I genuinely don’t know where the time is going at the moment. Days and weeks just keep disappearing.
The twins have changed so much already, no longer are they squishy newborns. They want to sit and hold your hands to pull themselves up or roll to their sides. They can grab things and they babble to each other now. The pair of them are starting to enjoy tummy time, well once propped up on a roll so that they can see the world and grab and bat things. I build them a tower of sensory soft cubes and they delight in wacking them. They wriggle and kick to show excitement and they’re both starting to giggle now.
We’ve had our first colds and visit to the GP. Poor E was so snotty he was waking up coughing and I couldn’t sleep properly worrying about his breathing. We broke his feeds down to every two hours and sprayed his nostrils with saline before every feed and used a snufflebabe sucker to extract as much snot as we could. He’s still a bit snotty but he’s never stopped smiling or chatting away. He has however passes his snotty horrors to me and R but she doesn’t seem to care, she’s way too busy interacting with the world to be waylaid by a bit of snot. She’s one determined little girl.
I’m a little anxious about today, I’m taking R to the hospital for a heart scan as they’ve picked up a mumur, I’m sure it’s nothing. But after all we’ve been through I’m sick of hospitals. Hopefully, all will be fine and no further tests or medication will be necessary.
I’ve organised my return to work for December and they’ve agreed for me to work part time, three days a week and review in twelve months; although I can’t imagine working full-time for quite a few years. I’ve also agreed some KIT days so that the babies can get used to being looked after by someone else (grandma) and I more importantly, can get used to leaving them. I’m quickly realising that maternity pay is absolutely appalling, it’s no wonder very few people take a full year off. For the next three months the SMP will pay my portion of the mortgage only so I’ll be on hand outs from the hubby and I’ll have to be seriously frugal.
That said, we’re continuing Baby Yoga because it’s absolutely awesome and I love the group of people, it’s great in terms of engaging the babies – you can see their progress every week but I love taking to the other mums. I’ve even found a fellow IVF mum who cycled at my hospital at the same time. It’s great to see and hear the experiences of so many different mums, you can pick up little tips to try and you can ask questions and vent. We’re also continuing swimming, we’re aiming for every two weeks and I’ve even bought a new costume so that I’ll be more inclined to keep going as they get bigger.
We had our first evening out this weekend and my parents looked after the babies. We only had two drinks so weren’t worse for wear, the twins were super friendly and allowed us to have a lie in, it’s like they knew we needed it. Let’s hope they stay just as chilled as they hit four months as I know there’s a huge leap coming up and the one thing I hope is that they remain such good sleepers. Not that I need the sleep but I need the time when they’re asleep to prepare for the day – sterilising the bottles, doing the laundry, vacuuming, moping. They don’t nap much in the day and rarely at the same time so that two hour morning window is so important right now.
We’ve booked our first family holiday. A week in September, in a lovely cottage with loads of facilities on site – a petting farm, soft play, a park, heated pool and two hot tubs, it’s even dog friendly! We’re taking his parents so they can get a holiday and erm, do a bit of dog and baby sitting in the evenings, whilst we chill in a hot tub. I genuinely cannot wait. There are lots of things near by to do and the babies can have lots of firsts – beaches, animals, castles, National Trust properties. We just have to tackle the drive and the packing! Should be interesting – how much stuff do you have to pack for 7 month old twins? I think we may need to hire a minibus!
We’ve visited lots of lovely places over the years as a couple, with the fur baby (aka the dog), or with our lovely niece. We always had a nice time but we always yearned for our own children to share the experiences with. On previous occasions we’ve had to make do with imagining or imitating family life.
But this week was different, we’ve actually had lovely “family” adventures and done things we’d only ever dreamt about doing in the past. The babies can interact with the world now. They smile. They get excited. The track moving things and recognise sounds and people.
We kicked off our days out with a sunny Sunday. We enjoyed our first adventurous outdoor day with the twins. Now we’re geeks on the sly and love nothing more than going to a National Trust property, or country park and walking, or just enjoying the architecture and scenery.
