My first foray writing about these Smalls was at the end of September 2009, when I posted my birth announcement and birth story onto babycentre.co.uk. I’d been an active member of their ‘Pregnant with Twins or More’ Group throughout my pregnancy and so that’s where I initially shared this. I thought I’d like to save it for posterity here too. This is me then, [this is me now.] Please excuse the writing. Total baby brain.
The twins were born at 39 weeks and 2 days by planned C-Section.
They’ve arrived! Arthur Alexander and Dolores Rose (Dolly) were born on Thursday 17 September at 11.32 and 11.34 weighing 6.1lb and 6.9lb respectively. Sorry for the late BA but it’s taken me a week to get anywhere near the internet! [WTF was I thinking?!]
My worst fears were realised when I was told I would have to have a planned c-section as Dolly was breech (foot first) and not for turning. Having absolutely *dreaded* the op I have to say it really was an extraordinary experience. Absolutely nothing to be worried about. Mind-blowing and surreal but amazing and joyous and all that I hoped the birth would be.
We were asked to arrive at the hospital at 7am on Thursday 17th having fasted from midnight the previous evening and had last sip of water at 6am that morning. I’d been given antacid medication to take the night before and again at 6am and they’d warned be that that would be it for water/food until after they delivered. We were told that the planned c-sections began at 9am and on arrival told we were due in theatre at 11am. We were shown to a private room (we didn’t ask for it and weren’t charged for it) that was lovely with nice views of fields and cows all around. I was given a gown and some special DVT socks to put on and then we were made comfortable and left to wait. I was really anxious but by this time I just wanted to get on with it. Too much time to think about it.
At 10.30 our lovely midwife Alison came in to say we’d been called in early and would be heading to theatre right away. I was shaking like a leaf as we walked down to theatre and waited for the anaesthetist to be ready. [In retrospect this really doesn’t convey the utter terror I was feeling. I could hardly walk for shaking.]
We were shown into the ‘recovery room’ where they fitted a canula in my hand and loaded up a drip… then it was time for the spinal block. They gave me a small local anaesthetic and then went in with the spinal. It was a bit[!] uncomfortable whilst they made sure they’d hit all the right nerves but nothing compared to what I’d expected. They then tested it was working with a freezing water spray. It was a strange but not unpleasant sensation not to be able to feel anything below my boobs. Everywhere just felt really warm. They fitted a catheter (didn’t notice) and then said we were ready to go in. At this point I got something called spinal shakes which is an effect of the block and I think, combined with nerves, meant I was really shaking very badly. They gave me some blankets and showed Chris in who looked overwhelmed but calmed me down immediately by stroking my hair and just holding my gaze and talking quietly to me. Then we were off…
The surgeon was amazing. Didn’t have any sense of an ‘incision’ which I’d expected and felt sick about so that was good, and then the rummaging began. Again really not an unpleasant sensation, it felt odd but once I realised he had got hold of Dolly and she was about to be delivered my focus was just totally on the babies and that they were ok. It was a massive relief when he pulled her out and thrust her into the air above our heads. She looked huge and perfect! The best bit was being able to breathe! Such an enormous weight was literally lifted out of me! Straight to the recussataire whilst they delivered Arthur, who needed a bit of help from some forceps weirdly (still not sure why). Both were whisked away briefly to check all ok and then they were back and on top of me. They were totally and utterly beautiful. Chris and I were mesmerised and I don’t remember anything about being stitched up other than it took about 20 minutes. We were back in the recovery room within the hour and both were feeding at the same time immediately. No problems latching on for these two monkeys. They wheeled me back up to the maternity ward with a baby on each breast which in retrospect seems a bit embarassing but at the time made me feel like a queen! I felt like the cat who’d got the cream.
The whole thing took about 1.5 hours in total. I spent the day in a bit of a diamorphine haze (yum) so there was little discomfort and just these amazing bundles of deliciousness to stare at and snuggle and introduce to their grandparents.
I spent 4 nights in hospital in total where they helped me enormously overnight by taking the babies to a nursery so I could get some rest before we came home. We also topped up with one formula feed overnight as they weren’t getting enough to settle from me before my milk came in. I would highly recommend this although at the time I wept buckets about them not being next to me and ‘failing them’.
I delivered at Airedale hospital in Yorkshire (where my parents live) and I just wanted to say how brilliant everyone was, the surgical team, midwives everyone made me feel totally comfortable and absolutely understood the impossibility of being in hospital on your own with two tiny mewling babies to look after. If anyone in west yorkshire is looking for the perfect place to deliver, Airedale is it.
We’ve been home a week and it’s bloody hard work but they’re breastfeeding brilliantly every three hours in tandem and sleeping for almost all of the rest of the time. I feel v lucky.
So that’s what I wrote then, and this is what I think now. Writing your birth story is an exercise every new mother should go through. It’s incredible to read back and compare what you thought then to what you know now.
What I will say though is that these days I hold no truck with C-Section ‘failure’. I did then. I felt like I’d totally failed my babies at the last hurdle by not delivering them naturally. Now I realise it was best for the babies and best for me. In the beginning, and still now to be honest, I struggled to use the words ‘give birth’ because I don’t feel like I did really. They were plucked from me by a very kind and efficient surgeon and in retrospect I’m very grateful for that. I was fortunate enough to have planned c-section, rather than the emergency one which most of my friends seem to have gone through, and the whole thing was calm, safe and efficient.
And I’ve managed to get two babies out without ever knowing what a contraction feels like. A result, surely?