Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Twin birth - my experience


This post is about the birth of my twins... and I'm not going to spare you the details, so prepare yourself!
It's important that you realise that every birth is unique, as is every mother, so I am just going to tell you about my own experience.

I was fortunate enough to have a brilliant pregnancy with my twins, with only minor niggles to worry about (see previous post), and towards the end of my pregnancy, my consultant decided that my babies would probably have to be delivered by caesarian as 'baby one' (the one nearest the exit!) was lying over the opening of the birth canal.
At 36 weeks, the date was set for my c-section and I mentally prepared myself for the surgery/having two newborns/being very sore when I really could do without being sore!

On delivery day (I was almost 38 weeks pregnant by then - great for twins!), I arrived at the hospital very early in the morning, as they had told me I would be one of the 'first in'. I was quite relaxed really, considering the enormity of the situation, I think I didn't really allow myself to consider what could go wrong - I was focussed on my babies, trying to be positive and looking forward to meeting them.
So, I had a shower, got into my bum-flashing gown and then just sat and waited with my lovely hubby, who had bought me a hand-held water-spraying fan thingy (highly recommended!) which I desperately needed as it was BOILING in the hospital, in the middle of summer. The waiting was the worst part, as I then really started to think about the surgery. When the nurse came to take me down to theatre, I was actually quite pleased as I was sooooo bored just sitting there on the ward!
Once in the theatre, I had a spinal block (kind of like an epidural, but stronger) which was not the most pleasant of experiences! The nurse told me to sit on the edge of the bed and curl forwards (easier said than done when you have a huge stomach to consider!) and then told me to sit absolutely still as one slip of the needle could cause paralysis...hmmm, no pressure then! What they didn't mention was that the injection could in itself cause me to twitch, so the nurse nearly had a coronary when my leg shot up in the air! Luckily, I was fine, but bloody hell, you'd think they'd warn you! After the injection (which wasn't as bad as I'd thought - and I really don't like needles), I slowly lost feeling from my toes to my boobs (very surreal!), but I felt fine, if a little apprehensive. The doctor gave me a good sharp pinch on the side to check I had no feeling and we were off.
Suddenly there was a roomful of people. Initially, there were people milling around, but once surgery began it seemed the room filled and there were about at least a million people in there when they whipped off my gown and I was lying there naked... Alright, I'm exaggerating slightly, but you really can't be worried about being naked when you have a c-section, because plenty of people will see your bits! Prepare yourself mentally for this...
The surgeon then prepared my humungous belly and in he went!
Although, when you are prepped, they put a screen between your head and the business end of things, you are still very aware of what's going on. I was able to hear a lot of what was happening (hubby had a good look over the screen!), but I wasn't in any pain. My blood pressure crashed at one point, making me very dizzy, but the lovely anaethetist lady gave me loads of free drugs (!) and I was fine again.
The only real feeling during the birth was pushing and pulling as the surgeon got stuck in and although this was not the nicest feeling in the world, it was okay. The only time I really didn't like it was when they were pushing to get the first baby out and due to the pressure on my lungs, I struggled to breathe for a few seconds - not nice at all. Once they were in, 'baby one', my first beautiful boy, was born within minutes, screaming his head off and weighing a great big 6lb 1oz. Once he was checked and wrapped, I gave him a lovely cuddle while his brother was being born (one minute later!), and this time they lowered the screen and held him in the air (still attached to his cord) - a moment I'll never forget - it was very special (got a photo - see above!). 'Baby two' weighed an even bigger 6lb 5oz and needed a little bit of oxygen to get him screaming, although he was silently having a go as soon as he came out!
My gorgeous healthy boys had at last arrived and I didn't pay much attention to what was going on behind the screen after that - the sewing up bit took longer than the whole preparation and birth, but I didn't care what they were doing by this point!
The post birth bit is however, the least dignified, as you have absolutely no control over most of your body still and the nurses basically hoist you up and give you a wipe every now and then - having babies is a messy process for days afterwards! Again, don't be shy - I was mortified at first, but you have to remind yourself that they've seen it all a million times - it's what they do. They don't give a monkeys if you have a Brazillian of haven't been able to reach anywhere near it for months! And just be grateful you didn't have to poo in front of strangers while giving birth! (This, believe it or not, was my biggest worry for the whole of my pregnancy... irrational, I know - must have been the hormones...).
At the end of the day, just relax and enjoy your babies - you deserve it. Anyway, the hard work has only just begun!

Next post - the hospital stay and getting to know your babies.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Twin pregnancy


Welcome back to the wonderful world of twins! As promised, I am concentrating this blog on the pregnancy itself, so here goes...

