I promised you the next instalment of a trilogy blog to celebrate the twins turning 1, would be all about the birth and our time in NICU; but I’ll be honest…I’m so much of an over sharer that this trilogy is going to turn into a series! This post will be about the day the twins arrived: c-section, recovery, meeting the twins and entering the NICU unit for the first time.
Coincidentally I spent today with a fellow NICU and twin mum that I met during our time there, who I am now fortunate enough to call my friend. We were chatting about how surreal it feels to now have one year olds and reminiscing about our time as NICU mums.
Anyway here’s our story….
We’d been told to arrive at 8:30am on Monday 27th March 2017 and to be honest I was absolutely terrified. For a start I don’t think I actually believed it was going to happen. I thought maybe they wouldn’t manage to fit us in that day, or there’d be an emergency that trumped ours. But once we’d checked in as it were, it became clear we wouldn’t have to wait long at all. The obstetrician, an anaesthetist, a midwife and a paediatrician came to talk at me but I’m not sure I really processed anything they said; I felt like I was dreaming. I can remember Raj getting his scrubs on and his very fetching orange Crocs!
Had I been an Instagram addict then, I probably would have photographed it all, done stories and therefore remembered it better. But it’s all a bit of a blur now. I remember……there being a lot of people in theatre……..everyone being very friendly………the anaesthetist taking ages to get my spinal block in……shivering a lot…….and talking too much to mask my nerves. The numb feeling as the drugs kicked in was really strange. I could feel the Doctors touch as they applied the antiseptic (oh how that stuff stained), so how would I not be able to feel any pain as they sliced me open. But before I knew it the rummaging feeling was over and Twin 1 was wrenched out. I remember my TA at work telling me that it felt like someone doing the washing up inside your stomach….bang on! He cried straightaway! This reminds me I forgot to share the story of Raj noticing the boy bits, before anyone else, during one of our scans. From then on it was plain to see and they liked to show them off! Well that’s all to say really…no girls for me! No sooner had Twin 1 been shown to me and whisked away to be checked over, came little Twin 2! One minute between them! 10:48 & 10:49 am. I remember it feeling like ages before Twin 2 cried and I was so anxious that our worst fears had been realised. But then we heard it, that first life affirming cry that makes every second of your life so far seem worth it!. He was shown to us and then carried across the room for checks. Raj tells me the doctor commented on the placenta and how much more Twin 1 had than Twin 2, showing the others present. There was a camera hooked up to a little screen so I could see what was happening but there were so many people around them I couldn’t see much. But everybody was very reassuring and told me that they were both fine. Naturally though due to their prematurity they were quickly taken down to the NICU unit and I just had to wait until later that day to see them.
After my surgery was over I had to wait in the recovery room for the spinal block to wear off. It was such a weird sensation as my legs began to feel less heavy and I could start to move them again. They spray an ice cold aerosol at various points down your side before and after the c-section to see if you’re numb enough beforehand and then after to see how quickly the drugs are anaesthetic is wearing off. It seemed to take ages before I could feel the cold, even high up by my ribs but eventually I could start to tentatively shift my weight around the bed and wiggle my toes. Thankfully I have no photos of the hideous compression tights I had to wear. I took them off at the earliest opportunity, especially as before too long I was walking backwards and forwards to NICU, rather than sitting in bed with my baby. This brings up a really thoughtful arrangement at the hospital, whereby mums separated from their babies on NICU, are in a different section of the ward, rather than having to watch other parents holding and nursing their babies, when they can’t do the same with their own.
The rest of the day is all a bit of a blur but I know that for some reason, Raj saw the boys first and I stayed on the ward, probably had blood pressure checks, ate some lunch, had some pain meds and maybe even slept a little. I know I definitely managed to hand express the tiniest syringe full of colostrum and felt like a genuine superhero! Shame that feeling didn’t last, but more on that in the next instalment!However I do know that on my phone I have a few photos that Raj sent me at about 2 o’clock pm.
Twin 1 weighed 4lb 10oz
Twin 2 weighed 3lb 1oz.
My turn to see them came at about 16 o’clock when I was wheeled down on my bed. Both twins were in the high dependency room but doing well, with no interventions needed for their breathing and just the standard tubes, lines and wires to noisy monitors, that we would get used to over the next few days. These days it is hard to remember how tiny they were but at the time I can remember feeling a little overwhelmed that I was now responsible for such tiny humans.
All too quickly I had to go back up to the ward for the big 3….BP etc checks, pain meds and dinner. I also wanted to see if I could express anymore colostrum. I did manage a few more teeny tiny syringes!
Raj left about 6:30 ish I think, to make it home to see Krish before my mum had put him to bed. It felt strange to be alone on the ward without a baby but I knew they weren’t far away. After updating a few people on Facebook and WhatsApp, I asked if it would be possible to go back down to NICU to see my boys. Within a few minutes two MCA’s (maternity care assistant) were there with a wheelchair to take me down. I cannot speak highly enough of the MCA’s I met during my 3 days on the ward but more on that next time.
Anyway I spent the next few blissful but terrifying hours with my boys. Moving around was uncomfortable but as I rested my hand on Twin 2’s tiny head (sorry he didn’t have a name yet) as he slept peacefully in his toasty incubator, the pain became the last thing on my mind.
Though I couldn’t hold little T2 (reminded us of terminator!) I did get to hold……Arjun. Twin 1 now had a name Arjun Jai Ravalia. It was an awkward first snuggle, with trailing wires, lines and tubes including my cannula, which hurt like hell by the way. But despite the obstacles, I sniffed him, kissed him and held him to my breast.
Born at 34 weeks he didn’t really do much but he opened his mouth and rooted around a bit before falling back to sleep. I’d get another chance early that morning, when the midwife popped her head around my curtain and said the NICU staff had rung to ask if I could go down to try and feed Arjun, as he was unsettled. I wish I could have jumped out of bed and ran down, instead one of the fabulous threesome (MCA) took me down again in a wheelchair. He had a really good try again and at this stage I wasn’t at all worried about my milk coming in, I was just enjoying him!
I wish that first day wasn’t so blurry in my mind but I’m glad that what I remember most is the moments spent with my babies and being cared for by an excellent team of midwifes, nurses and MCA’s, who made that scary first 24 hours as not only a mum of twins but a mum of premature twins in NICU, relatively stress free.
Phew, that was a long post! Congratulations if you made it to the end! Next time I will talk a bit more about my recovery, more about milk and the dreaded pump machine and a lot more about life as a NICU mum. Ciao for now!
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