I know I don’t know exactly why, but when we were in the 7th week of pregnancy, I was very excited. When I learned at the first week of pregnancy that I was not only pregnant with a baby, the idea of a ‘caesarean section’ had taken root in my mind with regard to the birth anchored in my head quite quickly.
I had hardly heard of natural twin births in my environment and also some doctors I went to for check-ups tended more in the direction of cesarean section. Only my own gynecologist kept a low profile when I impatiently brought up the subject of birth in mid-pregnancy and always said to me: "We don’t talk about birth until the 35th week of pregnancy. SSW.“
Well and who knows me, knows that neither waiting nor patience are virtues I would ascribe to myself. And so I was always quite nervous and my feeling that the birth would be a cesarean anyway only changed with the first appointment with my midwife.
Diagnosis of breech presentation
My starting position was that the leading twin was already quite soon head down. The second twin lay in the breech position in the belly and should not turn until the end. With this diagnosis, it was actually quite soon clear that a cesarean section would be performed at the university hospital. And before the completed 36. In Austria, babies are considered to be premature at the first week of pregnancy, which is why they have to be delivered in a hospital with neonatal care.
A birth in breech presentation means that the baby is not born with the head first, but with the rear end first. In most hospitals, pelvic deliveries are no longer performed naturally. The medical risk for complications is considered to be higher and there are apparently also fewer and fewer doctors and midwives who care for breech deliveries and therefore the knowledge and routines for this are also getting a little lost.
It was said so I had to wait a long time to see if the second twin would still turn in the cranial position, otherwise the cesarean seemed to be a foregone conclusion. Because only if both babies were in cranial position, a natural birth seemed to be possible.
I accepted this and tried to think very little about it and to be prepared for both scenarios. In the end this should have been completely correct, because then everything came completely differently.
The natural birth of my twins
At my penultimate check-up in SSW 35, it was finally clear that the second twin would no longer turn and therefore it was clear that at least the second child had a breech presentation. My gynecologist referred me with this diagnosis to a colleague who has experience in pelvic deliveries and would possibly perform the birth with me in my preferred hospital.
After a first acquaintance and an examination we had the go of the doctor. He agreed to a natural birth, and from that point on it was now really just wait and see when the twins would be on their way.
SSW38 and the twins take their time
After my pregnancy app from the 30. Pregnancy week recommended to keep my clinic bag ready (which of course I had not done- I’m a guy after all On the other hand, I had the feeling that it could start at any time somehow. Twins are usually delivered well before their due date and I never thought I would finally make it to 38 weeks. week would create.
With the 37. In the second half of pregnancy the aches and pains really began. I had water retention in my legs and hands. I could hardly sleep at night because the belly was so big was that I couldn’t find a comfortable position and the twins seemed to party in my belly especially at night. As beautiful and complication-free as my pregnancy had been, I was now ready to have my body to myself again and was just so happy to finally meet the two of them.
False alarm on Monday evening
The whole Monday went basically still quite normal. Apart from my growing impatience, it was a day like any other. I felt good according to the circumstances and worked during the day still from the couch.
When I went to the toilet in the early evening, there were suddenly a few drops of an undefinable liquid. Was that amniotic fluid?? Should the bladder be slightly cracked? Adrenaline rose in me.
My gut feeling told me that I should let clarify this in any case. Otherwise I would not have slept at night. I did not know at that time that I would not be able to sleep that night.
So we called my doctor and told him about my discovery. After a short conversation he asked me to pack my things and to drive quickly to the sanatorium. Outwardly, Steff and I behaved in front of each other in a calm and unexcited way. Inside we were both so nervous. Of course my clinic bag was not packed and so I tried to focus on what I still needed. And after a good 30 minutes we were already sitting in the car.
When we arrived at the hospital, we were immediately welcomed by my doctor and a midwife, and after the examination it was clear that both amniotic sacs were intact. A false alarm. We were supposed to go home and we stayed in such a way that we would just keep in touch by phone.
A sleepless night
When we arrived back home, I felt a sense of relief that I still had a little time left, but at the same time I felt disappointed. Steff prepared dinner for me and just as we were about to go to bed, I had the first really strong contraction.
Somehow I had the feeling that it could start slowly now. I lay down in bed and somehow tried to find a comfortable position and get some sleep. In the first half of the night, the contractions were still coming every hour- early in the morning then already every 20 to 30 minutes. Sleep was actually out of the question. On the one hand, the contractions in between were so painful that I breathed them in a quadruped position and somehow I was already so excited inside. It would start so slowly. I was quite sure of that by now.
In this first phase of birth, when the cervix has to open, you should actually stay at home in your familiar surroundings as long as possible. In the childbirth preparation course, we had received the recommendation that first-time mothers should not go to the hospital until the contractions are 5 minutes apart. Well, the situation with twins was a bit more complex, after all, both babies had to be fine.
For this reason we had agreed with my doctor to stay in regular exchange and if the contractions should occur in a regularity of 10 minutes, we should leave again.
A day full of contractions
By Tuesday morning the contractions were coming at 13 minute intervals and I was convinced that we would be leaving around noon. Fiddlesticks.
Towards noon the intervals between contractions increased again and in the early afternoon the contractions pretty much stopped. Suddenly the contractions came again only every 40 minutes and the contraction tracker, which Steff operated, became my best friend and enemy at the same time. Only in the early evening the contractions started again.
After regular communication with my doctor, he said in the evening that we should come back to the hospital after all. I would probably not be able to endure another sleepless night with contractions and they wanted to find out whether both babies were really well. Barely 24 hours later we packed our bags again and left.
