Pregnancy Comes In All Shapes And Sizes:
Expecting Twins with Renovation Bay-Bee
Tell us a little about your family.
I am a Mum to 3 children, my son Tyler who will be 13 this July, which is super scary that I will be a Mum to a teenager! Then I have my identical twin girls Lily and Sofia, who are 7. I’m married to Kev, and we have been together 15 years, married 9 years.
Tell us about the day you found out you were expecting twins/triplets. What were you very first thoughts?
I had been very sick throughout the early weeks, it started kicking in about 5 weeks, and by 7 weeks I couldn’t even keep water down. I was put on anti sickness tablets, which enabled me to be able to eat and drink small quantities. So I was desperate to find out if my baby was OK, and just to see it on the scan. So we booked at private scan at 10 weeks. We had been very open with my son, and kept him involved in the pregnancy. So we all went along to an 8:30am scan full of excitement, but hoping all was OK.
Then the Sonographer paused and started to look all around my tummy, I was just watching her face, but she didn’t seem concerned. She then showed us the screen, ‘There’s your baby, all perfect and looking great’ a huge sense of relief came over me and I was so happy. However she then moved the scanner around my tummy again and said ‘and there’s your other baby’….. ‘WHAT there’s ANOTHER one?’ I said! Then I quickly wanted to know that this one was all OK too. Which he/she was! We just burst out laughing, and couldn’t stop!!
I always wanted 3 children, and my husband wasn’t so keen and his words were, ‘you always get what you want, even when you don’t try’
SCAN PICTURE 10 WEEKS
How did you find the reactions of others when you told them you were expecting more than one baby?
This day was one of my top best days of my life, we felt so privileged to be carry twins, and the excitement that came with it. We spent the day telling all our family and friends, watching everyone’s face light up, they were so happy for us. It came as a complete shock to all of us as there aren’t any twins in the family.
My Mum was speechless, first time ever! We made my Dad sit down before telling him! We sent my Sister a scan picture through e-mail as she lives 130 miles away from me. I called her to tell her to look at her e-mail……I didn’t say anything other than look at the picture I’ve just sent you……
SCAN PICTURE 12 WEEKS
That is one way to shock your family!!
Was your pregnancy straightforward or did you encounter any complications?
As I mentioned above I had terrible sickness from very early on, I escaped heading to hospital for it by taking some anti-sickness tablets, phew!
As my twins were identical twins, they shared a placenta. This means you need to keep a close eye on them. When I first found this out it was a pretty scary thing to get my head around. TTTS can be very dangerous if you get it, as one twin gets too much of everything, and the other doesn’t get enough. You need scans every 2 weeks to keep an eye on them, but I was very lucky and never got this.
I found carrying twins very hard, I am not very big built, and had lost a lot of weight at the start. So my bump was heavy, uncomfortable and I was extremely tired. My wonderful husband and family helped me out as much as possible.
My twins tried to appear a couple of times, once at 29 weeks and then again at 31 weeks. Both times they managed to stop it, and I was given steroid injections to help mature their lungs. However my waters started to go at 33 weeks, so there was no stopping them then!
TYLER AND ME
Did you find the support and advice from health professionals regarding birth options adequate?
I had pre-eclampsia with my son, and I was diagnosed at 34 weeks with him and spent 2 weeks in hospital before he was born. I had a natural birth with him, but suffered terrible problems with my back after this. The plus side of going to hospital every 2 weeks I was able to see a specialist each time. We discussed birth options, and all agreed that it was safest and best for me to have a C-Section with the twins. I did feel supported, and they were happy to listen to my thoughts as well as their own.
Please tell us briefly about the birth?
Like I said above, they had tried to come a little earlier, and I had been sent to a hospital that wasn’t near to home a couple of days before by ambulance. This was because there wasn’t enough beds in the neonatal for them. I will admit this was pretty scary, I didn’t want them to be away from home. I wanted people to come and see us easily, and I needed to be near my son and babies. However after spending a night there, and being successful with stopping the contractions, the consultant said I could go home that evening. I was out of there as quickly as possible!!
