Guest Blogger - Twins- a C-section birth story

Guest Blogger – Twins- a C-section birth story

I finally made it to c-section day after weeks of feeling the twins might drop out if I moved too much! C-section day was booked for 37 weeks and 1 day- a Monday morning. I was on the morning list and had to get to the ward for 7am. It felt incredibly weird to say the least driving to the hospital to have my babies and not being in labour. It was also surreal to know that in just a few hours time life was about to change completely.

 

When we arrived I was given a side room, which I was thankful for, and after a little wait it was like Piccadilly Circus with the anaesthetist, midwife, midwife assistant, and doctor each coming in to introduce themselves and go through everything ahead of the c-section. Before it could go ahead though they had to make sure there would be space in neonatal for the twins should they need it before they could continue.

 

There were three of us on the morning list and they weren’t sure of the order initially, but I ended up being second on the list and so was taken down to the delivery suite (where the theatre was) in my oh so elegant hospital gown and stockings.

 

I was prepped for theatre in the anaesthetic room with a canula and spinal block. I was dreading the spinal, but it really wasn’t as bad as I expected- the worst part was the freezing cold anaesthetic spray they first sprayed onto my back. The spinal was weird because although I couldn’t move my legs or feel the coldness of the ice cube in their test to see if the spinal was working properly, I could still feel things touching my skin.

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Catheter went in then I was wheeled into the theatre. Everyone was so laid back and it was a very calm, relaxed environment. The anaesthetist was brilliant and so lovely. I was quite worried about feeling faint being on my back with the weight of the twins as I had done in my scans, but I had a wedge under me so I was slightly tilted to the left and felt fine. The screen went up and it all felt very weird and overwhelming. After a short time I came over feeling very faint and so was quickly given anti-sickness medication. (I was later told that I bled significantly when they initially cut into me and lost around 2 litres of blood, which probably explains the faintness!) I also felt very hot but that was because the theatre temperature was really high for the babies.

 Twin 1- Barnaby, who was very low down and head first, came out first at 10.20am weighing 6lb 6oz and was given to me over the top of the screen for a cuddle (he was absolutely covered in blood from the bleeding that had occurred) and I was able to have a little cuddle with him before he was cleaned up and checked over. Twin 2- Rafferty, came out at 10.21 weighing 5lb 11oz, legs first doing a wee and then came round the screen to me for a cuddle but then they were a little concerned about his breathing so they called for the neonatal doctor to come and check him over. He ended up being absolutely fine though and my husband and I held a twin each which was a great distraction whilst they continued with the rest of the operation.

 

I had heard people describe c-sections feel as though it’s like someone is doing the washing up inside your tummy, which felt about right! There was some very vigorous washing up going on in there though where they were pushing down very hard on my tummy, but I guess this was all part of getting the placenta out.

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It was around 11.45 (I think!) when I was in the recovery room. Whilst in there a midwife helped me get the twins to latch for their first breastfeed. Only twin 1 latched and the midwife then harvested a syringe of colostrum for twin 2 who refused to latch. They were also monitoring me closely given how much blood I had just lost, but they were happy with my observations. After 30 minutes I was taken back up to my side room on the ward. Sensation started returning to my toes in the recovery room and then returned up through my legs over the next hour or so. I was surprised how quickly the spinal wore off.

 

Although I felt pretty helpless after surgery it was so special to just cuddle the twins skin to skin for hours (albeit hot and sweaty cuddling my two water bottles in a very warm hospital room!). I was so grateful and relieved that the twins were ok when they came out and could stay with me. I continued to try breastfeeding the twins but twin two decided he wasn’t going to latch and twin 1 was hit and miss on latching and the times he did latch, he made me sore. I harvested some more colostrum, but harvesting enough for 1 baby was hard enough that I was beginning to think breastfeeding was going to be short lived.

 

I had such a hard time breastfeeding my first two children that I wasn’t holding out much hope that it would be any better with the twins, but I wanted to give it a go incase it was. That night after endlessly trying to harvest colostrum I decided that for the sake of my sanity, my well-being and my mental health and the effect on my family, it was not worth the stress of trying to make breastfeeding successful.

