Friday, May 1, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Aili Otto

If you'd like to contribute your own twin birth story, CLICK HERE to fill out the questionnaire!

Aili Otto 

Where do you currently live?  The boys were born in Fort Bragg, NC but we moved to Charlottesville, VA when they were six weeks old. Military family!!

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins14 weeks

Any issues during your pregnancy?  
Other than a very heavy belly, I didn't have any complications at all. I attributed that solely to the grace of God (and perhaps some visits to the chiropractor helped too)!

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: Seeing two little heads on the ultrasound, I immediately began laughing and then burst into tears. My eight-year-old son, who was in the toy room/waiting room with his younger sisters and brother, poked his head in and said, "What's going on? Are you having twins or something!" Smart little guy.

Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self?  The moment I found out I was pregnant, I began researching everything I could find on twin pregnancy. I read the good, the bad, and the terrible. I googled every possible complication and began to worry about everything that could possibly go wrong. Though I was well-informed (which is a good thing), I wasted too much time and energy worrying about things that never happened. I would tell myself to relax and enjoy the miracle taking place inside my belly.

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 37 weeks, 2 days

Baby A's Information:  
Lee Edward

May 6th, 2014 
8:37 am
6 lbs 4 oz
20 in

Baby B's Information:  Grant Lawrence

May 6th, 2014
8:47 am 
6 lbs 14 oz
20 in

Are your twins identical? Still unsure!

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery?  I was extremely blessed to have both boys in the head down position starting at about 28 weeks. Considering I had given birth vaginally to my other four children, the doctors and I were hopefully a natural delivery would be very possible. The morning of May 6th, at 1 am, I began to have painful contractions. They were very sporadic, so I didn't think too much of them. However, they would not go away, and I could not sleep through them. Finally, I woke my husband, Tripp at 4 am. My mom had been staying with us since the 1st of May to help with our other children, so I woke her up as well. I was not at all convinced I was in labor, but the contractions were painful enough that I thought we ought to check and see if this was the real thing. 

Once Tripp and I showered, ate some breakfast (I am one who is starving during and after labor, always begging for food), and got packed up, it was about 6:30. We arrived at the hospital, signed in, and got sent to the triage room. Contractions continued to be sporatic but painful, but not progressing to that "unbearable" point that I had reached with my previous four labors. When the night shift doctor arrived, he checked my cervix and said I was an 8 with a bulging bag of water. I was shocked!! I guess the boys were coming for real. 

Needless to say, I was admitted, brought to our room, introduced to my nurse, and met all the other staff who would be there for our birth. We spent about two hours signing paper work, discussing whether or not I needed an epidural, arguing over receiving antibiotics because I was GBS positive, and finally discussing whether or not the doctor would be willing to do a breech extraction should baby b flip breech. So, after what seemed like endless paper work and questioning, I was wheeled back to the OR. I was giving a catheter and a test dose of medication, just in case an epidural was needed during the birth so the doctor could do an internal version to get baby b (if he flipped!). Then Tripp, a few doctors, a midwife, an intern or two, many nurses, ultrasound tech, and a few others joined me in the OR. 

I requested to have a midwife deliver the boys as long as all progressed naturally. The midwife broke my water and after just one long push, Lee was born. He was immediately placed on my chest and I held him until the next contraction. I was truly amazed that he arrived in just one push (I had pushed for 2.5 hours when my first son was born). Lee was then handed off to my husband for more skin to skin contact and was examined by the NICU nurse while still bonding with his daddy. Meanwhile, I continued to push through four more contractions until Grant arrived 10 minutes later, in the posterior position. Praise the Lord he stayed head down! He too was placed on my chest and examined by the nurse while I just stared at him. I was in total awe and complete amazement that I had just given birth to two perfectly healthy, beautiful boys. All my worries and concerns about the pregnancy and labor were in vain. 

I know my story represents a rather ideal picture of twin pregnancy and birth. I am sure it is the exception, but I want expectant twin mamas out there to know that just because so many things can go wrong and so often do, sometimes it all goes really well too!!

Any NICU time?  If yes, for what reason and how long?  No, another huge blessing and answer to our prayers and the prayers of many others on our behalf. I think everyone I had ever met was praying for us during our pregnancy and birth.

Did you have any complications after delivery? No, just the aches and pain of a vaginal delivery. My lower abdomen was a lot more tender and sore than it had been after delivering a singleton.

How long did you (the parents) stay in the hospital? Just one night. About 36 hours total.

Did your twins stay with you or in the hospital nursery at night? The boys stayed with me the whole time.

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital? 

1. My slippers, great for walking around the room and hospital halls.
2. Cozy pajamas, I always buy a new pair of loose fitting pajamas each time I am having a baby.
3. Snacks - hospital food is not the best and if you are planning on breast feeding, you will be hungry!

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital:  Holding both boys together for the first time as we were all wheeled out of the OR.

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be?  See the lactation consultant as soon as you can. I had successfully nursed four children, all for over a year, so I didn't put too much thought into the difficulty of nursing twins. After a week of the boys continuing to lose weight and lots of pressure from the pediatrician to start supplementing, it finally occurred to me that I ought to see the lactation consultant. She was amazing, encouraging, and full of great advice and tips. After lots and lots of tears, and 10 days of nursing, then pumping, and then syringe feeding the pumped breast milk, the boys began to gain weight. They never had to have any formula and I was able to exclusively breastfeed them, without pumping, by the end of week three. Nursing twins takes some serious work and commitment, but with patience and some helpful tips and practical advice, it can be done.

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