2 Sets of Twins, 16.5 Months Apart {IVF and VBAC}

by Krystal Cleaver on June 11, 2013

Thank you to the mother who shares both her birth stories of her FOUR children.

{Part 1}

My husband and I knew we would need help conceiving.  He had low sperm count, and I, well just didn’t ovulate.  We met with a fertility doctor and I had the impression that we would be pregnant within a month or two and we would be on our way to parenthood.  Boy was I wrong!  We tried 3 IUIs (intrauterine inseminations) which all failed before moving on to IVF (in vitro fertilization.)  The transfer for our first IVF cycle was cancelled because I hyper stimulated and it just was not safe to do the transfer.  We froze our embryos, did two more transfers which both ended up in miscarriage.  The thought of doing another cycle almost seemed unbearable- the injections, pills, patches, appointments and possible disappointment.  I wanted to be a mom so badly and there was no other way it was going to happen so we gave it one more shot- and it worked!  It REALLY worked! We were expecting twins!  The following story shares the details of our baby girls’ birth via c-section.

I knew that I had a c-section scheduled for Thursday, October 6th at 7:30am, so I spent all day Wednesday getting ready for the big day.  My mom and sister flew in from Minnesota so I picked them up at the airport and we ran errands for a couple hours afterwards.  I had so many things to do once we got home from running the errands.  I probably washed 5 loads of clothes, made homemade chicken noodle soup for after the birth, cooked dinner, etc.  

After the chores were all done everyone went to sleep at about 11:30pm.

I wasn’t really very tired so I decided to catch up on CSI which I had recorded on the DVR.  It was about midnight and I wasn’t really sleeping, but rather in that half-awake/half asleep mode when I felt some pressure “down below.”  It was a very strange feeling and all of the sudden my water broke!  It was a HUGE gush that I was totally not expecting.  I got up off of the couch and started walking towards the bedroom saying, “Honey! I think my water just broke!”  (Meanwhile leaking everywhere.)  Brian was half asleep but I am pretty sure that I shocked him awake.  We were both in a slight panic and called the hospital right away.  They said to come on in! We asked if it would be alright if I took a shower first and they said that was fine.  I didn’t know when I would be able to shower again and didn’t want to feel like yucky amniotic fluid!

My mom and sister woke up as well and helped us get the last few things put into my bag and get the bags in the car.  We drove straight to the hospital and it was one of the longest 15 minute car rides ever!  Brian dropped me off at the door to the ER and parked the car.  I went inside and told the lady that I was in labor.  She was not the speediest of people and I found it odd that she took her sweet time to get me all checked in.  

Anyways, someone came down from Labor & Delivery with a wheelchair and took Brian and I up to the birthing unit.  I was immediately hooked up to the heart rate monitors for the babies to make sure that they were not in distress (which they weren’t.)  I informed the nurses that there was meconium (baby poop) from one of the babies in my amniotic fluid.  From what I know, its not a huge deal but they don’t want the babies to inhale it when they are born.  We had hoped to wait until morning to do the c-section with our regular OB but since there was meconium they just couldn’t wait!  

Before I knew it, I was being stuck for an IV.  I have horrible veins the only place to get an IV in is in my hand.  No one ever believes me and tries somewhere else first and ends up going on my hand anyways.  I wish they would just listen the first time and save us all some pain!  

After the IV was started we signed some paperwork for the anesthesia and talked to the anesthesiologist.  When we were done with that, off we went to the operating room!

Brian had to dress in scrubs and wait outside until the spinal epidural was completed.  I went into the OR alone and must say that the spinal was the scariest thing ever!  The anesthesiologist would not stop talking and kept saying how he couldn’t get the needle in right or something.  He numbed my back first with a local (which wasn’t really working) and after what felt like forever got the spinal in the right place.  My legs went heavy right away and I was totally numb after about 10 minutes.  I did NOT like the feeling at all.  Very strange.  They let Brian in and I was so relieved to see him. They got to work quickly and before I knew it I was cut open!  I remember asking Brian if they had started yet and he laughed because I was already cut open.  

