Monday, June 25, 2012

Twin babies born by c/section, one still in the caul. Amazing and very rare photo!

Thank you Rebecca for sharing your inspiring story and the incredible photographs of you and your babies!


 I had a c-section with twins. My story is one about struggling to do what is best for mama and babies within the confines of hospital setting.It is also a story about not being afraid to advocate for what you want in spite of a medical system designed to protect doctors and nurses at the expense of mamas and babies.

I put on 80 pounds during my pregnancy but walked at least 2 miles every day up until the day of the delivery. The doctors kept saying i should stop being active-but I felt this would be a sentence to high blood pressure, diabetes, and bed rest for sure. They heavily monitored my pregnancy, having me in weekly for scans and constantly threatened early delivery and bed rest, which did not make me want to show up for the scheduled appointments at all. 

Torn between wanting to be sure everything was going well, and wanting to be left alone completely, I always showed up. At my 30 week appointment, they did not let me leave, and admitted me for delivery. I was very angry and felt it was unfounded (it was based on one doctor's impression that a doppler reading was too high). None of the nurses on the floor could understand why I was there once I told them the doctor was threatening to deliver my babies so early based on one doppler reading. (Doppler readings display the blood flow from baby to placenta, and can vary day to day. I had offered to come back the following day for another test, and i t was then he said I could not leave). Though I was admitted and stayed overnight, the next day the supervising doctor came in and apologized for having kept me there against my will based on the other doctor's assessment and released me home. That doctor was taken off my birthing team and I was given a new one. All the nurses stopped in before I left to congratulate my on my successful avoidance of such an early delivery.

I had always wanted a home birth, but once we found out it was twins I knew that most likely I was doomed to a hospital setting. The scheduled me for a c-section at 36 weeks, and this was a battle I was not willing to fight. One thing I knew I wouldn't compromise on was breastfeeding my babies, no matter what. I considered myself lucky because we were in New Zealand, where there are midwives AND nurses on staff. 

Once they were delivered, eyes wide open, one still in the cull, I was able to give skin to skin. They were not put in NICU at all, thanks to the midwives advocating for us (and my stubborn disposition), and we went straight to our room together. There was an incubator to keep them warm since they were only 4 and 5 pounds each.

Once the morphine wore off I realized the nurses were coming in and force feeding formula to my babies through nose tubes. I explained I was only going to breastfeed my babies, and that at the hospital's request, I had pumped a lot of colostrum that was in the fridge in case the nurses needed it. I was told what they were doing was standard practice and that I could breastfeed after they formula fed.

I was livid, knowing that I would lose my supply if the babies weren't allowed to nurse on demand. The midwives were keen to my concerns and let me breastfeed instead of formula feed when the nurses were not on shift. When the night nurse realized what was happening, she got very angry and ordered an emergency glucose test on both babies, telling me my milk could not support their needs and I was hurting them by allowing them to nurse for longer than 20 minutes at a time, because if I had enough milk, they would not need to nurse for longer than that.

The tests, done at 3 am, came back fine. She left my room crying, so upset that she had caused me such stress and because I made her feel extremely bad for questioning such a natural process by explaining that though the hospital may have protocols to follow, I was not so sure that everyone would thrive under their protocols. Her supervisor came in for a visit and I successfully lobbied to have the nurses who wanted to formula feed through nose tubes banned from my room, the nose tubes removed, and was able to breastfeed my babies on demand, undisturbed. The midwives were thrilled, and many of them stopped in to thank me for being such a vocal advocate for breastfeeding. Instead of being made to feel bad for being so argumentative, they told me they wished more mamas would be firm in their desires for skin to skin and for nursing. We left the hospital 4 days later with the babies in tow. We took a train from the hospital to town and walked home. This too, of course, was against the hospital's best advice. 

I am glad I trusted my body and my intuition- because the pregnancy was trouble free and the babies healthy, despite an early delivery at 36 weeks. I understand that the medical community is there to ensure everyone survives, but I also think they assume there are problems when there may not be. My babies came out alert and healthy, rooting for the breast. I think it is a sad myth that babies born by c-section cannot breastfeed, or that the mama won't have milk. I hope that women everywhere can feel empowered enough to advocate for what they want for them and their babies. Please don't be afraid to argue and speak up for yourself and your babies!





55 comments:

  1. Wow!!! I cannot believe she is sitting Indian style after a c-section ..... after mine I could hardly squat to sit on the toilet for almost # weeks. Go mama!!! Great story!!

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    1. After my first c-section I couldn't do that, too. But after the second one (I had two c's because my babies didn't come out after the labours had began) was no problem to sit like that.

