totally honest, I started to feel a bit ‘pushy’ while I was in the bath. Mr Wallace was keen to head to hospital. I was stalling but eventually agreed.

I stood in the bath and swayed side to side while I had another contraction. At this point I felt something begin to emerge from me. I was a little anxious but calmly asked Mr Wallace to have a look. He glanced between my legs and not so calmly said ‘that’s a baby’! I knew it wasn’t a baby but figured we better get to hospital pronto. I put on a dress and slowly started heading downstairs.

About two steps down I felt a big pop. My waters broke, cascading down the stairs. There was no time to clean it up. That became a job for Grandma Wallace, which was mortifying!

We set off to hospital at about 6pm. I always hate that drive. As we pulled into the drop off area we met Sue, the midwife who’d taken us under her wing. An anaesthetist opened the door for us and someone, I’m not sure who, told him that he wouldn’t be needed. Dr Ken Tan was in the delivery suite ready to go.

Ken examined me, 10cm dilated! That was a huge relief. Apparently I have no shame. I whipped off my dress and kneeled on the bed, leaning against the raised head. And then I pushed. For me, pushing out a breech baby was different. The urge to push wasn’t as strong. There’s no relief once the head is born. It took much longer and was messier than a regular birth.

vaginal twin breech birth story twin a
Twin A, our first daughter
At 6.39pm our first daughter arrived, bottom first, into the world. She was perfect, bright and alert. I held her in awe, we’d made such a beautiful, healthy baby. I wanted to hold her and soak her in. Holding one baby, while the other was still in my belly, was a strange feeling. The respite was short. I passed twin A to Mr Wallace. I remember demanding that he take of his shirt to hold her. Mr Wallace was shy but whipped off his shirt, after Sue told him to do as he was told. Our little girl started hunting around for a nipple!

vaginal twin breech birth story
Twin B, our second daughter
Ken checked twin B’s position. She remained breech and her heart rate was dropping. Ken told me I’d need to push hard. I wasn’t really feeling any contractions, which made it difficult to push effectively. Twin B’s heart rate was at 90. Ken was calm but focused. I’d been leaning against the head of the bed again, but he told me to turn onto my back. Ken needed to do a breech extraction. I’d had no pain relief. He’d previously warned me I’d hate him if he had to do a breech extraction without an epidural.

I needed to get twin B out. Ken reached inside me and grabbed hold of her foot. Sue was putting pressure on my stomach to push her downwards. It was intense and rather unpleasant. With Ken’s instruction I pushed her body out. Then her head got stuck. I searched the sea of faces for Mr Wallace. I needed a familiar, supportive face. The poor guy had sat down. He was feeling wobbly at the sight of a baby limp and dangling from me.

Twin B had her arm up against her head. Her heart rate had dropped to 50. Ken was able to pull her arm down. Once he’d done that I pushed her head out. Our second daughter was born at 6.55pm. She gave a small cry. That cry was the sweetest sound I have ever heard. Despite her rough entrance into the world, she didn’t need oxygen or any medical treatment. It was a relief to hold my sweet little girl in my arms.

vaginal twin breech birth story
My first cuddle with the twins
Twin A weighed 3.22kg and was 47cm long. Twin B weighed 2.89kg and was also 47cm long. Two healthy, gorgeous daughters. Born bottom first in a drug free labour, at 40 weeks and one day. The labour wasn’t without drama but realistically, birthing the second twin seems to be the challenge in twin births.

I’ll be forever grateful to Sue and Ken for their support and skill during the twin’s birth. Without them, this birth story would have been very different.

A vaginal twin breech birth, at full term and without pain relief, made me a reluctant hero in hospital. But I never doubted I could do it. As the saying goes, I don’t like to gamble, but if there is one thing I am willing to bet on it is myself. I can and I did! Women’s bodies and our ability to birth are amazing.

For the record, I don’t hate Ken! If you have any questions about twin breech birth, fire away!

38 thoughts on “I can and I am! Part Two of my twin breech birth story

  1. Fantastic!!! What is it with baby’s having their arms up around their heads?! Punky had her arm wrapped around her neck and it was not a pleasant experience so I can’t imagine it in reverse! Well done, Mama, you definitely did it!!!