C

harlotte came out first at 2:44am. She was 6lbs 3oz.  I heard her cry and it was the sweetest sound I had ever heard.  The nurse took her to the station they had set up and scored her on the APGAR test to see how she was doing.  She scored a 7 after 1 minute and a 9 after 5 minutes.  Evelyn was born just after Charlotte at 2:46am. Evelyn weighed 7lbs 0oz.  I remember it taking her longer to cry than I had expected.  It felt like I waited and waited and waited to hear her cry. Her APGAR scores were 9 after 1 minute and 9 after 5 minutes.  I was so full of emotion that I almost didn’t know what to feel.  The medicine made me feel very strange and the whole experience was pretty surreal.  I was able to see Charlotte right away but didn’t see Evelyn for about 10 minutes after she was born.  They told me that they held her up but I didn’t see her I guess.  After Brian cut the cords they let us hold the babies for a few minutes before taking them.

We each got an arm band for each of the babies before they left the room and Brian made sure to snap a lot of pictures as well.  The staff in the room was also nice enough to take pictures of us holding the babies and they even took a video of the birth for us!

Before going to the hospital, we had agreed that Brian would stay with the babies after they were born.  He left the OR and they finished stitching me up and took me to recovery.  I was in recovery all by myself and it was such a strange feeling.  Brian eventually came in to recovery with me while the babies were in the nursery.  

Once the feeling had started coming back into my legs they took me to the postpartum unit where I could see and hold my babies.  I breastfed them right away and just stared at them in awe. I was so in love with them the moment I saw their beautiful faces.  Its hard to imagine loving someone so much that I had never met before, but it was love at first sight!  I had been waiting so long for this day to come and it was all I had imagined it to be.

Twin C-section, IVF

{Part 2…or 4}

When my girls were about 6 months old we decided to try for “one more” since we had so much trouble conceiving the first time.  On our first frozen transfer we were so happy to be expecting twins again!  We were thrilled, and terrified all at the same time.  Two sets of twins? Sixteen and a half months apart? How would we do it? I was happy our girls were born safely via c-section, but wanted to experience a vaginal delivery.  The next part is about how how our miracle twin boys were born via VBAC.

The induction was all set for Thursday, February 21st at 8 a.m.  The doctor said that it could take days, but I was really just anticipating going in, getting hooked up to some Pitocin and having some babies!

We woke up to about 6 inches of snow so we decided to leave the house early.  It was very slow going, but we stopped for coffee anyways because I knew I couldn’t have anything to eat once we started the induction.  We made it to the hospital about 10 minutes late, checked in at the ER and went up to the labor and delivery floor.  Once we got there, I was hooked up to the IV, started on some fluids, and then waited a little while for the doctor to come in and check my cervix to decide how much Pitocin to get started.  My cervix had been closed on Monday and oddly enough, I was dilated to 2-3 and about 70% effaced!  I was elated to hear that, because I knew if I was still closed my chances of the vaginal delivery were low.

The nurse hooked up the babies to the monitors, but they had trouble staying on.  She would get them on while I was sitting on my left side but as soon as I moved my hips, baby A (Elliott) would fall off the monitor.  We battled this scenario for a while and finally the nurse came in and said, “If we can’t monitor the babies, then we can’t use the Pitocin.”  Crap.

A few minutes later the nurse came back and said that I should get my epidural so that I would be more comfortable and then the doctor would break my bag of water.  Once the water was broken, they could use the internal probe to monitor Elliott’s heart rate instead of the external one that just wasn’t working out.

I was terrified of getting the epidural.  All I could think about was the spinal block that I got for my c-section when I had the girls and how awful it was.  The anesthesiologist was yelling at me and just wasn’t very friendly.

A very youngish blonde woman came in and told me she would be doing my epidural.  She was kind and very patient while I asked her a million questions about what it would feel like and what I should expect to feel, etc. once the epidural was placed.  It was absolutely great and nothing like my experience before.  Once it was placed, my lower body got heavy, but not really numb per se.  I could still shift around and move, thank goodness!  It was way better than I expected and I could sit comfortably now.

The doctor came in soon after and broke Elliott’s bag of water.  I couldn’t believe how much it gushed!  The nurse and the doc made comments as well about how much water was in there and it was only from one of the babies!

