Author: Bianca Jones
Finding out we were pregnant with twins
My husband and I were trying to conceive for a while so when I started gagging while brushing my teeth, I had a feeling it was our time. I went for a dating scan around 6 or 7 weeks, and that was when we found out we were having twins. We were beyond happy and excited, but also oblivious to the difficulties that could come with twin pregnancies and twins. We certainly didn’t expect a twin pregnancy and an unexpected diagnosis!
My twin pregnancy
Initially, my pregnancy was pretty uneventful. I wasn’t overly sick, but had constant nausea and I started showing around 13 weeks. By about 20/21 weeks, I was big. I struggled physically with my job, which was fairly physical and often cried to my husband from the pain on the way home in the car. But I was prepared to bare it until finishing up at 28 weeks.
I hated people telling to me to ‘rest now while you can’, when I was sleeping for maybe 4 or 5 hours maximum a night due to discomfort. I dreaded bedtime, despite being completely and utterly exhausted, I knew I wouldn’t be getting much sleep.
26 weeks pregnant with twins
On 12th November, at 26 weeks, I went in for a routine scan and the technician said she needed to grab the doctor as my cervix had shortened compared to two weeks ago (when I had a scan in my OB’s rooms). It had halved in length in two weeks. This came as a complete shock, as I didn’t have any other pre term labour symptoms.
My obstetrician was notified and she told me to meet her at the hospital. I was under the impression they were going to run a few tests then send me on my way. However, I was taken to a bed, I remember asking the nurse how long I’d be there for, and she couldn’t give me a straight answer. I didn’t get to go home until six weeks later…
Bed rest while pregnant with twins
Bed rest was really hard.
I probably cried everyday for the first two or three weeks. Along with feeling constantly anxious and on edge, waiting for something to happen, I was also lonely. My husband had to go back to work and I found out who my real friends were! Your mind wanders when you’re lonely and I felt my body had failed me and my babies. I would talk to them every night and told them to stay in for another day, I wasn’t ready to meet them yet. In the early days, I had to take it day by day, and eventually started setting goals, week by week.
The midwives and my obstetrician were very supportive and I got to know them all very well. Although I knew it was where I needed to be to keep them in for as long as possible, it was truly one of the most difficult times I’ve ever experienced mentally and emotionally.
32 weeks pregnant with twins
I was discharged at 32 weeks on Christmas Eve.
I remained on bed rest at home, except for a small family gathering over Christmas. This was more than enough socialising as I struggled to move around (I had lost a lot of muscle from hospital bed rest). I was being closely monitored from around 33 weeks as I started showing signs of pre-eclampsia. The following week during an appointment, my obstetrician told me I would be induced in two days from then. I think the shock of it all had come crashing down then. I wasn’t quite prepared for what would happen following the birth.
As if it were meant to be, I went into spontaneous labour the day I was supposed to be induced.
I had an epidural in the morning, which was needed as twin A was facing the wrong way and needed to be manually turned – the most uncomfortable and painful thing I’ve ever experienced. However the epidural hadn’t really taken effect come midday, and by 4pm, my obstetrician told me I could try to continue to deliver vaginally, but we would be going to theatre just in case.
I decided to persist. A different anaesthetist gave me a spinal and I was wheeled into theatre. There were so many people in there! I have no idea how I did it, but I delivered both vaginally (I couldn’t feel anything below my chest).
Twins born at 34+5 weeks
On Friday, 11th January, Eden Mae was born at 6:15pm and Elliot Bailey was born at 6:46pm, weighing 2.33kg and 2.30kg respectively. Despite being over 5 weeks early, they were in very good health, and I had a bit of cuddle before they were taken away to special care.
I spent some time in recovery and was finally taken to my room. I remember being ridiculously thirsty – I suppose pushing out two babies and not having anything to drink in that time will do that to you. I woke up the following morning and felt like my bottom half had been torn to shreds.
It was a surreal feeling to have your babies in front of you in isolettes. They were so tiny and fragile looking, but also so perfect. They were in special care for about three weeks for weight gain and feeding. They would have come home after two weeks but I was hospitalised during this time.
This is when things started to go wrong for me.
I experienced significant shortness of breath, which was first thought to be pulmonary oedema – a complication of pre-eclampsia. However, I continued to have difficulties breathing following discharge – I couldn’t even stand up to change a nappy and knew something wasn’t right.
My GP organised a medley of blood tests and results suggested I had developed Lupus – an autoimmune condition where the body can attack its own organs.
I ended up back in hospital with heart failure, anaemia, poor kidney function and pulmonary oedema. Again this time was a very difficult time for our whole family. My husband was at home with newborn twins and was unable to visit and support me as much as he wanted, and I was a new mother missing her babies. I had just had a twin pregnancy and an unexpected diagnosis. I was struggling with the new diagnoses with limited support, while being extremely unwell and also dealing with all of those postpartum hormones. It was hard.
How things are today after a twin pregnancy and an unexpected diagnosis.
Eden and Elliot have been thriving and I am so thankful that they are healthy happy babies. Twin pregnancy and an unexpected diagnosis was a true test on mine and my husband’s marriage and I am so proud of him for picking up the pieces and holding it together ( and still doing this). We received endless support from our family, which we couldn’t have done without.
I am still a work in progress. So far, my health has improved significantly, and am currently in remission. It’s thought that the stress of the pregnancy may have triggered an underlying condition. I wasn’t sure I would ever share my story in a public forum, but I have accepted that this was my journey, and I am so much stronger and grateful for it.
If you enjoyed reading this, you can read more multiple birth birth stories HERE.