Knox & Avery: a positive twin birth story

The twins are officially 8 weeks old and I’m finally sitting down to share their birth story with you.

If you found this post via Google, rest assured – this is a positive twin birth story. I am so grateful for how it all went, so let’s dive in…

Knox & Avery: a positive twin birth story

A few things to keep in mind as you read this post:

  • I was carrying di/di twins (each had their own individual sac and placenta)
  • I have had two full-term pregnancies prior to this one
  • Both of these details set me up as a pretty good candidate for a “full-term” twin pregnancy and a vaginal delivery
  • Also, please know that I think ALL births are beautiful and miraculous, regardless of how babies come in to the world.

My twin pregnancy went as smooth as it possibly could have. There weren’t any complications or concerns during the pregnancy, and I do not take that for granted. I am so grateful to be able to say that!

The plan all along was to deliver the twins around 38 weeks as that tends to be an ideal gestation length for di/di twins. I set my mind on delivering them vaginally, but also knew to hold my plans lightly because there were so many factors at play.

The last few weeks of the pregnancy, Baby A was consistently head down, but Baby B kept flipping. A few days before I hit the 38 week mark, Baby B was transverse, which led to the first discussion of a C-section instead of the vaginal delivery I had been hoping for all along.

While my doctor was comfortable with breech deliveries, I was not a candidate for that type of procedure for one reason: Baby B was measuring bigger than Baby A. His concern was that I might not dilate enough to safely deliver Baby B  (the bigger baby) in a breech position.

A little disclaimer: there is nothing wrong with cesarian deliveries. I am in full support of whatever procedure is needed to bring babies safely into the world while keeping mom healthy as well. However, I LOVE giving birth (weird, I know) and really felt the need to advocate for myself to keep the focus on a vaginal delivery for these twins, if at all possible. C-section is much more common with twins, so I made sure to ask a lot of questions and continually express my wishes to deliver them vaginally – assuming our safety was not at risk.

We settled on a plan to deliver the babies at 38 weeks + 1 day, either by C-section or induction, depending on the position of the babies when I arrived at the hospital.

The night before was very strange. I’ve never gone in to the hospital by appointment knowing that I’d be having babies that day. In the past, I’ve always gone to the hospital when I was in active labor. Additionally, it was a weird feeling not knowing if I’d be giving birth vaginally or getting a C-section the next day. I was antsy and anxious about the whole thing, but trusting that God already knew how these little ones would be welcomed in to the world. I did my best to surrender my expectations and trust the process.

We arrived at the hospital at 5:15 am in the morning. I was really hoping that Baby B would be head down so I could be induced. When we checked in, the nurse said to prep me for a C-section. It felt like things were moving in that direction regardless of the baby’s position, so I made sure to speak up and let them know that I was hoping to be induced if Baby B was head down.

After getting prepped for a C-section (IV, a few medications, a few other pre-surgery tests), one of my doctors arrived to do an ultrasound and check on Baby B’s position. My husband and I held our breath as he performed the scan and much to our surprise, Baby B had flipped head down!

We were thrilled. Given the position of Baby B, the doctor was in support of trying for a vaginal delivery and sent us across the hall to start the induction process.

A positive twin birth story - natural delivery of fraternal twins // from Robin at The Balanced Life

Our midwife arrived and walked us through the process. She likes to do very slow and steady inductions (as opposed to going straight for high doses of Pitocin to get things moving quickly). She started me on Cervidil at 8:30 am and told me that some people start feeling contractions within 6-8 hours, for others it takes 12 hours, and if nothing was happening at 12 hours, then we would start a low dose of Pitocin to get things moving.

When we started the induction, I was 2 cm dilated. I started feeling small contractions after about 4 hours, but nothing crazy. I decided to take a nap and woke up around 3:30 pm due to stronger contractions. I was excited, but trying not to get overly excited in case they didn’t last or intensify.

Contractions came steadily for the next few hours. They were manageable with my deep breathing and hypnobirthing relaxation techniques. I was dropping in to relaxation during the contractions, but able to chit-chat and joke around in between them – not something I had ever experienced in my previous labors!

My midwife was watching things pick up, checked my cervix to find I was only at 4 cm, and decided that she’d stay put at the hospital for the rest of the day to keep an eye on me.

Around 8:30 pm, the contractions got stronger and stronger. I kept the room dark and silent as I breathed through each contraction. They were intense, but I was getting breaks in between, so I was able to manage them just fine without an epidural.

