We left off in part 1 of my MoDi Twin Birth Story with me being wheeled to the operating room on a hospital bed while my husband waited alone in the Labor and Delivery room wondering when he’d get called to meet his babies or see me.
The babies were born at 3:15 am.
Table of Contents
Emergency C-Section under General Anesthesia
I remember as they wheeled me into the operating room, I thought it was so much bigger than the room in the hospital where I delivered my first baby via C-section. If it weren’t for all the medical equipment, you could have a volleyball tournament in it, it was that huge. This was both reassuring and scary at the same time.
I remember feeling so much pain and panic as I was laying there and they were prepping me for surgery. I had an oxygen mask over my face delivering either oxygen or anesthetic gases but remember wanting to just scream JUST PUT ME UNDER ALREADY!!!! to the anesthesiologist…but I didn’t. I just wanted my babies out as I was so afraid they’d die in my belly in the meantime and I just wanted to get the delivery over with.
I also felt like as much as I was trying to stay calm in this room with strangers ready to cut me open, I was about to have a full-on panic attack and didn’t want that to delay things. I completely realize then, and now, that they were working on putting me under, there are many things they have to do before I am fully under, it was just hard to wait.
While I was very disappointed, as I mentioned in my previous post, that I was going to be under general anesthesia so I would miss out on seeing my babies right away and enjoying those first moments of skin to skin, I was a little relieved as well. During my last time having a child, I had an epidural after 10 hours of induced labor. It took them two tries to finally get it placed in the right spot by my spine. I remember screaming out in such pain that my husband fainted.
Though I’m a talker, I’m generally a rather soft-spoken person so the incredibly loud scream of pain was a shock to everyone in the room at the time, especially myself. I was glad that I wouldn’t have to go through that pain again, assuming it would be worse because I’d likely have spinal anesthesia this time had I been able to stay awake for the C-section.
We had been up since probably 6 am the day before, so almost awake for 24 hours by the time the twins were pulled from my unconscious body. My dear husband had been working hard in the yard the day before and was so exhausted from that plus the stress of everything going on. We both had rough things going on and the hardest part is we couldn’t be together. I was unconscious in the operating room while they cut 5 layers of me open, took out some organs, pulled out two babies, then worked on putting me back together again while the babies were brought into the next room.
Unconscious I was Missing Everything, Baby A Could Have Died without me Meeting Him
My husband met the babies in the room next to the operating room while I was still being put back together. He quickly discovered, alongside the nurses, that Baby A had difficulty breathing and had to be hooked up to a CPAP machine. Once I woke up I quickly realized he could have died without me ever meeting him. He was hooked up to the CPAP and whisked away to the NICU, which technically was in a different hospital though it was attached to the same building we were in.
My husband had to make the difficult choice of whether to go with healthy Baby B to the nursery or accompany Baby A to the NICU. He decided to head to the NICU, especially in case Baby A didn’t make it…
Both of the below pictures are of Baby A, our strong fighter.
Side note: Baby A was actually Baby B while he was in my tummy but he had pushed his little head so far down in my pelvis that he got out first. I knew this was going to happen based on the ultrasound taken before the C-Section but my husband forgot. He ended up naming the babies the incorrect names because of this and it honestly took me over a year to get used to their names being switched at birth. Finally, though I’ve forgiven him and they fit their current names well.
Below is our healthy Baby B, getting his umbilical cord cut by daddy and being held up for the camera. He’s the only baby of all 3 of ours who didn’t need NICU time and was with me the whole time after I woke up.
Meanwhile in the Operating Room…
Meanwhile, this was all going on and I was still unconscious. I was missing all of the important decisions, missing being able to be with my babies to provide the comfort only a mama can provide. I honestly have no idea when I finally woke up but I remember waking up in this weird alleyway type place that was dimly lit and there was a wall of computers that different doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists would come and go from.
I recognized the surgeon who worked on me and the main anesthesiologist who I was right above my head as I was wanting to scream for them to just knock me out already. I wasn’t upset with him at all, by the way, he was doing his job and he did it well because hey, I didn’t feel a thing and I woke up! Ha!
It was such an odd area though. I kept going in and out of consciousness and at first, I was alone and then my husband was sitting at my side, babyless. I was confused and scared as I knew there were two viable babies that were in my tummy before I went under, I was afraid that since he wasn’t holding either of them they both had died.
