I’m planning on having another scheduled C-section with Baby #3, so lately I’ve been reminiscing about the twins’ C-section births. Plus, since April is Cesarean Awareness Month, I figured it was the perfect time to share My Scheduled C-Section Twin Birth Story.
I had a scheduled c-section with the twins because 1. my doctor didn’t want me to go past 38 weeks (twins’ placentas tend to stop functioning around 38 weeks and there’s a higher risk of stillbirth), and 2. Wren, my Baby B, was breech for the last several weeks of pregnancy and I did not want to have Baby A vaginally and still have to have a C-section with Baby B if she didn’t flip after her brother was born. But, honestly, I think a scheduled C-Section made me calmer. Yes, the anticipation of the surgery itself is scary, but, for me, at least I had a birth plan that had higher odds of actually being carried out than a “natural vaginal birth plan” might have.
I’m planning a C-Section with Baby #3 because I’ll be getting my tubes tied. And, for everyone who asks, yes, it is easier for my husband to get a vasectomy, but, please rest assured he will be getting snipped as well because I’m taking absolutely NO chances with a potential baby #4.
My Scheduled C-Section Twin Birth Story
The Day Before:
The day before the surgery (also known as my last day as a carefree woman who could go anywhere at any time), I made plans to go and get my hair blown out at Drybar so I wouldn’t have to deal with it while at the hospital (because I have super curly, thick hair which can easily turn into a rat’s nest if not brushed.)
I must not have have confirmed my appointment correctly because when I showed up, I didn’t have one, but they were able to squeeze me into a slot an hour later, so I went next door to the restaurant Lemonade to have lunch. I remember having a grilled cheese sandwich with a lemonade and a chocolate chip cookie for dessert. This felt symbolic because we often joked that I was going to give birth to two little grilled cheese sandwiches since I ate so many of them while pregnant. This is probably also true about the lemonade and chocolate chip cookie! After my late lunch, I then waddled over to get my hair blown out.
My husband picked me up after my appointment (I was too pregnant, too big, and in too much pain to drive by that point) and I changed into a different sweater and fancy shoes before stopping by a mural on the way home where he took some final photos of me and my huge twin baby bump. I absolutely love that we did this because it’s now become a tradition where we take photos of me and my babies in front of this mural on the evening before their birthday!
The Night Before:
I remember being very nervous about the surgery the night before, but also resigning to the fact that this was it. I knew that in order to get the babies out, I had to do it, so I basically had no choice. I followed all the surgical instructions, showered (with a shower cap to protect my fresh blow out) and then had my husband help me use the sterilizing wipes they send home with you. Since, I was scheduled for the first surgery in the morning, it was an early start, and I think we set multiple alarms to make sure we got up on time.
The hospital paperwork stated to arrive at 5:30 am, but my doctor and nurse told me to get there at 6:15 am for a 7:30 am surgery or else I would be sitting around forever. I remember getting a phone call from my mom and in-laws while we were on the way and they told us that they were already there! I guess someone was a little excited to become grandparents!
Labor & Delivery:
We got into Labor & Delivery and right away I started getting fussed at for being “late” even though we were there at the time my doctor and nurse told me to get there. My anxiety started right there and then! Next time, I’ll be sure to show up when the hospital wants me there to avoid this stress.
I forgot to get a good “before” photo of me and my husband. I only managed to get these silly shots of him modeling his scrubs. And then he took some unflattering photos of me lying in bed with 4 chins and looking sweaty in my hospital gown. I won’t be putting those photos on the internet, you’ll have to settle for my husband.
I felt rushed and it was ridiculous because (as my doctor later pointed out), the nursing team could have been doing things to prep the room in my absence, but they weren’t. They were just bitching about me being “late.” And then, on top of that, there was a shift change, and we had to wait for the head nurse who actually WAS late and when she walked in she said to me, “I heard you were late!” I think my husband wanted to kill her. (I also later found out at my 6-week follow-up appointment that the staff lied to my doctor. They told her that they had called me and I told them we were just getting out of bed which is a bunch of bullshit because they never called me and we didn’t oversleep.)
So, I got my IV inserted, a nurse “sheared [me] like a sheep!”, the anesthesiologist came by to discuss the administration of the drugs and any side effects, etc. My doctor stormed by and yelled at whoever was in charge. And, it was all very stress-inducing for me!
Then they had me say goodbye to my husband and get up to walk into the operating room. I think there were about 18-20 people in and out of the room between my doctors/nursing team, my anesthesiologist, a NICU team for Baby A, a NICU team for Baby B, and my husband and myself. It was a small party. I can’t say it was a very fun party.
I immediately started shivering from the fear and adrenalin which the doctor and anesthesiologist had both warned me about. I got up on the operating table and sat with my legs over the side, hunched over with my back (and probably my butt) exposed. I started crying. I was squeezing the poor nurse’s hand so tight that I remember apologizing to her if it hurt. She told me that it was ok, that this was her job.
I was getting an epidural-like spinal block in which the needle goes into the space that surrounds your spinal cord, but lower than your spinal cord. It’s scary shit. You have to sit still even though your body is involuntarily shaking. Plus, I hate getting that part of my back touched. Oh! And I saw the needle beforehand! In my mind, it looked like a fucking knitting needle!
