We knew that twin 1 was breech and that an elective section was likely, the knowledge that it could still change was keeping me on edge. When we had our final scan on the Monday and were booked in for our section on the Thursday I calmed. Unless I went into labour in the next 3 days I knew exactly what would be happening. I’d quizzed my sister endlessly about the whole procedure and felt safe in the knowledge that I had digested every possible scrap of information that was available. Some people aren’t like that, they prefer not to know everything that may happen, every bump that may appear in the road, every twist and turn, preferring not to burden themselves with what ifs. Blissful ignorance is not my approach however. The more I know the more I can rationalise when it’s happening and understand, that is what helps me stay calm and collected.
The day before, the Wednesday, I went into the hospital for my pre-op checks. I’ll be honest, at this point it still hadn’t sunk in. Having never been into hospital before, at the age of 28, this was all quite daunting. I got chatting to the girl across the way from me, she was scheduled to come in tomorrow too. Things were going well, I sat in my seat while various doctors and nurses came and went. Lots of poking and prodding and taking blood and signing consent forms later we were free to go, see you in the morning!! Meanwhile my compatriot across the room had discovered she was already dilating and that her little one, also breech (but in there on her own!) was poking her toes out. It became too risky to send her home due to the distance she lived from the hospital and she was told to phone her husband, she was being taken in then and there. I wished her luck, thanked my lucky stars it wasn’t me in that position and headed home for the last night of this pregnancy. Our last before finally becoming parents. We spent that night in bed choosing names, too excited to sleep!
The drive to the hospital was oddly peaceful, it was 7:30, we were running late. Nerves had started to kick in, I could feel myself shivering, though that could have been the February frost. We arrived, I apologised and we were shown to our spot. Given that we wouldn’t be in the labour or antenatal wards this was the bed we would return to with our babies. In the room were 3 other new mums, all with their babies. I was the only scheduled section that day and thankfully there were no emergencies so we were taken straight away as planned. I had just enough time to say a quick hello to my friend from yesterday before we were whisked away (well, as whisked as a very pregnant with twins lady can be!) down to theatre. I walked myself there, hopped up on the bed as directed and looked down at my husband with excited eyes. This was it!!
My anaesthetist was worth her weight in gold. She explained every step of the process, told me what and how I would feel and when, told me to tell her if I started to feel odd in any way and stayed by my head the whole time reassuring me, coaching me on.
The first step in the process was the cannula for the drip. For some reason this was the thing which made me the most nervous. I turned away, held out my hand and before I knew it she was done. I’d barely felt a thing. I found out afterwards that at one point during this process she’d said ‘oops’ and my bloody had gone spurting across the room. I was none the wiser… Thankfully.
Next up was the spinal. Hunched over, trying to stay as still as possible and gripping onto my husband’s hand for dear life I remember waiting for it to get really sore, it didn’t. There was a scratch as the local anaesthetic went in and then a lot of pressure but no real pain.
All drugged up they lay me down on the bed and adjusted the tilt to help the spinal numb all the right bits. I started to feel a bit queasy at this point but with one word to the anaesthetist there was anti sickness meds squirted into my drip and we were grand. I started shaking, shivering even though I wasn’t cold. Completely normal, just an effect of the anaesthetic she tells me. I relax. I get hot, I’m given a cold compress for my head. A curtain is put up across my chest so we don’t see any of the op and now it’s just a matter of time. Periodically she drops cold water onto my belly to test the progress of the anaesthetic. It’s reassuring to find that each time she gets a little further up before I can feel it.
After about 15 minutes the anaesthetic is in full flow and we’re ready to start. This part all went really quickly and is a bit of a blur. After a bit of rummaging around and some light tugging the surgeon informs us we have a baby girl and lifts her up for us to see before she’s taken to her cot to be checked. We turn to each other and smile, Heather has arrived. A 2 minutes and a bit more tugging later and, much to our astonishment, another baby girl is briefly lifted above the curtain to meet her mummy and daddy, Charlotte. We grinned at each other while the room buzzed around us. Those first tiny baby cries are the best in the world. 2 tiny girls. And just like that, we’re parents.
My husband is invited down to the cots to take some pictures and meet his daughters while the surgeons get the placentas out and do their checks before sewing me back up. My anaesthetist is still right beside me, congratulating me, beaming down at me. In his excitement, forgetting where he now stood, my husband turns to me from the bottom of the room and gets a full on view of the placentas sitting there like aliens in a bowl and the operation still in progress. Thankfully he’s not squeamish!!
With initial checks all done and the girls all wrapped up warm Heather is placed on my chest and my husband sits back next to me with Charlotte. Together as a family for the first time.
With the introductions done and the operation almost over I found myself alone with a baby on my chest. Without the mobility of my lower body I panicked a bit at being unable to move her. I searched about my immediate vicinity and clocked eyes on the trainee anaesthetist who adopted a rather panic stricken look when I asked if he could take the baby. To his credit he did take her and she was swiftly passed to a midwife for more checks.
All finished and time to head back to the ward the sides of the bed are put up and each of my babies are laid in bed beside me as I’m wheeled out of theatre wondering what I was worried about. By 10am I was ready to show my girls off to the world.
We stayed in hospital for 5 days due to Charlotte having bother feeding and losing a bit of weight. We had ups and downs, some staff were absolutely amazing and others not so much. We had visitors upon visitors. I had my first post birth shower. And pee. I cried during both.
My advice to anyone having twins would be to ask at the earliest opportunity if you can have a private room if at all possible. It’s my one regret. I’ve no doubt we would have been home much quicker had we been in a private room from the start.
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