Meagan Peoples didn’t want to go get an ultrasound without her husband, Connor. But due to COVID restrictions, the Minnesota couple couldn’t go together for a sneak peak at their third baby. So, Meagan decided to skip the ultrasound and then, continue getting home-based pregnancy care from her midwife.
“It’s his baby, too,” Meagan told her local CBS station. “I’m not going to come without my partner.”
The decision would result in the surprise of a lifetime. When Meagan gave birth on Saturday, Sept. 5, everything went well and the Peoples celebrated the birth of a son. Then, the midwife noticed something.
“There’s two midwives when we did our home birth…and the second one looked down and she was like, ‘Oh lord, there’s another [laughs]!’” Meagan said.
Meagan was measuring large throughout the pregnancy, but that wasn’t too different from her first two pregnancies. The Peoples and their care team just figured she’d have a big baby.
“Meagan’s always has really large babies. We were fully expecting that trend to continue, and have like a…13-pound baby,” Connor said.
But no — there were actually two babies. The Peoples’ new daughter arrived seven minutes after her brother.
Connor described the shock well — at that point he wouldn’t have been surprised if Meagan were having triplets, he said.
“There’s two. And then a part of you is like, well, we weren’t expecting two, so is there a number three now?” he said.
Meagan said that the twins were a perfect pandemic surprise.
“I’ve been at home for months, it feels like,” she said. “It made it really worth it when we ended up with two.”
Surprise twins used to be relatively common, but these days they’re virtually unheard of in the United States and Canada, since most expecting moms get at least one ultrasound. Midwives can usually detect twins without an ultrasound, but the Peoples’ twins were aligned one in front of the other, rather than side-to-side, making them difficult to detect.
Home births are relatively rare, making up roughly 1% of births nationally. But the pandemic has more people considering home births. Expecting mothers concerned about contracting the virus or about not having their chosen support team with them are opting to stay home for birth instead. Searches for “home birth” were at a five-year high at the end of March.
Los Angeles midwife Aleksandra Evanguelidi told The New York Times that she had 30 inquiries for home births during just six days in March. Certain pregnancy complications including carrying twins will cause Evanguelidi to decline to care for a woman at home.
“I am open to taking more clients but I am also very picky,” Evanguelidi said. “We have the luxury of cherry-picked clients.”
Many moms scrambled to arrange a birth at home. One of them was Rani Molla, who wrote about her experience for Vox.
“I am eight months pregnant, and in the past month and a half I’ve gone from planning a delivery at a Manhattan hospital to a home birth 175 miles away, where my partner and I have been building a home. I am not saying this is the right decision, but it is mine,” she said.
Molla had been planning to give birth at a hospital that banned support people — including the mother’s partner. The Governor of New York ultimately overturned that, but Molla was worried that hospitals might change the rules again before she gave birth.
“I do not know if my decision is the best one,” she wrote. “But it is my decision, which is incredibly valuable when so much about the world is uncertain.”