We had a two year old girl at the time. With our first, we had a perfect pregnancy and birth that any birth to follow had large shoes to fill. I never really had a “birth plan” just that I didn’t want to feel anything and wanted to try to have her vaginally. I always thought any way that God want’s my children born, is “natural” for me.
I get it, kind of. People are entitled to whatever birth they envision, and most don’t envision surgery. But also — and I’ve sadly learned this from many friends having scary experiences — you really do have to allow for whatever is going to happen. I strongly subscribe to the “woman plans and God laughs” theory, which is even hard for me because I’m naturally one who likes to control things like this.
Let’s fast forward…we were ready for baby #2. We tried for 6 months and nothing was really happening. I was getting a tad bit nervous, but again – when you want to make God laugh, tell him your plan. I think we cracked him up with this one. We finally got positive results after taking a handful of pregnancy tests. After seeing all of the positives get bolder and bolder, we were pretty confident we were pregnant. We went into the OB to get our first ultra sound. She congratulated us as the pregnancy was confirmed and asked us to go back for an ultrasound because it was far enough along, we could try to see our new addition.
We sat there, excited to see #2. What we saw was #2 and #3!!! WOW. It’s crazy because I remember the sonographer saying “Oh. Wow- well there are 2 in there”. Like it wasn’t shocking or anything!!! I was crying and laughing hysterically. She probably thought she needed to check us into some looney bin. Tom sat there with his mouth open. No words. It was insanity. I will never forget it!
We were having identical, monochroionic diamiotic twins. This happens in 1:400 pregnancies. They share a chorionic sac but have two yolk sacs and two amniotic sacs. This forms a single placenta for them to share.
The shock hasn’t worn off and their first birthday is days away.
No, twins do NOT run anywhere in our family. Identical twins are not genetic – fraternal twins are. The egg splits and only God can tell us why and how that happens.
So here we are–carrying two baby girls with a seamless pregnancy. I felt the entire time, that I did not deserve such a smooth pregnancy with two children in my belly. There was just such a high risk with having the type of twins that we had. We were extremely blessed. It was just a little heavier than the first. I know – don’t hate me. I never got sick with any of them. Reflux was a biotch, but that’s about it.
We saw our OB every month, we saw our High Risk OB every 2 weeks. It was A LOT of appointments and Ella (our two year old) went with us almost every time. It was hectic, but worth it. Ella made a lot of new nurse and sonographer friends. She even had her own ultrasounds done so she wasn’t left out. She also carried her twin babies everywhere.
The high risk doctors became close friends. They shared a part of this journey with us that you cannot really describe. Jump to 25 weeks – we went into our high risk fetal medicine doctor for our 2 week check in, more ultra sounds, scans, stress tests etc… the same we have been doing the whole way through. The scans took way longer than the others- our doctor who laughed and joked our way through this pregnancy came in and was nothing but serious with his facial expressions. I went to this appointment alone. We had been to so many, with only positive news and I didn’t feel like Tom needed to miss work for each one of them.
The doctor told me that I had placenta previa which meant that the placenta was covering the cervix about 90%. That could be monitored and it could move in time – if it didn’t a schedule c-section was 100% but he also saw a significant drop in Baby A (Linley). She was in the 3rd percentile when Baby B (Wesley) was in the 30th. It was actually getting dangerous for Linley. This meant that I had to be taken in immediately for steroids shots- the next day another round and monitored stress tests – the third day, one more round and monitored stress tests. It did not have to be this insane increase, but she had to show interval growth within the next few days. If she did not show this, we would have to do an emergency c-section.
The steroids were a miracle worker and got us to 32 weeks gestation. The placenta had moved but we had to schedule a c-section for the exact 32nd week to bring them into this world. They were not thriving anymore and God knew it was time for them to thrive in this world.￼￼￼
I was excited, I couldn’t believe I was going to meet these angels. I was also insanely scared. I am usually so cool, calm, and collected. My fear was losing them- or losing one. My mentality quickly shifted. We were barely at 32 weeks which meant NICU was going to be a part of our story, our journey, our girls survival and entering into this world.
We went into surgery at 4am – surgery was at 7. The twins were born in a huge room with light as bright as the sun with two surgical doctors and what seemed like 100 nurses. An experience that was completely different from my dark, intimate, small room with my first born.
Baby A was born- Linley, 3.11 lbs was taken immediately to get oxygen and tests. 2 minutes later- Baby B, 4.5 lbs was here – Wesley girl. She was also rushed to the opposite side of the room to get tests and oxygen. This is when the experience began.
I lay there as I could only see the twins in my peripheral vision, getting worked on, with many many doctors around them. I saw one doctor pumping on Wesley’s little 4 lb chest. I will never forget that. I was also pretty out of it. You are medicated for serious surgery. I was a bit numb if you ask me. What a whirlwind that was.
It wasn’t that the twins were born via c-section or that there were two but I didn’t get to hold them, see them, smell them. They placed them both in my arms for “quick picture” that one angel of a nurse suggested before they were taken up to the NICU. This is what spun this pregnancy from my perfect picture to one of the hardest things I will do in my life.
My heart felt broken.
I was wheeled into recovery, I really couldn’t feel a thing at this moment. I kept getting migraines & quick nausea but this was helped by immediate and glorious IV medication. My husband went up with the twins as we planned- I didn’t want them to be alone because they weren’t together in the same incubator obviously. I had to stay in recovery until the anesthesia wore off and I could move my legs on my own. This seemed like 10 hours – it felt so long. I was by myself in that room with no babies in my belly, family with my twins and I couldn’t be there. It was just me, my recovery, my pain medication IV and a lot of sounds of expecting mothers that seemed to be in A LOT more pain than I was. I wish I could have offered them my meds.
