Multiples do not run in my family and I did not take any fertility treatments. After I found out I was pregnant with twins, I asked many questions to God, the Universe, whatever you would like to call it. I was confused and scared of the stress and strain of a twin pregnancy. I felt overwhelmed in a new way I hadn’t experienced before. The answer I kept receiving over and over again was that Mack and Sawyer were meant to come into the world together. This is one small part of their story, our story, which I believe spans across time and space, including many past lives together.
This is our birth story.
Once I got past the shock of being pregnant with twins, I had a pretty easy go of it. I was in great health and strong physical shape when the boys were conceived – even my long torso seemed designed to carry two babies. I had a flexible schedule that allowed for me to create space for rest and self-care.
I was in the midst of launching Inner Light, a wellness concept designed to facilitate self-care and healing.
Like any new business owner, I ran myself thin at times, but my gestational state forced me to walk my talk, listen to my body, and take self-care seriously. Starting in December, I was essentially house-bound, resting my giant belly and doing everything I could to keep these babies inside as long as possible.
About a week before Christmas, I woke and felt a little off.
In addition to being extremely uncomfortable and having trouble sleeping, a slight cold and headache began to set in. On Christmas Eve, I sat rubbing my jaw absentmindedly while popping Tums to combat my worsening acid reflux. The pain in my throat and jaw seemed to intensify by the minute and by the next morning, Christmas Day, I was sobbing in pain. We ended up at the Tully Center walk-in clinic, desperate for some help that all the Tylenol and over-the-counter remedies I had tried were failing to fix. Although the doctor did not believe I had a sinus infection, she prescribed me antibiotics and I took them out of desperation. I will never forget sitting on the red leopard chair in my parent’s family room with a heating pad on Christmas night, quietly crying as I felt completely overcome by pain and exhaustion. I had lost the ability to sleep, due to the pain and discomfort, and my ability to eat, due to the acid reflux and pain in my throat.
The next day, I went to my obstetrician for a check-up.
At this stage in a twin pregnancy, it’s all about the health of the babies. The boys were perfect, and I was falling apart.
Not sure what to do with me, my doctor sent me to an ENT to check out the severe pain in my neck and throat that was keeping me up all night, along with my non-stop headache. As soon as I walked in and began to tell my story, the ENT and nurse joined in on my tears, feeling the intensity of the suffering I was in. She found a yeast-infected sore in my throat, and thought the pain in my jaw was TMJ related, prescribing more antibiotics, steroids, and suggesting other pregnancy-safe over-the-counter acid reflux and sleep medications to try. Essentially, my body was completely worn down by my pregnancy and my immune system was shot. As I fell asleep that night, the shooting pain in my neck that had been keeping me awake for the last few nights abated but was replaced by an inability to stop salivating. This may sound odd, or innocuous, but it meant I was constantly swallowing or spitting into a container, and again up all night long. Pain had kept me from eating the past two days, but now I was throwing up anything I tried to eat. I could not even drink water and I became seriously dehydrated.
The next morning, I fell stepping out of the shower and did a split, landing on my bottom.
I could not move. I went to the hospital and while the boys remained in perfect health, I had pulled my groin and was unable to walk even a few steps without screaming in pain.
I was exhausted, depleted, and yet, there was no diagnosis so I was sent home. I sat on my sofa, utterly distraught and unable to make it up the stairs to even lie in bed. I did not know how I was going to make it another week. I was back at the doctor again, daily check-ups are the norm at the end of a multiples pregnancy, and I was finally admitted to the hospital.
I was to stay in the maternity ward until being delivered by Cesarean section on January 4th, the first day they could schedule me past my 37-week mark. Taylor, my husband who had been caring for me every step of the way, chased the doctor downstairs and advocated for me, convincing him to move the surgery to January 2nd. At this point, I had a couple months to come to terms with the reality that I was not going to have the vaginal birth I had wanted. Baby B, Mack, had consistently measured bigger than his brother and was breech. We discussed the options and I decided I would rather have a Cesarean than risk having Baby A vaginally and being rushed into an emergency C-section for Baby B. I was at peace with my Cesarean and unafraid of giving birth at this point, yet I could not see how my body would physically make it almost another week.
