katarina with her twins, for which she wrote two birth plans

2 Plans for 2 Babies: How Katarina Prepared for Her Twins’ Births

By Stacey Feintuch
January 04, 2024

Katarina Dos Santos, 31, who lives in Orlando, is a planner. She relies heavily on her calendar and to-do lists. So it’s no surprise she wanted to draft a plan for the births of her twin boy and girl, Adelino (Lino) and Luna. This would help her prepare for her c-section delivery and postpartum care.

Here, Katarina shares her c-section birth plan and the details of her twins’ births.

Why Katarina Wrote a Birth Plan

katarina dos santos

When Katarina and her husband, Adelino, learned they were having twins, they were in shock. “Twins run in my family,” she says. “But it’s not something we were planning or anticipating. It took me by surprise.”

While she was pregnant, one baby was smaller and at the bottom of her uterus. The other baby was bigger and at the top. Katarina worried the bigger baby would be harder to deliver vaginally. So, she elected to schedule a c-section, which was supported by her ob-gyn.

To get ready to welcome twins, Katarina hired a doula named Ericka to provide postpartum support. Ericka gave her a template to make a birth plan.

Together with Ericka and Adelino, Katarina also wrote a postpartum at-home plan. This second plan was important to her because her mother and sister would be visiting from out of town after the babies’ births. She wanted to make sure everyone would be on the same page.

The postpartum plan focused on everyone’s roles at Katarina’s home. That included who’d do the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Katarina even labeled her kitchen cabinets, so her family members could find things while she rested and recovered from her c-section.

“I find it therapeutic and comforting just to be able to write it all down,” she says. “I find it comfortable being able to plan things.”

Katarina’s Birth Plan

katarina's birth plan page one

katarina's birth plan page two

Katarina’s twins c-section birth plan was meant to be shared with her medical care team. It included the following preferences for her time in the hospital:

C-Section Details

  • Music playlist: Katarina had a playlist of music she wanted played in the operating room. It had songs that made her happy, had meaning to her and her husband, or were her favorites. These songs included Waffle House and Summer Baby by the Jonas Brothers, I Drink Wine by Adele, and Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton.
  • Cesarean incision preferences: Katarina asked for a horizontal c-section incision, placed as low as possible and double-sutured with surgical glue. That was something her doula had suggested would be best for her.

Post-Birth Details and Procedures

  • Delayed cord clamping: Waiting to clamp the umbilical cords can be beneficial for newborn babies.
  • Skin-to-skin contact: Katarina wanted to hold the babies after their birth, with Adelino’s help.
  • Breastfeeding: She wanted to be able to nurse the babies as soon as possible after delivery.
  • Placenta encapsulation: She planned to have the placentas preserved so they could be dried and made into pills. The plan said that the hospital staff would give the placentas to Adelino, who’d pass them to the doula. The doula would be in charge of having them made into pills.
  • Circumcision: She wanted her baby boy to be circumcised at the hospital during their stay.

Newborn Baby Care

  • Medical permission: Katarina asked that the babies not be given supplements or vaccines without consent.
  • Discussion of procedures: She wanted to make sure the doctors and nurses would discuss things like offering formula or sugar water to the babies, or giving them eye ointment, before these procedures were done.

Katarina’s Postpartum At-Home Plan

The separate, postpartum plan was given to Katarina’s family. In addition to cleaning, errands, and household tasks, it also included details she preferred for her recovery and movement; baby feeding, diapering, and sleeping; and other household logistics.

A few highlights of the plan were that:

  • Cooking duties would be shared by family members.
  • Adelino would do laundry or hire a laundry service.
  • Katarina would stay upstairs during her c-section recovery.
  • Adelino and the babies’ grandma would bathe the babies.

Katarina’s Birth Story

katarina's sleeping twin babies

When Katarina was 37 weeks pregnant, she was about to enter an office building on her way to a work function. But she had awful pain, shortness of breath, and a paralyzing sensation. “It stopped me in my tracks, but no one was around.”

Finally, some women came out of the building. “I told them ‘I think I’m going into labor.’” They called 911 and a security guard brought her a chair. Paramedics arrived and took her to the hospital.

At the Hospital

Katarina’s vital signs were reviewed. Her water hadn’t broken, and all her tests were normal. But she had elevated protein in her urine, which can be an early sign of preeclampsia. This is a pregnancy condition characterized by high blood pressure. When preeclampsia is diagnosed late in pregnancy, doctors often recommend delivering the baby or babies.

She was admitted to the hospital but delivering her babies wasn’t considered an emergency. So she waited until the next morning. During that time, she couldn’t eat or drink and she was checked on every hour. She says she became cranky and hungry.

Finally, the labor and delivery nurses prepped Katarina for surgery. She shared her birth plan with them. The birth plan made its way into the operating room and the nurses there read it too. Katarina mentioned that she wanted her placentas encapsulated and delayed cord clamping. She was asked to sign a placenta consent form before she was given anesthesia (pain medication).

The nurses saw on the birth plan that she wanted music. But she realized that her playlist of happy tunes didn’t feel like a good fit in the moment. “I was feeling anxious and nervous, and my music was joyous. It wasn’t relaxing music,” she says.

Welcoming Twins

Katarina doesn’t remember much about her babies’ births. She had a strong, negative reaction to the anesthesia. It made her nauseous and loopy. “I am very sensitive to anesthesia. I wasn’t really there,” she says. “I was in and out of blacking out.”

Because she didn’t feel well, she decided not to hold the babies right away. “I elected not to hold them, even though that was in my birth plan,” she says. “I was too out of it.” Adelino took many videos and pictures to document the births.

Recovering from Birth

After Katarina was taken to a recovery room, she started to feel a bit better and held her babies. “I was happy but I was still a little numb to it all,” she says.

As planned, Adelino gave the two placentas to the doula Ericka, who had them made into 250 pills.

A couple things did change from the birth plan though. Katarina changed her mind about having her son circumcised right away at the hospital. Instead, she had him circumcised at another hospital a few weeks later.

Also, she had planned to use a belly binder but decided she didn’t want to wear it while she was lying in bed.

“The birth plan was to help me feel calm and feel like there was a plan in place,” she says. “Sometimes things can’t be controlled. I tried to maintain some flexibility.”

Postpartum Life

katarina's smiling twin babies

After arriving at home with the twins, Katarina was glad she had family around to help her adjust to her new normal.

Her mom and sister stayed in her house for two weeks. Her grandmother stayed for a few days during that time too.

But things didn’t go exactly how she wrote it in the postpartum plan. “The plan wasn’t really followed at all,” she says. “They all pitched in and we figured it out. I was also a little more mobile than I thought I would be. So, I didn’t really stick to my plan either!”

That doesn’t bother her though. “I’m glad I wrote it because it eased my concerns at the time.”

As for life with two babies, there’s “no rest for the weary,” jokes Katarina. It helps that the twins seem to share a bond. “When I get them in the morning, they’re always right next to each other.”

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