Author: Tamara Edwards
We are a same sex couple, from Bathurst NSW. My partner Danni and I decided it was time to expand our family. We found a private donor, did all the legal paperwork to make it official. The donor was a friend who was extremely generous to give us this gift. After 2 1/2 years of trying and finding out I had low fertility and was not ovulating our medical team put me on clomid to help. After the first cycle we found out I was pregnant. We went to doctors and we worked out I was 6wks, our GP did a bedside ultrasound to confirm, he saw 1 sac, then there was another one, he wasn’t sure on 2nd one. So we were sent for ultrasound which confirmed fraternal twins. It was a smooth sailing pregnancy, no morning sickness, was feeling great.
A Race Against Time: The Dramatic Turn in Our Pregnancy Journey
We went to Orange base hospital for our 20wk scans to confirm sexes and measurements, it was late Wednesday afternoon, we found out baby B was a boy, we were all smiles, baby A was being difficult, this is when it all changed, halfway through ultrasound sonography stopped, made a few phones calls, doctors came in etc. They found that my cervix was 5cm open and baby A was engaged. I was moved to maternity ward, a large team of doctors arrived and we had to make some hard and quick decisions. First thing Thursday morning I was rushed in for emergency surgery to have a rescue stitch put in and to try and save the pregnancy. The surgery went well, ultrasound didn’t show the full extent and I was more open than first thought, and baby A had to be gently pushed back in.
Frightening 90% Chance of Losing Both Babies
Doctors advised we had a 90% chance of losing them both. The next few days were a blur, my partner was by my side the entire time and never left, we found out 2 days after surgery that baby A was also a boy and the surgeon told us he had blond hair lol. I was told I had an incompetent cervix, this is why I had the complications I spent 5 days in hospital flat on my back and was advised strict bed rest. Then I had to get to 24 weeks for babies to have a chance. I was sent home back to Bathurst and told to keep fingers, toes, legs crossed hahaha and pray.
I had weekly appointments at the high risk clinic at Orange base hospital, who had been consulting with the Nepean hospital specialist about my case. Everything was staying stable and I was beating the odds, our boys were strong, healthy, big and growing very well. I was also told I had gestational diabetes, which would also be helping the boys be so big. Baby A was where all the concerns were, baby B was nice and high, laying transverse and was happy cooking away.
At 23 weeks I was sent to Nepean hospital to see the specialist, I never went back to Bathurst.
I was admitted on the ward and they started me on steroids to help the boys lungs if they were to come early. Specialist team advised that they would not medically intervene if our boys were to come before 24 weeks as their chance of survival was going to be very slim. Every week that was over 24 weeks the survival rate was higher n higher. There were a lot of tough, hard, confronting conversations with the medical team, between ourselves and there was tears. We were given a tour of the NICU, meet some of the neonatal team and shown a lot of different things to expect, a lot of info to read At Nepean I had daily ultrasounds, CTG’s and trace, bloods every 2nd day, they monitored the boys and I very closely.
My partner stay for a few days then went back to Bathurst to try and save her leave and continue working and playing house and setting up nursery with help of family. I had a lot of back pain over the next couple of weeks, I had an irritable uterus, which would bring on contractions and false labour. It would keep Danni and the hospital team on their toes. At 23 + 6, I was laying in my hospital bed, on the phone with Danni. I felt a little off and told her I would call her back. My waters had broken, I was in labour, quick phone call and Danni was on the 2hr road trip back to Nepean. I was rushed down to the labour ward, we told the team to intervene if they were about to arrive. They were able to stop the labour.
The Critical Days of Baby A’s Survival
Now we had more concerns of infection for baby A, we were told he would have a 5% survival rate. He had no water in his sac, but this was not a real big issue. Danni stayed for a few days, and then returned home, only coming back on weekends. March 10 2016, I had reached 26 weeks on the dot. I rang Danni at 2am, telling her I was in pain and I wasn’t able to wee. Nurses had been in, told me to try, doctors had been paged. Danni always had a bag on standby. I told her to stay at home until doctors had been. I rang her again at 4am, told her I finally went to bathroom, wasn’t much. But it relieved the pain n pressure, doctors still hadn’t been, they were still in surgery.
8am arrives, my medical team arrived for their daily check-up, they did a quick internal, I was fully dilated. Quick phone call to Danni and she was on the road again. I was rushed down to labour ward again, they were moving quickly. But slowly so Danni would make it for the boys arrival. I was put on a drip, epidural put in and there was people coming and going from the room. At one stage I counted 18 people, they had humidifiers ready, one is the room, one outside. Danni arrives, dripped was turned up, and contractions slowly started.
The Arrival of Baby A and the Struggle of Baby B
Baby A arrived at 13.59 naturally, the medical team swoop in. They showed him quickly to us and it was now on them and baby A to fight. Baby B, he was stubborn, he wasn’t budging and refusing to leave. He was still transverse, doctors tried turning him multiple times, but he wouldn’t budge. His sac broke and I was rushed away for an emergency c section. I remember looking a Danni, and the nurses threw pair of scrubs at her, said put these on. That’s the last I saw of her.
