Author: Gina Mullins
My story of pregnancy, difficult birth, sickness, moving across the world and then doubling my family and I would not have it any other way.
So quick background before the twins: my husband (Irish) and I (Dutch) met in a country pub in the middle of nowhere, about 5 hours north of Perth and it was instant attraction. I joked with him the first night I met him that we would get married and have kids. If you would know me you would instantly know that that is odd. As far as I remember I have always said that I would never get married, never have children and would not live in the Netherlands (well at least I got 1 right).
The birth of our daughter
We got pregnant about 4 months after we met, we moved to Ireland in July 2013 and we welcomed our beautiful daughter in February of 2014, which was one of the most traumatic experiences for my husband and I.
The whole pregnancy went very well and I started having contractions about 10pm. We went into the hospital (Galway, Ireland) and it all started out as you would expect. But then they found out she was facing up and not against my cervix. It should’ve been a c-section from the start and they completely missed this. Her heartbeat dropped drastically several times and we (and the doctors and nurses) thought we would lose her. So they rushed me into theatre, only to realise she was already halfway in the birth canal and it would be more dangerous to do an emergency c-section.
She was eventually born vaginally using forceps, then pump, then forceps (repeat 4 times) and she had massive swelling and bruising on one side of her head. I was not allowed to hold her and she was not crying. It all felt so surreal and she was put in an incubator on the other side of the room. I didn’t get that bonding time and I was in so much pain.
The birth of our son
My son’s birth is a completely different story. We welcomed him in August of 2016 and because of our previous experience went private, we had absolutely no faith in the Irish public health system. He was born 6 hours after my contractions started, and I got to hold him straight away.
The realisation that something was wrong
But a couple of months after his birth I started having headaches, ear pains, dizzy spells, less visibility in 1 eye, and more. I thought it was just being tired, I mean we had a busy toddler, an even busier baby that did not like sleeping at night and I was working full time…June 2017 my husband and I got married, which we planned as a goodbye party before we would move to Australia. Maybe the adrenaline made me not feel the pain that day, but the day after it returned and now much worse. I could not handle light or sound, for example my son’s crying made me go insane. My headache and ear pain would not go away; I was literally taking pills by the dozen.
So I decided to go to the hospital a few days after the wedding and they kept me in straight away. I had ct-scans, blood tests, a lumbar puncture, MRI’s and then they came back with the result: pituitary apoplexy.
This is a very rare condition: it’s a swelling and bleed of the pituitary gland (just behind your eyes, above your optic nerve, at the bottom of your brain. It controls most of your hormones).
We actually had our flight booked to Melbourne while I was in hospital. They told us that it was so lucky that we did not get on that flight, since they thought I might not have come off of it (well not alive). We found out that this condition could be linked to my severe anaemia after having my son that was left untreated.
I went through treatment and in August I finally got the all clear.
Migrating from Ireland to Australia
We postponed our flight and we flew to Melbourne to start our new life at the beginning of September 2017.
It was tough with no family around, but we got a nice rental, we got good jobs and everything started to take shape. But then I was late and we thought I was pregnant. It was not the right time. We were in debt after our wedding, migrating to Australia and my medical cost we endured because of my condition, also I would not be entitled to paid parental leave… I went to the doctor to find out I wasn’t… my prolactin levels were so high that they thought I was probably infertile (as result of my illness).
So we thought we could not get pregnant and did not take precautions…
Finding out I was pregnant again
Oh boy, how they were wrong!! 2 months later I was late again. Thinking nothing of it, since it was obviously still my high prolactin levels and I went on a business trip. When I came back I was nauseous, tired and my boobs felt a bit bigger. So we decided to get a pregnancy test just in case, I went into the public restroom near the shop and thought it would say negative. Within a second it said ‘pregnant’!! Uhm, what?? I thought I was infertile…
Finding out I was pregnant with twins
Our situation had completely changed at that point: we had savings, I would be able to get paid parental leave and we were happy about the thought of welcoming bub number 3.
So I went to my obgyn, my husband was working so wasn’t there. The obgyn started the scan and said very casually (just looking at the screen): so, do twins run in your family? My response was ‘Uhm, no! what?, why?, what?, why no!!, why??’. But there it was on the screen: 2 perfectly beating tiny hearts! I called my husband to give him the news and he said quite loudly: F#ck off!! ‘He is definitely Irish’ was the response of my obgyn. Haha.
Pituitary apoplexy and pregnant with twins
Because of my condition it was advised to have a c-section. But after doing many blood tests, eye tests, etc it came out I was very healthy.
I then discussed with my obgyn and endocrinologist to try to have a vaginal delivery. The bar was set super low, which meant that if anything would go wrong, they would instantly do an emergency c-section. My husband wasn’t happy with the choice at first, since it was risky for me and for twin 2. But we talked it through with our obgyn several times and she laid out all the pros and cons, with statistics for both options. We decided that we would initially go for a vaginal delivery, but in the operating room, just in case.
I went into spontaneous labour at 34+6 weeks, my water broke at 4am. And it was one of the best experiences!
Quick side note: It was my daughters first day of prep and when my husband woke her up, she thought it was time for school. We all went into the hospital; two amazing friends picked our oldest two up and brought my daughter to her first day of school.
The birth of our twins
The birth was perfect, with the exception of twin 2 being born breach. His leg was very bruised, but it all healed perfectly. Liam was born 14.07 and Cian 14.12 on 13th of February (another thing to add is that my daughter’s birthday is 14th of February). We were instantly in love and so were our two older kids. Initially we were a little concerned how my son would take it, since he is a proper mommy’s boy, but his words to the twins was: ‘it’s ok now, I’m your brother now. It’s ok, don’t worry, I am here now’
The twins spent 2,5 weeks in SCU (I cannot say enough good things about the nurses there!!) and they came home on the 1st of March, which was the day I had my c-section scheduled in.
After doing a DNA test we found out that our boys were in fact identical, even though they were di/di and their placentas were farthest away from each other as possible.
I could’ve never imagined having kids in general, let alone 4, but I would not have it any other way. When people say that it must be hard, I say that I am blessed with easy going children!! Which is 100% the truth.