This post is part of an editorial series, Birth Stories, is brought to you by UnityPoint Health and Des Moines Mom. All 5 original articles from the Birth Stories series can be found here.
Saturday night August 12 is an evening I will never forget. The house was quiet. Everyone was asleep. But I was up having a snack. Peanut butter and ice cream was my go to, but for some reason I was experiencing pain. I walked it off. I settled on the couch to read a book – thank you pregnancy insomnia. About thirty minutes later, I decided to wake my husband as things were just not right. Since I didn’t go into labor on my own with my first pregnancy, I wasn’t sure if this pain was a true contraction, but, as moms, we always have a hunch when things are different.
I woke my husband and, finally, by 1 am we were at the hospital. I clearly remember my husband having no clue where to park while circling the hospital. We were new to the area, and he’d never had a chance to do a hospital visit. We walked in together, got settled, and the on-call OB told us I was dilated to a six. I already had a scheduled cesarian for later the next week. This was all part of our plan since I had a C/S with my first. The OB said since we were already there she’d deliver the babies this morning.
I cried. Mentally I wasn’t ready. I was 35 weeks+2 days, which was great for twins, but I was stuck on making it to my scheduled c-section so I was overall a little disappointed on the timing.
Thankfully I had an awesome relationship with my original OB throughout the pregnancy. She promised she would come, day or night, to deliver these beautiful babies. I begged the on-call OB to call my regular OB to come. After reading my chart as I guess this request was somewhat unusual, I think she was super happy to see a second set of hands would come in as she had a long night already.
Once I was in the OR, I had flashbacks of my first c-section which was rough after 6 hours of labor and an emergency c-section with several blood transfusions after. I remember the white room, being so cold, a mob of staff, getting sick afterward, but the second my husband came in, I was at ease. We were ready to meet our boys.
I had two amazing obstetricians scrub in. At first it made me nervous, but they reassured me they’d work as a team. There was also a team ready for each baby. With my husband holding my hand, Baby A arrived at 3:03 and seconds later Baby B made his entrance. Their cries were relatively quiet, not the loud cries I expected. I remember telling my husband “go.” Go see what’s happening.
Each baby needed a CPAP to help their tiny lungs. It was not the normal baby sounds you expect to hear. Both were in pretty good shape and healthy. They were just premature. Due to the confusion and the immediate attention they received from the pediatric team, I never got one of those cute pictures of me and each baby close to my face, but I was OK with that! It was important the boys got the help they needed. I hoped to have skin to skin time but plans change and, as moms, we roll with it!
The entire c-section took less than 45 minutes (the babies were out within a couple of minutes), and I was back in a room with a wonderful nurse as my husband went with the babies to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Because I was recovering, my husband Facetimed me so I could meet our boys. As soon as I was able, probably 4-5 hours after the C-section, I wheeled down to the NICU.
Baby A, Liam, was 6lbs 6oz, 18in long and baby B, Colby, was 5lbs 10oz, 18in long. They were in the same room, but in their own little isolate. Methodist had a great set-up for the entire family.
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Our NICU stay
Compared to some, our NICU stay was relatively short at 21 days, but juggling a toddler at home and newborn twins in the NICU was a challenge. I was committed to breastfeeding so I had to be at the hospital for every feeding but still made time our little 22 month old to get mom snuggles. After a couple weeks, each boy moved to the “Feeders and Growers” side of the NICU. Each boy had to have consecutive full feeds for 24 hours before being discharged. That was a challenge, but we did it! Liam succeeded after 21 days and Colby joined him at home the next day.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change anything about my entire birth process! For a long time, I felt disappointed in my body for having to have a c-section and sad to not have the experience of a vaginal birth, BUT I let that go knowing a c-section birth is just as real as a vaginal birth. I also learned that birth plans can change, every birth story is different, and the chaos of birth is just how motherhood is – chaotic.