Twins are . . .

Lately, I feel as if I have been caring for a slew of twins.  Just as one set safely delivers, another one is identified.  What I find so interesting is watching the parents adjust from the excitement of having twins to the stark reality that a large number of them will have complications in pregnancy, delivery and in the newborn period.

Many of my friends from high school and university are now starting their families.  Given their delays to reach this point in life, it is not surprising that they have needing some assistance in getting pregnant.  My Facebook is full of messages of congratulations and announcements of twin pregnancies.  I think I am the only one who is not excited.

Don’t get me wrong, I think kids are great, but I like it when they come one at a time.  As a parent of three preemies, I could not ever imaging going through all that we did with two babies at a time, it was hard enough with just one.  Then comes the feeding, sleeping and changing diapers.  Then the walking and potty training, getting car seats and sending kids to school.  It is double all the way though.  No thank you.

On a professional note, I don’t like twins.  I will take care of you and your little ones, but some of the most difficult cases and most heartbreaking cases I have ever been involved with were twins.  I can think of all sorts of problems that I could list.  In fact, the first visit that twins have with me, they really don’t like it.  I basically will list all of the major problems that can be anticipated.  I include those that we really don’t like to consider, such as if one twin is compromised and the parents must choose to deliver early for the sake of one twin while increased the risk of harm to the other, or continue on, knowing that one twin may die for the benefit of maturity for the surviving twin.  It does happen, thankfully not often.

I always have a special place in my heart and prayers for the twin moms who lose one baby.  Stranger will meet them and congratulate them on their beautiful baby, never knowing that the other was lost early on.  I watch these moms struggle and adapt to something I would never wish upon anyone.

There are birth stories all across the internet about home twin births, midwife twin births and even unassisted twin births.  These babies are often at term or even post dates.  The mock the physicians who recommended an in hospital delivery, with an induction of labour, maybe a c-section.  However, these women are stupid, and lucky.  They often are protected from all of the complications that could have happened along the way.  There is so much talk about how to deliver twins, but really, that is such a minor part of caring for twins.  I ensure that they grow and mature as long as possible with their mothers, stand by the mothers with complications and deliver all sorts of twins, including the previable and deceased co-twins.  If you are pregnant with twins at 38+ weeks, and they are both healthy – you are lucky, why risk it all at the delivery? There are many twin mothers who would trade places with you happily. 

For the record, most obstetrician aren’t afraid to deliver twins vaginally.  We just get a little nervous because we have all seen healthy twins have complications in labour, let alone those pregnancies that are already complicated prior to delivery.  We like to be prepared, unfortunately some women thinks that means we are mean or bossy and want to rain of their parade.  However, we want a safe delivery for you and your babies.  We are not birth junkies eager to deliver twins.  It doesn’t matter if they have a vaginal delivery of a c-section, we will be there with the moms.

I wish my friends the best of luck, but I definitely don’t envy them. (or their doctors or midwives).


1 thought on “Twins are . . .

  1. Thank you!! I have identical twins. and whenever anyone would say “Oh how cute, I always wanted twins!” I would say “You have no idea.” Then I would launch into my lecture about how risky twin pregnancies are for babies and mom and how I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I’m not a doctor or medical professional in any capacity, but having gone through it first hand, I have some idea.

    My husband and I did IVF…we didn’t want multiples because our RE told us about all of the risks that you mention and fear. We agreed to transfer one embryo because of this…but, as I said, identical twins. We were pretty shocked and not really ecstatic upon receiving that news. But of course, there was nothing to be done but roll with it, so we did.

    Things were fairly uneventful until around 27wks, when threatened pre-term labor happened. My OB sent me to get the steroid shots and put me on home bed rest. That lasted for 3 weeks until real pre-term labor started and into the hospital I went. The first round of PTL got me to 2cm, but stopped. I was put on nifedipine and kept in the hospital. The second round of PTL at 32weeks got me to 4cm, but stopped. After 4weeks (34wk pregnant) things were stable and they sent me home, still on nifedipine. Nothing happened for 2 more weeks, until 36wks, spontaneous labor. It had to augmented with pit, but both babies were head down, so they were born vaginally with vacuum assist for Baby A. They were fine, no NICU, good APGARS, no mec or resus or anything. I hemorrhaged, but hematocrit only got to 26, so no transfusion for me.

    Overall, I believe we were lucky because we all left the hospital more or less in one piece, with all of our brain cells, 3 days after the babies were born. Almost 5yr later, they are doing very well, no special needs. But (thanks to internet groups) I know families whose twins were born a mere two weeks gestation before mine (so 34wkers) who have CP or developmental delays, other families whose twins miscarried at 22wks, another whose girls delivered at 27wk and died. Sure the odds are on your side, but there are no guarantees and the risks are most certainly increased. Don’t even get me started on the homebirth idiots…whenever I see one of those crazies having twins, it bothers me more than the typical ones.

    Raising twins has been challenging, and not easy on the wallet, but they are bright, engaging boys and I can’t imagine life any other way. Of course, most people can’t choose to have twins, they just happen, but they are never something to take lightly.

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