When we found out we were expecting twins, for the second time, we were of course shocked. Who are we to have not just one set of twins but two? And we always kinda thought our first set of fraternal twins were a result of us going straight off birth control to conceiving. But, we hadn’t used hormonal birth control in years!
Nope! I guess I am just a fertile Myrtle!
Family History of Twins
Many have asked if twins run in our family and the answer is certainly that they do now! But, also that yes, in my family tree, there are some twins.
My great-grandmother, whose name was Kate Reynolds Watts, who I am quasi named after (Katelyn) had two sets of twins! Actually, she had twins first, then three single children, then twins again (and then two more children)…. exactly like me, so far! The genders of the children are all different, but seriously, talk about strong family ties!
I never met my Great-Grandma Kate, nor do I think have I ever seen pictures of her, as she was born in 1873 and died in 1963, in England.
It looks like her twins genes skipped over two generations to me, even with my grandmother not being one of her twins, and my mom, who had 11 children, never had any twins (though she says my brother Trevor may have had a twin that passed early in that pregnancy as she had some bleeding). Also, none of my eight living siblings have ever had twins either.
My husband only has one sibling, and she has a set of identical twin girls. So, in some ways, it runs on both sides of the family.
I have shared all of our children’s birth stories on the blog, which you can read below:
- Scheduled C-Section Birth of Fraternal Twin Girls
- VBAC Birth of 9.5lb Baby Boy
- Induced VBAC Birth of over 9lb Baby Girl
- VBAC Birth Story of 11lb Baby Girl
If you are interested in learning more about VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean Section), please read the following posts:
- 26 Successful VBAC Birth STories to Empower your TOLAC
- 8 Smart Tips to Up Your Chances of a Successful VBAC
- Why I Opted for a VBAC Over a Repeat C-Section
Finding the Right Prenatal Care for VBAC Twin Delivery
Finding adequate prenatal care proved challenging this pregnancy, and sparked me to write a whole post about what women wished happend at their prenatal visits.
This was my first pregnancy in New York (I’ve delivered with different doctors and different hospitals in three different states before this).
Basically, I was stuck choosing between several large OBGYN practices in the area. And I hate large practices, where they encourage you to meet with all the doctors at least once before delivery, etc. I had this type of care when I was pregnant for the first time with my first set of twins, and have avoided such care ever since.
But, given I had a “high risk” pregnancy and the available options in the area, I really didn’t have a ton of choice.
I did actually change practices at the 20-week mark, as the first practice I met with the midwife, who I didn’t like, and who cast serious doubt on the OBGYNs there wanting to deliver me vaginally with twins.
So, I changed to what I thought would be a better practice. I’m not actually sure it was the best decision to change practices now, as I ran into plenty of less than enthusiastic doctors at this new practice.
I looked into switching doctors a third time, but by the time my records were sent over, I only had about 4-5 weeks left of my pregnancy, and they, again, wanted me to meet with all the different providers (though I really only wanted to see the one that was recommended to me there). So, I figured it was better to stay put than deal with billing issues and getting to know a whole new staff of providers.
I received mixed messages from the different doctors in the practice I stayed with.
Some said they would induce me with Pitocin. Others said no way would they induce me. One strongly suggested I just have a C-section as it would be “safer.” None of them gave me a hard deadline for when these babies would need to come by until I was 38 weeks pregnant (which I actually appreciated).
Some of the doctors insisted that I regularly see the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors for ultrasounds. I went to the first appointment, and when the results came back that both babies and myself were perfect, I didn’t see the need to go back for another appointment there, and instead asked that any additional ultrasounds just be done at the office here in town (the MFM office/doctor are 30 minutes away and the cost is double the one done in town).
All the ultrasounds showed that the twins were both in optimal birthing positions – they were both heads down! My plans to go forward with a vaginal birth were a go!
I had zero complications during this pregnancy. I easily passed the initial 1hr glucose test. My blood pressure was always great. I had zero signs of pre-term labor.
Other than serious pelvic girdle pain, especially the last week of my pregnancy, round ligament pain, sciatica in my butt cheeks and down my legs, varicose veins in my labia, lots of back pain, heaviness, discomfort, and so on, I was a healthy pregnant woman. But, it’s also why I swear by wearing maternity belts now and generally supporting pregnant bellies.
