Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Twinning Tuesday, Planning a Multiple Birth

When I was pregnant with our first (singleton) child, we had a pretty clear vision of the birth that we wanted to have. We took Bradley classes, read lots of books, and planned to deliver with a midwife at our local Birthing Center. Everything went to plan, and I was able to deliver naturally and uneventfully.

As soon as we learned that I was expecting twins with my second pregnancy, we started to run into road blocks when it came to having the same sort of birth the second time around.

The Little Guy listening to the babies' heart beats.

Between our health insurance company, and our local midwives balking at delivering twins, we found ourselves somewhat reluctantly planning a hospital birth.

Please, don't misunderstand me; I understand that hospitals do wonderful work every day, but I am not always convinced that they are the best places for women to deliver a baby, in the event of a normal, uncomplicated delivery.

Thirty six weeks pregnant!

That being said, we did a couple of things that I think really helped us have the best outcome possible when it came time for us to deliver at our local hospital.

  • We hired a Doula, who worked with me throughout my twin pregnancy, and then came to the hospital with me when it came time to deliver. She really helped keep me in the best health possible, ask the right questions, and question unnecessary recommendations.
  • We took a tour of the hospital when I was about 30 weeks pregnant, and made a point of meeting the head nurse on the Delivery and Post Natal Wards. We asked lots and lots of questions (where am I allowed to labor? when do I have to move to the operating room for delivery? how much freedom of movement will I be allowed to have during labor, and can I choose my own birthing position? can my newborns room in with me? what will happen in the event of an emergency?) Asking these questions ahead of time helped My Good Man and I develop a plan, and it gave us a better sense of what we could do at the hospital, the limits we could push, and those that we could not.
  • Even though we had taken Bradley Birthing classes for our first baby, we took a refresher course for the twin pregnancy. It helped remind us of the work ahead, and get my body ready with the Bradley exercises.
  • We found a Obstetrician who we loved! I had an OB/Gyn doctor who I had seen for many years; but when he began the asking when I was going to schedule an elective cesarean section for the twins, I knew that I was not in the best hands for my personal care. I changed doctors, at 35 weeks pregnant, and was so, so happy I did. I was fortunate to find a new doctor who I trusted without reservation.
  • We made a birth plan. We took some aspects of the plan that we used for our first birth, and then added multiple specific details. It included labor, delivery, postpartum, and what we would like to have happen in the event of an emergency cesarean section. We were very thorough, asking for as few inventions as possible. I made plenty of copies, and gave them out to everyone on our prenatal, delivery, and postpartum team. I think it really helped! I am happy to share my plan with any interested readers; please feel free to either email me here, or leave a note in the comments below.
  • I read. A lot! I reread my Bradley birthing books, I read books by Ina Mae Gaskin, and I read several books specifically on nursing twins (see below for links to a selection of the books I enjoyed!)
  • I am fortunate to live in the suburbs of a large urban area, where there are several multiple/twin groups, (like Moms of Multiples), including a La Leche League group specifically for multiples. Talking to other mamas who had delivered twins helped me as I walked the same path.
 A multiple pregnancy can certainly have higher risks; it can not only be grueling physically, but can be emotionally stressful as well. This is such an important time, the months during a multiple pregnancy, to treat yourself well, to look after yourself and your babies.

And the outcome of my own multiple pregnancy? Well, I started labor two days shy of my forty week mark, then my Baby B flipped from head down to full transverse. After talking to my doula, my doctor, and My Good Man, and weighing all out options, we had both of our twins via non-emergency c-section. It was not how we had envisioned having our babies, but we were able to make the best out of the situation. I nursed them both while in recovery, My Good Man was able to stay with them both during the immediate postpartum phase, and they roomed in with us for our entire hospital stay. They were both happy and healthy, and both came home with us after a three day stay. Truly, we were very blessed.

And those books? Here they are!

How was your twin or multiple pregnancy? What advice would you give to a friend expecting twins, or more? Feel free to share; I'd love to hear from you!
And don't forget to leave a comment if you are interested in receiving a copy of my Twin Birth Plan - I am happy to share!