What should you expect from a twin birth and how will it be different to giving birth to one baby.  Here, NowBaby member Sharley shares her birth experience with us….

At 37 weeks + 4 the day had finally arrived, I was so excited I could not wait to meet my twins. First we had to do the school run for older two children and ensure our families had everything they needed to look after them for a few days just to be prepared! It was like a military operation, we had them going to 3 different houses over 4 days (hoping we wouldn’t be that long in hospital but just in case).

The time had come, or so I thought!

We finally arrived at the hospital and we were told we may not be induced, somehow they had two pregnant women expecting twins booked in at the same time to be induced and due to the high number of staff required and the high risk for a twin birth, they didn’t want to induce us both. The Dr in charge went off to review both of our files to see who should be induced first, I really wanted it to be us I felt like we had waited an eternity to see our healthy babies and the longer we waited the more chance we had of something else happening or going wrong. The Dr came back and said there wasn’t really anything between us, but had decided to induce the other lady first and I should go home and come back tomorrow to see if they could induce me then. I nearly cried, I had been in a similar situation going back and forth with my first born and spent two weeks not knowing if I was staying or going to hospital or if they would be inducing, I couldn’t go through that again especially not with two children at home with such complex childcare arrangements not to mention school holidays about to be begin.

I think the midwife on duty saw my face and all the emotion I was trying to hold in and they spoke to my consultant and all agreed I should go home to see my son’s first nativity play and then come back in the evening, they would induce me the first chance they got, even if it was middle of the night. I was so pleased I had the best of both, so off we went watch my son’s nativity (in which he was a wise man but failed at delivering his line, he was adorable and I am so glad we have that memory).

At 5pm I was re-admitted in to hospital.  Why I was so desperate to be admitted and be induced I don’t know, it was the worst night’s sleep I could have possibly had, and that is saying something considering I was 9 months pregnant with twins and had already survived two new born babies’ form of torture (sleep deprivation, crying, constant night feeding and so on). First thing in the morning they came and told me they would be inducing me just after breakfast.

Labour begins…

This was the second time I would be induced to bring on labour, the first with my eldest child and now with the twins. Each time things happened quickly and extremely intense. Once I was induced I knew it wouldn’t be too long, even though I was warned it might not kick start anything and I would need to be induced again. Within a few hours I was having non-stop contractions, I was asking for an epidural just to slow things down and to give me a much needed break. However, my midwife team (yes my team, I had 3, twins really do attract a lot of staf!) kept putting me off and suggested removing the pessary. This would slow the induction and provide what i needed, a chance to breathe without contracting.

As soon as the pessary was removed I had this urge to push, I remembered the feeling from previous births and I knew what was about to happen. I told the midwife I felt the urge to push and that I wasn’t going to, she asked if I could get on the bed so I could be examined and she was just going to pop out and get the Dr.  At that point I had another contraction and really wanted to push, so much so that the midwife (Holly) never got the chance to leave. She had to page the Dr and the rest of the team required to bring my babies in to this world. Within moments my third contraction was coming and it was strong, along with my third contraction also came 10 perfect strangers in various scrubs. I was later informed I had 3 midwives, 4 Doctors, 2 consultants and a Pediatrician. My partner was pushed and squeezed in to the corner and the chaos began. Each contraction I had after that I was pushing and delivering my babies. My baby boy was born at 3.18pm and my baby girl just 9 minutes later. I was exhausted but I wasn’t done yet. I had lost a lot of blood and so was pumped full of drugs and my stomach was kneaded like bread dough, that felt more painful than the labour itself (well I was exhausted and just wanted to cuddle my newborns)! I was lucky, I listened and had learnt from my previous births when to push and when not to so I didn’t tear, and so didn’t need stitches. I never did get my epidural but as I said I was lucky my labours (in all four children’s births) were quick. I was hooked up to an IV drip and a catheter because of the drugs being given to me after I had given birth.

My twins were born at 37 weeks and 4 days on 15th December, just four days after my daughter’s 6th birthday and 10 days before Christmas. Our twin boy weighed a whopping 7lbs 6 oz and our twin girl weighed a considerable 6lbs 9oz -these are good healthy weights for twins, now I know why my bump was so big and so heavy, I look back now and am not sure how I managed to move around!

24 hours later and I was free to go home and for our life as a family of six to begin.

Sharley's Twins

My final pregnancy was over and whilst it was a rollercoaster (aren’t all pregnancies one way or another?!) I am a little sad that I wont experience life growing inside me again – it is a miracle and a blessing to experience, it is also hard work and draining but nothing compared to what comes after!

The amazing healthcare professionals we met along the way were all incredible, but in particular during my pregnancy Cynthia – she kept an eye on me and ensured all my appointments were with her. She called me after consultant appointments to make sure I was ok. She pushed for our referral to the children’s hospital for our foetal heart scan. She was amazing and I will be forever grateful. Holly was the midwife that saw me through my labour, she stayed after I had given birth to make sure I was ok and settled, she kept me calm and explained everything to me during and then again after so as to make sure I knew exactly what had happened and why. These two ladies were just two of the amazing team of people within the NHS.

You can also read about Sharley’s pregnancy here.