I began Non-Stress Tests (NST) the last month of my pregnancy, going to the hospital every Thursday morning for 1.5 hours (it always took forever to find both babies on the monitors, track them for the requisite time, get a doctor to look at the tracings, and then get me discharged. My back often hurt so bad afterward). The babies always passed these tests perfectly.
Of course, some of my later ultrasounds concerned the doctors as my twins were “measuring large.”
Now, part of this, I believe, is because my due date, September 9, 2020, was later than it really should have been.
My initial ultrasound at around 12 weeks (when we found out it was twins), showed that they were measuring ahead, and that a due date of September 3, 2020 would be more accurate (or 6 days sooner).
But, doctors don’t ever want to move due dates it seems. My menstrual cycle is less than the “standard” 28 days, more often 25-26 days, and I believe I ovulate earlier in my cycle than others. 🤷🏻♀️
For many weeks I used the September 3 as my due date when calculating how far along I was, but am glad in the end that my doctors never moved it up, as it put less pressure on me to go into labor early, as I have never gone into labor early!
My first set of twins were delivered via scheduled C-section at a day before 38 weeks before I ever had real labor contractions. All of my singleton babies came after their estimated due dates.
And all of my babies have been large. My first set of twins were 6lbs 15oz and 6lbs 14oz (or almost 7lbs each) which is pretty large for twins. My next two babies were both over 9lbs, and my last singleton was actually over 11lbs (she was huge).
I knew these twins would be bigger than my first set of twins given this was not my first pregnancy and that I was no longer 21 years old. 😝
But, I had full confidence in my amazing God-given body to not only carry large twins to term (37+ weeks) but to also successfully deliver them, and without rupturing my uterus in the process (the scary risk of VBACs). With twins both in head down positions, I saw no reason I shouldn’t go for a TOLAC (Trial of Labor After Cesarean).
38 Weeks Pregnant with Twins
When I went in for my 38 week prenatal visit on August 26, I asked my doctor to strip my membranes when she checked me for dilation (cause if you’re gonna be up in there, might as well do something to help jumpstart labor). She told me I was at about 3cm going toward 4cm dilated.
Stripping my membranes has helped me go into labor with my other children, so I was optimistic it would help again and I would go into labor in a few days.
She also said that if I didn’t deliver these babies over the next week, to just call and they’d schedule my induction for the following week (at 39 weeks). The clock was on!
Over the next couple days I lost my mucus plug (super gross). I also went for some long walks on the Walkway Over the Hudson, bounced on an exercise “birthing ball,” ate some spicier foods, dates, and pineapple, along with having sex.
As capable as I was to continue carrying these twins for as long as needed, I was also totally ready to NOT be pregnant anymore as everything hurt, a lot. So, I did what I could to get things going. 👍🏻
I asked my mother-in-law to drive out the day after my 38-week appointment so she could be here for whenever I would go into labor. She got here by dinner Thursday, August 27, 2020.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the babies until several days later.
But, both Saturday overnight and Sunday overnight I had some regular contractions, always about 7-15 minutes apart, and not super strong or painful. They lasted for several hours, but both times I decided to just go to bed and get some rest. 😴
VBAC Twin Birth Story
With my mother-in-law only wanting to stay only a week (and several days of that week were now past with no babies in our arms), I called first thing Monday morning, August 31, 2020, for an appointment and got one for 8:15 am.
I wanted them to check me, and maybe strip my membranes again, or tell me I could go to the hospital and have them. We packed our hospital bags into the car, just in case.
The doctor checked me and said that I was at 5cm dliated!
Because 5cm is considered active labor, even though I was, at that moment, not having contractions (they only seemed to want to happen in the evening/night), she said I should go to the hospital and I would have the babies today!!
My husband and I left the appointment (he finally was able to join me for appointments and ultrasounds the last two weeks of my pregnancy thanks to some COVID restrictions being lifted) and got some breakfast food from McDonald’s and then walked around Walmart, picking up some last-minute items, and trying to get me to have some contractions on my own again, which I did a couple of times.
