As my wife outlined in the previous post about what your wife may feel before and during a C-section with twins, the story continues now with what happens right after your twins are born.
My wife continues in her own words (with my “Dad’s View” comments thrown in)…
Sewing Mommy Back Up
At this point with both boy #2 and the twin girls, I encouraged Joe to go with the babies. He really didn’t need to be around for me to get stitched up, and by going with the babies, he could keep taking pictures and video that I could look at later instead of both of us missing those first minutes.
Back in the OR, it took another 10-15 minutes for them to stitch me up. (It’s a lot of lying there just looking at the ceiling while you process a lot of emotion! But hang in there. You’ll see your babies again soon!) With the girls’ delivery, I asked the doctor ahead of time if they would show me the placenta before they threw it away. That was cool for me. The placenta was a lot bigger than I imagined and it was cool to see those two little umbilical cords coming out of it.
Dad’s View – Since I went out of the operating room with our girls I missed all of this. The next time I saw my wife she was wheeled into recovery and covered in a mountain of blankets.
Right After C-Section
After getting stitched up, I was wheeled to recovery for observation for about an hour. Then it was back to my room and I was able to get acquainted with my babies. After probably another hour, the feeling started coming back to my legs and I could wiggle my toes again. I had an IV and a catheter for the first 24 hours post-surgery.
The best advice I received was from my nurse with C-section #2. She told me my recovery would be quickest if I started moving around as soon as I could. I vaguely remembered being encouraged to move with my first surgery, and I didn’t. I just laid in bed unless I had to go to the bathroom. As a result, it took me nearly a month before I could walk like a normal person again without being all hunched over. So I took the advice with #2 and even though I was hooked up to the IV and cath, I would try to stand up with help every hour or two and take a few steps around my bed. As soon as the cath was out, I would walk around the room (with assistance for the first day) and to the bathroom and by day two or three, I was moving like a pro. So seriously, if you go the C-section route, move as much and as often as you can. I also did with the girls and had a great recovery with them.
Dad’s View: – Since surgery patients are at a high risk of falling, I made sure to be near so I could help my wife move around or go to the bathroom. This also helped her get in and out of bed more easily than if she had been alone.
Drug Side Effects
Some of the side effects of the drugs that go along with the spinal (that I experienced, anyway) are shaking, nausea, and itching. Once the delivery was over, they were able to give me something to help stop the shaking and the nausea. But I had insane itching for 24-48 hours after delivery that you just have to wait out until the meds are out of your system.
With the shaking, it was more like extreme shivering. Granted, the OR is C-O-L-D, so I wasn’t sure how much of the shaking was due to that, or if I was more nervous than I realized and the shaking was due to nerves. But when it still hadn’t stopped after delivery, I asked about it and they were able to give me something that stopped it pretty quickly.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Dad’s View – It was disturbing to see my wife shaking violently right after a major surgery. Fortunately, the medical staff got that under control quickly. The initial recovery room is where I really got to see my girls and study them for the first time (the operating room was so rushed) and help them meet their mom.
Other than having to hold a pillow on my stomach to brace it if I needed to cough, sneeze, or laugh for the first few days, it was not a bad recovery considering a C-section is a major surgery.
Try to stay ahead of your pain, as that will aid in your recovery. If you start to hurt, you’ve waited too long to ask for meds. And it may seem unlikely, but by the time your prescription for Percocet has been used up, you will be able to manage your pain with ibuprofen. I know it’s hard to compare to other women, but I think that even with a C-section, I have had an easier recovery than some friends who tore during a vaginal delivery and had to do the stitches, too.
Dad’s View – When my wife stayed ahead of the pain by taking the pain pills slightly ahead of schedule, everything went pretty smoothly. One of our first nights in the hospital post twin C-section, our nurse was giving my wife a lower than expected dosage because we apparently didn’t ask for more. My wife was in quite a bit of pain and very miserable. So don’t be afraid to ask! If your wife can’t, you do it! I kept a log of when she needed to take her medicine and that helped keep us on track even when we were sleep deprived.
You will be bandaged from hip to hip and when they take the bandage off, it will look like you were cut from hip to hip, too. But you really weren’t. Imagine blowing up a balloon and drawing a smiley face on it. When you deflate it, the smile gets a lot smaller. Same principle with your belly. By the time your body bounces back from the pregnancy, you will have about a 4″ long scar right along your lower abdomen.
I made it to 36 weeks and 3 days with our twin girls. We felt very lucky and very blessed that our girls were healthy and didn’t run into any problems. But there are lots of twin parents out there who have the NICU as some part of their hospital experience. Your twin delivery may very well be different from ours.
So bottom line here? Make sure you move around (sitting, standing, walking) as soon as you can after surgery and after that, as much as you can. And ask your doctor for clarification on the details if you really feel like you need to know play-by-play what is going to happen, since it may not happen for you exactly like it did for me.
I talk more about preparing for your twins’ delivery in Chapter Six of my book, the Dad’s Guide to Twins: How to Survive the Twin Pregnancy and Prepare for Your Twins.
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Picture by Nate Davis