Author: Kirsten Smith
Twins born different days. This is part three of my birth story. You can read part one and part two below.
Twins born different days was not something I ever thought would ever actually happen to me. But to be fair, I also wasn’t expecting to have twins … but here we are.
Giving birth to twins – Twin A
But suddenly it was go time, I was told to let the epidural wear off so I could feel the urge to push. Everything happened very quickly after that. Twin A was very easy to push out … sorry I mean cough out!
In fact it happened so quickly that the obstetrician almost missed it.
You see they had to be there as soon as the first baby was born so they could grab onto the second baby to stop her from flipping sideways.
And there she was, our little Penny – born at 11:39pm weighing 2.6kgs and named Penelope Ellen Smith.
Dave actually caught her and handed her to me, all slimy and perfect and looking exactly like Bradley did.
Immediately my midwife grabbed hold of Twin B … which meant putting her hands either side of my ribs, and this started the longest hour and half of my life ….
Giving birth to a breech twin
This was to stop the baby from flipping sideways … which just sounds terrifying … and painful … and wow.
We knew from about 20 weeks that Baby B was breech (bottom down instead of head down)
But they needed to make sure, so they pulled out the ultrasound machine to check. Meanwhile I’m still holding Penny to my chest, trying to give her as much skin to skin as I could before I needed to start pushing again.
(BTW they would have let me hold Penny while I was pushing, but I didn’t want to squeeze the life out of her)
Baby B was still breech, and because she was the second twin I was able to attempt to give birth to her naturally.
But there was a problem … her amniotic sac was still really high up in my uterus. Which explains why Baby B was basically in my ribs the entire pregnancy.
Suddenly I look up and the room is FULL of people …. 3 midwives, 2 NICU nurses (one for each baby), 2 Obstetricians and a midwifery student.
Oh and Dave!
And there I am …. legs in stirrups …. showing the world my insides.
One of the obstetricians took control, she sat in my eye line … right down the barrel of the gun (if you get my drift).
She’s super calm and in control, she says to me,
“Right, Kirsten the sac is too high to break. If we broke it now we risk just one foot coming out or the baby flipping … so with every contraction, you need to push the sac down.”
Trying to moving an unborn twin’s amniotic sac
Uhhhhhhhhh ….. sure I think to myself, only problem is, I can’t feel the sac. When you’re pushing a baby out the sac is broken so you can kinda feel where it is … you know … through all the screaming.
But I could NOT feel where the sac was.
So I just give it a red hot go and start pushing …
and pushing …
On and on it goes.
The midwives were on rotation to hold Baby B in place, their arms were getting sore … that’s how long this was going on for.
I was trying man … I was trying .. but every time I tried to push I just couldn’t get it to move.
And in between every contraction there was silence, weird eerie silence … as everyone waited.
Silence … and then some giggling.
OK a lot of giggling …. from me and then from Dave.
This was by far the weirdest situation I have ever been in, 9 people just staring at my hoo ha waiting for something to come out.
This broke the tension, got everyone to immediately relax and start talking. Which made me feel a WHOLE lot better.
Pushing….and more pushing
I was getting tired, sore … and hoarse because I kept vocalising while pushing and pushing … sweet lord it seemed to go on forever and because I had no idea how I was going or how much longer I had to go. I was starting to wane. It felt too impossible, It felt like I couldn’t do it.
I felt like I was failing. A lot.
My doctor in my eye line was still very calm – I still had midwives holding onto Baby B.
Finally I managed to push the sac down far enough that they didn’t have to hold on to me anymore. And suddenly I realised why I was struggling to push, I couldn’t fill my lungs because they were being squashed by the midwives hands.
So once they weren’t holding me anymore, things moved!!!
Well, the sac moved.
Giving birth to twins – Twin B
It was time to break Baby B’s amniotic sac.
Which shot across the room with such force it almost touched the other wall.
Wait … splashed …. it SPLASHED across the room. JUST missing my doctor who managed to jump away at the right moment. Clearly she had done that many times before!
Things happened a lot quicker after that, Baby B moved down and out came her butt and legs. Then the worst, weirdest most annoying thing happened.
The longest gap between contractions, such a long weird silence. While Baby B’s legs and tiny butt was hanging out of me – just odd silence.
And then finally, FINALLY I could push the little smoosh out.
