15 Weeks…..

Always match your nails to your dress

Always match your nails to your dress

And not counting. But it’s hard not to isn’t it? I’m just rejoicing in the fact that I don’t feel sick any more. I’m still completely terrified that it will come back and haunt me and I hear it can rear it’s ugly head again in the 3rd trimester but lets not speculate shall we.

The bump is well and truly out there’s no hiding it now, I’ve bought a few essential maternity clothes including black TopShop dungarees, skinny jeans, a pink shirt and a dress from ASOS for my best friends wedding tomorrow. I’m trying not to buy too much and will just see what I can use in my already expanding wardrobe through the Autumn and Winter months. I met my good friend and amazing fashion guru Zoe from Dress Like a Mum  yesterday for lunch and she gave me some great ideas for dressing the bump without breaking the bank. Do check her website out for brilliant fashion tips pre and post baby.

I’ve already been inundated with questions, usually the same 4 each time

  1. Was it IVF?
  2. Are there twins in the family?
  3. Are they identical?
  4. Will you find out the sex?

No, no, no, yes probably. I too have been guilty in the past of asking these same questions to other twin mums so I’m fully prepared for this up until the babies are 18.

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I’m still tired most of the time, I’ve been drinking Spatone in a glass of orange juice every morning but I’m also taking 3 iron tablets a week just to keep my levels up as you’re more likely to be iron deficient with twins. The round ligament pain at night seems to have eased up thank god, it was so painful I thought I was going into labour! I know the hormone relaxin will be working wonders for labour but my pelvis is not too grateful at the moment. But I’m trying not too moan about any aches and pains as I know it will only get worse.

Swotting up

Swotting up

I had a great first meeting with my consultant this week, we talked about my birth preferences and my wishes to use water for labour. She was really supportive and I left feeling positive and empowered. Right now I’m just focussing on the now as being a midwife I know a bit too much. My amazing colleagues are taking good care of me and I’m trying to get as much of my book written as possible before the twins arrive.

So that’s all from me, keep the birth stories coming you can email them to gasandairblog@gmail.com photos too please!

Twinning is Winning

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At around 5 weeks pregnant I felt sick, really sick and really tired. We were in France at a friend’s wedding and I did my best impression of someone trying to pretend to be drunk. Which by the way is very difficult. (Oh and a drunk sweaty husband when you’re stone cold sober is soooo unattractive, you’d rather he slept on the sofa)

And there was so much gooey soft smelly cheese going around and an oyster bar at the wedding and endless champagne. But nausea and a hangover have very similar characteristics so I fooled the friends we were with for 4 days.

“It’s probably twins” a colleague said to me while I gagged at the smell of the coffee she was drinking. “Ha ha very funny” I thought, but somehow I couldn’t shake off this feeling that maybe it was. Maybe.

A few weeks later I had some heavy bleeding so went to the Early Pregnancy Unit for a quick reassurance scan. I had already convinced myself that I was probably having a miscarriage so prepared myself for missing my brothers 40th birthday the next day and felt remarkably calm about the whole thing.

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“You have two in there, and both have healthy strong heartbeats”. I was beyond shocked. I was naked from the waist down with my legs in those stirrup things and a long probe with a condom on it up my foof. Not the most dignified of positions to be in. There was swear words, and utter disbelief and then the tears came. I left clutching the scan photo dreading how I was going to tell my husband.

But now 5 weeks later and a lovely normal reassuring Nuchal scan yesterday, we are in a much better place. Me, both physically and mentally and my husband, well he keeps weeping at the thought of selling the Audi and looking at 7 seater cars.

What nightmares are made of

What nightmares are made of

So now I’m almost 13 weeks pregnant and the all day constant nausea and all evening vomiting has *almost* gone. I have to say weeks 6-9 were unbearable and I began to question if I could really get through this pregnancy at all. (I was once sick 17 times in one day). I had some amazing people around me, supporting me and making me realise that everything was indeed going to be ok.

