It’s been almost 6 weeks since Audrey and Cameron joined our family and it feels like they’ve always been with us. It’s been a special few weeks getting to know each other and starting our life as a family of 5! I always love reading and hearing about other birth stories, so I thought I would share about how they were born and my experience having my first c-section. You can read Liam’s birth story here.
A couple months before the twins were due, I talked with my doctor about my delivery options and the pros and cons of them. Mike and I talked at length about what we both felt most comfortable with and we ended up deciding to have an elective c-section (my OB offered an elective c-section because I was pregnant with twins). There were several factors that went into my decision, but ultimately it is what both Mike and I felt most confident in doing and I would make the same decision again having lived through it. We were given a list of dates to choose from based on what doctor would be performing the c-section and ended up choosing April 4th because that was right at 38 weeks. Plus, 4/4 is a pretty easy date to remember for 2 birthdays!
Tuesday morning, April 4th, we woke up around 7am like usual. We spent the morning with Liam like we did every other day before heading to the hospital. It was so nice to be able to shower, make sure we had everything packed, and say our goodbyes before we were off to meet our babies! My parents were in town to stay with Liam while we were at the hospital, so he was excited to get a few days with them. Around 10am, Mike and I loaded into the car with 2 car seats and our bags and headed to the hospital. We checked in and were set up in our pre-op room. They had me get into my gown and hooked me up to the monitors to check on the babies. I got my IV placed and the monitored me for about an hour and a half before surgery. I met with the anesthesiologist that would be taking care of me during surgery and my doctor came in to check in with me before they wheeled me down to the operating room.
Right before they took me into the operating room, Mike and I separated. He went into the little waiting room that they have for the “support person” while I was taken into the operating room and set up for surgery. Right after we got separated, it all hit me and I started to cry. It was an overwhelming rush of excitement, nerves, and everything in between. I was actually impressed that I’d held it together up to that point! I got onto the operating table and the anesthesiologist administered my spinal block for surgery. They immediately laid me down on the table and got me in position, since I soon wouldn’t have any control or feeling in the lower half of my body. The nurses and techs were buzzing around the room prepping me while I just lay there on the table. It was a bit of an out-of-body experience. I feel like you have to have a scheduled c-section to be able to really understand what that experience is like. My doctor checked in with me, I met the NICU nurses that would be taking care of the babies right after they were born, and they were ready to begin!
They started surgery and then Mike was brought in and sat down right by my head. We talked a little bit and within minutes my doctor was asking if I was ready to meet my babies. I couldn’t believe how quickly it all happened! Audrey was born first and held up behind the clear drape as soon as she came out, so we got to see her face right away. They wrapped her up and brought her around to me so I could get a good look at her before taking her into the warm room connected to the OR where they get babies vitals and do all of their checks. Within 1 minute of Audrey coming out, Cameron made his appearance! Again, they held him up right as he came out so we could see him, then brought him around to me to get a closer look and meet him. When they took Cameron back into the connected room, Mike went with them. Both babies were crying so loud, which was actually so nice because I could hear them even though I couldn’t see them. I don’t remember how much time passed, but probably 5 minutes or so later, I looked over and Mike was walking back over to me with both babies in his arms. I’ll never forget that! The nurses helped him hold each of them near me so that I could see them and talk to them a bit again. It was so sweet to see their faces up close and hear their cries. We got a few photos taken and then it was time for Mike and the babies to go to post-op while my surgery was finished up. About 20-30 minutes later, I was being wheeled down to meet them in post-op. As soon as I got there and got situated, the nurses helped get the babies positioned to nurse for the first time and get some skin-to-skin time with me. It was such a sweet moment.
I spent about 45 minutes or an hour in post-op. They keep you there until you’re able to wiggle your toes and start to get your feeling back in your body following the spinal block. The babies checked out and were perfectly healthy, so as soon as I was cleared, we all went up to our recovery room together. We were settled in our room by about 3pm or so. All in, it was just a couple hours from when the babies were comfortably hanging out in my belly to having them both laying on my chest together. It was amazing!
I remember this from having Liam too, but it was amazing to feel so much relief once the babies were out of my body. The the last few months of my pregnancy brought quite a bit of discomfort, heavy breathing, and so much heartburn. All of that immediately left my body as soon as the babies did. I felt so good, even just coming out of major abdominal surgery, haha! I remember telling Mike how skinny I felt as I was laying in the bed feeling my belly for the first time after delivery. It’s just wild how quickly everything changes and you can feel like yourself a bit again.
Overall, I had an incredibly calm and peaceful c-section experience. It was complication-free and the babies were perfectly healthy, which was such a blessing. If I had to do it all over again, I would still choose a c-section as the way my babies came into the world!
