Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Twin Dilemma (edited)

Twins have been on my mind a lot lately. No, I'm not pregnant with twins. Though I would be up for the challenge. No, what I've been wondering though is why are so many twin births c-sections? Why are so many twins born so prematurely that they have to stay in the NICU for months? Are all twin pregnancies that cursed?

A study I read stated that 50% of all twins are born via section. According to an side bit I read in 'The Week', twins have been on the rise since 1982. Partly due to IVF and now 1 out of 30 births is a twin birth.

That is astounding.

I understand that there are risks with twins that are not there with a single birth. The mother is more prone to high blood pressure, if they share a placenta there is a risk of deterioration, the position of the twins, etc. But for most twins to be born before 37 weeks is jaw dropping. 37 weeks is usually the magical number that most OB/GYN's want you to wait until having your scheduled section or induction. That seems like a very high risk on the babies part to force them into a world they are not ready for. Do the risks of keeping them inside outweigh the risks of them being born and being in a NICU with oxygen tubes, feeding tubes, UV lamps, incubators, and heaven knows what else? Then there is the issue of the mother herself. If twins run in her family naturally, than she may already be physically capable of carrying twins to term without complications. Yet, if she is a mother who had an IVF done, then there could be a host of things that are now in that kettle along with the complications that occur naturally with twins. We are talking age and health mostly. I'm not saying she shouldn't be trying to have children. I stating that she may not of been  physically capable to carry twins.

In a documentary on birth I was watching, there was a statement made that the older the medical book, the more informative it is on how births were attended and how mothers dealt with them. One Doctor wrote of an experience where he was called to help with a birth and when he arrived there were 2 sets of feet hanging out of the mother. He had to discern which ones went together, push one pair of feet back in and then birth them separately. Of course, being the time it was, sections were not common and not practiced. If birthing/carrying twins is that dangerous, did that many mothers/babies die that we didn't know about? What is the mortality rate today? Hopefully there isn't one, but that is almost like hoping the ocean isn't as salty as others have said it to be.

What baffles me greatly, is that I have seen and read natural birth stories of twins being born at home or in a hospital, so it does happen. But not often enough.  Everyone is now used to hearing about twins being born and weighing less than 5lbs. That has become accepted as the norm with twins, because of how they are being brought into the world. Yet, when you hear the stories of twins who were allowed to wait until they were ready (due) they come into the world over 5lbs. One story I heard, they were both 8lbs. What a healthy baby should weigh. When a single baby comes into the world at 5lbs or less, everyone worries if the baby is sick, if  the mother was ill, or if there were severe complications during the pregnancy. Once you mention they were twins, there is a sudden sigh of relief. "Oh, well that explains it."

How does that explain it? Why is that a relief? The babies still had to spend time in the NICU being treated the same way a single baby that weight would be treated. Why is it OKAY with us? Where did this mindset come from? Is it part of the "Heaven forbid she have to have them vaginally." syndrome that seems to overcome some of us?
 I simply cannot understand how our twins must be treated this way and the blas'e mindset that comes with it.
Twins are always premature, they are always small and that is just how it is.
What a sad thing to think and believe.

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