l’ll start by saying that I’m quite an anxious person. Naturally, when I found out that I was pregnant I googled EVERYTHING and binge watched ‘One born every minute’. I felt prepared for the worst-case scenario (You know…all the tearing, stitches and other fun side effects of pushing a baby out of your hoo-ha). I had also formed very strong opinions and what I did/didn’t want when it came down giving birth.
In reality, I ended up conceiving twins. Which basically meant that I had to throw that lovely birth plan out the window and just hold on for the ride…
I had a terrible time being pregnant. I had morning sickness throughout, gained a whopping 38kg and had a short cervix which resulted in a hospital stay at 26 weeks. I spent 10 days in hospital on strict bed rest, before I was allowed home – still on bed rest, just what the Doctors call ‘Modified bed rest’. I think in hindsight, being at home was worse on some level. I was only allowed to get up and move for very short periods of time (I used that time to change my clothes occasionally and on trips to the bathroom; which were very frequent) so it really did bother me that I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t go to work. I couldn’t clean the house. I couldn’t prep the nursery or go shopping for baby items as I had envisioned doing when I was pregnant. I was literally laying around just getting fat (I don’t know how I managed to do this, with all the vomiting) and indulging in some serious binge watching of TV shows. (This is also the time I developed a little crush on Harvey Spector, anyone with me?!
And so it began…
I woke up around midnight on an ordinary Monday night with painful cramping. My first thought? I need to poo. Yup, that’s what I thought. It did not cross my mind, that at 36.3 weeks pregnant, I may just be ready to pop the little critters out.
So, in thinking I simply needed to use the bathroom, I wasn’t alarmed. After 15 minutes of continued cramps and no luck in the bathroom, I decided to try to get back to sleep.
It worked for about 10 minutes. I woke again to the same painful cramps. Still, the term ‘labour’ did not occur to me.
I paced (paced, waddled… same thing!) up and down the hallway, rubbing my huge stomach for the better part of an hour.
Eventually I woke my partner and told him I was in pain and that it seemed to be increasing.
He sat up in bed and said “We should call the hospital”
Well, what a practical thought that was!
My brain suddenly pulled itself from under the rock it had been hiding under and came to the realization that I may just be in labour (Yes, I know. Not my best work)
We called the hospital and I was told to come in for monitoring.
So off we went, arriving at around 2am.
I was laid up in a hospital bed with 2 straps around my belly for monitoring contractions.
Midwives came and went throughout the morning, no one really that fazed by my contractions. They told me I wasn’t in ‘active labour’ and wasn’t dilated at all.
Still, they kept me there for around 4 hours, taking bloods and checking my nether region every now and then.
I won’t say the contractions were utterly painful, but they were like immense period cramping and then some. I could manage it but I was at the point of pure exhaustion (I had been awake since 2am. As a heavily pregnant woman, this is like torture).
Just when I thought I was at my wits end, the doctor walked in.
Hooray! Was she here to tell me I can move to the birthing suite now? Lets get this show on the road!
In fact, she told me the opposite. In she walked, with her little clipboard, and announced that I could ‘probably go home’.
PROBABLY GO HOME? Was she crazy?
She left the room abruptly, probably to go ruin someone else’s day.
I remember being terribly irritable at that point. I was a huge, hormonal pregnant woman; and they were about to send me on my way.
Just when I was about to utterly lose my marbles, the Doctor walked back in to my room. Apparently my blood results just came back. Apparently I had preeclampsia. Apparently, I was going to be taken to the theatre immediately to give birth to the twins.
That irritated, cranky woman who was ready to rage just minutes earlier, crawled right back into her box and started shaking in her little boots.
My heart was beating out of my chest.
Once the shock of that news sunk it, I felt immense relief. I can’t fully explain the pain I was in being pregnant. I’m only 161cm tall, so carrying around an extra 38kg on my frame was extremely taxing. I was just about as wide as I am tall!
At that point, the doctor told Lyle that she would arrange for a midwife to bring him some scrubs and she would book a theatre room for my emergency C-Section right away.
I remember slightly freaking out when I was wheeled into that cold, sterile and very blue theatre room. There were around 12 people in the room (due to the fact that it was an emergency C-section and I was about to deliver premature twins) It was quite overwhelming. I was about to be cut open and have my two little babes pulled out. Were they going to be OK? Have I kept them inside long enough to be as healthy as possible? What will their genders be?
And then… I heard a few of the nurses talking amongst themselves. “So, did you end up seeing Dave yesterday?”
“Oh yeah, I’m meeting him for lunch today too!”
Now, part of me starting panicking and I remember being concerned that Nurse Tania was very preoccupied with thoughts of her impending lunch date with Dave. Did she not realize that I was about to have my whole world turned upside down, and here she was, talking about DAVE?! (Did I mention I was very hormonal?)
I eventually calmed down once I realized that I was already on the bed and the Anesthetist was prepping me for the epidural. Maybe I was thankful for Nurse Tania, she had distracted me from the fact that I was about to have quite a large needle inserted into my back.
