After such a gruelling 36 weeks of pregnancy, I’ve got to admit I was ready to become a Mum again for the 2nd and 3rd time. I was in and out of hospital so many times, I may as well have worked there. They all know who I was and spoke to me on such a casual basis. It got to the point I was so embarrassed to ring up as I rang up so often, each time I was admitted. I just didn’t want to be away from home anymore, I was tired, exhausted, I needed my own bed and of course my little lad. I was struggling with gyne problems, I had gallstones and I was involved in a really bad car accident, so as you can imagine, I was counting down the days to push these two little peanuts out.
Finally, I got to 34 weeks and it was time to start my maternity leave. Something that felt like a lifetime away was finally here. I finished off my work and went home, hoping and praying that the girls would be here soon.
The days went by, midwife appointments became more frequent, I had reduced movements and Braxton Hicks, they were moderate pains. I could deal with them, after all, I had gone this far and nothing was going to stop me now!
My feet got fatter and I was summoned to the day unit each day to be monitored. I eagerly waited to be seen by my consultant or registrar to tell me that my pains were getting stronger on the machine, or they were going to induce me. But it wasn’t that simple.
I had opted for a natural birth, I just wanted it to be perfect – just like every other mum. I needed to remember that this wasn’t just an ordinary birth, there was two babies, it made it higher risk but it didn’t bother me. I had been in labour before, so I had some kind of idea what was going to happen. Oh, how wrong I can be. I was so naive. I was too busy trying to be positive, after all the negativity during my pregnancy I longed for some happiness and to meet these two tiny babies which have been in my belly.
Day one – Tuesday 1st May (36+1)
Today was the start of when my life was about to change forever. But I was yet to know this.
It started off being a normal boring day, our upstairs toilet was leaking so we had a plumber round to fix the leak. I started to feel dodgy. I felt lightheaded, sick and dizzy. This will soon pass, I’ll just sit down for a little while. An hour passed, still the same. I was unsure what to do, so I rang the maternity ward to address my symptoms as I was panicking – Adam was on work placement at a Primary school, our car was in the garage and I couldn’t get hold of anyone. The midwife spoke to me to let me know that I will be okay, I just needed to get someone to take me down to the hospital.
Another hour passed and I was getting worse. My vision was going blurred and I couldn’t think straight. I felt so faint. I looked at myself in the mirror. Wow, even though I couldn’t see, I could see I looked like utter shit. In panic, I rang the hospital again but she asked me for my hospital number and I couldn’t read them. I could have been talking another language I was making that little sense.
“Yasmin, you need to listen to me. Do not drive. An ambulance is on it’s way”.
Holy shit. Adam only told me to ring him if I knew I was in labour, not for some headache or something like that. Is this worthy of a phone call? I rang his mobile. It rang out. Shit. I need him. I rang again. No answer. I started to panic, I couldn’t breathe well, my chest hurt, my eyes – I could barley see. What else could I possibly do next? I decided to ring the school he was on placement with. Just so you know I am still really embarrassed about this part.
“Hello…. Primary School, how may I help you?”
“Hi, my partner is working there and I need him to come home”
“Sorry, what?” the receptionist said over the phone.
“His name is Adam, I need to talk to him”
“Who? What is his last name?”
Shit. I was stumped. We’ve been together years, yet my tiny little brain wasn’t functioning. I can’t think. What’s Adams last name?
“I don’t know. I’m Yasmin. I’m not well, an ambulance is coming for me. Please, help me.”
For some unknown reason, I put the phone down on the poor woman. I was going to faint. I needed help. I laid on the sofa. I’ve never been so desperate for someone to come to help me.
Time was going by so fast, all I could describe my experience was like going on a good binge of alcohol and being drunk with my head spinning.
Adam was back. I have no idea how he got to me so soon. I was confused and sick. The ambulance was here. They asked me some questions, strapped me into my seat and took my blood pressure. 169 over 120. Shit. That’s bad. Even in my state, I knew this was bad. I got to the maternity unit, they had my room ready, hooked me up to a drip and said goodnight (or until the next two hours when they will have to take my blood pressure).
Day two – Wednesday 2nd May (36+2)
No sleep, check. Hungry, check. Still feeling strange, check. Or is this just who I am now? I can’t remember the last time I felt ‘normal’. Adam went home to sleep for the night and just arrived back to see me. Charlie was at Jacjacs the childminder. The doctor was soon to come round to see me. There was a little bit of small talk to see how I was feeling.