Luckily, all of that went well. I laid down, the sheet went up so I couldn’t see what was going on, and I’m sure I was then stripped naked in front of about 19 people. My arms were then strapped down because, as my OBGYN explained, people tend to jerk and then the doctor gets accidentally “gooched” with a scalpel in their hand!
My body started going numb. It felt weird. As my anesthesiologist explained, the doctor will then pinch/poke you hard with a medical instrument and ask if you can feel it. Nope! I couldn’t feel it! Then my husband was finally allowed to come in and the doctors went ahead and got started.
I remember that it took longer than I thought it would and I could feel them rummaging around in my body and obviously I could hear everything they are doing/saying. My husband was being sweet and tried to distract me by talking to me about Amy Grant (we were jamming out to Baby Baby on the radio while driving to the hospital, fitting because we were having two babies) or something and I told him I wasn’t buying his distraction conversation and to just stop.
Then, all of a sudden, the anesthesiologist asks, “Daddy, did you bring a camera? Do you get queasy? I’ll tell you when to stand up so you can take a picture.” And about 5 seconds later, my husband stands to take a photo of my baby boy being born. I mean, honestly, I could have told him when he could stand up and snap the photo because, at that exact moment, I could finally breathe again! It’s amazing how much lighter you feel after a baby is taken out of you!
My baby boy started crying and I commented that he sounds like a mewling kitten! My husband made a comment about how big his balls were! (Your doctor should warn you that your baby’s (babies’) genitals will be swollen due to all of your hormones and it’s normal.)
Everything seemed to be going well and two and a half minutes later, the anesthesiologist told my husband to stand up again and my baby girl was born! Again, I could have told my husband when to stand because shockingly, I felt even lighter after she was taken out and I could BREATHE! She started crying immediately and I think I asked if she was for sure a girl (because we never could get 100% confirmation on her unlike her brother who was showing off his penis in every ultrasound) and everyone assured me that she was, in fact, a girl!
I was told both babies were doing well. My husband then cut their umbilical cords and luckily some nurse took a video of him cutting the cords so I could see it later. And then the babies were weighed, given medications, tests, and swaddled.
And then 20 minutes after being born, I FINALLY got to meet both my babies … but only for a minute.
They were then taken to recovery and I told my husband to go with them while I was put back together and sewn up. At this point, they start packaging you back up, doing tool counts, etc. I warned them that I had to throw up and the anesthesiologist moved my head to the side where I had a pan to throw up in, but I just started dry heaving and nothing actually came up. I remember that I was given a few painful shots in the arm to make me stop bleeding (I guess my uterus wouldn’t start contracting and I needed some help with that.) And, at some point, I complained of “pain” – not that it hurt, but that I was extremely uncomfortable. My doctor apologized and I think the anesthesiologist gave me more morphine. This part took WAY longer than I anticipated.
Finally, I was stitched up and wheeled to recovery to see my babies an HOUR after they had been taken away.
I don’t remember much about the time we spent in the post-op recovery room, but we were in there for at least 45 minutes to an hour. I just remember being wheeled in there and my husband and babies were already there. A nurse then put them both on top of me for some skin-to-skin time and I was in awe.
The anesthesiologist stopped by and asked how I was doing. He was shocked that I was awake based on the amount of medication he gave me. He oddly asked me if I drank a lot (meaning alcohol) and if I had a high tolerance which seems like a weird question to ask a women who had just given birth and obviously had not been drinking for the past 9 months. Obviously, he thought I should be knocked out.
And then my face started itching. Like crazy. This is probably what I remember most about post-op – just endlessly scratching my nose and around my eyes like crazy. They told me it was a reaction to the morphine and gave me some Benadryl which should have knocked me out EVEN MORE, but I stayed awake and we were eventually moved into the maternity ward.
I was then wheeled to the maternity ward while holding both my babies. I remember seeing my mom and my in-laws down the hallway as we were wheeled through. We finally arrived at what had to be the smallest room in the maternity unit. I love how the hospital has you come for a tour and they show you a nice, big, sunny maternity room which has a lunch or dinner set up with flowers and there’s a gift bag, etc. … yeah, we got none of that! I was in a tiny room by the exit and it didn’t even have the little chair that converts into a bed for my husband set up in it. We had to ask for that to be brought in as well as another isolette for the twins because there was only one in the room when we got there.
My mom and my in-laws then came in to meet the babies! And we introduced them with their names for the first time: Hendrick (Hank) Clay and Wren Margaret. We visited with the parents and then …
… I got a phone call from my home security company that our fire alarm was going off. What?!? So, I made my husband drive home just a few hours after our children were born to go and check on our house (and cat) and make sure our house wasn’t on fire and that the fire department hadn’t busted down the front door. (They hadn’t. It was a faulty smoke alarm that we had to have replaced about a month later when it did it again.)
While all this is happening, my face is still itching like crazy!
I’m then offered a meeting with the lactation consultant.
