Eric & Elisa: Birth Story

Two years ago, I met Doreen, Eulises, and Evan at one of my mini sessions and we instantly clicked. Doreen told me then that she wanted me to capture the birth of their next baby, whenever that may happen. Fast forward and I squealed with delight when Doreen text me to let me know she was pregnant and not with just one baby, but TWINS! I was so happy for her and she asked me again if I would be there to capture their birth. I told her I would be honored, but realistically my husband’s schedule and the fact that I had multiple weddings near her due date, that there would be a possibility I wouldn’t be able to make it. She said she didn’t want anyone else and had faith that it would all work out. As she began reaching 36 weeks, we were both on pins and needles as twins typically come early and I had a wedding in Ft. Myers which meant I would be 4 hours away. We would pray together that the twins would stay safely inside and that God would bring them into this world at a time that I would be able to bring glory to His name by capturing the miracle and beauty of their birth.

Much to our surprise, Doreen made it to 38 weeks and her doctor recommended they schedule an induction as the babies were getting big and she would be at risk of a C-section and Doreen had big plans for a natural, vaginal, birth. So with much reluctance she agreed to the induction which was set for the morning of February 9th. I was relieved since I knew Steve would be off to stay with the kids and I would be available all day. The morning of the induction, I arrived at the hospital just after the sun rose and anxiously awaited for them to arrive. A few minutes later, I received a text from Doreen saying the hospital just called and they don’t have a bed available for her and that it would be a few hours before one would become available. She was upset and I told her not to worry that I would come back whenever she was ready and that she should enjoy a quiet walk on the beach with her husband before the chaos began. Haha. I headed home even though I had a feeling that as soon as I got there, I would have to leave and go back. I picked up breakfast for the family and as I walked in the door, I received another text from Doreen. They had decided to go in anyways and they were monitoring her in triage. Turns out she was 6 cm and in active labor! God was answering our prayers and she was able to bypass the induction and go into labor naturally. It was a miracle!

I made it back to the hospital just as she was getting settled in her labor and delivery room. Doreen was so excited and their was a calm energy in the air. Her doula, Stacey, from the Orchid’s Nest was there as well helping her get settled and answering the millions of questions the nurse was asking. Doreen’s birth plan was to labor naturally and as hands off as possible. She was strong and determined to bring her babies into this world without any medical interventions. This a very long post that includes a lot of photos of the laboring process because I find it just as beautiful as the actual birth. Seeing Doreen surrender to her contractions and trust in her body was simply amazing. She used her hypnobirthing techniques to get through each contraction and never once complained.

When Doreen’s doctor came to check on her, she hadn’t progressed and he discussed some options with her that included using Pitocin and/or breaking her water. Doreen really didn’t want to use pitcoin and opted to have her water broken and hoped it would be enough to get things going again. Her labor intensified greatly after her water was released and again she powered through each surge and never uttered a single complaint.

The only thing weighing heavily on Doreen’s mind was the safety of her daughter who was laying transverse at the top of her belly. The doctor explained to her that the best case scenario would be that she would turn head down after her brother was delivered and she would be able to have both babies vaginally. However, he said he may have to manipulate her belly to help get her into the proper position and that it would be very painful to her. He urged her to get the epidural, not because she was weak and couldn’t handle the pain of birth, but because it would be the safest option for her and her babies in the case of an emergency. After speaking with her family and doula, she agreed to the epidural and was able to rest for an hour and was more at peace knowing she made the best decision for her babies.

Doreen’s body was working hard because a short time later the doctor came in to check her again and she was fully dilated with baby A’s head low in the birth canal so it was time to prep to head to the OR where she would be delivering her babies. It’s a precautionary measure for twins and a first for me!

Now I have to admit, I was incredibly nervous about being in the OR. I have a fear of hospitals and surgeries so I tried to slow my breathing and focus on Doreen. I was here for a purpose and it was a privilege to be a part of such an intimate moment for them. I held tight to my camera and made sure I didn’t accidentally bump or touch anything since it was a sterile environment. Once Doreen began to push all my fears went away and I was overcome with joy. Just a few pushes and Doreen was able to reach down and pull her son onto her chest and the room erupted in tears.

Now that Eric had arrived safe and healthy, it was time to focus on bringing Elisa down head-first. She tried to come with her hand first but the doctor was able to push it out of the way and she came down into the perfect position. The nurse had Eric breastfeed to try and naturally get Doreen’s uterus to contract to help bring Elisa down and about 30 minutes later, Doreen was able to reach down and pull her daughter onto her chest. Once again I was overcome with emotion and tears streamed down my face as I captured her first sweet cries. Witnessing their birth was incredible! Doreen was so strong and such a warrior mom for her babies.

The family was thrilled to hear both babies were perfect and healthy! Big brother, Evan, was especially excited to meet his new baby brother and sister. He was so smitten with them!

by Julie Jarrell

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