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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Having two babies at once.

I realized the other day that I never wrote about my labor and delivery experience with twins.  I've encountered more and more people getting pregnant with twins and it has made me look back on the last year and revisit a lot of the new emotions I've experienced.  Maybe reading my story might help someone else facing a twin pregnancy and delivery.  And if not, at least I have it written down so I can remember it all after having my brains sucked out by my darling boys.

Having been a Labor and Delivery nurse for almost 6 years, I've seen plenty of different scenarios of twin births -- which is probably why I had mixed feelings on it.  I've seen beautiful, straightforward vaginal deliveries.  I've seen scheduled C-sections.  I've seen vaginal deliveries for the first twin followed by C-sections for the second twin.  I rolled with the punches as the nurse, fully comprehending the fact that, as I always told my patients, the only guarantee in labor and birth is that there are no guarantees.  But when it comes to my own life, I have a fear of the unknown.  Because my boys were vertex/vertex (read: both head down), I knew I had the chance for one of those "beautiful, straightforward vaginal deliveries".  And luckily, it all worked out the way I planned.  I'm so blessed to have been able to experience a twin pregnancy and delivery the way that I did.  And I want to remember the day my sweet boys came into this world, so I better get it "on paper" now before I forget the details!

I made it to 38 weeks, which in "twin world" is full term.  The babies were getting big and Baby B (Kiernan) was getting harder to feel move and had experienced some funny business with his heart rate during a few monitoring times.  So my doctor and I determined that it was time for them to come out.  My cervix was still only a fingertip (read: less than one centimeter) dilated in the office, so we decided to use Cervidil to soften it. When I arrived at the hospital in the evening for the Cervidil, my cervix was actually 1-2 centimeters dilated and very soft, so we decided to forgo the Cervidil and head straight for pitocin.

Still pretty comfortable.

I planned an epidural for a variety of reasons.  One of the biggest reasons was the safety of Kiernan.  If for some reason I needed an emergent C-section for Kiernan, and didn't have an epidural, I would have had to be put under general anesthesia for his birth.  I knew I didn't want to be put to sleep and miss the birth of my baby.  Plus?  My epidural with Brennan was HORRIBLE and honestly, I wanted a good epidural this time.  

With Brennan, my cervix dilated from 4 centimeters to 10 centimeters in less than an hour.  So when I got to 3 centimeters this time around, I wanted to get the epidural placed.  By 1:30 a.m. I was comfortable with my epidural and my water was broken.  My poor nurse spent the next 4 hours chasing my babies around with the monitors.  I helped as much as I could, but she was amazing and just kept telling me to close my eyes and rest.  LOVED her.

Feeling pretty good after my epidural.  
Thrilled to have gotten comfortable because I never really did with Brennan.

Four hours later, at 5:30 a.m. I was feeling lots of pressure.  My cervix only had a small "rim" (read: it was about 9.5 centimeters dilated), so they moved us back to the operating room to deliver.  The boys were both born vaginally, but like most twin deliveries, it was in the operating room in case of emergency.  I pushed for about 20 minutes and out came Baby A - sweet Beckett - at 6:07 a.m.  

A very fresh Mr. Beckett

When Beckett was born we didn't get much time to get acquainted as the focus quickly shifted to Kiernan's well-being while he was still tucked into the top corner of my uterus.  I desperately wanted that skin-to-skin time with Beckett, but the L&D nurse in me took over and I allowed the NICU team to take him over to the warmer to evaluate while we focused on Kiernan.  The neonatal nurse practitioner gave Beckett a clean bill of health, but declared that it was too cold in the OR for him to wait for his brother to be born.  My sweet nurse put up a fight to let him stay, but she also had to focus on Kiernan and eventually lost.  Beckett was whisked away to the nursery to await the arrival of his brother.

Baby A - Beckett - 7 lbs 3 oz, 19.5 inches

 Looking back, I wish I would have refused.  I wish I would have looked at the NNP and told him where to stick it to turn up the heat in the room and put an extra blanket on my baby.  But I was wrapped up in the moment and desperately trying to focus on pushing out the baby whose heart tones I could hear dipping significantly with each contraction.

Kiernan was born 28 minutes after his big brother, at 6:35 a.m.  I got a few minutes of skin-to-skin with him before the NNP struck again.  At this point, I decided that I would just get the skin-to-skin time when we returned to our room.

Baby B - Kiernan - 6 lbs, 19.5 inches

We returned to our room and reunited with Beckett.  Then we both got to work with skin-to-skin contact and  breastfeeding.  It was an amazing feeling to be all back together again.  I felt so at peace having the four of us in the same room, but at the same time it made me miss Brennan terribly and I couldn't help but feel a bit incomplete without him there.

Mommy and Beckett

Daddy and ... Beckett again?  I can't tell :(  I promise Kiernan got lots of skin-to-skin too!

This is where the "beautiful and straightforward" portion ends.  As I said, I'm blessed to have had such a great experience.  I see at as the calm before the storm.  I'm working on gathering the words to describe my breastfeeding struggles, as I know I'm not the only one to experience them.  While I work on that, I'll leave you with pictures of my sweet boys reunited outside of my belly.

Kiernan, Mommy, & Beckett

Beckett & Kiernan

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