Ashley Albrand has joined a pretty exclusive birth club. In fact, she’s probably the only member. The American yoga teacher freebirthed surprise twins in the Costa Rica jungle, and handled it like a goddess.
Already a mum-of-two, Ashley had no idea she was having twins, and thought she was birthing her placenta when a second pair of little feet made an appearance not long after her son was born. Not only was she unexpectedly having twins – the second was breech.
Her incredible birth story unfolds in Costa Rica, where she’s lived with her partner and two daughters for the past two years.
A jungle freebirth
Ashley thought she was carrying a pretty big third bub, but her doctor had only ever picked up one heartbeat. One of her daughters, Bhavani, was more than ten pounds at birth, so she was no stranger to big babies, or outdoor births – Bhavani was freebirthed in a Californian forest.
“I was carrying 14 pounds of baby. It was so intense!,” Ashley explains. “I kept wondering why it was so heavy but because my sita Bhavani paved the way for them with a 10.5 birthweight, and the doctor I saw a few times only heard one heart beat, I thought it was another big one.
“There were a few signs along the way that it was twins. Had I gotten the ultrasound at nine months that the doctor wanted I probably would have been pulled towards fear so I’m glad I followed my intuition to trust this spirit led birth!”
Ashley says she’d been in pre-labour for weeks, but cramping that felt more uncomfortable hinted things were ramping up.
“The pain seemed more and more uncomfortable so I listened to a hypnobirthing meditation and fell asleep. I woke up and wanted to get in my tub. Even if it wasn’t ‘it’ these crampy contractions were different and I felt guided to try and be comfortable.”
Ashley’s partner Ian Woods was out working in the woodshed but was regularly dropping in to check how things were progressing. After his second visit, sensing things were shifting, Ashley asked him to stay and the pair got into the tub they’d prepared for the birth.
“About 3-5 big contractions with different techniques (fast swirly hips, shove against Ian, deep breathing) I did the same ‘turn around technique’ with bhav exactly before her birth, this one wasn’t as physically difficult, I turned over easily, I wrapped my arms around Ian’s neck. My ancient voice whispered out loud and deeply ‘the ring of fire’ I could see my yoni portal in my third eye opening and felt his head coming down. I reached down and felt his perfect round head, rubbing it I told Ian, ‘the head is born’ (he replied) the most surprised ‘what!?
“I allowed baby to flow out in one contraction and we lifted him out of the water and kissed and loved him. He latched!”
An unexpected turn
Ashley thought her beautiful, primal birth story in the jungle was over. But things were about to take an unexpected turn.
“I thought the placenta was being born 3-5 minutes later but the contractions were pretty intense and when I felt legs had shot out of me I casually and difficultly said ‘these are legs … it’s a baby … it’s a yoni..’
“I felt strongly I needed to ‘get her out’ quickly so I used my hands to pull her as I pushed a little, with the contraction’s help, I intuited to be gentle with my hands. I did this three times with two strong energies assisting me (contractions).
“She was born and we brought her up out of the water. She was covered with vernix! Her brother had none! She wasn’t breathing but was clearly alive, I used my mouth to suck liquid out of her nose but she didn’t start breathing or crying.”
Ashley had support from her yoga student Melissa, a registered nurse who was minding Ashley’s daughters, and called her in to help with the second twin’s breathing.
“She was shocked to see another baby and immediately starting using her thumbs to pump her heart, I said ‘be gentle’ she said out loud, ‘there’s a heartbeat’. I blew air into her nose and mouth. I could feel the passage was clear, a circle of air, Melissa tried the suction ball gently one time but nothing came out. I breathed into her lungs again and we got the first breath and cry. The whole process was about two minutes. It took another 30 seconds to hear the big cry which was music to our ears. She also latched.
“I took the herb Lore tincture as a precaution to get the placenta out, about 5-7 mins later I pushed the placenta out. I wanted to get in bed so E held me, Melissa carried the bowl with the placenta and I carried the babies, we walked to the bed. I had gotten in the tub about 3:30, he was born at 4:39 and she was 4:44.”
The couple are yet to name their miracle twins, who they refer to as the sun and moon.
“I believe birth is fated,” Ashley says. “There are reasons for it all unseen. The pain is real, the magic is real and the depth is powerful and very real.”
What a captivating birth story, congratulations beautiful mumma. You can follow Ashley’s journey in the Costa Rica jungle via Infinite Source Yoga.
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