‘There are two things in life you can’t truly ever be prepared for : Twins’
Before I begin this blog I want to state – I know how truly blessed I am to have 4 beautiful, healthy children. I’ve had my fair share of miscarriages and am grateful everyday for the babies I have been able to carry and love to term.
I’d been toying with baby number 3 for years. My husband blew hot and cold on the idea, but eventually he said we could leave it in the hands of fate – hurrah!!!! Two years before I’d miscarried and ended up in the hospital having a blood transfusion so I was wary in the run up to the 12 week scan. The night before I’d had the usual paranoid dreams, one being the sonographer thinking it was hilarious that there were 2 babies and not one.
When we finally got to the scan I instantly saw the 2 little blobs on the screen. My husband hadn’t twigged until the sonographer told us both babies were fine. I’m still not sure the hysteria of that day has truly left us!
The aim of pregnancy number 3 was to settle and enjoy being pregnant. The day we found out it was twins this went completely out of the window. Twins bring so many potential issues to the pregnancy and birth that relaxing and enjoying the experience was never going to happen.
A few things I learnt about twin pregnancy:
1. You will rattle when you walk due to the amount of supplements you have to take
2. You get big FAST and flamin heavy!
3. You almost get bored of scans
4. Everyone wants to touch the twin bump or offer crazy name suggestions
5. Nothing will prepare you for the birth – it is NOTHING like a singleton birth.
Which leads me to the preemie guilt. I’d had 2 overdue, large singletons so the twins being early never even crossed my mind. I was convinced that I would have to be induced and that I would be birthing 7lb babies easily. Every time I met with the consultant I would nod and smile politely at her ‘I need to remind you that you are at risk of premature labour’ speech. And then it happened.
Ladies – ALWAYS trust your intuition. Never let anyone poo poo you away. If you feel that something is wrong then go and get checked. I did exactly that. I’d felt unwell and a little dizzy during the day so I called the hospital and was advised to go for a check up at 11pm that night (6 July) I was convinced they would tell me I was overreacting and send me away but after an hour I was wheeled into theatre and put to sleep.
When I awoke I was in a private room with a catheter in, a morphine pump and no babies. My husband quickly explained that the girls were OK, one had needed cpap but they were both stable. He couldn’t tell me their weights or times of birth. No-one offered me that information so I sent him to NICU to find the answers and take pictures.
When I finally met my girls the guilt hit me so hard. Both of their tiny bodies hooked up to beeping machines, unable to hold them, comfort them, let them know that Mummy was there for them. Leaving NICU and my girls behind whilst someone else fed them and made sure they were OK. Why was my body not able to keep them safe for longer? Why wasn’t I able to express more milk for them? Why couldn’t I stay there longer without breaking down in tears? The nurses would look at me sympathetically and tell me they were going to be fine but when you are in that atmosphere the words fall on deaf ears.
The other guilt comes from the fact that my babies were not ‘ill’, they were just small. I was surrounded by poorly babies or babies so tiny that they would be in NICU for months rather than the weeks my girls would stay in for. I felt guilty for getting the support and sympathy I did, so many other parents were dealing with so much more in that place, things I could not even bear to imagine, but here I was, balling my eyes out everyday at my girls in their incubators. I almost felt like a fraud. Even now I feel daft when I get asked what the girls weighed at birth, as if it was this tiny weight that deserved the gasp the stranger gave me.
What I can say is that once you have your beautiful babies at home you will feel human again. You will for ever be grateful to NICU but you will move forward and let go of your guilt. Being a mother is truly a gift, and being the mother of twins makes you into a Z list celebrity – be strong, they will come home and they will become your ‘normal’ little babies and you will love, cherish and hug those babies every moment you get. Enjoy every one of them.