Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Birth

I had the twins at the same hospital I’d had Olive two years ago. It isn’t my closest hospital but it has a great reputation and I’d had such a positive experience there with Olive I didn’t want to go anywhere else.

I was very aware that with twins and an induction things are pretty unpredictable so didn't go into the birth with a very specific birth plan - I didn't want to be so wedded to one option that I'd be disappointed if the plan changed at any point.

My brief was "I'd prefer a vaginal birth with an epidural but just do whatever seems safest for the babies (and me) at the time"

Induction was due to be on the fourth on Nov with a phone call in the morning telling me what time to come in. I ended up ringing three times during the day as I'd heard nothing. I kept being told someone would call me back but no one did. At one point I was asked why I was being induced and I said I was having twins who shared a placenta but this didn't seem to concern anyone.

Eventually at 10:30pm the husband called and was more forceful. He mentioned the sharing a placenta thing and was told that wasn't of concern but they were more interested when he told them I’d had preeclampsia during my previous pregnancy. Suddenly they assured him someone would call first thing the next day.

Which they did at 7am asking me to come in that morning.

The midwife also told him I hadn't been on their initial list - I've no idea why as I was in the room when the midwife added me to the list, maybe he forgot to press ‘save’.

Once I got in at about 9am, we hung around a bit but were put in our own room and at about midday a pesserary (that looked a bit like a tape worm) was shoved up me. I was dreading this bit as when I was induced for Olive the midwife first of all made me doubt her medical credentials by saying she was going to put it up my "frou frou" but also it hurt when it was in, I felt it all night like a badly inserted, fully taxed, tampon. This time the insertion wasn't exactly pleasant but once it was in I couldn't feel a thing.

For the next few hours we just hung out in the room and at about 4pm went for a wander down the local shops, the joy of a hospital in central London. We even found a sofa that we liked so I'll keep an eye out for that in the January sales, but not a lot else happened.

At this point I really regretted not going for an elective caesarean. I kept thinking that if we'd gone for that I would have been done by now and wouldn't have the fear of labour of an unpredictable length looming.

I started having some contractions at about 8 tried some co-codamol which did almost nothing. And don’t get me started on gas and air (is that tautology?) it just made me feel a bit dizzy and sick, I really don’t get it.

By midnight things were very painful but the midwife declared I was only 2cm dilated and they wouldn’t take the pessary out until either I was properly dilated or it had been in 24 hours.

She offered me diamorphine.

I wasn’t about to turn down my first opportunity to try an opiate in a legal, monitored environment so I accepted eagerly.

My daytime midwife, Edna, was brilliant as was the one the following day (Amy). But this night one I didn't warm to, and the fact she didn't tell me her name is indicative of her bedside manner. She spent a lot of time getting annoyed because the twins kept moving so it was hard to get a constant trace on their heart beats (which meant rather than being hooked up to the machine for half an hour at a time I was on it for about 3 hours - not great when you can't move and are contracting).

When she offered me diamorphine she didn't really tell me anything about it. I thought it would ease the pain. I didn't realise until afterwards that a common side effect is it stops contractions completely.

But it did.

I felt really pissed off like the last few hours of contractions had been for nothing and I was going to have to start from scratch again once the drugs had worn off.

Then the diamorphine kicked in.

Paddy knew it had kicked in because I started talking about Marty Pellow from Wet, Wet, Wet being a smack addict and now I understood the inspiration for that line in his song "I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes ..." Because I could feel it in my fingers and toes. Turns out folk are boring on drugs to those who aren't on anything, in whatever circumstances they take them!

It was lovely, I felt really chilled. I didn't sleep because I got an oddly itchy face, but it didn't stress me out I just felt very zonked out and content.

At about 6am the drugs were wearing off and I began to panic that my previously incredibly active babies hadn't moved for ages. I asked the midwife - the same one I hadn't warmed to - to check their heart beats and she was really dismissive of my concerns saying that was I should expect them to stop moving if I’d just taken diamorphine. She did check them but I felt like I was being really paranoid by asking. But hey isn't paranoia a normal part of a opiate come down anyway?

It was now Friday the 6th of November.

The contractions started again at about midday. Thankfully a shift change had also bought the most lovely midwife Amy who was then with me to the end.  

