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We Had a Planned C-section Due to Triplets

Vaginal delivery was not an option due to there being triplets. As a MD I was not going to debate this as my goal was if possible for the babies to be born safely and to be healthy, and for me to be safe and healthy. Our planned C-section date (determined by MFM MD) was June 28, 2022. Due to staffing shortages thanks to COVID and other issues, we were delayed until June 29, 2022, so our delivery was exactly at 35 weeks 0 days. The babies and I were completely stable and there was no indication that my body was even considering going into labour.

I had an excellent experience. I was given a spinal anesthetic. My spouse and I both agreed that he should not be in the OR as he has an issue with blood and we didn't need any more potential patients in the room! Instead he was next door where the babies were monitored as they were delivered. That turned out to be the best place for him and he loved his experience.

I am grateful for the spinal as I was conscious as the babies were delivered. During my residency I had been at the other end assisting the surgeon in deliveries during obs/gyn rotations. This time, being on the receiving end was interesting: I did not feel any discomfort and only mild tugging as babies were being removed from me, etc. Everything was explained to me as things were being done. I was able to ask the anesthetist questions as they came up.

Once the deliveries started, I was told "look left," I would look to the left and I would see each baby for a quick second right after delivery, and then they were quickly given to the neonatology team. Thankfully all were born relatively stable with good APGAR scores.

So, my birth story was fairly text book (thankfully), but I would like to mention a couple of key points that might help others:

  1. Trust your obs/gyn / maternal fetal medicine specialist: their only goal is a safe and healthy mom and safe and healthy babies. Even as a MD I trusted their guidance regarding due date, vaginal vs c-section, etc. They know the evidence and they also have years if not decades of experience.

  2. Birth plan: if you want to have a birth plan, do one but be prepared to abandon it and adapt to the circumstances at hand. Again as a MD who had seen different experiences and outcomes during my training, my sole goal was healthy babies and for me to survive and be healthy. I may be overly pragmatic but I didn't bother with a birth plan.

  3. Health care system in Canada is under significant strain and this may present challenges in interesting ways: Not only was my due date delayed due to staffing challenges, but probably most importantly, it had a lasting effect on my breastfeeding/ lactation journey: due to the delay I ended up delivering on a Wednesday afternoon before Canada Day (Friday) holiday. This turned out to be critical, because on the Thursday, my nurse wasn't too fazed that the only LC was at the other hospital campus that day. The next day was Canada Day (holiday), and also the same day my babies were transferred to another hospital because they no longer needed NICU and just needed a nursery step-down unit. There, the LC didn't work on weekends. So I only met with a LC five days after delivery. Also, I believe due to staffing shortages, there was almost no emphasis on skin-to-skin time, kangaroo, latching, etc. If I could give any advice to anyone who wants to breastfeed, chest-feed, and/or pump exclusively or not exclusively: try to meet with a LC before you deliver, join Facebook groups, seek out websites and information, read a book. I had got one library book by a well-known breastfeeding advocate, however it was dismissive about pumping and thus I stopped reading it. My babies are now 7 months (6 corrected) and I'm -still- trying to establish a better milk supply, for health reasons but also formula is sometimes hard to find and for multiples is expensive (they go through one can less than every two days at $30 a pop).

My Birth Story Shared by MBC Member and triplet mom Jennifer Purdy

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