Monday, 29 August 2011

Cherish your cherubs ~ remember

Some of your may have read my twin birth story before but  tonight it remains the most important thing I remember.
Just over 5 yrs ago as I prepared to give birth to my twin sons, one month early, all I remember is being awake most of the night and scared. Lying alone in a hospital bed, not knowing what the daylight would bring.

My first birth was sadly induced after my daughter died in utero @26weeks. Her story is on my blog too but not her actual 'birthing' story. That is for another day. Charlotte's anniversary by the way, is this Thursday.

I wrote this over 18 months ago after S & J were born.Birth for me did not go to plan either time.

1st August was the official due date ~40wks. Due to 'twins' and breech my caesarean section was booked for 14th July . It couldn’t come quick enough.

During 35th - 36th week I was feeling very uncomfortable. I wasn’t sleeping much and was very tired. It was also the first week I hadn’t worked. My SIL had come down from Queensland to work for us (as her missionary mission’). It was good timing.

I was feeling a little itchy at times and in the back of my mind I remembered reading a few posts about it on a forum. I mentioned it to the Registrar at the High risk antenatal clinic when I went for my appointment on 29th June. I never asked him directly about Obstetric Cholestasis though.

The Professor (high risk OB) was away overseas so I didn't see him that visit. The week before Twin 1’s fluid level was in the lower range and there was a slight concern. So I had an extra scan on 29th June. The scan showed Twin 1’s fluid levels were normal again.

The Registrar just said it was common for increased itchiness due to twin pregnancy stretching the skin more and dryness etc and I was close to term. I accepted what he said because it wasn’t too bad.

Friday 30th June I was very tired and exhausted. I got up had breakfast and fell asleep in a recliner chair which we had borrowed. I found it hard to get comfortable elsewhere. I had some lunch and feel asleep again. I woke up and was so itchy all over. I was scratching myself so much and applying cold cloths and took a non drowsy antihistamine Claritine (after I checked on Internet it was safe). I knew it wasn’t right the way I was feeling. My DH came home and I very uncomfortable and irritable.

Not sure of what I did exactly when but -I checked the Internet forum for the thread again about itchiness; I rang the hospital and was put through to delivery suite and checked my pregnancy books again. I was sure it was obstetric cholestasis (OC). The risk of stillbirth was all I could think about. I couldn’t bear it, having had my precious Charlotte born still 22months before. Though her death had nothing to do with OC.

The Midwife said "Come in !" .

I had a feeling I wouldn’t be coming home again before their birth so I quickly grabbed a few things. I hadn’t packed my hospital bag. All week I meant to but I was so exhausted I never got around to it. My things were all pretty much laid out in one room.

We organised our DS and dropped him at a friend’s place. I was so upset and uncomfortable I couldn’t eat anything (big mistake). It was about 6.30 pm when we got to delivery suite and we went straight in. After a short while a MW came and asked a few questions, did some obs and said she would put CTG on me.

I knew the babies were moving okay but at the same time I was worried things could change in a matter of minutes. I just wanted to know they were okay. The CTG was fine she said. Then they came and took blood after 8pm.By this stage we were starving and there wasn’t anywhere open for food. I was wondering how long it was going to take and if I would be staying overnight or having the babies at all. A MW came and said sorry they were still waiting for blood results at about 9pm. At 10pm they came and said results were back and not right and they were waiting for another Dr to review them.

DH & I joked about making it to 1st July (when the Australian Govt baby bonus would rise from $3000 to $4000 for each baby) I didn’t care about the money I just wanted living babies. I remember wishing we hadn't forgotten the camera.

Finally after 11pm the Dr came and said I would be having the babies tomorrow morning by C/S (they were still breech), by emergency c/s. They had to call "The Neonatal Team" in by two.

Part of me didn’t want to have my babies @35wks4days - I was so scared of having premmie babies but worse about not having them. I knew they would be okay at this gestation. I was relieved in a way...

Around midnight they took me to the antenatal ward. I was weighed / temp /BP check / Obs etc, and settled into bed. DH went home.

They did another quick check with CTG machine but only to check for heartbeats, I then had to wait for Dr to come and put IV cannula in-about 1.30am.The MW said I was a bit dehydrated I said I haven’t eaten or had much to drink. I barely slept -The lady (also heavily pg) beside me had constipation issues so was up/down and I had so many things going through my mind. I wanted to keep feeling babies move to know they were okay. I watched the clock tick away to pass time.

I was up early for a shower/ shave by MW - all my plans to wax / trim and shave my legs and? - gone. Then I had to wait as they had two real emergency c/s. My Mum came in to wait and worry with us. Finally I was taken to OT at about 12.15pm.
Nervous you bet I was - but I had no tears yet.

