Birthing Identical Twins In A Pandemic | Birth Story & Postpartum

 By Evette Younan

Finding out I was having identical twins

I was on my way to the tech lab to have my twelve week ultrasound and to see my baby for the first time since getting a positive reading on a pregnancy test. I couldn’t wait to see that little heart beat and the little babe that was growing in my womb. My baby was only the size of an orange at the time but my love for this baby was much more immense.

After waiting for a little while in the waiting room, my name was called and it was finally my turn to go in. I met my ultrasound tech and he had me lay down on the chair and started to move the ultrasound Doppler around my belly.

He was quiet for some time and it made me wonder if something was wrong. I asked him if everything was okay and he took a few seconds to respond. He asked me if twins ran in my family and I looked at him and told him that twins did in fact run in the family. “But there’s only one baby in there, right?”, I asked. He responded with, “Well, I see two.” Wait, what?! Twins?! I was dumbfounded.

Twins did run in my family but never did I think it would happen to me. He kept asking me if I was okay; I kept muttering things the whole time under my breath like, “what the heck? Me? Twins? No way. Is this for real? 

Having unexpected Twins during pandemic

I left in complete shock but I was also excited to go home and tell my husband. I knew he’d be over the moon as he joked about having twins. I was thinking of clever ways to let him know in the car on the way home.

Days later, I got a call from my mid wife to congratulate me and to also let me know that although fraternal twins did run in my family, I was having identical twins. Yet again, I was in shock as the odds of having identical twins are 4 in 1000. How crazy was it that it happened to me?!

Having An Emergency C-section

My pregnancy, as predicted, was hard. Being pregnant near the end of pregnancy with one baby is hard enough so having twins in there was quite the challenge. Having identical twins also meant that the babies had to share a placenta and because of that, complications could arise. And since it was considered a high risk pregnancy, I had regular appointments and regular ultrasounds to check on the little babes.

I went in for my 36 week ultrasound and at this point I had a c section scheduled at 38 weeks. Upon completing the ultrasound, the tech had put me in a waiting room and told me that an OB would come in and speak with me. I started to panic.

My mind started to race because at this point I had several ultrasounds and they usually ended with the tech giving me ultrasound pictures and then me being on my merry way. What could possibly be wrong? I could feel the twins moving so I knew they were both okay. Was it a placenta issue? I tried not to worry and told myself to just wait and see what the doctor had to say.

After waiting in the room for what seemed to be forever, I was greeted with an OB and four nurses. They all looked at me with pity in their eyes and the OB then said, “I’m sorry but we need to have the twins now”. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. “Wait, like today?” I asked. “Now as in now now”, one of them said.

“You can’t go home and we’re prepping the O.R right now. Baby A (which was Sophia) is in distress and hasn’t grown much in two weeks”. I quickly called my husband and my mom to let them know that within an hour, the twins would be making their grand entrance.

My Birth story

The nurses drew blood, ran some tests and asked a copious amount of questions. Soon after, I was rolled into the O.R where they administered the epidural and I laid there alone since my husband and mom couldn’t make it in time. Within 40 minutes, both babies were out. My mid wife stood beside me as Sophia entered the world but instead of them showing her to me over the blue curtain, they took her right away and placed her on a breathing machine.

Didn’t know what to feel in that moment. I didn’t even ask if she was okay because I was still in shock that less than an hour ago, I was just at a routine ultrasound. I starred at the nurses that were tending to her, trying to get a glimpse of this little three pound baby while the surgeons were still operating on me.

My midwife walked over to them and she came back to me and told me that Sophia would be okay; she just needed a little help to breathe and that she was really small. They rolled her away and took her to the NICU.

Being Able To Hold & Bond With One Baby Instead of Two

Chloe was out by then and I was able to meet her, unlike Sophia. I was getting stitched back up and was eventually rolled into the recovery room where I was able to bond and breastfeed my newborn baby, Chloe. Of course, my mind was on Sophia the whole time and I was getting emotional at the fact that I hadn’t even met my own daughter.

I couldn’t stop thinking about her, about Chloe, about my new normal and the fact that I was alone in this cold, isolated room. My mom finally arrived and I was no longer alone. Finally, a small sense of relief and comfort.

Because of the pandemic, I was only allowed one support person and there could be no switching off; it was either going to be my husband or my mom. If it wasn’t for our two year old, I’d have my husband by my side so he could be there for me and his babies but we both knew our toddler wouldn’t do well without either of us for a couple of days so my mom had to do. 

Twin birth story during pandemic

Post Surgery and Postpartum 

Two days turned into five at the hospital. It was the hardest time I had ever gone through. Something about staying in a hospital for a few nights just drives you crazy. I was struggling hard, physically and emotionally.

I was trying to recover as I just had a major surgery all while navigating breastfeeding, visiting Sophia in the NICU and trying to express colostrum to have enough for both to feed. Sophia was a whopping 3 pounds so she needed to stay in the NICU for two weeks and Chloe had severe jaundice which needed blue light therapy for three days.

All I did was cry while I was in there. One of my babies was in the NICU all alone, my other baby was in an incubator under blue light and I hadn’t seen my toddler and husband in five days. I was also in pain because of the c section incision. The ache of home sickness was so prevalent in that moment. 

How the pandemic affected our birth experience

Having twins in a pandemic was the most difficult and challenging thing that I have ever experienced. After having the worst hospital stay, we had come home to little to no help since the pandemic had stolen the joy of having family around to celebrate and lend a helping hand. My husband and I were delirious half the time, to say the least.

We had to keep the babies fed every three hours also while caring and still giving attention to our two year old. The house was a disaster which was another thing on my list to worry about. How was I supposed  to do it all? Breast feed two babies, survive on little to no sleep, be a home maker and tend to my husband and toddler? It seemed impossible. But like all challenging things, it would pass. I kept telling myself that. 

Having twins in a pandemic and doing it alone

Fast forward almost eight months later, I am in a much better place and am thrilled I get to raise two beautiful babies and a thriving toddler. I always knew women were strong, amazing beings but after experiencing that whole ordeal, I have a newfound respect for womanhood. I may be twenty pounds heavier, I may not have time to “self care” as much as I used to, my house may not be in order as it once used to be but the admiration and veneration I have for a women triumphs all that. 

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