When we found out we were pregnant with twins, I looked up quite a few twin birth stories. I wanted to know what to expect, but just like regular births, each pregnancy is extremely different and you never know what to expect with twins! They can come early, they can put you on bed rest, or they can decide to stay inside you forever.
Creating our Twin’s Birth Plan
As soon as we knew we knew we were having twins, we made an appointment with our Maternal-Fetal doctor to find out what our game plan would be. The European standard is to deliver twins at 37 weeks. After 37 weeks, the stillborn rate increases and we agreed with our physician that our history dictated an earlier delivery versus waiting. So we scheduled a c-section for the day I reached 37 weeks. I felt good about that date and really expected to make it that far – ha! Little did I know what these babies had in store for me.
Being pregnant with twins is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I was extremely uncomfortable the entire time and was beyond exhausted. With each of my pregnancies, I get Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction which is very painful. Luckily, it has always gone away as soon as I deliver our children, so while I’ve done physical therapy for it in the past, I chose to complete exercises at home and wait it out. With the pain and size of my stomach, I struggled to sleep at night meaning each day dragged on and on… But I loved feeling each baby move inside me and knew the discomfort was temporary, so I just took it slowly every day and enjoyed each one that I was pregnant and able to keep our babies safe inside me. Doing all of that with a toddler running around was….. interesting.
On October 1st, at 33 weeks and 1 day pregnant, I noticed that I had a little bleeding and ended up going into the hospital to get checked out. I was having random contractions and was dilated 2 cm, but nothing seemed unusual so they sent me home. I kept expecting (and honestly wanting ?) them to put me on bed rest… but nope! I was fine to keep going as I had been. I would have given anything to just lay in bed all day by this point.
Heading to the Hospital
Just two nights later, I woke up at 2 am and couldn’t sleep. I moved out onto the couch and tried to watch some tv and get comfy, with zero success. Around 4:00, I finally decided to just get up and organize our guest room, something that had been on our to-do list for weeks. (Ha! Should have known I was nesting) I spent a couple of hours sorting through items and cleaning and at 6 am, I decided I was finally tired and crawled into our guest room bed to sleep!
Just an hour later I woke up to Lachlan making noise as he played in his room… and I noticed that the bottom half of my body was wet. Like, VERY wet. I stood up and water started rolling down my legs. I looked at the bed and there was a pink-tinged puddle where I had been. I instantly knew that was not good. (Luckily, all of our beds have waterproof mattress covers… so our mattress was saved ??). I was about 90% positive my water had broke in my sleep.
Before I did anything else, I called my parents. Thankfully they arrived in town earlier that week so I let them know that my water broke and they needed to come asap to take care of Lachlan. They were 15 minutes away when I called, and still asleep, but they were at our house in ELEVEN minutes. *Magic*
After calling my parents, I went to get Lachlan out of his room. We snuggled on his floor for a minute until he was ready to leave and go find Dada.
Finally, I was able to get back to our bedroom, wake up my husband, and let him know that HEY – we need to get to the hospital! Now I was 100% positive that my my water broke! All this time, fluid was leaking down my leg and kind of making a mess. I couldn’t stop it and didn’t really know what to do. What do you wear to the hospital when you can’t stop leaking and don’t have any pads around? No idea… I went with a maxi dress. I wouldn’t recommend it. I was just giddy and not really processing everything that was happening!
Jamie and I got ready, hugged Lachlan goodbye, greeted my parents when they arrived and were out the door. Jamie loaded the passenger seat up with 3 beach towels ? and I climbed on top. Even though my water broke and I was having strong contractions, I was convinced we weren’t having the babies quite yet. I figured we’d get a steroid to support their lungs and slow things down and wait a bit. Jamie just laughed at me and kept saying, “we’re having our babies today!!” And sure enough, once we got there, they examined me and found that I was 6 cm dilated and definitely in labor. There was NO stopping these babies! We would head to the OR shortly. I could not believe it.
I had to wait around, in labor, for about an hour to get my COVID test results (they gave me the test mid-contraction and that’s a discomfort I’ll never forget)! But finally, we were taken to the OR and delivered our babies!
