Author: Caitlin Ryan
Even though I was pregnant with twins (DCDA) I guess I just thought in my head I would have an uncomplicated natural delivery. Just like my first baby, but I would just push two babies out this time. That was the delivery option we had been discussing all along in my OB appointments. It didn’t exactly go like that though. The 3 of us ended up in 3 different parts of the hospital post birth………………
I suffered badly from Hyperemesis Gravidarum
I was counting down the days until pregnancy was going to be over and our twins would be here. Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG- severe pregnancy nausea and vomiting) hit me hard throughout my twin pregnancy like my previous singleton pregnancy. My OB had assured me they would induce at 38 weeks if they hadn’t come on their own by then. We decided not to find out the sexes until they were born and being DCDA they could be any combination of sexes.
My godmother had mentioned that it might help to tell the twins the date I wanted them to arrive. I was willing to try anything so I picked the 25th September (36 weeks) and told the twins I’d like them to come then please. I told my mum as it was her best friend’s anniversary (who passed away a few years ago) and asked her to mention it to her friend to help the twins along. To my surprise that’s the date they ended up coming!
I was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome
On the afternoon of Sunday the 24th I took myself up to the day ward of the local hospital for fluids as I did whenever I needed them throughout my pregnancy due to my HG. My legs had been swollen for weeks but my BP had been monitored and I didn’t have pre-eclampsia. I felt pretty rubbish but no different to how I had felt throughout the rest of my pregnancy. They did their routine BP and blood tests and when the doctor came to see me she looked very concerned. She said I really wasn’t well and it was very lucky I had come into hospital that day. I had developed HELLP syndrome, a severe variant of pre-eclampsia. She advised me to ring my husband (Kurt) to organise care for our daughter and to get up to the hospital as we needed to discuss getting the babies out ASAP.
Discussing birthing options
Sunday evening the doctor discussed with us planning for a c-section for the morning to deliver the babies. Overnight they would give me steroid injections to help the babies’ lungs as they were pre-term and I would have a magnesium sulphate infusion for the pre-eclampsia. A side effect of the infusion was nausea and vomiting so I was even sicker than the usual HG but I knew it would all be over in the morning!
With the change in shift another doctor came to see us around midnight. She examined me and said I was already about 3cm dilated and she could feel twin A’s head! An induction was recommended with a natural delivery rather than a c-section. She assured me I would be fine- I’d done it before and it was the best option with better recovery. As twin B was breech I couldn’t have an epidural due to my condition but that she was confident of “manually manipulating” and/ or breech birth for twin B. She advised the consultant doctor would be in early in the morning to help deliver my babies. It sounded like a good plan to us so we agreed to proceed with an induction for natural delivery. I was keen to avoid a c-section if possible but had said all along I would be guided by the Dr’s recommendations.
A natural and C-section birth story
My water was broken around 3am. Labour didn’t start and so the hormone induction drip commenced around 6am. Active labour didn’t start until around 8:30am and I think it was expected the twins would have been born my then! Once my active labour started it was very fast and intense and twin A (girl) was born at 9:20am. As I was pushing twin A out yet another Dr came in to see me. There had been a change in shift again and he advised that if twin B didn’t turn once twin A was out he would recommend a c-section due to the risks to the baby for a breech birth.
As soon as twin A was out they checked and twin B hadn’t turned and we had to decide straight away if we wanted to have a c-section or for them to try for a breech birth for twin B. When the doctor recommends a c-section and mentions possible brain damage for a breech birth we felt we had to go for a c-section. Again I couldn’t have a local anesthetic and so I had to go under a general anesthetic and wouldn’t be awake for twin B’s birth. I was rushed down the hallways to theatre and put under for my c-section.
Post birth recovery
I woke in recovery and noticed that the clock said 3pm which I thought was a bit odd as I didn’t think c-sections took that long. My nurse came and explained to me that they had difficulty stabilising me after my c-section. I had lost a lot of blood and had a low heart rate and almost ended up in ICU. She assured me that twin B was ok but was in NICU. I asked what sex twin B was and she said to wait for Kurt to tell me!
Twin B was born at 10:07am and in that 5hrs in between then and me waking up in recovery Kurt had twin A in delivery suite, twin B in NICU (they still weren’t named as I didn’t even know twin B’s sex yet!) and me unstable post theatre. He said he found out about 1pm that I had been stablised. He had called both our parents around 12:30pm to come up to the hospital to be with twin A as he was with twin B in NICU and to be there in case he got bad news about me. They both knew I was in hospital and the last they heard I was going to have a c-section in the morning so they were starting to get worried when they hadn’t heard from us about the twins birth.
Kurt was worried I might be mad at him as they knew twin B was a boy before me!
Meeting my twins
I was wheeled back to the delivery suite shortly after 3pm and got to be with twin A and our parents.
Kurt came down from NICU and showed me a photo of twin B and told me he was a boy! We finalised their names and told our parents. Twin A was Alexandra Ivy Margaret (Margaret was mum’s friend’s whose anniversary it was) and twin B was Owen Thomas. I wasn’t stable enough to go around to NICU to meet Owen and he wasn’t stable enough to come to me.
Myself and baby Alexandra were taken to the post-natal ward at around 6pm. Kurt was spending most of the time up in NICU with Owen as he felt bad he was up there “by himself”. Around 11pm (over 12 hrs after he was born) a NICU nurse was able to bring Owen down to me so I could meet him as he was off all monitors and was stable.
I was stable that night but still had very high BP and a catheter, oxygen, fluids, blood, an iron infusion and leg compression pumps attached and in pain post c-section so was bed bound. I started moving and coming off attachments over the next few days and was able to walk to NICU to visit Owen and take Alex up there and practice tandem breastfeeding.
Owen was able to “graduate’ from NICU to the post-natal ward with us 5 days later on the Saturday and we were all able to go home together on the following Tuesday (‘Day 8”).
Hindsight from my natural and C-section birth story
Yes it was hectic and stressful especially for poor Kurt in those hours after the c-section. It took me a while to recover from birth and I still have pain from the emergency c-section. In hindsight I would have just requested to just go with the more planned c-section in the morning. However we went along with the doctors recommendations at the time. I know how lucky we are that we were all ok and got to go home together after only 8 days. I am disappointed that I missed out on that special initial skin to skin contact with Alex and Owen but I did get lots of cuddles in the days afterwards and every day since!
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