VBAC Twins in the Hospital
We got to the hospital and checked in, and, of course, the doctor I really didn’t want to have on-call was the one on-call. He was the one who made me cry after my first and only appointment with him as he was so arrogant and told me a C-section was definitely what he recommended even with both babies head down, even with 3 successful VBACs under my belt.
So, not surprising, when I arrived he told me the same spiel (in part because he said he didn’t even remember meeting me before…. 🙄) about how I should really consider a C-section instead, citing some risks like a greater chance of hemorrhaging and bleeding with a vaginal delivery (despite medical organizations stating that VBAC twins have similar outcomes as VBAC singletons).
I declined his invitation to have a C-section (again), but felt a little validated that my husband got to hear him spout off his opinion this time and see for himself why I didn’t like this doctor.
The next several hours were all about getting me prepped for birth.
There are so many interventions and tubes and things attached to you when you have babies in the hospital with an epidural and are induced. It’s kinda intense!
I had the following things hooked up on me:
- Contraction monitor across my belly
- 2 Fetal Heartbeat monitors across my belly
- IV in the back of my left hand
- Catheter coming out of my crotch
- Epidural coming up from my back
- Internal Fetal Monitor coming out of my crotch (after they broke my water)
- Finger Pulse Ox on my right index finger
- Blood Pressure Cuff on my right arm
- Bandage on my right arm elbow after blood draws
While I arrived in the morning, nothing really happened until after I had Pitocin given to me, which didn’t happen until almost 2:30 in the afternoon. The morning was all the prep stuff! I wasn’t having any contractions really until the Pitocin began.
The doctor was pretty aggressive with the Pitocin too, ordering it to be upped every half an hour. He even came into the room to double-check that it was being upped, which I think annoyed the nurse who was on top of it, and didn’t want him double upping it accidentally.
I dilated about a centimeter in the first 2.5 hours after receiving Pitocin. The doctor then broke my water, which is always a crazy sensation, especially as a ton of water would gush out during strong contractions.
We had to change the pads under me a few times because there was so much fluid coming out, which involved my husband and the nursing rolling me from one edge of the bed to the other.
Two hours after my doctor broke my water, my contractions were still only about 4-5 minutes apart and I hadn’t dilated or changed any.
My doctor didn’t like this, so he gave me one hour to progress or he wanted to do a C-section. And I said, I wasn’t worried and that not much time had passed.
He said “Look, it wasn’t my idea to go for a vaginal delivery. It was yours.” 😡
The new night shift nurse, after he left, said not to let him bully me around. She didn’t seem to be a big fan of this doctor either.
Lucky for me, I had bought and brought my own peanut ball! This handy peanut-shaped inflatable exercise ball was the secret to getting me ready to push with my last baby (the nurse suggested it and it was amazing – I made sure to ask this hospital ahead of time if they had them and used them, but they weren’t using them because COVID and not being able to properly sanitize them between patients 🙄 so I bought my own).
The nurse was super excited I had one and said that she thought I could get to fully dilated with it pretty quickly and show that doctor.
I put the head of the bed all the way flat, lay on my right side, and put that peanut ball between my legs for 20 minutes. Contractions quickly picked up in intensity and in closeness.
My legs began to shake uncontrollably during this time, which continued through birth and then after for about 20 minutes, I think in part because the epidural began to wear off.
I then rolled over to my left side and put the peanut ball between my legs again.
About 20 minutes later, I was fully dilated and felt like I had to poop. 😂 I started to feel that urge to push!
The doctor was in the other room trying to deliver someone else’s baby so I was told to hold on (we’d later learn that the other person delivering was actually my husband’s co-worker)!
When the doctor came into the room, he said “Well, I guess giving you a deadline worked!” to which I replied “Or peanut balls are awesome.” To which he conceded that they were good.
He checked me, and sure enough, I was ready to push! The room filled with people and lights and I got into position on the bed to push.
About 3 contractions and pushes later, our daughter was born!
Our son stayed head down (they had an ultrasound machine in the room in case he flipped positions and they needed to see what he was doing) and a few minutes later I was pushing him out, and definitely started feeling more as my epidural started to wear off! Not super fun!
