Hellena Post - Creatrix

I've tried on so many uniforms and badges that now I'm just me - mother of 8 children and all that entails, flowmad, and human animal parent. Writer of this living book of a blog, philosopher, and creatrix of hand dyed and spun crocheted wearable art. I gave up polite conversation years ago, and now I dive into the big one's.....birth, sex, great wellness, life, passion, death and rebirth.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

The story continues…..


So. A brief recap. We’d all got a bit stressed about the lateness of the second twin, then decided to sleep on it for a bit. I couldn’t sleep, and lay in bed listening to the sounds of Currawong clearing out the birthing pool, clearing the energy of the first birth, and making way for the second….

By the time I realized that no sleep was going to happen, I came out to a cleared and cleaned space, and a Currawong with a mission. He set about making food and starting to deal with the kids that were waking up. “Is there another baby yet?”…..”No, not yet”. Everyone slowly woke and we all hung out on the lounges chatting about what to do now. It’s amazing how a little bit of sleep can turn a desperate situation into one more manageable. Lisa decided to go off and do a bit of research on twin births and ring some old and trusted midwife friends, and we decided to give Russell Smith the Ayurvedic masseur a ring and see if he could help.



I consider myself extremely honoured to call Russell and Alison friends, he drums with Currawong and they inspire the hell out of each other, and is what I call a real healer. He swears, doesn’t read, smokes cigarettes, and doesn’t pull any of the ‘my shit don’t stink’ crap that so many ‘healers’ and ‘gurus’ I’ve known in my past push. He’s real, and honest, and calls a spade a spade, and has people come to him from all over the world, cause what he does really works. Alison is one of those women who makes you just wanna crawl into her lap and get lashings of mother love. She creates beautiful spaces and foods and moods, and giggles and laughs all the while. A more generous couple are hard to find. And bless their hearts, and may love and beauty rain on their heads forever more, within half an hour they were here. They just came. Russell straight away got to work on me, and Alison lay next to me chatting, spreading ease of mind like a balm. Russell started reading my body and telling me what was going on. It turns out my body had decided that it’s job was done! That was birth wasn’t it? Push one baby out and it’s over! My womb had blockages, and my uterus hadn’t contracted down, so even though baby number 2 was head down and ready to go, there was no punch from my uterus to help him out. A whole stack of fear had also locked itself in with the blocked womb, and it was all just stuck. He was massaging my feet and it HURT! And then he did all sorts of other work on my legs and by the time he got back to the bit that had hurt, it didn’t hurt anymore.


Meanwhile Lisa had come back from her research trip, Alison was pottering around cleaning the house, doing dishes and the like, and Russell got Currawong down to give him a work over too. We were all gobsmacked when Lisa reported that she’d found a statistic about the average amount of days between twins being born as 47 days….. It seems that many twins are born prematurely, and when one comes out early, they do their best to keep the second one in for as long as possible. She’d also bounced what was happening off some trusted advisors, and they all agreed that while I was healthy, and the baby  inside was healthy, there was no ‘normal’ time for twins to be born. In fact, in the days before hospital births became the norm, it was not uncommon at all for twins to be born days or even weeks apart. It’s only since birth has entered the treadmill of a hospital schedule that the second twin has only been allowed half an hour to make their own entry, before the birthing woman is induced to bring them on.

Peri-natal psychologists and midwives I’ve talked to have all found that quite often babies who are dragged into life by their legs and arms as in the case of caesareans, or induced to be born at more convenient times, set up life patterns of feeling like they’re being dragged through life against their will. Like they’re never on time to do the right thing, and that people around them are always overshadowing them and making decisions for them against their will. It seems quite stunning to me in the light of such logical conclusions about how birth sets us up for life, that we do anything apart from gentle welcomes to the world, with the mother, baby and family all being respectfully honoured in their journey.

But back to the story. I reckon I’m fortunate to be one of the few women in a western world at this point in our history, to experience the reality of having just given birth to a baby, but needing to put that baby to the side with other people holding it in the hours following the birth, because I had another baby inside me that needed to be birthed as well. I kept looking at Max and realizing that if he was a ‘singleton’ (a rather dubious term in my opinion((sounds to me like ‘simpleton’)), coined by mothers of ‘multiples’, to describe single baby’s…), I’d be holding him and staring at him and RESTING!! But it wasn’t to be. During the time that Currawong was getting a massage, my uterus started contracting. It was like the after pains you get after birthing that get more intense the more babies you have. I thought it was birthing contractions at first, till I tried moving like I did with contractions and it hurt more….I had to stay completely still for uterine contractions it seemed. Before Russell left he told me that “it would go like a bullet now..” I liked his metaphor. We were all relieved and felt like the whole experience was a lot more ‘normal’. We told Lisa she should head home and get some supplies and have a rest…none of us had expected it would be going this long! Not long after the blessed couple left, Lisa headed home for a while too. We all agreed that we were part of 2 separate births, and all was totally normal and fine.