Where are my Babies?!
My husband assured me that the babies were fine though he wasn’t holding either one of them. He told me what was going on, which I needed him to repeat to me multiple times every time I came back into consciousness. Baby A was in the NICU on a CPAP for breathing issues and Baby B was in the nursery getting a bath.
What I heard in my very foggy brain was that Baby A was possibly going to die and though Baby B seemed ok, I was missing out on precious time with him.
No skin-to-skin time with them.
No first nursing to tell my body it needed to start producing colostrum for two hungry babies.
I was heartbroken I missed out on these oh-so-important things that women these days are told are as important for their babies long-term as it is to ensure they are fed non-processed foods. Women are told that if babies didn’t get that initial skin to skin with mama they likely would end up a serial killer because they weren’t able to ever really connect with anyone. I realize this is an extreme example but seriously, we’re told a lot of extreme things about how to correctly raise a child, and the consequences of not doing so.
I was sure my twins felt abandoned by me, even though this all was beyond my control, and would never “attach” to me, or even my husband, because they didn’t have this initial skin-to-skin time. I realize this is ridiculous but I was on some very heavy drugs at the time and quite frankly, this is what women are told to believe these days. I’ll get into that in another post though I’m sure…
It’s all Fuzzy
Even 2-1/2 years later, almost to the day, my husband and I don’t clearly remember it all. He was sleep-deprived and I was coming off general anesthesia, on Oxycodone, and Magnesium to prevent seizures. (I’m not prone to seizures in general, they had to give this to me due to my preeclampsia.) From pictures though we can tell that Baby B likely was brought to me in this weird alleyway type place where I was recovering. We took our first family pic with him, as though he wasn’t a twin. It was weird, but I get it. I don’t remember this picture at all though, which isn’t surprising seeing as soon after the picture was taken, another picture was taken of me passed out holding my little guy.
Next I was able to see my fragile Baby A in the NICU. I couldn’t hold him because he was hooked up to so many things but I got to touch his foot. I remember feeling so weird being pushed through the halls and into his NICU room while laying on a hospital bed on wheels. My bed took up most of his NICU room but I got to reach out my hand and touch his sweet little foot. I hoped and hoped that he’d be ok and I hated that I couldn’t stay there with him.
Finally in my Room
Within mere minutes, I think, I was wheeled away from my baby struggling to breathe and into the room, I’d be in for the next 4 days. I still was going in and out of consciousness but I kept getting checked over by nurses, especially my blood pressure since it had been so high I still was in the danger zone, and at some point my healthy Baby B was delivered to my room. I remember I held him on and off but I couldn’t hold him for too long if my husband wasn’t in the room because I kept dozing off.
My husband was torn between Baby A in the NICU which was a 10-minute walk to get to and Baby B and I in my room. I was still hooked up to a catheter and had a fresh C-section incision so I wasn’t going anywhere but also meant I couldn’t care for Baby B much on my own, I couldn’t even lift him from his little bed and I felt bad to bother a nurse just to help me lift my baby.
Another Possible Emergency
At one point my husband had just made the 10-minute trek to see Baby A in the NICU and was about to feed him a bottle when I texted him that a doctor was going to do an ultrasound of my stomach to check for internal bleeding. Holy crap. Luckily the ultrasound showed no internal bleeding but I was having some concerning symptoms.
I still wasn’t sure if I was going to make it.
I hadn’t felt this weird in my life. In fact, the main thing I do remember is one of the things that helped me through all of this and kept me calm and not vomiting all over myself and my C-section scar coming open was this screen pictured below. It was the most calming channel ever. It played calm classical music and showed nature scenes. It was the best thing ever at that time. It was especially helpful when my husband was off with Baby A in the NICU and I was alone with Baby B just trying to keep it all together.
Later I realized at least part of why I felt so out of it, the Magnesium drip. Oh. My. Gosh. This was THE WORST!!! This is something I hadn’t researched, something I knew nothing about, and something that I don’t remember anyone telling me about once I woke up. But then again, there is A LOT I don’t remember.
After hours of being so mad at myself for being so darn out of it, a nurse told me that I get to be off the Magnesium drip in a few hours and after that I should feel much better. I inquired further and come to find out that most of the horrible symptoms I’ve been having are due to this darn magnesium drip! I had to be on it for 24 hours after surgery to reduce the risk of seizure but eesh it was bad. I feel like I lost a whole day of my life, the first day with my twins. Already I felt I was a bad mom to them.