It seemed a bit surreal in many ways – but there we were… finally, smiles from ear to ear, sprawled on a picnic mat, watching a fountain, a beautiful hall as our backdrop, just listening to the world. And our loveable little R and E were wriggling around excitedly on the mat, right there with us, or sat up between our legs. They were smiling and cooing and taking in the scenery. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy or so relaxed in years. Like everything had finally fallen into place. We also went to a deer park, one particular deer was very interested in our quiche, I thought the dog would protect us all but he hadn’t noticed the deer, he was far too busy begging! On Wednesday we went to Bolton Abbey, a place we’ve always loved, for a full day out. We actually went there when we knew we were pregnant with the twins and we dreamt about taking them there. The babies enjoyed watching the world from their UV pop up tent, whilst the dog swam in the river and we ate yet another picnic in the sun.
It’s been awesome but it’s funny. I thought that having the babies would cleanse away what we’d been through infertility-wise. A stupid thing to assume really. Especially as most people’s first question is, “Was it a surprise? Do twins run in your family?” Well, there’s no getting away from the truth. Most of the time I respond with a very matter of fact statement, “No, we had IVF”. Which generally stops any further questions. The real truth is that it wasn’t a surprise in any way, shape or form. We had two embies put back; a positive test within 6 days and we suspected twins from 3 weeks, when I an exceptionally high hormone level and the consultant looked most amused by my blood results. I’m not ashamed that we had IVF, I’m proud of what we achieved and overcame. Without IVF we’d undoubtedly be childless. But sometimes I just don’t feel like sharing that part of my life with random strangers. I have shared my story publicly on Facebook, not something I ever thought I’d do, but I wanted to take the opportunity to remind people that not everyone has a smooth journey to parenthood.
Speaking of difficult journeys, I still have a massive bag of 6 or so sharps boxes to dispose of (I had to continue to inject Fragmin until 6 weeks postpartum, I still ahve scarred, bruised thighs). I’m forever finding hospital appointment cards in bags that I haven’t used for a while, or in boxes when I’m going through paperwork. And then there’s an inscribed marker at the bottom of the garden in remembrance of the second round embies, who didn’t make it. There will always be reminders, some physical, some dates etched in my mind forever and most of the time I embrace them but sometimes it just makes me feel a little pang of sadness, that I can’t ignore.
I’m beyond grateful for R and E but make no mistake, it is not rainbows, sweetness and light every minute of the day. Having two tiny babies can be damn hard but those little smiles can melt your heart instantly and wash away an hour of collic screaming in a nanosecond.
We’re a family now and that’s all that we ever wanted and hoped for.
Wow, three months have passed in the blink of an eye and my loveable little monkeys have changed so much. They’re no longer helpless, squished up little things; who just eat, poo and sleep. They’re so big now; they’ve made huge leaps; they’re proper little people, with very different personalities. In fact they’ve just started to realise that each other are there and they’ve begun to interact and chatter away to each other.
I totally have a favourite part of our daily routine now. I love waking them up for their first proper feed at 10am, those gorgeous little smiles beaming up at me.
E is a little chatterbox, he’s found his voice and he loves having little conversations. I have no idea what he’s telling me but he always has a story. He’s not fussy about who he converses with he’ll natter away with anyone who’ll give him eye contact. The more you talk to him, the more he responds. He’s a very sweet little boy. He loves cuddles and now puts his arms out to be picked up and clings on when he’s being held. He’s a very sensitive little soul, he seems to talk to R to comfort her if she’s crying and he’s quite sensitive to loud noises and changes to the routine.
