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Like most pregnancies, my story begins with the unglamorous act of peeing on a stick. I was thrilled by those double lines, going so far as to save the pregnancy test in a cute box to present to my husband when I surprised him with the news. When I was 7 weeks along, we got the shocking and exhilarating news that I was brewing not one but two babies. I was pregnant with twins.

Pregnancy itself wasn’t new to me. I’d been pregnant before, four years earlier, with our Henry. One would like to think that having “been there, done that” would have prepared me for what was to come, but that was hardly the case. This pregnancy felt different than my last one — extremely different. With Henry, I had no major pregnancy symptoms, other than some slight fatigue. But with the twins, I was nauseous all day, suffered excruciating morning migraines, and would end up vomiting at least twice a day. Every. Single. Day.

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that I was growing two whole babies inside my body. As my OB-GYN warned me when she confirmed the pregnancy, I was experiencing “double” of everything.

The physical experience aside, I was also mentally playing catchup to the news. As common as it is, truly nothing can prepare you for the shock of finding out you’re expecting twins. I was overwhelmed by emotions. I was excited, sure, but I also just couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that there were two of them in there. Two sets of tiny limbs. Two beating hearts. Two budding noses. Two. At one point, I burst into tears, no longer able to hold it all in. My husband reassured me that this was, of course, good news, and my doctor calmly explained how this pregnancy would be different from my last.

Knowing what I know now, I can see my doctor was already trying to prepare me for the third trimester — that’s the part that typically gets complicated in twin pregnancies. Little did even she know, there would be nothing “typical” about my third trimester. I was going to give birth during a pandemic

In March, the world began to change rapidly in response to COVID-19. The hospital where I would deliver changed its visitor policy as part of its coronavirus restrictions — no children under the age of 13 were allowed at all. The fact that my 4-year-old wouldn’t be allowed to visit me in the hospital, or meet his siblings soon after they were born, was absolutely devastating. This alone filled me with both anxiety and sadness. I had been intentional about trying to make the transition from only child to big brother a positive one for Henry. Now, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Nothing about my plans for having these babies was going to work out the way I’d thought it would, because who plans to give birth during a pandemic?

On March 7, after a long walk with my busy toddler, I started leaking fluids. I remember initially being in denial — going into labor at that point was certainly not the plan. But I quickly came to my senses and called my doctor. She told us to immediately head to the hospital for evaluation. My water hadn’t broken, thankfully, but I was in preterm labor — dilated 3 cm and experiencing mild contractions every two minutes. I was quickly admitted to the hospital in an attempt to stop my labor from progressing. This meant I would spend the last month of my twin pregnancy, alone, isolated in a hospital room on bed rest, as I prepared to give birth during a pandemic.

Before the leaking fluids, the bed rest, and the global pandemic, I’d spent my pregnancy feeling like I was in a good place. We had just moved into a new house, I had finished up a successful work trip, shooting two maternity campaigns in Los Angeles, and felt like I had finally hit my stride when it came to my health. My nutrition was on point, I had an exercise routine that gave me enough energy to tackle my to-do-list, and found a wonderful natural supplement regimen. I used Mountain Meadow HerbsAdrenal Aid II, which I would take during the day for energy and mood balance, as well as their Herbal Calcium, which I would take at night for relaxation and sleep regulation. I was doing everything I could to support my own health, and a lot of it helped.

My time spent in the hospital was a bit of a surreal blur. I relied on FaceTime to see my family. Nurses who would push me in a wheelchair to the parking garage of the hospital to see my sweet Henry for 10 minutes. He’d sit on my lap in the wheelchair and we’d cover each other in kisses. Then he’d asked me a million questions about who my doctor was, what my bed looked like, when I was coming home, and if his brother and sister were OK. It wasn’t ideal, but it as all manageable.

And then the COVID-19 pandemic grew worse, and the hospital restrictions increased.

Suddenly, I couldn’t leave my hospital room for risk of exposure. I was no longer allotted my 10-minute wheelchair rides to see my son, or enjoy a simple breath of fresh air. And whereas in my first week at the hospital not everyone had to wear masks, now everyone that entered my room was masked and wearing a face shield.

I was also facing the looming realities of childbirth, my high-risk pregnancy, and a possible NICU stay for my babies. The goal was to make it to 34 weeks, but the potential complications and viability of the twins if I ended up giving birth at 32 weeks were also explained to me, in case it was unavoidable. We discussed the very real possibility that my husband would not be permitted in the delivery room. Terrified, I willed my body to remain pregnant for as long as I could. I was afraid to stand up for longer than five minutes. I was afraid of accidentally causing my contractions to increase. I was afraid.

