How easy is it to have a natural delivery of twins? After a traumatic first delivery, when Fran fell pregnant with twins she was thrilled to find out that a multiple birth doesn't automatically equal a c-section. Although she was induced both times, her experiences of childbirth ended up being completely different. Read Fran's story, and find out more on her blog, The Parent Social:
All birth experiences are different and although there were some similarities with my two experiences - I was induced both times and had natural births - they did vary wildly. For a start, I wouldn’t have dreamed that the twins’ birth would be far more straightforward - a natural delivery of twins.
I always suspected Sofia would be late. My due date came and went, I had a failed sweep and then tried every trick in the book to start labour naturally. I’d had romantic notions of calling my husband at work and telling him to hurry home as ‘it had started’. It wasn’t to be. I was booked in at St. Thomas’ for induction at just under 42 weeks.So what happened next?
After checking in, in the evening I got myself settled and then had the first pessary. This did nothing. I tried to go to sleep but couldn’t. Next morning I had the second pessary then spent a boring day with nothing happening. I had ‘the show’ at 5pm and soon after my waters broke naturally. The ‘period pains’ I’d been getting for the last hour were in fact contractions. Soon after I was hooked up to machines and was monitored for the duration. It was about 24 hours since I’d had the first pessary and I was optimistic that things would really get going at this point.
I had the oxytocin drip, which made me go from barely having contractions to awfully painful ones in no time at all. I went through multiple midwives, one would up the oxytocin as the contractions were few and far between, the next would take it back down again when they became frequent and erratic. This went on for ages. I’d been using gas and air, but was extremely tired and eventually asked for an epidural when the second night passed with pain but no progress. I was just 3cm dilated. Four hours after I was 5cm; then four hours after that, they thought I was good to go – fully dilated. It seemed to be going well, the pushes seemed to be productive and they could see the baby’s head, I thought I was on the home straight. However, all of a sudden Sofia’s heart rate dropped and an alarm was sounded. I was petrified. Lots of midwives and consultants came rushing in. She’d turned back-to-back and needed help to be delivered.
It was scary as they ran through procedures and passed me consent forms. They wanted to do a ventouse delivery. It was explained that if this was not successful they’d perform a c-section and with that there was a risk of excessive blood loss, and if they needed to stop bleeding I’d have to have a hysterectomy: ‘sign here’. I signed - I just wanted to get going as quickly as possible.
My husband (Matt) had to get into scrubs, which freaked me out even more. The ventouse was a success! However, I didn’t hear crying. Panic! Matt assured me that everything was fine (he later admitted he’d just said that to calm me down, and was terrified himself). Then the crying came. Everything was fine. Sofia was born at 6.35pm, weighing 6lbs 6oz after a 38-hour labour and 48 hours after the first pessary. All of a sudden, what had happened before didn’t matter. She was here.
Second time around with twins in the equation I had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t sure if I’d have to have a C-section. However, pleasingly (and to my surprise), my consultant said they would try for a natural birth for me. I was told about the risk of premature labour with twins, but also told that they don’t let multiple pregnancies go beyond 38 weeks.
Despite all the talk of premature labour, in my heart-of-hearts, I didn’t think they’d arrive early. Whilst I didn’t really want to be induced again, it was a much better scenario than them being premature and having to spend time in NICU or SCBU. 37 weeks is considered full term for a twin pregnancy, so I had a sweep at 37 weeks + 1, a further one two days later and another one two days after that. Although I had contractions after the second and third sweep, these subsided. In the following couple of days, I went on long walks and had a madras. We did even try sex but have both blanked out that particular experience!
I went in for the induction at 38 weeks + 1. I was anxious about it as it’d been such a protracted process previously. I was also worried that I wouldn’t get time to spend bonding with the first baby before I had to get on and pop the next one out. In the back of my mind was also the thought that there was the potential for more things to go wrong.
I was getting mild contractions whilst I was being booked in and then had the first pessary at 7pm. I was immediately hooked up to be monitored, which I didn't like. The contractions became more frequent after the pessary, so it was already a more accelerated process than previously. The plan was for another pessary at 1am. I asked if I could have the monitoring devices removed so that I could walk around. They were satisfied that everything was ok, so Matt and I went for a wander together to the hospital’s Garden Room. The contractions were still quite light, but I could feel them starting to build. They became strong fairly quickly so I went back to the room at around 10.30pm. Three-quarters of an hour later they hooked me back up to be monitored. There was no need for the additional pessary, and instead, at 1am, I had my waters broken. This brought the contractions on very strongly so I had some gas and air. I had gone from 3cm to 8cm dilated very quickly - it was the complete opposite to my previous long labour. I had been advised by two consultants to have an epidural towards the end of the labour so that I was already anaesthetised should the second baby not get into position and need to be delivered by c-section or require help.
As it turned out, they had to really rush to give me the epidural. There was one botched attempt and then I found it difficult to sit to have it done as I felt like the first baby was coming out and I needed to push. They managed, and about 12 minutes after I’d had the epidural, Maria, weighing 5lbs 8.5oz, was born (38 weeks +2). I managed to have Maria on my chest and have a cuddle for quite a while, which was great.
Between the births was a bit of a blur. I could still feel the contractions, but they weren’t actually painful. In no time at all, I needed to push again and Gabriella arrived 21 minutes after her sister (5lbs 12oz). I was disappointed that I'd had to have an epidural unnecessarily, but I was so overjoyed that they had arrived safely and were perfect that it paled into insignificance.
They were lovely and pink, demonstrated their fine lungs and required no help or special treatment. I left hospital the next day.
Are you a mum to multiples? Did you have a natural delivery of twins? Read more about birth month on TalkMum
Fran is a graduate, wife, mother of three girls (a four year old and 15 month old twins) and, until recently, PR manager for a global financial website.
A blogger and Hubber on some of her favourite subjects, which range from parenting, food and wine to Italy, investing and football; some of Fran’s writing can be viewed on her blog, The Parent Social.