Special Guest Blogger: My Twins Experience!
My Twins Experience – Blog 1 of a New Series- by NMO member Manda L.
My entire adult life I never thought it would be easy for me to have kids. I was always irregular, sometimes going a year and a half without a cycle, and sometimes bleeding for almost 9 months straight. Doctors wouldn’t look into it until I said I was ready to have kids and they would just stick me back on the pill.
Finally, my husband and I decided that we would like to try to have a baby and I figured that it would take about 6 months for me to get pregnant. I also found out you have to say you have been trying for a year before a doctor would look into why you haven’t conceived, So, i had to fib a little to get the ball rolling.
I went in and got blood tests and ultrasounds and my husband had to get checked out as well. Everything came back normally except that the ultrasound showed that I most likely had polycystic ovarian syndrome, even though the blood test results did not match. But the doctor decided to put me on Clomid and gave me a very strict schedule to follow. She briefly told me about the 5% chance of having twins with Clomid and asked if we had thought about that possibility. We were like, “yeah, we thought about it, but chances are it won’t be us.” Famous last words…
On the 28th day of the schedule I was to take a pregnancy test, if negative, on day 30, go get blood tests to see if I ovulated. So I just bought a Dollar Tree pregnancy test and took it. I watched it and nothing was changing so I left it for a little bit. Being pretty sure it was most likely negative I asked my husband to check it and he said it was negative. But the next morning before work, I just needed to check for sure, so I dug it out of the trash and there was an extremely faint second line, barely noticeable. I had no more tests and no time and my husband and I went to work all day tormenting ourselves to know if that really just happened or if we were just seeing things. So when we got home we went to buy 4 more tests, the one that actually says the word pregnant and a couple more cheapy ones. They were all positive! So I started calling people at 11 at night to tell them because many knew this was the day for us to find out, and we were overloaded with excitement and so many emotions, it was really surreal for us to think after 5 years of marriage this was happening!!!
So things were going just as planned. We went to all of our doctor visits, heard the heart beat a few times, my uterus measured out normally. Thinking back there were two times where she was listening for a heartbeat and we heard a single beat and then she moved to the other side of my stomach and we heard a stronger beat. We just figured we were hearing it better from that spot. However, things started to change when my blood test for Downs Syndrome showed that I had 50/50 chance of having a Downs baby. Luckily, the place they sent me for my ultrasound also had doctors specializing in genetics. So when we made our ultrasound appointment we also made an appointment to talk about our test results right after. I was 18 weeks and sooo excited about finding out what I was having. I was 99% sure it was a girl. We went in and I laid down gave the guy my belly he put the jelly on, swiped it around my stomach for 5 seconds, and we saw what was on the screen but it he did it so fast that what we saw couldn’t register. He was like “Well, I will be right back because I have to go let the receptionist know I have 2 babies here and I am going to be running late.” I couldn’t tell if he was joking or if he thought we knew already or if that was his fun way of telling us. It took a minute to understand what he was telling us. I think I said “what?” about 50 times and my husband was just stunned.
I have never been so elated, energized, shocked and completely terrified out of my mind in my life. The only thing I think that could surprise me more would be winning the lottery, maybe. Then, all these thoughts popped in my head: is it girl/girl, boy/boy, or one of each? What will my family think? Will they be willing to help us out? How much stuff will I need and how will we get the money to get it all? What kind of delivery will I have? What about work? I couldn’t think straight!! But mostly I kept thinking that this is all happening for a reason and no matter what it will all work out just fine. But at least one of my questions could be answered right away and we found out we were having identical girls!!!
Things really got busy after that. Every multiple pregnancy is considered high risk and there ends up being a lot more you have to do for good prenatal care. We started out with having an ultrasound every 3 weeks, then my regular monthly doctors visits. But then baby B (who we now call Leah), was not gaining as much weight as her sister Jayden (aka baby A). So then we went to once a week ultrasounds and monthly doctors visits, plus we had to go the hospital twice to get steroid injections in case they where born early so their lungs would be further developed. Around 7 months we started doing 2 ultrasounds per week and would then see the doctor every 2 weeks. Luckily at 8 months I decided to stop working so I had nothing else to do but these appointments for the most part. However, it was a 30 minute drive each way and really sucked the gas out of our car in the middle of the gigantic gas prices.
