Disclaimer: Don’t try this by yourself at home! Vivienne and André are in peak health. They were thoroughly prepared and trained for the home birth of their twins well in advance. They had two very experienced midwives. A full backup service was arranged and no risks were taken at any stage. Staying calm and being competent is of the utmost importance. A positive mind-set, patience and full commitment is essential for a successful home birth.
Healthy and happy from start to finish
One fine Saturday, on the 12th April 2014 we received an SMS. “Skye born perfectly healthy. Viv is feeling fine. Now for Eden.” With brother out of the way, Eden was probably enjoying the extra space and had settled down for a nap. Mom must be exhausted. But there was nothing we could do but stay home and obey Andre’s orders not to interfere. After all, we trust in God and you can’t stop trusting in Him. The midwives knew what they were doing and they said they would let us know if there was a problem.
We waited for what seemed to be an eternity. Then: Beep beep.“Eden born. Both mom and baby doing fine. All went according to plan. So Happy!! Lotsa love from Viv, Eden, Skye and André.” The long-awaited SMS. It was all over and we wept with joy. Vivienne had bravely held on to the end and pushed Eden out of her cosy little nest. Ironically, she weighed 600 g more than her brother who tipped the scales at just over 2 kg. Skye had done most of his belly time with his head down, facing the exit. Eden had enjoyed kicking her Mom in the ribs, but she headed down to the canal when the time was right.
(The Midwife tells her story at the reference provided at the end of this article.)Credit: Sue Visser
The pleasure of home comforts. The family can all sleep together!
“Twins;” the so-called experts hissed “should not be born at home”. But Skye and his sister Eden were born at home. Just like twins have been for thousands of years. (What about the star sign Gemini - how about an astral epidural darling?) The twins are curled up together on the couch, just less than a day old and weighing 5.5 kg in total. Quite a load off Mom’s hips and she has already lost over 15 kg. Life goes on and the lounge is now ready for the steady stream of friends and relatives who come to see the twins. The portable birthing pool is packed away and ready for the midwife’s next happy event.
Credit: Sye VisserNobody should have twins at home! Of course not, but Team Du Preez (Vivienne and her husband André) did it their way and the results speak for themselves. Eden sighs and wiggles her toes. She is so beautiful, like a little doll. Her brother Skye sucks his fingers. They huddle together in a ball just like they did for all those months. Yesterday they were still inside Mon’s 5 star hotel with everything hunky dory, until the door opened and out they went.
What a wonderful day that was – a happy birthday!
Natural birth in 1976. This is how Vivienne, the Mother of the twins was born.
Today childbirth is perceived as a justification for medical intervention at every stage of the process. But not all of us regard pregnancy as an illness. Back in 1976 (yawn) I was pregnant with Vivienne, the mother of the twins who feature in this discussion. I too, insisted on having my children at home. This also caused a commotion - especially because I had not even consulted a doctor, let alone a gynaecologist. So who needs their permission? I went ahead with only the help of my husband Jim and our midwife.
Sister Emily Matthews introduced us to a book by Doctor Grantly Dick-Read: Childbirth without Fear. Our daughter Vivienne was the result, three hours after my first contraction. Her younger brother Anton was also born at home. Same midwife, same process - just the way God designed it. No gadgets, drugs or surgery were required. Vivienne is now next in line, being brought into the world the natural way. Her self-fulfilled prophecy is based on positive, uplifting facts. They are backed up by effective and rewarding actions. She does not dwell on everything that “could go wrong”. After all, you bring about what you think about.
The Labour Revolution - my story goes public in Fair Lady Magazine
In 1976 Marina Petropulos included my story for her article: The Labour Revolution in Fair Lady, a popular South African magazine. I used to do freelance cartooning and illustrating for them. When I was heavily pregnant she interviewed me before and then after Vivienne was born. Four other birthing experiences were shared with the readers. They included natural (vaginal) births, a caesarean and the use of an epidural. The mothers all objected to a hospital environment because it was cold and hostile. They said the doctors were aloof and abrupt. (What has changed?) Babies who experience such a traumatic birth seem to cry a lot more.
