Famed American body-positive model and mum-of-three Ashley Graham welcomed the birth of her beautiful twin boys earlier this year. However, their birth was far more complicated than even Ashely herself realised.
Ashley opened up about her traumatic home birth experience with her twin sons in a personal essay published by Glamour, detailing how close to tragedy she really was.
“The night I gave birth to the twins, I haemorrhaged”, Ashley recalled. “It was 2 a.m. when my contractions started. At 3:45 a.m. I went to the toilet thinking I needed the bathroom, and Malachi came out just as my doula was arriving, in time to bring him into the world.”
“Two hours and seven minutes later, I had Roman in my apartment bathtub—we didn’t even have enough time to blow up the home birthing tub because everything happened so fast. At first we were all celebrating.”
“The next thing you know, I looked at my midwife and I said, ‘I don’t feel good. I think I need to lay down,’ and I blacked out. All I can remember is feeling a light touch on my cheek, which I found out later was actually somebody smacking the crap out of my cheek,” the 34-year-old model continued.
“Someone holding my hand, my husband Justin in my ear, praying, and someone jabbing me with a needle in my arm. And I remember seeing darkness and what seemed like stars.”
“When I finally came to, I looked around and I saw everybody. They just kept saying to me, ‘You’re fine. You’re fine. You’re fine.’ They didn’t want to tell me, right then, that I’d lost litres of blood. They didn’t want to tell me that one of the midwives had to flip me over, press her finger down right above my vagina bone to try and stop the bleeding. And they didn’t want to tell me that the vein in my arm kept collapsing and they couldn’t get the needle in for the Pitocin, so they’d had to put it in my hand.”
“But even though they didn’t want to go into the details at that moment, I looked around the room, saw blood literally everywhere, and let out this deep, visceral cry—an emotional release from the chaos I had just experienced.”
Thankfully, both of her babies were healthy, but Ashley explains that she couldn’t walk or even crawl afterwards, so instead she was rolled onto a twin-sized bedsheet, slid down the hall and then rolled onto a trundle bed. Graham says she stayed in that bed for four days after giving birth and couldn’t walk for a week. She stayed at home for two months afterwards, recuperating and recovering.
“My midwives checked in on me every day. I think they thought I was going to be triggered by how severe the events had been, but I kept telling them, ‘You all saved me. God saved me. This is a true miracle.’”
Ashley then goes on to reveal that she suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage in February 2021, one year prior to welcoming her twins.
“Because it was my second pregnancy, I started to show early, and we were so excited. But at the end of February, I had a miscarriage. It was devastating; it felt like one of the biggest losses I had ever had in my life to date,” she emotionally wrote.
“I understood at that point what so many other mothers have gone through. I had a child already, and looking at him was the only way to ease my pain, and yet the loss was so acute. I cannot even fathom how heartbreaking it must be for women who have not yet had children, and for those who have been through miscarriages multiple times.”
“And yet the world expects us to move on and handle our grief with grace. I just remember breaking down more than a few times, just at random, and thinking, ‘How do women across the world do this? Because my story is no bigger than anyone else’s.’”
“After a while we decided to try again, and this time I got pregnant with the twins. When we found out, it was incredible, overwhelming, and joyous,” Ashley continued. Ashley and her husband Justin Ervin welcomed the birth of their newborn twins on January 7 and decided to give their sons the unique monikers Malachi and Roman.
“My boys have been the greatest teachers and biggest reminders that I can do hard things,” she sweetly wrote alongside her birth announcement post, adding, “This has not been easy, but it’s so worth it.”
Ashley and Justin are of course already loving parents to their eldest son, two-year-old Isaac, who was born on January 18, 2020, 10 years after the couple tied the knot in 2010.