So here I was…37 weeks and 2 days pregnant with my identical twin girls. I was due to be induced but I had to wait another 2 days until I would meet my new arrivals. After having my little boy 2 years (to the week) previously, I was hoping it would be 2 girls we would be welcoming in to the world. As our twins shared a placenta my husband and I were informed at the 12 week scan appointment that it was categorised as a high risk pregnancy. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis, (a pregnancy complication which is essentially severe nausea and sickness and I had pelvic girdle pain in my third trimester.) Throughout my twin pregnancy I felt far more nervous and worried than I did during my first pregnancy, which is usually something I think most mums look forward to in subsequent pregnancies-not being as nervous!
My pretty and overly prepared bags were packed and I’d carefully placed my notebook and birth plan right at the top of my case for easy access. I was certain of everything I wanted and for weeks my fortnightly scans showed both babies were head down so a natural delivery was always on the cards and I was quick to dismiss consultants who explained some twin mums wanted to schedule a cesarean section and I could consider that option. But I was really looking forward to being a bit more aware of my surroundings than I was when I had my little boy. With my first time, after being in labour for 12 hours I tried pethidine which unfortunately slowed my labour. I was really struggling to cope with the contractions intensifying. I had imagined a calm environment with classical music, mood lighting, bouncing on a birthing ball and was hoping for a water birth. Instead it was bright lights, noises from only equipment and being moved 3 times to different rooms.
I finally decided to have an epidural after my midwives were concerned that I was exhausted and discovered that the gas and air I’d been puffing away on for hours on end wasn’t working! I ended up being so tired I couldn’t push and was taken to theatre for an assisted delivery. My little boy, was revealed to be a healthy little boy but weighed a massive 9 pounds 13 onz which explained why I needed an assisted delivery and episiotomy.
Afterwards I hardly remembered it all and I wanted it to be different this time.
All I remembered was feeling really panicked and worried and feeling like I had failed in following my birth plan. As a twin birth is higher risk, a water birth is not permitted at most hospitals in the UK. My consultants advised me to keep my birthing plan simple because an emergency cesarean section would occur in 1 in 5 twin births anyway.
Unfortunately, when I arrived at hospital to have my waters broken, Eliza turned and was lying in a transverse position. I was rushed in for an emergency cesarean section. It all happened so fast and before we knew it our little girls were with us and I was so so shocked -I was convinced we were having more boys! But it hadn’t entered my mind that I could have my babies without a single contraction. After my first experience of labour and giving birth all I could remember was the contractions!
If there’s a next time I would write a short list of ‘preferences’. All that mattered in the end is that our girls arrived safely and in good health regardless of it not going to plan. Eliza weighed 7 pounds 1 onz and Cecelia weighed 6 pounds 4 onz. Life would never be the same again, I soon realised that you could be prepared as much as possible for labour and birth, but nothing would be able to truly prepare you for your new life as a twin mama! Or a twin and toddler mama in my case!
As I’m now preparing for their first birthday and my little boy’s third birthday at the end of the month, I’m reflecting on how much joy they’ve bought me but also how much they’ve given me the opportunity to grow as a person. I’m more confident in my own abilities and far more independent than I’ve ever been before. Nothing scares me after dealing with terrible two tantrums, potty training and two newborn babies all at the same time! I’m blessed, so blessed, but nothing could have truly prepared me for this year… so make a birth plan but be confident in your own abilities as not everything will be as expected during labour, birth and life once you’re home. You will do it. We all do it and we all grow, just as much as our little ones do!