There was a gentle and graceful pause in events for a bit of a breather. We hung out with Max and the other kids, and Currawong and I went walking round the property to walk through the contractions moving the uterus down, that slowly morphed into starting to contract a baby out. We stopped off to have a chat with some fellow community dwellers on the way, keeping them up to date with what was going on. It’s all a bit of a haze to me now, and was even receding quickly at the time, as I was still in that intense timeless space you go to in birthing. Come to mention that space, I was really into goddess chants for the sound track of these births, and had about 6 on repeat throughout the whole 49 hours…. Except for when Currawong created diversions around the fact that other music was on. For me in that timeless space it was wonderful…repetitive…. meditative…. reassuring. For everyone else it was mind numbingly annoying, but bless them all, nobody said anything to me till days after it was all over. Just ask Lisa how she likes goddess chants now……


And like Russell predicted, it did indeed progress like a bullet. Steady strong contractions that moved rhythmically in a mathematical dance through time scales to really close together. Around 9 that night I rang Lisa again, and told her that it was all on again. She got here quickly and the birth journey continued steadily till 12 that night.


When Balthazar woke up crying and wanting to jump in the pool, and Max also woke up for a feed.


It would have to be one of the most surreal experiences of my life – to be in the middle of intense birthing, contractions about 3 minutes apart, and have a crying toddler, as well as a newborn baby wanting a feed……. It totally threw me. I slipped into sergeant major mode, instructing Currawong, mum and Lisa to “take Max from me now!”, as I was about to have a contraction, and then “bring him to me now!”, as I quickly fed him before the next wave hit. Poor mum almost tripped while holding him, I had her running round so much.


Once the worst of the crisis was over, Max back asleep and the decision made to let Balthazar just hang out, I found myself at that time and intensity just before the body gets ready to push, and got scared again. I was feeling washes of memory from when I was birthing Balthazar, and he was held up so high by the cord round his neck that he could only lower his bum so far, which was lucky, cause if he had engaged he would have been strangled. But during the time of trying to bring a breech baby on, I’d stuck my fingers inside myself and been able to feel his soft squishy skin, but he never came out that way, he was cut out by caesarean instead. So I was having flash backs, and exhausted, and awake for two days previous, and at that full on time in birth when I knew it was almost over, and it wasn’t happening. My body had birthed Max so beautifully and easily on it’s own, I just had to step back and let it happen. But my body wasn’t effortlessly pushing this baby out. I started getting full of fear again. What if this was as far as we could get on our own and had to transfer our whole show on the road and to the hospital? What would they say to a baby that had been born two days before and another inside me? Had we come so far only to end up in another emergency caesarean experience? Were all my fears about not being able to perform coming to fruition?


Everyone else was equally tired, and trying their best to keep my flagging spirits up, but I started to get stalked by fear again. My body wasn’t taking over the show and letting me sit back in the directors seat anymore. I could feel that everything was in place, but rather than just submit to strong contractions to hug my second baby out, I found I had to physically push and grunt and yell and scream and WORK to get the second baby down the birth passage. After about 12 at night, when Max and Balthazar woke, I felt like the whole process flagged. Then the fear hit, and at about 1 in the morning I realized that my fears were actually having a physical impact on this part of the birth journey. I told Lisa to remind me to tell her what was happening for me around that time, because I didn’t want to speak it and give it power. But at about 2 in the morning I was still pushing hard, yelling and grunting, and we were still getting nowhere. I slipped down again. In this roller coaster of a birth story, this bit was the hardest and darkest.


Around this time everyone else was off doing stuff, and it was just Lisa by the side of me in the pool. She knew what was going on. I broke my promise to myself to not tell her about the fear again until after the baby was born, and told her what was happening for me. She looked me in the eye and said in a voice full of compassion and feeling, that she was really sorry that the whole caesarean experience had happened to me. And it was really good to hear. Made me cry….. 