R is definitely the boss, she’s so sweet, to look at her you’d think butter wouldn’t melt but boy has she got a set of lungs and a bit of a temper. She seems to go from settled, play or sleep to being “hangry” in a nanosecond! She’s made her leaps much slower than E and is only just starting to make sounds, she almost seems to whisper. Her smile is enough to melt anyone’s heart though. Now she’s learnt how to smile no one stands a chance, she’ll have everyone she ever meets wrapped around that little finger, in a matter of seconds. She already has Grandpa wrapped round her finger. She seems to be fairly fearless, nothing phases her, she’s the one who’ll interact with toys first and she loves a bit of peaky boo and even gets giddy and preempts the boo!
We’ve had a lot of firsts recently. Recognising people. Smiles. Giggles. Making sounds and responding to stimulus and toys. Kicking to show excitement. Swimming. Yoga. Interacting with other babies.
Swimming was awesome, we were a bit anxious about taking them swimming but it would seem that E is a proper water baby, he loved it. He was talking away and kicking his legs, smiling when daddy whooshed him through the water. R wasn’t quite so sure, she roared (no exaggeration) when we went in the pool but then settled and seemed to take in her surroundings. They have toys and floats in the pool for baby splash time. There are lots of bright colours and all of the lights bouncing off the water. It was all fun and games, well it was, until I slipped and broke the peace. Thankfully daddy was able to rescue R as I submerged. That was it, hysteria kicked in and by the time she calmed down it was time to get out. I’ve never seen a baby so pleased to be towelled off and tucked up in her car blanket, within seconds she was snoring. It absolutely wiped the pair of them out, they had a four hour afternoon nap, which is unheard of.
Today we did our first baby group activity. I’ve been a bit anxious about booking a paid baby activity, it’s hard work getting two little people ready and out of the house for a set time and it’s tricky to find something that you can do with two babies.
We did our first yoga lesson of four and it was brilliant. E slept through the first 20 minutes and woke up mid-song with sharks eating little fishes, he must have wondered what the hell was going on but he soon got with the programme and joined in. The babies absolutely loved it and smiled constantly, there were quite a few trumps but no screaming, they were both really chilled out and I was one very proud mummy. I’d got two very happy babies fed, dressed and we arrived on time for a proper baby group activity. It was really good because I could work with both of them taking turns and the second half of the class the instructor demonstrated with R so that they could both have some one-to-one time. She was brilliant with R, who looked very pleased with herself, probably because she was facing everyone and could have a good nosey. I can’t wait to go back next week!
It was a day that I used to dread, especially this time last year after the second failed ICSI and before I even dared to dream that the third would begin and finally make me a Mum.
I found buying gifts and a card for my own mother difficult last year, reading the sentiments in the cards and watching Dads with their children picking out items, saying, “I think Mummy would like this”. I always found myself wondering if my hubby would ever get to go present/card shopping with our little ones. I remember making cards as a kid, and silly little handmade gifts or tokens for the washing up or vacuuming. It’s an important day, a day to be thankful for the people who loved you and raised you, not just Mums but Grandmas too.
This year I got to celebrate Mother’s day, with not just my own Mum, but my Mother in law and my very own two little people. The babies (via my hubby) suprised me with a very lovely card, flowers and a bracelet. Part of me wishes we’d just spent the day breathing in the babies and appreciating just them and how much love/fun/chaos they’ve already brought into our lives. Instead we invited both sets of our parents round for a late lunch, although they were all too busy fussing the babies to really appreciate how important it was to have them all there. Our families had given us so much support and it was an important day for them too, if the IVF hadn’t worked my parents would never have had the chance to be Grandparents – it was a thought that always upset me, so this time it was a day that I was grateful for what was. Nevertheless, it was tinged with what had gone before. After everyone had gone, I found myself thinking about the embryos that didn’t work in the 2nd cycle – the babies they might have been; about my friend who’d recently miscarried; all those still on the IVF rollercoaster who are still waiting for their babies and my colleagues who’d prematurely given birth to and then lost their own beautiful twins. It doesn’t matter how small the feet are or how fleeting the heart beats within, it matters. Perhaps the wounds suffered in search of Motherhood never heal, they just hurt less with time.
