Before I got pregnant, you could say I was pretty undereducated about the birth options. I just figured I’d have an epidural and have a baby. I didn’t even realize that my own mother had had two natural (drug-free) births before my youngest sister was born via C-section. But once I saw that positive pregnancy test, I started reading up on what my options were and psyched myself up for a non-medicated, vaginal birth.
Then, at 13 weeks, I found out I was having twins. After the initial shock wore off, I was left with so many questions. One of the most pressing: What about my natural delivery? My OB-GYN, a mother of twins herself, said it was up to me, but that if Baby A (the baby closest to the “exit”) was presenting breech, it would have to be a C-section. I would also have to deliver in an OR regardless of my choice, and I would have to have an epidural (because of the chance of an emergency C-section or in case the doctor would have to manually flip one of the babies.)
There are other doctors who have different rules, and I could have looked for one who would attempt a breech extraction with twins, but I felt a rapport with this doctor who was easy going and laid back, someone to ease all my worries and who had actually been there herself.
One concern with twins is the possibility of the “double whammy” or mixed delivery — that is you deliver the first baby vaginally and the second one goes into distress, resulting in an emergency C-section. The chances of this happening are very low, but I personally know a set of twins who’d been delivered this way, and when I brought this up with my doctor, who I expected to alleviate my worries, she acknowledged that it was a valid concern.
Because I didn’t want to end up in an emergency situation, and because I wanted to plan as much as I could ahead of time, I chose a C-section well before the time the babies were born. I didn’t want to wait and see, and then have my dreams of the ideal birth be shattered. I ignored my mother’s stories of how awful her recovery was, and instead looked to online forums whose posters called their recoveries “NBD” (no big deal).
My recovery was not NBD, but I had a lot of help from my husband and my family. I couldn’t have done it without them. I was at peace with my decision for a C-section because I really believed I didn’t have another safe option (and Baby A was breech, anyway).
I recently read that studies are saying C-sections aren’t any safer for twin births than a vaginal delivery, and I’ve started to second guess myself. I wonder, if I had sought out more information specifically for twin mothers, and not just hearsay, would I have changed my mind and/or changed doctors? I wish my doctor would have urged me to do more research, or suggested some reading, or something, anything, rather than just “leave it up to me.” Making this decision can be so scary, and I needed more support — not horror stories, and not someone brushing it off as NBD.
In the end, though, my babies were born healthy and continue to thrive, and I’ve recovered just fine after a few initial hiccups. If I do get pregnant again (someday in the faraway future!) I will have this experience to inform my choices as I navigate yet another decision-making process: VBAC or repeat c-section?
Did you have a C-section? Share your story with us!