Giving birth can be easy peasy, or it can be EXTREMELY complicated. You'll hear birth stories galore that go either way. When I had my first child, it was the easiest, best birthing experience I could have ever hoped for. Because her birth was so simple, I figured the twins would be pretty easy, just two births at once. However, that experience goes up there with some of the worst birth stories I have heard. Do you know how many times I have thought, "What if?" What if I had the doctor deliver Baby B breech instead of flipping her, what if I had researched doctors who do the best C-sections, etc.
However, I was so stubborn; I knew how their birth would go, and it was going to be easy, end of discussion. I had done hypnobirthing with my first daughter, and I was keeping a positive attitude and only allowing good thoughts, so that the twins' birth would be just as grand. Because of this, I didn't research all of the things that could happen when giving birth to twins. I definitely didn't expect anything else to happen except two vaginal births, as early, and as easy, as my first.
Was I dead wrong, or what? So learn from my mistakes, educate yourself on what happens with twin births, and have a better plan than I did. These obviously will not cover ALL the things that could happen, but will at least give you a bit to think about! Also note that my twin pregnancy was with fraternal twins that had different sacs and different placentas.
Two head-down babiesWhen both twins are head down, your chances of having a pretty easy birth (assuming you don't have any other complications) are pretty high. You should be able to deliver the first baby vaginally, and move onto the second baby, who should also come out just fine.
One head-down baby; one breech baby
Both of my twins were head-down until the end. A few weeks before giving birth, Baby B decided she wanted to flip over and was now breech. When speaking with my doctor about this, she said the easiest thing to do would be to flip the breech baby if she didn't flip on her own. Apparently, it is very common for the second baby to go ahead and flip anyway because they end up getting all of this room all of a sudden. She said she could also deliver her breech, but it was quite painful, and breech deliveries also come with other risks.
Because I decided I would NOT be getting an epidural, I wanted the least amount of pain inflicted on my body. Therefore, I agreed with my doctor that flipping Baby B was the best choice.
Since then, I have heard from several twin moms that they ended up with a C-section after flipping Baby B. My one friend has had two sets of twins, one at a hospital in Kirkland, WA, and one in Seattle, WA. The Seattle hospital WILL NOT flip babies, because the birth will end in surgery. I don't know how often, but I have now heard this quite a bit, and am not sure why there isn't more research or information informing all doctors of this. I expect my doctor to know all, and it's important to remember that they may not.
SO...talk to your doctor about the risks of flipping the baby. Is it worth it to you? Does your doctor assure you it will be fine? Do you need a second opinion?
C-sectionMost twin mamas can elect to have a C-section, under the direction of their doctor, instead of worrying about "double jeopardy": having a vaginal delivery for Baby A, and a C-section on Baby B. BUT, you may end up with a C-section even if you didn't want one. Research about C-sections. Find a doctor who WILL NOT give you a "C-section shelf" and is very aware of what one is, and knows how to avoid it. I would say with twins, having a doctor who is the best C-section doctor out there is more important than anything else, because there is a VERY high chance you could have a C-section. There is such a high chance of this, that instead of delivering you in a labor and delivery room, they will take you straight to the OR for delivery (depending on your hospital).
Have you heard that most twins come early? Well, I did...over and over and over again. My first daughter came three weeks early, ON HER OWN, so I just figured the twins would follow suit; they were twins after all. So you can imagine my astonishment when I arrived at my 38-week check-up still VERY pregnant.
My doctor told me I would need to be induced because fetal demise goes way up with twins after this point. Yes, my doctor did just tell me the chances of me losing my babies were high if I didn't get induced that week. I wish I would have done a lot more research on this statement, or gotten a second opinion. I didn't want an induction more than anything in the world (well, actually, I didn't want a C-section more than anything in the world). I personally believe that making your baby come out earlier than wanted causes way more problems. I just wanted my body to go into labor on its own. Plus, I heard Pitocin is the devil. It is, if you were wondering. Coming from a mom who had a completely unmedicated labor to an induced labor, I'm here to tell you contractions on Pitocin are WAY worse than regular contractions.
Research inductions. Talk to your doctor about it. Do you have to have your water broken at the beginning or can you start some Pitocin and see what happens? Can you start the Pitocin out slow, and then gradually turn it up? Can you start it slow, and never turn it up?
So pregnant twin mamas, make sure to ask all of the questions, know all of the possibilities, and have a PLAN for what you want to see happen in EVERY instance. I knew I wanted to have my babies both vaginally so I didn't spend any time researching the rest of the options. I did end up with an epidural because the contractions were SO bad. Because I did, I wish I would have asked my doctor to deliver Baby B breech (I wouldn't have felt any pain with that option), so that maybe I could have avoided the C-section.