Remember our Two Year Old?
Not to mention, we had left our 2-year-old sleeping while we rushed off to the hospital so he surely felt abandoned, and rightly so. I was sure he’d never forgive us. I had quit my career of being a school psychologist just over a year prior and since then we had been together all day every day, unless I was at all of my biweekly then weekly prenatal appointments.
We were pals and we had prepped him as much as possible but nothing could prepare him to waking up without us there. He woke up to the familiar face and sweetness of our neighbor who had stayed the night with him and soon after he awoke I think my mother-in-law arrived, but still.
I abandoned my little guy.
With everything going on I couldn’t even think to call him either. Plus, I figured at 2 years old it’s not like he could hold a phone conversation. He’s almost 5 now and I still feel guilty about not calling him and my mother-in-law to update them more often during the 4-day stay at the hospital.
Things were so crazy going between the twins, and then of course my difficult recovery, that it really didn’t even cross my mind. I knew my mother-in-law had everything under control and I’m sure they were having a wonderful time together.
I am forever appreciative for my neighbor staying overnight with him when we had to go to the hospital and for my mother-in-law staying with him not only until we got home from the hospital but for a full 7 weeks to help with my eldest and the twins. I was so glad that my eldest was getting the attention he deserved because I was barely keeping my head above water, overwhelmed with two babies and a difficult recovery.
Update: I just asked my now almost 5-year-old, who was 2 at the time of this, how he feels about all of it. I asked him if he is upset with us for leaving him during the night and not calling more often while we were in the hospital and he said he doesn’t remember it so isn’t upset with us at all.
My guilty mama heart feels a little better.
Separated at Birth
Due to Baby A’s NICU technically being in another hospital, Baby A and Baby B couldn’t meet each other until Baby B was released when I was, 4 days after their birth.
I feel so bad they weren’t able to be together from birth like they had been in my tummy. There was nothing I could do though, no amount of trying to reason with the nurses and doctors would allow us to bring Baby B down to see Baby A. Because of that, and the fact that I was in such pain from the C-section, I only got down to see Baby A three times in the 4 days I was at the hospital. Keep in mind, on day 1 I couldn’t go anywhere because I was completely out of it. On day 2 Baby A was well enough to be transferred to the Special Care Nursery instead of the NICU, but we still couldn’t bring Baby B with to see him.
It was a whole ordeal when I wanted to go visit Baby A in the NICU or Special Care Nursery. We had to have the nurse bring Baby B to the nursery, which I of course felt so guilty about, then we had to slowly and carefully get me from the hospital bed to the wheelchair so my husband could wheel me down to where he was. I’d bring him the small amounts of colostrum I was able to produce so far, and eventually fresh milk I had pumped. I tried to nurse him a couple of times while down there and he did a decent job but was struggling. Baby B also struggled to nurse.
Babies had Trouble Nursing
Come to find out, months later, both of the twins had tongue and lip ties which prevented them from being able to nurse effectively and also caused them to have a lot of air in their tummies which caused them to projectile vomit my breastmilk all over after we fed them via bottle.
All that hard work pumping to get them the milk to sustain them, and they’d throw it up.
I continued to exclusively pump even after they had their tongue and lip ties revised at 2 months old because by then, they wanted nothing to do with my boobs. It took that long for a diagnosis though we had been to their pediatrician a couple of times, two lactation consultants, and a chiropractor, trying to figure out why they kept projectile vomiting.
It was the chiropractor who said that her daughter had tongue and lip ties as well that weren’t detectible until she was a little older like them so she suggested we go to the local pediatric dentist who is able to diagnose and laser the ties if needed. So we did, which I wrote more about here.
For anyone wondering, yes, I had tried to nurse the twins and then pump so eventually they’d breastfeed but when doing that for 2 babies for 15 minutes each then pumping for 30 minutes that’s at least an hour every 3 hours + feeding them the bottles I had just pumped while they angrily screamed for milk. That took up half of my day and half of my night.
