The second post in Birthing Stories is about having twins through IVF and is written by Gemma from Two Little Misters. After finding out the wonderful news that Gemma had conceived after her first cycle of IVF she thought she had a long pregnancy ahead. But her beautiful twins had other ideas.
After our first cycle of IVF, we were so lucky to find out that I was pregnant with twins! Overcoming infertility felt like a feat in itself, I didn’t imagine that there were more unexpected challenges up ahead.
The third trimester became rather eventful, with a bleed at 29 weeks and then at 32 weeks, my waters breaking without warning, known as PPROM. (Pre-term Premature Rupture of Membranes). I was then admitted to hospital for monitoring. Fortunately, I didn’t go into labour and was able to hang on until 34 weeks, when I was induced.
The induction began with a pessary, but nothing really happened and so after 24 hours I was moved to the delivery suite to start the hormone drip.
After two weeks in hospital, it finally began to feel as if we were close to meeting our babies.
Time To Meet The Twins
I knew from the start that I would be delivering in theatre in case either/both babies needed to be delivered by Caesarean Section in an emergency. This meant I was strongly advised to have an epidural in place. I was a little nervous about this but happy to go ahead as I knew it would be for the best. At around 11:30am a lovely anaesthetist arrived with the consultant and they offered to administer the epidural before they started the drip. I hunched over a pillow, keeping completely still until he had finished and barely felt a thing, just a few small electric shock sensations.
Throughout the afternoon I sat quite happily on my bed while babies and contractions were monitored. It was amazing that I could feel slight tightening’s but absolutely no pain, so I just watched the monitor in fascination as the lines peaked and troughed.
Later in the afternoon, Twin 1’s fore waters were broken manually and this took things up a notch. The contractions became stronger and more regular, but still I felt comfortable. At around 8:15pm I was examined and found to be 5cm dilated, the doctor was pleased with the progress and said she would examine again in 4 hours at around 12:30am.
However, at around midnight I began to feel some strong pains. Not contractions but an extremely painful pressure with each wave, which I had to work hard to breathe through. I felt sure that I was at least close to being fully dilated, so asked if I could be examined sooner. When the doctor checked me, she said I was indeed 10cm dilated and just needed a little time for Twin 1’s head to descend. (The pain was his head turning, apparently!)
Time To Push
Soon it was discovered that I had a fever (apparently common with epidurals), which hurried things along. I was wheeled to theatre quite swiftly. Before I knew it I was being transferred onto the table in theatre and my legs placed in stirrups, surrounded by midwives, doctors and theatre staff. The theatre anaesthetist introduced herself and topped up the epidural.
One of the midwives placed her hand on my bump to feel for a contraction and let me know when to start pushing. With all my might I pushed, but it was such a strange feeling trying to force something with no sensation – I just hoped I was doing it right. After a few pushes, the doctor said I was doing well, but she needed to perform an episiotomy to allow her to use forceps and help guide Twin 1 out. At 1:29am, Twin 1 was born, looking pink and with good muscle tone. He was placed on my tummy briefly. I remember the warm, slippery feel of his vernix-covered head as I said ‘Hello baby’ and shed a few tears. Quickly though, he was wrapped in towels and taken away to be checked over. As joyous as we were at his arrival, it wasn’t over yet!
Twin Two’s Turn
The doctor broke the second twin’s waters and then, as he was lying transverse, performed an Internal Podolia Version – reaching inside to manually turn the baby. He told the doctor who was assisting to be quick, and she pulled the baby out by his ankles. Twin 2 was not in such great condition and I only remember seeing his floppy, lifeless form very briefly before he was whisked away to the paediatricians in the next room. This was upsetting but I knew his birth had been the more traumatic, and that he was in good hands.
Being tilted on the bed at quite an angle and numb from the chest down, I was unaware of much of what was going on at the bottom of the table. Maybe had I known I would not have been able to remain so calm throughout! It was only much later on (long after I had recovered) that my husband filled in some of the blanks. As the doctor worked on stitching me up afterwards, he remembers just seeing blood pooling on the floor. I only narrowly avoided needing a blood transfusion. During the stitching, he went to be with the babies.
After what seemed like an eternity, I was wheeled into recovery. Soon John came back and was able to show me pictures of the babies on the phone. Two beautiful boys. Twin 1 with eyes wide open, looking so alert, and like his daddy. Twin 2 more subdued, lying prone, more like me.
Meeting The Babies
A few hours later after I had stabilized a little I was finally able to meet my babies in the neonatal unit, which was a surreal experience. They looked tiny, yet at the same time so big I wondered how they fit inside my bump just a few hours before! At last they were here, and we had all made it through. After 12 days on the neo-natal unit, we finally brought our boys home. Walking out of the hospital as a family of four was simply the best feeling ever, and there has never been a dull moment since.
Please visit Gemma’s Blog Two Little Misters to read more about her twin boys.