And there she was, Elizabeth Emma Smith (Lizzy) born at 12:53 am, weighing 2.1kgs. Our teeny tiny daughter. My first words when she was born were …
“Oh my god her face is so different!”
You see I had completely forgotten that we didn’t know if the girls were identical or fraternal. I don’t know how I had forgotten that, it’s literally the first question ANYONE asks me when they find out I have twins.
So I am handed the tiniest baby I have ever held or seen, and she was simply beautiful.
Twins born different days
And that’s when I realised, realised the crazy fact that these two little girls technically had different birthdays! I had twins born different days!
Born almost an hour and a half after each other over midnight!
Birthing twin placentas
It wasn’t over yet, they took Lizzy from me to check all her bits. Because I still had to birth 2 placentas – and I swear to everybody out there THAT is the most painful part of the whole experience.
You see they have to make sure the placentas are birthed in their entirety – if any is left inside it could create an infection. I was also a risk for haemorrhaging – because twins AND pre-eclampisa. So I was on edge for this part.
If you’re curious, yes contractions continue while you birth the placenta. It hurts – but you mostly aren’t paying attention because you’re holding your brand new baby. So I don’t really remember birthing Bradley’s placenta … but I sure as hell remember the girls’.
*Cue a lot of whining here*
So placentas birthed, blood squashed out of me, (literally squashed, they pushed down on my belly button to push all the blood out) and I was done.
The girls each had some colostrum that I had expressed and were alert and perfect and healthy.
After birthing the twins, my body went into shock
Immediately after the girls, and the placenta and the blood were born – My body went into shock, it shook … like uncontrollably shook. It shook so much my voice wobbled because of it. I kept trying to hold my body together by tensing my muscles, but nothing was helping. They realised I had a pretty high temperature brought on by the drugs they gave me to prevent a haemorrhage.
So they started to fix that, and I should stop here and say I am still sitting on the delivery bed … with my feet on the stirrups. I felt weak, and empty and ….. raw.
And I couldn’t stop shaking!
Things were happening around me, Dave and my Mom each had a baby, I think someone told me I could move to the recovery room once my temp went down … but honestly I was kinda just focused on not feeling like I was going to die.
First shower after giving birth to twins
Finally my temp came down and the scary shaking stopped, so I could stand up for a shower. But I still had the epidural line in the back and the canula and catheter. So I had to navigate all of that on shaky legs to the shower. It’s such a weird feeling standing up after giving birth, you feel shaky, and open and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. I can remember it so clearly with Bradley’s birth too. The first shower is an emotional one, its usually the first time you’re alone after giving birth.
So I stood there in the warm water, alone for the first time in hours – still shaky and sore.
And I cried – it wasn’t a long cry. I’m not even sure I produced tears. But it was cathartic.
Again things happened quickly and because I was kinda out of it, it’s all a bit fuzzy. But my Mom and Dave helped pack things up and we were moved to the recovery room. Which is a much better bed to sleep on than the delivery one – I didn’t get that the first time around.
Even though it was very deep into the night, I got my first taste as a twin mom. The staring ….
As we wheeled the girls up the hallway to the lift, we were stopped by a lot of people just in awe of the girls in their bassinets. (it didn’t help that one of the wheels of the cots were super squeaky … so flipping loud).
Twins born different days
We spent the next four days in the hospital, which is much longer than I wanted to stay. But it took us a while to stabilize.
At first it was me, my blood pressure just would not go down – apparently my stubbornness runs so deep that even my blood pressure doesn’t cooperate.
Then it was Lizzy, her blood sugar kept dropping. They tested this by doing a heel prick blood test. Every 3 hours. I kept trying to express extra colostrum but it just wasn’t helping her – and her poor feet were so bruised they were completely purple.
So we started giving her some formula after every feed, and thank goodness it started to help!
Then it was Penny’s turn, she lost too much weight after birth, so it was her turn to get the formula top ups too.
And then FINALLY we were all healthy enough to go home – greatest day ever. I deal so much better with stressful situations at home, its calm and quiet and sunny and so much more comfortable.
So there we are, after a long week we were finally home with our two new babies.
Our lives changed forever – suddenly we were twin parents. Not only that, but we had twins born different days!
If you would like to follow my journey as a twin mum my Instagram is kirstplus3