I had 1-1/2 hours between feedings once all was said and done to eat, shower, hold them, clean up spit-up and projectile vomit, and give my eldest some attention. It wasn’t sustainable so I had to give up trying to nurse them and just pump. Even taking out the trying to nurse them first I was always fighting a losing battle, now I had 2 hours between pumpings and feedings…
Yet again I felt like a failure because I wasn’t able to nurse them and have that close bond that I had with my first child.
I felt like a failure because I had bought this huge expensive breastfeeding pillow made specifically for tandem feeding twins and I only used it a couple of times…
I wanted to be one of those amazing twin mamas I had read so much about who were able to tandem feed their babies while looking down at them in awe that her body made these two precious beings at once.
It just wasn’t meant to be.
Back to a few days after they were born…
Twins Reunited for a Moment
Finally, 4 days after the twins were born, Baby B and I were discharged and finally, the 4 of us could be in a room together. We got the first pictures of Baby A and Baby B together. Granted only Baby B who was leaving the hospital was in his going home outfit so I didn’t get the photo I had hoped for but at least they were together for a few minutes and got to reconnect. Baby A is on the left and Baby B is on the right.
Bringing Only 1 Baby Home
The next few days were rough. Thank goodness my mother-in-law was there so we just needed to worry about the babies.
Baby B was home but Baby A was still in the Special Care Nursery 30 minutes away. My husband would drive there and bring him some of my pumped milk every day.
I didn’t go back to the hospital until we picked him up 6 days after he was born, 3 days after I was released from the hospital, because we kept being told he’d be released that day or the next so didn’t make sense for me to make Baby B come with us, mess up the whole pumping routine, etc. Plus I was still having a hard time getting around, much less getting in and out of vehicles or walking around, after my C-section.
Another thing I feel guilty about.
I can count on one hand the total number of times I saw Baby A in the first week of his life. This still hurts me to my core and probably always will. I wasn’t being neglectful, though the NICU and some Special Care Nursery nurses gave me “a look” when I did “finally show up” as if I didn’t have another newborn and major surgery I was recovering from. Like I was just sitting up in my hospital bed or sitting at home on the couch eating bon-bons watching Netflix.
No. That was the opposite of what was happening.
Finally We’re All Together
But I digress…finally we went on day 6 of Baby A & Baby B’s lives to break Baby A out of the Special Care Nursery. Ok, they were releasing him to us and it was all legit, it just sounded more fun to say it like that at the time. FINALLY we got to bring them BOTH home which really, really confused our 2-year-old when the babies had multiplied in just a few hours time.
I want to point out here that I realize that us having to leave one baby at the hospital for a few days is NOTHING compared to what so many mamas, especially twin mamas, go through. My heart goes out to each and every one of you who have to leave your babies at the hospital for an extended period of time. Especially those born incredibly premature.
These pics show me holding Baby A to show him Baby B all snuggled up and ready to get back in the van to drive home. We didn’t want to take Baby B out of his car seat because it was just a hassle. Plus he was sleeping and it always takes a while to check out of the hospital so figured it was best not to wake him.
The pic below that is of all 4 of us ready to leave the hospital. The last nurse that Baby A had in the special care nursery was amazing. She was sweet and understanding. She was happy we all got to go home together and was glad to take photos for us. We sent her a Christmas card that winter.
The next photo is of me coming out of the bathroom, yep still had to pee constantly, happy to see the twins together.
The pictures in our garage are of our 2 year old coming out to meet his brothers! He knew there were two babies in my tummy but since we had brought just one home at first it was a bit confusing. Now he saw two and it seemed as though he was thinking, “wait…what?! Now there are TWO?!”
In this picture, I finally got to hold my twins on my chest at the same time. I didn’t do this nearly enough when they were babies even though I had been looking forward to it so much. I just was always so busy with everything between pumping and feeding them or one or both were sleeping that I wasn’t able to stop and do this often. I regret that now.
Major Mom Guilt
As you may have picked up, I have a lot of mom guilt from all of this, some trauma, a lot of physical and mental healing that needed to happen but I didn’t have the time to focus on me because we had to care for two infants who didn’t sleep, were always hungry, were always throwing up, and boobs that were always hurting.
Plus an older child, who luckily was mainly cared for by my wonderful mother-in-law who was staying with us to help out for the first 7 weeks.
As you may have guessed though, click on “postpartum depression” for an open and honest account of the postpartum depression I was diagnosed with 7 months after their birth, after denying it for so long, and almost dying from it.
As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.