So to all of you who are still trying, still walking the path and tackling the bumps in the road, I know it hurts and sometimes the pain seems so intense that you can’t carry on – never give up hope. I found that it was only when I was broken, that I really started to heal and prepare for what the future would bring.
Our little world is a busy one these days, time flies by and days disappear.
I have no idea what happened to February, and even March is practically over too. The babies will be 7 weeks old on Friday, yet I still have to pinch myself every day, just to check that it’s actually real.
We’re into a routine of sorts, as far as feed times and awake times go, we’re down to 5-6 feeds in a 24 hour period. We’ve had some issues as E seems to be lactose intolerant, he was being sick and not putting on as much weight as he should have been (shouldn’t really be surprised, as I am lactose intolerant). He’s fine now he’s on comfort milk, although he does have ridiculously wiffy trumps now. R has colic and we’ve tried various drops in her milk but we’re using Dr Brown’s bottles now and that seems to have actually helped. She’d scream for hours in the evening, thankfully she seems much happier.
Now their issues are sorted, we seriously need to get quicker at the pre-bed feed. It’s always like a comedy of errors: the feed itself is usually quick, but then one piddles all over us and themselves, after just putting clean rompers on, prompting a 3rd outfit change; then one will be sick, whilst we’re putting them in their grobag; then you’ll realise you haven’t brought up bibs for the night feed or the nappies have run out and you need to go back downstairs. But we’re getting there, slowly.
They’ve changed so much already, in fact they’ve outgrown their newborn size outfits and they’re rapidly filling their upto 1 month rompers and vests. I washed and folded all of their newborn, tiny baby stuff to recycle and give to a charity, hopefully to someone who really needs it. It made me sad to think that they’ll never wear those things again. They were so tiny, especially R. I’ve saved their first outfits and the ones that they came home from hospital in. They’re so big now, they have even worn some proper outfits to go out in. They both smile now and make little chattering noises. They track me if I move around the room, they definitely know my voice. They watch us and interact with us; I absolutely love that. They have a bouncer each and both spend a good 20 minutes a day trying to grab the squirrel, part of me thinks they’re loving it and part of me thinks that they hate that bloody squirrel and it naffs them off that it always comes back when they whack it! So they’re growing and thriving, changing every day.
I, on the other hand, have made slow progress. I’m finally back to somewhere near normal. Well, I can drive and I can walk at a decent speed and for a decent distance. It seems to have been a challenge though to get properly mobile. Initially I had lots of fluid retention from all the IV drips and I could barely walk. My feet were so sore and swollen I could hardly bend them. I also struggled massively with a postoperative c-section infection and was on an array of antibiotics. I still get pangs here and there, if I’ve done too much.
It’s frustrating me at the moment, as I feel like a blimp. I lost over 2 stone initially but I’m stuck at 12 stone 5, which is a good 2 stone over my prepregnancy weight. I don’t look “fat” but I still look very pregnant, with a good 5 month singleton sized bump. Actually, someone offered me a seat on the tram at weekend when hubby and I ventured out for a meal, without the babies. I’m not sure who was more embarrassed, the well meaning passenger or me who joked it off by saying, “I’ve finished being pregnant thanks, I have 6 week old twins, this is just residual puppy fat.”
It didn’t bother me when I was stuck in the house lounging in comfy trackies and hoodies but now I’m out and about and people see me, it does. It bothers me more when the babies aren’t with me. When I’m pushing a double pram it’s obvious to see why I haven’t “snapped back”. Despite never sitting down and being constantly on the go, I don’t fit in my old clothes, I’m still in maternity tops and leggings – partially because my scar is quite tender but mainly because my hips/thighs/stomach and bust (the latter, is the one bit that I’m happy to keep) are much bigger than before. But there’s not a huge amount I can do about it. I’ve been warned not to do any strenous exercise as it’ll take longer for my uterus to contract completely and for the muscles/ligaments to heal after carrying two babies – so that’s no running then, the one thing that I’m desperate to do that would shift the weight fast.