But through it all, I chose positivity, because honestly, what else can you do? You have to just lean into what’s happening and choose to believe it’s all going to be fine; to see the good in an objectively bad situation. I did little things that might seem silly but that really worked for me as I prepared to give birth during a pandemic. I renamed my hospital room my Flower Cave. My small space that was my home for over a month was consistently adorned with fresh flowers that filled my room with a calming floral fragrance. I would mist my room with lavender, kept it cozy with furry blankets from home, and dressed in my favorite pajamas and fuzzy slippers.

For me, intentionally creating a beautiful environment gave me strength, energy and healing — my hospital room became my sanctuary during a time filled with so much uncertainty. I sipped water infused with my favorite healing Mountain Meadow Herbs remedies. I had soulful conversations with girlfriends that I never would have had time to do so otherwise. I cherish visits from my husband — my only physical connection to the outside world. And I focused on keeping a calm, happy and positive mindset.

While those final weeks of pregnancy were hardly ideal, I began to view bed rest not as a struggle, but as a gift — a way to keep my babies safe inside my body. When I made it to 34 weeks, a wave of relief washed over me. And then I made it to 35 weeks. And then 36 weeks. And then, before I knew it, my OB-GYN was scheduling a C-section. After more than 30 days on bedrest, alone in my Flower Cave, I was going to meet my precious babies and finally ready to give birth during a pandemic.

On April 5, 2020, while I laid under the fluorescent lights of the operating room, holding my husband’s hand tightly in mine, my twins entered the world. The last month had seemed to move in slow motion, but time sped up the day my babies were born. My son, Brooks, was ‘Baby A’ and entered the world with a big healthy cry, as if he had been waiting far too long to say hello. A short minute later, my beautiful baby girl, Charlotte, made her worldly debut. She was breach, and I remember immediately noticing that her cry sounded different; more faint. She would need a little extra help with her breathing, so after kissing her for a brief moment, our little Coco was whisked away to the NICU by our amazing nurses.

After three days of recovery, I was discharged from the hospital, but the twins had to stay behind in the NICU. Leaving the hospital without them was difficult, to say the least, but knowing they were in the capable hands of a kind, compassionate hospital staff gave me the strength, and peace, to go home. I was finally able to hug my Henry — who was a tad confused as to why his brother and sister were not with me — and sunk into his endless hugs and kisses. A few short days later, the twins were sent home as well. My family of five was complete.

My pregnancy had ended, but my path towards restoration — for both my body and my mind — was just beginning. So I immediately started my postpartum healing routine. Just like during my pregnancy and 30+ days on isolated bedrest, I was excited to supplement my routine with some natural homeopathic remedies to speed up my healing process. This part of my postpartum regime was two-fold and involved my encapsulated placentas, as well as several herbal supplements that I had researched from Mountain Meadow Herbs. I continued with Adrenal Aid II for energy and mood balance (the latter effect being especially important for the postpartum hormonal roller coaster), Maxi-Milk to boost my milk supply, and After-Pain Relief to help relieve the pain from uterus cramping post-delivery. I also continued with my regiment of Herbal Calcium for relaxation and sleep regulation, which had worked wonders for me in the weeks and months prior.

Looking back on this incredible journey of giving birth during a pandemic, I feel exhausted, exhilarated, and empowered. Let’s be real, spending a month on bedrest in the hospital in the middle of a global pandemic was not exactly how I envisioned my birth story unfolding. I know I’m not alone, either: so many women all over the world have endured or will endure what I’ve experienced. Though each journey is unique with its own challenges and uncharted twists and turns, we all share a common thread and that is the source of unwavering strength: a mother’s love.

Obviously, to say the very least, my birth story was far from what I imagined, but it gave me three incredible gifts: my darling Brooks, my sweet Charlotte, and the knowledge that I can overcome any obstacle set before me. Which kinda makes me feel like we all can, if we come up with self-care routines that work for us, take time to nourish our bodies and minds, and most importantly, remember the we are a force — and that the love that fuels us as we bring new people into the world can also change that world.

Necessary shout out time: Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all the nurses, doctors, hospital cleaners, and medical staff who are continuing to work tirelessly to keep us mamas and our babies safe during this uncertain time. You are all fearless and courageous loving. Thank you for helping me bring Brooks and Charlotte into the world and for helping me give birth during a pandemic — it is a moment I will never, ever forget.

Brought to you by Mountain Meadow Herbs. HeyMama members get 20% off at checkout with code HEYMAMA.

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