My birth story…by Amy Savvides
The first big shock was when the sonographer told us there was ‘two in there’ – the second big shock was when the consultant told us they were identical! We’d only just started getting used to the fact there was 2 of them, let alone them being identical and the added problems that can bring with it.
Aside from feeling nauseous all the time, and being unable to eat anything aside from orange ice lollies, the first 16 weeks were relatively trouble free. True, I was more tired than usual but I used my status as a twin-mummy-to-be to secure a space in my works carpark – no mean feat I can tell you!
I was lucky enough that my partner, Alan, was on hand to come to all the appointments with me. I was especially grateful for this when, at the 18 week point, we were told that our babies had a very mild case of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Having been briefly told about it at our first appointment, and having read many a horror story on the internet, I burst into tears and we were both led into a side room where the midwife explained options to us.
She said that in the worst case scenario, I would need laser surgery and/or amniotic drainage, but that there was still a chance that one or both babies could die. She stressed that there was nothing I did or didn’t do that brought it on, it just happens sometimes, but this of course did nothing to make us feel better. I was signed off work for 4 weeks and spent a lot of time worrying myself into oblivion.
Alan, unfortunately, had no such time to himself and had to go straight back to work the following day. At this point I saw how dads can easily get pushed to the side and their feelings brushed under the carpet, because of course he was just as upset as me.
From this point, I was scanned weekly by the consultant, and luckily the TTTS was not getting any worse, and the boys were very active which was a good sign. However, at about 26 weeks I was admitted to the ward – I felt rubbish but the boys were fine. The problem was all me as I’d picked up a nasty virus. I was in for 3 days, and boy was I glad to get out!
From this point, due to so much weight in my pelvis, I started to suffer quite badly from SPD (which luckily abated before I gave birth), and also felt very faint if I could not sit or lie down every so often. This often meant at my hospital appointment I could be found lying on the floor, as I was so hot all the time the cool, horizontal floor was where I felt most comfortable.
I gave up work at 28 weeks as I had some holiday to take, and as I couldn’t stand or sit comfortably, and was having to take regular naps at work. Luckily, I had a very understanding team leader! I was still being scanned weekly at this point – although the TTTS was not getting any worse – so you can imagine our relief when the consultant declared the TTTS had resolved itself and we could just come fortnightly. I’d never really experienced a ‘weight being lifted’, but I certainly did then.
I had a routine check up Wednesday 14th January, exactly a month before my due date. The boys heart rates were monitored, and they did all the usual – urine, BP etc. My blood pressure was up, I had protein in my urine and I was very swollen. The funny thing was, I felt absolutely fine, and it wasn’t until I saw pictures of myself that I realise just how swollen I was. Belly aside, I looked like I had been pumped up full of air!
Anyway, the consultant admitted me as she said although I felt fine I had pre-eclampsia and they needed to keep an eye on me. I spent a very boring day and night on the ward, until Thursday evening when the consultant said they would induce me earlier. I was shocked when she said they would start me off first thing in the morning. Obviously I let Alan know straight away and he arranged to come in first thing.
At 7am I went round to the induction suite, and when Alan arrived, I had already had the first Prostin pessary to get things started. I felt fine, and slept until about noon, when I was woken for lunch and the second pessary. This was when the contractions started – in earnest – and I was in a lot of pain. Because it was twins, then moved me into the delivery room (a horrible cell with no windows) and I was given diamorphine. I slept again until about 9pm, when the doctor came and I had an epidural, which was so painful. I didn’t realise however, that he got the wrong spot first time and had to try again. Ouch!
It obviously worked though, as I slept again, and had to be woken at about 1am when I was examined and found to be fully dilated and contracting regularly. It was time to push! I couldn’t feel the contractions (or my right leg!) but could feel the sensation which was very weird. The midwife broke my waters – which I swear you could’ve floated a battleship on – and I started to push.
There was just me, Alan, and the midwife. I pushed for 45 minutes and Luke was born at 2.45am and immediately placed on my chest. I’ve never been so overwhelmed! He was gorgeous and looked at me – he was quite quiet although there was nothing wrong. Some other midwives came in and they did their thing. I was then busy pushing again – 26 minutes later, at 3.09am, Jake was born, and put onto my chest. Alan was holding Luke by now, so we were all together. At this point, the doctor made an appearance but he had obviously missed the main show!
The boys weighed in at 5lb 10oz (Luke) and 4lb 7.5oz (Jake), the difference in size being a direct result of the TTTS but not a problem. They were absolutely fine – no problems whatsoever. I was expecting and dreading them being whisked into special care, but they weren’t. They were put in a crib next to me where I could see and touch them. They immediately turned onto their sides to face each other which was so lovely.
Unfortunately, although the boys were fine, I kept bleeding and the registrar said I had clots which had to be removed. She started doing this, but it was extremely painful so they took me into theatre and topped up my epidural. This didn’t really seem to help though, and it felt like I was having towels packed inside me. I spent a little time in recovery with the boys, and then was taken back to the delivery room. Alan went home to catch up on some sleep – as he’d been up for over 24 hours by now – and to notify relatives. I stayed in the ‘cell’ where I was given 2 units of blood, and left to sleep with my babies next to me.
A few very long hours later, Alan came back – with my mum, sister and brother in tow, who had driven 200 miles to come and visit. I was then wheeled to the ward. I was the only person in at the time with twins….cue lots of people exclaiming over them!
I was allowed home on the Tuesday, just 4 day after the boys were born. 0verall, I feel truly blessed that after a difficult and stressful pregnancy, having little or no sleep for 5 months, not being able to walk any length of time without feeling ill and faint, not to mention the TTTS, I had a relatively easy birth and no problems with the boys at all. They are 13 weeks old now, and a healthy 12lb 2oz and 10lb 5oz – a leftover from the TTTS. They are hitting all their milestones and are just about the custest things I have ever seen!
I love being a twin mummy, even with all the difficulties it brings. I try and get out to the local shops for a walk everyday, and it’s lovely to be recognised as ‘the twin mummy’! I couldn’t be more proud!
Thanks for reading,