"My Greek Grandmother Had Twins": a birth story

Don’t you love it when people tell you stories about how their grandmothers gave birth?

One of my favourite grand mother stories was told to me by a client. My client was a Greek woman who only came to see me because she was “dragged” by her (also pregnant) friend.

This lovely pregnant Greek woman was terrified about having her second baby because she had had a bad forceps pull out with her first born. She wanted me to coach her in the hospital and protect her from interventions. One prenatal visit, she told me the story of her grandmother’s birth, as follows:

“My grandmother was expecting her first child. She lived in a small village in Greece where everyone knew each other and knew everyone else’s business, too. She was overdue and everyone would make remarks to her about “When are you going to have that baby.” She felt so huge, fed up and discouraged, she decided to ride her donkey to the next village to visit her married sister for the day.
Pregnant woman on a donkey
On the way back home, she realized she was getting stronger and stronger cramping and, she finally had to get down off the donkey and squat down. When she did that, she gave birth to the baby. With the placenta still inside her, she wrapped the baby in her skirts and got back on the donkey to continue on home. She hadn’t gone too much further along the road when the cramping returned and she again got off the donkey, squatted to give birth to the placenta, but, no, it was another baby. . . . she had given birth to twins! The placenta came out shortly after and she wrapped the two babies and the placenta in her skirts, mounted the donkey again and rode into her village a proud mama.”

When I heard this story, I knew that the grand daughter would give birth just fine, too. I said to her “You are from good childbearing stock and all we have to do is keep the medical people away from you.” Her birth was great. We got to the hospital when she was at 9 cms dilated. We went into a nice room where she immediately released her membranes on the floor, squatted down at the end of the bed, doctor came in and caught the baby down on the floor. The legacy was returned to this family. Gloria

Megan’s third son, born at home

10 lb 12 oz boy.  Born April 1st 2009 @ 4:40pm

My Third Birth ~ Laticus
 

I surprised myself with this pregnancy; it’s amazing how things are always so different yet the same. My due date was March 20th 2009, but this baby didn’t care much for March. Each date in the future I set as a goal for my third birth I watched go by without a care. Part of me was so impatient to have this baby born and the other part didn’t mind if it took forever, because I was scared about what life would be like with three. I was one week and 5 days past my due date when he decided to come. April 1, 2009 my April fools baby, I like to imagine that he’ll have a great sense of humour!

The night before the birth the only indication I had was that my mucus plug came out before bed but I didn’t think too much of it because I had lost that a few times before my second boy was born, but I did get a little excited. I didn’t tell anyone, I thought if I kept it to myself it might actually mean it was time.
The next morning it was our weekend so my spouse was home (thank goodness) and we put on a new movie to watch with the kids. I had been having contractions since I first opened my eyes that morning but they were slight and I wasn’t watching the clock. Again, I didn’t want to acknowledge what was going on because I thought, if I did, it would be a false alarm. But, as an hour or two went by, my heart beat went up and I made a phone call to my doula to ask if she thought it might be time. She urged me to call my birth attendant, and when I did that, I knew it was time because she took me way more seriously than I took myself!

So, I went and sat beside my spouse who was still watching the movie with the kids and told him my doula and attendant were on their way cause we were having a baby today . . . He was like, “WHAT, REALLY?” It was funny to surprise him like that, he was mostly shocked because I was so calm but sure.While we waited for them to get to the house we put the kids downstairs to play and moved around the furniture in the living room and got out the birth supplies. We pumped up the pool but didn’t fill it yet.

My team arrived and just faded into the back ground. They took care of the kids so my spouse could be glued to my side just like I needed him to be. It was lovely.  He came with me everywhere, I didn’t even need to ask, he just knew. Every time I had a contraction I would just lean on him and he would hold me and rub me and it was so much closer to heaven than hell. The day went on like that and time passed quite quickly for me. My contractions weren’t super close together or super unbearable so part of me was worried this was going to take forever. But sure enough around 3:30-4ish I was feeling like I could get in that pool I was SO looking forward to being in it for the first time. It was so wonderful having the next place to go. I was just starting to get to the point where it wasn’t any fun anymore, where I was having those ‘I don’t want to do this’ thoughts. Then I got in and it WAS heaven; I remember smiling and trying to explain to my spouse how great and neat and cool and wonderful it was! I could stretch my body out long and float, I could move around with such ease!

My wise and lovely Birth Attendant had asked me earlier when I thought I was going to have my baby that day and I told her I didn’t know but in my head I was saying around dinner time, but I didn’t believe myself. I should’ve known better, my birth attendant had gotten it in her head to go to the store to get us some things. She came to tell me so and I wanted to tell her it wasn’t a good idea, but at the same time I thought “sure, why not?” Sure enough, not 15 min after she left my water broke and things got real intense, real fast. It was so neat feeling my water break under the water! I didn’t know what had happened at first! I had felt the huge pressure and then I felt something come out and I was all looking around franticly wondering what it was! And here it was just me adding some more water to the pool! Right away, my spouse asked me if he should get in with me and I said yes (I’ve never seen his shorts come off so fast!) My doula called my attendant and told her to come back. Right away, I could feel the baby down low getting good and ready to meet the world. I remember being so shocked I was at the end of the road already! I remember feeling so blessed it was so ‘easy’.  HA.

My spouse was to receive the baby so he was in front of my and I was lying back in the pool, I remember feeling the immense pressure and saying, “I don’t like this part!” The head birthed with not much help from me and I had a moment of rest. I knew to take it slow and follow my own sensations and urges. The problem was, after the head came out, I didn’t have any. I started to get anxious. I wanted to wait for a contraction to push but I just wasn’t having one and I felt the need to do something. So I pushed anyway just strong little pushes until, finally, I got a contraction to back me up and then I gave it my ALL and my all was what it took. It was so surprising to me to have to ‘push’ the third baby out since my second baby just ‘shot’ right out of me.

Finally, he was out and my spouse brought him slowly up to the surface. I had planned on letting him have a moment with the baby but I remember getting up and just taking that baby right into my arms. I remember thinking, “Give me that thing!” I took a quick look between the legs and seeing for the first time what my surprise baby’s sex was . . . My third boy, I remember thinking that that was going to hurt later, but not now. Now I just looked him over and held him in my arms. I was amazed that I had just had the birth I had always wanted but hadn’t, till now, seemed able to get.

We sat there in the water for awhile, my spouse got in behind me and I laid back on him. I wanted to relax until the placenta came out but the baby didn’t want to nurse right away and was crying because I had tried to get him on my breast one too many times. Also, it was quite warm in there.

So I started to focus on that placenta getting out of me. I pushed with my contractions but the weirdest thing, only half of it came out of me and no matter how I pushed the rest wouldn’t come out. So, finally, I got up on my knees with some help, the baby still in my arms of course. And I remember reaching down and feeling the placenta in the water half out of my body, half in. I think I gave it a tiny pull with a push and it came right out. I was so relieved, it was really over now.

I got out of the pool right away. I got myself over to the couch and lay down to nurse my baby for the first time. We didn’t cut the cord until after the placenta had been out for at least an hour, which was a whole hour longer than with my first two babies.Laticus’ was my third birth but his was my first home birth, my first water birth, my first unassisted birth, and the first birth that I wouldn’t change anything about.