My birth story…by AnitaB

This is a long one!!

When I was 34 weeks pregnant, I’d made an appointment to have my hair cut the following week on the Thursday (my hair was very long then, down past my waist, and the thought of having to look after it when the twins arrived filled me with horror. So I’d decided to get most of it cut off). I felt REALLY uneasy about the Thursday hair appointment, though, instinctively knowing that it would be too late. So I managed to find a woman who would come and cut my hair at my house 2 days earlier, on the Tuesday.

Well, she arrived and cut my hair, joking that I’d better not go into labour while she was there. When she left at 2pm I wasn’t feeling so good so headed for bed. By 4.20pm when my son and daughter got home from school, I was feeling quite off and had some diarrhoea and felt sick. By this stage, I was panicking, as I was alone in the house with 3 children and thought I was going to be ill with a tummy bug. I realised there was a small possibility I was in labour but didn’t really believe I was, as I wasn’t having contractions.

I called the Delivery Suite (mainly cos I needed some reassurance) and they said to call them back if I was worried. I called them back and they decided I ought to come in to be checked over. As I didn’t have any transport they sent an ambulance and blue-lighted me to the hospital!!! Actually, I felt REALLY embarrassed because I’d only had a bit of diarrhoea and NO contractions at all other than the usual Braxton Hicks and I thought I’d just die of shame if I wasn’t in labour and they had to send me back home (which seemed the likely outcome).

When I got to the hospital (at 5.30pm) I was eventually examined and told to my utter surprise that I was 3cm dilated already. I was also having strong but painless contractions. They asked if I wanted an epidural but I said no (too scared) but I agreed to having the cannula. That was the worst bit of the whole labour as the midwife tried twice (both painful) but couldn’t get it in. I was a blubbering wreck by then so they called the anaesthetist who got it in painlessly the first time he tried.

At about 7-7.30pm baby 1’s heartbeat was dropping so they wanted to put a scalp monitor on her. This meant they had to break her waters. It didn’t hurt at all but the doctor was rather annoyed that she’d got soaked in the process (what did she expect??)!! Once they’d broke my waters the contractions suddenly became close together and painful!! Eventually, it was all getting very painful and I asked (shouted/begged/screamed) for an epidural but the anaesthetist wasn’t available for another 45 minutes!!!!!

I asked rather desperately when they would examine me again and the midwife said in an hour. I thought (but didn’t say) ‘you don’t want to leave it that long’! Not long after that, at 9.16pm, Sophie’s head popped out (the midwives were on the other side of the room making notes when this happened). Suddenly, there was a mad panic and loads of people entered the room. They got Sophie out (I don’t remember that bit), then much to my anger, they just grabbed my feet and put them in stirrups and removed the bottom half of the bed. I was shouting at them to let me put my feet down but they wouldn’t. I don’t actually remember much of what happened next (too many stories about internal versions probably made my mind switch off), but Jade, who had been breech, flipped round spontaneously to be born 11 minutes later head first (good girl).

Both babies were whipped away to be examined. They were OK but it was ages before I could hold them and by that time I was far too tired to be really interested. Also, I had to stay in the delivery suite until the drip had run through, so I was there until 3am which I was really mad about as I was so very tired and I just wanted to get onto the post-natal ward, into bed and get some sleep.

While I was on the delivery suite I met a midwife who had 6 children including twins (her youngest). Like me, she was single, and meeting her really inspired me. It was fantastic to finally meet someone who had managed all alone with twins – I had been dreading having mine as I thought I wouldn’t cope with them and 3 older children, but meeting her made me see that I could do it!

On the post-natal ward I got a lot of help from the midwives with the twins. I think it’s because they were so little (4lb 14 oz and 3lb 15oz) and everyone wanted to hold them and help look after them (usually they didn’t see babies that small there). After about the third day on the ward I can remember thinking, “Blimey, this is supposed to be awful by now” (I’d been reading too many books that were very negative about having twins), but it wasn’t awful at all. I was really enjoying having my little girls, I loved them very much, and I was coping well.

I left hospital after a week. I came home in the evening which was a really bad time (annoyingly, I’d waited almost the whole day to be discharged from the hospital) as I desperately needed to get hold of a breast-pump and it was bed time for my two older boys; so that night was pretty fraught and there were some tears from all of us I think!!

The first few months passed by in a blur really. Looking back on it now it was a difficult time but my love for my girls kept my head above water, and things did eventually get a lot easier. They are two now and it’s been absolutely great having them.

Best wishes, Anita

Mum of five: Jade and Sophie – id twins, Justin, Lawrence,  & Abi

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