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Yes, in an ideal world I would have loved for them to latch without problem and may have persevered a little more, but it’s not just about what I want- I have two babies that need me to love them, not resent them because I dread the next feed, I have a 7 and a 4 year old whose world’s have already been tilted by having to share the attention with two new siblings and therefore need me to be fully there for them and not having a mental breakdown because of the pressure I put on myself to be successful with breastfeeding.

 

From then on we formula fed the twins and not once have I looked back on that decision and regretted it. After my first son was born I really was not in a good place because of the pressure I put on myself and the healthcare professionals put on me to continue breastfeeding. But this time I felt so free, far more relaxed and so much happier. Not only that, the twins have been happy and so chilled out and they’ve been sleeping really well- they’ve generally been much easier babies than their older brothers ever were!

 

Anyway, by around 4pm on the day the twins were delivered, the midwifery assistants came round and got me up and out of bed and in the shower. I could barely stand, let alone walk without holding onto something for support and I felt so weak.

 

They were quite relaxed about visiting hours and my husband went home around 9pm- I’m sure he could have stayed later, but it was important he was there for our older two at home.

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The first night I barely got any sleep- I was so uncomfortable and itchy from both the drugs I’d been given and my damp hair from the shower and hot from the stockings and the warmth of the room. My catheter and canula also made it difficult to get comfortable. I was also really unnerved by how laid back the staff were about how often the twins were feeding, I was expecting it to be a bit more regimented.

 

There was talk of me potentially going home the following day, but twin 2’s tummy was a little distended so they wanted to monitor him more.

 

The second night I felt I was pressing my call button constantly as the twins were so unsettled and I couldn’t get out of bed to pick them up to comfort them, feed them or stand for long enough to change their nappies. Some midwives were really understanding of this and it seemed they delighted in being able to help bottle feed them, others seemed annoyed almost that I was asking for so much help. Unsurprisingly I didn’t sleep the second night either, so I was glad to be discharged the next day.

 

Day 4 my milk came in and I almost started to express until I had a reality check. I decided I just would not have time to sit and feed the twins and then spend time expressing throughout the day and do washing etc and be there for the older two.

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Recovery from the c-section has been better than expected. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect because following surgery in 2020 to remove my appendix and fix an umbilical hernia, recovery was slow and took months, so I didn’t know whether to expect a similar slow recovery. With the c-section, I feel the recovery has been much quicker, although my body reminds me when I’ve done too much! It has been challenging though to find comfortable clothes as my scar and overhang are still quite tender and many maternity trousers and leggings all have a seam in the position where my scar is- long dresses seem to be the answer in the hot weather though.

 

The recovery and easing into life as a family of six has been hugely helped my our amazing church family. We had people from our church bring round meals for us nearly everyday for 3 weeks, which has been an absolute blessing and has enabled us to focus on all 4 kids and not stress about having food on the table and meals cooked. We have been overwhelmed by such generosity from so many people. My parents have also been amazing and on hand helping out loads. They don’t live locally so decided to stay in our village for 3 months to help out. It will be hard adjusting to not having their help when they go back home.

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 The twins have thrived and are really happy chilled out babies. They have been far more chilled out than our first two ever were! We were particularly dreading nights given our 4 year old still wakes at night, but after the first few nights, they have been fine. The twins have been happy to go down in the crib and have found comfort knowing that the other is right there. I’m sure when they start teething that we’ll get our share of bad nights where they don’t want to be put down.

 

Initially, when we found out we were having twins, I almost felt twins was some kind of punishment, but now I feel incredibly blessed to be a twin mummy. However, it does make it hard to blend in with other mums with babies. I feel I stick out like a sore thumb with twins, which I’m not akin to as I’ve never liked drawing attention to myself- something I’ve got to get used to I guess!

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While twins and four kids were not in our life plan, sometimes there is a far greater plan and purpose for our lives. We have just got to accept and be open to it and know that when life’s challenges are given to us, we will be equipped to face them.

I would like to give Kate a huge thanks for blogging her journey, with honesty and authenticity. I will miss the updates but wish you and your family well Kate, it was great to have you back!

 

Read Kates’s blogs here.