November 2015, St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester
I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, almost 3 years to be exact but for some reason or another I keep stopping and starting and I have had it in draft form for a few months, but after listening to Chris Evans’ show on Radio 2 recently I heard that due to women reading some birth stories online; the fear of giving birth and pregnancy is on the rise. Also; I would love to read back on this in years to come and also I feel it may be of interest to other mums, twins mums in particular as my birthing story, for the most part is a positive one and despite initial scares and possible complications I actually enjoyed it. Probably because I was off my tits for the majority of it…
Finding out I was pregnant in itself was a bit of a surprise, so finding out there were two of the buggers in there was an even bigger one!! I went to my 12 week scan by myself as Steven was working away and I was like ‘it’ll be fine’. When I saw there were 2 it was mixed emotions, part of me wasn’t surprised because if this was going to happen to anyone, it was going to happen to me. The other part was petrified, mainly because I was worried one of them wouldn’t be ok in there.
I was pretty sick during my pregnancy and was having regular scans; it wasn’t until maybe around 28 weeks that they said Luke was measuring small. They said it shouldn’t be anything to worry about, but I was to have weekly scans to make sure everything was ok. Monday of week 34 I took Mum along (sounds like S was never with me, he was but after numerous weekly scans which mainly involved sitting around the waiting room of St Mary’s I didn’t think he needed to take time off work each week) For one reason or another Mum decided to come with me this time and I’m glad she did! I went for the scan, and they measured them both and the sonographer looked a bit concerned and went to get someone else to have a look. Obviously I started bricking it…they have a look and I am told to get dressed and speak with the consultant who very nonchalantly says that they will keep me in to be induced!! I cannot fault most of the staff there, as I will mention later in this rambling story, but this particular lady wasn’t great! She initially looked at the paperwork and shook her head! They said lill need to be induced and kept in. Luckily I had my bag in the car. Just in case.
What happened next was all a bit of a blur. There was a call to Steven who came straight away, I was taken up to what I now refer to as the ‘Purgatory ward’ which is where I waited. Eventually Steven went home to pick up some more stuff and have something to eat and I was left in a ward of about 6 women all who were waiting to be taken up to the birthing suite. It was pretty awful; I didn’t get a wink of sleep.. My brain was on override and the poor woman next to me was suffering from severe Hyperemesis Gravidarum (morning sickness to me and you!) I thought mine was bad but this lady was puking every 10 minutes and really really loudly. I hate sick, I mean I doubt anyone loves it, but I’d take shit and blood over puke any day of the week.
The nurse came in to give me my first steroid injection, when she said it might hurt a little she wasn’t kidding. It really blooming hurt!!! The steroids are given to give premature babies a better chance of survival as it can speed up the development of the baby’s lungs.
Throughout the night and the next day I kept wandering if I should have a C section, or try for a vaginal birth. I tried asking the doctors but they have to be impartial, though they hinted towards a section due to it being twins, and the majority of multiple births end in a section. I remember calling mum at god knows what time in the morning asking her advice. She suggested I speak with one of the nurses and see what they thought. Next morning I did just that and she too thought a section might be the way to go. So in my mind that was what was going to happen. I was still waiting to be induced, on top of the lack of sleep, and unknown birth I was worried about Luke, and it was obviously bad enough for them to have to induce me 6 weeks early so why was I left waiting? I was still in the ward the following night, Steven came back and his parents and mine came for a visit. Another steroid injection was had and another sleepless night beckoned. I told Steven to go home again and get some sleep, I would call if there was any update. I was so bloody knackered; little did I know this was going to be the norm for the next 2 years!! I started to cry, I mean really sob. I felt like Rachel from friends, minus the silky hair and perky boobs. Everyone but me was being taken up from the purgatory ward..I was ready to ask to go home. I realise that the other women in their may have had bigger problems than mine, but it was the not knowing and the waiting that was driving me mad. Plus the lack of sleeps. Oh and the hormones. And the tears!! It was round then that a lovely nurse came in to take my blood pressure, and saw me sobbing. I told her what was wrong, and lo and behold I was soon taken up to be induced!! I can’t help but wonder if I hadn’t cried how long would I have been waiting? I might have made it to full term…
Another call to Steven and I was taken into a birthing suite. It was amazing…I thought I would be on a ward with lots of other women again, which would have been fine, but I had a lovely room all to myself. They even wheeled in a sofa so Steven could have somewhere to sleep too. Our first midwife came in to check on me and the babies, she was fab and turned out to be an old work colleague of Steven’s mum. A doctor came in to insert my first induction pessary. I was told to relax, which is extremely difficult to do! It really hurt I’m not going to lie she was really abrupt and was getting really impatient with me, she rammed it up me really hard it was agony honestly I was squirming up the bed but it was soon over and this was the start of the waiting game. By this point I was exhausted and asked the midwife for anything that would help me sleep. She gave me something which instead of making me sleepy made me go a bit doolalley.. apparently I got up and started skipping round the room, and went up to Steven who was trying to sleep on his sofa singing that I loved him. After which I think I did sleep.. for a wee bit anyway. I remember having a bad tum a bit too..though this could have been a combination of nerves and the rank hospital food I had been eating. I checked the date on one of the meals and the vegetables use by date was 2 years’ time. God knows what they put in that stuff. Cheese and crackers. Always a safe option 🙂
The doctor came back to check on my progress and said she thought it would be a good idea to book me in for a C section in the morning. So once again I geared myself up for that.