At about 2pm I was 5cm dilated. Things were hurting and the epidural took its time coming as there had been an emergency so anaesthetists were hard to come by. But eventually one was sourced and I got my epidural.


The difference was immense. From being in agony I couldn't feel the contractions and had to be told that they were still happening and when.
At 17:30 I thought my waters had broken. But when I asked the midwife to check she said they hadn’t so offered to break them for me as I was getting very close to actually giving birth. There must have been a lot of pressure building as it burst and I soaked her. To the extent she had to go and change her scrubs. I know they’ve seen it all before but that was quite embarrassing. I mean Amy was brilliant but I’m sure she would have rather I verbally gushed all over her than physically.

Twin one was head down and perfectly poised so on the dot of 8pm, with the midwife telling me exactly when to push, how long for and when to catch my breath I delivered little Iris with just me, Paddy and the midwife in the room.

Twin two wasn’t quite so easy. She was lying length ways and whilst we’d hoped that the birth of the first might encourage her to shift head down. It didn’t.

Suddenly loads of people were in the room checking me and the baby whilst Paddy held Iris. They decided to take me into theatre in case I needed a c-section. I worried a bit as they asked me whether I wanted Paddy to come with me or stay with Iris. I said I wanted him to stay with Iris as I sort of imagined her being left by herself in the room otherwise. But I did also want him with me.

They laughed at me when I said I didn’t want Iris just to be left by herself.

In the end Paddy wheeled Iris into the theatre in her cot whilst everyone else milled around me.

The consultant decided to manually try and turn the baby so manipulated my stomach and managed to get the second baby into a slightly more deliverable position. A bit more pushing, which wasn’t painful thanks to my constant topping up of the epidural but was totally knackering, and Edith came out bum first at 20:47.

I didn’t even register the placenta coming out.

From start to finish the whole process took 35 hours way longer than a c-section would have. However the best thing about it, from a recovery point of view is that I didn’t have any rips, tears or stitches.

The staff were mostly lovely, and even though I was inconsiderate enough to give birth over the 20:30 shift change everyone hung around to see the end result. Throughout the whole birth I didn’t feel worried – even when taken to theatre but like I was in really good hands and safe.

Friday, 13 November 2015

My Girls

Turns out having twins makes you quite busy!

I've been home from hospital since Tuesday and today is the first opportunity I've had to update you all.

The birth story will have to wait.

The names caused us a nightmare. Remember I told you we thought we had the names sorted and then a quick google search showed that the names we'd chosen were a low rent lingerie brand? The names were Iris and Edie. See:

So we tried to find something else.

Iris was the name that we both agreed on. So we struggled to find a name that would work with that (and Olive).

I liked Esme. He didn't.

He was keen on Lily but I didn't want all the girls to have a theme of plant names.

We were very, very close to Ellie before we realised that if Olive's name gets shortened to Ollie (which some of her nursery staff have already started to use) we'd have Ollie and Ellie.

Eventually we decided on Iris and Edith and yes, Edith is already being shortened to Eadie.

I guess I've just got to hope the pants brand is short lived and soon forgotten.

But you don't want to hear about that - here's the money shots of my babies.

 Iris and Edith

Olive and Edith

I can't tell you how happy, content and in love I am. 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

They are here!

The twins arrived on Friday the 6th of November.

Since then time has changed. In some ways flown as I've tried to snatch moments of sleep between their feeds and other needs, and also dragged as I've waited in hospital for help, advice, test results. And desperately missed Olive who is being looked after by the husband's parents.

The twins, my little girls, are genetically identical but at the moment don't look like each other's carbon copy as I'd feared. They look different but it is only now 31 hours in that I'm starting to recognise them as little individuals.

They aren't named yet, though we've got our short list down to three so just one more name to knock off the list and we are sorted.

We are still in hospital because of a few health issues common with early, little babies - low blood sugar, one had a touch of jaundice, both are on antibiotics. I'm confident they'll get the care they need and a clean bill of health soon so we can take them home to start to be a proper family. Even though each little set back has me in tears I know that is as much the tiredness and hormones setting me off than the loss of a wee bit of colostrum or a slight dip in blood sugar levels than it initially appears.

Hopefully I'll be better placed to write more soon, and work out how to add a picture of the little ones.