The contractions started getting a little bit stronger and closer together after the water broke.  I could see the peaks on the monitors, but really only felt pressure at this point.  I was getting excited thinking about how soon it could be that my babies would be born!  It was now about 5 p.m. and the nurse came to check me again.  I was about 7cm dilated… Hooray, I thought!  Things were moving in the right direction.  I was petrified that labor would stall out and I would end up with a c-section anyways.

Meanwhile all of this was going on, Brian and I were just hanging out, taking cat naps, and updating our Facebook.  Our friends and family knew we were going in for the induction and were checking in frequently because they were so excited for us!

Day turned into evening and I wondered if we would ever have these boys… The nurses changed shifts and so we had a new nurse for the rest of the labor.  The nurse we had all day really wanted to know the boys’ names, but we didn’t tell her.  She said she would check back the next day.

After the shift change, the nurse seemed to be more aggressive and kept pumping up the Pitocin.  The contractions got stronger and stronger and pretty soon I just about couldn’t take it anymore!  The anesthesiologist checked in at one point and ended up giving me a boost in the epidural catheter because I was really feeling the pain from the contractions and they just weren’t letting up.  My legs really went numb after that and I started having panic attacks because I couldn’t move my legs at all.  It was the worst feeling ever!  Exactly what I didn’t like about the spinal epidural from the c-section.

The fun really began around 10pm.  The contractions kept getting stronger and stronger and the pain was almost unbearable.  The really fun part about Pitocin is that it creates strong contractions that just don’t let up!  With natural labor, there is down time between the contractions but not with the Pitocin!  They were about 2-3 minutes apart for what felt like an eternity.  I pretty much turned into a crazy person at this point.  I yelled, screamed, swore, and said many crazy things because I didn’t know what else to do.  I told Brian I wanted to go home and that we should leave. I texted my mom. I wrote some crazy Facebook posts in my group of fellow twin mamas, played words with friends…. I just wanted to keep my mind off of the horrendous pain but it just wasn’t working.

About 12:30 one of the machines started beeping.  It was my epidural monitor and it was out of meds.  I called the nurse in to see what it was and she told me the “great” news.  She went to go find the anesthesiologist and she was in a freaking c-section! What!  My meds were empty, I felt like I was about to die, and there was nothing we could do about it until she got out!

Somewhere around this point, the nurse checked me again and I was 9 ¾ she said.  Great! Time to push? Not yet.  All night long I kept telling the nurse (in a frenetic voice) that I didn’t know how to push and that I was scared and couldn’t do it.  She must have thought I was a nut.  She kept telling me that it was the easiest part of the labor and I thought SHE was the nut.  Anyways, we waited for the doc and the anesthesiologist to get out of surgery to see what the plan was.  I was tired, in pain, and didn’t really know how much more I could take.  I’m pretty sure I told them 1000x that I didn’t know why I had chosen to have a vaginal birth and that maybe I should just have a c-section.  The nurse and doctor had to convince me multiple times that this was what I wanted and that I shouldn’t quit now because I had already been through so much.

At 1:25am, it was finally time to push.  I was so exhausted and had no idea how I was going to get these babies out.  I had wasted all of my energy screaming at Brian for the previous 3 hours.  He was a champ though.  He just kept saying, “You’re doing great! Keep breathing!” I told him that I was freaking breathing and that he needed to say something else.  So glad he stayed calm for the both of us….

When the pushing started I think the doc was worried that I wouldn’t have enough energy to push them out.  My pushes were horrible and weak.  The nurse said that the pushing could take hours…. HOURS? Seriously?  I had no idea how I was going to do it.

The plan was to push baby Elliott way down and when he was getting close, we would go to the operating room to deliver them.  I pushed for about two hours in the regular birthing room.  It was just me, Brian, the nurse, and the doctor in there.  It was much more casual than I had imagined.  Brian had some music playing on his phone and we were all having regular conversations between the contractions.  They wouldn’t let me drink any water and Brian was in charge of giving me the ice chips because I had the worst dry mouth I’ve ever had before!  We watched the contraction monitors and the babies’ heart rates while I was pushing.  Elliott’s took a huge dip with every push but always came back up.  I was worried when I saw this, but the doc wasn’t so I assumed everything was okay.

