Friday, May 29, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Amanda McDaniel

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

Amanda McDaniel

Where do you currently live?  Katy, TX

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins6 weeks. We had our first ultrasound at 5 weeks 3 days (the only ultrasound my husband was able to attend) and cried happy tears over our ONE sac and heartbeat. Four days later (when my husband was at work) when I saw TWO sacs and heartbeats. I couldn't believe my eyes! And it took photographic evidence before my husband actually believed we were having TWINS!

Any issues during your pregnancy?  
I had several issues during my first pregnancy so my doctor had me on high alert (as in weekly appointments and I had her cell phone number and had to check in via text every few days) as soon as we found out we were expecting again. At 7 weeks I developed a subchorionic hematoma and could not lift anything (including my son) until it went away. I got my cerclage at 12 weeks and started progesterone injections at 16 weeks. At 26 weeks I went to L&D for a sharp pain in my back/side which ended up being fluid around my kidney. It caused contractions to start and our hospital in Katy could not get them to stop so I was sent to downtown Houston via ambulance. Thankfully their OR was booked when I arrived and an hour later when they were ready to deliver me my contractions had slowed enough that they decided against a c-section. I was monitored for several days and sent home on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. At 31 weeks I started showing signs of pre-eclampsia and began daily NST and urine checks. At 32 weeks she admitted me to the hospital and our girls were born at 32 weeks 3 days after I developed HELLP Syndrome, a severe form of pre-eclampsia.

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: Our son, Carter, was only 14 months old when we found out we were expecting twins, so he didn't understand most of what was going on with the pregnancy. In the first trimester I was really sick and saw Carter imitating me throwing up while at a play date. The nursery workers at church also asked me if he was sick recently because he was pretending to throw up in the nursery. So special. Later on when my belly was large and in charge he enjoyed trying to lift up my shirt to show everyone my belly.

Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self?  Be sure you are under the care of the very best doctor in your area and trust your instincts. I knew at 26 weeks that my babies were not coming even though all of the nurses and doctors on call that weekend were prepping me for labor and telling me otherwise. I fought to stay out of the OR and my persistence paid off and I was able to carry our girls 6 more weeks. My doctor and I have a very close relationship and she always listened to me and my concerns and did everything in her power to keep me pregnant as long as possible. She also knew how to talk some sense into me when I was acting a hormonal, irrational mess!

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 32 weeks, 3 days

Baby A's Information:  
Madeline Kate

February 21, 2014
9:46 am
4 lbs 4 oz

16.5 in

Baby B's Information:  Molly Ann

February 21, 2014
9:49 am
3 lbs 10 oz
17 in

Are your twins identical? Fraternal

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery?  C-section. I had a c-section with my son so we planned on another c-section from the beginning of my twin pregnancy. Molly was also breech and so far up in my ribs it took both doctors pulling to get her to come out! Since I was already in the hospital when the HELLP Syndrome hit she was able to get me into an OR as soon as she arrived at the hospital.

Any NICU time?  If yes, for what reason and how long?  Yes, Madeline stayed 35 days and Molly stayed 36 days. Madeline needed assistance breathing a few minutes after delivery and was rushed directly to the NICU to be placed on CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) for several days. Molly was breathing on her own and was able to stay with me in the OR until surgery was complete. Both girls were too little to eat on their own so they started with feeding tubes, then graduated to bottles, and finally to breast. It took 5 weeks of breathing support, phototherapy, apnea intervention, feeding support and lactation support but both girls worked hard and were released without any major medical needs.

Did you have any complications after delivery? Yes. I spiked a high fever on night 3 after my c-section and my heart rate spiked and they called a "rapid response team" to my room to assess me. After a team of doctors, hours of observation, and a small number of tests revealed nothing they concluded it was my milk coming in that caused the fever and not an infection. They did make me stay an extra day and night in the hospital for monitoring and observation before being released. At 3 weeks postpartum I developed another hematoma that severely slowed me down. I was in a horrendous amount of pain on top of my c-section recovery for almost 3 weeks.

How long did you (the parents) stay in the hospital? 6 days, 5 nights

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

1) My own pillow with a colorful pillowcase, otherwise I think they cleaning crew would have confused my pillow with the hospitals pillows. We also brought our own blanket for my husband.
2) I lived in nursing tanks (A Pea in the Pod are my favorite), leggings, a cardigan and slippers the entire time.
3) My husband brought an adaptor for our iPad where we could load our pictures from our camera memory card directly to our iPad. Our family and friends couldn't visit in the NICU, except our parents, so this provided us a way to show our girls' pictures to our guests.

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital:  During my c-section my husband rushed out with Madeline when they took her to the NICU. Molly was stable so they brought her to me and I was able to hold her for the remainder of my surgery (which felt like forever!) Our sweet anesthesiologist took our picture and emailed it to me since Matt (and our camera) was already in the NICU. It is still my favorite picture from the entire weekend.

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be?  Trust yourself. You know your body and your babies better than anyone else ever will. If you feel like something is wrong or needs attention, speak up. And after your babies are born listen to all the advice you are given but only implement what is best for you and your babies. Oh, and find a moms of multiples group to join!

Amanda's Blog: Always & Forever


  1. I'm from Katy Texas! Congrats on your beautiful girls and surviving an eventful pregnancy!

  2. Whooo hooo!!!! Crazy birth story led to the most beautiful healthy girls!! Great job carrying those precious babies Amanda :)


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