Future plans? I’m hoping to go to baby yoga classes in 2 weeks when they’ve had their jabs and I’ve had the all clear. I’m also going to do baby massage and keep up with seeing all of my mat leave mummy friends (there are 5 of us with babies born within 2 weeks of each other) for walks, days out and lunch. It’s really nice seeing them and sharing stories as it certainly reassures me that I’m going losing it and that how I feel is completely normal.
The magic of hubby being on paternity leave flew by, our time together was seemingly over in an instant. But it was amazing. I really didn’t want it to end but I guess someone has to earn money to pay the mortgage. We ventured out to garden centres, cafes and parks, we even did a little bit of shopping at the Trafford Centre. It all felt very natural, like we’d always been a family.
Being a “proper” family is amazing, I’ve always thought of us and the dog as a little family unit, he is my baby and he’s a proper mummy’s boy. He came and sat between my legs when I got home from hospital and cuddled up to me on the sofa, he wasn’t interested in food or the babies, just cuddles with his mummy. After getting used to being back home (he went to live with the in-laws for a while, so we could do a phased introduction) the dog now loves them too and if they cry he sits by their moses basket or comes to lie near them if they’re on the play mat. He’s really cute with them. A proper little nanny woof, he looks really tired like he’s on watch/duty all the time to look after his pack.
Having the babies and watching them just absorb their surroundings and pull cute faces is priceless. I waited such a long time to just have babies to call my own, I find myself literally just staring at them, transfixed, wondering how on earth we made such beautiful and healthy babies.
I thought it would be really hard, juggling two babies; that I’d be sleep deprived and short tempered but it’s not like that at all. The babies now sleep in 3 to 4 hour sessions over night, so doing the last 3 nights alone, whilst hubby went back to work has actually been okay because I’ve had at least 6 hours sleep a night.
It’s funny because everyone you meet thinks that it must be a nightmare having twins, that we must be exhausted. But looking after two tiny babies is a doddle compared to my usual life of dealing with 200 unruly teenagers each day. At the moment, as long as the babies have full tummies, clean bums and puke free collars, then they’re completely chilled out. Unless there’s a dummy in Ellis’ ear or daddy did his nappy too loose and it’s leaked; then you know about it for 5 minutes whilst he absolutely screams, lip shaking and everything – unlike his little sister, he is a little bit mard. They occasionally cry in unison and I could do with an extra pair of hands but you surprise yourself and find yourself holding bottles with your nose and picking up dropped blankets or muslins with your toes.
We’re in a routine of sorts, especially in the morning. Hubby brings the babies downstairs at 7.15 and I have breakfast and get washed/changed/sterilise the bottles/tidy away the breakfast pots, meanwhile the babies sleep until 9ish. Then we have the first feed, clean nappies and daytime clothes, rather than rompers and we’re ready to face the day.
I feel a bit selfish but I’ve tried to keep family away a bit because I love my alone time with them. I actually feel really relaxed and calm when it’s just them and me. I’m a bit OCD to say the least and I like the routines of nappy changing and bottle making. However, well meaning family members who are meant to be helping, just seen to interfer and disrupt things, creating mess and doing things their way and not yours.
I couldn’t be happier to finally be a mum, it feels very natural and emotionally, I feel the best I have done in years. You can’t help but smile, when you have these two gorgeous little faces looking back at you. Even when they do crazy things, like shoot a fountain of poo across the room, you can’t help but actually be a little bit impressed – how do such tiny people produce so much poo and how, at just three weeks old, are they such a good aim?
*A backward glance at my birth journey. Stage three. The road to recovery.
Once back in the twin room things finally started to settle down.
We’d made it.
The sea of people receeded and it was just our little family and two midwives. Ruby fed again and the midwife helped me express for Ellis, as he was too exhausted to latch, he’d open his mouth but wouldn’t suck.
