The Birth of Twins
On Mandela day this year (2018) I was extremely fortunate to be a Doula for a mom expecting twins (among other mothers). I arrived at the hospital at 09h15 and she was already in first stage labour as she had been induced early. Her babies were both head down and in the perfect position to be born naturally. The doctor was happy for her to labour and go through with a natural birth on condition that both babies remained in the head down position and that there were no unexpected complications.
It was her third pregnancy so she knew the drill. Walk around, stay upright, keep active, eat small snacks regularly and drink lots. Regular visits to the loo and breathe through the pains. Her hubby was with her, so I wasn’t even sure she needed me because she was coping really well all on her own. I encouraged her to bounce on the yoga ball and while we were there, as usual we were laughing and chatting too loudly and Matron had to come and assert her authority. She knows me by now. I don’t keep the ladies quiet in a corner. If there’s one of them with a phone who’s listening to music, we put the volume up and all dance the belly jig. Whatever it takes to get those babies into position and shorten their labour, we Doula that. Besides... dancing and laughing releases endorphins which make the mothers feel good and cope better, so that’s why we do what we do.
Twice during her early labour, I was called by the midwife to help with other mothers who was struggling once their Doulas had left. But both times were quick births, and I spent one hour after the birth with the mother to encourage latching and make sure she was fine with her new little bundle and then back to my lady.
She was transferred to second stage labour (which is where the action all happens) later in the evening and her babies were born just before and just after 11pm. She bore her labour with the most amazing strength. The transfer from early stage labour to the birthing room was the point at which I realised that she needed me. They both did. This was the first time her hubby had been into the birthing room, so he wasn’t really sure how to help her and was watching her pain with a helpless look on his face. I gave him a few tips and got him actively involved. We stood on either side of her and talked her through the rest of the labour encouraging her to breathe and telling her how well she was doing and how amazing she was.
Once it was time for the babies to be born, she pushed perfectly and after the first baby was born, the cord stopped pulsing and dad had cut it, baby was quickly wiped, weighed and measured then given to dad for skin to skin cuddling while I was helping mom to get ready for baby number two.
It looked touch and go for a few minutes because baby two had the cord around her neck and the
wasn’t sure it would be safe to push her out. Mom begged her not to cut after all she’d gone through. So the gynae loosened the cord by hand and baby was ready to be born. 5 minutes later she was in her mother’s arms. Dad again had the privilege of cutting the cord. Such a lovely touch and something he’ll remember for the rest of his life.
I have never felt so thoroughly humbled and amazed at the ability of the human body. The design of a woman’s body and the mechanics of birth take my breath away every time I witness it, but seeing one woman do that twice within 20 minutes was absolutely awe inspiring.