Saturday, 28 January 2012

Martha and Tamsyn - their birth story

 Our girls are here! At 37 weeks and after a planned induction that was a little later than *actually* planned, they came into the world with relative ease and only a little fuss. If you're a man you might want to stop reading now, fingers in ears and 'lalalala' (or maybe not, there won't be too many graphic details!). Here is the birth story of Martha Alison Brown and Tamsyn Elaine Brown, born 22nd January 2012.

My induction was booked for Saturday 21st Jan, and I was asked to go to hospital the day before to be examined to see if they would start me off overnight. When we got there there were no beds on delivery suite due to a sudden influx of inconveniently labouring women, so they stuck me on a ward. No news the next morning or for the whole of Saturday, which was really disheartening as we had really geared ourselves up for it to happen that day. Luckily as the girls were pretty snug and happy where they were it wasn't urgent I was seen that day but it was a bit hard to take.

Anyway overnight on Saturday they finally took me down to the observation area next to the delivery suite and examined me, I was 1-2cm dilated and having pretty constant but pain-free tightenings, so they decided not to start the official process of gels and drips as they thought things might progress overnight. In the morning I was slightly more dilated to 2-3cm but no other change. The doctor decided to break my waters for me as she thought that would start me off and yes it did!

In the company of the lovely midwife Jenny who we were really lucky to have with us all day, my waters were broken at 10.40am and strong contractions started soon afterwards. By the time Jenny went for her lunch at around 1.30ish I was only 4cm dilated. Ali had been into Headington and brought the papers and a Starbucks latte for me and I had a spell on the rocking chair, reading the Observer magazine and sucking on the Entonox gas and air through contractions. I decided against an epidural as while the contractions were really long and painful, I was managing on the gas and air.

"Nothing will happen any time soon, you're not ready, so I'm off for my lunch" said Jenny, handing over to 2 other lovely midwives. Hmmm. By just after 2.15pm I was high as a kite on gas and air and contracting pretty permanently. "You're not ready to push yet!" "Oh yes I bloody am" and Martha made a pretty swift entry to the world at 2.47pm weighing 5lbs 5oz, and demonstrating excellent lung capacity with her screams. I was as shocked as anyone it had happened so quickly and there was immediately a team of paediatricians, doctors, midwives etc to look after her and focus on twin 2 who was preparing to make her way out.

Our second little lady caused a bit more bother - she turned around after Martha was born, still head down but now back to back so they lost her heartbeat. All of a sudden there were millions of people in the room, they broke the 2nd lot of waters and although scans showed her heartbeat and her moving, the team in the room became so concerned they got her out with forceps after giving me a local anaesthetic to numb some of the pain. However at the point they were about to wheel me to theatre (apparently - I was fairly oblivious to this due to a combination of absolute agony and gas and air) I pushed hard and out Tamsyn popped at 3.06pm.

After I'd delivered the placenta (Ali has pictures for those who are curious, it was fascinating to see it though pretty gruesome) and got stitched up (the doctor had to cut me as forceps were involved) I got to have skin to skin with the babies and Martha started to feed straight away, bless her. Tamsyn was a bit trickier and didn't really get the hang of it but we had great support from the lovely midwife Renata. I was in a room recovering by about 8pm.

We were all discharged home on the Tuesday after the birth on the Sunday, which in hindsight wasn't the best plan, as we were straight back in the next day after the girls were weighed by the community midwife and had lost more than 10% of their birthweight. We're in the JR fattening them up and they are doing brilliantly, so we hope to be out again at the weekend.

Overall the whole experience was very different to Gemma's birth which was far less 'managed'. I don't feel it was any the worse for that though, just different but still wonderful; and the team at the JR, once they got going with inducing me, were and continue to be amazingly professional, caring and supportive. Our 2 girls are here, safe and sound and that's what matters most. Their big sister is delighted with them and has been a little treasure over the past week while Mummy and the babies have been in hospital. Ali and I are so, so lucky!

Our lovely new girls
Tamsyn Elaine Brown
Proud big sister Gemma with Martha

Martha Alison Brown

Monday, 16 January 2012

36 weeks 1 day

Somewhat astoundingly I am still at home, waters intact, babies tucked away inside, and every day expecting to be on my way to the delivery suite at the JR. On the one hand this is brilliant - every day the girls are still here means less chance of them ending up in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) once they arrive and thus getting home quicker. All recent midwife and hospital check ups have revealed no complications or other issues; my iron levels which dropped low a couple of months ago have come back up a bit after taking supplements, and apart from some ankle/feet swelling I have no new symptoms other than being increasingly massive, unable to walk further than the end of our drive (which is not very far) and needing to wee all the time. Pretty typical end of pregnancy stuff really.

On the other hand, every day becomes more and more of a struggle especially from late afternoon onwards, occasionally through the night, and early mornings. During this time I am constantly on the alert for waters breaking or any pattern to the crampings and contractions I'm getting, so cannot relax at all. Luckily by mid morning, after breakfast and a shower, I don't feel as if my entire lower belly is about to just open up and drop both babies onto the floor, and as long as I sit for most of the day and don't overdo it, I'm generally OK-ish until about 4 or 5pm. So part of me would be quite happy if it all just happened now...

We had the last ultrasound scan last week, both girls are head down still, hooray! and twin 1 estimated to be 6lbs 1oz with the leading twin 2 around 5 and a half pounds though mostly fully engaged now in my pelvis. After a bit of a lengthy discussion with a clearly exhausted registrar (in lieu of Mr. Impey, the consultant we've seen a few times now) on inductions and methods of delivery, we agreed on a natural birth, didn't agree on epidurals (he was pro, I need to be a bit more convinced, but ultimately will do what is best for the babies) and also agreed on a planned induction should they not kick start things by themselves. So by the end of January we will definitely have our girls with us!

Gemma is mostly being very sweet about things, is a little unsettled and has started being a bit of a monkey at bedtimes but knows her sisters will be here soon.  Granny (my Mum) is here to stay now until the babies make an appearance which is a huge weight off my mind as it means no emergency calls to friends in the middle of the night and handing over a distressed 3 year old to be cared for while Mummy and Daddy are off to hospital.

So. The end is in sight. Now we just need to agree on some names ;o)