Friday, October 30, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Tiffany Kolba

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Tiffany Kolba

Where do you currently live? Valparaiso, IN

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins21 weeks! (I had always assumed that someone pregnant with twins would find out earlier in the pregnancy, but our OB didn’t do a first trimester ultrasound unless there was a medical reason and at each appointment when they used the Doppler to listed to the heartbeat, they stopped as soon as they found the heartbeat and never searched to see if there was a second one!)

Any issues during your pregnancy? Thankfully I had a very smooth pregnancy with only a few minor complications. My blood test at 8 weeks indicated that I was anemic, so I started taking an iron supplement once a day in addition to my prenatal vitamin. But then my 28 week blood test indicated that I was so severely anemic that my OB said I was almost at the level of needing a blood transfusion! Luckily that wound up being unnecessary and my iron supplements were simply increased to twice a day. During the third trimester, I experienced numbness on a large section of the surface of my belly due to severe stretching of the skin, as well as edema on the lower part of my belly. I continued working up until 36 weeks, but then started my maternity leave early so that I could rest from home. Around that time, I developed my most irritating complication: SEVERE itching. It started on the palms of my hands and my feet, but spread over my entire body. I was scratching for HOURS each day and my daughter kept telling me “Mommy, no scratch!” The OB ran a liver function test and it came back normal, so she attributed the itching to extra hormones from being pregnant with twins. Thankfully the itching went away immediately after delivery.

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: I am a college math professor and when I was only 7 weeks pregnant, I fainted in the middle of class in front of all my students! Luckily I could tell I was about to faint and sat down in a chair before I passed out. When I came to, all the students were gone and my department chair was holding my right arm and the dean of engineering was holding my left arm! The students had called 911 and the paramedics were on their way, so I wound up having to tell my department chair and the dean of engineering that I was pregnant so that they wouldn’t make me take the ambulance to the hospital. I hadn’t even told my parents yet that I was pregnant!

Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self? Try not to worry! I spent so much time worrying about what if the twins came early and had to go to the NICU, but then I wound up making it all the way to 39 weeks. Feeling two precious babies moving inside you is an incredible gift and I wish I could tell my pregnant self to just relax and enjoy the experience.

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 39 weeks!

Baby A's Information:  Zakary Andrew

May 6, 2014
6:43 am
7 lbs, 7 oz
20 inches

Baby B's Information: 
Rosalie Sophia

May 6, 2014
6:44 am
7 lbs, 9 oz
20.5 inches

Are your twins identical? No (It’s amazing how many people ask me that question even after finding out that one is a boy and one is a girl!)

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery? Up until my 38 week appointment I had been planning on a vaginal birth, but then opted at that time to schedule a c-section for the following week. Ever since the first ultrasound, Baby B was breeched and I was told that since Baby A was head down, I could still do a vaginal birth and that they would flip B once A was born. The office I went to actually had 4 OB’s that we would rotate between, so I asked each OB independently what the probability was of successfully flipping Baby B. The first OB said 97% chance, the second OB said 90% chance, and the last two simply said “more often than not.” So who knows what the actual percentage is! My 38 week appointment was back with the first OB who was the most optimistic about flipping Baby B, but at that appointment she informed me of a twin case she had the week before where the first twin had a smooth vaginal delivery, but she was having a difficult time flipping the second twin and then the second twin developed an umbilical cord prolapse and she had to do an emergency c-section since the baby’s oxygen supply was cut off. The OB also told me that my cervix showed no signs of going into labor anytime soon (this was my second pregnancy and my OB commented that since my first went past 40 weeks and was 9 lbs, 4 oz that my body was well prepared for carrying twins!). Hence, they would likely need to induce me at 39 weeks (the OB’s policy was not to let twin pregnancies go past 39 weeks), which in turn increases the probability of needing a c-section anyways. The OB told me it was completely my decision if I wanted to try a vaginal birth or just schedule a c-section. I really appreciated that she presented the pros and cons of both approaches and then let me make the decision. I really didn’t want to have to go through a recovery of both types of deliveries and I did not want to put the twins, especially Baby B, at extra risk, so I opted for the scheduled c-section and was very happy with the decision.

Any NICU time?  If yes, for what reason and how long? No
Did you have any complications after delivery? The only minor complication I had was bladder spasms after the catheter was removed 24 hours after surgery. The pain was some of the most intense pain I have ever experienced and was definitely much more severe than the pain from the c-section incision. A full bladder exacerbated the pain, so I had to force myself to go to the bathroom every hour even though it was still very difficult to get up and down at that point (note: with all the IV fluids, my bladder really was full again after only an hour!). Luckily the bladder spasms stopped after the second day. By the time I left the hospital I was only taking ibuprofen and even that I stopped a few days later.

How long did you stay in the hospital? 3 nights/4 days

Did your twins stay with you or the hospital nursery at night? The twins stayed in the nursery at night and were brought to my room to nurse every 3 hours. When my older daughter was born, she never left our side even once, but with the twins it was nice to get some rest at night. If they were in our room, I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t stop staring at them to make sure they were still breathing!

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

1) My own nightgown. The hospital nightgowns had two holes in them to aid with nursing, but they were very awkward to nurse through and just left me very exposed! My own nightgown was super comfy, didn’t put any pressure on my incision, and had a v-shaped neck that easily facilitated nursing.
2) My own robe.
3) I *wish* I had brought regular pads. The hospital pads are HUGE and by the day I went home they were unnecessarily bulky.

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: Seeing Zak and Rosalie for the first time and hearing that I had 15 total pounds of babies!

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? Remember that each twin is an individual! I knew ahead of time that mine were fraternal twins and that one was a boy and one was a girl, but I was still surprised by how different they looked. Even if your twins are identical, they each often develop at their own pace. For example, my son was much quicker to smile and laugh, but my daughter was much quicker to gain head control and roll over. Try not to compare them too much or worry that one is slightly behind the other developmentally (I am still working on this one!); more than likely the other twin will catch up soon. It can also be easy to feel guilty about holding one twin longer than the other, but sometimes one baby is fussier than the other and needs more attention. Not everything has to be completely equal! I’m also very glad that prior to my twins’ arrival I had read a twin mom’s blog post about her twins being completely oblivious of one another. It is so true with my twins! I try laying them down next to each other, but they have no clue that the other one even exists! I had always thought that twins would want to snuggle with each other, but I am convinced that that is actually the minority case. Around 3 months, my twins started occasionally smiling at each other, which is just precious, and I am looking forward to them growing a closer bond as they continue to develop. Just don’t be surprised if at first your twins are oblivious of one another as well!

1 comment:

  1. I am astounded at the 15#!!! And you're such a tiny person too!! Congrats!