Note: choosing to NOT have an epidural was slightly risky in that if I had to go into an emergency C-section, they would probably have to put me under because there wouldn’t be time to do a full spinal block. This was a hard decision, but based on my previous deliveries, I trusted that my body would know exactly what to do and I chose to take the risk. I know how to deliver babies without an epidural and I was worried that if I got an epidural, I wouldn’t progress as quickly or know how to push them out as effectively. Thankfully, my midwife supported this choice and we proceeded without an epidural. 

Around 10:00 pm, my midwife checked again and I had dilated to 7-8 cm, so she asked the hospital staff to get the operating room ready for delivery.

It’s a standard procedure for twins to be delivered in the operating room, just in case they have to perform an emergency C-section. I knew this all along and also knew that there would be A LOT of people in the room – multiple doctors, a handful of labor & delivery nurses, NICU nurses for each baby, a respiratory therapist, anesthesiologist, and a few pediatricians.

My midwife also called in our other doctor (who happens to be her husband) to be there to perform a C-section if needed.

Even though both babies were head down, we knew that there was still potential for the plan to change at any minute.

After Baby A came out, the doctor would need to perform a quick ultrasound to confirm the position of Baby B. If Baby B went head down into the birth canal, then we could continue with vaginal delivery. If Baby B flipped after Baby A came out, the doctor would attempt to manually turn the baby. If that didn’t work or if anyone showed signs of distress, they would send my husband out of the room, put me under, and perform an emergency C-section.

I knew these potential risks beforehand and still chose to attempt a double vaginal delivery. I believed in my body and believed I could do it.

Okay, back to labor….

My contractions continued to intensify and they asked me to tell them when I felt “pushy” so we would have enough time to transfer to the operating room.

I quickly started to feel pressure on my tailbone and had a gut feeling that I needed to tell them it was time to hurry things up and get moving. I knew that once I felt that feeling, things were going to go fast.

By this point I was definitely in transition.

I was using my hypnobirthing relaxation techniques to make it through each contraction. I was in the zone as the doctors and nurses were rolling me through the halls and joking and chatting all around me. At first, I thought it was weird they were all chatting away, but then I felt grateful that everyone was in good spirits and lighthearted.

When we got into the OR, they moved me on to the operating table and it was the smallest and hardest bed I have ever been on! I made jokes about not being able to fit (but really…it was extremely narrow and my body was not). My tailbone was in excruciating pain with each contraction because of how hard the bed was.

Thankfully, I didn’t labor on that bed for long. Once we made it to the operating room, I was fully dilated and ready to push.

{Side note: on the way to the operating room I had the most amazing feeling that God, me and both babies were ready to work together and bring these babies into the world. It’s hard to explain, but it was such a powerful moment that gave me peace and confidence at just the right time.}

One reason I prefer giving birth without an epidural is because I am able to feel everything and work with my body and the contractions. When the contraction comes, I begin to push and when the contraction stops, I rest. After 2 contractions of pushing (equal to about 5-10 minutes of pushing), Baby A was born! My midwife placed the baby on my tummy. I heard the quietest little cry and only cried for a minute or two.

I wasn’t able to keep the baby on my tummy for long because the contractions continued and I really wanted to deliver Baby B while I was still in active labor.

The nurses passed Baby A to my husband, while I focused on delivering Baby B.

(Notice how I’m not saying which is the boy and which is the girl? We decided to not tell our kids who came first until their 18th birthday! :)) 

Immediately after Baby A came out, the doctor did an ultrasound and confirmed that Baby B was still head down and had dropped into the birth canal. Praise God! I think we all felt a sense of relief in that moment.

My contractions continued and 9 minutes later, after one contraction of pushing (equal to about 3 minutes of pushing), Baby B was born.

I cried with joy and relief as they placed the sweet baby on my chest. I couldn’t believe they were both here. I couldn’t believe I did it!

I held Baby B briefly, but the contractions continued to deliver the placentas, so I asked the nurse to hold the baby while I finished pushing. The placentas came out a few minutes later and I looked over to see my husband holding both of our beautiful babies. Such an incredible moment.

After a few steps to clean things up, they moved me back to my hospital bed (sweet relief!), handed me both babies, and rolled me back to our room for an hour of bonding.

Both babies latched on right away and nursed for about 45 minutes. The whole first hour feels a bit surreal and a bit blurry – but I was just so relieved and so happy that I was able to deliver both of them without any complications.

