I wanted to share a story where I came in direct conflict with the protocols and values of an ever changing establishment , a system made of thousands of individuals. This government system that bent and adjusted to work with me because I believed in my goals and values. I asked, I acted and I worked with the best support people I could find that respected my values as an individual. Why?..to find out if my goal was possible....so I absolutely committed.....
About five years ago, I discovered I was pregnant with twins. Although this journey brought about many different changes and adjustments to my life, the biggest was realising I was going to need help and support to achieve the optimal birthing experience.
What I want to share (from my perspective) with you is the medical journey I took to achieve a fantastic outcome to my pregnancy.
You see, although every business, medical or otherwise, usually has its own standard protocols to follow in any situation, such as pregnancy, you always have the choice to lead your own journey. You just need to know what you want , as I was about to discover.
Although I was over 40, I had interestingly spent the previous year reflecting on my journey, a lost marriage, whether to continue in my life field or work and how I wanted to adjust my work. I spent the time looking after myself physically as well, running every day, drinking my green juices and taking supplements, being out in nature daily and so on. In fact, without even intending to, I had set my-self up as best I could to have a twin pregnancy…funny that…
Despite the fact that it was unplanned, I wanted my twin pregnancy to come to term. When I had a very significant bleed at about three months, I decided to go to the doctor to find out what had happened. Her immediate response was negative in every way. As my age presented a massive risk for all sorts of disastrous outcomes, she handed me information on abortion. Instead, I asked for and got a referral for an ultrasound to see what was happening—essentially to see if I was pregnant or not.
I did agree to have blood tests (all completely clear and healthy), but I knew the health of my body and had no concerns about this—I trusted my intuition, instincts and knew my body well, so the doctor’s fears and negativity fell on deaf ears.
So, I went to get the scan ASAP; it may have been the same day, I think. I wasn’t expecting anything in particular, but I was eager to know, was I or wasn’t I???
As the young man providing my scan rolled the wand over my abdomen, he showed us the screen and matter of factly said (as if we already knew), “There’s Twin A and there’s Twin B…”
My life was on a new and very clear path.
Realising home birthing was probably off the table, I got in contact with a hospital, thinking prenatal classes would be very advisable this time. But I was told that they didn’t have twin pregnancies attend antenatal classes. What? And that she would need to book me in with the doctor three weeks prior to my due date for intervention, and I would not be allowed midwifery support as I was having twins. As she continued with her hospitals set of protocols for my ‘condition’, alarm bells were screaming in my head. I stopped her and said, “I wont be doing that, If something were to be troubling during my pregnancy, absolutely I would discuss appropriate options at the time, but I would not be booking in for such a process.” Interestingly, as we discussed the matter and the systems limitations in general (and it was a discussion), the nurse’s manner changed from cold and matter of fact to warm and respectful. She understood that I was in control of my journey and owned my pregnancy. Another hospital was recommended to help me achieve a more natural birthing experience.
In the end, I gave birth to my twins after their due date, and I had the midwife from the hospital come over to provide an internal to strength my contractions, which had started but I knew there were some difficulties due to the positioning of my son. Plus, I knew my kidneys had had enough and it was time to get things moving.
I made sure I was well informed about the staff doctors at the hospital, and I found one who would be involved in both my care during the pregnancy and be available should any issues arise during the delivery . Together, we discussed my written birthing plan, and he worked with me. I also engaged a private midwife, as I was aware my hospital midwife was ultimately bound to “do as she was told” and had to give censored advice, she also may or may not be available at the time of labour. So, I ensured I had a highly qualified, independent midwife who was not under hospital employment, but reassuringly was well respected and known to staff and hospital doctors. (preparing for successful outcomes)
My hospital doctor was scheduled on the labour ward only one night in the week, so that was my focus, I went into labour the same night he was scheduled on. He never came into my birthing room once. Although I have no doubt he knew what was going on. I had a water birth with my first-born twin (totally against protocol) and kept the cord attached with his father holding him as I stepped (gracefully, hahaha) out of the bath and birthed my daughter at the birthing bar. Her cord was cut straight away as she needed some oxygen.
Throughout my delivery the nursing staff that surrounded me were fantastic, fully supportive in every way, they were all aware of my birthing plan and extremely respectful. Even making sure I was informed and okay for my baby girl to get oxygen, it wasn’t essential but recommended as her levels were a bit low.
Here is what was so unexpected to me, as I was somewhat oblivious to external events: Apparently, there was quite a kerfuffle occurring at the nursing station when I was in the bath, due to protocols not being followed and fears of me birthing in the water (among other things)— the concerns of these staff members this never reached me. My supporting people were again fantastic in optimising my delivery experience.
But there were also staff in tears because the nature of my birthing event—an empowered and natural twin birth— had impacted them so greatly.
Let me be clear: I chose to have my scans and continued to the end. I was well prepared to work with the hospital and wanted to be sure both twins remained well fed and healthy while in my womb. I was prepared to have interventions if they were needed and was well informed of all my options. But I was not prepared to treat my body or my pregnancy as a point of disease or condition be managed out of fear and with a focus on possible disasters, when I was presenting as nothing but a healthy pregnancy.
Only you really know you!
I stayed with my Values. Followed my instincts and intuition and remained in a state of mind and awareness of “what is” not in the fear of “what if?”
What I knew that the protocols and system didn’t know or ask about is this: I am an individual, very aware of my physical body. I have sensed when things were going wrong well before physical symptoms occurred and addressed them (some medically) to find my senses were correct. I had prepared the physical health of my body in the previous year so that I was physically strong with no ills whatsoever. In fact, in hindsight it looked like I was in training for a twin pregnancy!
And finally, I had dreamt of my babies and constantly felt them on an emotional and intuitive level. I knew their natures, had sensed their fears and strengths as if they were talking with me, and I had seen my delivery and their birth many times. I already knew the second one would need to have breathing assistance, but would be fine. The only organ I had to take care of for myself was my kidneys, and I knew when they had finally had enough.
Support in any journey you are undertaking or considering is priceless. Take the time to know what you want and who you need and trust your intuition. Surrounding yourself with the right support team is truly rewarding.