After I was wheeled into what I think was a waiting bay DH was taken away to get changed. A few staff introduced themselves. As soon as I saw two midwives come in with clear bassinets I started to cry- it had taken me about 14yrs to get this far. I couldn’t imagine my babies in them. As they passed they said " Not long now -just getting everything ready" I was still alone.

Finally , I was wheeled into the OT - there was so much equipment. Things were explained to me and I was positioned for the spinal block. It was so awkward with my huge belly but when they injected the local into my back I hardly felt a thing.I was so nervous waiting for the needle to be inserted into the spinal area but more anxious of what was to follow.

I was laid flat with the bed tilted slightly then they started preparing me -I could feel them sloshing me with solution.I couldn’t see anything (1. a huge screen (1m high in front) .2. I couldn’t see anything anyway without my contacts or glasses). The registrar joked with me – “Now you’ll $10,000” [It was only $8000 actually ]

They tested my sensation with ice cubes - I had cold water dripping into my ears and finally I couldn’t feel anything. I felt like a beached whale with huge elephant legs.

Waiting...waiting - I the felt a tugging and stinging sensation .I didn’t know what was going on really. I was in a daze and could see nothing but green screen.

So just over 14 yrs twelve hours later at 12.51pm & 12.52 pm on July 1st our family had grown by 4 feet ...

Twenty fingers, twenty toes,
two sweet babies with cheeks of rose.
Born on the same day, two gifts from above,
lives entwined, two babies to love.
- Unknown
It happened so quickly too - I heard that first beautiful cry I waited for so long to hear what I missed with Charlotte.

Samuel was born 12.51pm and whisked away to be seen to suctioned and given O2- he was not even to be shown to us. Then a minute later (though it seemed longer) Joel was born 12.52pm. Another wondrous cry. He was also taken away to be suctioned and seen to. There was a flurry of activity and even the anaesthetist left me and went to where the boys where.

My DH told me later they called a code blue for Samuel to resuscitate him because he almost or did stop breathing. The anaesthetist came back and told me all was okay. They said they were taking the boys to NICU and some said 'we had better show mum before they go'. I saw them for maybe 10 secs and they were so wrapped up I barely saw them but gave them a quick hello and a little kiss.

Someone else had our camera so only a few photos were taken. My husband would not have been able to take any of the c/s - or else they would have been picking him off the floor.

I was then stitched up and taken to recovery. I had terrible pain despite a Patient controlled analgesia IV and I needed a few bolus doses it still didn’t help. I also just wanted to see my little babies and hold them first.

I stayed in recovery for about 1.5hrs then was taken back to antenatal ward. The only thing on my mind was seeing my boys again to make sure they were okay. My DH came and saw me and told me they were perfect and beautiful. Finally at about 8pm I was wheeled down still in my bed to NICU to finally hold and see my precious sons. I was amazed and thankful they took the bed into the NICU.

They were strong and perfect @ 2.8kg & 2.1kg . Fortunately apart from needing oxygen & suctioning at birth, and nasogastric tubes for feeding they were well premmies.

They were perfect in very way - my heart melted.I was overwhelmed with love and relief. I was in awe of their tiny features.So many emotions. I was glad they only had required feeding tubes. I only held them for a moment.

They spent 4 days in NICU, Not really long as far as some premmies go. It was mainly for temperature control and feeding . Then we were transferred to our local hospital special care nursery. That same day I was so ill I thought I was dying - I had a massive headache and was vomiting. It was raining too and I was so worried about everything.I vomited the whole time we were being transported in the car with nurse escort in back seat asking me if I was alright.

We arrived after 25 mins and I was put to bed after I saw them settled in... together again in twin crib. I was given anti-nausea injection and left to sleep. I was so relieved to wake up alive ... seriously.

We had two weeks there before they finally let us go home.I had just started breastfeeding S and was expressing still for J.

The day we walked out of the main entrance carrying S & J was surreal ... never in my (our) wildest dreams had we imagined.

22 months before we would walk out those same doors carrying not one but two precious babies...
22 months before all we carrying were broken dreams and hearts.

They had kept us in for so long because they said Sam wasn't feeding well ...lazy suck they said.I was instructed to continue top up bottle feeds of EBM ... yeh right! He never had another bottle because he only wanted to breastfeed.

I try not to dwell too much on my twin birth experience because all that mattered to me was they arrived alive after losing our daughter. Part of me wishes things their birth had been different and they could never have left my side, that I didn't have to be discharged without them, but I know none of that matters now. I can't imagine my life without them ...chaos and all.

Part 2

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