Scare tactics are used to justify the need for invasive treatment, forceps, stirrups and scalpels. Back then, two of these ladies gave birth to babies who had umbilical cords around their necks yet they were born without a caesarean. We were more interested in Dr Frederick Leboyer’s soft, gentle concepts and staying close to our husbands . A natural delivery is what women wanted most in a peaceful, safe and happy environment. It is sad that elective Caesareans and epidurals are so “fashionable” and convenient these days. Bring on the bright lights, syringes, drugs and the clash and flash of steel. Happy Birthday? A leading gynaecologist who lectured at the University of Cape Town had his say at the end of the article.
The doctor said “Home deliveries (like mine) are the
most retrograde step in childbirth in centuries!”
Jim and I faced a lot of opposition back then, especially from our parents. We stuck to our belief in God - the designer of the original and perfectly natural process. Fair Lady failed to mention that I slept with my husband and daughter that night - how backward is that?
Viv’s bump kept on growing and the waiting never seemed to end
As expectant grandparents we had a long wait, not really knowing the day or the hour that the process had begun, let alone would end. André had been taking photos of Vivienne’s bump. She sent us a picture of her monthly progress and the protrusion was becoming substantial, as it should be when carrying twins. Vivienne and André have practised Iyengar yoga for many years and have lithe and flexible strong bodies. They are familiar with a number of modalities including Reiki, Body stress release, Bowen technique and EFT to name a few.
How Vivienne is viewed by mainstream medical professions - upside down
André is a South African champion skydiver and needs to stay in good nick in order to compete at an international level. He also spends a lot of time in front of a computer, as an award-winning programmer and applications designer. So he needs to be fuel-efficient to support both mind and body. Vivienne supervises his diet and keeps him going with freshly made juice and nutritious gluten-free vegetarian meals and snacks. André is no stranger to herbal medicine, homeopathy and crystal healing. He plays his guitar to offer ambient music to the unborn babes as they cuddle up inside their 5 star hotel. He massages Mom’s aching feet and shoulders with aromatherapy oils and talks to her “bump.”
Team Du Preez - 2 professionals dedicated to excellence and in peak health. The ultimate award
Vivienne is a graphic designer by profession. Her baby son is called Skye because his daddy is a skydiver, but Eden will have green fingers if she takes after her mother. She is a great belly dancer and the twins took part in her last belly show. Vivienne loves to garden and tend to plants and animals but she is more at home in the water.
As a scuba diving instructor, the choice of having a water birth for her twins was an obvious one. She hunted out the best midwives in Cape Town and found out all she could about having a natural birth. Midwives are birth specialists and unlike many doctors, these are women who have had personal experience of what they call vaginal delivery.Credit: Andre Du Preez
Great expectations. Thorough preparation
Viv and André are now on a gluten-free regimen that has cleared up most of their health problems. They found that their chronic ailments like sore joints, rashes, insulin resistance (weight gain) and post-nasal drip were caused by food intolerance and malnutrition. Their diet now includes juicing, organic fruit and vegetables and fresh produce - especially fish from the ocean. They supplement with Spirulina, shiitake mushrooms, calcium and magnesium and fish oil. Probiotics are added to the juices. They know it is vitally important to have a healthy and diverse population of gut flora, especially during pregnancy. No more gluten, GMO or contaminated over-processed lifeless food. This is all so good for the mother and is obviously excellent for the newbies! Their mono diet of milk will be teeming with “prana”.
The hardest battle Vivienne and André had to fight was against mainstream medicine, from start to finish. It was difficult for Vivienne to try to explain to doctors what it meant to eat for your blood type, to take Chasteberry tincture or to use supplements. Many years ago she had managed to control her symptoms of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) by doing all of the above. She blew her fuse when a gynaecologist wanted to remove her cervix. That was a funny way to treat what turned out to be a vitamin D3 deficiency! She was not going to buy into the big lie that drugs and surgery were the only way to solve all problems.
