Trust Your Gut – A Twin Mom’s Birth Story
I’ll never forget being 30 weeks pregnant with twins and my OB springing some alarming news on me at
a routine checkup. He suspected I had preeclampsia and wanted to section me right away.
Say whaaaaaat? How could this be? My pregnancy had been going really well and I felt fine. Moreover,
my babies were supposed to bake for at least six weeks longer! So the thought of having them so
prematurely terrified me. Would they be big enough? Had their brains and lungs developed enough?
Would they be healthy?
All of these questions started swirling around in my head and I started to become fraught with anxiety.
My pregnancy history had not been a positive one. I had miscarried multiple times—one time to the
point of nearly hemorrhaging to death)—and conceiving had not been easy. I was also considered AMA
(advanced maternal age). So losing this pregnancy or having something happen to my precious babies
was NOT an option.
“Will my twins be okay?” I asked with tears streaming down my face.
“I can’t promise you that,” he responded matter-of-factly.
And with those words my heart sank deep into my chest. I didn’t want anything to happen to my babies
but I knew they were not ready to be born.
My OB, seeing how distraught I was, gave me a choice: 1) to let my OB team perform a C-section that
very day or 2) to be ambulanced to a women’s hospital that was two hours away so I could undergo
A little voice inside me said, “Go to the other hospital.”
So away I went, in the back of an ambulance, through snowy lake effect conditions (and with nothing on
me other than my purse) to the women’s hospital. Not only was I alone and scared, I was sad and feeling
sorry for myself. I was going to miss my baby shower: an occasion that I had been looking forward to for
I spent the next few days in the hospital with various specialists coming in and out of my room,
examining me, and asking me a battery of questions. Each had a different opinion on what was going on
with me. But on day three, I was given some great news: I in fact did not have preeclampsia or HELLP
syndrome, so they were sending me home and putting me on modified bed rest.
Woo hoo! What a relief. I gathered my things, waddled to the car with my husband, and drove for two
hours through a blanket of white snow. I was so happy to be going home, and during the drive all I could
think about is how I had made the right decision to not let them deliver me that day.
As it turns out, by trusting my gut I was able to get almost a month more out of my pregnancy, which
gave my twins valuable time to grow—and gave me time to mentally and physically prepare for their
Although their birth was not what I had envisioned—my water broke unexpectedly and I ended up
having a C-section in a sterile OR with over a dozen medical professionals present—the outcome was
exactly what I wanted: two healthy babies who were delivered without any complications.
Baby A was my beautiful daughter, Sydney Pearl, who weighed 4 pounds 6 ounces. Baby B was my
sweet son, Jake Coltrane, who weighed 3 pounds 9 ounces. Aside from being small, they were perfect.
I look back and wonder what would have happened if I had allowed my doctor to perform a C-section
weeks earlier. If I had bought into the fear and given in to my doctor’s pressure, my twins would have
weighed significantly less and might have had serious—and lasting—health complications. They might
have spent months in the NICU (instead of weeks like they did). They might not be the strong, healthy,
happy tweens that they are today.
I’m no soothsayer, and I’m certainly not a perinatal specialist, but my gut told me not to let my OB
operate on me that cold winter day. Thankfully, my intuition turned out be right and has served me well
countless times over the past 12 years. Like the day I decided to fire my pediatrician after she lectured
me for not feeding vegetables to my twins. They were 5 months old at the time and mostly on a diet of
breast milk and small amounts of fruit and oatmeal.
“They’re going to miss the boat!” she declared at Jake and Sydney’s well visit appointment.
The “boat?” I asked, feeling puzzled. “You mean the food boat?”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I mean,” she responded authoritatively, proceeding to tell me that if I didn’t
introduce the right foods at the right times, my twins would never like certain things and would grow up
to be diminutive.
Jake and Sydney had been growing steadily since birth, so her declaration made no sense to me. (I also
knew that in some countries, children are exclusively breastfed for a year before introducing solids.)
I went home that day and told my husband that I thought our pediatrician—one of the most revered
pediatricians in our community—was a nut job and I wanted to fire her. I just couldn’t shake the feeling
that her advice was off base and that I needed to RUN, not walk, to another provider.
Knowing there were some other things about the pediatrician that bothered us, he concurred. So I never
went back to that doctor again. We ended up taking the twins to our family practitioner, and I’m happy
we did! He was a kind and attentive doctor who didn’t throw edicts at me and engaged in collaborative
conversation during office visits. We actually discussed things; he wasn’t a holier-than-though authority
whom I should obey without question.
Making decisions can be hard, and often times there’s not a singular right path. But as a parent, relying
on your intuition and pairing it with your analytical skills is absolutely essential. So is surrounding
yourself with people who are respectful toward you, who openly listen to you, and who genuinely value
your thoughts and ideas. Let’s face it: there are scores of books out there on pregnancy and
parenting—and brilliant doctors you can consult—but you and only you are the expert on your body
and your children. Always remember that. If your gut is telling you something, there’s probably a good
So back to my twins really briefly … Even though we moved 600 miles away from the community where
they were born, I still fantasize about bringing them to the pediatrician’s office so I can show her my
“diminutive” children (you know, the ones who were going to be so short they were destined to be
jockeys). At 12.5, they both eat everything under the sun and are inching in on the 5’7” mark. They
might not be basketball players, but they’re sure as heck not unhealthy elfins like my doctor told me
they would be.
Trust your gut, mommas. You won’t regret it.
– Sherry Syence
Sherry Syence is an award-winning journalist, communications strategist, children’s health activist, and semi-professional baker. For the past 21 years, she has run Syence Communications, a boutique marketing, advertising and PR consultancy that specializes in serving nonprofit clients. Sherry lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and 12-year-old twins who, as preemies born at 33.5 weeks, sparked her deep passion for children’s wellness and parental rights. She loves being a mom, making organic creations in her kitchen, and engaging in volunteer work that emboldens youths and educates community members.