I found it really hard being tethered to the bed, held back by the catheter, I couldn’t see them or touch them. I felt jealous of my hubby being able to change their nappies and touch them when they whimpered. The time came for hubby to go and get a few hours of sleep, safe in the knowledge that we’d be there, eagerly waiting for his return. The night passed quickly, I slept here and there, the midwives attended to the babies’ every need and I agreed to them having top up feeds by syringe.
I was still bleeding quite heavily and feeling feverish, getting out of bed the next day was terrifying, the blood seemed to pour out as I stood up but I needed to be able to move about, I needed to look after my babies – I’d waited so long and now I was missing out.
The second time I was helped out of bed I decided that the midwife was right – I needed the catheter out. There was nothing to be sacred of. I needed to go to the toilet myself. I needed to get mobile and this would force me to.
Once freed from the bed, I started to feel more in control. I could start being a proper mum.
However, I continued to be treated under the sepsis protocol. It made me feel a bit like a toxic biohazard. Everyone was gloved and gowned. Even visitors had to go through the same rigmarole, including the visiting sets of proud grandparents. It didn’t taint their experience though, they were so excited. My mum leant to kiss me, putting weight on my stomach, completely forgetting I’d just had major surgery.
In the early hours we were moved to a side room on the delivery suit. We were a hit. It was a bit like being a celeb. Everyone loves twins, especially when they’re really cute.
In the morning Ellis latched for the first time, out of nowhere. It felt like he knew I was feeling a bit better. It was a bit chaotic, unlike the intimate moment in recovery where Ruby had latched. He has some timing my boy; he decided that it was time to have his moment with me, just at the point where his sister had decided that it was appropriate to be sick all over herself.
Help came from a guardian angel – the most fabulous Health Care Assistant. She sorted Ruby out and stayed with me, whilst Ellis fuelled up. Over the proceeding days she showed us how to bath them, she helped us move to the main ward, she came and chatted to me every so often and showed me a different way to wind them. She always had time and a smile. She made me feel really calm. Nothing was too much trouble. No question was too stupid.
We were eventually declared safe to touch and the barrier protocol was removed, this meant a final move to the main ward. A step closer to home. This was a scary thought for me though. I was feeling a bit insecure in my abilities as a mum, after a night of screaming. Ellis was realy mucusy and kept being sick, his wind was really hurting him and at times he arched his back in pain. It made me feel useless seeing him in pain and not being able to do anything to help.
I was now one of four mums in the room on the main ward, watching them gave me reassurance. I did sleep and the babies were generally settled and weren’t disturbed by the others. One woman was breastfeeding and her little one never seemed to come up for air, she was exhausted and frustrated and became snappy with the baby telling it to shut up. I promised myself that no matter how tired and sore I was I would never snap at the babies. Another lady was really sweet, I talked to her a lot and we exchanged stories and tips. It was nice to have someone there at night, the last few nights had been hard not because the babies were difficult but because I was so lonely.
The babies passed their physical, they called upon the microbiologist to sort out an antibiotic that I wouldn’t be allergic to (boy did I have fun and games with drugs in that place).
We we’re finally discharged on day 5. I was fast asleep when the midwife came to release us. I didn’t believe it at first. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t concentrate. I just cried. She went through my drugs, none of which I took in. Thankfully, hubby was writing it all down. I was excited to go home but also wondering what on earth it would be like to suddenly be on own with the babies.
Swolllen, battered and bruised – wearing flip flops as the snow fluttered in the air, we made our not too speedy escape. At the exit it was nice to feel the air on my skin. Finally I’d emerged from my cacoon and was ready to unfold my own wings.
I remember watching my hubby, he was holding not just two car seats; our entire future was in his hands.
*A backward glance at my birth journey. Stage two. The emergency c section.
