I was 31+5 weeks pregnant when I went into spontaneous premature labour.
It was inevitable really as at 31+1 weeks I had premature rupture of membranes for twin 1.
I had been in and out of hospital 9 days prior to the birth. Initially with contractions, although thankfully the the labour did not progress that time. Then again when my waters went. I was given steroid injections to develop our babies lungs and a consultant from neonatal came to discuss premature baby’s, the different levels of prematurity and what risks were. As scary as the thought was of having them early and listening to what may be ahead of us. It was reassuring to speak to someone and be able to ask questions. It was good to know the consultant cared about our babies. Even before they were, NICU were supporting us and that made a world of a difference to me mentally. Especially as this was my first pregnancy, and it was twins. It definitely looked likely to result in early labour.
The labour itself was traumatic. I was 3cm dilated for such a long time and I then progressed quickly. It wasn’t picked up on until I was 10cm dilated and I rushed down the corridor to the labour ward. Twin 1, my baby boy was born naturally at 06.48AM. Unfortunately twin 2, my baby girl, became distressed and I had to have an emergency c section. She was born at 07.37am.I didn’t see either of my babies as they were whisked away to the neonatal unit.
In all honesty, at the time because of how fast everything was I went into my own world. In kind of a daze and it didn’t really sink in that I’d had our babies. It didn’t feel real, that they were taken straight away didn’t effect me initially. In the early afternoon, the nurses who were looking after our twins in intensive care came to see us. They gave us photographs of our son and our daughter. Looking back, that was so thoughtful. It reassured me and I really that they cared about us as parents. They updated us on how our babies were doing and what they weighed.
It felt surreal, they didn’t feel like my babies because I hadn’t met them. It was just like looking at images of tiny fragile babies that could have been anyone’s. Now, looking back and knowing those are my babies in the photos they hold a different, special and significant meaning. My advice to others who experience this surreal situation is just be prepared. Often it doesn’t hit you hard in the moment. You are in a daze from labour and a little out of it.
We met the twins at around 8.30pm that night. That was the first time I was able to get from the bed to a chair and was wheeled to NICU.
Our twins were in intensive care and it was dark. There was lots of beeping and we were shown to the two incubators our twins were in. One of the things that I noticed straight away was on their boards above their incubators. It said their names and also my twin is in the incubator next to me, which I thought was lovely.
Peering in through the incubators, they looked so much smaller than I expected after seeing the photos. Both weighing 3Ib1/2oz each.
Roman & Rosa-May, two tiny bundles of joy. Absolute perfection.
I felt horrendous after my labour and I was far too scared to hold them. But I touched their warm bodies through the incubator’s. Their skin was so soft.
It wasn’t nice being on the ward, away from them. Not having them in a cot next to me, It was heartbreaking to not have them closer, But I knew in my heart, they were having care that unfortunately I couldn’t provide and they were in the best place.
The day after Adrian and I had our first skin to skin cuddles with the twins. When I held them they were warm, cosy and felt familiar. As if I’d always known them. That doesn’t take away from the facts though. They were tiny, they were covered in wires and this wasn’t at all how we had imagined our start to parenting would be.
The twins had jaundice, which meant they were underneath the blue lights. I knew this was procedure and I had been warned to expect it. The neonatal team kept us well informed. They told us what was happening and we were able to be as involved as possible from the beginning, with all of their cares.
I was extremely proud of Adrian, my husband and the father of the twins. He always seemed so confident helping with their cares and nappies changes. I was a complete nervous wreck, I am an anxious person so it wasn’t really a surprise but having him to lean on and to encourage me was such a great support.
I was in hospital for 5 days after labour. Being discharged and leaving there without our babies was frankly overwhelming. I was in a bubble and just got on with things. I was very matter of fact.
We spent 3 and a half weeks travelling by taxi to and from the neonatal unit. When we weren’t there, we were ringing to check on the twins. Looking back we were lucky because the twins had a straightforward neonatal journey. All their tests were fine, they were growing and we finally got to try them with a bottle. The nurses were supportive, understanding and friendly. They helped us, every step of the way.
The friendly faces of other parents on the unit also really helped us on our NICU journey. Everyone has their own story, and we didn’t really talk to anyone very much. But a kind smile goes a long way. A lovely fellow twin mummy passed us some preemie baby clothes that her twin girl had out grown. This was such a kind gesture. That particular lady I’ve kept in good touch with and I have made a wonderful friend.
We were asked to ‘room in’, which means you can stay with your babies, in a bedroom in the hospital. You get to look after them on your own before you go home. Whilst still having the reassurance that the nurses are a phone call or push of the button away. This made a massive difference to my confidence when they were discharged because we knew we could care for them on our own.
Being discharged and taking the twins home, was just amazing. We took them home just before Christmas, to start proper family life. They became NICU graduates on the 20.12.2017, one of the most memorable days of our lives
Even though we are home, NICU is always with us. We will always have had that journey. Through Spoons we were able to make connections with other families who have had also had NICU journey. We would join the meet ups each month for a catch up and a friendly face. We shared our story with other people and listened to their stories. This is so valuable. We keep each other going, support each other t and offer advice to other parents who are in a similar situation to us. That support is priceless.
SPOONS and NICU are a kind of family in themselves. As overwhelming as the journey maybe, there are always people who genuinely care. When that is people who aren’t family or friends it makes the support so special. It’s invaluable and we will forever be appreciative of all of the support we’ve received from staff and the other families we have met.