When we found out I was pregnant with twins, we were told there was a good chance I would end up delivering via cesarean. It is very rare for both babies to be positioned correctly for a vaginal birth, and even if they are positioned correctly, it is not uncommon for one of them to flip during labor. My boys were positioned head down throughout my entire pregnancy, so I honestly thought I was going to be able to deliver naturally, if I could make it to the end of my pregnancy without complications.
The truth is that it is not uncommon to have complications when carrying multiples, so for the majority of my pregnancy, whether or not we would deliver by cesarean was unknown. I started having contractions before 30 weeks, and I was one inch dilated at 33 weeks. It turns out I made to 37 weeks before getting induced, and guess what? Both boys were still head down! We checked into the hospital, and I was thrilled to be planning on a having vaginal twin delivery!
Just in case there is an emergency during labor, twin moms have to get prepped to go to the OR, no matter what your birth plan is. This meant that I had no choice but to get an epidural....not that I would have refused it if I had a choice. The epidural slowed my labor down considerably. From that point on, I went back in forth with more pitocin and epidural meds. I was in labor for more than 24 hours and was progressing slowly. I came into the hospital dilated to four, and it took me over twelve hours to get to a nine. After spending more than ten more hours trying to get past nine cm, my doctor and I called it.....we were going in for a c-section, even though both boys were still head down! I was EXHAUSTED and HUNGRY, and I hadn't even started pushing yet. My doctor explained that even if I eventually made it to ten cm, it could take me over two hours of pushing for each baby. I was just too tired at that point. My lack of progress was due to an over extended twin uterus. I measured eight weeks ahead my entire pregnancy, meaning that at 37 weeks, my uterus was measuring 45 weeks. The contractions were coming but not doing their job to progress labor, because the uterus was over extended. This explains why I never went into hard labor prior to my induction, even when I started dilating weeks before. Having a c-section wasn't my plan, but with a twin pregnancy, whether or not I would end up with one was always the great unknown and was always a back up plan.
One of the biggest reasons I did not want a c-section was because of the recovery time. I knew I was going to have my hands full being the first time mom of twins, without worrying about recovering from surgery. They say it takes a full six weeks for the incisions to heal. That may be true, but I would say I started to feel pretty good after 7-10 days. Those first 10 days though...BOY WERE THEY ROUGH! I hurt a whole lot more than I thought I was going to! I wouldn't say I was hurting from abdominal pain, as much as I was hurting from the burning of my incision.
In the hospital, my incision would burn when I got out of bed or made even the smallest movements. Even going to the bathroom or showering was something I could not do without the help of a nurse or my husband. The doctors will tell you that if you get up and move, you will heal faster.....but that was really hard for me to do at first. As far as pain meds go, I took some light pain medication in the hospital, and then I was told to take Aleve when I got home for the pain. You can take an extra day in the hospital if you have a c-section. We did not do this, because I was anxious to get home. Matt only had one week off of work, and after taking one day to labor and then two days to recover, his time off of work was dwindling away. In hindsight, I wish we would have taken that extra day in the hospital. We both could have used more rest before going home.
My biggest frustration with having a c-section was my limited ability to do much when I got home. I couldn't lift very much, and I had twins to take care of! Stairs were really difficult at first. Showering wasn't easy. Oh and I also suffered from horrible hemorrhoids when I got home, which I was told might happen. TMI....maybe? This was the only time in my life I had ever had to deal with them, and Oh. My. Goodness.....I never want to have to deal with that again. Way more painful than I imagined them to be! I felt like I could not leave my bathroom to take care of my babies that first week.
Needless to say my husband was a huge help that first week. He only had one week off of work, but during that week he was SUPER DAD! I couldn't have survived that week without him. The following week, my mother-in-law came to visit. By that time, I was able to at least function normally, even though I was still very sore. After that week, I was on my own. It wasn't easy, but I survived!
This was the hardest part for me. I remember sobbing when I realized we were going to the OR for delivery. I was so close to 10cm....but so far away. I had just gone through 24 hours of labor....but was still so far away from pushing. I think that was part of the reason for my sob fest. Just being so close to what I had envisioned our birth to be, and not having any control over the outcome. I wanted to experience what it was to push my babies out of my body. I wanted to have the doctors hand me my babies, so I could feel them skin to skin seconds after they came out of the body that housed them for nine months. I wanted that flood of emotion when I saw and held them for the first time. That was my vision. Like many other moms who have a birth plan, when the plan is taken away from you, you feel like your body failed you.
Can I tell you something. My body didn't fail. My body just didn't do what I wanted it to. That's not failure. That's just me not having control. My initial reaction to having an unplanned c-section was to be upset. In the end, it didn't matter how my boys came into this world. Trust me when I say that I was still flooded with emotion the first time that I saw and held my babies! At the end of the day, my boys were in my arms happy and healthy. I was still a mother who had just given birth, even if I didn't give birth the way I had planned. And for those who say that having a c-section isn't a real delivery....I assure you it is. My 24 hours of labor....my vomiting through the entire c-section from the anesthesia.....and my long recovery from surgery....the scar on my abdomen from the incision.....it all reminds me that the delivery of my twin boys was a real delivery!
Today my boys are toddling around the house getting into everything. They could care less how the doctors helped bring them into this world, and guess what? I can honestly say that I don't care either. I delivered two happy and healthy boys. That's all that really matters.