  2. You have always been true to yourself Claire! I loved reading your birth story and it brought a tear to my eye. Can’t wait to meet your girls x

  3. Wow wow (double wow for the girls, of course) but wow to you! You are awesome…and that you did the breech birth this way is again testament to your courage and stubborn nature. But you never had doubt. That was your ‘ace up the sleeve’ trick. You always knew YOU COULD and YOU WOULD. Denyse xxx

  4. Wow! What a story! You are an amazing mum, the girls are lucky to have such a strong loving mother! 🙂 xxxx

  5. I am in awe! and I am so glad that you had supportive staff around you that meant you were able to birth exactly the way you knew you could but also in an environment with all the support if you needed it.

    Big love xoxo

  6. Wow!! I couldn’t wait to hear the rest of the story and have been regularly checking your blog for part 2…it didn’t disappoint!! Amazing story, big congratulations to you x

  7. Beautiful story; it’s so nice reading another drug free vaginal birth! I totally agree about how ‘different’ it is to a normal birth. Well done mama, what an amazing way to bring your daughters into the world!

    1. There certainly aren’t many drug free vaginal breech births are there? Especially not twins! I think I’d prefer a vertex baby, but I’ve read some women prefer their breech births! What are your thoughts?

  8. Claire, when we spoke in December at the Christmas show I never would have believed what you have been through. You are a inspiration. Well done to you, and to Mr Wallace.Bravo and thank you for sharing your incredible belief in yourself, I can and I will. Anne

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Anne. The biggest challenge was finding an OB that would support the breech birth of the twins.

  9. Simply lovely! Good for you. As an american midwife, I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind. I was curious, when looking at your beautiful babies. In the photo they have somewhat different skin tones. Is that a blessing of the genetics of your family, or did it have to do with birth order and when umbilical cord was clamped? If not genetic, I’m curious as to which was first born, and if you have any record of how long each of their cords were left intact? I’ve been researching the benefits of delayed cord clamping and sometimes twins make an excellent research subject as many times one of the babies has the cord clamp very quickly due to circumstances. Thank you for tolerating my nosy questions.

    1. Hi Tracey, sorry it has taken me some time to reply. I am not sure about the cod clamping. I think the second twins cord would have been cute very quickly. The twin with the darker skin in these photos had jaundice, which I think is the reason for the difference in their skin colours.

  10. Wow well done what an amazing story. I got butterflies reading this. My boy was born breech last year but his position hadn’t been noticed until he was being born. I had planned a homebirth so he was planned homebirth unplanned breech! He had a hard time and spent the first 2 weeks in NICU. He is home with me now and 100% fine praise God. I wrote his birth story on my blog. Found you through Insta 🙂

    1. I’m sorry to hear your little man had a rough start! Your story about unnoticed breech is exactly why OBs still need to be trained in breech birth! But that’s a different post.

  11. You are amazing! Well done! What a beautiful story you have to tell your daughters about their arrival into the world! 🙂

    The only thing I had even vaguely similar to your story was when I waited too long thinking it was another false alarm labour with baby boy and so by the time I woke hubby up we had to call my mother in law over to look after my eldest instead of my mum like I’d planned. (My mum lived too far away and hubby was worried she wouldn’t make it in time. I’m glad I listened as baby boy came so quickly we would have still been at home waiting for my mum!)
    My plans of trying to be ‘prim and proper’ in front of my mother in law vanished as the contractions got worse and I was on all fours trying to sway through them, as I couldn’t make a noise for fear of waking our toddler. Bless her, she’s never mentioned it since though! Labouring in front of your inlaws definitely is a different experience! I can’t imagine it was fun for her either.

    Congratulations on the safe arrival of your beautiful girls.

    1. Thanks Mica. Yes, labouring in front of your in-laws really ought to be avoided! How long after arriving at hospital was your son born?

  12. Claire, what an inspiring, beautiful story. I cried! I’m pregnant with twins, but they share a placenta. Do you think you would have done the same had your babies been in together? This is my first pregnancy. I’d always planned a drug-free, natural birth, but now so many things have changed.

