During my thirty-second week, I began having contractions and was one centimeter dilated. I was placed on bed rest and given terbutaline to stop my labor. Bed rest meant quitting my job and all exercise. Although my mind knew this was best for the babies and for myself, my body ached to move. I found some low-impact stretching exercises in books that were deemed safe for women on bed rest and began doing them daily. These exercises, coupled with a wonderfully relaxing prenatal massage, helped me make it through the remaining weeks.
Finally, at 38 weeks, I was admitted to the hospital for induction. During the previous week, I suffered severe upper abdominal pain, a symptom of a severe form of preeclampsia called HELLP syndrome or hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count. Throughout my labor, I was treated with magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures and with steroids to improve my blood-platelet count and liver function.
Labor and Twins
After nine hours of labor, our son Chance was born vaginally. Due to a prolapsed cord, his twin brother, Campbell, was delivered via emergency C-section. The boys each weighed five pounds, three ounces and were healthy.
I am convinced that a healthy attitude and lifestyle helped me carry my twins to term, as well as aided in a speedy recovery from HELLP syndrome and both types of deliveries.
What can you do to best care for yourself and increase your chances of a safe and successful double-duty delivery? Try these tips:
- Keep your medical appointments. Visiting your healthcare provider for regular monitoring can help reduce the risks associated with having twins.
- Pamper yourself. A prenatal massage is well worth the money and helps you stay calm and grounded. It's also important to take breaks during your day and get plenty of sleep at night. Your body is working extra hard to grow that extra baby.
- Join a twins organization. You'll have access to resources regarding multiple pregnancies, connect with other mothers of multiples, and have first dibs at great sales.
- If on bed rest, do some doctor-approved light exercises and gentle stretches. It will improve your circulation, prevent muscle cramps, and enhance your overall mood.
- Eat a healthy diet, which can lower your babies' risk of having low birth weight.