I felt hopeless and overlooked as the doctors focused on the health of the babies.
I had no idea how I was expected to give birth in my current state, let alone then breastfeed and raise two newborns. I continued to be unable to sleep, eat, or drink water, and all the IVs of fluids and Tylenol failed to hydrate me or ease my pain. My urine was a brownish orange. The antacids failed, the sleep medication didn’t help, the anti-nausea meds never worked. The swelling that had increased throughout my pregnancy reached new levels – I was unrecognizable. I counted the minutes as they passed, each slower than the next. Sometime in the fog of the night, the nurses had me start a 24 hour-urine sample and my blood pressure readings began to spike.
A new morning meant a new resident, and as she introduced herself she mentioned that I may have pre-eclampsia. What?! We knew what this meant and it had been in the back of our minds, but no one would give us more clarity. The nurses encouraged me to eat a plain baked potato and sent me downstairs to have a check-up on the babies (fetal heart monitoring and an ultrasound). Once again, the boys were perfect! We were so blessed that they continued to grow and thrive. My mother sat with me, and she explained my condition to the nurse, including that I had not had my cervix checked in a couple of weeks. The nurse, who realized I was also having some real contractions according to my scans, decided to call my doctor. A different doctor from the practice arrived and began to review my chart. From behind the curtain I could hear him say, “she has pre-eclampsia, is she scheduled?” The curtain swung aside and the doctor introduced himself. He took my blood pressure and asked me to put down the small cup of water I was attempting to sip from. “When’s the last time you ate?” I was immediately sent to labor and delivery, and surgery was scheduled for 5:30pm that night.
It was the longest day. I felt immense relief that I was finally scheduled for delivery, but continued to fear that they would delay the surgery for one reason or another.
Taylor rushed from the office to our home to pack our half-packed hospital bags. I sat staring at the clock, and trying the best I could to relax. While Taylor installed the car seats and rushed back to the hospital, the nurse told me to put away my phone and “enjoy the last few hours you’ll ever have alone.” I remember being surprised by how uncomfortable I was, how much pain I was still in, even though I knew the boys were coming soon. Taylor and I waited together, talking about our life, the boys names and the fact that we felt ready to meet them. Taylor was nervous and asked a million questions, which the nurses answered gently - the labor & delivery nurses were so kind and it was the first time I felt seen by the medical team. I had no fear about the surgery - I was ready and determined. I had a shot for the boys lungs, which hurt like hell, and Taylor got dressed into his scrubs. His magical energy kept me distracted from my pain and I was wheeled into surgery at 6pm.
And then an angel appeared.
A sweet, funny nurse I had not met yet wheeled me into the OR. She helped me onto the operating table with my back bare and exposed, and she layered my front-side in blankets and a warm hug. The room was full of people, two baby warmers stood nearby, the lights were so bright, but I was completely focused on staying calm and grounded that I barely noticed my surroundings. The nurse walked me through what would happen as she held me tight, and soon the anesthesiologist numbed my back and slid the needle into my spine. What felt like an army of people slowly lowered me onto the table and put up the tent, as I felt my lower body go numb. I wasn’t all there, perhaps from the days of pain, medications, or the spinal tap, and I just remember being so anxious for Taylor to enter the room. He sat down next to my head and held my hand, and his presence provided immense relief despite his own nerves. Even before he walked in, I had been cut open. I was numb, but could sense the knife across my belly.
There was no pain, but intense pressure and movement as they sliced my muscle and moved my organs and began to extract Baby A.
There was a rush of energy and then Sawyer was crying.
For days I had been emotionally shut down as a way of delaying with the physical pain I was in, and in a moment I was broken open and crying harder than I ever had in my life.
