This title sounds like an exaggeration, doesn't it? AcMB1ov+gnfuyN5SkhUR0j+Ow1KZ Sadly, it isn't. You see, twin pregnancies are often labeled as "high risk." Considering that twin births are up 78% since 1980, it's incredibly surprising that every twin mom would need to be treated this way. I can tell you several reasons why I was an ideal candidate to NOT be considered "high risk:" 1. I was 23 years old 2. my twins were dizygotic/diamniotic 3.  I did not have any chronic health conditions 4. I had no previous pregnancies - ergo no previous complications 5. My twins were spontaneous Here's the reasons for why I (technically) should have been "high risk:" 1. I was having two kids at once When choosing obstetrical care - I felt backed into a corner. The current medical establishment has a metric ton of criteria for twins to be born naturally. One of the, perfectly nice, physicians I saw gave me the following stipulations for having a "natural" twin birth at the local hospital: 1. I must give birth in the OR (just in case) 2. I must have an epidural placed even though I didn't want one (just in case) 3. If twin A is not head first, automatic c-section 4. If twin B is not head first, there's a possibility for a vaginal/C-section combo (AKA the dreaded "double whammy") 5. If twin A is smaller than twin B (based off of notoriously unreliable ultrasound measurements) - automatic c-section 6. Basically, if I breathed the wrong way - c-section I'm not here to make anyone feel bad about how their births went, or speaking to situations where medical interventions prevented mortality. I simply want you to know that I felt as though this was unacceptable, and I felt trapped. I wanted nothing more than to experience birth naturally - you know, the Ricki Lake in The Business of Being Born, kind of natural. I didn't understand why I wouldn't be "allowed" to do what our bodies were literally made to do. If my body could make two babies, it could certainly birth them. As my husband likes to say, "did all twin moms just die before c-sections?" [AdSense-A] IMG_0696 I felt paralyzed by the idea that I couldn't have the birth I wanted.  I checked with a local mom's group on Facebook and asked if anyone had suggestions about care providers who were more understanding. I was referred to a doctor 2 hours from my home. He looked amazing. He specialized in high risk perinatology, but also believed in home births, had a group of midwives in his practice, and he took new patients at almost any point in their pregnancy. My husband and I prayed and sat on the decision for a few days. I had some input from family members who were concerned for our safety and thought we might be better off sticking to the original plan. Something told us the original plan was not right. Ultimately, I made the appointments and transferred my records the 120 miles that were necessary for me to receive appropriate care. If an emergency occurred, I'd go to the local hospital and be no worse for the wear. After my first appointment with my new midwives and doctor, a wave of relief rushed over me. There was no pressure. There was no criteria. There were no stipulations. The doctor effectively told me that although the literature categorized me as "high risk" - I was as normal as could be. He assured me - there is nothing abnormal about having two babies. AZC5FMNa2GPm2TU4wr+qcc8F+9dz I continued to drive the 2 hours each way every single week, by myself, until the end of my pregnancy. The only time my husband was ever able to go with me was my 36 week appointment. It was not easy. Carrying two babies, I needed a nap after unloading the dishwasher. Driving 4 hours in one day (even longer if you include 18 stops to the restroom) was incredibly taxing. I can tell you now that it was worth every ounce of effort. I had the natural birth I wanted. I did not need to have an epidural, and I gave birth in a regular hospital room. I was treated like anyone else. I was able to get off the monitor and walk around. I was able to eat. I was not micromanaged. My doula was present. The doctor let my husband deliver my babies and he will forever be the first person to touch them as they entered this world. I had 2.5 hours of skin to skin with my infants before anyone asked to touch them. It was a dream experience, predicated on the effort we put forth and the risks we took to make it happen. IMG_1895   I have two healthy babies, yes - that is all that matters. But, birth matters too. We hear people say these things, and it almost negates the fact that a woman's experience is  important. My first birth was not just my babies' birthday - it was an experience that defined my life and my future. I know things don't always go as planned in these scenarios, but we shouldn't be told that we can't before we even start. We shouldn't be generalized into criteria that don't make sense. There is nothing wrong with our bodies - until it's wrong, and then we can address it. Until we all acknowledge that birth matters - we may need to keep going the distance to reach our goals. Twin A, by the way, was smaller than Twin B. twins Have something to add? Let me know what you think! Have an experience to share? Please do! [AdSense-A] If you'd like to stay posted on blog updates - subscribe here!

