I hope you’re comfy wherever you are reading this because this will be a bit more reading than usual. I finally sat down and wrote down about my twin pregnancy with the girls. Many people have asked me to share my birth story because things got complicated fast, mainly because I was pregnant with twins. The girl’s pregnancy was terrific, and their arrival into this world was unpredictable, fast, and challenging.
We started with a great pregnancy. The girls were doing well to suddenly being hospitalized and having an emergency c section at 32 weeks. From then, we watched as they achieved every obstacle and impressed us every day with their strength and resilience in the NICU. This is our story!
We found out we were expecting at the end of March 2019. We were overjoyed and took far too many tests to conform & excited. Knowing there is something extraordinary happening inside of you that you really can’t see or feel brings on so many questions and emotions in the beginning. During our 12-week appointment, the ultrasound tech asked us, “Do twins run in either of your families?” We laughed and said yes, and when she turned the screen, we saw two little peanuts, head to head and inside of ME!? We laughed, and I cried, and it was so amazing seeing them for the first time.
During our 12 week appointment, we also found out that I was at high risk because they were Identical or monozygotic twins. They were sharing one placenta and but were in their sacs, so I was considered high risk. Some common risks of being pregnant with twins are…
For more examples and more of an in-depth explanation, visit this link.
My pregnancy was great. I didn’t have any issues in the first 29 weeks and six days. My blood pressure was excellent, and I didn’t have Gestational Diabetes, but I needed to do two tests. The girls were growing nicely, and everything seemed to be well. However, I got more tired and comfortable as the days went on, and the girls moved quite a bit. They would punch each other all the time above and below my belly button. Victoria was bigger than Mackenzie most of my pregnancy, but Mackenzie took up much\ of the room.
September 21, 2019, was just another Saturday. I was excited to finish work the following week because that meant I could start officially getting everything in order. I was excited to have so much more time to bond with the girls at home while I got their clothes and room ready. So that morning, I did some light shopping through Shoppers Drug Mart. I felt good, and I found everything I needed when suddenly, I felt a liquid running down my legs. Luckily I was wearing some leggings, and it absorbed it all, but I started to worry. So, I paid and called my mom because Brent worked far from the house. My parents live close, so I went there, and once I realized that I was leaking amniotic fluid, we took a cab to the hospital.
Getting to Sunnybrook, I didn’t know what was going to happen. Your mind starts racing, but I knew I need to keep calm. I finally got to see the nurse. After doing a quick check and ultrasound, the nurse said: “So, one of the baby’s water broke, and we will be admitting you until these babies come out.” So, I called Brent to tell him the news, and he made his way home to come and see me. He had to bring me clothes, my toothbrush, shower products, and more. I waited 4+ hours to get my room, and then Brent arrived shortly after that. This was the start of our new waiting game.
I joked with people at work that I would be living at Sunnybrook because I knew I would have so many more appointments after I stopped working. Little did I know I would live at Sunnybrook Hospital 21 days before the girls were born. I had many people visit me. My friends and family would take turns, people from the NICU, nurses multiple times a day, and doctors during rounds every week. I met lots of excellent staff.
I made a friend with another pregnant and soon to be mama of twins in our shared room. It was fun, and I was happy I didn’t have to worry anymore because I was down the hall from everything that would keep our babies safe. Being still and finally and being somewhat alone wasn’t bad either, and the snacks and food were not too bad either. I would listen to Post Malone and do crosswords all day, and I would watch How I Met Your Mother.
On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at 11:30 pm, my belly started to feel odd. The only thing I could compare the feeling to was light period cramps. I buzzed my nurse and told her how I felt, and she gave me some Tylenol and said she would check back with me soon. At 12:30 am, I started feeling more pain. After some checking, they realized that I was in labour and 3 centimetres dilated. I called Brent and was transferred to a labour and delivery room.
Once Brent arrived, I was in full-blown labour, I was contracted often and hard, and I was so thankful I remembered my breathing techniques from yoga! By 4:45 am, the surgeon who was to perform my c section had finished her other surgery and was ready, so we spoke briefly. I was separated from Brent so we could both get ready. It was time, we having some babies!
Going into the OR is so intimidating. Still, because we were having premature twins, there were almost double the people in the room. We had a large team of NICU staff in the OR waiting for the girls. Both Mackenzie and Victoria had a doctor and a nurse with a few extra nurses to assist in case something went wrong. I had two doctors performing my c section and a few nurses and my anesthesiologist. Then Brent and I. The c section took almost 2 hours but felt like 30 minutes.
I was so cold from being in labour, plus I was given morphine and epidural, and I was naked under a massive bright light. My pee was in a bag taped to my bare leg. At that moment, I didn’t care about any of that because we were finally going to see and meet my baby girls and hear them for the first time. It was so exciting.