At about 3:15 it was time to go to the operating room.  They wheeled me down there in the labor bed and transferred me to the operating table. I was expecting there to be a crowd in there, but there were just a couple of extra nurses.

This was it!  I knew it would be happening soon and that the pain would end shortly.  The epidural was great before, but wasn’t doing a thing at this point.  With every push I felt Elliott getting closer and closer to coming out.  There was a new nurse in the room yelling at me to push longer and harder.  At one point, the doctor said that he was giving me 15 minutes to push the baby out on my own before he was going to use the vacuum to help me out.  The contractions slowed down at this point which was really frustrating.  I had to wait and wait for them so that I could push!

I pushed and pushed and they could finally see Elliott’s head!  The nurse said, “Reach down and feel your baby’s head.” So I did! Holy crap! This was really happening!  I swear it felt like he was crowing for an eternity.  Before the final push, the nurse said, “When you push him out, you will finally have relief!”  Well, okay then! Let’s do this! I think the scream I let out when I finally pushed Elliott out could have woken the dead!  I felt his ginormous head pass through my body and the rest of him just slide right out.  It was the most amazing and surreal thing I have ever felt before.  Like I said before…. I had an epidural, but I pushed Elliott out all on my own.  There was no relief from that pain.  He cried shortly after he came out and he was absolutely perfect.

“I have to do this again?”  I had no idea how I was going to have the strength to push Oliver out.  The doctor told me that after Elliott came out, another doctor was going to help hold Oliver (from the outside) to make sure he didn’t do a little flip now that his brother was out and he didn’t have to share space anymore.  The doc then asked me if I wanted to push him down or let the contractions do the work.  I told him I wanted to let the contractions do the work because I was too tired.

He asked me if I wanted help getting him out and I don’t think I could have said, “YES” faster.  I just wanted him out healthy and safe…. And fast.  I pushed for about three contractions and with the help of the vacuum out came Oliver 13 minutes after his brother.  It didn’t hurt nearly as much because his big brother had already cleared the way for him.

I was filled with a sense of relief when the boys were finally out.  I was out of breath, sweaty, exhausted, and just so happy that they were out safe and sound.

Both of my boys were healthy and perfect in every way.  They let Brian cut the cord, cleaned them off, and I eventually got to hold them.  I was so in love with my little boys the moment I saw them.  Becoming a mom for the 3rd and 4th time was just as joyful as it was the 1st and 2nd time.

They helped me deliver the placenta and for some crazy reason I asked to see it.  The doctor showed it to me and explained that the placentas were fused together.

After the placenta was delivered I thought we were done and that we were going to get cleaned up and get the heck out of dodge.  Nope.  I was bleeding.  Crap.  Did my uterus rupture? Was I going to have to get an emergency hysterectomy? What the hell was going on??

The anesthesiologist gave me more pain meds in my epidural catheter and I was instantly out.  I was so tired that I just couldn’t stay awake anymore.  At the time I didn’t really know what was happening and Brian had to tell me about it later.  I recall waking up periodically, but that’s about it.

The doctor gave me cytotec (I think to get anything left in there out) and also had to investigate the bleeding.  I was told that it was “standard procedure” to manually check a previous C-section incision if a patient is bleeding after a VBAC.  The scar was intact (thank goodness) and the bleeding slowed down.  Brian said it was pretty scary and that everyone in that operating room was covered in my blood and bodily fluids.  The doctor later told me also that I kept waking up asking, “Are we done yet??”

After the bleeding stopped, the doctor sewed me up and I was taken back to the room where Brian and the boys would meet me.  I was shaking like crazy as the epidural wore off.

Twin VBAC, IVF

I’m sure there are many more details that I have forgotten, but I must say that it was one of the most empowering experiences of my life.  I have found out that there aren’t a lot of doctors that are comfortable with a VBAC with a singleton, let alone with twins.  I am so grateful to my doctor and his confidence that everything would be fine (and that if it wasn’t we would do a C-section) and that he had agreed to let me try the VBAC.

2 sets of twins, IVF

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