(This post contains affiliate links - please see what that means here). What can I do to prepare myself for breastfeeding two babies?  AS9yco9z6ZreyzFwL3Srx7KyqoYx     1. If I could do it all over again – I would absolutely invest in a breastfeeding class to learn the basic mechanics of feeding your babies. Unfortunately, while nursing is the most natural thing in the world, it does not always come easily. Especially with twins that are likely to be somewhat premature, latching technique is very important. I watched video after video, but I couldn’t seem to understand how to get the perfect latch. An in-person class would have been beyond valuable.   2. Find a local IBCLC and put her on speed dial. Group meetings are great, but the truth of the matter is – you’re having TWO babies. Leaving the house can sometimes feel impossible. I went to group meetings weekly for breastfeeding, but also had several home visits that were absolutely vital to my success. My twins both had tongue and lip ties, anatomical issues that affected heir ability to get a good latch. I was in a lot of pain for the first 3-4 months, until we revised their ties (more on that later). There were times when I could not even fathom the thought of feeding my twins one more time – and as I felt that way, the clock wasn’t stopping. The seconds were whittling down until the next nursing session and the emotional and physical pain I suffered while I reluctantly repositioned my babies on my breast was unbearable. I needed help and I needed the help to come to me. I realize your average lactation consultant will probably cost you about $75-100 for a home visit and this might seem cost prohibitive. However, when you realize that a successful nursing relationship with your babies will literally save you thousands, the monetary expense no longer seems to matter. The IBCLC I saw saved our nursing relationship. Without her expertise and support, I would not still be nursing! IMG_1155 3. Join a local Facebook breastfeeding support group. If an IBCLC is not in your budget, or if you need a quick, on-the-fly response to a question these groups are absolutely amazing. I truly believe that we are missing a very important piece of the puzzle in today’s society – a village of women who understand and are willing to help one another. Many mothers or grandmothers didn’t breastfeed, many people feel uncomfortable talking about breastfeeding, or maybe you are the first of your friends to have a baby. Whatever the situation is, the reality is that women are supposed to help other women. Today’s village may not be the same as it was in the olden days where we gathered around a town square, but we do having amazing social media resources right at our fingertips. I cannot tell you how many times a complete stranger answered my questions and kept me nursing for just one more day. 4. Purchase a twin-nursing pillow. There are so many types available, I had the Twin Z pillow, which was better once the twins were older, but not so great for the newborn stage. (link to amazon here: Twin Z pillow ) I would recommend reading reviews, but anticipate having to play games with pillow set up underneath and around you to tandem nurse. I had to have my husband “set me up” a lot in the newborn phase to keep their heads and necks level. I also honestly loved using just a regular boppy and think they are totally underrated for nursing twins. (Link here). ARE9YkxnM26tbQfeUosUV_Q+CRPT IMG_0081 5. Think about renting a hospital grade pump. I was very misinformed about pumping before I had my girls. For some reason, I thought pumping would be unicorns and butterflies and giving bottles would give me a break. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Pumping is not only uncomfortable for a lot of moms, but it creates more work. When I could have sat and watched a corny hallmark movie while nursing my babies, I had to sit and listen to the most annoying sound in the world while this machine negotiated small amounts of milk into bottles that I had to then feed to the babies and clean. I hated every second that I pumped, but the hospital grade pump was much more comfortable and much more effective at bringing in an adequate milk supply than your standard personal pump.   6. Assess your partner’s attitude toward breastfeeding and knowledge level. My husband didn’t know much about breastfeeding, but he knew it was important to me. He also knew that it was also important to him. While he may have never thought about it prior to me getting pregnant, he did realize that giving his kids the best start possible was something he truly cared about. When times get tough, your husband should have your back. This is the same with female issues, like breastfeeding. He is still my number one support person, even though he hasn’t and never will breastfeed a baby. He lifted me up when I was down, wiped my tears when I was hormonal, and encouraged me to stick with MY plan. He knows all about latching, positioning, supply and demand – because we learned together. Discuss your goals with your partner, and together determine how you will support each other. IMG_1511 Didn't read part I? Check it out here: You CAN Breastfeed Your Twins - Part 1 Also - you can now view part III! You CAN Breastfeed Your Twins - Part 3 Have any thoughts or anything to add? I would love for you to comment!!