So, after living at Sunnybrook for 21 days, it was time for me to go home and honestly, by that point, I couldn’t wait. I was discharged on October 11th, 2019 and was able to have a slow car ride home. It was weird going from a place that always had traffic through the night to dead silence. It was also a hard pill to swallow that there were no babies crying or diapers to change. I slept in their room the first few nights 1) because sleeping in my bed was very painful from my c section, and 2) I wanted to be with them in the hospital. I knew I had to feel stronger to be there for them, but it was still hard.
The first NICU, the girls, were in was at Sunnybrook Hospital. We have such amazing and caring nurses taking care of the girls. We had a key to get in their rooms. Each of their rooms had a shared door to connect them. They stayed at Sunnybrook for about a week, and then they were transferred to their second hospital. Sunnybrook has a level 2 NICU, which means that they focus on babies that are much more premature. Once the girls hit their milestones, they could go to a level 3 hospital.
That level 3 Hospital was North York General. I was so happy because I was there the day they transferred. I was excited to take the girls over to North York General with a nurse and ambulance drivers. It was their first car ride! Once we got there, everyone was so kind. When we asked any questions, they explained everything, and it wasn’t as scary. The girls had a list of milestones to hit before they could be discharged, so we got to work. They were still tiny when we arrived, and over the next six weeks, they grew, got stronger, started being awake a bit more, had their first bath and kept impressing us every day.
I was visited by a lactation consultant shortly after we arrived. She helped me with pumping until the girls were showing signs of being ready to try and breastfeed. I had tons of milk and was pumping as often as possible. Their sucking reflexes weren’t developed all the way yet, and their stamina was only a few minutes, but we started trying to breastfeed. I tried Victoria first because Mackenzie slept a lot when she was small. Victoria did pretty well, but it was hard because she got tired after 4-6 minutes so practicing some days was hard.
I tried for two weeks, and I found that Victoria just liked the bonding and skin to skin and Mackenzie would scream and cry because my milk didn’t come out fast enough. We decided to bottle feed the girls my milk, and they flourished. All of a sudden, feeding time just kept getting easier. It was the right choice. I was able to pump for two months or so, and then my milk started getting less and less, and we went to a full-time formula by the time the girls were discharged.
The NICU can be a hard place because you want to be able to hold your baby anytime, you want to be with them 100% of the time, and you want to leave every day and night with them. Leaving your 2-4 week old baby never gets easier. Longing for them once you get home is heartbreaking. Pumping when your babies aren’t home is SO hard. Sometimes it was difficult to pump because your hormones need to hear and smell the babies sometimes, and I found that it was hard even to get up to pump some nights. During those early days, one thing that helped my mental health was saying to myself, “This is temporary.” It was a beautiful reminder that this way of life wasn’t forever.
Travelling to the NICU twice a day or staying late can take a toll on your sleep, money, and mental health. Our place was messy most times because our main priority was seeing the girls as much as possible. I would spend most of the morning/afternoon leave and come back hours later to go back with Brent after he was done work. That meant most of the time; we were eating out for dinner and doing it all again the next day. Every day we were trying to picture what life would be like not having to do that anymore.
On November 24th, 2019, the girls were meeting all of the requirements to be discharged. Victoria and Mackenzie were looking like they would be able to leave on the same day because it is common for multiples to go on different days. But earlier in the week, Mackenzie had a choking problem when drinking her milk. So Mackenzie was to be discharged one after Victoria. So, Victoria and I slept at the hospital together in a room just down the hall from Mackenzie. It was the first time I was FINALLY alone with Victoria. She slept well that night, and we visited Mackenzie often. I was so happy to see what our home life would look like finally, and I loved it so much!
The next morning (November 25, 2019), I was eager to get the girls home. I went through all their stuff and packed what we wanted and threw out what we didn’t need. When I arrive the day before, I had brought their stroller and car seats with me. I even teared up a bit on the bus because I was so excited that this day had finally come. Mackenzie had a great night and had no choking issues, and Victoria and I did great with me. After saying goodbye and thank you to all the nurses, we left with our babies FINALLY and brought them home. Six weeks isn’t a long time now that I look back, but it felt like six years because everything that was going on.
This is our story. The girls’ crazy journey into this world. Those six weeks of getting them ready to come home were emotionally tiring. Still, they were so strong and got stronger every day. We love them so much and can’t wait to watch them grow up.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor; I am just speaking from my own experience. These posts are inspired by what I have learned through research, teaching, different people’s experiences, and my own as a mother. I am not affiliated with anyone or any website included.