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Things that really helped when I could barely lift my head off the toilet seat

  • Tropicana (smooth) don’t ask but the combination of the sweet and sour taste meant I was getting some Vitamin C into my system
  • Peanut butter (again smooth) on a buttered bagel
  • Salt and Vinegar crisps BY THE TONNE
  • Nutrimum Bars – these were great in between meal times and  I just kept a stash in my car
  • Hypnobirthing – well technically relaxation MP3s. As you know I’m a massive fan of everything Hollie does and some evenings when my mind was racing with worry and fear I’d pop on her track and within minutes I’d find myself drifting off into a calm sleep
  • Acupuncture – I popped my cherry around week 6 and MY GOD it really did make the most difference to my nausea. Maisie Hill is like some kind of magical mystical Goddess who really understood my body and what was going on. I hardly had to say anything (mainly because I felt so rough) and she just popped needles into certain points on my body. I left feeling floaty and vomit free. She’s also a Doula and an amazing one at that. Check out her website for a wealth of information on all things fertility, pregnancy and birth
  • I treated myself around week 10 to a pregnancy massage as my lower back and pelvis was really beginning to ache. And there’s only woman who I’ll happily strip down to my oldest granny pants for…. Beccy Hands (yes her real name) is also a kick ass Doula and specialises in pregnancy and labour massage. She’s so good she can tell me which shoulder I carry my heavy rucksack on and how I stand/lean when attending births
  • And finally SLEEP. Like mega naps, any time any place. During my lunch break I’d find myself having a quick doze before starting a clinic, around kids tea time (there was a lot of eating in front of the tv whilst I snoozed) and then heading off to bed as soon as my husband was home and sleeping all night. Sleep really did help with the nausea.

So there you have it, the secret is out (I even managed to fool my white witch of a mother at my brother’s 40th by pouring my wine into my sisters glass). I’m already embracing the maternity clothes (Topshop dungarees are amazing) and our house is buzzing with who can come up with the most ridiculous baby names. As if I didn’t have enough to do with writing my book, I’ll be blogging about this pregnancy at regular intervals, so please join me on this exciting journey.

xx

 

Birth Story Of The Week – Tracey and her Twins

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When I was a little girl I always dreamt of having twins but never thought that that dream would become a reality. I was born with a rare condition called hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism that was not formally diagnosed until I was twenty one. I spent my teens at the mercy of intrusive tests and doctors that often spoke over me and left me feeling empty inside. One specific phrase was always circling my mind, ‘you may never be able to have children’. My husband Ben is the first person I ever shared this with. He was so supportive and I just knew that he was ‘the one’.  After exploring treatment options we were over the moon in the summer of 2010 when I fell pregnant with our eldest daughter Eliza. It was at this time that a friend introduced us to hypnobirthing.

 Ben and I used these relaxation techniques throughout my pregnancy and in preparation for Eliza’s birth. We decided to have a home water birth and in 2011 she was born safely and quickly at home, weighing a healthy 7lb 5oz. My labour was enjoyable and we were especially proud that we remained so calm despite our midwives not showing up until just thirty minutes before her birth! We had been so busy organising the pool and standing together throughout surges that neither one of us had noticed the hours drift by. At the point when the midwives arrived I was fully dilated and hadn’t realised it, I just felt the need to bear down and breath my baby out. This was my light bulb moment and I couldn’t wait to do it again. I truly loved the experience despite having a retained placenta and an unfortunate transfer to hospital for its removal in theatre.

Starting the fertility journey again for our second child was not going to be as easy as we had hoped. We were no longer entitled to funding and so had to find other avenues to provide a sibling for Eliza. I am part of many fertility networks and after following the donor journey of a friend I realised there were people out there less fortunate than ourselves that would love a child to call their own. She introduced me to egg sharing. I would undergo funded IVF but would donate half of my eggs to an anonymous couple. After many discussions and counselling sessions we decided to go ahead. Unfortunately our first IVF cycle was to be unsuccessful, as was our second, but we did have one embryo left to freeze. In the mean time we went on to try ovulation induction with injectables.

