Trigger Warning: While this is a positive birth story it contains details of caesarean birth, high risk pregnancy and birth of twins. If you are triggered by these topics you may wish to skip this blog or read it once you have support available. If you are seeking support for your birth trauma, you may wish to contact our Peer Support Service.
If you haven’t read my birth trauma story, perhaps start with that – “Nobody asked my permission”.
After the traumatic delivery of my first child and working hard with my psychologist, psychiatrist and specialists I made the decision I wanted to have one more child and have them soon otherwise I knew I would never do it.
Because the chronic injury from my first birth resulted in regular medication I was required to stop all of this under the supervision of my pain management physician. I finished the medication one week and fell pregnant the next. It was a miracle.
I was incredibly grateful, but incredibly anxious. I had a new OB at a different hospital who knew my previous story, who knew my mindset and was more than happy with an elective caesarean birth in conjunction with ongoing treatment by my other specialists to keep my pain levels down during pregnancy. I had a scan at 8 weeks. All was well and we heard the heartbeat. Again I was feeling so grateful.
At 13 weeks I had my first formal scan. I knew I was expecting my baby in December. I could not have predicted that the scan would show I was actually pregnant with twins. Not only were they twins but identical twins. And not only identical twins but an incredibly rare subset of identical twins called MCMA twins. These twins occur in about 1% of all twin pregnancies. They share not only the same placenta but the same amniotic sac. Risk of fetal death before 24 weeks is high. If they survive to this gestation they cannot be delivered any later than 32 weeks as their umbilical cords become entangled as they grow and compromise blood supply. WHAT?!
We now had a whole other set of concerns and a whole new set of stresses. My management team were amazing. I had to return to the original hospital where I had my first birth, despite not wishing to, as that was where the high-risk fetal medicine clinic was based. I was able to have shared care between them and my private OB and an agreement that if we made it to 32 weeks I could choose where we delivered (obviously not wanting to be in the same hospital as birth 1).
We made it to 32w+1 day. I had a caesarean. It was uncomfortable. The recovery was rough and it took 48 hours until I could get up and about. My twin girls were born healthy and spent 52 days in the hospital.
Despite the high-risk pregnancy, the stress of the delivery (we had 22 people in the theatre) and the babies spending 52 days in the hospital I would have a caesarean for twins again any day of the week than go through my first birth experience.
Writing this now (my twins are 5) I still can’t believe what we went through. And I still can’t believe this was the same woman who had such a traumatic first birth.
I can now happily talk about MCMA pregnancies, high-risk pregnancy, premature births, NICU and SCN, and multiples and am always happy to offer support to anyone who needs it. Make sure you talk. That is the most important thing.