It was all looking good – the epidural was easy, effective and straightforward – I very quickly got to 8cm dilated. We were relaxed, happily listening to their hearts pumping away; contractions getting stronger. After two hours, I was asked to try a push and the head descended a little suggesting that it wouldn’t be long now. At which point hubby was invited for a sneak preview – he got to see a good head of hair, dark hair. This was not what we were expecting, there’s a very strong ginger gene in both of our families. We joked that there must have been some mistake in the lab with our embies. It was really exciting. I wasn’t in any pain. I was ready to meet our family.
However, the mood soon changed a little when the midwife sought a second opinion after another internal examination, she thought that there was something near twin two’s head, a lump – queue panic – turned out to be the balloon from the catheter – panic over.
It was like a warm up for the real panic that set in soon after. My temperature had risen, I’d not slept, I was tired, I felt snotty and congested: I felt ill. Very quickly, his heartbeat started to drop off regularly. The midwife held my hand firmly, comforting me as I cried for fear of losing him. I was so scared, shaking uncontrollably, I couldn’t bare the though of getting so close and then having it taken away. I could not, would not, let that happen.
They took action swiftly, legs hoisted into stirrups, regular oxygen blood checks commenced on his scalp, every 30 or so minutes. My temperature continued to soar, out of nowhere I was sick – vomiting up over 900ml, most in a pot, some on me, some on the midwife. I hate being sick, it makes me cry and panic – I always fear that I’ll catch my throat and be unable to catch my breath. My temperature had reached 38.9 (I had a fever) but his blood results were fine, I was reassured by the staff that he was having us on, if there was anything to worry about we’d be in surgery. I was already on a sepsis protocol, pumped full of fluids and antibiotics; it was safe to continue.
We we’re told that we’d have another 40 minutes and an emergency c section was explained very thoroughly and calmly.
The final examination was done and I’d not progressed; the contractions weren’t strong enough to complete the job and I might not have the strength to then push both out. The decision was made to go ahead with the section before I became any weaker – the babies were fine – it was me that was at risk now. I’ve never seen Matt look more scared.
It wasn’t rushed. I expected lots of running and alarms but it was nothing like that. I had time to get my head around this change of plan.
I’d dreaded a section, it meant a longer recovery and would just make it more physically difficult to handle and care for two babies (driving/lifting/healing from surgery) but by this point I was relieved that it’d just be over.
The anaesthetist was absolutely amazing, I envisioned falling into a state of sheer panic when they wheeled me off but she kept me completely calm, I didn’t cry, I just breathed and talked to her throughout. There were so many people in the room, it was bright and the level of focus was intense. This was an operation of military precison, each person with a defined role – I liked the OCD of the checks and formal introductions. I found it reassuring. Meanwhile, poor hubby had been gowned up and waiting for 20 minutes, I can only imagine who terrified he was, all alone with no idea of what was going on. They’d warned him that he may not get to enter if I deteriorated and had to be given a GA. It must have been the longest 20 minutes of his life.
They’d already started when he was allowed in but thankfully he was by my side. It was surreal, I could see the expression on his face, I could feel the pulling and see the shapes through the curtain but I felt detached, like it was happening to someone else. I didn’t feel emotional. At one point the curtain dropped a little, hubby’s expression told me that there was a fair bit of gore the other side of that curtain. Good – that menat progress and moments later Ellis Daniel was born. Followed a minute later by Ruby May.
I was desperate to hear or see signs of life but hubby was right there seeing our little ones take their first breaths, being cleaned up, having their injections, being weighed and labelled. I’m sad that I missed those moments. I’m sad that out of the twelve or so people in the room, I was the last to see them. But when I did it was a sense of sheer relief.
They were perfect, they were huge. I still can’t get my head round how they both fitted in there! They were beautiful and I know everyone says that but it is true, we made really pretty babies. They were here. They were mine. They looked like minitures of my hubby and I, she was so beautiful, dainty and he was so robust and cute.
Aparently, I’d lost 1200ml of blood and needed a transfusion; they had a fight to contract my uterus, as I’m allergic to the drug that they’d usually use but they had it under control. My temperature and vital signs were sky high but I was in good hands.