Credit: Sue VisserAt 93, my fabulous mother is now the great-grandmother of Skye and Eden. As she carefully counted their fingers and toes, she reminded me that I was born in hospital and she had a miserable time. The male doctor was rough and she needed stitches after I was born. She had felt lonely and frightened. Two of her babies were born at home and she agreed - the midwives were wonderful. No stitches were required and she was a lot more comfortable.
Vivienne was perfectly healthy throughout her pregnancy but needed to register with a nearby hospital as a formality. The professor at Mowbray Hospital had objected vehemently to the home birth of her twins. Vivienne had to sign an indemnity form and take on full responsibility. Then the doctor wanted a scan to see what the twins were up to. They were facing downwards and everything was OK.
Have we forgotten how easy it is to have a baby?
Credit: Sue VisserNobody really knows for sure when a baby is ripe and ready pop out. Vivienne and André attended regular Hypno birthing sessions. They listened to the audio sessions and were chilled out and relaxed. But still, none of us were able to determine the beginning or the end of the gestation. Life went on as usual and Vivienne carried her increasing load without a whimper. Most of our friends and family were becoming anxious, especially about twins that seemed to be overdue and the home birth. I told them to put their trust in God. After all, He designed the process.
Progress is when simple natural things get far too complicated
The worst part of the whole event as a grandmother to be, was putting up with the advice and nagging and the gory personal stories that everybody told me about all that could go wrong. This is how the mind is filled with scary possibilities whereby what you fear becomes manifest. This is the basis of a negative self fulfilled prophecy, with only fear and mistrust as options. Doctors insist that things will go wrong and that only they can save you.
Impacted shoulders. A setup for a home birth disaster - it could have been mine!
During the home birth of my son, we experienced a case of impacted shoulders. Our midwife and a close relative coped extremely well. There was no fear, separation or panic. So I get the creeps just reading the doctor’s advice from that Fair Lady article again after all these years: “Labour is just too unpredictable to be handled in a place where there are not the facilities to deal with a crisis in what appears to be a straightforward delivery. For example, impacted shoulders, which occur often, leave you only five or six minutes to deliver before the baby dies. At best it is not an easy Credit: Jim Visserprocedure to handle – a midwife alone would have little chance of coping. Deep transverse arrest occurs fairly frequently. A caesarean is then usually necessary and this could not be handled at home. If the baby should need resuscitation – and many do – it must be done immediately to prevent brain damage. And for the mother, there’s always the danger of postpartum haemorrhage.” (To all the midwives who read this - have your say!)
Oops! That outburst of negativity was written before my second child was born. (I should have read it back then.) So Anton had survived the dreaded impacted shoulders scenario without any of the abovementioned (autosuggested) drama. I had faced this kind of claptrap before, when I brought Vivienne into a world that was equally infested with negative and hostile opinions. Here is a picture of Vivienne and her brother Anton who was born two years later and weighed 4.5 kg. Impacted shoulders and all, there was no tearing or need for stitches!
Faith in God our Creator includes faith in what we call the miracle of life.
The faith to push out the baby and not to cut it out.
The faith to endure the pain because there is a reason for it.
The faith not to take drugs and fiddle with instruments.
The faith to wait a full term so the baby is ready to be born.
The faith to nourish the new baby exclusively on breast milk.
The faith to just be normal, natural and have babies without any fuss.
The second miracle of life is the first breath a baby takes. But the first miracle of life is when two tiny cells meet and merge to build a new home for an old soul.
She hugs the new babies to her bosom. It is the end of a long journey through a short canal. Together they danced for joy and shared a secret life in a dark place. How does it feel now?
We prayed together and trusted in God. Then we waited and waited for the SMS: Skye and Eden have arrived!
Then we gave thanks to God
Then we hugged the babies
and counted their fingers and toes
I hope they think our world is OK
Here is reference by the Midwife for all the technical details:
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