Premature twins born a minute apart without pain meds – Twin Birth Story
I have always listened intently as family members and friends shared stories about the birth of their babies. Each story and birth was unique in terms of circumstances but what stood out for me each time I heard a birth story was the feminine bond I felt to these women and the unmistakable feeling that we were just following an unwritten tradition of sharing about this life changing event.
This is the reason I have chosen to share my twins’ birth as the first post on my blog. I am excited to finally be able to take part in this tradition and I hope you read it all the way to the end!
I have quite a few regrets and guilt about the way things happened during and after their birth (which mom doesn’t?) but I am trying to let those go and so I have chosen to write my story in the present tense. This way I can record the events as I remember them to be, without letting regrets contaminate the beautiful and miraculous birth of my girls.
It has taken me over a year to finally write it all down and so some of the conversations may have been a bit different, but this is what I remember.
Warning! This post contains language and events that may be considered graphic (if you are male and/or squeamish you can stop here).
My story starts with the first contractions up until I got to the hospital and then the eventual birth of the girls. If you are the type to skip ahead to the birth, here are a few links to the relevant sections:
Ch. 1: The first contraction
Ch. 2: A mad dash to the hospital
Ch. 5: The twins birth stats
Chapter 1 – The First Contraction
I don’t feel any movements – the babies must be sleeping. I head for the bathroom to pee, hoping the pain will stop with a change in position.
As I’m sitting here browsing Facebook, I feel the pain coming back. I rub my hands over my protruding belly, caressing my babies.
“Are you ok little ones?” “Is this what they call Braxton Hicks contractions?”
Up until now at 31 weeks I haven’t felt any yet.
I quickly switch over to my notes app to time the pain if it happens again. I can share it with my doc in a few days to see what he says. I start to record when the pain starts and stops.
The pain continues to come and go at consistent intervals at the same level of intensity.
“I can’t sit here all morning. If this continues after 2am I’m just gonna go to the hospital, even if it’s a false alarm. I couldn’t live with myself if I stay home and wait it out and something bad happens to my babies – no way!”
2:00am: Another contraction…
“Ok, that’s it!”
I slowly get up from the toilet, wash my hands and go to wake Camalo who doesn’t seem to have stirred since I got up. I gently nudge him, no response. A little harder this time, “Wake up baby, we have to go!”
He groans and stirs, “Go where?”
“To the hospital, I’m feeling cramps” He is now wide awake expressing concern, asking what I’m feeling.
I reassure him I just want to check it out.
He promptly gets out of bed and heads to the bathroom.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“Taking a quick shower” he replies.
“Huh, what?! Are you kidding me? I’m the one who is gonna get admitted & prodded and I’m not showering again, why do you need to!”
“I’ll be quick baby” he replies.
The cramps are still pretty consistent and manageable so I start to get dressed and quickly check if my bags are intact, grabbing an extra towel, phone charger, phones, etc…
Chapter 2 – A mad dash to the hospital
“Call Dr. Leslie honey, let him know what’s happening.”
He gets out his phone and makes a call, then hangs up after a few seconds – no answer.
I’m still calm, starting my breathing exercises as the cramps come and go. I send off a quick message to our doc, I hope he sees it soon.
The drive into Kingston is usually 45 mins to an hour during peak traffic, but as it’s now still dark the road is empty and it shouldn’t take us long. Hubby is pretty concerned and we speed along to the hospital, all the while still trying to get Dr. Leslie.
The cramps start to get intense as we’re driving. I continue my deep breathing and panting as we practised during classes.
The stops at the traffic lights are the worse! I just want to get to the hospital now! I’m in a daze –breathing, panting, praying that the babies are ok.
“It’s too early for them to be here, we’re just 31 weeks in!”
I focus on breathing and trying to stay calm. “Are they moving? I don’t feel any kicks but something is definitely happening.”
Chapter 3 – At the hospital – Is this really happening?
Finally we arrive at the delivery ward, still no response from our doc. The nurses ask a bunch of questions, I answer them hoping I’m making sense because right now I’m no longer calm.
The pain is increasing and I feel like the babies are actually coming today! “Where is Dr. Leslie?!”
They go through the routine, take me to a prep room and ask me to change & get up on the bed so they can ‘have a look’.
“You’re 5cm mommy, your baby will be here soon.”
“Babies!” I correct her. “I’m having twins. Where is Dr. Leslie? I’m not doing this without him, can you try to get him?”
She mumbles something so I yell to hubby, who is just outside the room, unable to come into that area – “Did you get him?”
“Not yet, baby, I’m still trying!” he replies.
The contractions are now stronger and closer together and I’m panting, puffing, trying to keep calm and just do this. “I have to do everything I can to make sure my babies come out safely.”
They are both head-down and have been that way for a few weeks so I know this is going to happen naturally.
“Can I get an epidural?” I ask her.
She replies, “I’m sorry mom but we don’t have time for that, the babies are almost here. I can see a head. We’re going to have to take out your cerclage so the baby doesn’t burst through it. It’s going to be uncomfortable.”
“Aren’t you going to give me any pain meds for that?” I ask incredulously. “No, we have to do it now! Take deep breaths mommy and open wider.”
I’m not having a contraction so I feel everything as she pushes one hand into me, and then another. I start panting, trying to block out the pain. I can’t see what she is doing, but I know she has scissors to cut the string.