Now it really starts
Around 10 p.m. we arrived at the sanatorium. I was greeted by a midwife and my doctor and it was immediately into the delivery room. After a first examination the cervix was already 3 centimeters open. You can’t imagine how happy this news made me. The contractions of the last few hours had already been effective and despite my fatigue, I was so motivated. I was glad that it was now really so far. Only a few more hours and I would finally hold the twins in my arms.
A natural birth of twins is not an everyday occurrence and although we didn’t notice much of it, there was a whole medical team on call in the background. I got a contraceptive drip and was connected directly to the CTG.
The contractions became more regular and increasingly stronger. Like the hours before, I was able to breathe and endure the contractions best in a quadruped position. The problem was that the CTG signal kept getting lost on one of the babies. The midwife had to keep a close eye on the baby’s heartbeat, so at some point I had to lie on my back.
In this position every single contraction cost me so much strength. With each contraction, I clung to the cloth hanging from the ceiling with my arms. Only with the tension in my arms was the pain somewhat bearable.
At the end of my rope
Around 4 a.m., my doctor came back to the delivery room to check on the progress of the birth. In the last 5 hours the cervix had only opened 2 more centimeters and was now only at 5 centimeters.
My doctor and midwife told us that the birth progress was actually too little for the time frame. Since the heart tones of the two babies were at any time but completely okay, there was still no reason to have to intervene. However, I had to think about the option of a caesarean section if it would continue at this pace.
For me this news was completely devastating. The idea that the cervix was only half open, that the babies had to move into the birth canal and that I had to push out both babies, one of them in breech presentation, was unimaginable for me at that time. I was at the end of my rope. Could take no more. Did not want more.
Option cesarean section?
Since time was not pressing, the midwife suggested that I try a pain injection, a kind of opiate. For some women, the shot would work well, make them calmer. Whereas others would become rather restless. The doctor also said that we still had the option of spinal anesthesia with cesarean section afterwards.
But I really did not want to go on. I burst into tears and got really angry at Steff, who tried to motivate me to keep going. How could I do this create? I was so tired. I was so exhausted and just wanted to sleep. Sleep without pain.
The midwife was finally able to convince me to try the shot. After a little prick in the thigh I became even more tired than I already was. Finally I could doze off.
Steff- my anchor
I hardly have any more memories of this phase of the birth. I had strong contractions every 3 to 4 minutes, that knows I still. However, the intervals between contractions felt like hours in between. The contractions were so strong at this point that I could no longer think clearly. I wanted to concentrate on breathing, but the pain came in such big waves and I had the feeling of being overwhelmed. No longer being able to breathe.
And then Steff was there. I never thought we would actually breathe through the contractions together, like in the birthing class. But suddenly there was my anchor. Steff gave me the breathing rhythm. His cheek against mine, we breathed through each contraction. With every contraction I told myself inwardly: ‚I breathe width into my pelvis.‘ This was my mantra and it was only through Steff that I managed not to let this tremendous pain overwhelm me. After each contraction he gave me a sip of water to drink. Then I slept away again. That was our ritual. For an hour and a half.
The cervix is fully open!
At half past five in the morning I was examined again. The doctor and midwife were both back in the delivery room and I was still very sleepy. But in the last hour and a half I had been able to recharge my batteries.
The examination showed that the cervix had opened to 10 centimeters! What a message! Now somehow the point of no return was reached! The twins are on their way!
From that moment on I only remember fractions. I was like in a tunnel. In my own world. I was almost unaware of anything around me. Only the contractions. The pain. But also the thought that each new contraction would take me one step further to my babies.
The contractions started
Around 7 o’clock a second midwife came to us in the delivery room. But I didn’t really realize it until later. In between, the ultrasound machine was used to check the position of the two babies again and again. Time had somehow stopped for me. just didn’t matter anymore. I only thought from contraction to contraction.
When I looked at the window at some point, I noticed that it had become light in the meantime. And the most beautiful? It was snowing thick flakes. The city was white wrapped. What a welcome for our babies!
The next thing I remember was this tremendous downward pressure. This feeling of my innermost being turned inside out. Again this feeling of a wave that threatened to roll over me. The second midwife brought fresh energy into the delivery room and really whipped me through the contractions. Caused me to breathe. Gave me the signal when it was time to stop pushing.
Welcome- Charlotte and Mathilda
I could feel the first head. I could feel that a baby was about to arrive. I kept waiting for the next contraction to come. For the next feeling of finally being able to push again. I screamed like never before in my life. I didn’t care about anything. I completely relinquished control and gave myself completely to the birth.
I know nor that the little head was almost out and slipped back again and again. The whole thing must have happened a few times like that and I thought I would never make it. I know even Steff kept scurrying from my head to the front and back again. And during a contraction, he said something to me… I can’t remember what it was exactly, but it released tremendous power in me and before I knew it, I heard excited screaming. Baby cries. And already this perfect little human was lying on my chest. Welcome Charlotte.
I was beside myself. I hardly got the bustle that now prevailed. The ultrasound machine was moved around on my belly. Voices offstage. I only had eyes for this little creature on my chest. That breathed softly and stared at me with wide eyes.
What I barely noticed: My doctor and the midwives were watching the second baby on the ultrasound machine. Due to the gained space, the baby suddenly turned in the uterus and lay in cranial position. In the next moment I felt the next wave coming. I had to push.
Only 7 minutes after Charlotte, the second baby came into this world with a loud splashing sound and intact amniotic sac. Mathilda, our lucky hood child. Baby cries again. And already this little perfect creature was also lying on my chest.
I will never forget this moment. Tears ran down my cheeks. Steff, who looked at us full of love. And those 4 eyes that were looking at me with curiosity. This feeling. This relief. This pride. This love. Hello my babies- I am your mama.