Danni was advised to wait outside the surgery door. She was told it was going to be a quick delivery and that she couldn’t be in the room. Now it was on Danni, she was rushed through into the NICU, where the medical team were working on both the boys. Baby A was stable, breathing and on CPAP. Baby B was having breathing issues and was on a ventilator. Danni was back and forth with the boys, waiting to be told I was out of recovery. Making calls to immediate family and holding it all together. 2hrs later, I am out of recovery, back on the ward. Danni had photos of the boys so I could see them.
10pm I was wheeled down in my bed to the NICU, so I could finally meet our boys, touch our boys and name our boys. This was highly emotional and an experience words can’t describe. But a moment Danni and I will treasure forever. Baby A was named Ashton William and baby B was named Marcus John
Ashton was 940grams, 32.5cms long and Marcus was 930grams 34cms long.
There were a lot of ups and downs and one step forwards, two steps back.
The duct in both the boys hearts didn’t close. So they were put on medication to help close, which did after a week. The boys went through a lot of tests, scans, bloods. But all was looking good, NICU team were happy, boys were very strong and both were little fighters. Ashton (baby A) was the strongest of the 2. He started on CPAP and was a real test for the nurses as he kept pulling it off. At 4wks he was on high flow, then low flow, at 7wks he was breathing unassisted. Marcus (baby B) had a lot of breathing issues. He was on the ventilator for 4hrs after birth. Then he spent the next 6 weeks going back and forth from CPAP to BIPAP. Then at 7wks he made it to high flow then low flow.
They spent 8 weeks a Nepean, it was a roller coaster of emotions, routines, care times, doctors, nurses, learning all the medical terms, looking at monitors, knowing what every beep meant, tube feeding, trying to express milk, when I wasn’t producing a lot, I dried up after 2 weeks. A lot of walking back and forth from Hope Cottage (accommodation on hospital grounds) and the hospital. A lot of time to think, listen and learn, sit and jump back n forth between humidity cribs, as the boys were at opposites ends of the room.
Celebrating Every Preemie Milestone
Danni stayed for the first 2 weeks, then returned to work and would travel back and forth on weekends, when she wasn’t there it was remembering everything that went on during the day, and changes with the boys, great or small, writing everything down, getting excited when it was weigh in time, any weight gained was a huge milestone. All the preemie milestones that would put a smile on our faces, to others who have had full term babies would laugh at us. To think it was exciting when they would pull feeding tubes out, take cpap masks off, not have to have a cotton wool ball in there nappy for a wee sample, they got a nappy size upgrade, they get to finally wear clothes, the feeding tube was upgraded.
When they would be upgraded to the next room, this was progress and a huge step forward. Bay 1 is where they start…. By the time they get to bay 4 and 5 it’s either hospital transfer or home, taking lots of photos, updating family and friends. We found social media to be the easiest way, one big post to keep everyone in the loop. We both have big families, and when u were in the NICU, no phones allowed. So we would have 8hrs of a night on the phone when we should be resting. Thanks Facebook lol.
At 34 weeks (8wks old) they were transferred to Bathurst base hospital
They were here for 4 weeks, to gain weight, learn how to bottle feed and get stronger. Within 24hrs of being in Bathurst there was a set back and both were put onto low flow oxygen. They called it “over the mountain syndrome”. They had to adjust to the different climate and sea level, within 10 days both were breathing unassisted again. And finally all out family and friends got to meet our little miracle boys and see what fighters they were.
Every tests they had, they passed, eyes all clear, ears all clear, brains all clear, lungs all clear. We couldn’t believe what we were hearing. We were told to expect something and they proved the medical staff at Nepean wrong. They boys were thriving and getting bigger and bigger. Everyone was in shock, except me. I knew, if they were like me, it’s great to prove them wrong. They told me they wouldn’t make it to 24 weeks, I showed them. At 38 weeks we were given the best news ever. After 12wks of hospitals for the boys and 18 weeks of hospitals for me, they were strong enough to come home. We couldn’t have been happier. They were both just over 3000 grams each, feeding well, and the fun was about to begin
In 2 weeks, the boys will be 2
They are healthy, big, strong and still have the medical teams in shock. Our miracle boys done it and proved everyone wrong. We have 2 very cheeky, lovable, smiling, mischievous little boys who bring joy and laughter to everyone
We will be very every grateful and can never thank Nepean hospital NICU team enough. The doctors, nurses, support staff for everything they did. Our families n friends for being there, helping out. Dropping meals at the hospital, our home, feeding our animals when we were in Sydney. The lifelong friends we made along the way in this journey, who were also going through the same thing. Most of all Danni, our rock, she held everything together, me, the house, working, all the travelling, keeping the money coming in, and for just being her…
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