Six minutes after his sister, our son was born!
Shortly after that, I delivered the placenta, which felt enormous to birth, as apparently both placentas had kinda grown together by the end into one giant mass.
The doctor made sure I wasn’t bleeding too much and initially said I didn’t need any stitches 🙌🏻, but then added one internal stitch later for a small tear. I felt everything he was doing, including the stitch as the epidural was wearing off.
I got to have each baby placed on my chest and my husband cut the umbilical cords.
Unfortunately, our son, though perfect initially, began to have some breathing issues, so he was taken to the NICU.
Our daughter weighed in at 8lbs 11oz and our son weighed in at 8lbs 12oz. I felt like the nurses and even the doctor were a bit impressed by how much baby I was carrying around there at the end!
We named our twins Christina Lily Fagan and Thomas Caleb Fagan.
Here’s a detailed recap of the timeline of our day (courtesy of my husband):
- 10:30 am – Arrived at hospital
- 10:35 am – Got into hospital room
- 11:05 am – Doctor came in, checked me, confirmed 5cm, recommended C-Section
- 11:08 am – Doctor said fine to VBAC but went over the risks
- 11:18 am – COVID-19 nose swab test (hated it!! Came back negative.)
- 11:15 am – Tried to find both babies heartbeats
- 11:30 am – Blood drawn
- 11:35 am – IV started in my left hand
- 12:00 pm – Different nurse came in to get baby A on the heartbeat monitor better
- 12:30 pm – Signed consent form for VBAC, C-section, Induction, Blood Transfusion, all if needed
- 12:55 pm – Epidural placed
- 1:30 pm – Moved me to a bigger birthing room with a view of the Hudson River
- 1:37 pm – Doctor rechecked me (still at 5cm and 70% effaced – not surprising as I hadn’t really had contractions this whole time) and ordered Pitocin
- 2:25 pm – Pitocin was finally started
- 2:30 pm – Finally had a notable contraction
- 2:46 pm – Pitocin dose increased
- 3:35 pm – Pitocin dose increased
- 3:38 pm – Got catheter inserted
- 4:01 pm – Pitocin dose increased
- 5:00 pm – Doctor broke my water and checked me – 6cm, -2 station, and 70% effaced
- 5:07 pm – Pitocin dose increased
- 5:10 pm – Pushed the epidural button
- 5:35 pm – Pitocin dose increased
- 6:02 pm – Pitocin dose increased
- 6:34 pm – Pitocin dose increased
- 7:09 pm – Pushed the epidural button
- 7:15 pm – Doctor came in and checked me again with no change from before. Threatened to do a C-section in 1 hour if no change. Increased Pitocin. Put fetal heartbeat monitor on Baby A’s head.
- 7:20 pm – The new night shift nurse helped me use a peanut ball on right side, then after 20 minutes left side.
- 8:10 pm – Fully dilated and started pushing
- 8:16 pm – Christina Lily Fagan was born
- 8:22 pm – Thomas Caleb Fagan was born
Our son would go on to be in the NICU for 6 long days. We’d have to leave him at the hospital. I visited twice a day to nurse him and hold him. He was diagnosed with pneumothorax, or a pocket of air under his left lung.
The first day he was on some oxygen and they put a tube down his throat to try and empty out the pocket (or something). By the second day, he was off the oxygen and he pulled out the tube from his own throat. By the 4th day he no longer was given antibiotics, and by the 5th day, he no longer even needed the IV.
The air pocket went away on its own by Saturday and we were allowed to take him home early Sunday morning.
He seems to be perfectly healthy now, breathing great, though the doctor did an ultrasound on his head and did find a very small lesion which we will be following up on in a few weeks. The doctor didn’t seem worried about it however.
Every time after I give birth, especially after my twin pregnancies, I feel hollowed out. My posture is terrible (I can’t stand up straight) and my belly gurgles as my intestines go back to their normal locations. My belly also feels like Jell-O as it flops and sags around.
But, I also feel so much better!