After all the working out and about and around and through my caesarean experience, this felt like a final let go. I surprised myself, and maybe her too, with coming right back with all the reasons why I was glad that it had happened, and how many of my birthing fears I’d faced through that time that I’d survived, and the compassion and  understanding I now felt for other women who had caesareans, instead of the smug homebirthcentric perception I’d had before, and how much I’d learnt about myself and my body, and all of a sudden the show seemed to be back on the road! There was nothing left to fear I remembered! I’d dealt with what I’d been given before and only gained learning and insight, so no matter what happened now, I knew I had the skills and the ability to gracefully travel through it. This little moment didn’t miraculously change the whole situation into a movie like dream ending, but it certainly gave me the ‘oomph’ I needed to keep grunting, and yelling, and pushing my second baby out. No beat-poet, hippy birth this time! I reckon from about 12 at night till 4.05am when my second baby was born were the hardest, longest, scariest and most physically and emotionally intense hours of my life. It seemed to take forever. And then some. 


And then just a little bit more. 


And not to forget the last bit. 


And the bit in the middle.


I think you get the point.

And then at 4.05 in the morning of Monday the 23rd of August, 49 hours after my waters broke to begin the entry of Maxamillion, a little baby was born in the sac. Which burst just before coming out. It was like opening the most amazingly soft, velvety present I’ve ever been given, pulling the membranes from the head and trying to work out which gender we’d been gifted with. Like I said before, all the odds were on a girl baby being the second one out of my womb. Through the birth I’d been mentioning fairly solidly how my ‘little witch girl’ was on her way, and wondering what she’d look like, and telling ‘her’ to hurry up………..the first thing I said was, “It’s not a boy is it!?!?!”


It was.

Hale, healthy and hearty, a big sized boy with a round head from being born in the sac, and the largest baby I’ve ever pushed through my birth canal. At the end of a long birthing and previous baby born. Born in the water and at home, without any need to disrupt the bubble and go anywhere after they were born. After pulling off his sac, and holding him to my breast like I always do, I got some time to look at him. He looked like Burt bloody Newton. It took me a little while to get over that one.

Griffyn had woken up just before he was born, and came out as he was being caught. Balthazar was watching, wrapped up completely in the experience, Jess, Oma and Lisa were all around the pool, and Currawong was standing behind me. I was on such a high, it was OVER! And had been ultimately allright…. The end of my birthing career was a roaring success. Now it was done I started to feel quite euphoric. Tired, but euphoric. I went to sit on the lounge with him, (the name Merlin Radbod didn’t quite make it till a few days later), and did that staring thing I do after a baby is born. The placenta was born, and it was finally and completely over. We had a homebirth, waterbirth of twins, a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean), grand multiparous, epic, that had a happy ending.


And here’s the weird thing. Lisa hadn’t been able to work out why the first umbilical cord of Max’s had kept pumping blood, and had gone to a serious amount of effort to ensure it was kept clamped. And the reason why was that there was only one placenta. Non identical twins are meant to have separate placenta’s, and if they do join up, you can see where they’ve merged. No fusion line or connection of two separate placenta’s was evident, it was just one enormous placenta with two umbilical cords and a membrane between the two boys. And had kept pumping through Max’s detached cord. How bizarre is that……

Now at this point you may be tempted to say that no wonder it worked out so well, as I was an experienced mother of 5, and Lisa was an experienced midwife of decades, and of course we were trusting birth and being zen with the whole situation, but you’d be mistaken. We both had serious limits being tested and boundaries being pushed. And were worried until the very end. But maybe both a little prone also, to hoping for the best. And it paid off for us all.


So. Successful outcome of two healthy babies, happy family and midwife, and a homebirth to boot, and Lisa sweeps through the house like a spring morning breeze and makes sure that everyone’s settled and covered and warm and fed and happy and packed and headed off home, and JUST as she left, the other girls started to wake and I looked around in despair, suddenly completely and thoroughly exhausted, and completely daunted by the beginning of another noisy day in our home. My big 17 year old Jess walked up and demanded Merlin, told Griffyn to take Max, instructed mum to take the three other kids to her house for the day, and told us we could sleep while her and Griffyn looked after the babies. And through serendipity and providence, we all got some well earned sleep.

And it was really good.

44 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful, vunerable and real story Hellena. Blessings to you and your family full of love. xx Bec

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  2. bravo m'dear! congratulations on such wonderful success. i had been waiting for your second portion of the story ... so thank you for finishing it.

    warm hugs to you and your lovely family!

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  3. What an amazing, wonderful journey. Can't thank you enough for sharing it with us all. What a ride! Much love to you and all your family xx

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  4. Awesome! Been waiting for the second installment :)
    Brought tears to my eyes again.
    Amazing birth story.

