Author: Natasha Lowrey
As I sit here in the hospital bed with one baby on my chest and the other snuffling in the double cot next to me I thought I’d take a few moments to reflect on the whirlwind of events of the past few days. More to get my head around it than anything else and to preserve a few key images before they disappear into the black hole of sleep deprivation and double newborns. Let’s see how I go.
My twin vaginal and c-section birth story
We’ll start the day before in the obstetrician’s office.
Tuesday 13th August. 1pm. Final check. Twin one fully engaged. Twin two head down in a slight ‘c’ position. Discussed possible scenarios for twin two delivery including if she flips to breech, transverse and if she becomes stuck. Note: all of these scenarios occurred (and more!). Left feeling informed and ready.
Tuesday 13th August. 10pm. Hop into bed feeling good. Ready to meet babies the next morning. Final name discussion. Middle names still up in the air but happy with our options. Did have thoughts of my second child’s textbook induction and delivery. Hoping for the same.
Being induced with twins, but to my surprise I was already 5cm dilated.
Wednesday 14th August.
6am. Arrive at hospital. As my obstetrician predicted, they faff about for an hour before we’re shown to birth suite.
7am. Obstetrician arrives. Internal exam reveals I’m already 5cm dilated much to my surprise. Does explain my extreme discomfort the past week. Waters broken. Contractions start spontaneously. Drip still set up and epidural prepared.
9.30. Progressing well. Epidural coverage not as full as they would like, even though I’m not in significant pain. Top ups administered so I’m covered for Twin two delivery.
10.00 Overdid the top ups. Causes blood pressure to crash. Felt a little icky. Quickly fixed.
The vaginal birth of Twin A
11.00 Felt the pressure building. Team assembled ready for the main event. Obstetrician. 2 midwives. Paediatrician. And my husband. Trying to find a seat without a good view. Had to wait a little longer for paediatrician to arrive (standard for twin births). No concerns at this stage.
11.30ish. Started pushing. Could feel contractions building but no pain.
11.51 Twin one is born. A boy. 2.6 kg. 49cm.
Had a short cry on exit. Put on my chest. Had a look around. Held for a minute or two before handed off to my husband and the Paediatrician. He’s perfect.
Placenta delivered without an issue (I think? Who really cares about placentas at this stage. Wasn’t in need of a snack so wasn’t interested).
Twin B decided to flip around once Twin A was born
Twin B decided to make the most of her sudden upgrade from baggage locker to penthouse suite and swan about like she owns the joint. Where she was head down she spun through transverse to breech and back to transverse.
Trying to re-position Twin B after Twin A flipped
With a bit of external prodding Dr was able to reposition her head down but before she could engage or I could push she decided that sideways was the comfiest. Cue Drs arm insertion past the elbow. Still smiling and telling me everything is fine. I could only feel some weird internal movements – actually less painful than what I’d been experiencing the last few months anyways. I was calm and enjoying the show. My husband’s eyes were firmly fixed on Twin A.
With some internal manipulation she was head down again and facing the exit, however, when preparing for her grand entrance she had decided that her chosen position would be an elbow above her head and a shoulder in front of her face. This (combined with some pushing from me) resulted in a zombie arm popping through to say hello.
Unfortunately shoulders and head did not follow. As her brother had stretched everything out for her she decided to go back in for one last look around. Lying transverse with shoulder and arm preventing use of forceps/ vacuum (but still having a grand old time- her heartbeat remained stable the whooooole time) the call was made for her to enter Macduff style (untimely ripped from mother’s womb).
I’ve got to say I was not surprised by the call and it was absolutely the right decision but still didn’t fill me with joy.
My twin vaginal and c-section birth story
12.15 So the big button was pushed. The room filled with people. My rings were removed (husband managed to drop one between birth room and theatre and then fail to identify it as mine. Lucky it’s engraved). Had to answer a checklist. Twin A was passed to a nurse and hung out with her for 45 min apparently. Husband got dressed as we walked the 50? 25? 5? metres down the hall to theatre (I didn’t walk).
