Can you ever prepare for a Twin birth?

Fallon Melander June 17, 2019 Family, Twins

Okay, so where we left off I was lamenting about the surprise news that I was expecting twins. I freaked out, panicked and then finally came around to the idea, (not that I had a choice in the matter ). So as much as the pregnancy was a lot to mentally process and physically handle, the birth was a whole new ballgame. While pregnant I read as many books as possible, scoured the internet for twin birth stories (thank you Nesting Story for sharing yours) and talked to several twin moms. What I came to realize is that everyone had different experiences, but a common thread was that multiples usually came before 38 weeks, a twin birth likely takes place in the operating room, with a team of people are present at the birth, and that I should expect the babies to spend some time in the nursery and potentially the NICU. This was a lot to process considering I had my first child two years prior in what I like to think of as a peaceful setting, still in the hospital, but with only my midwives present as the sun came up in the early morning hours.

First moments of skin to skin with my first born
First moments of skin to skin with my first born

Due to low water levels in one of the baby’s sac’s I was told that I would be induced at 36 weeks. The boys were measuring well, they were both head down and there seemed to be no other complications. I was extremely happy to have been given a date as I was physically tapped out. I was scheduled to be induced on a Sunday in January and thankfully we had arranged family members to come stay with our daughter. I also was very lucky as I was able to be followed by midwives, one of whom had been a part of my first pregnancy, and a doctor to do the actual delivery. So the idea of having a date and a plan gave me some relief.   

Can you ever prepare for a twin birth? - Fallon Melander for Nesting Story
35 weeks pregnant with the twins and ready to pop

That morning we went into the hospital very anxious and excited. I was planning on a vaginal delivery with both twins as they were in the perfect position. However, I knew that there was a chance that I would need a C-section if any complications arose. Luckily I had the full support of my midwives and doctor to try this route for a twin birth instead of just scheduling a C-section. After settling in I was hooked up to the monitors we were told that they were going to begin the inducement by administering oxytocin. Needless to say I was ready to evict these twins out of my broken body. About an hour later I was informed that the one anestheologist on duty was in a surgery and would not be able to give me an epidural until he was finished, which happened to take a couple hours.

Things progressed very slowly all day. I was only receiving a small amount of oxytocin as the delivery doctor and the anestheologist were both called into another emergency surgery. Being bed bound I began to get bored and frustrated. I could hear women in the rooms next to me bringing new life into the world, I was on my second shift of nurses, and the Women’s network movies were beginning to repeat themselves. After 12 hours of being bed bound I was just plain pissed. In my fit of anger I began to feel some discomfort down below – burning pain that I thought maybe was my catheter. After a few nurses came and left my husband turned to me and said are you ok? I started to say yes while spontaneously crying from searing pain. He ran to get the nurses and I struggled to keep myself from breaking the guard rail off of the bed.

I was rushed to the operating room and transferred to the cold table while also feeling every inch of pain – which is when I realized that the epidural was not working from my hips down. When everyone was in place, about 13 of us in total, I was told to push and after a few pushes Baby A was out and whisked away immediately to the warming table and a team of nurses to be inspected. I was worried about Baby A, but I also remembered that I had to still give birth to another baby. At this point all I could think was “I have to do that all over again!” This is when I really cursed the fact that the epidural was not working.

The next thing I knew an ultrasound machine was on my stomach to locate Baby B. Turns out he had flipped sideways when his brother left the womb and was no longer head down. Of course I did not know this at the time and with my mind still on Baby A and preparing myself for another birth. It felt like mere seconds had passed when the doctor told me to push gently (is there such a thing?) and the next thing I knew Baby B was out and also whisked away to the adjacent warmer. At this point I looked over to my husband who looked in shock and the doctor who still had not said a word but was covered in blood. My husband then told me that Baby B had come out feet first and our ever stoic doctor looked like he had been in a scene of the Walking Dead.

This is when I started to panic about the health of both babies, especially Baby B who had made his appearance into the world at 9:31pm, 9 minutes after his brother in an unforgettable way. Thankfully my midwives were there are kept us informed and told us that both babies were having difficulty breathing and needed to be taken to the NICU. All of a sudden we heard a long deep beeping noise and I looked at my husband wild eyed. It sounded like the unthinkable but my midwife ran over to me and told me that it was just the battery on one of the warmers that had been unplugged that was making the noise.

The boys were rushed out to the NICU and a very nice Resident doctor wearing a clear face shield (straight out of a SWAT movie) did the rest of the delivery – the placenta. I don’t know if she put it on as a precaution after she saw the doctor pull Baby B out and the aftermath that covered the doctor, or if that is standard practice. The whole time however my mind was on the babies and I had no idea what was happening to them. It was quite a whirlwind and once I was back in the delivery room my husband went with the nurse to see the babies. Meanwhile we had been getting updates from my midwife and she told us that they were stable but needed help breathing. I was being monitored and after I was cleared a few hours later I was able to go see the babies, who were still known as Baby A and B at this point.

Baby A was a vaginal twin birth
Baby A

Both babies were hooked up to the CPAP machine and other than difficulty breathing everything else seemed to be okay. One of the biggest surprises to me was how big they were, measuring at 6.4lbs and 6.1lbs. I couldn’t believe that I had been carrying over 12lbs of baby! To be honest at this point I was utterly exhausted and still was not processing everything that had happened – a faulty epidural, a breach baby birth, two babies on respiratory support, and a twin birth that did not require stitches! My midwife told me that I was a freaking unicorn, but I felt like I was in a foggy dream.

Baby B was a breach baby birth
Baby B

We still had a journey to overcome in the following days of our NICU stay and bringing home the twins but I think I will end the story here for now. Needless to say I am thankful that I have two healthy, strong twin toddlers who despite a rocky start are doing amazing.

Melander twins taking a sink bath at 1 year old

I hope this has helped some of you who may be expecting multiples to put your mind at ease and to know that there are some things you cannot control. I have talked to many twin moms about their pregnancy and birth journey and I have learned how unique each one is, and also how strong both babies and mothers truly are. This may seem like the ultimate test, but it’s the beginning of your story and what I hope is an amazing journey.

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