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  5. I have been so waiting for your next journey.
    I was reading through so fast, devouring your words, imagining how it must have been through your pictures.

    Two unique births of two beautiful baby boys.
    Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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  6. I'm in total awe.

    Thank you for sharing this amazing story :)

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  7. Wow. I had heard of the birth of your twins, my midwife did a workshop with Lisa recently and she told me about it. So wonderful to read your words. I have chills. I'm up nursing my little 9lb homebirthed beauty and she and her sister will definitely be told this story when they are old enough to understand. I look forward to following your blog now, when I have time, and hope to meet you and your family one day, maybe at confest? Hope you and yours are well beautiful strong woman. ÜXO

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  8. I've been stalking here daily awaiting the second half of the amazing, beautiful, inspirational, and perfect birth story. Thank you so much momma just truly amazing you and you're whole team rocks! Much love from Alabama usa

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  9. thank you for sharing your inspiring story! Congratulations on this beautifull birth and trusting the process.
    I recognize a lot of things you write....
    Ik had twins at home unassisted, in the birth tub, here in Holland, two months ago, wich is here also very uncommon, but all went well and it was an amazing and beautifull experience and two healthy big babies. Best wishes for you all!

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  10. what a healing story! makes my own fears seem like cute little candle flames compared to the fire you walked through. I have the deapest respect for your story and hope it will inspire many others like me.

    Bless you all,

    Michelle (a Dutch midwife)

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  11. Such an amazing birth story, thankyou so much for sharing!

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  12. Fuck me, what an amazing woman you are! Those long hours (days) of fear and worry and pain, and ultimately faith and strength, and you did it. Safely. Many warm blessings to you, and your beautiful family (and, of course, Lisa). Clel xx

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  13. Wow, what an epic journey to undertake. I don't know what to say other then thank you birthing Goddess for sharing with us.

    Also adding that last bit you wrote about your eldest daughter taking charge and organizing some rest for you. What a strong young woman she is, I got such a strong feeling of power when you wrote about her. I think she will be very like her mother and accomplish very great things :)

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  14. We're so honoured that you share this story of normal birth with us. Congratulations to you, you told such a raw and profound story. xx
    Janet

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  15. Wow !!!!

    What a story ! Congratulations to everyone involved ! Well Birthed Helena, and well written ! Blessings to your Family !
    Well done Jess, for Co-ordinating Rest Day !!
    Better go and read Part One now

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  16. Crying at the beauty and awesomeness of you Hellena! What an amazing experience, and yet so completely normal. Your boys chose so well. Thanks so much for sharing this, beautiful warrior woman. x

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  17. You don't know me, but a friend of mine posted your blog off of the homebirth's website.

    I wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I was pressured into an "emergency" csection with my daughter. My husband and I have decided a home birth would be best for our next child (we haven't even started trying for one yet - but for when we do have another). I have a lot of fears about birthing at home - it is crazy how much we are taught that a baby should be born in a hospital - because it is "safer" for the mom and baby. These ideas are ingrained in me and I just keep trying to learn more and more to get over my fears and "what ifs. . . ". Your story really helped me see that it not only that home births are safe, but that you can work through fears.

    I cannot thank you enough.

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  18. Wow! You are a birth warrior for sure. What an incredible story!

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  19. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!

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  20. not sure where you find the time to write in between the madness of doing the mother of seven thing. so THANK YOU for making some space. your story is beautiful. and it made me laugh...your raw style of writing is so refreshing.

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  21. OH MY GODDESS!!! you are amazing, thank you for sharing this beautiful story. And it's not hard to see where little Merlin gets his sense of suspense from: you've had us all on tenterhooks for weeks waiting for the second instalment.

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  22. Wow, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful, inspiring birth story! Congratulations!

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  23. you are fabulous and amazing, mama! that was a tense story, bravo for your hard work (mental and physical!).