A sharp pain courses through me as she pushes deeper into me! “I’m sure I just screamed out loud, or did I imagine it?” At birthing classes we were told to maintain control by breathing and panting – not scream and holler on the ward. I remember this and start puffing and panting in earnest.
In between the pain of her pushing into me and getting a good hold, I feel when she tugs something and immediately another contraction is in full effect! I grimace and grab the bed edges as if my life depended on it and push through the pain, wishing for it to be over.
What feels like ages later, she pulls my legs together and tells me it’s out. I feel a wave of nausea coming on and I barely get out the words, “I feel sick!”
She rushes to get a pan but I can’t wait. I push up from the bed and lean over to the side, letting it all out. Out of the corner of my eye, I see that my bag which was on that side had received a bit of my stomach contents.
Hubby calls out to me, asking if everything is ok. They allow him in to remove my bag and they clean up.
During all this time no one has confirmed how my babies are really doing (nothing beyond checking for their heartbeats). I know somehow they are not in distress but they will be here soon.
“How are they going to make it this early, will they be ok?” I push my fears aside and choose to concentrate on what I can control – my breathing.
“We’re ready to deliver the babies mommy, so we’re going to move you” the nurse tells me.
“I’m not doing this with anyone except Dr. Leslie, is he here?”
She replies, “Yes, he just arrived.”
Chapter 4 – It’s time – The arrival of the twins
I breathe a sigh of relief as they wheel me into the delivery room. Camalo is now by my side, putting his gown on over his clothes and holding my hands. He looks anxious but he cheers me on anyway, “You’re doing great baby!”
I finally see Dr. Leslie’s face as we enter the delivery room. He smiles and says, “They’re earlier than we wanted them to be but close to our goal.”
“They will be fine” he reassures me.
The next few minutes pass with contractions washing over me. I close my eyes and focus on the pain, puffing and panting as Doc counts, “1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10…” The pain subsides and I sink into the embrace of temporary relief.
He pats my hand and then proceeds to rub my perineal area, gently pulling and stretching me. He says, “I’m going to make a small incision to make it easier for you, I’ll do it with your next contraction.”
The pain starts creeping up on me again, throbbing, insistent.
Somewhere at the height of my contractions, I feel a sharp stinging pain as he slices through me. I grit my teeth and squeeze my eyes shut tighter and continue to pant.
“Twin A is almost here, I want you to start pushing when I say so.”
“Let me know when you feel the contractions” he instructed.
Sure enough, after a few seconds it’s back. He starts counting: “ 1 2 3, keep pushing – good job, 4 5 6…” I feel pressure as she moves further down. “7 8 9 10, stop pushing!” He tells me, “take a rest, she’s almost here.”
He times the counting so perfectly, when he gets to ‘10’, the pain subsides and I get some relief. I am aware of hubby by my side constantly throughout it all. “You’re doing amazing baby, you are so strong!” “I love you”, he tells me.
It’s starting again, and I nod at Doc – unable to speak, not wanting to lose my focus, but he knows.
“I want you to push harder this time, do as I say”, and he starts counting.
In the height of my contractions I feel enormous pressure. “My baby is almost here!”
“Give me some more, this is it!” he tells me. I dig deeper, hold my breath and push harder than before.
I feel a gush of liquid flow from me and I hear her sharp cry. My breath catches and time stands still for a moment. “She’s ok, she cries!” I tell myself.
It’s the sweetest sound I’ve ever heard!
The nurses take her out of sight, just below the bed. Hubby squeezes my hand and walks over to check on her.
She’s no longer crying now. I’m aware of what’s happening around me but I’m in a daze, thinking about my other baby, “Is she ok in there, when will she come out?”
I feel them touching me, wiping me off and positioning my legs. Doc pats my knee and says, “Ready when you are”.
“Already?!” “What about the afterbirth, placenta, everything that’s supposed to come out…” I don’t get a chance to say all this out loud as the familiar tide of pain starts to approach.
He notices, “let’s do this again, push when I say so”.
It starts to build and he starts counting again, “1 2 3 4…”
I brace down once more as I feel the now familiar pressure of my baby coming. I’m not even sure if I’m making a sound as I focus all my attention on pushing her out…
“5 6 7 8 9 10, stop pushing!” he commands.
But, I am past the point of control and unable to stop as she is here, pushing through in a gush of fluids and matter!
He is caught off guard, but grabs her slippery little body before she hits the bed!
I hear her cry out – ‘the sweetest sound’. I collapse in relief and joy.
“They are finally here!”
Chapter 5 – The twins birth stats
My girls, Kami & Cali were born vaginally at 4:33 and 4:34 am – 1 minute apart (I won’t state their birth date for privacy reasons). They had Apgar scores of 10 and 9, respectively and were immediately taken away to the NICU – I didn’t get to hold them.
These were their stats:
Twin A (Kami)
Length: 40.2 cm
Weight: 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg)
Twin B (Cali)
Length: 38.5 cm
Weight: 2.9 pounds (1.32 kg)
They remained in NICU for 24 days before coming home to us.
Thanks for staying with me to the end of our story. Let me know in the comments what you thought of your twin birth(s). Was it what you expected?
‘Til Next Time