Twin Birth: What’s it Really Like?

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For many first-time and even second-time moms, preparing for labour and birth can be overwhelming. With all of the conflicting advice out there, couple with the common media fabrication of childbirth, it’s no wonder many women have a tough time becoming mentally ready to give birth. And if one baby isn’t enough, imagine preparing for two! Twin births might seem scary and impossible, but prior to much belief vaginal births are achievable with a little confidence and a lot of knowledge and prep.

Today I am going to share the experience of a dear friend and new twin-mom Danielle, who recently had her 2nd and 3rd babies vaginally, confidently and using informed decision-making:

You’re such a champ and delivered both twins vaginally after undergoing an induction! Tell us a bit about how you managed to cope with the intensity of labour with two babies.

We are all very fortunate that everybody read the textbook! I had been induced with my first pregnancy after PROM, in which I originally planned no pain medication. I was severely unprepared for birthing a child at that time and had no clue about my options/choices/tools available to me and it really did a disservice to me and the experience. This pregnancy/birth was different, I really did look into my options and making informed decisions. I opted for an epidural once contractions were becoming unmanageable. I was ok with an induction because of the high risk nature of twins going overdue and because of my desire to have a vaginal birth. I work in a field where I see the benefits of Peri-operative Pain Management and how it can reduce recovery time with vaginal or cesarean births alike. Having appropriate pain control before trauma/stress to the body occurs really does help greatly reduce recovery time and with a 3-year-old and now two newborns, I don’t have time to be laid up in bed. Because I chose to have an epidural earlier than others might have, it was my only comfort measure. After carrying an extra 70lbs of fluid, placenta and babies for what felt like YEARS, walking wasn’t my cup of tea so I felt happy with this choice.

I can’t imagine how amazing it would feel during that very first moment after birth to have two babies in your arms. Describe that a bit for us!

It was a very surreal experience expecting twins and even more surreal when they arrived! It took me a week after they were born for it to really sink in that there was TWO of them. I was so relieved that they were both safe, perfect, healthy and fortunate enough to have been born without the need of a cesarean. I remember crying in the OR and the medical team thinking I wasn’t happy to hold them. They were in fact happy tears but not happy for them, more so happy that we were out of the scary parts that is birth of multiples. Now I could tackle having newborns without surgery or complications! It made everything we’d been through the past 8 months so worth it.

Us Edmonton doulas are big fans of informed decisions in childbirth, and you seem to be quite knowledgable. What tips or advice do you have for other expectant parents to help them prepare to navigate their birth their way?

Informed decision making is something that is used everyday in my industry (I work in a veterinary clinic) so I am no stranger to critical thinking, asking questions and thinking about what makes the most sense. At the end of the day we are our own advocates and need to be able to defend ourselves and our choices. I also didn’t want to experience not being informed like I did with my first birth. When considering an induction its important to look at credible sources of information as to why they are used, what types there are and when each would be used. Look into the risks and benefits of each. If you don’t want to be induced thats 100% ok but you need to be ok with all the possible risks of not being induced. When considering pain control of any kind, use the same kind of thinking. Also, it’s a good idea to look into what happens when pain control is delayed vs. planned early.

Thanks to Danielle for sharing your story! This is a wonderful example of why us doulas in Edmonton do not have a preference on how women birth their babies. The most important part of childbirth is understanding your options and the risks/benefits associated with each. We love and support all kinds of births as long as they come from a place of knowledge and confidence.

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