Editor's Note: Today we're continuing our series featuring cesarean birth stories. Today's story comes from EmDo client Kristin, who welcomed her twin daughters via a planned surgical birth in December 2017.
I honestly thought the doctor was joking when he told me I was having twins.
And, my husband thought I was kidding when I told him. I was thrilled. I thought it was the coolest thing that could have happened. However, once that initial shock wore off I went between being really excited and completely terrified. I am sure all new moms feel that way, but having twins doubles up on those feelings.
During the first meeting with the doctor he asked me if I knew the biggest concern about having twins. My response was “not having a c-section.” He laughed and told me that most twin deliveries are by c-section. I didn’t really pay any mind. I knew a few twin moms and they had all had vaginal births. I could do it too, and I wanted to do it without an epidural because they scared me.
It had taken us a long time to get pregnant, and now with twins I thought it might be my only shot. I was determined to make this pregnancy and birth everything I wanted it to be. Around 24 weeks I signed up for Hypnobabies and lined up a doula hoping if I was fully prepared everything would go in my favor.
Unfortunately, that’s not how birth works and it is definitely not how birthing twins works.
Somewhere around 32 weeks I realized that the odds of having the birth I was planning was highly unlikely.
Twin A was frank breech with very little room to move at that point. I was having weekly ultrasounds and every week she was in the same position. So we scheduled my c-section for exactly 38 weeks. The night before our babies’s birth my husband and I went out to dinner, I packed my hospital bag, and then I tried to sleep.
It is a really strange feeling knowing that tomorrow your life is definitely going to change in such a tremendous way.
Everything went so smoothly that morning. We took some pictures of empty car seats “before” and one last belly shot. We could do all this because I wasn’t in labor and dealing with the pain of contractions.
Checking in was smooth, labor and delivery was practically empty, everything was moving right along on schedule. I walked to the operating room myself with a nurse. I sat on the operating table with the midwife right in front of me as they did my epidural and I looked at her and said “I really don’t like this part”.
For twin births there are a lot of people in the operating room. I think the final count was about 12 people which included the doctor, the midwife, anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist couple nurses, a pediatric team for each baby, and my husband. Our doula was not able to come into the operating room, but I did have great support from the midwife and the nurse anesthetist. They kept me updated on everything that was happening and really calmed my nerves.
The rest of the birth went by in a blur. I remember my husband coming in and the doctor telling me they had already started. I had no idea, I felt nothing! Thank goodness for that magical epidural.
A few minutes later the doctor said “Here she comes, are you ready?” I have no idea if I was ready, but that was the moment I became a Mom. It didn’t matter that it was by c-section or that this birth looked nothing like my birth plan, it was incredibly awesome.
It is worth noting that my husbands account of this moment is much different. He could see a lot more than I could. Apparently, she was really wedged in there and they had to wiggle her out one limb at a time.
A minute after that my second baby was born. Both babies needed to go to the nursery for a couple hours, but I was able to hold my second twin for a few minutes. For me that was difficult. I was shaking pretty badly from the anesthesia and was so afraid of dropping her. So they took her to the nursery for monitoring until I was in recovery. In recovery, I was able to hold them both, nurse, and do lots of skin to skin. My doula helped get nursing started and provided support to me while my husband tended to the babies while they were in the nursery.
The thing about having twins is that so much is out of your control. I have no idea if they had delayed cord clamping, or if they were suctioned, or if they cleaned the vernix off the babies right away. I obviously wanted the best for my babies, but I was trying my best to relax and go with the flow. I also had a significant post-op hemorrhage that kept me in the operating room for a really long time.
After everything was over I had two beautiful, healthy baby girls. They were also full sized babies weighing in at 6 lbs 15 oz, and 6 lbs 5 oz, I actually carried more that 13 lbs of baby in my belly!
The recovery was somewhat difficult in the first couple of days. Because of the bleeding I had a lot of extra fluid. It also took my milk a lot longer to come in so nursing was a challenge. I had to really utilize my support system. My parents stayed to help us for a week and I had great doula and lactation support.
The thing about becoming a parent is that you have an idea of what it will be like and in reality it may or may not turn out that way.
Babies are their own people, they have preferences too and they don’t always agree with yours.
For example, my twins never really took to nursing. I tried and tried. I beat myself up and kept trying to make it happen, but there are two of them. I could spend hours nursing and they were still miserable. So now we nurse in the morning and it’s bottles the rest of the day. It is what works for us.