Being prepped for an emergency c-section
Anaesthetist was pumping up my epi on the walk and there was lots of preparatory chatter. My ears were focussed on discussion of baby’s heart rate (still stable with no signs of distress).
Arrived in theatre with lots of faces peering over at me. Had to spread my arms out in a T position. Felt a bit like Jesus on the cross. Instant celebrity status. Husband shuffled in dressed in blues looking white. Was seated behind my left Jesus arm and grabbed my forearm. Not sure if he was supporting me or himself. His hands were icy.
Obstetrician and anaesthetist were very encouraging explaining everything that was happening and how baby was doing (excellent, no change in heart rate). Had to check if epi top up was working. It wasn’t. Had feeling on left hand side quite low down. Had an extra top up. Still didn’t take. I think we waited 20mins maybe in total in theatre to see if epidural would take. Only reason we waited that long was that baby was absolutely fine. I remember the anaesthetist saying at one point that a minute in emergency C section time felt like 10. And we’d only been 3 minutes between checks. I also remember that I liked her glasses.
Being prepped for an emergency c-section under general anaesthetic
Very apologetically obstetrician explained (from behind her slightly disturbing clear plastic splatter full face shield) that we couldn’t wait any longer and I’d have to go under. Husband was ushered out the door and I think it was at this point I shed a tear. Obviously his hand was doing more than I gave it credit for.
The emergency c-section birth of Twin B
Mask came down. Ice flowed through my veins and next thing I remember is opening my eyes in recovery with Husband bending over a double cot to my left.
Babies were placed on boobies and latched immediately. We were then magically transported back to the room where I had a dream about a ghost and woke up crying.
What went down whilst under general anaesthetic I found out the next morning in my debrief with the obstetrician. Still far from textbook….
The birth of twin B
I went under fine and no issues with incision. Once opened twin two decided to take another tour of the facilities and continued to spin. She became wedged under my ribcage and would not co-operate. After a few moments of negotiations with her she was finally convinced to wiggle down and was delivered breech extraction at 12.39pm.
12.39. Twin B born. A girl. 2.5kg. 50cm.
I lost 1300ml of blood and was pumped full (3 times?) of all the drugs due to the failed epidurals and successful general anaesthetic. No blood transfusion required but did need iron transfusion day 2.
I was so pleased with their weights and general health. To be honest I was expecting at minimum 48 hours observations in special care nursery. To head straight to room with me was amazing (but also kind of annoying as we had to establish routine ourselves. And find clothes for them to wear. And swaddle. Though I know I shouldn’t complain).
Debrief with obstetrician and anaesthetist the next morning certainly helped to fill in the gaps and they were both apologetic that it wasn’t as straightforward as we had hoped. But we got the best outcome so really I’m okay with what happened. Writing it down has certainly helped me process it all. I never thought I would have had a twin vaginal and c-section birth story to share!
My final thoughts on my twin vaginal and c-section birth story
1. Emergency C sections SUCK . I woke up feeling horrendous and just got worse in the first 24 hours. Groggy. In lots of pain. Bed ridden. Ugh. Add trying to learn to tandem feed and it was not a pleasant experience at all. Luckily everyone latched well and feeding was established quickly.
2. Tandem feeding. Not as difficult as it sounds. Uses different muscles. keeps you starving. Main disadvantage is no hand free for phone scrolling! Perhaps a good thing!
3. Recognising the balancing act . I felt much more ready this time round to deal with siblings and their needs and to know it’s okay to not feel on top of it all immediately. Definitely a smoother ride.
4. Standard swaddling is still tough. Bring on the Velcro wraps and zip sleep sacks waiting at home. And No. I don’t need them brought to the hospital as I’d rather they’re clean at home for when we return.
5. Twins are pretty special. They look for each other. Hit each other. Watch each other cry. All the important stuff.
If you made it this far thanks for reading. Written primarily for my own benefit but certainly happy to share. Also more than happy to answer questions or provide further details about my twin vaginal and c-section birth story. It’s amazing how quickly you forget things. Even now 3 days later aspects are fading.