Once in recovery I breastfed Ruby and it was amazing, I’d been shaking uncontrollably but I was so busy falling in love with her that I’d stopped shaking. They took her to put a cannula in her hand for the IV antibiotics, as a precaution, to protect her from any infection that I’d potentially passed on in the labour.
Finally, I was given my little man, with his poor little hand in slab and a IV line dangling across my chest. He had no interest in suckling, he just wanted to cuddle and I was more than happy to oblige. Hubby was handed both babies to cuddle and that was it. My little family. Our future.
All my hopes and dreams had finally come true.
*A backward glance at my birth journey. Stage one. Induction.
It all started so well…
Initial examination – cervix is soft, head is engaged, dilated already to 1cm. Beyond excited. Fantastic, I think to myself, they’re ready to come, they just need a little nudge. Pessary goes in and contractions start, I breath through them – this is easy!
Wrong! So unbelievably wrong.
Induction “day” had been and gone. Progress made? Sod all. Pain? Excruciating. Sleep? Practically none. Patience? Long since evaporated. Emotions? Fed up, miserable, terrified.
Why? What happened?
It’s a teaching hospital and students need to learn so I allowed student midwife (under strict supervision) to join in our journey. Massive mistake. Student midwife didn’t get the pessary in quite the right place, so despite 6 hours of strong contractions, ramping up to every 3 minutes (lots of excitement on our part), nothing was actually achieved. The internal examination done to discover this, was nothing short of torture. In fact, whilst drowning my pain in gas and air I very nearly passed out, whilst lead midwife rummaged around inside and reinserted the evil pessary. Fanny bullet, it is not! Two square, sharp tablets encased in gorse with a foot long tail, all of which is stuffed up there. I had no idea that it would be like that.
I was in shock and struggled to get my breath back under control, my heart was absolutely racing. The tears overwhelmed me and I felt foolish. Foolish for believing that this would be simple, easy or even remotely magical. Foolish for thinking that my shit body was coping well and firing on all cylinders. Then to top it off hubby was told to leave and come back tomorrow morning because I wasn’t in established labour.
The first lonely hour I clenched my fists, fought against the contractions and held my breath against the pain. More tears and a decent into panic. I can’t do this alone. I don’t want to do this alone. I’m failing at being a mum before they’ve even been born.
New midwife appears, just when I was ready to scream out and surrender to the agony. She sits with me, talking me down, refocusing my breathing, forcing me to let go of the tension/frustration/anger.
It works and I’m calm.
I’m still going through the motions of the crazy, unnatural contractions but I’m pretty sure tomorrow will be a repeat of today. I don’t think I’ve dilated successfully. So new pessary. 12 more hours of slow labour and no sleep to look forward to…
The next morning hubby is allowed back and I’ve never been so happy to see anyone in my whole life. Twin consult comes on the ward round, after an internal examination it would appear that I had moved on and was now 3cm dilated.
At 12.30 (a whole 24 hours after we’d started stage one) we were sent down to the labour suit.
Finally some progress.
But I wasn’t feeling great or excited – I was hot, exhausted and anxious. I’d expected it to be magical, not enjoyable as such but momentous!
However, it turned out that I was right to be scared…
Just a quick update. It’s been more than a little bit traumatic but I’m glad to say that we made it to the destination.
Ellis Daniel weighing 6lb 11 was born on February 3rd at 23:05 and Ruby May weighing in at 5lb 10 was born at 23:06 by emergency c section.
At some point I will start to write about the ins and outs of the induction, delivery, recovery in hospital and the first days at home. For now I’ll leave you with a picture of our precious little miracles.
Pain. Exhaustion. Sleep deprivation. Complications. All outweighed by the absolutely overwhelming feelings of love and adoration that we have for these two gorgeous little people. I’ve never been so besotted with anyone in my life and they are everything we ever hoped for.