(Note from Twinfo: This is the final part of a five part series, where we will follow Nissa’s journey. The links to the other four parts of her story can be found at the end of this post.)
Author: Nissa Vagg
Giving birth to twins
The Miracle of Birth
Two days after being discharged, I went to visit my childhood best friend Zoe. I probably shouldn’t have because I could barely touch the steering wheel, only the very tips of my fingers could reach, but she was cooking me dinner and was going to help me decide which rentals to apply for in Tassie. Dinner was lovely, we found a few houses that looked good, and as I stood up from the couch to leave something popped…. I guess that was the pop I had been expecting, but it still took me by surprise. Water started pouring out from between my legs, and I gasped and ran to the toilet to check what was going on. It was happening – my waters must have broken; the babies were coming. Thankfully we were only 10 minutes from the hospital, and in a blur of apprehension and excitement, Zoe drove me in.
8 o’clock at night
It was about 8 o’clock at night, so no flights out of Tassie. Unless they could delay the labour again somehow, Ross was not going to make it. I was absolutely devastated, but I was soon too wrapped up in my pain to care, I would have time to cry about that later. Back in my old room in the birthing suite, my student midwife, my mum and the wonderful Zoe kept me company as I sucked on a whistle and swore a lot. Both of my boys at the time were head down and I knew that I’d be able to choose between a vaginal or caesarean delivery, but I hadn’t decided yet – ‘make decision about birth’ was still sitting uncrossed on my to do list.
I knew that I had to have an epidural either way, the obstetricians were extremely insistent about that: apparently if/when they put their hand up inside me to hold baby B, I would not want to feel it. Of course, I didn’t want the epidural, but I was given no choice. Without having the luxury of time to write a pro’s and con’s list, my mind flipped a coin and landed on the natural option, and vaguely clung to the hope that a long labour might give Ross time to get on a plane. Once the doctors knew I wanted a vaginal delivery, I was told to sit back and relax because it was going to be a while.
Ross might make it after all!
As it turned out, it wasn’t a while and I didn’t really have a choice. The contractions were coming on hard and fast, and I started asking for (then demanding) my epidural. To hell with my ‘natural’ ideas, I was in a world of pain, these babies were coming, and I knew we were running out of time. Despite telling everyone, loudly, that the babies were coming, it seemed that no one was listening to me. Mine must have been the lowest priority case that night because when a doctor finally came to examine me I was fully dilated. Too late for a caesarean anyway, and almost too late for an epidural.
The anaesthetist rushed in for a quick attempt, forcing me to sit on the head of baby A. The pain was incredible, and I could barely hold the position for the time that he needed because baby A was crowning. In the end the epidural didn’t work properly; only the bottom half of my right leg went numb. And so I was given another choice – who did I want to take to theatre? The medical team said that although they would do everything in their power to prevent it, it was likely that after pushing out baby A, I would need to be put under a general anaesthetic for baby B’s emergency Caesar.
I hated that Ross wasn’t there, but I also realised that I couldn’t do it alone
It was such a scary moment and it was an equally huge decision. On the one hand Zoe had spent her 20’s and early 30’s watching all her friends get pregnant and have babies, while all she’d ever longed for was one of her own… could I really ask her to watch me give birth? On the other hand, there was my mum, who wanted nothing more than to hold my hand, but she was guaranteed to cry and right now, more than anything, I needed someone to be strong for me.
I told a yawning Zoe she was up.
From the moment I got to theatre, the medical team were fantastic. Everyone in that room was so focused and supportive, and they truly did do everything in their power to prevent the worst-case scenario. As I gave birth to baby A, a midwife held baby B in place through the outside of my belly. She held on so tight and for so long that she was shaking and dripping with sweat. Despite her efforts, once baby A was out, of course baby B tried to turn. This whole time, the anaesthetist had been fiddling with my epidural, giving me boosters and repositioning my legs to try to get something happening. It wasn’t much but I had a little more numbness, and it was enough for the team to try avoiding the Caesar.
They popped baby B’s water and up the obstetrician’s hand went
If the birth wasn’t painful enough, I thought that pain might kill me. It was as if her hand was wrapped in barbed wire and soaked in acid, and the pain went on and on forever, before the epidural finally kicked in. Like a wave of cool relief, the numbness took over, and about 20 minutes later baby B was born.
In the wee hours of the morning, on Thursday the 3rd of August 2017 – Oliver Shane Vagg and Lachlan Kenneth Vagg came into the world: weighing 2kg (4.4lb) and 2.2kg (4.8lb) respectively. They were so beautiful, the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Both boys only needed a minute or so of breathing support and I was given a quick, glorious hold before they were whisked off for their short stay in special care.
Nothing was as I imagined it would be, my pregnancy was scary, and unenjoyable, we had no home and we had no money, Ross missed the birth, and I didn’t do it all naturally, but we had the most amazing two little people in the entire world and they were all ours!
It would take me a long time to accept that it didn’t all happen the way I had dreamed, and the coming months were about to make that even harder, because this really was just the beginning. Life would take my dreams, along with my heart, and try its hardest to destroy them. And I would question if I could ever be brave enough, or stupid enough, to dream like that again.
19 months later
But for now, 19 months later, I’m okay with the fact that I wasn’t okay, and I have two beautiful and cheeky little men who are making the process of letting go so much easier.
And although I wouldn’t find out for another two months, one thing in my journey happened exactly as it should have. My beautiful friend Zoe went home that night, after holding my hand so bravely, and conceived her own first pregnancy…. two beautiful boys!
To read the first part of Nissa’s story – “Finding out we were pregnant with twins” Click HERE
To read the second part of Nissa’s story – “Twin Pregnancy first trimester – The waiting game” click HERE
To read the third part of Nissa’s story – “Twin Pregnancy second trimester – Our big scare” click HERE
To read the fourth part of Nissa’s story – “Twin pregnancy third trimester – The first labour” click HERE
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