VIEW THEIR BIRTH SLIDESHOW AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE!
Daniels and Samuel’s Birth Story
My story, and theirs began just before I got pregnant the third time. My second son was 13 months old and I so badly wanted another child. A month later we began trying, and we succeeded the first time! I was ecstatic. I began trying to find another Midwife that would be willing to do a homebirth, since I had a homebirth with my second son. However, I realized that this wasn’t going to be a homebirth after all, because almost every midwife I had talked to was completely booked at the time. I was really upset but little did I know God had a bigger plan.
My next decision from here was to plan to give birth at the Birth Center of Baton Rouge. I called and made my first prenatal appointment with them, however, at my dating ultrasound, we discovered we were having twins! I can’t say that I was really surprised because for some reason, at least three different times in this pregnancy, I actually thought we were having twins. So I was not as in shock as what most people would have been. Looking back, I know it was the Lord letting me in on his plans ahead of time. Needless to say, a birth at the birth center was no longer an option because we could not have twins there. My only option at this point was giving birth at the hospital. Oh the hospital! My worst nightmare.
I spent the next few months trying to grasp the fact that not only were we having twins, which would make children three and four for us, but we were also going to have to give birth away from home. This was not an ideal situation, but one I would have to accept. You see, my first birth experience, while completely unmedicated, was quite tramatic for me. I had my first son in the same hospital I would have these twins. I was a bit apprehensive, however, I began my journey with the hospital once we hit the second trimester and on.
My prenatal appointments began to be quite uncertain for me. In my particular case, I had twins in two separate sacks with two separate placentas. This is known as dichorionic (di-di). This is the least risky of the three different types of twins one can have. This, thankfully, was not why my appointments were uncertain. Every time I would go into an appointment, I was told that nothing could be certain until we felt things out in labor. I was not used to this as my other births went quite smoothly. I definitely hated this feeling, but knew that I needed to trust in whatever God had in store for me. Though this was not easy, I was hanging onto him with all that I had.
By 28 weeks, I went in for an ultrasound, and found out that baby A was breech and baby B was transverse. It was at this point that a cesarean section finally became real to me. I was terrified. I remember going back-and-forth with my Doula quite often at this point. I’m sure she was quite tired of hearing me freak out all the time about possibly having a cesarean. I soon began seeking out chiropractic care and doing some SpinningBabies techniques to try to get baby A to flip, but to no avail.
Around my 30 or 32 week mark, I began seeing a different provider who told me they would be willing to deliver baby a breech. Finally, there was hope! I felt a new sense of energy that I had lost with the previous weeks. Unfortunately, this provider would be on vacation just before my due date. I felt this was a huge blow, but kept on pressing through. In my mind, I knew that God will provide for these babies’ births, but I still kept freaking out on the outside. How on earth would I be able to do this? Buy my 35th mark, I hit the multiple pregnancy wall. I could not sleep well at night, was tired all the time, and could hardly move. I was done! Oh joy! I had five more weeks to go. I was sure at this point, I would go into labor early. So once I hit 37 weeks, we decided to start inducing naturally. By 38 weeks, I decided to go ahead and get my membranes swept for the first time. I did this over the course of a week and must have had them sweat four or more times. Each time, I would be a little bit crampy, but nothing to write home about. When I started the membranes sweeps, I was at 3 1/2 for dilation, but I was stretched to a four and remained that way for the next week.
On Thursday, 26 May, my wedding anniversary, we decided to officially be induced [with pitocin]. We decided this because at this point, I had about a day to go into labor before my provider would not be there to deliver baby a vaginally. This provider was the only one that felt comfortable doing this. Normally, I would never consider inducing at all, but because of the time constraints I placed on myself, I figured this was the only way. It was either do this or face a cesarean. So, we scheduled the induction for midnight that night.
By about 3 o’clock the next day, I was maxed out on pit with little to no change. After talking with my birth team, we decided to take a break from the Pitocin and regroup so, for the next few hours, I was unhooked from the Pitocin and able to eat and take a shower as well as power walk.
