Overcoming The Odds – Monochorionic Twins Born Healthy, Vaginally, And On Their Due Date – A Hospital Gregario Marañón Birth Story

monochorionic twin birth story, 38 weeks, vaginal birth, Madrid Spain

  • Monochorionic Twins
  • First Babies
  • Mom’s Age: 26
  • Born on Their Due Date
  • Epidural
  • 17 Hour Labor
  • Vaginal Delivery
  • February 2014

  • Madrid, Spain
  • Hospital Gregario Marañón

I found out that I was 8 weeks pregnant with twins during an Emergency Room ultrasound.  I looked at the monitor and saw two tiny little garbanzos, an image I’ll never forget.  We were living in Madrid, Spain at the time, and the hospital policy had left my unsuspecting husband back in the waiting room.About a month earlier, I had received test results from a doctor saying that I had “abnormal ovaries, similar to a woman in her late 30’s”, which would make it difficult for me to become pregnant.  Mind you, I was 4 weeks pregnant at the time I received these results – unbeknownst to any of us.  I had been required to come off of the pill for the tests to take place, and had always been afraid that I would have a hard time getting pregnant, which led to a very lax approach to contraception – hence the twins.  I began bleeding, and thought I had my period, but when the bleeding didn’t stop and I noticed I didn’t feel like myself I took 2 secretive pregnancy tests and saw, to my shock, that I was pregnant.  I then went to see my gynecologist because I was still bleeding, and was told to go to the ER.  I asked my husband to meet me at the Metro, because we had to go to the ER but wouldn’t tell him why.  When I told him I was pregnant he was in disbelief, telling me “No, it’s impossible!”.  I assured him that yes, it was possible! But the doctors had convinced us that it would be so hard to conceive, and that we shouldn’t wait any longer because it might be very difficult that we could hardly believe it.  By that point I was 9 weeks, a mere 29 weeks away from becoming a mother of two.

I was very blessed to have a pain and stress free pregnancy.  I was carrying monochorionic twins, or identical twins who share a placenta, in two separate amniotic sacs.  This made mine a high-risk pregnancy, so I would see one of two doctors at the hospital for my bi-weekly visits.  I was forbidden to do any exercise, and that was hard for me since I’ve always enjoyed working out, but I knew it was what I had to do to ensure a healthy pregnancy and after all, it’s only 8 and a half months of your life…bottom line, I got over it!

I was scheduled for an induction date right at 38 weeks, but the day before I started feeling a bit off.  At my appointment the previous week I had been dilated to a 3.5.  Even before I started having any contractions, my bowels were acting up all day, and I knew my body was getting ready.  Around 5pm I was talking to my best friend on Skype and started having contractions.  I had been having occasional contractions before that, so I wasn’t sure if it was the real deal, but they continued to become more intense until we decided to go into the hospital around 10:30pm.

At the hospital I was put in a room while my vitals were assessed, and they monitored my contractions to see that I was in fact in labor, even though I was still dilated to the 3.5 I had been the week before.  Then I was wheeled into my labor and delivery room, and that was when the pain of my contractions went from 5 to an 8 in the matter of an hour.  I was doubled over during one of my more intense contractions as I felt some fluid coming out, so the nurse checked my cervix, and I felt a big gush of my water breaking.  She informed me that I was dilated to a six.  I was keeling over from the pain, still unsure if I wanted the epidural, even though it seemed like the whole hospital was pressuring me to get one!  The anesthesiologist came in and informed me that we can do this now, or you can wait and the pain will only get greater and greater, and then when you want it we won’t be able to because you’ll be shaking or bent over in so much pain that you wont be able to be still, as I need you to be.  So around 3am I decided to go for it, and got the epidural.  I was kind of expecting this since had been warned by other first-time moms that I would be urged to get the epidural.

After getting the epidural, the nurses told me to try to sleep.  I was like, hell no!  My husband tried to rest, but we didn’t get any sleep. Around 8am the doctors came back in to check me, and I was at an 8.  Then again at 10am, and I was at a 10 – ready to start pushing!

Despite c-sections being the norm for twins, I really wanted a vaginal birth. I had been preparing myself for this moment, meeting with other moms in Madrid, and gathering as much information as I could.  I met a lot of twin moms and I didn’t meet one who had a vaginal birth.  My babies were head down, and low the whole pregnancy, which afforded me the option to insist on trying a vaginal birth.  I was told, we’ll see – no promises.  They told me they would do whatever was best for the babies, which of course I wanted too.  But I couldn’t’ get any assurances on what the likelihood of avoiding a c-section would be.

I pushed for half an hour before my first son was born, fairly easily at 10:32am.  My second son weighed 4 oz. more and required an episiotomy before being born at 10:35am.  It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Nothing can prepare you for that moment. It’s the most singular moment in my life that I’ve felt the most pure and overflowing love. It’s truly indescribable.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to hold them after birth, I gave them both kisses, and they were rushed to the incubator because they both had fluid in their lungs.  My bigger baby (second born) remained in the NICU for the next two days and then we were able to bring him home, and our other son remained for a total of four days and then joined us at home.

One part of the experience that was a bit awkward was that there were 19 PEOPLE in the room. Yes, I said 19 people – my husband counted.  Nurses upon nurses, and residents, and more residents – all wanting to see this rare medical occasion – twins being born vaginally.

I feel very fortunate to have had 2 healthy boys, I wish I could take all the credit, but I was blessed with two beautiful boys who avoided so many of the scary things that could have happened.  I felt like the birth experience was the easy part compared to the difficult year that lie ahead, in a foreign country, with two babies and a husband who was often away working.

Now they’re already 2 and I have no idea where the time has gone. It’s been a roller coaster of memories, emotions and lessons learned. And hey, we’re still on it! I have learned so much about myself through becoming a mother. It’s empowering, challenging, joyous, and exceptional all in one.

These boys are my everything and being their mother is such a privilege.

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