Blog: Twins In London
“Throughout my pregnancy I had been warned to be ready for my MCDA twin boys from 32 weeks, it had gone fairly smoothly bar sickness throughout the pregnancy, in hindsight I was suffering from depression in the form of anhedonia throughout the pregnancy which is an inability to experience pleasure from usually enjoyable activities, I didn’t feel happy or sad and having such a low range of emotions is really unlike me, other than this I was fit and had lots of energy though . I had made the decision to have a C-section quite early on as I’d been scared by stories such as there being a 50% chance of having a c section to get the second twin out. My consultant had told me that if the second baby wasn’t born after 5 minutes they would give me a c-section which was the nail in the coffin for me. This is of course not what happened. At 32+6 I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia on a routine visit to the midwife. I think it is important to note that throughout my pregnancy I did not see midwives, I was only given doctors appointments and in hindesite I missed some really valuable advice and care as I was seen as a medical risk rather than a mother to be, the practicalities of the safe delivery of my babies went over everything and I was totally unprepared for the natural delivery that I ended up having.
Two days before my pre-eclampsia diagnosis I had gone to antenatal classes something I had had to insist on being invited to early as within my local hospital they were only offered from 35 weeks. The session I had attended was on natural delivery, I remember mumbling to my partner that there really was no point in us being there. The midwife leading the class made an important point that I have never forgotten “when you come to hospital bring your bag and an open mind”.
Having received my diagnosis of pre-eclampsia I was in complete shock, as it had been a midwives appointment I had thought it was a mistaken appointment and told my partner not to bother coming. The consultant informed me that I should prepare myself to have my babies the next day. I had come to the appointment on my lunch break, I had not noticed that anything was different, my legs had swollen at the ankles but I had not really noticed and thought that this was normal. So having gotten home I was on bed rest and went back into hospital the next day and was told that whatever I was doing I should keep it up and they informed me that the babies might not need to come until the Wednesday. I had felt some leaking sensations and went for investigations, which proved to be a false alarm. In the waiting room I had been entertained by a woman who was getting a firm but polite bollocking from the receptionist for using an ambulance to get to the hospital, she kicked off and her entourage joined in to give the receptionist abuse who managed it all remarkably well and told her she should have used a taxi and not wasted public money on an ambulance that is needed for more urgent calls.
Anyway. Less than 12 hours after coming home from the hospital at 4:30am my waters broke and I went to hospital by taxi. Sensibly grabbing a towel to sit on to not mess up the taxi seat. I was taken to a room and my belly was monitored, from about 5:30am and I was around 2cm dialated. The midwives came and spoke to me and hoped that my contractions would subside and I would be moved to a bed for a few days before the babies were born. I made it clear I was having a c-section which was noted. 2 hours and 15 minutes later I had the urge to push, like needing a poo from my vagina. I had not read anything about it but my body knew want to do. I asked my husband to go and get somebody to come and help, they ran in saying ‘no no no’ looked between my legs and the dr mouthed ‘F**k’. I was fully diallated and rushed to a theatre, commenting ‘but I’m having a c-section’ ‘No you aren’t, we don’t push them back up to take them out’. When I arrived there were 15 people waiting for me. The anaesthetist were lovely. I remember the nurse shouting at some of the team for chatting as I was in the middle of a contraction and they were trying to do a spinal block ‘can I have some quiet please for my lady’. I must have gone in to shock as my body was violently shaking. When it finally worked I just felt a wave of relief rush over me and I had to visualise pushing as I couldn’t feel anything. Twin 1 was born fairly quickly as he was already in the birth canal, it took a further 26 minutes for twin 2 to make an appearance, forceps had to be used and he was rresuscitated I don’t really remember this as I was off my face on whatever had been given to me for the pain. I didn’t get to see either of them for another 12 hours as I’d lost a lot of blood and couldn’t walk. I remember being impressed that the beds were heated only to be informed that this was the spinal block wearing off. That woman who had kicked off at the reception was in the same area of the ward as me amongst the women who needed more support from the nurses. She was shouting about needing foot massages….
When I eventually got to see my babies they were in different rooms, one with more beeps than the other but both in NICU. Twin 1 laid back stretched out looking pleased to have more space where twin 2 was curled in a ball with a furrowed brow looking like he was not ready. Twin one was just over 2kg and twin 2 was just under. It was so sad to be on the maternity unit without my babies, I got to work on expressing milk, I did it with all my might, it took 2 hours to express 2mls of cholostrum 1ml per syringe. I took it to NICU and was asked for 6mls every 3 hours. I was devastated at the impossibility of this task. I couldn’t take care of my babies and I couldn’t feed them. Of course my body was able to meet the demands which was such a relief.
The boys were discharged just under 2 weeks later. They’ll be 3 next week and are hulking beasts. I am so grateful I was able to have a vaginal delivery, I was running for the bus 5 days after they were born to get to the hospital, not something I’d have managed with a c-section. I am still amazed at my body.
If I was to have another baby and it was a singleton I would definitely opt for a home birth….. we’ll see….. 10% risk of twins again!”
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.
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!