I still remember the day I tested. Finally after such a hard year there it was ‘pregnant’. I cried so much, I was so happy that we had finally made it! Due to the nature of our treatment the clinic booked me an early scan. They looked worried, ‘this may be a blighted ovum or it may just be too early’. There appeared to be a small sac but no baby on the ultra sound, I was devastated and cried all the way home. I was advised to have a re-scan in a weeks time. Ben tried to reassure me as I had had ‘some’ pregnancy symptoms, I had been feeling nauseated and swollen but wasn’t sure if it was just my imagination. When I arrived at my local hospital I was very anxious. The lady reassured me and turned the screen to face me. I could see two dark sacs. ‘Are they my swollen ovaries?’ …’no’ she said, ‘they are your babies’.

In the weeks that past I wanted to share the news but we decided to wait until the twelve week point. Straight away I started to practice hypnobirthing with my husband. We dedicated an evening a week to relaxation techniques, positive affirmations and light touch massage. We were so excited to be able to plan another homebirth, but this time with our twins! Little did we know that we were about to face some big hurdles. When I arrived to my booking appointment everything seemed fine until I saw ‘high risk’ written on my file.

High risk care meant that I would be having care between midwives and obstetricians. I had come to expect that this may be the case as others had warned me that I would not be ‘allowed’ to have a homebirth, or a water birth on the midwife led unit. It was explained that I would have to have a hospital birth on the consultant led unit, that they had a specialist room for birthing multiples. We decided to visit this space and booked a tour of the hospital. The rooms in the midwife led unit were gorgeous, spacious and welcoming. A home from home environment. The multiples room however was the only one on the consultant led unit that was not decorated. It was cold and uninviting. There was medical equipment everywhere and it looked like a dumping ground for unused equipment. In the corner was an operating table and loose tiles hung from the ceiling. As soon as the tour had finished my husband  and I looked at each other. ‘There is no way we are birthing our babies in there’.

I raised my concerns with my community midwife and she put me in touch with the Supervisor of Midwives. She was great and helped us write a birth plan that would meet the consultants half way with their demands. I agreed to be on the consultant led unit but in the water birthing room, if it was available on the day. I requested to have predominantly midwife led care and interventions were to be used only if entirely necessary and the reasons for these were to be clearly explained to my husband and I so that we could make informed decisions on my babies birthing day. I decided to decline continuous monitoring and the siting of epidurals and canulas as these would prevent me birthing in the water.  Instead I opted for intermittent monitoring and water and/or gas and air to help with any discomfort I may feel. I was confident that I could birth my babies naturally and I expressed how important it was that I felt comfortable in my birthing environment to aid this process. I knew from my first experience of birth that I would want to be active and birthing upright, even if this was not possible in water when the day came. I explained the importance of my hypnobirthing techniques and creating a relaxing environment to birth in. That these wishes needed to be respected and requested that my husband and doula were to be the only persons present for the majority of the birth, alongside my midwife.

Although the consultants were not entirely happy with my plan they appeared to have accepted it. However as the weeks went by things took a turn and I was called in for more and more regular ‘meetings’. The stress of these meetings was starting to take its toll on my husband and I. We were being labelled as an ‘issue’, and were made aware that higher bodies were discussing our ’case’. We felt this was totally uncalled for. I was in extremely good health and had no underlying health issues that could affect the birth, no increased BP or signs of pre-eclampsia and regular growth scans showed that both girls were doing extremely well. Despite all of this we were bombarded with comments about putting our babies at risk of dying and constantly reminded about the risks of stillbirth past 37 weeks. This scare mongering was very upsetting as our babies health was always at the fore front of our mind and any decisions we made were always informed decisions. No actual facts or figures could be presented to us when we requested them and our own research showed that the majority of risks for twins surrounded identical twins and those sharing a placenta. Our girls are fraternal and were in separate sacs with separate placentas.

