It’s been two weeks and a day since I found out there are 2 babies in my tummy. The idea has kind of sunken in, but man oh man, the reality is a long way off. Today I went to buy body soap for the kids and I was in the baby section of the drugstore where all the sippy cups and things are, and I was looking at them thinking “good lord, we are going to need 2 of EVERYTHING!” I know it’s obvious, but unless you are actually facing the imminent birth of 2 babies at once, I don’t think you ever REALLY think about what kind of impact that is going to have on your life or your wallet or your time, or your sanity. But really, that’s not what I’m worried about at the moment. I know once the babies arrive we will work it out. We won’t have a choice. Everything will work out.
I have yet to be seen by a doctor at the Red Cross hospital here, which seems to be my only choice for giving birth here. I have to do a bit more research, but the Red Cross hospital is the nearest hospital with a NICU, so I want to talk to a doctor there first, and if I really don’t like what they have to say I will look for a different hospital a bit further away, but my choices are really limited to possibly 2 other hospitals, and I think most cases of multiples get sent back to the Red Cross hospital anyway. Multiple births are seen as just too high risk here.
I have spoken to 3 mothers of twins who all gave birth at the Red Cross hospital. One is a good friend of ours and I know she was having contractions from around week 24 or so, and she was admitted at week 28 and on a constant IV to keep the babies inside, until they just wouldn’t hold anymore and she had a C-section at week 32. The other 2 moms I haven’t had the chance to speak to in length about their births, but both of them and everyone else I know who knows anyone who has had twins at the Red Cross hospital has said the same thing; they hospitalize you at 28 weeks no matter what your health, or the babies’ health is like. You can be experiencing absolutely no signs of early labor, both babies can be perfectly healthy, perfect weight, facing down, perfectly healthy cervical length, and they will still hospitalize you because they consider 28 weeks full-term for twins and basically the situation could change at a moment’s notice and they want to monitor you daily. For me 28 weeks exactly is Amelie’s 2nd birthday, and I am not going to enter the hospital on her birthday. I’m hoping the hospital will be a bit flexible with me considering I have two young children at home already, but I have serious doubts. I’ve already spoken to the daycare Sara attended when I was pregnant with Amelie and where Amelie now goes once a week, and they said they would able to take her from March 1st, which would make me 32 weeks. I’m wondering if the hospital would let me get away with coming in every day for an NST, pee in a cup, have my blood pressure taken, etc. without actually staying overnight in the hospital. Obviously I’m not going to know the answer to any of these questions until I actually go to the hospital, but when I called to find out when I should go in to be seen they said not until the last week of October, so instead I’ve just got time to sit and wonder and worry about all of this stuff.
Of course the other reason I don’t want to be hospitalized is because it just seems like a bad idea if I’m healthy and the babies are healthy. My two older babies need me, and I will have a very hard time negotiating in my own head, being away from them when it doesn’t seem absolutely necessary. Never mind my concerns that I will be bored out of my mind, and that laying around in a hospital bed all day is actually going to be worse for my health than being at home with my family where I can remain active.
The thought of a C-section also worries me. Of course, the thought of birthing twins vaginally also scares the crap out of me! I’ve heard that the Red Cross hospital will allow you to attempt it though if all the conditions are right. My doctor at the hospital where I was being seen until now told me that giving birth to twins vaginally, sometime after 37 weeks and never being hospitalized throughout the pregnancy is incredibly rare. I suppose knowing the odds are not in my favor for my ideal birth to happen sets me up to not be disappointed when it doesn’t happen, so that is a good thing. I’ve been so lucky up until now with two pretty fabulous birth experiences that I think I am mostly worried about this one not living up to previous expectations. I think I just need a new mindset. Like giving birth to twins is just not the same thing at all, and therefore I should take about 50 steps back and think about it as a whole different ball game rather than comparing it to anything I have experienced in the past. But I really, really want Akinori to be able to be with me. I’m afraid if I have a c-section and they try to give me spinal anesthesia it won’t take, as I had the same problem when I had surgery on my ankle about 10 years ago and OMG, I’ve never, not even when I gave birth, felt so much pain in my entire life. But I’m also worried that if it ends up being an emergency c-section they’ll put me under altogether and I won’t see my babies for hours until I wake up and they won’t get any kangaroo care.
And then of course I worry about miscarriage a lot still since it is not at all uncommon to lose one twin. From everything I have read it seems like that is going to be a concern until the babies are viable at 22-24 weeks. And then what if they are born at 22 weeks? Or we lose one of them once they are born? I’ve heard that for twin births the Red Cross hospital orders a medical helicopter onsite so that if there are any complications with one or both of the babies, they can be quickly whisked away to the Children’s hospital, which is at least an hour away from us by car. What would we do then? I would most likely be in the hospital recovering from a c-section. Would they take me with in the helicopter and hospitalize me at the Children’s hospital? Would I just have to wait days before I could be with my baby/babies? What would we do if they were hospitalized at the Children’s hospital for a long period of time? We have two other children who need looking after too. There would be one hell of a lot of commuting involved!
And will the hospital work with me on breastfeeding or are they going to shove formula down my and my babies’ throats? I know I am capable of feeding two babies. I hope the hospital realizes this as well. And wanting to breastfeed them is all fine and dandy, but will I ever sleep again?
I’ve been trying not to think about this stuff of blog about it until I actually get to the Red Cross hospital and speak with the doctors and midwives there, but it’s in my head ALL the time so I’m hoping that at least writing some of it down on my blog will clear my head space to deal a little better with the here and now. I know most of the stuff I worry about is unlikely to ever happen. It doesn’t keep you from worrying though, does it?