Bringing a new baby, or babies in my case, into the world is such a wonderful miraculous experience. I know it happens all the time. Women fall pregnant…that’s life. But still! The amazing feeling of little lives growing inside you and then eventually becoming real people with thoughts and feelings and joys and failures. The birth experience is an amazing process. Human development is enthralling. My birth experience with our twins was not what we expected.
What Did We Expect?
For one we expected only one baby…not sure why. My father is a fraternal twin, and if you’ve done your research you know that this is the hereditary kind (doesn’t skip a generation btw). I was also 30 when we conceived, as well as being half black, and slightly overweight. I basically tipped the scales in twin favor without realizing it. Which is a bit comical since I’ve always wanted twins. I had hoped my first born was a twin. He wasn’t, but my birth experience with him did not do much to help me with the birth experience provided by my twins.
I thought I would be so prepared for this second viable pregnancy and had planned to be gorgeously pregnant, workout, eat right, and just be better at being pregnant. I wanted to “rock” this pregnancy.
After finding out we were having twin though. I had to learn everything all over again. There was a different process and conversation that we followed. My husband also ended up playing a more active roll in the birth experience and care process, which is saying a lot as he was and is a very involved father by any standard. Twins seemed to up the ante for him . I also had to learn about things that were an afterthought in our singleton pregnancy. Like the word “singleton” for example. There are also a few lessons I’ve learned along the way that I wish I’d found out prior to giving birth to twins.
The Process of Events
We had anticipated our second child would be born naturally. But after two miscarriages and finding out we were carrying rainbow twins…our plan had to change.
The first step was to find an OB. With my first born we had a midwife. When carrying more than one you’re automatically considered a high-risk pregnancy and therefore can no longer see a midwife, at least not in Fargo/Moorhead.
The first trimester was brutal. SO MUCH NAUSEA. I won’t say I had it that bad because I only “threw up” once and it never made it past the back of my throat…TMI I know…
The second trimester was grand. I felt great. There’s something about pregnancy that gave me so much body confidence. I didn’t feel that societal pressure to be anything in particular. I was pregnant and it was expected that my body would be weird and change colors. It was ok that I passed gas more often and snore as if sawing logs. I was pregnant and perfectly so. That knowledge and confidence was so liberating. I no longer felt the need to workout or be confined to certain clothing. I wore body con dresses and felt fabulous and felt so comfortable in my own skin. Something I have never experienced with such ferocity before.
Then, the third trimester hit. We took the diabetes test and failed. We had to start seeing the doctor much more often, it’s a multiples thing. It was a bit laborious. The doctor visits while fun became a burden after a while and felt as though they weren’t needed. Even if they found something on my ultrasound scans there was nothing they could or would do while the babies were still in the womb (I asked). That knowledge only made the appointments seem more wasteful and fear inducing. When they “found” things on the scans or made comments to me I immediately googled everything regarding the topic they mentioned.
The discussion about birth and birthing options was hard for me. I’m what I consider a rational hippie type. I love all things “crunchy-granola” but I am willing to accept the non-hippie way when need be. I wanted so badly to deliver my twins naturally. But during the conversation we learned a few things…
- Women in Fargo/Moorhead are not allowed to birth naturally when twin A (twin closest to the exit) is in a breach (butt facing exit) or transverse (side lying) position.
- Twin A is usually larger…not a big deal until you consider the fact that they’ve created a very large opening for a smaller human that will likely come flying out much faster and very possibly at such a high rate that they could cause more damage than twin A. That scared me quite a bit. I didn’t want to birth a bowling ball and then follow that with a torpedo.
- Women with gestational diabetes have babies whose amniotic sacks contain excess fluid. What this means for birth is that it is more difficult for baby A to get into position as they have essentially become a fishing bobber in their sack. If they keep bobbing at the top the only way to get to the bottom is to put on more weight and get closer…which is not always the safest/healthiest option.
- Baby B is a wild card at birth. She could be head down, transverse, or breach. She may even change positions moments after baby A has been born. There’s no way to know until it happens.
- If baby B isn’t in the correct position the mother may have experienced a natural birth for baby A and then have to have an emergency C-section for baby B. Who wants that!?!?
After learning about all of these possible complications that could occur based on the complications we were already experiencing. My husband and I decided it would be best to have a scheduled c-section.
The process of going to the hospital was so different. The first time I had been in pain and it was the early morning… 3:00 AM early. This time I had to get up at 5:00 AM and drink a special glucose drink. Then we headed to the hospital at 6:00 AM for early check-in. My Surgery was at 7-ish…a little later than expected due to some complication somewhere else. There was no rush no painful contraction post-water breaking.
The surgery itself seemed so surreal. I was wheeled into a room on my back given some medication through my spine to numb my lower half. And within 15 minutes there was my son and my daughter a minute after. They came so quickly. Natural birth took so much longer for me that the speed of a c-section was a bit of a shock.
They stitched me up and had me wheeled out of the surgery room and off to the recovery room in 30 minutes. I spent a few hours in the recovery room because I’d lost a lot of blood during the surgery and my temperature was very low. For those of you who don’t know low temp is bad because if it gets too low it can send you into a coma. Not good. But I was lucky and didn’t have to deal with that.
Put ‘er There Partner
My husband was instrumental in the birth of my twins. A woman’s support person should be given more respect and a greater role during the birth process. I would not have had such a wonderful birth experience without him.
My husband drove me to the hospital. I couldn’t fit behind the seat of our car very well, not to mention my being in the driver seat likely wasn’t that safe. He was there for emotional support the whole time. When I went in the surgery room he told me everything was going to be fine. He made me feel safe and made the occasional joke when the mood needed lightening. Being safe and calm was so important to us on that day.
Our scheduled c-section was exactly what we never planned on having. And yet there we were having planned just that. I was scared. I needed him. He was there for the whole thing he watched the doctors and nurses cut me open and care for the babies immediately after birth. When I was wheeled to the recovery room he stayed with the babies so that we would never be apart from our children. I am so grateful for that. They were brought in to see me after a few minutes of checkups and cleaning. When I was in the recovery room my temperature was dangerously low. My husband kept calm and asked questions when appropriate. He kept and eye on my vitals as well. My husband was absolutely instrumental in the birth and recovery process.
The Inconveniences of a Husband
During our stay I was disappointed to find out that the sleeping couch for a mother’s support person was small, uncomfortable, and butted up next to the window which was subject to a significant draft. It’s almost as if whomever designed the postpartum suite designed it specifically to exclude the mother’s partner from comfort…maybe to ensure he or she had just as difficult a time as the mother? While hospitals in the states charge over 30K to birth twins by cesarian… meals for the significant other weren’t covered by insurance. I understand that the support person is not on the insurance. But they are an essential care provider. I would like to see that change for future generations. If nothing else the ability to bill it to a persons room as if billing a hotel room shouldn’t be so hard to figure out. We would have much rather paid the bill afterward with the rest of the items not covered by insurance as opposed to being forced to carry cash the days of the hospital stay.
Part 2 Coming Soon…
Stay tuned for the next post My Birth Experience Part 2… In that post I’ll delve into what it was like to have twins after our c-section birth as well as what it was like for me recovering from surgery and taking care of 3 little humans.