In our eyes we were the ideal candidates for a natural twin birth. The babies and I were in good health and twin one was head down throughout most of my pregnancy and showing no signs of changing as I approached the third trimester. Twin two was breech but I was told this shouldn’t be a problem for a vaginal birth as she may move once twin one was born. As it happened I felt a strong pressure in my side as I approached 36 weeks, followed by a dizzy spell. This pressure was twin two changing positions. She was now head down too,  so even though I was being advised to book an elective c section or induction at 37 weeks I saw no medical reason to do so.

At 38 weeks I had had enough and made the brave decision to change hospitals. The staff at my new hospital were much more in favour of natural twin birth and supported and respected our wishes. We agreed to regular weekly monitoring and additional scans to check babies and placenta health. This seemed like a fair compromise and I was pleased to hear that the midwives supported hypnobirthing mums and could see its benefits for mum and baby. Everything was progressing well and at 38 & 39 weeks I agreed to a sweep to move things along a little. This seemed like the most natural intervention I could endure. However it was an awful experience and at 40 weeks the babies had still not arrived, so clearly my body was not ready. We still wanted to avoid induction and so I had some alternative therapies including acupuncture, reflexology and a hypnosis fear release session with friends. I felt a million dollars and slept peacefully that night.

At 40 weeks and 2 days my labour started spontaneously. I felt a pop and excitedly woke my husband. It was strange as I was sure my waters had ruptured but there was no water in sight. Once at the hospital I was pleased to see the birthing room I wanted was free. It was spacious with a large birthing pool and natural landscape on the wall. At this point we called Tamara, our doula and friend, despite the time being just 2am she ventured down to join us. The next few hours passed peacefully. I had dimmed lights, relaxing music and the two most important people with me. They were a great support system and stopped any un-necessary interruptions. The pressure in my back was getting stronger and stronger so my doula advised that I keep changing positions. I leant over my birthing ball and rocked peacefully whilst my husband massaged my back. My doula added a heat pack and it was such a great relief. I think I even snoozed for a little while.

At around 6am I requested to get into the birthing pool but after checking me the midwife on duty didn’t feel I was far enough into established labour. This happened with my first pregnancy too. If you are calm people often assume you are not very far on but I just knew things would increase rapidly from that moment on. My doula was very supportive and said, ‘just remember it is just a number, you are doing great’. By the time the midwives changed morning shifts I was in the pool. I felt urges to bear down and the pressure in my back was becoming more intense and very different to what I had experienced with my first birth, I now know that this was probably because Emily was back to back but we had no idea that this was the case at the time. I continued to use my hypnobirthing surge breaths in between surges to stay calm and relaxed. My new midwife was amazing. She had experience of twin birth and immediately put me at ease with her confidence and calm persona. She could see that my labour was progressing quickly and requested I get out of the pool for some intermittent monitoring but gave me the choice to return if I wanted to. I was offered gas and air and used it to change positions.

By about 8.30am I was upright on the bed, leaning over my ball and rocking back and forth. I made some humming noises as I rocked back and forth and this helped me stay relaxed. Another hour passed and I decided to lean over the back of the bed. Being in this upright position felt comfortable and I was able to rest a little between surges. They were now coming very frequently and I was advised that I was fully dilated. At 10.21am Emily Grace was birthed gently into the world weighing 7lb 5oz. She didn’t make a sound but instead just looked up at me, she was so calm and relaxed. I was able to hold her in my arms while I waited for her cord to stop pulsating.