Meanwhile Steven and I played games, watched TV, texted my friends. Then a new midwife took over and another pessary was inserted. This time by a nice man who was very gentle and it didn’t hurt half as much which was good. The new midwife was lovely too, but she said this was her first twin experience and she kept struggling to find both heart beats which didn’t fill me with much confidence! She left us to rest and said to give her a call if anything happened. I got up to the toilet and a few drops of water/pee/god knows what came out, we called her but she said it was nothing.
She must have come back an hour or so later and was checking my blood pressure and the twin’s heart beats when I felt a massive gush of water. There was one of those lovely paper sheets covering my modesty (haha I mean I was beyond being modest by that point!!) I told her that I thought my water had broken; she didn’t believe me and thought I had just pissed myself!! When she checked she realised that my waters had indeed broken.
In comes the next midwife, Nicky, I remember her name a) because she was bloody lovely and b) because she was with us until the end. At this stage, I was still under the impression I was to have a C section but she didn’t see why I couldn’t have a vaginal birth all being well, and to be honest assumed that was what was going to happen. I just went with the flow! I started to have mild contractions and was given gas and air which I loved. Mainly because it gave me control of something, and made me a tad light headed. We were left alone again and carried on waiting and sucking on the gas and air…
Not too long later, my contractions started getting stronger and they put me on a stretcher and wheeled me into a new birthing room, this one was a lot bigger and had two little incubators at the bottom of the room, they said they had moved me here because I was having twins vaginally and as it was a teaching hospital the room would be full at the time of the birth!! Lovely stuff, a load of students staring at my bits!! To be fair, by this point the entire population of Manchester could have come and watched and I wouldn’t have given a shit. Seriously, the hours of worrying about the state of my mary were a complete waste of time.
I was advised on having an epidural for a few reasons, obviously to help with the pain but also with it being twins it was quite likely that I may have needed a section at some point and this would help with that. Fine by me. I remember going for a wee and having a massive contraction which was agony, Steven had to come and get me off the toilet and take me back to the bed so that they could do the epidural. After that kicked in it was wonderful. I had a little button I could press if it started to wear off and Nicky told us to try and get some sleep as we could have been there for a long time.
I was dozing, I could feel the odd twinge but nothing major I felt really floaty and comfy. The doctor kept coming in every now and then to check me and the monitor. He said that Thomas’s heart beat was a bit lower than they would have liked, so he was going to keep checking on me to make sure nothing went wrong. Next time he came in and checked me he called Nicky over and they said I was 10cm dilated I mean I didn’t feel a bloody thing..the joys of an epidural. Suddenly the room was full of people and Martin the doctor told me to push on my next contraction, only problem was I couldn’t feel when I was having contractions.. so Nicky had to press on my stomach and tell me to push. He was a stubborn little bugger and didn’t want to come out, so they used a vontuse to help and soon afterwards Thomas was born, he was rushed off to get checked over. His heart beat had been low because the cord was wrapped around his neck. This was sorted and he was brought over to us, the said he looked like a little pixie as the bought him over. Steven held him up to me but he was taken away again to make sure he was all ok. 8 minutes later Luke was born, I was panicking about Luke, thinking he would be so small he may not make it so told them to make him better straight away so we didn’t get a chance to see him properly, but thankfully they were both all right. Thomas weighing in at 4lb 1oz and Luke 3lb 11oz. Not too bad considering. I remember asking if I had pooped, the answer was no, and if I needed stitches, again the answer was no. I was lucky there, but the twins were small so this may have had something to do with it.
It’s all very hazy, the twins were taken away to be looked after. I remember looking down at the floor and seeing my placenta which was huge by the way and then I was whisked away to a recovery room to recuperate.
The post birth experience in hospital is a whole different story, one I will write soon but for now I think I have waffled long enough. I’m pretty sure parts have been muddled up and timelines squiffy but it’s felt nice writing this down.
There were things that weren’t brilliant about my experience but all in all it was a positive one. The midwives and the doctors were amazing. Steven and I had a giggle and me and the boys, despite worries were all fine. Nothing a 2 week stay in NICU couldn’t fix anyway.