      Miriam
      (www.naehbastelkochtante.wordpress.com)

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    2. I couldn't sit like that after my first c-section but my second and third I could do it no problem.

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  2. what a story...why was the baby still in the sac? my last son was a c-section and due to all the loss of blood I did not have the energy to nurse well until 14 hours after he was born...my milk came in fine, and they never even attempted formula on him...I delivered two babies at that hospital and they were very pro breastfeeding, but also relaxed if the babies slept...my 3 child slept through the night the second night and they didn't wake him or freak, they just let us all rest...oh and both boys are CHUNKS!!

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    1. A baby born in the caul is simply a variation of _normal_. It's traditionally considered to be a sign of good luck, being favored by deity or fortune.

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  3. I had 4 babies via c sections, and breastfed ALL 4 of them. Not one of them would take a bottle and I was fine with that. My first one weaned himself off at 15 months, my 2nd at 17 months, 3rd at 20 months and my 4th fed til she was 23 months. I loved your story- Be the Change. :) And Congrats on your twins!!!

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  4. That is so wonderful that you were able to fight to breastfeed your twins! We made sure that all of the nurses & Doctors knew I wanted to breastfeed my twins & they were given formula several times! They kept the babies for around an hour & a half after my csection (they were perfectly healthy) & I was not educated enough on breastfeeding to know how hard to fight for it. I have successfully breastfed my last two babies but still feel guilty for not fighting & trying harder to give my babies what was best for us all! More mommas need to know that they have a right to fight for their babies & themselves! Great job & enjoy those twins!

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  5. I had twins 3 years ago and I had to fight to breast feed them. They were c-section babies born at 35 weeks. I admire your guts! :)

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  6. Congratulations! Lots of love to you and your twins.

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  7. I always remind women of something I think its too easy to forget (especially for medical staff) - we are the customer!

    I had a nurse try to tell me that my newborn son would be getting toddler milk since I was still nursing my toddler. Hello? I know my body. My milk had dried up around 20 weeks and my colostrum had been in for at least 4 before our son was born. The nurse was shocked, but couldn't argue.

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  8. Awesome story & GREAT for you to stand up for you and your babies! I celebrate your stand! Thank you.

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  9. I love this story! God bless her for being such an advocate for her babies. I have wanted twins since I was 12, and this story didn't help that desire at all. lol! My husband might pass out if we have twins next, as we already have two wonderful little boys. Thank you for sharing!!!

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  10. A great story to read! It's so hard to envision the baby inside yourself...that picture really struck me. I was in awe realizing that's how my little girl was inside me. Very cool.

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  11. So glad you stood up for yourself and did what you knew was best. I had two beautiful hospital births with only midwives present. Never saw a doctor during pregnancy or delivery. It is a shame that the medical community interferes so often where it is not necessary, I hope that your story showed some of those involved that there is another way other than 'protocol!' Perhaps even a better way! All the best x

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  12. I hope you don't mind but I found your story so amazing I had to add a link to your blog here http://realitysfineline.wordpress.com/

    I, myself, am a mother of twins but was able to have a vaginal birth. I love all birthing stories but especially those of other mother's of multiples.

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing. Until I read ur story, I didn't even know babies could be born in the caul. Great pic & educational material I plan to share with my 10 & 11 yr old since they have Soooo many questions about our twin pregnancy. U presented a beautiful story of life. Way to advocate :)) Best wishes to all of you! :))

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  14. You go girl!! I too knew for sure that i wanted to breastfeed and after having my daughter via c-section had to fight to have the tube removed!! She was down in nicu so that was a whole different battle. But i breastfed for two years with no problems besides the nurses! Good for you for sticking to your guns! Beautiful pictures!

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  15. Wonderful story! I have had 5 babies, have experienced both c-sec and natural birth and breastfed (no bottles) all of boys from birth up to 18-22 months. What works for some doesn't always work for others and I'm glad that women are standing up for what they believe and want for their children. :)

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  16. That's an amazing picture!!!

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  17. what is the name of the baby in the birth sac?

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  18. Yay for twin feeding! That caul photo is beautiful.

    I birthed my twins in National Women's in Auckland. Despite working VERY hard to pump after each feed to make sure we could do supplemental feeds with EBM, they made up the top-up bottles with formula without telling me.

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  19. wow! beautiful and amazing :)

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  20. Just another reason to avoid hospitals that are not recognised as baby friendly. I had a natural and C-section birth, both in the public system, within a 'baby friendly' hospital. Breastfeeding is not only encouraged but recommended and supported... The funny part is that this hospital that was clearly not a baby friendly hospital will cause more harm than good with such anti-baby protocols! Disgraceful! On the other hand. I adore these photos and have seen your pic with Bub still in Caul floating around cyberspace. One of the most awesome pics ever!!!