Many mothers are scared of receiving a C-Section, which I understand because surgery is scary. However, I have absolutely loved both of my c-sections. They were necessary and for us, much safer than a vaginal birth. They will always be two of the most joyful, peaceful, and happy days of my life. (Lachlan’s birth being the other one) Hands down! I recognize that is not the case for every birth, but I do believe it’s worth noting. If you are nervous about a c-section, know that they can be an amazing birth option and are capable of being full of joy and happiness.
Finding Out the Twin’s Genders
Way before we knew we were having twins, we decided we wouldn’t learn the sex of our baby during this pregnancy. And once we knew there were twins in there, we thought it’d be even more fun to leave it a mystery. I am so happy we did… Honestly, it was just extra special. I loved dreaming about it and thinking of all the possibilities. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand not knowing the sex of my friend’s babies. But for some reason, not knowing ours was no problem. I would absolutely do it again.
I was convinced that Baby A was a girl and Baby B was a boy. Baby A acted so much like Hope did in the womb and Baby B was exactly like Lachlan… so when they removed Baby A and announced it’s a…. BOY! I thought to myself, “Ha! We’re going to have two boys!” So when Baby B came out and they showed them to Jamie, and he said, “It’s a girl!” I was completely shocked. (But THRILLED. We have a GIRL. I still cannot believe it)!
We were able to see each baby for about 30 seconds before they were taken away from us. Orion just needed a little bit of oxygen support and Isla was being stubborn and not breathing on her own, so they needed to intubate her immediately and give her lungs a little extra help. All of this was scary but also common for premature babies, so I knew they were in good hands. Jamie went with our babies to the NICU and I went to recovery, where I waited by myself and recovered from the c-section. I was extremely sad to be away from my babies their first few hours on Earth, but also knew they were exactly where they needed to be. It was very different than our birth with Lachlan when we were able to keep him by our side for the first 48 hours.
Eventually, we were able to go visit each baby in the NICU. There weren’t any twin rooms available, so they were kept in separate rooms. It made visiting even more challenging but also allowed us one-on-one time with each baby and to be fully focused on each one when we were in their room.
Leaving our babies at the hospital when we went home was hard. But – we’ve done harder.
Having a one-year-old at home and two newborns in the NICU was stressful, to say the least. Especially during Covid since nobody else could visit the babies. But Jamie works at the hospital so he was able to visit in between surgeries and with the help of family at home, I was able to spend two nights in the NICU to nest with them. In order to leave the NICU, each baby has to complete a checklist of events, including breathing on their own, sleeping in an open crib (not an incubator), and eating from a bottle (not a feeding tube). The more time we could spend with them, doing skin-to-skin, helping them eat, and just getting to know them, the better it was for their continued success. While it was hard to leave Lachlan every day to go spend time with Orion and Isla at the hospital, we knew that our short-term focus needed be on getting the twins stronger! And we spent a lot of time Faceetiming so our three little ones could get to know each other.
After 7 days in the NICU we were finally able to get our babies in one room and hold them at the same time.
And three days later, Orion was able to graduate and come home with us. When they told me he could come home, I burst into tears. Yes, I was excited. But really I couldn’t fathom how we would be able to care for all our children when they had such vastly different needs in multiple locations. Luckily, more family came into town and they were able to help us during the transition. I was also so grateful for the amazing NICU nurses. You have to rely on them so much and that’s one of the ways we made it through. We knew we couldn’t be everywhere with everyone, so we had to stay present wherever we were and trust that our support systems were doing their jobs with the rest of our family!
And I could sign into the hospital’s account to view our sweet baby girl from home!
After 17 days in the NICU, Isla graduated and was able to join her brothers at home. It was so amazing to not be divided up between all three children and to adjust to a routine at home.
Now that the babies are four months old, we’re enjoying our hectic, busy days. We may not get a ton of sleep, or have the cleanest house, or the quietest house for that matter, but we do have a lot of love. (And toddler tantrums).