So I went home to bed and rested. I woke up the next day at 8am with a pop as I sat up, my waters started to go! Rung the hospital to say I was coming in, had my breakfast, had a shower, woke hubby up as he was sleeping from a night shift, and then headed into hospital. As we were driving there I started to have quite strong contractions that I needed to breathe through.
Once we arrived at the hospital I was checked over, babies monitored and canulars inserted. This time they weren’t going to try and stop them, I was 33 weeks on the dot! They told me that there wasn’t any beds in neonatal, and they might have to transfer me and the babies after they were born. It was too late to transfer us to another hospital.
I would advise not to have your breakfast before you go to hospital to have a c-section! They said because of that they couldn’t risk starting it now, in case I had to be put to sleep. So I had to wait as long as possible, I got to 1:30pm and by that point the contractions were pretty strong.
I was taken down to theatre to have a epidural put in, sitting on the edge of a bed with a big twin bump and someone popping a needle in your spine, is a pretty hard task!! Then everyone comes to say hello to you, and introduce themselves, whilst you’re having contractions!! I did a lot of nodding and smiling!!
With a twin birth you get double the amount of people, each baby has a team to them and you feel very well looked after. I felt pretty nervous, but at the same time I felt very safe.
Kev wasn’t allowed in whilst I was having my epidural in, so had to wait outside. He said this was the longest 25 minutes of his life. I think he also was forgotten about, as I had to ask someone to get him as they were starting to open me up and he wasn’t there. Luckily he got in there just in time to see the girls born.
In those first moments after the babies were born, what emotions were prominent?
Relief, relief that we had got them out and they were OK. It was a tough pregnancy on all of us, and I just wanted them both here as safe. They were great weights for 33 weeks Lily was 4lbs 8oz and Sofia was 3lbs 13oz. I wasn’t able to hold them, but they were quickly brought over to me to see them in the incubators before being taken off to neonatal.
I was desperate to find out if we were going to be moved hospital, and a really lovely doctor from neonatal came down to speak to me about the twins and update me on them. She then told me ‘Oh don’t you worry Steph, they’re our babies now, they are not going anywhere!’.
It took me about 6 hours to go and see them, which was the longest 6 hours ever. I was desperate to get to them!
Do you feel you received adequate support with feeding more than baby whilst still in hospital and once home?
No I don’t, I am not sure if things have changed now but I was asked to hand express what I could get off my breast for them, which was hardly anything. I struggled to do this, but they wouldn’t give me a breast pump until my milk came in about day 3-4. I felt useless not being able to give them my milk. The only thing I felt I should be able to do for them.
The body is an amazing thing, I wasn’t sleeping with them as I was on the ward but when I went downstairs to cuddle them, my milk would flow out of me. Just cuddling my babies made my body realise it needed to produce milk. I wish I was given the opportunity and help to express milk when I was with my babies, as this would have been much more productive.
I was having trouble getting my supply up when I went home without the twins and only with my breast pump. I wasn’t given enough support, and ideas on how to produce more milk. I was travelling back and forth to the hospital, looking after my son and trying to pump. I struggled so badly, that I felt like I couldn’t do all this. So said I think I have to stop. The breast feeding consultant came around, and the nurse said to her ‘this Mum is a twin Mum and is struggling, so has decided to stop’ and moved on. What I really could have done with is her sitting with me and having a chat about it, I felt like I couldn’t do it.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone else expecting more than one baby?
Join a twin club, I joined my local one when the twins were about 7 weeks old. I made friends that I still have now, and they were the best support I ever could have. They all know how it feels, ideas on helping you, there’s always a hand to help and a shoulder to cry on.
Have you seen our other guest post on expecting twins? Read it here.