How has your recovery been? How is your incision? Was recovery harder or easier than vaginal delivery?
My recovery has been really smooth and good. Getting up and moving around as soon as I could and as often as I felt up to it was a big factor in healing. It also helped a ton to have my parents here to help Mike and I when we got home. I was able to take the time I needed to rest and recover, which is so important. My incision is healing well and doing what it’s supposed to do! I don’t have any feeling on it, so it hasn’t bothered me.
The recovery was just different. With my vaginal delivery, I was exhausted because I was induced, so I had been awake for a long time before he was born and then didn’t sleep much after. It was nice to be able to walk into the c-section on a full night of sleep! With my vaginal delivery, I pushed for about an hour and 20 minutes before Liam was born, so I had some pretty good swelling and pain to deal with in the days following. It was uncomfortable to sit and hard to move around. With my c-section, I feel like the pain meds did a lot to help cover up any incision discomfort, so I wasn’t in as much pain or discomfort. Walking around was harder, but it’s just a trade-off. It’s hard to say if one was significantly harder or easier than the other because they were so different!
What was the hardest part of recovery?
Getting in and out of bed, chairs, etc. It’s not easy to maneuver your body when you don’t have a functioning core anymore, so learning how to move around is difficult! But after about a week, I had gotten used to it and figured out how to get by until I was feeling better.
Did you enjoy the process the same as vaginal birth?
I did! I loved being so present and in-the-moment because all I had to do was lay on an operating table.
Did you get sick or have the shakes?
I got the shakes shortly after the babies were taken out. The same thing happened to me after I got my epidural when I delivered Liam, so I was familiar with the feeling and knew not to worry. It’s more annoying than anything else – just uncontrollably shaking! It didn’t last too long, which I was glad for.
What did it feel like?
I didn’t feel anything because the spinal tap worked well for me, but I could tell that there were people working on me and handling me. I didn’t really even feel pressure or anything, I just could feel that my body was being moved around and things were happening. I felt way more with my vaginal delivery, even with an epidural.
Most surprising part about your c-section experience?
How calm and peaceful it was. For what it’s worth, the only other surgery I’ve had is getting my wisdom teeth out, so I’m not seasoned when it comes to an operating room. I wasn’t sure what I would be thinking or feeling once I was laying on the table for the operation, but I’m so thankful to have felt so calm and at peace. As someone who likes to be in control and know what’s going to happen, having such a controlled environment for the delivery of two babies was perfect for me.
Must have items for recovery?
High-waisted underwear (I like these from Amazon), high waisted pants with compression (my Lululemon align leggings were perfect for this!), and sandals/slippers for swollen feet post-delivery.
How much pain were you in following your c-section?
Very little! I stayed on top of my pain meds in the hospital and continued taking them once we got back home. I think I was fully weaned off of them by about 8 days post c-section. I just slowly went longer between taking them until I didn’t need them anymore! The most my pain/discomfort got to in the hospital was a 3 out of 10.
How did you sleep after your c-section?
When we were home, I just propped up a bunch of pillows to emulate the hospital bed. The hardest thing to do was get in and out of bed in the night – it would take me 2-3 full minutes just to work myself to the edge of the bed and then get the mental and physical strength to stand up! After a week, I got much better and being able to maneuver in and out more easily.
Did you get gas pains after surgery?
I did, yes! They’re common with c-section because, well, you’re open on an operating table for awhile, so air can get trapped in there when they close you back up. The gas pains didn’t kick in until the next day, but they were uncomfortable. It was just like regular gas pains, though I did have them travel up to my shoulders a couple times. It helped me to get up and move to get the gas moving through my body. I also would just ask the nurse for more gas pain medication, which helped! I didn’t have any gas pains after leaving the hospital though, so they only lasted 2 days.
If you were to give birth again, would you try a VBAC or have a second c-section?
If everything was normal and healthy, I would probably go for a vaginal delivery! I truly enjoyed both experiences and wouldn’t be sad to have another c-section, but I would love to be able to have a second vaginal delivery and hopefully be a little more present for it. That said, our family is complete, so I’ll never have to make that decision in real life!
How long did it take before you could get up and move?
My nurses got me up and walking about 6 hours after surgery. It was just a few steps over to the chair in our room to change positions. Once my catheter came out the next morning (I think that’s when it happened – I can’t even remember anymore!), I had to get up and walk to use the bathroom, so I started moving more then. My best advice is to get up and walk as often as you can. Don’t overextend yourself and go too hard, but force yourself to get up and move. I think that was the #1 factor in my recovery being as good as it was.