Well, can you imagine the excitement of receiving an enquiry to be a birth doula to triplets! Of course I contacted the mum straight away for a chat and to arrange an informal visit. Then reality hit! I knew that having another doula on board would be a great asset – so many babies and not enough hands… I called the mum again to chat about having another doula and she was interested. So then I contacted my colleague, Sara Benetti to ask if she was interested and really I knew it would be a no-brainer! Sara has experience of twins natural birth and I just knew she was the perfect partner as we often work together offering shared care and back up for each other. So Sara and I met with the parents of the triplets and we were hired by the end of our visit!
We had a great first antenatal meeting with the parents, discovering how the triplets were a huge surprise for the family. It was not an assisted (IVF) pregnancy and the odds of naturally conceiving triplets are in the region of one to few millions; additionally only one out of 6,000 to 8,000 triplet pregnancies is spontaneous.
We were so excited especially as the parents were planning a natural birth for their babies, possibly in water. We supported them by talking through their options, their birth plan, negotiation around mum’s care and what they were and were not willing to accept in terms of interventions. As soon as we left the meeting, we drew up an on-call rota as mum was nearly 30 weeks and 35 weeks is considered full term for triplets. This worked well for everyone involved as both Sara and I had some holidays booked, but it also gave mum and dad peace of mind that at least one of us would be around if the babies decided to make an early appearance.
However it all worked out so well in the end. Even though the parents were very keen for a natural birth, at the same time they were fine with a highly monitored pregnancy and agreed to induction as soon as there were signs that one of the identical twins was not growing as much as the other. Both Sara and I were available when mum went into hospital at 35+2 for ARM to get labour started. Labour progressed quite quickly and twin 1 swam into this world at tea time, followed half an hour later by twin 2 on dry land and breech. Half an hour later baby 3 burst into this world, again breech. All babies were fit and healthy and paediatrics who were standing outside the door, were stood down. Having 2 doulas was a dream, as when the babies were born and placed with dad for skin to skin, one doula remained with mum for reassurance, and the other doula supported dad and took some videos and photos.
It really was one of the most incredible experiences of all of our lives, including the consultant and midwives, especially mum and dad, and of course for Sara and myself. Full credit to mum, who really is an amazing goddess, a very quiet labourer who likes to be left alone! It was amazing to see the identical twins being born, followed by the biggest baby, all fraternal.
We kept in contact with mum during her stay in hospital and visited her when she returned home. Luckily I was able to continue to support the family on a weekly basis as a Family Support Volunteer with a local charity, Tinylife (until the covid-19 pandemic).
Parents: “Having the support of doulas for a multiples pregnancy was very important to us as we strove to have a natural birth with minimal interventions.”
A wee postnote to say it was not all was smooth sailing… some of the hospital staff were not overly keen on two doulas being present, but we did our homework and contacted the Head of Delivery Suite ahead of time, for reassurance that our presence would be acceptable.