My debilitating twin pregnancy
"To say my pregnancy was terrible was an understatement, because it was completely debilitating on all levels."
JOSIE'S MOTHERHOOD STORY
6 weeks pregnant and over the moon, but I’m in hospital on a drip for extreme nausea and constant vomiting. Thankfully I felt better by morning and it was during a routine ultrasound that I was told there is not only one baby growing but TWO!
Blessed with two and double the trouble but throughout my pregnancy it was double the damn hormones. This lead me to a early diagnosis of the medical term for severe all day sickness called 'hyperemesis gravidarum'. It was horrible, it was constant and by week 12, I had to stop work completely. My amazing Obstetrician (OB) advised me that if it hadn’t subsided by this stage it will continue throughout the whole pregnancy and far out, he was right.
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My pregnancy was dependent on medication to help subside the vomiting and nausea but it didn’t stop it from coming out, sometimes up to 6 times per day. To say my pregnancy was terrible was an understatement, because it was completely debilitating on all levels.
At 27 weeks, hubby and I attended a routine ultrasound, which lead me straight to the hospital for an admission. Being told I may need to deliver within the next 24 hours was not only daunting, it was terrifying! It became apparent that one twin was not getting enough nutrients through the umbilical cord, as there was some sort of resistance. Within minutes of being admitted, my OB quickly administered me with steroid injections, which would enhance the babies lung capacity should I need to deliver the babies early.
After two days of steroids, ultrasounds and general monitoring, I was advised the umbilical cord once again flowed as it should and I was released and sent home. Upon returning home, I was greeted with weekly hospital visits which monitored the baby’s heart beat, followed straight after by a steroid injection, followed by an ultrasound and lastly an OB visit.
All ran somewhat smoothly for the next 4 weeks. The babies surprisingly were developing quite well and I was feeling less stressed about that. However I still had much to complain about, since I was still battling hyperemesis gravidarum, accompanied with pure exhaustion, being bloated and unable to walk, acid reflux at night and shortness of breath. By this time I was placed on more meds and honestly I was just managing.
At 32 weeks + 5 days, I went to the hospital for my weekly routine check ups and after seeing my OB, he stated “you aren’t going home, I’m delivering your babies this afternoon”. Once again, my umbilical cord showed resistance which was not good for the baby’s development. He put it to me that the babies will be safer outside of the womb as opposed to inside the womb, with what was happening.
I was terrified and started to cry, but I was reassured that even though the babies were only 32 weeks, they should be ok. I was advised they will need to be placed in the Special Care Nursery (SCN) until they were big and strong enough to come home. Even though I became oblivious to what was being said, I knew my OB wouldn’t have made the decision to deliver unless it was an absolute emergency.
After finally reaching my husband at work, he met me at the hospital with my suitcase. He kind of looked worried but also had a streak of excitement in his face, he was about to become a Dad.
We were escorted to the operating theatre and I was given an epidural anaesthetic, which is specifically used for childbirth to produce loss of sensation below the waist. I was numb within minutes and right then and there they made their incision to deliver.
My OB advised the twin in distress would be delivered first and within moments he was holding a screaming Zara Christine, who weighed a tiny 1.2 kilos. One exact minute later, Sienna Victoria weighing 1.8 kilos was born and to everyone’s amazement, she was delivered with the amniotic sac still around her. My OB cut it open and much to my delight, I heard her cry.
The girls were seen right away by a paediatrician who was present for the delivery and from what I was hearing, the girls were physically ok. After sometime, they wrapped tiny Zara and Sienna up and finally gave them to us to hold. It was this particular moment in time, that my heart was filled with a feeling of love I’ve never felt before. I felt an instant connection to the little girls I carried and watched grow inside of me and a protective streak in me shortly followed. The debilitating pregnancy instantly became a memory, I was now a twin mum.
Within minutes, the girls were placed in SCN, but only based on their size and weight. Thankfully the girls had no other complications even though they were delivered early. They were being fed from a feeding tube, but that was purely because they were way too small to suck.
After 6 days in hospital I was released to go home but my babies had to stay back. I was pretty stressed with the thought of this and my feelings of sadness and guilt kicked in. I quickly became frightened and anxious and it wasn’t before too long, I went into a protective kind of mode.
The next 6 weeks were so frantic and overwhelming, whilst recovering from my emergency caesarean. I would set my alarm every 4 hours and pumped milk, I was calling the SCN every 4 hours to see how my girls were travelling, I attended the nursery early morning and would leave late at night, all whilst attending to my babies needs. I was exhausted and overwhelmed with anxiety, just wanting the girls to reach their milestones so they could come home. Within days I was holding my babies and nurturing them as much as I could. Within 2 or so weeks, I was able to feed them with my pumped breast milk and within another 4 weeks they were strong enough to come home - yay!
At home I put into routine all I learned from the SCN nurses and what I thought would be difficult, seemed ok! Don’t get me wrong, it was tough but not as tough as I anticipated. My hubby would wake every 4 hours with me to help feed and change nappies and despite going to work with no sleep, he never complained.
I was all about routine but didn’t take to the self soothing or settling part! If my girls cried, I’d pick them up and nurtured them til they felt safe or fell asleep. I attended to their every move and sound and I became really pedantic about how I responded to their needs. I didn’t care about people’s thoughts and opinions about how I was "spoiling" my girls by attending to them if they needed me, as I firmly believe in attachment and bonding and that is what I was creating between us. I decided to explore and learn about the gentle parenting technique and I adapted quite quickly to approaching my girls needs in a therapeutic way.
3 years later, my girls are reaching all milestones. They are intelligent, cheeky, cute, head strong and loving. I’ve recently been diagnosed with post natal anxiety and I believe my anxieties stem back to when I was hospitalised and told I may need to deliver my babies at 27 weeks.
My anxieties then became more apparent when I was released from hospital without the girls and whilst taking on my new mum role, I actually forgot about me. It didn’t matter how I felt, I just needed to nail it at being a perfect twin mum. I was embarrassed and ashamed to admit having anxiety but nowadays I am extremely open about it. It’s a terrible feeling of angst but talking about it or writing about my feelings, overcomes it all.
The horrific pregnancy I endured and the early delivery at 32 weeks is now a complete blur. The overall experience has taught me to trust and follow my instincts, it’s showed me how resilient and strong I really am, how super capable I really am and how compassionate and loving I am.
I am so appreciative and grateful to have my amazing girls by my side and whilst toddler stage so far has been the hardest for me, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. When I go a little crazy, I tend to remind myself that every challenge the girls are throwing at me is age appropriate behaviour. They aren’t little for long, therefore I savour and cherish every moment. My little loves are my everything and I’d do it all again just to have them, if I had to.
I enjoy writing and reading real life stories. I am an Administration Assistant in Child Protection Department (state government).I have a big heart and wear it on my sleeve. My obsessions are my twin girls.
Hood: Kingsbury Victoria
Children: 2 twin girls
Motherhood in 5 words: crazy, demanding, exhausting, overwhelming & loving.
Coffee order: Skinny cappuccino with one sugar
Fav fam-friendly place: Rabbit Hole Play Centre in Braybrook
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