I will say though, I didn’t appreciate a different doctor at my OBGYN practice who said to me on the day of my hospital discharge “You know you took a big risk delivering these twins vaginally. They were even bigger than the ultrasound showed. You know a few more days and they would have been 9lbs each.” 🙄🙄
Would it be too much for any of my doctors to think I’m actually amazing and congratulate me on such a successful pregnancy and delivery instead?
Anyway… my bottom hasn’t really hurt much at all as I didn’t tear or need external stitches. Bleeding has been normal, usually gushing when standing or walking or doing more activity.
The first few days my uterus cramps, especially while nursing, hurt quite a bit, as did my back and pelvis.
The cramping has ended now, but the pelvic pain continues, but is mostly only felt when I am trying to get up off the floor, get in and out of bed, and when rolling over in bed. I can hear and feel my pubic bones pop at times.
These pains are novel to this pregnancy and postpartum healing process.
I am wearing a postpartum girdle called the Bellefit which I think is helping quite a bit in the healing of my abs, which are always a hot mess. I plan to wear it daily for the first six or so weeks and see if I think it has made an improvement over not wearing one in my previous postpartum experiences.
I also went to the chiropractor to get adjusted back a little, though all the hunching over while nursing, and falling asleep while doing so, is not helping my posture or back all that much.
Breastfeeding twins is going pretty well, though I do have that initial shooting nipple pain when the babies latch on, as well as dealt with some clogged ducts after my milk came in, but both are getting better over time.
I am resting as much as possible. We are taking time off of homeschool and from work (for me) so I can hopefully nap during the day and also go to bed shortly after my twins do for the night (so about 10pm or 10:30pm I’m going to sleep) and I can sleep in too.
The twins are waking about every 2-3 or 4 hours at night, though Thomas I have to wake up to nurse to keep them on the same schedule as his sister. And because I go to bed early, I cumulatively am not doing too bad sleep-wise. It should get better too as time goes on.
I try to get in some physical exercise each day, often taking little walks up and down our street pushing the twins in the stroller.
But, I am also now taking care of more things around the house again as my mother-in-law left a week after their birth, the day after Thomas came home. I can feel myself getting stronger and more whole each day.
I need to make sure I am drinking more water and eating good foods, but overall, I am feeling pretty great. I’m no longer taking the pain medicine (stopped at about 1 week postpartum) as I don’t have much pain. I continue to wear pads for the bleeding.
I am seriously so amazed at how amazing my body is to bounce back from being pregnant for so long with such big babies. It’s been fun to watch my average resting heartbeats per minute drop every day as my body goes back to normal through my Fitbit app.
My kids are all smitten with the new babies. They love taking turns feeding them bottles, burping them, holding them, and even changing diapers. The big kids are all extremely helpful in doing whatever we ask them to do.
The kids are still doing all their regular chores so the house isn’t a mess…
Except for the fact that our 2.5 year old is still having potty training accidents (which were happening still before the twins, so not really “new”) and some new artwork she put on the walls when grandmere was watching the kids while we were in the hospital.
The kids are enjoying their break from homeschool and actually reading a lot of books, playing outside a bunch, and using their imagination to play, even the 10-year-olds.
It’s been quite an easy adjustment for the family!
It’s still crazy to me that we now have seven children and two sets of twins! I never thought I would have twins twice, not for real, even though we knew the odds were greater for it to happen again. I never thought I would be the mother of seven children either! I always wanted five kids, maybe six.
But, I tell you what – I can’t imagine not having all seven of these kids now and think our family is going to have so much fun together! I love big families and ours is definitely big now! I look forward to seeing the relationships between my kids grow and develop over the coming years and so many amazing memories.
I don’t know why God thinks we’re somehow awesome enough to be in charge of so many little people, other than he knows I need more help being more loving, patient, and long-suffering (and my husband too).
I am darn thankful to God for my amazing body, strong birthing genes, and big beautiful family. I know that I will need to rely on Him a lot in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. And I am so thankful for the many, many friends, families, subscribers, followers, and even strangers who have prayed over me, my pregnancy, my twins, and my family over the last year. I have felt the power of heaven strengthening me often because of those prayers on our behalf. Many have sent us gifts, given us baby items, checked in on us, brought meals, and more.
While we are still far away from family and isolated from friends here because of COVID, we still feel extremely loved by so many.