Birth Story Of The Week – Heather and her Twins Felicity and Caitlin

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“Having read Holly Shawyer’s (an old school friend) blog about her home birth with Mabel, I had a strong desire to share my very different birth story, which was somewhat traumatic but with a happy ending.
 
I knew early on that mine would be a very different story, because I was expecting twins. No home birth for me, not even the midwife led birthing unit and birthing pool. I was marked as high risk and was expected to deliver in the hospital delivery suite, where I would be hooked up to plenty of monitors to ensure both babies stayed well throughout labour. I had been to all the NCT classes and was hopeful that even though it might not be a text book labour, I would at least have some opportunity to follow a birth plan.
But my little girls had other ideas… at 30+6 weeks pregnant, with my husband away on business in Malaysia, they decided to put in an appearance. We knew that with twins there was a likelihood of premature labour, but we hadn’t realised how premature. With perhaps some sort of subconscious foresight, I chose to stay with my parents that night. With no sign that anything was wrong I went to bed, but was woken at 12.30am when my waters went with a gush. With my Dad muttering that he thought he was done and dusted with midnight dashes to the hospital, both parents rushed me to the hospital, whilst I rang James to tell him he needed a plane home!
At the hospital they were incredibly reassuring and even managed to get me to relax a bit. It didn’t seem like I was having contractions so they were hopeful that they might be able to get me to hold on until James got back. However, when they had a look they found a foot already on it’s way out! At 3cm dilated there wasn’t enough room for them to come out safely even though they were tiny. So a c-section it was and because my blood pressure was so high, it had to be under general anaesthetic. They pushed the button and suddenly the room filled with 20 people. My mum was whisked out, someone undressed me and gowned me and I was wheeled down the corridor, yelling that I couldn’t lie on my back due to pelvic girdle pain. Before I knew it I was asleep and then awake again. Two and a half hours from my waters breaking to the arrival of my girls.
An anxious time followed whilst a kindly midwife reassured me I would soon see my baby. I had to keep checking there were definitely still two babies, panic increasing each time she referred to “your baby”. But after what felt like forever, they wheeled me on my bed into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and pointed at two incubators, telling me they were mine. They reassured me that 1.3kg (3lb) was a good weight, that they were healthy and that they expected them to do well.
It was another 24 hours before I saw them again, as I lay recovering on the post-natal ward listening to everyone else’s babies scream. I had high blood pressure and low iron levels. But 24 hours after they arrived, my husband appeared by my bedside and we went to visit them together and were able to name them Felicity and Caitlin. Holding them for the first time, tucked against your skin inside your shirt, whilst they are connected to what feels like hundreds of tubes and monitors, is the most amazing experience. Panicking each time the monitors bleeped, whilst the nurses continued to reassure you all was well.
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They spent six weeks in special care and the nurses and doctors were amazing, never forgetting that although they were providing the twenty-four hour care, we were the parents.
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They came home at 6 weeks old, still 3 weeks before full-term and weighing 4lbs and we couldn’t be more grateful for the care they received there. Now 5 months old and weighing 11lbs our little miracles are thriving.”
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Pre-Eclampsia

Lady Sybil

How tragic to see the lovely Lady Sybil lose her life to such a treatable illness, eclampsia in last nights episode of Downton Abbey. I’m sure for those who watched it found it just as difficult to see her family witness her having an eclamptic fit whilst the family doctor watched on in horror as there was nothing he could do to save her. Luckily in this day and age, pre-eclampsia is a managable condition and with the right detection and diagnosis situations such as these are extremely rare.

Pre-eclampsia is a condition that only occurs during pregnancy. It causes high blood pressure and it also causes protein to leak from your kidneys into your urine. This can be detected by testing your urine for protein. Pre-eclampsia usually comes on sometime after the 20th week of your pregnancy and gets better within six weeks of you giving birth. The severity can vary. Pre-eclampsia can cause complications for you as the mother, for your baby, or for both of you. The more severe the condition becomes, the greater the risk that complications will develop. Somewhere between 2 and 8 in 100 pregnant women develop pre-eclampsia.

Eclampsia is a type of seizure (a fit or convulsion) which is a life-threatening complication of pregnancy. Less than 1 in 100 women with pre-eclampsia develop eclampsia. So, most women with pre-eclampsia do not progress to have eclampsia. However, a main aim of treatment and care of women with pre-eclampsia is to prevent eclampsia and other possible complications.

Your midwife will want you to produce a urine sample at every antenatal appointment

She will also check your blood pressure

And measure the fundal height of your bump

The severity of pre-eclampsia is usually (but not always) related to your blood pressure level. You may have no symptoms at first, or if you only have mildly raised blood pressure and a small amount of protein in your urine. If pre-eclampsia becomes worse, one or more of the following symptoms may develop. Contact your midwife urgently if any of these occur:

  • Severe headaches that do not go away.
  • Problems with your vision, such as blurred vision, flashing lights or spots in front of your eyes.
  • Abdominal (tummy) pain. The pain that occurs with pre-eclampsia tends to be mainly in the upper part of your abdomen, just below your ribs, especially on your right side.
  • Vomiting later in your pregnancy (not the morning sickness of early pregnancy).
  • Sudden swelling or puffiness of your hands, face or feet.
  • Not being able to feel your baby move as much.
  • Just not feeling right.

In the case of Lady Sybil, many opportunities were missed by the family doctor, Dr Clarkson to detect pre-eclampsia. She was heard complaining of abdominal pain, swollen ankles and a serve headache despite her doctor quoting ‘Lady Sybil is just a healthy young woman going through a very natural process.’ However medicine has moved on from the post Edwardian era and pre-eclampsia is much more widely known and understood. for more information click here.

P.s did anyone notice the nurse present at the birth as the doctors aid and not a midwife?! Shame on you ITV, bring on Series 2 of Call the Midwife!