Twin births are fragile and require special attention. Luckily, I received the right care at Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore.
I was extremely fortunate to have a smooth pregnancy. I had 2-3 days of mild morning sickness during my first trimester, traveled to the US during my 17th week, and experienced the predictable backaches and mild heartburn during my final few months. At 37 weeks–full term for twins, I delivered my babies via elective C section.
Before the birth
My husband and I went on tours of all three hospitals (tip: tour your prospective hospitals around month 4-5 of your pregnancy). The care at Mount Alvernia was supposed to be excellent, but we found the environment to be quite dreary. Thomson also has a good reputation, but the hospital was often crowded and a bit chaotic. We found Gleneagles to be the most mellow hospital of the three, and the staff were very friendly during our visit.
A few weeks before my expected due date (EDD, as they call it here), we pre-registered at Gleneagles. We brought a letter from my doctor and paid a sizeable deposit for our elective C section package (tip: ask for package price sheets for twins during your hospital tour; they vary greatly among hospitals).
My twins’ birth day
The morning of my C section, we arrived the hospital at 7am (having fasted for 10-12 hours in case I needed an emergency C section, which would require general anesthesia). We had booked a single room, but they were all occupied, so we were given a double (but paid for a single). This turned out to be fortunate because my husband was able to sleep in a bed during our three night stay. If we had received a single room, he would slept on an uncomfortable sofa bed.
Once we reached our room, I was immediately hooked up to a machine to monitor my babies’ heartbeats, which were steady. After a few more checks, I was wheeled into the operating theatre, while my husband waited outside. Throughout the morning, the nurses asked for my name and NRIC number several times–to make sure I was the correct patient?
I opted for an epidural, so the anesthesiologist injected my spine with a local anesthetic before administering the epidural. To this day, I seriously think he didn’t wait long enough for the anesthesia to kick in, because I felt the epidural and it was SO painful. I have a high pain tolerance, but I felt a burning, intense pain that I have tried to block from my memory since then.
After 15-20 minutes, I could no longer feel my lower body, and my gynae starting making THE incision. Suddenly I realised that my husband hadn’t been summoned into the operating theatre, so I panicked and asked for him. He finally came in just before my babies were born!
The whole birth was very fast; I felt some liquid between my legs and the anesthesiologist pushing hard onto my abdomen, and my baby girl was the first to arrive. Two minutes later, my baby boy emerged, and both babies were crying loudly–the first of many, many cries to come.
I held my babies for a few minutes for photos, and then my husband accompanied the pediatrician and nurses to the nursery, where they weighed my twins and cleaned them. For the next two hours, I did absolutely nothing. I waited for 30-40 minutes while my gynae stitched me up and then was wheeled into a recovery area, where I had to wait for my vital signs to normalise (and was asked for my name and NRIC number again and again).
Around noon, I returned to my room and was finally able to cuddle my twins. My husband and I were in total awe. The rest of the day was a blur. The twins were in an out of our room for checks and diaper changes while I was bedridden.
Breastfeeding at the hospital
We opted to have our twins sleep in the nursery while my husband and I rested in our room. My babies were brought in every 2-3 hours to latch and stimulate milk flow. The nurses who wheeled in the twins were different each time, and to be honest, none of them was particularly helpful with breastfeeding. There was a lactation consultant who came in twice a day, but she wasn’t too helpful, either. (Tip: find a few lactation consultants before you give birth and request a hospital visit.) My twins and I had a very difficult time, and I quickly developed an aversion to latching when my nipple cracked on the third day. But I diligently used a hospital grade pump in between nursing sessions, and by day 4, my colostrum came in.
Gleneagles had terrific food. I was on a soft diet for the first two days because of my C section, which can disrupt your bowels, making you extremely gassy and uncomfortable. My husband was also happy with his meals, which he preordered on an iPad.
Overall, our room was very comfortable. The bathroom was spacious and had Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries, and the hospital is walking distance to Tanglin Mall (very important, as they have a wide selection of mommy / baby necessities; my husband went there for several errands).
Our package included a limousine ride home, which was convenient. The car didn’t include car seats, though, so we asked the chauffeur to drive very slowly.
Tips for a smooth hospital stay
My husband and I only brought a small carry on suitcase to the hospital. I would recommend packing:
- Clothes for hubby and baby (onesies and swaddle blankets for the ride home) and a maternity dress (to minimise friction with your C section wound) for the ride home. During my stay, I wore my hospital gown every day.
- An abdominal binder, maternity pads, disposable underwear (all can be purchased from Watson’s).
- Basic toiletries. I didn’t shower during my stay because I was worried about my wound, but luckily I had dry shampoo.
- Phones, tablets, and chargers. Unless you have a flock of visitors, you will have a lot of down time, so preloaded games and movies will be useful, too.
Tips for C section recovery
Since I had a planned Caesarean, I researched recovery tips beforehand. Here is what worked for me:
- Walk the next day, if your doctor says it’s okay. Do the C section shuffle and take small steps. The movement and circulation will help you recover faster.
- Start off on a soft diet (which your gynae will probably order anyway) and see how your bowels react after the surgery. Some women become extremely constipated, so ask for a stool softener before you are discharged. I went #2 on day 3, which was quite good, but I was a bit gassy and constipated once I got home.
- Have a nurse accompany you to the restroom after your catheter is removed. My first pee was grossly bloody, and I couldn’t bend down. You will need a nurse to help clean up for a day or two.
- Rest as much as possible. Once you feel more comfortable at home, don’t lift anything heavier than your baby for the next month. Don’t pressure yourself to exclusively breastfeed. Focus on bonding with your twins and recovering from major surgery.
Overall, my birth experience at Gleneagles was excellent. Aside from the lack of breastfeeding guidance, we enjoyed our stay. My in laws marveled at the hotel-like environment and conveniences of the hospital. If I had to give birth again (which definitely won’t happen!), I wouldn’t hesitate to return to Gleneagles.