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  21. Beautiful pictures & wonderful story. A few details of her Twin Pregnancy would be most welcome.

    The Chorionicity of her pregnancy was inadvertently not mentioned, "MoDi" or "DiDi" denoting the "The Number of Placentas", as all you Learned Moms are well aware. There are Special Precautions that need to be taken in the Prudent Management of a MoDi Identical Twin Pregnancy.

    These Pregnancies comprise some one-third (1/3) or 33% of All Twin Pregnancies. In MoDi the twins Share a Single Placenta. Fourteen Percent (14%), or One in Seven, of these MoDi Pregnancies will suffer from Twin Twin Transfusion Syndrome TTTS, which has a Very High Mortality Rate. This 1 in 7 figure is for Chronic TTTS.

    In "Chronic TTTS" the shared placenta's Natural State of Balance is Upset. It is said this happens when a capillary-sized artery from one twin ("Donor") happens to connect with a vein from the other twin ("Recipient"). This condition throws the Amnio-Fluid Levels Highly Off Balance, & the twins' circulation suffers as well, one twin Too Much, the other Too Little. This can prove Lethal to Both Twins, as it did to my Morgan & Brian.

    There are approximately Four Thousand Seven Hundred (4700) MoDi Identical Twin Pregnancies affected by "Chronic TTTS" in North America alone, per year.

    An additional Three to Five Percent (3-5%) of these MoDi Twin Pregnancies are At High Risk for "Acute TTTS", a Separate & Distinct problem from the aforementioned "Chronic" TTTS, which occurs when a blood clot get's caught in the Shared Zone of the Single Placenta & changes it's Flow pattern from Balanced to a Highly Transfusing State. It is similar to Heart Attack or Ischemic Stroke in it's action. This one is Deadly. Double Survival is Rare from this one, & it can be avoided by Scheduled Induct. or CSec. in Weeks 35 or 36.

    Approximately 300 cases of Acute TTTS per year in North America, it gives No Warning At All.

    TTTS is something MoDi Moms Need to Watch Out For. Ultrasound every 2 weeks is Essential in MoDi, more often if Any Imbalance is Seen.

    If Imbalance of Any Important Metric (Size, Weight, Amnio-Fluid MVP) between the babies, over 20%, is detected, Add a Perinatologist or Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist to your Team, & get Their Perspective to Help Guide You.

    Discordance in MoDi is many times a Terrible Portent. it should be watched out for & Respected for the murderer it can suddenly Become.

    Thanks ladies.

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    1. Thank you for posting all that info. I have ID twins and had chronic TTTS with them. At 26 weeks we had the laser ablation surgery with Dr. DeLia in Wisconsin which, in essence, cauterizes the connecting vessels (we had several). In addition I also had a large vesa previa (a blood vessel in the placenta which lies directly on the cervix - had I gone into labor the vessel would've likely burst & my babies bled out within seconds, not even minutes, as it was a large vessel). I am so grateful for the care I received from all the staff, but I had a distinct advantage of working with VERY pro-baby medical professionals. I was one of the lucky ones. :)

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  22. What an INCREDIBLE picture. I first saw the picture of the baby in the caul on FB, can't believe they took it down! How crazy. Congrats on the birth of your twins! You are amazing and an inspiration!

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  23. Huge Congrats on the safe arrival of your twins. As a pre and post pregnancy exercise specialist in NZ I would love to know which hospital you went to as this is a disgrace and something none of my clients have experienced

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  24. It is crazy that they insisted on creating preemies...... what was the reasoning behind delivering the babies at 36 weeks?

    My oldest daughter had twins that were full term, and weighed each over 7 pounds.... and she exclusively breastfed them until they were ready for solids, around seven months.

    Good for you for fighting for breastfeeding!

    Amazing picture of baby still in the sac, I didn't know that was possible.

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  25. Love this entire post. No one will advocate for babies like their mama :) Go Rebecca!

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  26. I love this story! My mother had twins 20 years ago, born at 33 weeks, they were 4 & 5 pounds respectively, and she successfully breastfed them until they were two! Awesome story!

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  27. Hola sus fotos me parecen impresionantes y con su permiso las comparto en mi blog http://rincondeluruguayo.blogspot.com
    Felicidades por sus gemelos !!!!

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  28. Awesome story I love when people takes control. Everybody should follow this example they are your babies you are the boss. And I can't believe how hospitals feel they have control of you , in case they don't know we are the ones that hire the, for their service and we should be able to decide when we don't want that service no more.