The anesthetist asked me to sit on the edge of the bed and “Curl over as much as you can”. I remember thinking for someone with his education, he should have known that it was simply impossible for me to ‘Curl’ at all, seeing as though I had a belly the size of two over-inflated basketballs. None the less, I humored him and leant forward slightly (It was really all I could do) and before I knew it, it was done.
If I’m being honest, my memory is quite hazy after this point. The drugs had really taken affect and my head was up in the clouds. I remember feeling really light and if you believe Lyle and several other people in the room; insisted that I was actually floating mid- air.
No one tells you that you’ll be delirious. That you’ll be consumed by a huge need to just sleep. I was fighting to keep my eyes open when my surgeon announced that it was time.
I was told that I would feel quite a lot of pressure, but I shouldn’t feel any pain. Thankfully, I barely felt anything at all and before I knew it, I heard an ear-piercing cry.
Miss Jada Lee had made her very loud entrance into the world. All 5lb 4oz of her. All my treating midwives/doctors had had bets on that Jada (aka twin A) was a boy, as she was always causing havoc in the womb (Breech, cord presentation, stretch marks on the side of my belly she was on ONLY) so they were all surprised to see her!
Approximately 2 minutes later, my little boy Marley Jaye arrived. 5lb 6oz.
Unfortunately, Marley needed assistance breathing and was rushed off after I was allowed a 2 second glimpse at him. He was taken straight into an incubator and was hooked up to a CPAP machine to help him breathe.
The nurses rolled his incubator by me on the way out, he had to go straight to NICU for extra care.
In the meantime, Jada was wrapped up and laid beside my face. I remember feeling so incredibly happy and blown away by her. She was perfect.
I was lost in a newborn baby induced haze at that point and I was stitched up and taken into a recovery suite.
The whole process was over within an hour.
I was able to have Jada with me for a short time whilst I stayed there for an hour or so, where I was able to try nursing. Unfortunately, she didn’t take to it at all and her body temperature had dropped so she was taken to the SCN (Special care nursery) to go into an incubator to normalize her temperature.
From this point on I felt completely and utterly empty. Physically, yes. Emotionally, even more so. I had just had my babies and yet neither of them were with me.
After a short time in recovery, I was wheeled up to my suite in the Mothers wing to rest. I asked the nurses constantly when I could see my babies. I was told that at that time, I couldn’t.
I was still completely numb from the waist down, so I couldn’t be moved into a wheelchair yet. The twins couldn’t come to me because they were in NICU/SCN, respectively. I just had to wait.
I gave birth at 10:24am. I didn’t get to see my babies again till 9:30pm that night.
It was definitely the longest afternoon of my life. Sitting in a bed, feeling helpless. I was sick with worry. I felt like I hadn’t even met them properly yet and I remember feeling a deep twist of jealousy in my gut towards to nurses who were with them. Already, they had more time with my babies than I had. It also played on my mind that they were not together. They were in completely different rooms.
I sent Lyle down various times throughout the day to be with them. He would go between their rooms, taking photos and bringing them back up to show me.
By the time I was finally able to move into a wheelchair, we went down to see Marley first. He was the tiniest little thing I had ever seen. He was in the smallest nappy available, and still it almost reached his little shoulders. I wasn’t able to hold him, as his breathing still wasn’t stable enough to be taken off the CPAP machine. I stayed sitting beside him for as long as I was allowed, just staring at him in awe, before we went down the hall to see Jada.
We stayed for a few hours, properly meeting and bonding with our baby girl, before I had to go back upstairs for my own checkup with my midwife.
Thankfully I was able to get a decent sleep and felt immense relief that morning had come so I could go and spend every minute with my babies. Before I did that however, my midwife told me that I had to get to my feet and shower.
Now, I won’t go into all the details of this; but, I honestly felt like my insides suddenly weighed 50kg and they were all about to fall out of my hoo-ha! It was an immense feeling that I won’t forget easily.
After showering and having my Mum dress me (Ah the mothering never ends) we went downstairs to see Jada & Marley.
They were doing well and Marley was breathing well all on his own. This meant that he was taken off of the CPAP machine and could be moved into a little twin bed with Jada in the SCN. It was an absolute relief to see them back together. They even both turned their little heads to face one another.
The twins were kept in the SCN for 11 days, with myself being discharged after 3 days.
At the time, I felt cheated. I felt like the NICU had stolen away the joy I was supposed to be feeling. I didn’t get to hold my babies when they were first born. I missed any skin on skin. I was apart from them for almost 12 hours when they were born. I wasn’t even able to hold Marley till he was one day old. I have no birth photos together with both twins.
It was far from the birth I had envisioned. It was a roller coaster of fear, worry and uncertainty.
But now? Well you see, I know now. I know that it doesn’t matter how they get here, just so long as they do.
As hard as the whole experience was I am eternally grateful to be a Twin Mama; and as the saying goes – I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
The Twin Mama Diaries x