The very brief birth story of Animal and Mineral
Note: They are 7.5yo now, so many many of the details are hazy, but here’s what I recall. I wrote this for someone on mothering.com who asked about hospital vaginal birth of twins. Parentheses go into a little more detail for those who aren’t birthy people. I really wish I’d written their birth story just after I had them!
Monozygotic (“identical;” from one egg that split) twins with TTTS (they shared a placenta, with two sacs, and had a discordance in the shared blood vessels which is fairly rare).
I was induced at 34w due to IUGR (intra-uterine growth restriction; not uncommon in TTTS donor twins) for several weeks (as seen in ultrasound) in baby A (Mineral). I had a lot of ultrasounds and non-stress tests and bio-physical profiles during the pregnancy due to TTTS. I was on bedrest from the day I found out I was having twins — with TTTS — at 18w til the day I gave birth.
I was induced with cervidil; I never had any cytotec or pitocin, thank goodness. I was supposed to get pitocin after 12h on cervidil, but I didn’t need it. They were born about 8h after it was inserted. I’m so grateful that the labor was fairly short.
I labored in my own clothes in a room on the “high-risk” floor — basically it just meant I was hooked up with continuous external fetal monitoring and there was no birth tub or anything cool like that. I had a fantastic doula who helped hold the monitors in place so that I could stand upright — I stood up for most of the labor. I am very grateful to her. I’m not sure I could have had a vaginal birth in the hospital without her. (You can see her hand holding one of the monitors in my pic.)
I got off the monitors as frequently as possible to pee. I remember that being hooked up to two fetal monitors and one contraction monitor was REALLY annoying. It was hard to keep them in place. Luckily the nurses left me alone for the most part.
I had an epidural (by choice; I wasn’t into natural birth back then!) and felt the urge to push when Mineral”s water broke (spontaneously, fairly soon after the epidural). At that point I was rushed into an OR and could only have one person with me. I chose my mom (I was a single mom of twins, so it was just between my mom and my doula).
There were at least 10 people in the room. Obstetrician, maternal-fetal medicine doctor, nurses, neonatal doc, two NICU nurses — and for all I know there was a freakin’ orderly cleaning up in there, or a student, or a person reading time off the clock. I didn’t really care, except that they were all giving me different orders of what to do/not do. That was kind of scary, plus the urge to push was INTENSE. I felt overwhelmed.
(My mom always interjects the story of how I practically stood up on the bed and yelled, “Everyone calm down!” and one of the nurses gave me a look and said, “No; YOU calm down!” SNORT. I was 23 years old, I was single, I was not supposed to be in labor yet, and everyone was YELLING AT ME. Bitch.)
Mineral shot out without crowning. He was the donor twin, only 3lbs 11oz. Animal”s water broke about five minutes later and his foot slid out. He was a foot-first breech. At that point, everyone really started to yell at me to push. I did, and out he came. He was 5lbs 10oz.
I’d been told that because there was a size discrepancy (which is a TTTS thing), and because Animal was bigger, it might be hours between them, but it was only about 10 minutes, if that. As soon as they were out, I thought, “I can totally do this again!” and I did, twice more, at a birth center and at home. And planning another homebirth with this one.
They were in the NICU for a week, a pediatric room for a few days after that, and then we all went home. They were kind of small compared to other kids for the first year or so, but they caught up fast.