My Birth story… by Charlotte Murray

It had been a very hot few days, end of April 1999. I had been signed off work sick and was 26 + weeks pregnant. My pregnancy so far had been up and down. First of all the nausea was like nothing I had expected or known in my life and had continued well on to the 20th week. The surprise of finding out I was expecting twins at 12 weeks and then at 25 weeks, I had a small bleed which stopped after a short admission to hospital but a few days later I began to leak fluid.

I was 26 weeks plus 4 days when I phoned labour ward after waking up in a soaking wet bed. I was told to go in for to be observed. I was scanned that day and it seemed that both twins had enough water for now but I needed to be on bed rest and have steroids ‘just in case’ they came early. I think from the very first scan when I found out I was having twins something just told me that they would be early. Normally I am a very optimistic person but I just knew. Whenever I expressed my fears with my consultant I was told that the majority are not premature and my build (I am 5 ft 8ins with very wide hips!) should ensure that I would go at least to 37 weeks and there was really no cause for concern.

Now sitting on the ward resting and being so bored I pondered on all that had passed. My main concern was for my babies. I was told that every day was a bonus and that If I got to 27 weeks, the survival rate was 80% which made me feel a little better but I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated of my pregnancy which after the constant nausea and vomiting I was just beginning to enjoy.

I was working at the hospital where I was due to give birth so I was lucky enough to have loads of visitors and a little bit of ‘special care’. On the Thursday (29th April) I asked one of the midwives if I and my partner could go and have a look around the neonatal unit ‘just in case’ and that evening we went. It was nothing like I expected and neither were the babies! I had never seen such small human beings so tiny and covered in tubes. On mother allowed me to see her 28 week boy who weighed 1 kilo and all I could think was ‘please don’t be born yet’.

That night I lay awake in bed just wishing and praying. The next day I had another scan and everything looked fine with regards to fluid but it looked like twin one was beginning to engage, still not enough to cause concern. Both were moving well and although the leaking fluid was constant it wasn’t causing any problems as yet.

On the Friday night I lay awake again, just could not sleep. Also had a bit of a backache. The midwife came in and I told her she said ‘oh no, let me know if it gets any worse. The next morning passed like any other but the backache was still there. I felt like I needed the toilet. My best friend phoned to see how I was, told her that I hadn’t been to the toilet for a few days and was going to try after lunch. Said that I was scared to go, in case they came out! She told me not to be so silly!

So off I went to the toilet, no sooner had I sat down when this huge gush of water came, followed by the most intense pain. I pressed the emergency alarm and informed the midwife who immediately took me to labour ward. So that was it, no more bed rest, they were coming – at least I had made it to 27 weeks, to the day.

The scan on labour ward showed that Twin 1 was engaged but was so small that her arm was before her head, they told me they could deliver normally but would have to break her arm to get her out, we decided that she would have enough problems to contend with and went for a caesarean. By now my partner Simon, sisters and dad had all arrived and all were frantic, I wasn’t. Even though I knew the risks involved something told me that all would be ok. I was told not to expect to hear any cries when they were born. In all I counted 12 people in the room not including myself and Simon.

On 1st May 1999, Twin 1 was born at 3.10pm and cried followed by twin 2 at 3.13pm and another big cry. I was allowed a quick look and then off they went to SCBU. Then came the tears from myself and Simon my partner. Two gorgeous little girls and so tiny. They weighed just 900g each, just under 2lbs.

I managed to get down to SCBU than night in a wheelchair and despite all the tubes and wires just could not believe that I was a mum and here they were Ellie and Paige. So beautiful and so delicate.

The next 3 months were a struggle for us all. Ellie & Paige came home from hospital on 2nd August 1999 weighing just under 6lbs and have gone from strength to strength. They are now almost 4 and not a day goes past when I don’t think about how lucky we are. They have had no problems associated with their prematurity and are just beautiful, happy, wonderful angels.

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