pregnant woman with stethoscopeHaving 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.

Last week, I wrote about own desire to go straight for the c-section when delivering my twins. But both my cousin Rena and friend Christina are heroes in my eyes, because I couldn’t contemplate going through what they did to bring their twins into the world.

After having her first child vaginally, my cousin Rena delivered her twins vaginally, and hearing her story while I was pregnant with my own set of twins reinforced my decision to schedule a C. My cousin is very much like me in that she tells it like it is. I knew that more than anyone, she’d tell me the real deal without an ounce of sugarcoating, and that’s exactly what I needed.

Rena told me that despite one twin being breech, she chose to try for a natural delivery anyway because she knew it would be a faster recovery. Her firstborn was only 17 months at the time, so she knew that once the twins arrived, she wasn’t going to get a whole lot of down time.

Being that Twin B was breech, Rena says she opted for “vaginal delivery and manipulation, not really knowing what to expect.” My cousin differs from me in that she isn’t afraid of the unexpected, nor is she a wimp when it comes to pain—she delivered her firstborn without an epidural. (I have yet to hear of a drug-free birth without gasping, begging to hear the birth story, and holding that woman in very high esteem forever afterwards.)

The doctors gave Rena an epidural and set up for an emergency c-section, should it be necessary. She delivered Twin A vaginally with little complications. But then came the “manipulation” part. Rena’s husband told her that the doctor had her arm inside her “up to her elbow” and two nurses were on either side of Rena, pushing counterclockwise and jumping down on her trying to get Twin B to move. Despite having just delivered vaginally, Rena was yelling for them to do a c-section. That said all I needed to know about the pain involved in a manipulation.

The doctors then waited about a half hour and told Rena to start pushing. She couldn’t believe she actually had to go through giving birth again after all that. But once things got moving, Twin B finally arrived, weighing in at eight pounds, (his brother was seven pounds). Now if you don’t already think my cousin is the alter ego for Wonder Woman, let me tell you about the after effects of all this natural birthing.

Rena says during the manipulation, they must have moved some internal structures or organs around because whenever she bends over, it feels like something gets caught up in her rib and she has to “quickly stand up straight and try to maneuver it back around.” What?! For real? Yes, that was no joke—she has to maneuver an organ or something around whenever she bends over. These are things you will never find in any What To Expect book.

Thank God for honest cousins.