I decided to try Cytotec/Misoprostol to see if that would make some progress. We started this at around midnight. After two rounds of this, the next morning we decided to go ahead and break the water bag. I really did not want to do this at first, because I knew once this happened I would officially be on a time clock. However, I decided to go with it because at this point, we were thinking that baby A could not really come down because of the water bag being in the way. So, at between nine something and 10 something (I don’t remember which) I had my water bag broken. A few minutes later, but what seemed like a few seconds to me, contractions started on their own.
Originally, we were going to begin Pitocin with breaking my bag of water, but once contractions started we realized we did not need to. My body had started labor on it’s own once the water bag was broken. Finally, some progress! I should mention here that before my water back was broken, I was found to be 6 cm dilated. So the Cytotec did make some progress for me. I bounced on the ball during contractions at first, and as they continued to get stronger, I needed to stand up and move.
The stronger they got, the more I wanted to get in the tub. Because I was having twins, and the monitors would interfere with each other, I was not able to give birth in the water. However, I was able to labor in the tub for a few minutes before having to get out.
Once on my hands and knees, baby Daniel was out in a few pushes. He came out butt first. I was surprised that this birth did not feel any different from my other babies. I expected it to be a bit more intense. While of the ring of fire was a lot more intense than I remembered, that could have been because I did not give birth in the water this time.
To see a complete progression, click here
So the first baby was out! Sweet relief… But not for long. Shortly after Daniel came, I began having contractions again and could no longer hold him. I was then told to get on my back to check Samuels position. Now this, by far, was the worst part of labor. At this point, I was in agony and screaming. They soon found that Samuel had flipped transverse, so the OB suggested that he manually be moved to a breech presentation. When she reached in, she could not feel the baby, only the water bag. So, she reached in and broke the bag and immediately he flipped head down! I was thrilled!
I proceeded to stand up and give birth to Samuel while squatting. He pretty much came out in one push! It was done! Well besides the placentas anyway. Once both of the placentas were out, I could finally relax with my babies. They latched on almost right away, and our breastfeeding relationship began.
This whole experience has changed my life. It has humbled me in so many ways. Though it was not without pain and at times doubting myself, I would do it all over again.
I was Britt’s doula and birth photographer for her second baby, a home birth. So, I was excited when Britt sent me a picture last September with a positive pregnancy test. I knew how badly Britt wanted another baby, and with her breastfeeding relationship with her youngest, I was hoping it wouldn’t be a long wait. It wasn’t!
We currently do not have any practicing midwives in Baton Rouge, but there are several midwives that are willing to attend births here, given they aren’t busy in their own areas. Unfortunately, none were available for her due date. So, she looked into our local birth center. For some reason, I just knew Britt was going to have twins, so when she called to tell me about her first ultrasound, I was ecstatic to hear that she was actually having twins!!! But, knowing her first birth experience, I also knew this wasn’t going to be easy for Britt to accept a hospital birth. I didn’t say anything.
Over the course of her pregnancy, we’d have many discussions about her pregnancy and the many options and outcomes for birth. She expressed to me that she wasn’t feeling confident with the providers she had been seeing, so she decided to seek out the opinion of another OB. She said the appointment went well, but that things were still left uncertain with how birth would go, especially since twin A was in a breech position with B flipping from breech oblique to vertex oblique.
On a Thursday, at 38 weeks, Britt decided to have her membranes stripped to try and get labor going. I attended her appointment with her and we were all pretty confident and hopeful labor would start. It didn’t. Monday again, didn’t work. Tuesday, didn’t work. Why so many? Her provider, the only provider experienced and comfortable catching twin A breech, was going to be leaving for vacation. If Britt waited for labor to begin on it’s own, her chances of a vaginal delivery would have reduced quite a bit. After discussion of pros and cons, Britt decided to go in for a midnight induction that Thursday.
I knew an induction took time, but I didn’t want to discourage Britt. I knew what pitocin contractions felt like but I’ve also seen pit barely affect a laboring mom in terms of discomfort. So, we waited. We turned down the lights, Britt tried to get some rest in bed, Joel slept on the pull out couch, Ariel in a chair, and I took up in the bathroom tub (not half bad with enough pillows!!).