It was like a warm wave felt throughout my energetic body. It was a powerful, profound sensation that I had never felt before.
It was completely overwhelming and I squinted up at Taylor and Sawyer in his arms through my tears. Next thing I know, I hear my doctor say he has Baby B’s butt and I feel a warm liquid – he had peed while being pulled out! His cry was incredibly different than his brother and I felt this same overwhelming warm wave throughout my body. Taylor held both boys and on some level I felt an intense need to hold them and to be held myself, but I was paralyzed on the operating table with the surgical tent almost up to my neck. It’s an odd feeling, to lay there, with your whole world just having been changed and having doctors make small talk with you as they put your organs back in and sew you up.
Taylor had already been escorted out of the room, and at some point they brought me back in the room, and then they brought the babies in.
I remember holding them, and my parents walking in and seeing my dad’s face, but not much else.
I was just trying to hold myself together. I was in survival mode. In retrospect, I wish I had been able to do skin-to-skin with them, I wish I had tried to get them to latch, but it was the nurses priority to get me onto magnesium as fast as possible. The babies went to the nursery, I was put on a 12 hour magnesium drip, and the nurses started pumping me for colostrum, the first breast-milk, which they sent to the boys. I was completely out of it – I don’t know which of the drugs they gave me induced my state, but I felt elated, feverish, I itched all over, and was unable to sleep. At some point, someone came in to say the boys were fine but they were moving them into the NICU for observation.
Writing a birth story is a funny thing, because it is a beginning, not an end for both the baby and the mother.
The next few days and months were rough. I ended up in an emergency MRI to make sure I hadn’t had a stroke due to a paralysis of my left side of my face. It ended up being Bells Palsy that lingered for a few months. I struggled with my blood pressure. I continued having trouble eating, and it took days if not weeks to become properly hydrated again. I could not walk without pain for another week as my pulled groin healed alongside my incision. The boys were in the NICU - Mack for a day and a half and Sawyer for two and a half days. I was unable to visit them for more than a few moments due to the intense pain in my incision. Formula kept the boys growing, and they lost very little birth weight, as my body made all the colostrum it could and my milk finally came in a week after they were born. I pumped eight to ten times a day for five weeks till I was able to breastfeed the boys with the help of a lactation consultant and tongue-tie corrections. Bottle-feeding the boys for the first month made my recovery possible, as everyone could share in the exercise of feedings every three hours. By everyone, I mean our incredible village of family and our post-partum doulas, led by Taylor who cared for both me and the boys deeply and attentively (and still does).
My parents, Taylor’s parents, our siblings, our doula Kristin, as well as a few lovely doulas and lactation experts who helped us every few nights provided a support system that few new mothers reap the benefits of.
This team of loved ones and healing experts changed my life, and my perspective.
After I gave birth, I was a shadow of myself. And I continued to struggle throughout the boys’ first few months. This transformation into motherhood was hard. It was demanding. My body was tired. I was mentally exhausted, but the work has just started. And I intuitively knew that I needed help. I needed support in maintaining clarity and balance as I navigated this new part of my life.
The support and insight I received from my team of healers, experts, and doulas, especially my post-partum doula, profoundly affected me.
It changed how I see myself, my body, and my connection with a higher knowledge.
Through watching my body and mind be pushed to the brink of collapse, what I experienced inspired this next phase of my life in so many ways. As a new mother and a wellness entrepreneur, I wanted to support other new mothers through matrescence, the transition into motherhood.
I was going to leverage the power of shared experience to build a network of support and insight that will shift our perspective of what it is we are capable of. Because we are strong. And we are on a journey together.
At Inner Light, it is our mission to provide a space and place for healing, wellness, and self-love. Our new memberships and offerings combine ancient wisdom with modern science in order to achieve holistic wellness and a deep, authentic connection with yourself and with others. In celebration of the launch of The Studio, we are now offering complimentary free 25-minute wellness and healing consultations, inclusive of a detailed action plan tailored to your specific wellness needs and goals.