My heart felt broken.
I felt like I had lost them when they were clearly here on this Earth, but they weren’t with me where they belonged. That first night, they weren’t with me.
Recovery was HARD for me. I was in a lot of pain, I wanted to push myself because that is just natural to me. I don’t have time to sulk or be vulnerable and weak. I had no choice, I had to be vulnerable, weak and sulk because I just had surgery. I wont go into recovery details but happy to share with anyone curious. Keep in mind- everyone is different and that’s why I don’t feel I need to share.
I had a two year old I wanted to get back to, and I had twins upstairs that I did not even have the strength to go see. I wasn’t sure if it was the strength of my heart that didn’t want to see them in that box, weighing 3 and 4 lbs- with all of those tubes and cords or if it was the pain I was feeling physically. I had the experience of a vaginal birth and this just exceeded the pain physically and emotionally. It was opposite of what I experienced before. As much as I tried not to compare the two, I couldn’t help but do so. My swollen legs were the size of tree trunks and my hospital socks planted me as I would walk to see my babies. Getting up seemed to help the recovery.
We were discharged after day 4, I left my babies in those boxes with tubes, cords and continuous beeping and came home to their empty nursery and my highly active two year old. We left them with the most precious, selfless, caring NICU nurses I could have imagined. God placed them in our lives. Arla & Viannie – if you’re reading, I don’t have words to thank you for your heart, your care and your grace with us. You made this experience way better than it would have been. Thank you doesn’t seem like enough.
I was home pumping for two, trying to take care of myself, take care of my two year old, and go back and forth to the hospital to feed the twins, bond with the twins, enter my milk into the milk bank at the hospital, collect more bottles and labels and repeat.
My heart felt broken.
It was hard but also a blessing because if I had to recover at home with twins, it for sure would have been insanely difficult. We went back and forth every day and couldn’t do it without my parents that took Ella whenever we needed it. They supported our every need.
Ella gave us our funny moments of practicing pumping for her baby doll twins and also wrapping herself in my c-section postpartum wrap.
We brought the babies home right before Christmas – they were literally put right under the tree. It was the best Christmas blessing I could ever have asked for.
The wild ride started then and I already thought it had. If you want to make God laugh…
From night one – The babies suffered from silent reflux. Their spit up was like normal baby spit up. They were in extreme pain and you could feel it every time you looked at them! They would choke, their eyes would bug out, they turned red & couldn’t breathe. This was night one for us – probably the scariest night of all. Since they were weened off of my breast milk, we tried about 6 different formulas. They would continue to choke and projectile vomit multiple times a day. The babies never seemed content before this- they would throw their heads back and did not even want us to hold them. They would be so stiff that I could barely bend them in a sitting position to burp them. It was extreme – the connection I was craving with them was so difficult because they were just unhappy, not content & in pain. It didn’t seem like I was the one able to soothe them. Their own Mama wasn’t getting the job done.
My heart felt broken.
After months of complaining to my best friend – I finally took her advice and tried Enfamil AR, the moment our lives changed. The spit up slowly dissolved and the pain seemed to get better and better. They were taking medicine 3 times a day until we weened them off of that as well. Sleep stretches became longer and Tom and I did not feel like zombies functioning during the day.
The twins went to occupational therapy for their development and extreme stiffness and cardiologists for ASD – Atrial Septal Defect in their hearts. It has been a ride! This part of our journey is a small paragraph but it was a good 7-8 months of our first year.
It was challenging, difficult but joyous and beautiful at the same time.
The twins started to stand up, then laugh & yell. They started to chat, to cuddle, to eat food, interact with one another and now starting to walk before they turn one. Their big sister is obsessed with them and is their biggest protector and playmate. They light up when she enters the room. The bonds that are forming make a Mamas heart melt.
The difficult parts are in the far distance until they are replaced with the normal twin difficulties. It will never be “easy” but it does get better.
Everyone is happy and healthy – I will take it with open arms!
My heart feels nowhere near broken. I am whole.
As I sit here writing this, I hear them chatting in their room during their morning nap to each other with the funniest sounds I have ever heard.
In their high chairs this morning they were leaning their heads on one another and one would pat the other on the head. I sit here writing this in tears because these two babies are the biggest joy. I do not know what I did to deserve two at once when I know some struggle to have one. I don’t write this to complain about how difficult this year has been but I write to ensure any other mom or twin mom that they are NOT alone in their situation or their feelings.
One C-Section led to:
God showing me what strength was as a woman. He used this experience in many ways. He wanted to show me what my body was capable of when I did not know how powerful it was even after having one baby. He showed me resilience.
One C-section let to PPD and PPA and mental health challenges– again, God wanted to show me just how strong I can be. It was a huge part of me starting a blog to help others and to connect and communicate with people just like myself. God showed me resilience.
One c-section, taught my husband and I what it’s really like to work as a team. It challenged us, made us step into each other all while testing to bring us together as a unit. He showed us resilience.
One C-section led me to other twin moms that I have met or known and have developed such a bond over our stories & experiences- it is truly a special gift. We share our resilience.
I write this with calm covering me, with peace, with thankfulness and a very full, exploding and God filled heart.
Life is not always what we plan but it can be extra joyous when you give it to God and let him paint your picture. It will be nothing but beautiful- there is no other outcome when it’s His.
Thank you for following along.