    1. Oh Lexi, thank you! Your type of twins are different and I just don’t know. I do know that I wouldn’t have been so adamant about my wishes if it were my first pregnancy because I’d have lacked confidence. Do your research and remember that the Drs can’t do anything to you without your consent. Wishing you all the very best for your pregnancy and the twins birth.

  13. I just finished reading your wonderful birth story! Amazing! I am currently heading into week 38 with my di/di twin boys. I’m becoming all to familiar with the questions and comments of friends who think themselves more eager to hear of the twins arrival than me!

    My boys were both breech at 33 weeks but thankfully Baby A switched by 36. I never even considered going full term. I should mention I’m an American living in France and the system here for delivery isn’t at user friendly. I do agree though that it is important to find a doctor who is for you and supports you. My doctor, speaks English and is very confident. Even when the twins were both breech he said he could do it.

    So encouraging to hear your story. I must admit I was a bit bummed last week when I went in for fetal monitoring and the midwife said my cervix was closed 🙁

    Please send positive twino mom vibes this way!

  14. Oh my goodness, you at such an inspiration!! I have been fighting with my local hospital to find someone willing to let me have a natural birth. I am in a similar position in that I am DiDi with two successful natural labour’s under my belt. They were both planned home births. I also have a history of successful breech in my family and thus far have had a very healthy pregnancy. I am 31 weeks at the moment with t1 breech and t2, who is ever so slightly bigger head down. Both good weights though, at this stage I am told They also indicated that they won’t ‘allow’ vaginal delivery if t1 is breech and also I wouldn’t be allowed to go past 38w, also that epidural were mandatory. ‘Not eligible’ for a midwife I have been fighting every bloody ob that I meet in expressing my wishes and have countless tactics employed into scaring me into submission including gross distortion of statistics and a two(male) doctors admitting that epidurals help relieve the anxiety of the doctor…I am a researcher and know my data. You have given courage to push ahead with trusting in in my body to do what I know it can do, as I have done all along. I have to admit it is hard though in the face of such opposition but your mantra is great. Thank you!!!

    1. Oh Selina, the battle to find an OB who supports your birth wishes is tough. In fact, the stress in the weeks leading up to my girls birth was hands down harder than their actual birth! Have you joined the ‘Birthing Multiples Naturally’ group on Facebook? There’s some great information there and a wonderful group of supportive women. Good luck, and back yourself! I’d love to hear of the safe arrival of your twins when it happens.

  15. I’ve just discovered you upon googling “having twins Canberra” – I’ve got a four year old daughter and two year old son, and have just discovered that number three is actually numbers three and four… feeling completely overwhelmed and quite freaked out, to be honest, but your posts are giving me courage that we can do this!

    I had Ken as my obstetrician for my daughter as I was managed by the Foetal Medicine Unit in Canberra Hospital where he then worked (I believe he had moved on by the time I had my son). Amongst various waves of terror that I have been experiencing since getting the news, I’m now worrying that I won’t be allowed to give birth naturally (I have blood clotting problems which make my pregnancies high risk in any case) – so your story is calming those aspects of my fears at least. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. All the very best with your pregnancy and birth! It’s such a touch path to navigate at times. If you have any Canberra ‘twins’ questions, please shoot me an email xx

  16. I just wanted to come back to let you know how grateful I am for your posts.

    As birth approached, I was essentially told that I couldn’t have a vaginal birth without an epidural at TCH, as I “wouldn’t handle it” if twin 2 turned and had to be manually extracted.

    Well, she did, and I did. Thanks to stories like this one I stuck to my guns and refused the epidural on the day, and duly landed two beautiful babies in a wonderful birth. To be honest, by the time her brother’s large head had made it out, everything else was just details.

    It’s so important to hear these stories and to get a different perspective. Medical risks are one thing but it can often just be a case of what’s most convenient for the doctors. My worst birth was my first (induced at 38 weeks; took three days and every possible intervention) and I’ve never forgiven myself for not questioning more.

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, having an epidural should always be a personal choice rather than an OBs. So often with twin birth especially the mother seems to be restricted by policy or preference, rather than a consideration of her own individual circumstances. Congratulations on the birth of your twins xx

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