Every woman has their own expectations when it comes to giving birth. For me, I was terrified. Way before I was even thinking of having children, I was scared of the actual ‘birth’ part. I always joked I wished there was a way to have a baby, without actually HAVING the baby. So, when I found out I was pregnant, and then found out I was pregnant with twins, you can imagine the shock, and then fear, that I felt. I was scared enough of giving birth to one, now I had to think about giving birth to two?!
From that moment on, I swore to myself that I would not do any research into a vaginal birth or c-section because I didn’t want to a) scare myself even more than I already was or b) decide that I had to follow a specific birth plan and then be disappointed if it didn’t work out that way. I’m a big planner, but for once I wanted to take things as they came.
To the surprise of no one, I was informed toward the end of my pregnancy that a c-section was now the most likely outcome, as one baby was transverse (laying sideways). Despite my itchy fingers and severe urges to Dr. Google the crap out of “what to expect during a c-section”, “what are the details of c-sections”, and “are c-sections really scary”, I held back and said, “what will be, will be.”
Well, shame on me. While I was scared and didn’t want to scare myself, even more, I went to the hospital on delivery day totally blind. If my husband had done any research, he didn’t share it with me. So for those of you who want to just know a little bit about c-sections with twins, but don’t want to be totally freaked out, here are some tidbits I learned:
- You will be in the OR – While I knew a c-section was surgery, I didn’t actually realize I’d be in an operating room. I’d never had major surgery before, so seeing this huge scary room was kind of overwhelming. My nurses were saints, calming me down and saying everything will be ok.
- Your husband won’t be with you during prep – I wished he was there to reassure me, hold my hand, anything, while they were giving me the spinal anesthesia, or telling me what to expect. Also because when I am freaking out I don’t listen very closely to what’s being said, so even though they explained I couldn’t remember a damn thing I was told!
- You get really cold – This was a weird one. I shake when I’m nervous, and I shake when I’m cold, and while I was laying on the table waiting for my entire life to be completely changed forever, I was shaking SO HARD. Like, whole body, uncontrollable, convulsions. I had a ton of blankets on, and at this point, the warm hands of my husband grasping mine, but ladies, I was still freezing and shuddering.
- You feel things – This was also shocking. I’ve had previous issues with anesthesia wearing off quickly, so my biggest fear was all of a sudden feeling all the things. When they were scrubbing my stomach, I felt it, and I freaked. “I can feel that! I can feel everything!!” I screamed. The nurse chuckled and said, “You just have a pain blocker; you will feel touch and pulling.” “No, you don’t understand,” I said. “I can feel you touching me. I can feel it all!” I was not deterred; something had to be wrong. Calmly she said, “I’m going to put a cloth on your stomach, tell me if it’s cold or warm”. It was clearly warm. “No, it’s actually freezing cold. Everything is fine, calm yourself,” she concluded. Crazy, you guys, so crazy.
Overall, my biggest regret is not being even the tiniest bit prepared for what was coming. I was too scared of being even more scared. If you take away anything from here, let it be that there is no “easy way out” when it comes to giving birth, and don’t be afraid of preparation. It’s ok to be scared, we all are! Do a bit of research, and you’ll be ok. (Or…make your partner do all the research so he doesn’t pass out when he sees ‘your guts all over the place’ as mine so eloquently put it). You got this!
Mallory Kerley is a first-time mom to three-year-old identical twin boys. No, twins do not run in her family, yes she’s sure they are identical, yes her hands are full. She lives on Long Island with her husband, works full-time as a public relations professional for a non-profit organization and volunteers with homeless animals with all of her spare time.