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  24. Awesome and amazing story! Thanks for sharing. I'm a mum of 9 (and grandmother of 4) with 3 homebirths (numbers 3, 4 and 5). The first 2 with a midwife amd number 5 with just hubby and I and our eldest boy (7)assisting. Bless you and hope all is going well.Gabrielle

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  25. Thank you all so much for such amazing feedback....it's so nice to know I'm not posting off into empty space:) Blue Fairy Wren, would love to meet you too, and if you do the facebook thing it would be easy to connect. One day we'll make it to confest:) Ceekee, would love to connect with you if you're into it, about how you're finding your twin experience! And unassisted.... BRAVO!! Never quite had the guts to let go of the helping hands of midwives.. And mijn vroedvrouw, would love to connect with you sometime too...love any contact with the Nederlands. And Jeanette, my daughter is well and truly on her way, helped in part by this recent birth and the realisations that often come at birthing times. Adi Castillo Misigoy thank you too, for paying me such high compliments!! I'm wrapped to think that my story could help even in a small way. And all the rest of you, blessings and thank you for stopping in and leaving such wonderful adn positive comments about my story. And thanks for waiting patiently!! Didn't mean the whole two part thing to be such a frustration to some, but it certainly made it interesting eh! Great love to you all!

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  26. so beautiful! such courage to trust your body to the very end! nice work Mommy and all your support peoples! your photos are so awesome! really.

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  27. oh my goodness. what a wonderful and heartfelt tale of your two baby sons...i just had a homebirth (my 3rd vbac) of twins myself. two girls, both breech...and it was also very much a journey through overcoming fear...only two hours between them, but they do have different birth days. :) my water also broke at 3a and i had a good shake...haha. your pictures are gorgeous and i wish i had found your story before our birth, but im so glad to have found it now...you can find our birth story here:
    http://breathbox.livejournal.com/336974.html

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  28. ....amazing,increadible,awe-inspiring story.Thankk You!!!!!Love,Karen, a homebirth nurse from Chicago IL,USA

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  29. Such a beautiful post! Absolutely loved it! Beautiful birth stories and I never realized how the birth of twins was so regulated by the hospital system. Congrats and enjoy your new twin boys!

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  30. A late reader of these posts, how amazing. So happy for all of you:-)

    /Cruella

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  31. molly from willungaAugust 2, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    Wow ! I am so enspired by your humility and grace, your unselfish love, your patience, your ability to be so "natural" and not tempted to go by western rules. You've made me think how much I can improve upon myself. Your story is the most life changing thing for me I've ever read. And ironically, I speak and say hello to you both at the markets and down the hight street, often. Even a couple of weeks ago, I was holding one of your precious bundles of love at the market, not even aware in the slightest the story and momentous love behind it all. Thank you for sharing this very personal and most loving story. May you all continue to be blessed. xx

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    1. Wow. What an amazing response! And what a beautiful reaction you've had :) And amazing to think that we bumped into each other and there's all this wealth behind both of our stories. Thank you so much for sending us all such a beautiful blessing! And may all you send to us return a thousandfold :)

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  32. Such an incredible birth journey! I feel quite blown away and in awe... I have been reading so many wonderful birth stories lately preparing for my own journey in january and yours is one that has truly touched my heart. Thank you for sharing it with such a deepth and honesty!

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    1. And thank you darlin, for being such a bright light in the world :)

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  33. Truly extraordinary. I hope you don't mind but I have shared your story on my twin website for all my twin mummy readers. I have two sets of twins fraternal and identical and both delivered by C-Section out of necessity. Thank you for sharing :-) http://twinstips.com

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    1. And thanks for sharing :) Two sets of twins must be wild!!!! You're gonna be able to do anything you damn well please once you've got that experience under your belt! What an amazing woman you must be to have such a full life and run a website as well. Thank you, and you're amazing!

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  34. I'm choked up. Not easily done. You really nailed the fear we face after a c-section. Had my 2nd at home in water 6 mos. ago... best experience of my life, and also very healing for my pervious birth experience. Kudos!

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    1. Thank you so much. And getting your bottle together after having had a c-section is intense. I wish we could all talk about what happens afterwards more, and how many different ways there are to go from there.... Thanks for taking out the time to send your reaction!

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  35. Clearly a golden nugget for today for ME..thankx Hellena!!
    Thank you for BEING AN ENDURING AND BELIEVING WOMAN.....i am blessed with a healthy, smart Dragon Boy....who was born in the atrocious hospital on coerced Pit.Drip/Epi. I am still processing and feel robbed of that "AWESOME BIRTH....THAT I ENVISIONED".... perhaps I will be lucky and EARN a second birth .....i have a long way to go..AND reading your story was COMPLETELY INSPIRING!!!

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    1. Thank you so much AdventureSteph! There's so many things to learn about birth. And so many ways of healing experiences that felt harsh and like you were robbed. Best of luck with your further journeys with birth, and thanks for digging our story :)

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I love your comments, and your feedback......it makes this whole blogging thing worthwhile. Peace and blessings to you!