Having twins can be the most amazing experience of your life. It can also cause you to wake up in the morning wishing you were someone else. Twinning offers an honest depiction of life with twins from a mom who tries to keep things somewhere in the middle.
I’ve come to think that twin births are like snowflakes—no two are exactly the same. That’s partly because twin moms have more exit options: we can have two vaginal births or one c-section, and some of us are even lucky enough to have one of each on that wonderful day!
When I was pregnant with twins, my initial thought concerning the babies’ eventual exit was that under no circumstances would I be offering two options. One route for both was all that would be made available. My next line of reasoning was that if one body part needed to be cut or stitched, I was going to volunteer my stomach for that duty.
I’m one of those women who never felt that “natural” birth sounded all that natural—and even if I only had one baby my ideal delivery would have been a c-section. So one of the first things I wanted to make sure was that my doctor would be on board with a scheduled C. Luckily, he believed that c-sections are the safest way to deliver twins and said that would have been his suggestion anyway.
Just to be sure, I asked him, “Say you can’t make the birth, you’re tied up or something…can you put in my file that I want a c-section, that I’m not pushing, even if they’re both head down? Could you write that in?” He laughed and promised that he would be there to deliver my twins and nobody would force me to push anything anywhere.
The story of my twins c-section birth is fairly uneventful, as it all went according to plan. I’d never had surgery before though, and that morning I was so nervous about the whole thing my teeth were chattering while I waited for my spinal. I asked a nurse if I could have some Valium (all the epidural-refusers in the house gasp in dismay) but since Valium crosses the placenta, this wasn’t allowed.
While getting my spinal, I was surprised by how painful getting a needle in my spine was—I actually cried. I was also surprised at how numb half your body can be while the other half isn’t. Just for kicks, I kept trying to lift a leg or something. “Come on brain, you can do it!” But nope, it couldn’t.
Once I was on the table, numb from the waist down and the doctors were working on me for a bit, my doctor said, “Okay Gloria, we’re almost ready to begin.” I asked my husband to cover my ears, because I didn’t want a play-by-play of what organ was being lifted from my body or whatever the hell I thought I was going to hear. What I really wanted was an out-of-body experience. Within 10 seconds I heard my doctor say “Here is your son!”
Whoa! My doctor had been kidding me saying we were about to begin—we were there already!
While I felt nothing before my son was born, I felt a lot of internal tugging and pulling while they were getting my daughter out and that was gross. Once my babies were born—nearly six pounds each—and we heard their cries, my teeth started chattering again and soon my whole body started shaking, or at least the half I had full sensation in.
I felt so strange, having gone from three people to just one in two minutes. Putting me back together involved more strange pulling sensations, and it was almost unbearable to lie there while conscious. I became certain that I was dying, that this uncontrollable shaking had never happened to anyone else before.
“Go, be with the babies,” I told my husband, believing I was a lost cause. “I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die here.”
My doctor heard me and said, “Don’t worry Gloria, we’re not going to let you die, not today anyway.”
From the operating room, I went to a recovery room where I was left alone for a few hours while they waited for a room to clear. It felt strange not feeling two babies kicking, punching and stretching in my belly. Strange, but glorious to be really alone.
I finally gathered up the courage to feel my stomach, which had been ballooned out to the point of stretch marks, and now I felt something that resembled a big soft deflated raft and I immediately withdrew my hand.
A nurse saw me and said, “Have you looked at your stomach yet?”
I replied, “No, what I don’t know can’t hurt me.”
For some reason she felt like it was her duty to make me love my post-birth body, but I was having none of it.
“I’m not interested, thanks anyway. Please stop. I’m not looking, thanks anyway.” I’m rarely rude because I hate altercations, but I was prepared to punch this woman. It was like, “I just gave birth to two humans and I’ll do exactly as I please today.”
And really, that was that.
I felt well enough to walk that night, but it was doctor’s orders that I wasn’t supposed to stand. The next morning I swung my legs off the side of the bed to hop down and as I stood, I felt like a samurai sword pierced my stomach, but that only happened that first day. After being on bed rest for the last 11 weeks of my pregnancy, nothing was going to keep me in bed. Oh and the two adorable babies in the NICU that were mine, they were a pretty great incentive as well.
You can reach this post’s author, Gloria Fallon, on twitter.