Are you curious about twin pregnancy and birth? Read this twin mama’s personal account of her twin birth story 35 weeks to help you prepare.
I’m a planner. I love to plan, re-plan and rehearse, and then plan again. I was the student in class who would be prepared for a surprise test. At work, I am the one who looks at all agenda points, keeps my notes handy, and points ready before a meeting. My wedding was planned per military hours and I made sure nothing was amiss.
You get the drift, right? I am a sucker for control. God looked at me, laughed, and said “Give her twins, it’ll be a fun ride.” They say when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But with twins, life gives you tomatoes, garlic, onions, and mangoes- go figure out what to do with it!
I was diagnosed with PCOS a couple of years back and told that conceiving won’t be a piece of cake for me. We learned that it might take 6 months or longer, even though I had a good lifestyle and healthy habits. I was mentally prepared with this timeline. We weren’t yet “hardcore planning to start a family”.
If you just heard that second heartbeat for the first time, or you know it’s been two for a while, you need to read our twin pregnancy week by week timeline to help you learn what happens week by week with twins. Click here to learn more… and while you’re at it, check out our expecting twins classes and twin parent coaching services.
Twin pregnancy is rough
I fainted at home one day. Since that had never happened before I took a pregnancy test, and to our delight it was positive. The tears of joy became literal tears when my nausea hit the peak within a couple of days. I could not eat, sleep, or lie down.
When we went for an ultrasound and the doctor looks at us with a smile and said – “wow, there are 2 heartbeats”. I had tears rolling down my cheeks and my husband was staring at the screen, shell shocked. To be honest, it took him a couple of days to come out of it. Double the children is, in fact, double the responsibilities and double the work and resources for their well-being.
The pregnancy was tough. I had hyperemesis gravidarum. Because of that, I was losing weight instead of gaining. I was heartbroken when I was put on bed rest. I had worked so hard to get where I was professionally but this was more important.
It was an easy choice because my babies were growing well and that was all I wanted. At our week 33 ultrasound, we realized that Baby A had stopped growing due to IUGR. The doctors would perform a C-section the moment Baby B would hit a relatively decent wt (2kg) at birth so that at least one had a good chance of survival. Between 32 weeks and 35 weeks when they finally performed, I was a mess. I was second-guessing everything I would eat, every step I would take so that “I don’t harm the babies”.
Best birthday gift ever
My C-section fell on my birthday. I had my babies on my birthday in 2020. You read it right, April 2020 when the COVID-19 epidemic threw us all out of our comfort zones. My husband and I were tested for the virus and once negative, sent to the normal delivery ward where I was the only one. Thank God my husband was allowed because it was still early in the epidemic.
I had never been to an operating room before. In fact, I never had been admitted to a hospital before. I was NERVOUS. It really helped that they explained everything that would happen so I didn’t panic in the room. I was then given an epidural so I wouldn’t feel anything and the doctors got started. My lovely doctor kept me breathing all through with the husband by my side.
First, they pulled out Baby A who didn’t cry immediately. Then, they pulled out Baby B and both the babies started to wail. It was music to our ears. My two bundles of joy were born on 11 April 2020 at 11.44 AM. My baby Boy (Baby A ) was 1.7kgs while my baby girl (Baby B) was 2.1kg. They were tiny, but their cries were all I needed to know that everything will be alright. I was stitched up and then brought back to my recovery room.
I was sad that I could not have my babies next to me get that early skin to skin time. They were both sent to the NICU immediately after birth. They stayed there for 5 days because their lungs were not quite ready and they had to be monitored around the clock. Even so, I was happy that they were out because they were safer out than in due to IUGR.
Some things I might do differently now
Looking back they say hindsight is 20/20. You might find some things you wish you had known to do differently at the time.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of feeding a newborn baby every 2-2.5 hours. This is all the more true for most preemies, and I had two. If they were sleeping peacefully I didn’t wake them. I didn’t know that only feeding them on-demand would start a vicious cycle of the baby being too tired to eat, sleeping too much, not eating, and then being too tired to eat again. Preterm babies don’t always ask for milk. They often have to be woken up and fed at least every 3 hours. I wish I had known. I had to learn the hard way when the babies were diagnosed with jaundice due to low feeds.
