"My birth didn’t go as planned, obviously...
It didn’t go as planned from the very beginning though. Colin and I went back and forth for two years if we wanted to add a third baby to our family, and we finally decided our hearts were calling us for one more little one to add to our family.
When we found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted a home birth and that I wanted Natalie to photograph it. I messaged her immediately because I know she books out sometimes before people are even pregnant! I was only about 5 or 5.5 weeks along.
Then BAM. We were told it was twins around 6.5 weeks. And we were scared and shocked and excited all at the same time. I knew it would be harder to have the birth I envisioned, even in a twin pregnancy with no complications.
This pregnancy was supposed to be my last and it was the one I had hoped would “heal” my previous two that had their own set of emotional complications.
But it was anything but healing. It was the opposite actually.
I had my subchorionic hematomas that scared me away from my home birth plan. I prayed for weeks that my babies would survive and I wouldn’t lose them. I felt guilt because I thought maybe the hematomas were my fault for not being over the moon about twins at first.
We had scares about Sutton and the brain cysts and kidney issues they found that could be completely normal, or trisomy 18.
We had worries about Grayson’s velamentous cord insertion and whether or not I’d be able to have the delivery I wanted due to his variation of normal, cord insertion.
I struggled with so much physical pain and emotional trauma from all of that. And then we added the pandemic to the mix and it was just more than I could handle.
I prayed from 32 weeks that I’d carry to 36 weeks and I could birth MY babies MY way with a supportive birth team in the comfort of my own home with who ever I wanted.
But my water broke at 35+2 and I will never forget that feeling of disappointment in myself. That I couldn’t do it. I didn’t make it those few extra days and I failed my babies and myself. But I had no choice in the matter and I had to accept it for what it was and we loaded our stuff in the car not knowing it would only get worse.
The labor was actually pleasant, up until I was ready to push. And I was wheeled down the hall to the OR, and had LITERALLY 20+ strangers in a tiny room with me. Bright lights, and people frantically running in and out, equipment flying in while in the middle of trying to birth my babies.
Sutton came fast and furious. She was beautiful, and her birth was like my other two, pretty uneventful.
Grayson was breech.
Because we were in a hospital I was lucky they even let me deliver him breech, but it was not with out risk. I was given a split second choice of emergency c-section or breech extraction when he flipped after his sister was born. I opted for the extraction. He came footling breech, pulled out, with his arm stuck up behind his head. I’ll never forget how he looked. It’s permanently engraved in my memory of the most horrifying experience and longest 5 minutes of my my life before he was finally breathing again.
And before I knew it, it was all over and my babies and husband were gone and I was in a room alone, not even knowing when I’d see them or hold them.
They did 13 long days in the NICU that broke me. There were a few times early on I refused to go to the feedings because I didn’t want to see them because when it was time to leave it felt like I was going to die. Literally. It was a pain I will never forget. Imagine the worst heartbreak you’ve ever felt and then multiply that by infinity and you might get semi close.
I questioned if they knew who I was. If we would ever bond. If I would have with them what I have with my older two. I still question those things. And I probably always will.
But today, Natalie came over and so did my midwives who would have been the ones to catch them. And they gave me the “birth” myself and Sutton & Grayson deserved. And quite honestly that Colin and Summer and Tayvin deserved.
They helped me set up my birth pool, and they brewed an herbal bath, and we did everything in the order our birth would have happened.
Me in the pool, me and Sutton, me Sutton and Grayson. We got beautiful pictures of me and them. And we got to include my big kids who missed out on so much with their babies. And then we did the weight and the length and their little footprints and all those moments that count.
And it may not have captured the very moment they were born, but it captured what it SHOULD have been. And it showed me how beautiful my birth would have been if it had gone to plan, and it showed me how beautiful this re-birth was.
I cried and I smiled and I felt all the feels. I had the support of two incredible midwives, a phenomenal photographer, and my three favorite people, Summer, Tayvin, and Colin.
I think we are on our way to healing and really feeling the grief and being able to start focusing on the good, and less of the bad.
These babies and this experience has lit a fire in me for birth and giving birthing mothers the rights and experience we all deserve. I always knew I had that desire, but it’s in a full blaze now.
Welcome to the world, Sutton and Grayson. There’s not a thing in this world that I wouldn’t do for you two."
Natalie Bee is a Spokane, WA Maternity, Birth & Newborn Photographer, certified Birth Doula + mother of four.