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  29. good for you mama! Congrats on the twins. In USA, the problem with diverting from 'protocol' is in the US, if something goes wrong than there is almost always a lawsuit. Doctor's pay a HUGE sum of money for liability insurance that we have lost some good doctors especially in small towns that have stopped taking care of pregnancies altogether cause they can't afford the insurance. If a woman asserts their wishes and something goes wrong, than that woman can sue the doctor saying that the doctor should have followed protocol, see what I mean? Sad, as it hurts everyone all around. Glad it turned out great for you.

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  30. Thank you for your wonderful story and being such an advocate and showing what parents can do, even within the strict medical protocols. And your babies are beautiful!

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  31. What a great story and good for you for fighting...though I have had 3 babies by c-section, breast fed all 3 from birth with no fight at all. It was encouraged. My youngest one had low blood sugar when she was born (I had gestational diabetes with her) and they ASKED me if they could give her a little formula with a dropper to raise her sugar (I was still in the OR). of course I said yes, it would help her not hurt her. She was my star nurser out of all 3 of my children. She wouldn't touch a bottle and I weened her off. She would have nursed forever if I left it up to her but I also had to be able to leave her for long periods of time and I couldn't have her with me all of the time.
    As for your doctor...he should loose his license..not all docs are like that I have had 3 phenomenal OBs. All very supportive of my and my choices. I hope for you that you have a great experience with staff next time.

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  32. Thank you for sharing this story! So delighted to hear that this mama was able to breastfeed her babies. It's truly inspiring to learn about another woman willing to fight for a fair, woman-centered birth experience. We work for this at Midwife International by training midwives who are equipped to work in resource-constrained regions around the world. For more information, please visit http://midwifeinternational.org/midwife-training/.

    Thank you for all that you do!!

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  33. Congratulations! Great story and good for you. I'm sure you will inspire other moms to follow your lead.

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  34. A mother has that internal instinct.. I love your story!

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  35. Beautiful, Magical and so Inspiring. Go Mumma!
    Yes, a wonderful example of speaking up and speaking out.
    :)
    Blessings!

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  36. Hi there, I am also interested in which hospital you delivered, as it certainly goes against breastfeeding friendly initiative which I am sure all hospitals in NZ have to comply by. My own son was in the PICU at Starship after birth (intubated and hence unable to breastfeed), and they specifically asked my permission to top him up with formula via NG tube before actually doing it (I was expressing and actually caught up very quick , they only topped him up the once, and all the rest of his feeds were EBM via NG tube). Expressing and breastfeeding were definitely supported at Auckland Womens, it was never even assumed that I would formula feed, i had a pump within 24 hours as luckily my milk came in very fast.

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  37. congrats to you and what lucky babies!!! Mother like you made me feel like there is hope yet. I was also almost robbed of my birthing plan but was so lucky to have midwifes there to support and encourage me every step of the way, especially with regard to breastfeeding. My son is 15 months old and still breastfed. Enjoy your babies and the bond you are creating with them.

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  38. I'm just seeing this story now from FB. What a wonderful story!!! Congrats for fighting soooo hard! I have a daughter and a son (not twins) but I had to fight to breastfeed them both. The hospital that I was at claimed to be pro-breastfeeding, but the nurses didn't support it at all. I even asked to talk to a lactation specialist and the nurse told me no. When I got home I called the le leche league and got help that way. I nursed my daughter for 13 months and my son is only 10 months and we are going strong! Congrats again! I hope your story goes around the world so future Mommy's know it's okay to fight for what they want for their baby's.

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  39. This is a beautiful and inspiring story! It is so sad to think that we have to advocate for the natural process when as women and mother we know what is best for our babies! Thank you for being so vocal and for helping other women have the courage to do the same.

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  40. i hope rebecca reads these comments, this is so awe inspiring! i am in love with this story, and the incredible photos. what a powerful message, i dont know what else to say, except I LOVE THIS!

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  41. just saw this pic on FB -- this is me! lol, we were born vaginally, but I'm the second twin and was born in the caul. <3 So of course, I had to read...this story is very empowering, thank you.

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  42. I had to deliver my second child by way of c-section since she was diagnosed with Spina Bifida. We were in NICU for 2 weeks and I was pumping all the time, exclusively breastfeeding which was noted on my chart. A temporary nurse who was filling in decided to give my Elly formula, I informed her supervisor and she was quickly repromanded and taken off our service. Mothers know best.

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  43. I found this post to be very educational. Thank you for broadening my knowledge of this subject. I'm looking forward on seeing his one of his concerts again! No doubt its a great piece of writing as well. Thanks

    How To Make Babies Sleep

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