Julia’s birth of Ruby and Jade
From the minute I found out we were expecting twins, I had my heart set on a caesarean section. I didn’t want to have to push two babies out, and my obstetrician agreed to schedule a caesarean for 35 weeks. At 36 weeks I started getting a migraine one night the week before I was booked in, they had me monitored for preeclampsia over the weekend but everything settled and I went home. When I went to see my OBGYN a few days before the scheduled date, she did an ultrasound and found that Twin 1 was head down and in a good position for a vaginal delivery. Twin 2 was transverse, but she managed to convince me that having had two vaginal births previously, I should try to deliver the twins that way. She did a stretch and sweep and told me that I was already 2-3cm dilated and did I want her to break my waters! I wasn’t prepared for any of this so I said no, and she said to go home she didn’t think labour wouldn’t be too far off.
Two days later, I started getting symptoms of preeclampsia again so my midwife sent me to the hospital for monitoring. They checked my blood pressure, and we discussed the possibility of having my waters broken to kick things off but there weren’t enough people to staff a natural twin birth so they just kept monitoring me. While at the hospital, I started getting some strange tightening’s lasting up to 6 mins in length 20mins apart roughly and mainly when I was walking, they weren’t too painful but they were a bit uncomfortable. The doctor decided to admit me overnight, and see how things were going in the morning. During the night I had some pethidine as I was exhausted, but too uncomfortable to sleep. By early morning the contractions had died down, and by the time the doctors made their morning rounds they had stopped completely.
We agreed that the best plan of action was to break my waters, but the hospital was so busy that they didn’t have a space in the delivery unit until the next day, so I spent another 24 hours in hospital feeling pretty miserable and frustrated.
My waters were broken at 9am the following day, and the obstetrician started an oxytocin drip to help get the contractions going. Once they started, the contractions were like clockwork, and got stronger and closer together very quickly! With a twin delivery they do the epidural straight away incase of the babies getting stuck and needing manipulation to get them out epidural, so the anaesthetist was called, but the first attempt to insert it didn’t work as the needle wasn’t long enough. I had to stay perfectly still while a midwife ran to theatre to get a longer needle as someone had forgotten to re-stock the delivery unit! Thankfully my mum was there to support me as Gavin doesn’t do needles.
Almost as soon as the epidural was done, I started feeling the urge to push, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I got to meet my babies! 10 minutes and a few pushes later, Ruby was out at 12.12pm. My midwife caught her, and she was perfect!
Once Ruby was born, a whole heap of people (9!) suddenly descended on the room and the next thing I knew, I was in stirrups – woah, talk about doing the spread-eagle!
Then everything stopped.
After 20 minutes passed with no contractions, the senior registrar said that she thought Twin 2 had turned from transverse to breech. They turned up the oxytocin, but still nothing happened
All of a sudden, I felt an involuntary urge to push, even though I wasn’t having any contractions, so I started pushing and out came Ruby’s placenta. This is where things started getting a bit hairy – immediately after Ruby’s placenta came out, Twin 2’s placenta followed. I had no idea what was going on, or how much danger my baby was in.
The registrar put her hand up inside me to try and get Twin 2 out, but she was up so high that it took two midwives to hold her straight while the registrar tried to reach her. By this stage, two minutes had passed since the delivery of the placentas, and although I didn’t know it, time was running out for my precious baby. When the placenta detaches like hers did, it takes only 4 minutes for death to occur.
She was actually folded in half inside me, with her feet facing my spine, so the first attempt to get her out failed as she started to come out sideways. The registrar pushed her back up, and managed to find one leg, and under supervision from the obstetrician, she started to pull. Theatre was called and was expecting me to be rushed there- although it wouldn’t have been in time to save my baby.
Ruby’s sister, baby Jade emerged in the splits at 12.42pm, one leg at a time, and her arms took some manipulating to get out. Finally, her head was out and I let go of the gas and started to down off the pain my body had just been subject to. It was just over three hours since they broke my waters!
Fortunately I didn’t need any stitches, but poor Jade was in a very bad way. Two minutes passed and she still hadn’t let out a cry. I had been using the gas while all of this was going on, so I was quite out of it. I looked at the registrar standing in front of me and said “High Five! You look like you need a hug!” I was so pleased it was all over and my babies were out! I don’t think I realised how serious the situation was until I turned to my right and saw Gavin sitting bawling his eyes out with Ruby in his arms, the registrar with blood dripping down her arm, and in the corner, a team of paediatricians working furiously on Jade. The silence was deafening.
When Jade finally let out a tiny cry, they brought her over to me so I could see her. She was white as a sheet, and I only got to see her for a few moments before she was whisked off to SCBU.
Later that night, we sat down to talk to a midwife at the hospital I was friends with, and she told us how lucky Jade was not to have any brain damage. In fact, we’d made hospital history – they’d never had a complete placental abruption there before. But it wasn’t over yet, Jade was in an incubator as she was unable to hold her body temperature, she was on an IV drip to keep her hydrated, and her blood was thin as a result of the traumatic birth so they were unsure whether she’d need a transfusion.
Luckily, our little girl is a real wee fighter, and less than 24 hours after she was born, we were able to start giving her small feeds, and a few hours after that, she was able to come back to the ward to be with Ruby and I.
The registrar who delivered the babies came and saw us a few days later and explain what had happened and that she was in a bit of shock after our delivery and felt she had to come and see us to let us know what had actually happened- this was something we really appreciated as Gavin was suffering post-traumatic stress from what he had sat and witnessed.
We made it home a few days later, but the bumpy ride wasn’t over yet. Both babies had quite bad jaundice so we had to wake them up to feed. Ruby dropped more weight than expected and then Jade stopped breathing and had to be rushed to hospital twice. It turned out that on top of everything else, she had reflux and it was causing her to hold her breath when she vomited. She came home on an apnoea monitor, and we also decided to put Ruby on a monitor just in case.
The girls are now three months old, and they are still suffering with reflux and we’ve had horrendous feeding issues with them but they are finally on medication for the reflux. It’s been a rough three months for us all but to look at them, you’d never know they had such a rough start to life. They much loved by their big brother and sister and we think they’re pretty damn special too! My Midwife has been amazing and we have had a huge amount of support from the Hastings hospital and the staff that work there- for that we thanks them from the bottom of our hearts!