(Note from Twinfo: This is the fourth 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
Twin pregnancy third trimester
After that day at the hospital, Ross didn’t feel comfortable leaving me in NSW while he started his course because the nearest ‘real’ hospital with a birthing suite and obstetrician was over an hour away. So, over the next few days he moved all our belongings back into storage, loaded up the trailer and the dog, and we drove back to Victoria. My mother and her husband lived much closer to a big university hospital, so I went to stay with them while Ross went off to Tassie to start his training. If all went according to plan, when Ross finished his course he would come back to Victoria for the birth, we’d spend a few weeks learning the ropes of parenthood with family around to help, then we would all head over to Tassie together and start our amazing new life.
It sounded perfect in theory.
By the time I arrived in Victoria I was already the size of a house and still incredibly sick, so looking for work wasn’t an option. I spent my time trying to nest as best I could in someone else’s house and looked forward to every ultrasound. We were having DCDA twins, and they were growing well, consistently above the 90th percentiles. This all added up to a very safe twin pregnancy, as the babies had their own sacks and placentas, and would likely be a decent birth weight. It made me feel so much better about the pregnancy, although I still couldn’t wait to reach 24 weeks because I had read that’s when a baby could survive outside the womb. Each morning I rolled out of bed and I looked at my belly in the mirror, and each morning I thought ‘how on earth can I get bigger than this?!’
But bigger I got… and as my belly grew, so did the gamut of symptoms. Chronic heartburn set in at about 24 weeks and I couldn’t lay down anymore. It was closely followed by nerve pain at the top of my belly (apparently from nerves dying if your uterus pushes too high). This one was particularly delightful, it felt like my skin had been rubbed away with steel wool, and because my giant boobs would rest on that spot when I was in a sitting position I was in a bit of a pickle. Not being able to sit up or lay down meant that I spent the rest of my pregnancy in a recliner, tipping myself to an in-between angle, then tossing and turning in an impossible effort to get comfortable.
By 28 weeks I was in a world of pain, my hips felt like they were breaking, my back was on fire and my tummy was so tight it hurt. If I got up to try to walk anywhere, I would get the most shocking stabbing pain up inside my lady parts (which already felt like they had been kicked by a horse), and Google told me this was baby A headbutting my cervix. I was carrying the equivalent of a 3.2kg baby plus an extra placenta and a bit more water weight, at this rate I would birth two 4.5kg babies! I was so uncomfortable, and I struggled to imagine how my body was going to do it, but my obstetrician assured me that the boys growth would slow down as they ran out of room.
And run out of room they did.
The First Labour
I knew they were coming early, it was obvious, and a big part of me couldn’t wait to get them out. I didn’t know how much more of this pregnancy I could take, and I was also just so excited to meet my babies. Every morning when I woke, from 28 weeks onwards, I was surprised when my body hadn’t just popped open in the process of getting dressed. But my wishing for them to come early would soon become an excellent source of guilt for me, fuelling my belief that I had failed as a mother, because at 31 weeks I woke with a little niggle.
It was just a barely perceptible dull ache in my uterus, and my lower back pain was also a little worse that morning, but all things considered these ‘pains’ were nothing major. I spent the day in the recliner, ignoring my mum’s insistence that I should call the hospital, until later that afternoon when I finally agreed to go in. At the hospital they did a CTG and it picked up some contractions, they also ran a foetal fibronectin test (to predict the chance of labour) and it came back ‘extremely high’.
Before being shown to the birthing suite I was given some drugs to try to stop the contractions and a steroid shot for the boy’s lungs, but the doctors seemed confident that they could stall or even stop the labour. Because of this I wasn’t too concerned, and when I spoke to Ross I told him not to worry either because it might just be a false alarm. He couldn’t leave regardless because he couldn’t miss his course, but if the babies were to come, I prayed they would wait until the weekend so that he’d be able to fly over. That night was spent with me being moved up and down between the birthing suite and the ward until the contractions stopped and I became quietly confident that my boys were staying put.
While I sat uncomfortably in a hospital bed, being monitored every couple of hours with CTG’s, I was told about the special care nursery. If the babies came early, they would probably have to stay there for a few weeks until they learned to breastfeed and control their own temperatures, but I was not to worry, as heavier babies tended to fair very well. The only condition was that I made it to 32 week, any earlier and my boys would need to be sent to a hospital with a NICU. That thought was truly scary, but I tried to stay calm by counting the hours and days… and I was finally discharged – at 32 weeks!
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 final part (fifth part) of Nissa’s story – Giving birth to Twins – The miracle of birth” click HERE
Twinfo provides a connection to resources, information, products and service providers who specialise in supporting multiple births at every stage of their life.