“You’re 36 weeks now, these babies are ready for this world. We just need mum to be okay. We think this is pre-eclampsia. Okay?”
Seriously, what is going on. I can’t think straight.
“We are going to induce you.”
Wow. These were the words I have been waiting for. Over half of twins are born early with mums going into labour naturally, but this clearly wasn’t me. I was being induced for the second time of my life.
The pessary was put in and off I went.
I was on the bouncy ball. My contractions were getting stronger. I went for a walk to try and encourage them. Once we got back, I went in the bath to try and sooth the labour pains. I was doing well. I can do this! The pains were getting stronger and closer. I was put back onto the machine. My contractions were so close now and very regular. But I was only 2cm. My heart sank. I thought something was happening. I was starting to be in a lot of pain. I had two paracetamol, but anyone who has been in labour knows this does sweet FA! I was in agony, I was given gas and air. Everything was a bit of a daze. I was having 8 contractions in 10 minutes meaning that I was having contractions on top of contractions. The midwife in charge decided to take out my pessary and give me an injection to stop the contractions and stop me going into labour. The pains eventually stopped and I was monitored over night.
Day three – Thursday 3rd May (36+3)
The doctor and midwife agreed that it wasn’t the right thing to give me another pessary. The explained to me that contractions at that rate and frequency will harm the baby. They described that each contraction, the baby almost stops breathing and to them it’s like going underwater for around 30-40 seconds. For 8 of these in 10 minutes wasn’t healthy for the babies so a sweep it was.
I’ve only ever had bad experiences with sweeps. With Charlie, it hurt. But my cervix wasn’t open – so I was hopeful that as I’ve been through labour before, my cervix would still be slightly open and would be ‘more comfortable’ than before.
The doctor walked in and it was a man. I instantly looked at his hands. They were fucking huge. He was around 6ft 4 and just huge. Jesus christ, this is going to hurt. I can’t do this. He started to do the sweep and it killed. They gave me gas and air to ease it, but it still hurt me. It was awful. I’ve never felt anything like it. Adam can only describe his hands as spades!
Hours went by and nothing happened. I was starting to get fed up now, so Adam went home to try to get some sleep.
Day four – Friday 4th May (36+4)
I started to feel like nothing was going to happen. I wanted a normal delivery, but all I could think about was a c-section. I was tired and drained. I couldn’t even have 2 hours sleep without being interrupted. I missed Charlie and wanted to be at home.
I used the bouncy ball, went on walks, warm baths, but nothing happened. My first pessary worked but this just isn’t working. I felt like I was failing in some way, I couldn’t go into labour naturally with any of my pregnancies. I started doubting myself.
Day five – Saturday 5th May (36+5)
I was getting upset, I wanted a c-section now. Today was the day of decisions. I couldn’t go on like this anymore. I had been away from my baby boy too long. I was drained. It was agreed that if nothing was happening, I would have a c-section. I started to feel crap, the lady came in who takes the lunch order. She came up to me and said “get on that ball” and gave me a little hug. She brightened up a sad hour. What have I got to lose? I got on the birthing ball and started to bounce. Oh my, I was getting pains. I was already at 2/3cm, all I needed to do was to get to 4cm and they would try and break my waters.
My midwife was called Dee. She was lovely and so friendly. Someone I feel a privilege to have met. She looked after me, made me feel so safe and treat me like a friend. Dee spoke to me about normal things, her dogs, where she likes to go away, it was nice. It took me away from the feeling of being stuck in a hospital room. I had the speaker plugged in so I was listening to some music. It was relaxing. After the few days, I started to calm down a little. Nothing is perfect, everything happens for a reason. As long as my babies are safe that’s all I’m bothered about.
Dee came to see me and to check how I was getting on. I was 3cm, my pessary had fell out by now and she could feel Baby number 1’s head. She explained that if I had my epidural, she could then pop my waters and try and get things going. If things weren’t to work out, I would be ready for theatre.
My waters were popped and I’ve never seen anything like it. There was so much fluid. Adam had a little laugh about it, which passed five minutes. Hopefully my contractions would pick up again. This time I was bed bound and bored.