Five minutes passed and my surges were yet to return. I was asked to turn around and was shocked to find a room full of medical professionals, I was so deep in self hypnosis that I had no idea they were there! My midwife was very impressed and told me that it is rare for a mum to birth a back to back baby without any interventions. After a further ten minutes I could see that the medical professionals were getting uneasy as my surges had yet to return and they had started to prepare a drip. After getting through my entire labour without any interference from others I was reluctant to let it happen now. My doula could see that I was uneasy with this and advised that I try latching Emily onto the breast as this may help them return. I started to feel some mild surges and so my husband and Tamara helped me get back into the upright position. Ben held my hand and told me that I was doing great and that he was so proud of me. Tamara held Emily so that I knew she was in safe hands.

Within less than five minutes Eryn Roses’ head was birthed. This time it felt so fast. Eryn was in the perfect birthing position with her waters intact. I remember a silent wait for her body to emerge and then she just appeared weighing a healthy 6lb 15 1/2oz. I couldn’t believe that both my girls were born with their waters intact. This is seen to be rare but very lucky. I felt so blessed that they were both born safely into the world. We waited for Eryn’s cord to stop pulsating and then both girls were returned to me for skin to skin. I remember just staring at them, amazed that my birth had gone exactly as I wanted it to. Both girls immediately latched on to feed and I was so proud of them.

About half hour passed and I was advised to have the injection to aid the placentas delivery. I was a little anxious about this after my previous retained placenta and more than anything I did not want a repeat of that experience. I did not want to be taken away from my babies. Ben watched the girls and Tamara held my hand. Just having her there with words of encouragement reminded me that I could do this. Sure enough within about another fifteen minutes I birthed the placenta. I remember being amazed by its size and noticed that both girls placentas had merged into one giant one.  We chose to keep the cords and Tamara had them arranged in a heart shape. Every time I look at them I am reminded of my wonderful birth experience. I had no stitches and was told that if I wanted to I could go home that morning or if I preferred I could stay on the midwife led unit for a night. This is unheard of at The Princess Alexandra hospital but the medical professionals were so proud of my birth and the way it went that they saw no reason why I should be denied this  relaxing opportunity. I had a lovely stay with my girls and drove myself home the next morning.

My amazing birth experiences have led me to my recent Wise Hippo instructor training. Now that it is complete I cannot wait to begin my classes and empower other women to make confident, informed decisions about their special births. After all, every woman deserves the right to have a wonderful birth experience! You can find out more about me and my hypnobirthing classes at www.birthingcalmly.co.uk

Birth Story Of The Week – Josephine and Milo and Elliot

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Blog: Twins In London

Twitter: @TwinsInLondon

“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”.

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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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Birth Story of The Week – Sarah and Her Tigers

It’s been a pretty full on weekend here as my little girl turned 6! I can barely believe that 6 years ago I was giving birth to my tiny little dark haired baby girl. Not that she felt that small coming out, OUCH! Watching her with her friends yesterday, her long skinny bruised legs dancing to One Direction (cringe) made me realised how fast she is growing up. Those babies years seem a life time ago and I kind of wished I treasured them more, rather than wished them away through the sleepless nights, teething and juggling the working Mum malarkey.

This weeks birth story comes from Sarah a fellow midwife and Mama to little twin girls Emily and Edith.

Blog: Running Mama 2013

Twitter: newmidwife0904

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I spent what felt like an eternity to get pregnant, two years of trying, fights for fertility referrals, a year on the IVF waiting list…… But boy, when I finally got pregnant, I did it in style, not with one, but two babies. Seeing those two little lines had never made me happier, but in the throws of hyperemesis I wondered how I was actually going to cope with a twin pregnancy, and two babies.

Twin pregnancies, while a complete blessing, come with a list of risks as long as your arm. In a nutshell you are pretty much at high risks of all those pregnancy complications that worry you when you are pregnant with one baby, but the risk that bothered me most was miscarriage and premature birth.

My worries were not dampened when I bled at 25 weeks pregnant. I had what is called a post coital bleed (basically a bleed after having sex). And the stupid thing was that we had actually avoided sex for the entire pregnancy leading up to that point, and needless to say, for the rest of the pregnancy after. I was admitted for three days and subsequently signed off sick for the rest of my pregnancy, ending my role as a case loading midwife (very sad!).

