By Rachel Hoy
A mother’s journey from finding out she has conceived until the birth of her magical creation, should be one of beauty, joy and love. And for the most part, it is. However, this wasn’t totally the case for me.
I was over the moon to learn we were having twins! How could I be so lucky? At first everything was so beautiful. The growing belly, the first kicks, the feeling of pure love rushing through my veins.
It was a Wednesday morning, up for work as usual. Something didn’t feel ‘right’. They weren’t moving. Maybe they had just ran out of space? I went off to work and thought after some food I’d get some movement. Nothing.
Maybe after some cold water?
I rushed myself to the next available doctor’s appointment I could get. Everything was fine with me, blood pressure, heart rate. “Can you please just check that the twins are OK?” I asked. “We cant, we don’t have fetal Doppler’s in GP practices, you will have to go to hospital,” they said. I ran outside and into the car, I knew something was really wrong. I called my partner and just couldn’t get the words out. “You need to take me to hospital.”
We got there, I could not be consoled. We had to wait what seemed life a lifetime for a doctor to see us. I was hooked up to machines, Doppler’s, no one could tell me what wrong. Are my babies OK? After hours and hours of watching and waiting, the doctors told me it was ‘Braxton hicks’ which are essentially ‘fake’ or ‘practice’ contractions. “We had better send you to the women’s hospital for more tests.” On the way there, in the ambulance – I started to have contractions I could feel. What’s happening? Is this what labor is?
Pretty much as soon as we got to the new hospital, the registrar had a glance of my Doppler reading and there they where…the words I’ll never forget. “Get her prepped for surgery, these babies have to come out now!” They hadn’t told us before, but with every contraction, both boys’ heartbeats fell.
Nothing but fear ran through me. “Can babies be born this early?” I asked my partner, in labor pain and fear of losing my babies. “If you have to choose – choose the babies.” He tried to stay positive for all of this but you could tell he was scared, of course he was! He’d fallen in love with them too – they were half him.
On 11 March 2015, at 27 weeks gestation (13 weeks early) due to twin-to-twin transfusion, my boys were born.
Elijah was born still at 9.18pm, weighing 1160grams (2lb 5oz). After 17 1/2 minutes of CPR and three shots of adrenaline, Elijah took his first breath. The stress of his entry into the world caused a small bleed in the brain and his chances of survival were only 60%. If he survived – he would survive – his chance of having epilepsy were 90%. He fought every day and stunned the doctors and nurses as he grew stronger. The bleed stopped and tests all showed that he does not have any permanent brain damage, which was a huge concern in the beginning. He was 7 days old before he was allowed his first cuddle with Mummy and Daddy. Elijah was in NICU for 12 weeks and had to come home without his brother.