The babies were born on a Monday night and we were sent home from the hospital on Wednesday. We’ve been home for nearly 2 months now and are adjusting to life as a family of six. It’s as crazy as you would imagine!

Truthfully, the babies have been the easiest part of the whole transition. Keeping up with the 5-year-old and 3-year-old in the midst of it all has been the challenge. 🙂

I have so much more to share about this whole experience, but for now, this will do.

If you are pregnant with twins and reading this post, I hope you find this encouraging. I had an incredibly positive experience and I wish the same for you!

xo,

PS – If you’re in a similar season and are just starting to get back to exercise like I am, I hope you’ll join the Back to the Mat challenge! It’s 7 days of 15-minute Pilates workouts that you can do from the comfort of your own home! Click here to check it out and sign up!

 

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29 Comments
  1. Rachel 1 year ago

    So happy for you and your family that it was such a great pregnancy and birth! That’s amazing. I was just wondering what helps you the most during labor sans epidural? I’ve always thought that I’d like to have a natural birth and would love to know what helped you get through it. <3

    • Author
      Robin Long 1 year ago

      Hypnobirthing! I took classes before my daughter’s birth and then just brushed up on my skills prior to my next few births. I highly recommend finding a teacher and utilizing the tools in the book – regardless of how your birth goes it’s extremely helpful. 🙂

  2. Karen Rosentrater 1 year ago

    Praise God, indeed!! Tears of joy for you while reading this, Robin!! They are adorable & precious & such sweet little blessings! ❤💗💙

  3. Emily Kay 1 year ago

    So glad you got the both you wanted! I too love Birthing! Felt all of the emotions all over again from my births particularly my twins. Thanks for sharing your story!

  4. Victoria S 1 year ago

    What an empowering birth story and what a blessing that it went as smoothly and safely as possible. It is so important to be our own advocate. I love the plan to not tell them who came first! Can’t wait for your Back to the Mat challenge, loved your last challenge and your approach to health and fitness (along with the pretty backgrounds and your soothing voice, of course). Congratulations again on your beautiful babies, they are perfection.

  5. Maryellen 1 year ago

    Tears of joy as you share your story! What a mighty God we have to guide you through! May He continue to bless you all richly and ease the transition and adjustments of a family of 6.

  6. Janette 1 year ago

    Congratulations for such an amazing addition to your family. I too used my own technique of hypnotherapy, I’ve been using since I was a teen. Having a Doula was a wonderful experience, and like you I love the experience of giving birth. There’s no other feeling of such a miraculous gift a woman can go through, bringing life into the world.
    I wish your family love, happiness and abundance of beautiful memories throughout your lives.

  7. Susan 1 year ago

    I loved reading your story! I have b/g twins too (they will be 18 this month!!). Truly double blessings and double the joy!! It’s such a common question as to who was born first. Good luck on keeping that secret. 😉

  8. Kayla Jones 1 year ago

    Congratulations! What a beautiful story Robin. Praise God for his grace and hand over your pregnancy.

  9. Bethany 1 year ago

    What a beautiful story! I am pregnant with my first baby (just one), and have been praying to hear more positive stories, esp for delivering vaginally with no epidural. Thank you for sharing, I’m totally blessed by it! God is so good, praying I’m as attuned during labor as you were!

    • Author
      Robin Long 1 year ago

      Congratulations!! Be sure to read my other birth stories too! You can do it! 🙂

  10. Elisabeth Callahan 1 year ago

    So fun to read Robin! Congratulations!!!
    If you care to share, why did you and your husband decide to wait to tell them who was born first? Such a blessing you got to deliver them how you hoped. God is so good! 🙂

    • Author
      Robin Long 1 year ago

      Mostly just for fun. 🙂 But there is a bit of research that says knowing who came first can play out in the way the relate to one another and view themselves in life. But we mostly just did it for fun!

  11. Brenda Combs 1 year ago

    Congrats and many blessings to your family of 6. God is amazing! Thank you for all that you do. I’m always inspired to do your challenges. I love this one! Xo

  12. nabrown29 1 year ago

    As a mother of 4 and grandmother of 6, I enjoyed reading your birthing experience. God is good! I would imagine by now, the 2 big siblings are lots of help! Many blessings for you, your husband and family!

  13. Jane D. 1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing your story !
    What beautiful babies!

  14. amyhanson8 1 year ago

    How amazing! Congratulations! God is good 😊

  15. mmccoy01 1 year ago

    Congratulations on such a safe and beautiful birth! Thank you for sharing this amazing story of how your beautiful little ones came into the world!