Not sure what to actually do with all this spare time I took up knitting and sewing, and did more of my favourite hobby, baking (and eating) cake.

At 30 weeks I developed a urine infection which made me contract strongly and yet again I ended up in hospital, this time for four days. Successful treatment and rest allowed me to continue my pregnancy until term.

The second twin was in an awkward position under my ribcage, and so I started making plans for birth with my midwives and consultants. We agreed that as there was a 50% risk of needing a caesarean for the second twin, even with successful vaginal delivery of the first, I would have an elective Caesarean section at 38 weeks unless I went into spontaneous labour and things looked good. But at 36 weeks my midwife visited me at home, and when asked how things were going I explained that I was tired as I had been up all night with my feet in ice buckets because they were so itchy. Obstetric cholestasis (yes both myself and Clemmie got it, high incidence for such a rare condition!) didn’t even cross my mind. I felt so stupid! Any way, it was diagnosed and that weekend (after an emergancy wax!) I was stuck In hospital again for the weekend. But at least this time I would be meeting my babies.

After a weekend of intensive monitoring  just to get me to 37 weeks for a caesarean, I went to the pub at the end of the road from the hospital and had an enormous dinner of steak and chips. I guessed the iron content would compensate for any blood loss, and carbohydrate would get me through until morning as I would be nil by mouth from midnight. Hubby and I toasted our last night as a couple all on our own and headed back to the ward to contemplate what lay ahead for the rest of our lives. Things would certainly be different, that’s for sure.

I laid in bed, getting up and down to the loo, and not really sleeping a wink. I enjoyed every kick, every squirm, every hiccup, felt from within. I felt sad that I would never feel my babies move in that way again, and mourned that I would probably never be pregnant again. I wondered who was inside, boys or girls? One of each? Did they have hair? How big would they be (I felt enormous!)? Despite all the complications, I fell in love with being pregnant, I relished every day, and thanked the heavens each day for the blessing that had been bestowed upon me.

I must have fallen asleep as my alarm went off and woke me at half six. The summer solstice, 21st June 2010 had arrived and would be my babies birthday. I got up, had a shower, moisturised, plucked my eyebrows, brushed my teeth and waited. And waited and waited.

We eventually got taken to labour ward and into theatre at around 11am. A straightforward spinal later and I was lying comfortably in the table, worried I was going to fall off, and ready to go.

I could see my consultant pacing the corridor, I had luckily had the privilege of choosing my consultant, a colleague I trusted and respected, and one that had looked after me so well. He scrubbed up, along with my two (yes two!) hand picked midwives. Matt and I were chatting away to our anaesthetist and all of a sudden I heard the familiar sound of amniotic fluid being cleaned up. I hadn’t even realise they had begun! I hadn’t prepared myself and suddenly I was presented with the most perfect little being I had ever seen. Twin 1 – now known as Edith – had been born at 1129 , and flung straight onto my chest. Warm, wet, tiny, and mine. My chest felt heavy with emotion, we had done it, my eyes blurred with tears, I couldn’t quite believe I had a baby in my arms, a beautiful baby girl. But hang on. There was another baby to come! 1 minute later, at 1130, her sister Emily (who we were convinced was a boy!) was also born. Not being able to see through the tears I had to ask whether we had a boy or girl. Another girl and my dreams had come true (I never admitted in pregnancy that this is the outcome I really wanted). Emily went skin to skin with daddy and our family was complete. From two to four, in the blink of an eye.

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The rest of the day was a blur of breastfeeding, phone calls, congratulations from colleagues, and sleeping. I have never been so tired in all of my life as I have been these last three years, but I would never change it for all the money in the world (and I could use it!). Three years and many bad hair days on, even on those hideously tough days, I think back to the times of fearing I would never be a mother and remember just how lucky I am. My world, however messy and exhausting, is perfect.