They brought two baby monitor machines out. Two baby name bands, two little oxygen masks. Everything came in twos. Adam started scouting around and showing me little things all in pairs to which we couldn’t help but ‘ooo’ and ‘ahh’.
Time was passing, I had some pains but could barely feel them from the epidural.
It was 6pm and around 8/9 hours since my waters have been burst. I was 4cm. Dee’s shift changed and we had a different midwife called Ann. Again she was lovely, and the mum of Adams barber!
Nothing much happened, it was a little boring. It was around 11pm and I finally hit 5cm! It did seem like we was getting somewhere.
Half an hour passed and I felt really heavy down there. I couldn’t work out if I needed to go to the toilet or I had already been without knowing. Ann examined me and looked surprised.
“These babies are going to be here sooner than we think. You’re 10cm!”
What? How? I’ve been waiting hours! 30 minutes… Wow. I was in shock. I looked at Adam, he was so calm and collected.
I was given gas and air to stop me from pushing until Mr Poku was free, his registrar Ben, another midwife and 4 paediatricians. It was overwhelming, it was such a small room but filled with so many important bodies. So many people who are going to be here for one of the greatest moments of my life, yet I didn’t know them. Complete strangers. But what amazing people they are. We were in their care and they looked after us as if it wasn’t a job. They wanted to look after us, to be comfortable and have a lovely experience.
It was 11.45pm and I was given the option if I wanted to hold off pushing incase the twins were born on different days – of course I held off. I kept puffing on the gas and air each time I needed to push.
Day six – Sunday 6th May (36+6)
It was past midnight, it was time to push. Every time a contraction hit, I pushed. I pushed so hard. I couldn’t breathe. It was so difficult. Charlie was out in 20 minutes, I was expecting the same. I was pushing for over an hour. I was getting tired. Was I failing? I’m a woman, I should be able to do this. I’ve been through this before.
Between pushing, I could see them looking at the monitor, I could sense something was wrong. I pushed with all I had left after a hard few days. They knew I was struggling. They decided to intervene, the registrar got Baby 1’s head and pulled her head out. With a few more pushes and a little help, she was out.
Penelope Ivy. The most gorgeous little girl. But she was blue. She was floppy. The cord was wrapped around her neck. There was no time. Adam didn’t get chance to cut the cord, she was taken for oxygen. I remember telling Adam to try not to look. She was in safe hands. He looked so broken, it was awful. Something that brings so much happiness was killing him inside. We wanted her to be okay. She was small. They couldn’t get an oxygen mask to fit such a tiny face. It was so hard to see.
I was given a drip to start off my contractions again. Nothing happened. They upped and upped the dosage. It hurt. I had never experienced pain like this before, it was so overwhelming. I was given gas and air, as well as my epidural but I could feel everything. It was time for Baby 2’s arrival. Again, I pushed, but I couldn’t do it. I’m useless. Why can’t I do it? Again they assisted me and helped pull her out.
Lola Alice. My youngest baby. She was wiped and wrapped up. I could cuddle her. She’s beautiful. Blood was pouring out of me. They were wiping off of the bed and putting into a large bucket. They were putting bandages up to try and collect the blood, ringing it out and doing the same. As I was holding Lola, blood clots were starting to form from where the placenta had been pulled away. They were pulling the blood clots out from my uterus. It was so painful. They were the size of beef tomatoes.
I felt faint. Adam took Lola and was staring at Penny. I have never seen so much love but I didn’t feel a part of it.
I started going in and out of a daze. I was sick. It was green from not eating in what felt like days. I started to lose consciousness. I was trying my hardest not to close my eyes, I needed to stay awake for my babies. But it was too late. I thought I was going to die. Frantic bodies around me and Adam was stepping back as people came to my bedside to help. I couldn’t open my eyes, but I could hear words which I didn’t understand.
I woke up 5 hours later. I felt rough with sick in my hair. They had cleaned me up. The blood was gone, I had maternity pants on and I didn’t feel right. From the blood clots and the amount of blood I lost, I had barley any iron making me pass out. I had missed the first hours of my babies lives. I felt so guilty. I wasn’t the first person to feed them, but I wanted to be.
I will never forget what happened and it always gets me down as I feel like in some way I have let them down.
My baby girls were born on 6th May. Penelope weighing 5lb 4oz at 1.03am and Lola weighing 5lb at 1.15am creating the proudest big brother ever.