No doubt on hearing the news you were expecting two at once, you were thrilled and petrified, all at the same time! It is certainly a bit of a rollercoaster ride, but worth every second when you hold your two little bundles in your arms! And let me tell you right now, all the horror stories that people tell you about twin pregnancies are a pile of old poop.

*First rule of being a twin mummy - ignore anyone who tries to put the frighteners on you*

Everyone (after they've done the obligtory 'Oh twins, how lovely'/'Will you have any more?'/'Will you dress them the same?'/'Are there twins in the family?'/'Are they identcal' etc etc) will then move on to give you some scare story about their husband's auntie's cousin's sister who nearly died when....blah blah blah. For goodness sake, just look interested, but learn to zone your brain out while making the appropriate noises. You do NOT need to hear this nonsense while you are busily growing beautiful babies.

I heard just about every story going when I was pregnant and early on was scared witless - this was my first pregnancy (scary enough), I was having twins (OMG!) AND I was going to poo myself TWICE when I had to give birth... Would I ever be able to do this, I wondered (quietly to myself, of course, so I didn't worry anybody else). Yes, this is what we do, us Supermummys, while we are cooking our little buns, we think ourselves quietly into total panic...

What you do need to know, right from the start, is that you will do a perfectly brilliant job of growing and birthing your babies, without all the rubbish that people will insist on ramming down your throat. Rest assured that all the things you've heard will likely never happen to you and concentrate your energy on being happy and healthy!

Twin pregnancy does admittedly, have it's difficulties however, including a very heavy belly towards the end and quite a lot of stretchmarks, but this is to be expected when you consider what your amazing body is up to. I didn't find a stretchmark cream that worked for me, but the heavy belly could be eased by a maternity belt if I was up and about, or by a beanie cushion or v-shaped pillow shoved under the lowest bit when I was sitting or laying.
I also found I had a lot of heartburn, which, again, considering where your other organs migrate to when you're having twins, is not surprising really and easily remedied with the ever present bottle of Gaviscon!
I also had 2 minor bleeds while pregnant, one at 7 weeks and one at 28 weeks, which is apparently very common with twin pregnancies, especially early on. All is not necessarily lost if this happens - many women go on to have two healthy babies (myself included) after having a bleed. Stay positive! My motto all the way through was 'Don't worry until you know there's something to worry about'.

You will also be prodded and poked A LOT by doctors and midwives and I found a lot of students also peering at me like I was some kind of marvel, as they gingerly asked if they could 'feel my bump'.
On one occasion, a particularly shy and nervous young boy was present at one of my consultant appointments and hadn't been told I had twins. The consultant asked him to examine me and he looked like he was going to die of embarrassment from the minute I rolled (literally!) onto the bed. He very carefully began to feel around my huge belly and looked more than little freaked when he found the second head! I suppressed a giggle and let him carry on, and the consultant barked at him for an opinion. After about 5 minutes and eventually managing to make eye contact with me (which was obviously better than being torn off a strip for not making the correct observations!) he mouthed silently 'Are there two in there?!' I gave him a nod and an encouraging smile and he confidently reported back while I wiped four pints of gel off my stomach, rolled back off the bed and heaved my maternity trousers back up...

There were so many hospital trips and visits by the midwife I lost count, but I found I quite enjoyed it as it meant I got lots of scans and was reassured about my babies the whole time. I also bought a hand held doppler (the 'whoosh whoosh' machine that the midwives use - you know the one!) to give me added peace of mind, which I thought was brilliant (though quite expensive... worth it though).

All in all, I know that I was lucky and had a brilliant pregnancy, but I genuinely feel that the problems that can occur are hyped up to fever pitch when you're expecting twins - as long as you take care of yourself and listen to medical advice, you and your babies should be absolutely fine and dandy!

Good luck Supermummys!

Next blog - the birth!

Welcome to my Supermummy blog!

Hi! Welcome to the Supermummy blog!

I have decided to write this blog as I think most new twin mums, or mums-to-be, feel pretty much like I did when I was in their shoes - bloody terrified!
I knew almost nothing, had changed a nappy maybe once before and was having two babies at once - aaaaarrrrgh!
So, in short, the aim of this blog is to give you new mums of twins some friendly, easy to understand advice on how to cope with your new arrivals (with no confusing 'doctor speak', unless absolutely necessary!).
I will work my way through the obvious topics like sleeping, feeding, bathing etc, as well as some other advice that I would never have thought to read up on when I was pregnant, but needed when the babies arrived. I will also endeavour to keep it light and hopefully amusing too - there have been plenty of laughs along my Supermummy journey!
I hope you enjoy reading my experiences and that they are useful to you, don't forget to tell your friends to follow my blog too - there's plenty of advice for everyone!
The first topic will be twin pregnancy, by the way - I thought I'd start at the beginning!