The numbers on the pump kept going up, maxing out, but there was no significant change for Britt. I felt horrible for her. By the next evening we were all starting to hit our walls. We were all frustrated for Britt and none of us had really been eating like we should have. Britt decided to have the pit turned off to get some sleep and have Cytotec/Misoprostol placed at midnight. I decided to go home to get some sleep about 10p and told Britt to call be before they started. We had a bit of confusion and I didn’t get back to the hospital until after the first dose had been placed. Britt called me as I was pulling into the parking lot, suggesting I stay home and sleep some more. I met back up with Britt around 4a when they were placing the second round of meds, she had made slight change. YAY!
Sometime between then and the time the 3rd dose was to be placed, Britt and I had a good heart-to-heart and really discussed her options. More Cytotec/Misoprostol, pitocin, breaking her water and the risks, risk of cesarean birth, risk of nothing happening and her being drained emotionally and physically. With her (amazing) nurse present, I mentioned how baby’s membrane acts as a cution and that it was possible that between the bag of water and B’s presentation, A just wasn’t able to descend and apply pressure like a baby normally would. Britt decided she wanted to go ahead with breaking A’s bag around 10a.
About 7a, Britt got up, ordered breakfast, and was able to get in a refreshing bath while her worship music was playing. I left to give them space before things got more serious to grab coffee, breakfast, and donuts for the nurses. When I returned I ate and tidied up the room, 1) so things wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle 2) because I’m a photographer and like clean spaces in photos (lol). At 10a, her provider came in, Britt explained what she wanted to do, and proceeded to break her water bag. Instantly, I mean immediately, Britt started to contract and I knew this was going to be quick like her last birth. We were off to the races!!
I stood back to see where Britt was going with this. Was it just an immediate reaction to her water being broken that would slow down, or was this moving forward and not stopping? I also wanted her to find her pace and see what she wanted to do. After being on the ball and up and down off the bed for a while, Britt was requesting a portable tub to labor in (she wasn’t able to birth in the tub since the portable monitors would cross and interfere with one another, not being able to pick up both baby’s heart tones). The nurse needed to double check with Britt’s provider, but I knew where this was headed. I suggested Britt get into her bathroom tub, nothing ideal for labor, while her nurse checked. I turned to the nurse and told her to get everyone ready, these babies were coming fast based on what I was seeing and compared to what I had seen in her previous birth.
Her day nurse needed to get heart tones on the babies simultaneously, but the cord was just a smidge too short. She was requesting Britt get out of the tub just for a moment, but just then Britt started grunting with her contractions. We all suggested she get out because the babies would be coming soon and she reluctantly did. I felt awful since I had a similar experience with my last baby and didn’t want to get out of that water. As she got closer to the bed, she said she couldn’t get up and I replied to her with, “Yes you can! You can do this! Get on the bed!” Within minutes, baby A was crowning, butt first. I grabbed my camera and started to shoot.
One nurse announced meconium with a concerned face, but Britt’s experienced provider reassured her that it was ok, normal, and common for breech babies to do this. Delivery was FAST with 3 providers, 2 nurses for Britt and 2 nurses each for the babies. After A was completely born, but not taking a breath or crying, I heard Britt’s primary provider announce that again, this was ok, common, and normal for breech babies, how it just takes a few more seconds for them. Sure enough, he belted out right after she said this. I was so happy for her to be there, to be calm, and use the experience to teach the other provider present.
A, Daniel, was handed to Britt, but due to his short cord, they cut and had Britt flip to her back. One, so she could hold him better, and two so they could get a position on baby B with an ultrasound. They found he was transverse, but due to his water bag, the provider could grab anything but that (imagine trying to pinch a wet water balloon). Britt agreed it was ok to break his bag and he immediately went vertex, or head down. Britt wasn’t able to hold Daniel any longer because the contractions became too strong and she wanted to stand up. So, she handed him off to Joel.
At this time, I was at Britt’s head reassuring her and didn’t realize how fast B was coming! I knew how badly she wanted images, but at the same time, knew she needed me where I was. With just a few minutes, I was having an inner dialogue about where I should be, the pros/cons, and before I knew it, I could see baby. Crap!! I just put my camera up, found where focus was ( I always keep it in the same spot), and shot from my hip. Baby B, Samuel, was here!! The room cheered!
