Chloe Wilson experienced something during her pregnancy that most people couldn't even dream of. When she became pregnant with her second child, she figured she already knew what to do so there was no point in seeking medical help.
"I have always preferred to find my own path in life, and felt comfortable doing this," she wrote for The Guardian. "My family hated it – they wanted the reassurance of the professionals – but as far as I was concerned, I had produced one healthy baby, so I would produce another. My body didn't need help."
"My pregnancy was developing nicely," she continued. "I felt queasy, but nothing out of the ordinary. When I was pregnant with my son, Buzz, two years earlier, I had felt so alienated and stressed whenever I came into contact with the medical profession that I decided not to involve the NHS again. I didn't have any blood tests, scans or measurements, not even the 12-week scan. I would have liked to have had checks, but I couldn't afford an independent midwife, so I trusted my instincts."
However, as labor began, Wilson knew something was off.
"I realized it wasn't progressing like the birth of my son. His had been four hours of alternating agony and ecstasy, whereas this was just grinding pain that dragged on for the whole day. I had taught myself how to do an internal examination, so I could feel I was fully dilated. I had labored for 10 hours, but now, instead of a head, I felt something bony. It didn't feel right at all."
That's when she knew it was time to seek medical attention. It's what the doctors saw when she arrived at the hospital that left everyone stunned.
"An ambulance took me to the delivery room, where a doctor examined me. He decided it was a head after all, and I began to push. After a moment, a tiny bottom and then two legs unfurled themselves from my body. My baby was breech. But her head was refusing to come out. It seemed to be stuck, so I was put up in stirrups so the doctor could investigate. As he examined me, his eyebrows shot up. "It's twins!" he shouted."
"Thinking back, there were tiny clues that suggested this was a multiple pregnancy, but I dismissed them. When I was seven months pregnant, a friend said she could feel a head in one position but I thought I could feel it in another. I discounted twins, though, because we didn't have any in our family. Then there was the party in my belly that started whenever music was played. The tangle of limbs would kick in all directions, but I put it down to my baby being vigorously healthy."
Wilson went into labor six weeks early, which is extremely common for twins. But she suddenly realized her lack of medical attention could have been costly for the tiny babies.
"Both babies were very little – just three pounds each – and their lungs weren't fully developed. I got only a glimpse of them before they were dashed off to special care. Suddenly alone, I struggled to take it all in. I had identical twin girls. The trauma and stress instantly felt irrelevant. To have two babies with one pregnancy was a miracle – double the luck. Even as they were whisked away from me, I felt nothing but elation."
"My girls, Sapphire and Blue, were in hospital for six weeks; we were allowed to take them home when they reached full term. I feel a pang of guilt when I think that my refusal of medical intervention deprived them of steroids in the womb. These are used to develop lungs if a birth is likely to be premature. But this is tempered by the fact that my pregnancy was calm because I wasn't constantly monitored and filled with anxieties. I am, however, relieved and grateful that they were born in hospital, because it saved their lives."
However, despite the medical complications, Wilson doesn't regret now knowing she was expecting two babies.
"My two girls...have blossomed into wonderful people with very different personalities. In hindsight, I am glad I didn't know I was having twins. If it happened again, I still wouldn't find out – why would I want to miss out on the best surprise of my life?"
Do you think it was okay for Chloe Wilson to avoid medical attention for her entire pregnancy? Let us know.