Real birth story: Twins

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After months of bed rest, a C-section brings joy and relief

We had our first ultrasound the day after my husband’s birthday, when I was about 12 weeks pregnant. As soon as the technician placed the transducer on my abdomen, we saw two black circular sacs and knew it was twins. Shock hit me like a steamroller; I immediately burst into tears and started laughing at the same time. I found out later that my odds of having twins were actually quite high, as I’m a fraternal twin myself.

My hopes of having an easy pregnancy came crashing to a halt just a few weeks later. Work was increasingly difficult; I’m a veterinarian and had never realized how strenuous my job could be. I vividly remember trying to perform an orthopedic exam on a 200-pound Mastiff and thinking, “I’m not going to be able to do this much longer.” As it turned out, I was right. My doctor put me on bed rest at 19 weeks due to an elevation in my blood pressure.

Still, the truly hard part of the pregnancy didn’t come until 36 weeks. I couldn’t sleep, and I had been experiencing preterm contractions on and off for weeks. Because I felt full all the time, I could barely eat. I had constant heartburn. Severe swelling developed in my legs and feet, along with a horribly itchy rash on my distended belly. The discomfort took a toll on me physically and emotionally.

After a particularly bad weekend, I found myself sobbing in the obstetrician’s office. My blood pressure was high and she  mercifully agreed to deliver that day. We had known for weeks that the babies were positioned transversely and that I would need to have a C-section.

The time leading up to and including the surgery was surreal. For months all I could think about was this moment and it had finally arrived. It didn’t seem real.

Because I’d eaten that morning, my doctor sent me to the hospital to wait. It was brutal; I was hungry and thirsty and had already waited on bed rest for four long months. How I wished we’d gone out to breakfast instead of grabbing a granola bar as we rushed out the door.

The surgery finally started around 5 p.m. It was very fast and before I knew it my first son, Austin Robert, had been born. Then I felt the strange sensation of my obstetrician reaching up under my rib cage to pull out my other son, Ryan Michael. She had her whole arm up there trying to get him out. He came out one minute later, and I was giddy from that moment on. I felt instantaneous joy and relief. I think I’d been in a bad mood for the previous nine months, and now I was just so happy.

Despite their early arrival, both babies were healthy and big. My recovery from the surgery and taking care of two adorable newborns was a breeze compared to the pregnancy. But what everyone says is true…it was all worth it.

— Karen Lynch lives in Huntington Beach, CA, with her family.

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