Monday, May 12, 2008

Surprise twin birth!

About now 33 years ago I was on my way to the hospital to have a baby! We had dropped of our 17 month old at DH's brothers and sister in laws house. No real labour pains at this stage, they had eased but I had been having contractions on and of since late morning the previous day! As our first was born by an emergency C section they wanted to monitor me this time and I was told to come into hospital as soon as I had contractions. I had been awake most of the night, a couple of times thinking I had better get on my way. But the pains kept easing and stopping. I wasn't sure if this was the real thing! So of I went, really quite sure it was a false alarm and I would be sent home again.

As we left the house, I remember DH saying it would be great if it was twins! Don't be silly I told him, this is my due date and I would have gone in ages ago if it was two! His comment was made because of all the twin jokes that people had been making. I ended the pregnancy lighter than I started (due to severe morning sickness - almost 9 months of it) but I was huge!!!

We got to the hospital and there was no doubt I was in labour, the pains kept going constantly. No description is needed but I thought I was in hell! The specialist who delivered our daughter appeared on the scene. Somewhere during the day, they mentioned I may need another C section, but you know me, determined! If I could have this baby naturally that was what I wanted. So they let me.

About 32 hours after the first contraction, I was on my way to theatre to have our baby. In those days they didn't tell you anything. But there was mention of something been done to help me? I couldn't have given a toss, I don't even think I was on this planet. As they thought the baby was going to be around 9 - 10 lbs they opted for a Ventouse delivery as opposed to forceps. I was the first woman in this hospital to have this delivery (or so they said) so they asked if some student nurses could watch. Bring them all in - I couldn't care!!! I was drugged up to the eyeballs. Soon I heard a baby cry. I tried to move to see and was asking 'is that my baby?" La la land!! No-one would answer. The dread feeling went over me, so I was firing questions, still no answers but this was a bit of panic going on and despite been dopey I clearly remember the doctors words. "Jesus Christ there is another one!" I seriously thought he meant there was another woman needing to come into theatre.

I looked up at the nurse who was holding my hand, and she said "you are having another baby, they're twins." I was so out of it, I just though "oh ok" and lay back down. The student nurses who had watched the delivery had all left the room, if they had waited another 4 minutes they would have seen the second baby being born! It seemed like ages before they would tell me if the babies were ok, or even what they were. I'm convinced when they showed me the babies they showed me the same one twice because they looked so much alike, yet the following day they weren't alike at all. I had the briefest hold before they were whipped away. So we had a 5lb 4oz son, and a 6lb 9oz daughter. Not bad weights considering no-one knew! Really unbelievable as the twelve or so hours I was in hospital they were monitoring the heart beat (s)!

Where was DH when this was going on? Out in the waiting room eating a toasted sandwich!!. Some lovely nurse had offered him one as I was wheeled away. Husbands and partners could watch in those days if it was a simple natural birth. It wasn't an option for him to be with me. A nurse rushed out to tell DH the news, he told her "wrong man I'm Mr R".

The babies even though been good sizes were sent to neo natal unit. The nightmare started - both ended up very jaundiced and were under lights. One was been fed every 2 hours and one every 3. As I wasn't successful breast feeding our daughter, I was adviced not to try with two. So while all the other woman in the ward would have their babies delivered to them every 4 hours to be fed, I would be drudging down to neo natal to fed, it seemed and endless task. Then one nurse told me I was favouring one baby over the other. The reason - I had missed some feeds for the baby that was been fed every two hours! 10 days later I was sent home with one baby, they other had to stay in the unit for what was another 10 days!

In our typical way - we had lots going on!

Home - we didn't quite have one, we were due to move into a new home 20 minutes from the hospital, that the builders were rushing to finish. Can't remember the sequence or timing, but we got in the house while it was still being worked on.

So we had one baby at home, one baby in hospital, along with our first daughter who went into hospital the day after I got out with a severe gastro bug!

I couldn't drive.

The doctor wrote a letter to DH's work requesting he be given time of to help - they said no!

DH was doing electrical fault work and was working huge hours.

They wouldn't let us visit the neo natal unit if we had been to visit our eldest daughter who was in the infectious ward! We worked around this by going to the neo natal unit first. It was heart breaking. I can't remember how we made the daily trip to the hospital. It's a blur.

About a three weeks after the birth, we had our babies home along with their big sister.

The first five months I didn't leave the house with them, I couldn't drive and we couldn't afford a twin pram! We had a lovely single one! As we had just moved there, I didn't know any neighbours and the only visitor I had during the day was the odd visit from the plunket nurse.

PND? Well I was never diagnosed, but looking back I can remember spending a fair bit of time in tears. I did cope well though and it took no time at all until having two babies was a breeze. They were sleeping through the night by six weeks and really quite good babies. I loved having the kids close in age. They had a lot of fun growing up.


The doctor who looked after me during the pregnancy? Well he was our family doctor, he was elderly. I and others suspected two babies, but he laughed it of. I felt I had a head up under my ribs but he assured me the head was in the right place!

LOL - we originally thought five would be a good number of children to have. There was no way I was going back for another!

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