Daniel was born at 11:49a weighing 7 pounds 5 ounces and 20 inches long.
Samuel was born at 12:02p weighing 6 pounds 14 ounces and 19.5 inches long.
Placentas were fused and weighted a total of 2 pounds 6.8 ounces. A being
13.68 ounces, B being 16.3 ounces
Being a part of this experience was incredible. The most amazing part was how NORMAL this birth was compared to the many births I’ve attended. It was just another day of babies coming into the world. I think it was a couple days before we started to realize the accomplishment Britt had really achieved. The persistence and confidence she had while the rest of us reserved concern. I’d be lying if I didn’t question the possible outcomes and “what if’s”. BUT SHE DID IT! SHE WAS AMAZING! SHE ROCKED HER BIRTH!
Be persistent! Exhaust all options! Find peace with whatever birth you choose or need to choose due to medical reasons. 💜
At this time we wish to not openly share the provider before speaking with them, only because this was such a long process met with many discussions and uncertainty amongst her providers. We don’t want to make it seem like this will happen with every scenario, give false hope, or lower the chances of another family having this option. Hopefully, we’ll get to a place with providers that this isn’t an issue!!
The story of a child’s birth will always have a different version between mom, dad, and myself. Before any stories are shared from my perspective, as a client’s doula or photographer, the client and I have discussed their birth and it is posted when the client is ready for me to share. Clients always share their story first, either in text or conversation, before my experience. It is important to not alter a woman’s perspective of her birth. All clients see their blog post for approval prior to public posting.
Daniel and Samuel from Jennifer Wakefield on Vimeo.
Whoa! What a year 2015 has been for me. It brought me into some amazing people’s lives allowing me to complete 12 Doula Births – 7 girls 5 boys, 6 Birth Stories, 10 Fresh48/Newborn Sessions, and 56 Placentas!!
I’m a solo doula/business owner, and I’d say this was my 2 year, make or break mark with my doula and doula related services. What does that mean? On average, most doulas do not continue past 2 years. Either it wasn’t what they expected, realize they pay does not compare to the workload, or they find they do not have the time to commit with personal family life.
The start of 2015 was the end of my certification phase and the beginning of what I feel my “real” work began. I was no longer a trying to accomplish that initial goal of becoming certified, I was certified. This was it, I was the expert.
I grew exponentially as a doula, a business, and now venturing into being a mentor, not something I had ever envisioned doing. Not only did I complete my DONA, International certification, but I also obtained my APPA certification for placenta encapsulation.
Photography made a comeback appearance this year as well, the thing that started this whole mess 6 years ago ;), and I’ve fallen right back in love with it. When I am behind the camera, I see my environment in a completely different manner. I instantly become a documentarian and remove myself from the storyline. While I keep the same on-call schedule as I do with my birth clients, it is a completely different experience for me.
I’ve had the opportunity to make many new professional connections this year in my local birth community, as well as worldwide. I am so grateful for every single one of them!
2015 also brought some pretty amazing clients, all with such different and wonderful births. First time moms and VBAC’s; planned and unexpected cesarean births; medicated and unmedicated births. I was witness to them all, and they were all beautiful.
I expanded my knowledge through several workshops and courses this year, one being a very fun and interactive SpinningBabies workshop with Tammy Ryan… we had SIX of our local OB’s attened… SIX! We had such a fantastic group of providers and birth professionals from around the state. Doulas, midwives, nurses, OB’s, chiropractors, massage therapists… it was great!
I received a scholarship to StillBirthDay.com University, and starting next week, I’ll be starting their intense 12 week program. It’s never something we think of when we start this work, but it is our reality and we must know how to be there for our clients in the best way possible.
There have been highs and lows, sleep deprivation, happiness and sadness, doubt and certainty. I wouldn’t change it for the world. It was an amazing year and I hope 2016 brings me more challenges and growth!
Some things you can expect the first half of the year in 2016!
I hope you all had a fantastic 2015 as well!!
Happy New Year!!