Book your lactation consultant on day 2
Milk doesn’t come immediately. I wish someone had told me to see a consultant and start pumping the second day, for colostrum and to stimulate my breasts. My babies were too small to stimulate so I delayed for a couple of days, which I regret. Also, carry your breast pump if you are expecting NICU time. That way you won’t miss those first critical days.
Read about Post Partum Depression
I brushed aside PPD during my pregnancy, thinking I’m too strong and happy for it. We often hear all the lovely and beautiful experiences and don’t discuss the real difficulties during childbirth. I knew I wouldn’t be affected by it. On day 2, I started getting scared about how I would manage with 2 babies. Then came the inconsolable crying episodes that would last hours. I felt like a failure and had suicidal thoughts. It was one of the darkest phases of my life when it should have been the most joyous. What’s worse is it caught me unaware. If I had read about it, I might have dealt with it better than I did by ignoring it.
Things that went perfectly in my twin birth story 35 weeks:
Giving birth is a mixed bag. There are some things that go perfectly and others that you might change if you could. Let’s focus on the good.
Trust your doctor
Trust that your doctor will do what is best for you and your babies. My doctor suggested I take steroid shots so that my babies lungs could develop. That helped reduce their NICU time. Before getting the shots, a number of family members and friends said to avoid steroids during delivery and look at insurance coverage. I’m glad I listened to my doctor and my babies are in better shape all thanks to her.
Choose your labor partner wisely
I took my husband because he is a very stable, calm person and I knew he would hold me if I became weak. It’s a good thing I brought him. I needed my husband when I was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis and had non-stop episodes of crying for no apparent reason. I was very aloof at times because I hadn’t spent time with my babies after birth. They were in NICU and I had trouble breastfeeding. There was a lot going on in those 5 days. My husband held my hand and helped me through quite a lot.
A lot of people, including nurses and family were suggesting (read coaxing) that I have my mother with me because she knows how to handle babies. I stuck to my guns because these 4-5 days are crucial more mentally than physically. You shouldn’t have anyone who would judge your mental state or your parenting skills. You should have your cheerleader around.
Call your Pediatrician. Shamelessly.
You want to keep your baby as safe as possible. As a new parent, you are often clueless about how to do that. Do not google. When in doubt call your pediatrician, see them, ask questions. If anyone at their office makes you feel guilty about doing this, it’s time to look for a new doctor.
I once called my doctor at 2 am when one of my babies threw up. He told me not to worry and see if the vomiting continues. He said that once in a while throwing up was normal. This call was no rocket science solution but I knew help was a call away. Literally. He gave me his personal number and asked me to call him directly instead of calling the on-call doctor.
This was helpful and reassured me that there was someone looking out for my babies. He still picks up my call at any hour. He has been critical in keeping my babies healthy and me sane. This doesn’t mean that you call your pediatrician non-stop. Trust me, you won’t be calling so much after the initial days when parental instinct kicks in but, knowing they are available always helps.
Last little tidbits
Another side note to mention the hospital bag. I had seen multiple YouTube videos to pack a big bag and what I realized is that here minimalism is the way to go. The hospital provides just about everything. All you need to carry is your pump, your going home clothes (keep accessibility in mind if you will be nursing), and going home outfits for your babies. Toiletries, food, snacks, clothes, medicines, diapers, etc are all taken care of by the hospital.
Twiniversity tip- Many birth partners bring lots of snacks. If you are giving birth during COVID-19 you may want to check with the hospital about snack accessibility. Some hospitals do not have these stations set up during the pandemic.
As for the road to recovery after your twin birth story 35 weeks, hang in there, Momma. It’s long, but you’ll get there. You can’t exercise for at least 6 weeks. Sex is also out of question for the 6 weeks. Your stitches hurt even when you pick up your little one that weighs just a few pounds and it will feel as if your pelvic bones may have altogether changed places.
Be kind to your body. It’s been through a lot. Ask for help for cleaning your house and doing laundry for a couple of weeks. You need to rest. My one recovery tip is to take things slow. Recovery is easy. Relapse is difficult.
All babies are different. All deliveries are different. And all experiences are different. Pick and choose what you like for you. What works for me, may not work for you. At the end of the day, we all make choices in the best interest of our baby or babies and hope we are doing the right thing.
Prakriti is a new twin momma. A Human Resources executive by profession, her twin babies have been her biggest and most challenging project which she is currently enjoying. Mostly.