I was planning on trying to have the girls the natural way since they were both head down and in the right position. But I did not want to wait till the end of my 40 weeks, so we made a c-section appt for 38 weeks just in case. The day we made that appointment I was really tired and did not want to go to my ultrasound, but I dug up the motivation to go. They always had trouble as the girls grew, finding the right fluid sack for the right child in the ultrasound so it seemed normal to us, but this time we were put in a room to talk to the doctor instead of the norm which was him coming in to say everything was okay. We really didn’t think anything of it. He walked in and said, “It’s ‘Baby time’”, and I was like, “yeah, next Monday,” and he said, “no, now.” They weren’t happy with Leah’s fluid levels so they wanted to either induce or do the c-section.
So we had to just go to the hospital next door and call people to bring my bag.
Then, I had to make the decision on whether I should push them out or not. Despite my fear of having both a vaginal birth and a cesarean, or the possibility of having one baby and the other one reseeding back up and having to go through another labor all together, I decided to do it vaginally. It took 17 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing. Leah had to be vacuumed out and Jayden needed the forceps.
I just remember about 10 people around. Someone kept insisting I have the oxygen mask glued to my face instead of hovering over my nose and mouth. Every time I needed to get a big gasp of air to push I couldn’t and freaked out. Owen had to argue with the person to let me have it hover, not to mention he was the only one actually helping me for those 3 hours getting the baby into the canal, everyone else seemed pretty uninterested in actually helping me. But after Leah was born first I got to see Owen hold her for a minute and then it was time to get back to work. I felt most of the pain was tolerable for me it was just the crowning and pushing the head out that was painful but quick. But I was so exhausted and I just remember thinking I have to do it again.
The doctor considered a cesarean, but we decided to go with forceps. The vacuum was fine and easy, the forceps felt like salad forks going up there. It takes few times for him to grab and twist the baby, and yeah that was really painful, and I tore. I never got to see Jayden after birth because she was blue and rushed to the NICU. Then, I had to get sewn up. I felt like I really had been through enough.
I didn’t get to hold either baby for an hour and even then my sister had to ask the nurse if i could hold my baby! I got to hold her but then they decided she needed to go to the NICU as well. I still hadn’t even seen my Jayden yet. Finally, I got to see a picture of her and she looked really beat up. It wasn’t until that afternoon I was finally able to go see them both together.
To be honest, I really wish It wasn’t so rough and that I was able to have that first skin on skin moments right after birth, it really did effect the bond. I felt somewhat disconnected and not sure what to do, I wanted to rest and honestly I was afraid to go see my girls. I am not really sure why. I wasn’t depressed or feeling rejection, I was so nervous to see them but I did go as much as I could.
I was in the hospital for 3 days and they were there for 10. Luckily they were in the stable baby NICU, and we eventually were just dealing with jaundice and Leah needed to eat 30 cc out of a bottle before coming home. We got to know a lot of nurses. Some really nice and helpful and some who felt they were thier babies and not ours. It was hard going home with out them, but I felt it would have been harder at least mentally for us to take one baby and not the other. I have always had issues with leaving one of anything behind and having it feel abandoned. I struggled with thought but the nurses were able to convince the doctors to keep them in there together and they came home on the same day. (But please note that if you are having multiples make sure your car seats are made for 3 lbs and up not 5 lbs and up. We had to buy a separate car seat to take Leah home in because she was under 5 lbs.)
The good thing about them having been in the NICU was that they were put on a 3 hour schedule already, and were pretty spot on. That made life easier. Plus we had a lot of guidance on things like certain positions for them or ways to hold the bottle. They taught you how to wash them, how often to take their temperature, and what it should be. They told you what to worry about and what is normal, We got a lot of good tips and supervised practice.
The transition home was really not bad. We got a flow down kind of quickly. I think my hardest thing to deal with was visitors. I was so sensitive, and everyone has an opinion. I knew they just wanted to help as much as possible, but I needed to know what my life was going to be like and I needed to figure out my own way since my husband had to work. In the end, things turned out fine. If I needed advice people where there, the dogs and cats, of which I have many, all transitioned really well. We just kept them involved with everything we did.
Read my next blog entry when I will discuss how it is to raise twins in the first couple years of their lives.