Now, a little background info. I gave birth in a designated “Baby-Friendly” hospital and it was probably the factors that make it a designated “Baby-Friendly” hospital which ruined my hospital stay experience. I’ll be writing a longer post about this and will link back to it here, but basically, the birth experience went well, but I had a really hard 4-day stay at the hospital.
I was offered a meeting with the lactation consultant the same day as the babies’ births, but she never stopped by our room despite multiple requests. We eventually learned that she had left for the day. It was a Friday and the lactation consultants are not scheduled to work over the weekend. So I was left to learn how to breastfeed TWO babies, on my own, using only the support of the nursing staff, who was great, but they’re NOT lactation consultants.
I struggled with breastfeeding. My milk wasn’t coming in. I didn’t have a breast pump. I didn’t know what I was doing. And with two babies born two weeks early, they started losing their birth weight. The nurses and staff then became really alarmed with their dropping weights (probably a bit unnecessarily alarmed in front of me which was very stressful) and eventually, it was “okayed” to give them formula after my husband and I asked for it.
We also struggled with the rooming-in policy. Basically, in a designated “Baby-Friendly” hospital, the baby (or in my case babies) stay in the room with you. Which is fine. I was happy with that. But at some point, I really needed some sleep. I had just had major surgery, pumped full of morphine and Benadryl, and I’ve been stressed out, struggling, and juggling two babies. I asked a nurse if they could take the babies to the nursery for a few hours so I could take a nap and I was informed that the nursery does not exist and the babies are to stay with me the entire time.
Now, I totally understand the benefits and thought process behind the “rooming-in” policy, but at that point, I was so tired, I was afraid I was going to accidentally fall asleep and drop a baby off my hospital bed while doing skin-to-skin or trying to breastfeed. Finally, my nurse offered to give the babies a bath at the same time as doing their newborn tests which would give me about an hour. And then, on the last night of our stay, my nurse put a do not disturb on the door to give us a break from all the nurses and doctors checking on me and the babies and to just let us sleep unless we had to feed the babies or change diapers.
And then a social worker stopped by. She came into the room and announced she was a social worker. My husband jokingly asked if she was there to take our babies from us and she replied: “Well, maybe.” I guess she was joking, but that’s not something to really joke about. She then informed us that she was there at the request of my doctor to talk to me and wanted everyone to leave the room and well, everyone refused because at that point I was crying. I later found out from my doctor that yes, she was there at the request of my doctor, but it was a routine request due to the fact that I had twins and the social worker’s job was just to ensure that I was set up with a support system at home and ready to take on two babies. However, this social worker’s bedside manner was complete shit and she should know better than to joke about taking a new mom’s baby or babies away.
I also had to fight to stay in the hospital an extra night (I believe at that time under insurance law, we were entitled to four covered nights in the hospital following a C-Section, but be sure to look up your current state/insurance information to be sure what the current entitlements include), they wanted us to check out on Sunday, a day early, and I refused because Wren was still fairly yellow in color although they kept checking Hank’s blood for jaundice (despite his pinker appearance). Plus, I still had not seen a lactation consultant. It wasn’t until that following Monday that the lactation consultant came by and gave me additional breast shields and instructions on how to use my breast pump.
On Monday morning, we started the check-out process and it took forever. We honestly didn’t leave until about 5 pm that night. I remember crying at some point because I was just so overwhelmed and wanted to leave. And then, when we were ready to go, I was told that we couldn’t bring the car seats inside to load the kiddos into the car seats in the hospital, but that I had to be wheeled out on a wheelchair carrying both babies and we would have to load them into the car seats at the valet stop. Loading infants into their car seats for the first time. In the dark. Oh, and it was raining. Oh, and I had accidentally sent my shoes home in a bag and I only had slippers.
We managed to get the babies loaded into their car seats in the dark and in the rain thanks to the help of a kind valet driver whose wife also had just recently had a baby. Unlike moms of singletons who get to ride home in the backseat and watch their baby, I had to sit in the front seat and worry. We didn’t take the freeway home because this was also the first time we were driving our brand new SUV in the rain and it was a “first rain” in Los Angeles which meant there were a lot of oil slicks on the streets. We ended up pulling over into a CVS/Carl’s Jr. parking lot at some point because the babies were quiet and I was worried. It was at that point that I realized my feet had swelled up by at least 100%. I’m also in a parking lot, in the rain, with swollen feet, in slippers.
The babies were, of course, just fine. They were asleep. So we drove home and got them inside probably around 6-7 pm. It was an exhausting day. All I really wanted to do was sleep, but of course, we had twin babies to take care of!
All in all, I had a good birthing experience, but a mediocre postpartum stay at the hospital. I have the same OBGYN for baby #3 and we’ve spoken about some of my experiences and she did tell me that second-time moms are often better advocates for themselves in the maternity ward, so that’s what I’ll be doing, advocating better for myself and for my baby.
And I hope that by putting my birth story out there, it inspires you to advocate for yourself and your twin babies while giving birth! Let me know if you have any questions by commenting below or emailing me, I’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
And, if you’re reading this in preparation for your twins, be sure to check out some of my other pregnancy and twin related posts: