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Narrator: Twenty-eight weeks ago, Jennifer and Mike, two practicing medical doctors, got the surprise of their lives.
Jennifer: I just went in for a routine ultrasound at about nine weeks, ten weeks. As soon as the image came up, I knew it was twins.
Mike: It was… shocking. We kinda were both at a loss for words…
Jennifer: That's like the image that's burned into both of our brains.
Narrator: Dr. Joseph Castelli is Jennifer's obstetrician.
Doctor: Twin births are more common today than they were years ago because of reproductive assistance.
Narrator: Today, one in 32 births is a twin birth. This is mainly because more people are using fertility treatments, like drugs that spur the release of multiple eggs or in vitro fertilization, in which more than one embryo is implanted in order to increase the chance of a successful pregnancy.
Jennifer and Mike's twins were conceived spontaneously.
There are two main types of twins:
Fraternal twins, or twins who come from two separate fertilized eggs and who share genes just as regular siblings do, and
Identical twins, or twins who come from a single fertilized egg that splits into two and who have exactly the same genes.
Mike: We're having identical twin girls.
Jennifer: I don't even think it's hit us yet. I don't think it'll hit me until I see them.
While many twin pregnancies are delivered at full term, it's more common for twins to be delivered early.
Labor complications are also more likely with twins.
Doctor: The most common two complications are problems with the baby's heart rate during the labor that would require a delivery sooner than… by c-section. Or a failure to progress because of the physicality of the babies in the womb.
In many cases, both twins can be delivered vaginally if the first baby is facing head-down.
Jennifer's most recent ultrasound shows that Baby A is in a breech, or bottom-first, position. This poses a problem for delivery.
A breech twin is rarely able to shift into a head-first position late in pregnancy because there's not much room in Mom's crowded uterus.
Because Jennifer's now at week 37 – considered full-term for twins – Dr. Castelli has decided it's best to schedule a cesarean, or c-section.
Jennifer: It is a little disappointing just cause the recovery period I know will be longer.
Mike: We both want what's best for the babies. We were hoping to do the vaginal delivery route, just because it's easier on Jen.
Mike: It's 6:30 in the morning on Wednesday, February 18.
With Mike at her side, Jennifer's being prepped for her c-section at Bryn Mawr Hospital. First she's given IV fluids to prepare her body for surgery. Dr. Castelli arrives to confirm by ultrasound that Baby A is still breech.
Doctor: Baby A is still presenting in a breech presentation with the butt down here and the body over here and the head up here. And then Baby B is presenting with the head over here. So, we're going to do a c-section.
Narrator: Next, each twin's heart rate is monitored.
Nurse: We watch the babies for about half an hour.
Narrator: Jennifer walks herself into the operating room, sits on the table, and receives a spinal block from an anesthesiologist to numb her body from the waist down.
In most hospitals, twins are delivered in an operating room even if they're going to be delivered vaginally.
The operating room is prepared for potential emergencies – it's staffed with multiple doctors and nurses and stocked with lifesaving equipment and medication.
The first incision is made. Jennifer's doctor carefully cuts through layers of tissue and muscle.
In two minutes, he reaches the uterus. The first amniotic sac, holding Baby A, is slit open.
Doctor: Here's Baby A.
Narrator: As expected, Baby A is delivered bottom-first.
After being suctioned, she's carried to the warming table to be cleaned and examined from head to toe.
Less than a minute later, Baby B is delivered, arriving head-first.
Each baby gets her own nurse and warming bed. The neonatologist examines the twins.
Mike: Baby A is Adelaide and Baby B is Charlotte.
It takes a few minutes for Adelaide and Charlotte to be cleaned and weighed. They both weigh in at 5 pounds, 13 ounces. Next, Jennifer's placenta is delivered, with two visible umbilical cords and two sacs.
In 40 minutes, the surgery is complete and Jennifer is moved to the recovery room, where she holds her daughters for the first time.
Jennifer: It was surreal. It went very fast. Everybody kept us calm, and they were out before we knew it. We were wondering how long it would take to be able to tell them apart, but the more we're looking at them, the easier it's getting
Doctor: She did great. She had a great pregnancy. It was a blessing for everybody in the room and we are all real happy for them. And we're glad that we could be a part of their pregnancy.
And now all the fun begins, right?