  16. Sarah 1 year ago

    So proud of you; well done Mama. God is so kind! Continued prayers for health, healing, grace, joy and laughter over your family of 6!
    All the best, Sarah & family
    Ps my 8yr old daughter squealed with delight over your babies’ birth & first pics you shared 2 months ago. She often asks me how you’re doing- so sweet.

  17. Jen Weaver 1 year ago

    Beautiful birth story! As a nurse who is pursuing midwifery training/specialty it is so encouraging to hear a positive twin and vaginal birth story! I’ve been a part of incredible Singleton vaginal births and they truly are miraculous. One of my dreams is to be part of a twin vaginal birth like you experienced. 🙂 Praise God for a safety and health of both you and the babies! Thank you for sharing your story.

  18. sheila.forgham 1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience! I really enjoyed reading about the babies’ arrival. So glad all went so well!

  19. Kim 11 months ago

    Congratulations on your double blessings. My twins just turned 2 in Oct – vaginal delivery here too (but with an epidural – I don’t enjoy the labour pains so much). So amazing how the body just works to grow, sustain and birth two little humans. Good luck on this crazy ride. It’s oh so amazing.

  20. Whitney Schwope 10 months ago

    I’m pregnant with twins now and dealing with some fear in the midst of hoping for a natural birth, so thank you for sharing your story!

  21. Maggie 9 months ago

    Hey there, I listened to you interviewed on the live simply podcast, since I too have twins- 6 month girls here, I decided I’d better hunt you down. I just wanted to reiterate a few things that my doc wasn’t as clear about: 1) there really is so, so many people in the OR and the lights are so bright, kind of uneasing if you’ve labored in a regular birthing room prior to being moved to the OR 2) the transfer to the OR table to give birth was about the only time I cussed during the labor- that thing felt worse than a contraction and 3) I opted for an epidural port in case they did need to put me under, however I did not receive any medication. I don’t think I’d do that again because I ended up getting a spinal headache for a week after the girls were born, this made it even more difficult to nurse and love on those babies like I needed to.
    Thank you for sharing- not only your birthing story but you incredibly positive out look on mommyhood and body image. Cheers!

  22. Brooke 2 months ago

    Robin- I have followed you and done your Pilates since my daughter was born. I was able to deliver her naturally and have a beautiful (while grueling at times) birth with her. I am currently in your same position, a soon to be 3 and 5 yr old and am 32 weeks with di/di twins. And I have been doing a lot of research on twin births and trying to get as educated as I can, and I remembered seeing that you were pregnant with twins so I just had a feeling you had the birth I desire, so this post is so encouraging. My ob is really supportive and I plan to just try to advocate for myself and these babies as much as I can. Thank you for your encouragement.

    I was just wondering if there was anything you did at the end of pregnancy to help baby b flip. I haven’t done much exercise other than stretching due to back pain and fatigue.

    • Elisabeth Callahan 2 months ago

      Hi Brooke! Congratulations on your twins! So fun that you and Robin are in similar life stages. 🙂 Unfortunately, Robin doesn’t have any tips for you regarding how to flip baby B. Her baby just flipped on their own. We wish you a smooth delivery and recovery!

  23. Kim Kiernan 3 weeks ago

    Robin, I loved your birth story. I have 25 year old twins and my story was very similar to yours. I had worried s0 much that I would end up with a vaginal and a Cesarean birth but prayed very hard that I would deliver both my boys vaginally. I have an older son who had just turned 4 six days before our identical boys were born so, like you, I knew what my body could do. It’s amazing what the human body is capable of, isn’t it? I went into labor on my own at 38 weeks 4 days. Labor progressed very quickly, and I was able to deliver Baby A very quickly (he did need some oxygen due to mucus in his lungs), but Baby B almost had to be induced. I think he liked all the room he got after his brother was born! Finally, 15 minutes later, he decided it was time to make an entrance as well. Like you, I was so grateful to have two beautiful, healthy babies (each over 7 pounds), that it didn’t really matter how they arrived though. Twin momming is the best! I’ve met so many great moms because of our twins. Other twin (and triplet) mamas that know what it’s like to parent two babies. Your children are gorgeous, and you’ve survived an entire year! Wish I could say things get easier down the road, but all I can is things change, and having twins is an adventure like no other. Best Wishes!

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