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.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! 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.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!