After my waters were broken at 4.20 pm, things really started to happen. I went from having a few mild niggles to having strong contractions across the base of my bump every two minutes. There was no build up to the contractions so it felt like I was at the peak of a rollercoaster, dropping and then being straight back at the peak again. I was offered pain relief which I refused, relying on my Lazy Daisy breathing techniques to get me through. Whilst I didn’t get the active birth I really would have liked, the breathing techniques kept me calm in midst of all of the panic.
As soon as my contractions ramped up, twin one (Little Miss) started to show signs that she wasn’t happy and the midwives were struggling to maintain a trace on her. Due to this, I had to lie very still. Not particulary easy when you’re in pain. I eventually agreed to have some paracetamol but almost as soon as I took them, I began to vomit. I was lying flat on my back with my head over the side of the bed, puking my guts up. Hubby hates the sound of someone being sick so I don’t know how he wasn’t sick as well. The midwife offered me an epidural and said that as soon as I gave the ok, they would bleep the anaesthetist. I had been seen in clinic by an anaesthetist at 28 weeks due to the high likelihood of intervention during a twin labour. An early epidural was offered and I was told that when I wanted it, the midwives would bleep straight away. It was also agreed that an anaesthetist would cannulate me due to my nightmare veins. The midwife and student popped out and hubby and I discussed whether an epidural was a good idea. I was finding the contractions very uncomfortable and as I wasn’t able to move, I couldn’t do much to help myself. When the midwife returned, I agreed for them to bleep for the epidural.
Whilst we were waiting, the midwife decided to have a go at canulating me as she was the ‘queen of cannulas’. However, she was beaten by my veins and gave up after two painful attempts. They were still struggling to maintain a good trace on twin one so decidedshe to go for a clip on the head. The internal for this was really uncomfortable and I was sucking on gas and air whilst it felt that the midwife had her entire arm inside me. Once the clip was on, they connected the wires to the monitor only to realise that the wires didn’t work. So the clip had to be removed and another one inserted – double ouch! This time, the equipment worked and there was a good, consistent trace on twin one. I was enjoying the gas and air and felt very spaced out and chilled on it. I did take the edge off the contractions but I don’t think that it would have been sufficient as my labour progressed.
The anaesthetist arrived at 6 pm and I was helped to sit on the end of the bed only for her to decide that she couldn’t do the epidural with me sat like that so I have to be moved to my side. As I moved, I managed to pull the clip off as the wires were tangled with my legs. Whilst the anaesthetist did her job, hubby and the student midwife were holding the pads onto my bump. I lay as still as I could with my feet twitching in pain during each contraction. The anaesthetist kept asking me when I had a contraction but I thought the fact that I was sucking on gas and air should have been a clue! It took her four attempts to get the epidural in and the process was very uncomfortable. I don’t know if she was newly qualfied but she didn’t inspire me with a lot of confidence. I do remember thinking that I wanted people to stop touching me and leave me alone. She also cannualated my hand or at least we thought she did!
It took about 30 minutes for the epidural to kick in but it was patchy so I still had uncomfortable tightenings from my midline to my right hip. The combination of the gas and air and the epidural did manage my pain. I was put on a drip and they tried again to get the clip on twin one which was unsuccessful so the midwife reverted back to bump monitoring. There were still issues with twin one’s trace and a number of midwives kept coming in to check the trace and watch what was happening. It seemed that the heartrate would drop then go to normal then race then settle and repeat. No one seemed too concerned about but I knew that it wasn’t normal.
I was cold and shivery so was covered up with a few blankets. I lay chatting the the midwife who told me about her pregnancy – she was 24 weeks!. When she went on break, the midwife turned out to be the best friend of a colleague who had her baby on Friday, delivered by her midwife friend. It is a small world! I was comfortable and calm as were the midwives but there was also an air of tension in the room. At 7.30 pm, hubby was sent to the canteen to get food before it closed as there was a chance that I was going to need a c section. This was the first time that this had been mentioned. He went off and brought back some delicious smelling chips but I wasn’t allowed to have any. I was starving!!
At 8.20 pm, the trace was checked by the registrar and she wasn’t sure if twin one was showing true decelerations ie in distress of whether it was the up/down nature of the heart rate that was making it look that way. She decided to try to take some blood from her head, leading to another internal. I think I had about 15 of the things altogether. As I was only 3cm dilated by this time, she couldn’t manage to get the sample so decided to get her consultant to come and have a look. I hadn’t met the consultant before but she had a lovely calm nature about her. She looked at the trace, listened to the heartrate and talked to us about our options. I will say at this time that twin two was happy as larry this whole time. The consultant decided to put me on a syntocin drip to see how twin one reacted to the increased stress. However, this was not in twin one’s plan.
Twin one decided that now was the time to completely drop her heart rate to about 88 bpm. This is when things really started to move. The midwife was counting each minute that the heart rate remained down (it was at least 8 minutes by the time we made it to theatre), discussions were made about whether it needed to be category one (general anaesthetic) or category two (spinal block). It was very one born every minute and I kept my eyes on the midwife who was counting. Her body language was calm but I could see anxiety in her eyes. A different anaesthetist came and I gave my verbal consent to the c section. It was during this time that it was realised that the first anaesthetist had missed my vein and the fluid that had been pumped into me, was actually in the tissues in my arm. My forearm was cold and massively swollen. At 9.20 pm, a decision was made that they could afford to go for a category two section and I was whipped around to theatre and hubby was taken to get changed into his scrubs.
While in theatre, I had to lie on my side while the spinal block was administred. The poor pregnant midwife had to crouch on the floor to keep the pads on my bump to maintain the trace which really worried me. I kept asking her if she was ok. I remember hubby walking in and me being annoyed that his hair looked stupid in the hairnet! He had also forgotten the camera so another midwife ran back to the room and grabbed both of our phones. As soon as the spinal block was done, the c section was started. I didn’t feel anything and the first thing I knew that they had made the incision was made was at 9.57 pm when a little girlie bottom loomed above me. I was surprised that it was a girl as we thought that twin one was most likely to be a boy! A minute later, a little boy bottom appeared.
Hubby and a midwife gave the twins here first bottle and cuddles. I was shaking loads and didn’t feel that I would be safe to hold them although the anaesthetist convinced me that it would be ok. During the time that I was stitched up, Little Miss decided to have a floppy episode and was whisked off to see a paediatrican. It felt like she was only gone for a few minutes but my notes showed that it was actually 20 minutes. During this time, we decided on Little Man’s name but when Little Miss came back, we weren’t sure about her name, only sure about what name she wasn’t.
When the surgeon was finished, we were taken to recovery where I had skin to skin with the twins and we tried to take in what had happened. Another consultant came to see us and stated that the arterial blood gases had shown that they had got Little Miss out in time. We will be forever grateful to the staff for their care and prompt action in dealing everything.
After an hour, we were taken to the ward. Hubby went to get the twins’ bag as he hadn’t had chance to get it from the car and we got them dressed. I was checked over and hubby was sent on his way. He was really tearful at leaving us and I was in a state of shock. I’m glad that the midwives took the twins for a couple of hours so I could rest althought the oromorph I’d been given caused me to itch all over. I used the time to take everything and come to terms with the previous 12 hours!