Monday, 22 November 2010

Meeting the Consultant..

The shock has dimmed a little since our 12 week scan, although occasionally it creeps back in when I'm least expecting it to. The thought that we are pregnant at all is still a bit daunting!

Just as suddenly as it started at bang on 6 weeks, the minute I hit 13 weeks the morning sickness left the building. Thank goodness! Although I think I escaped fairly lightly, I was never actually physically sick, it did leave me very drained and tired. I didn't realise how much it would affect me if I wasnt actually being sick all the time. Eating was a huge challenge, breakfast especially, I didn't want to eat as the thought of it made me feel sick, but I also knew that if I skipped breakfast then I would feel even worse than I normally would a bit later in the day. Being at work in the early days presented a few challenges as I couldnt snack during the day as I would at home. I very quickly learned that I needed to eat every 3-4 hours if I was to avoid the nausea. Food was beginning to play a pivotal role in this pregnancy (not that it wasnt pivotal before!). At 13 weeks things changed. I went from having to eat to stop myself feeling ill to 'I must eat constantly or I will die'. The Food Monster had arrived. It felt so good to be able to plan in advance what we would have for our dinner, or even venture out for a meal. Not surprisingly I started to expand around the middle a little too...

The weeks between our 12 and 16 week scans seemed to go in reverse, 5 weeks has never felt so long. At our 12 week scan we were told we would be under the care of a consultant at Burton, and would receive a letter confirming our appointment. 10 days before our appointment we hadn't heard anything so I phoned the antenatal clinic. And then the fun began. My notes, scan results and blood test results should have been sent to Burton, but they had not arrived. After being on hold for 15 minutes while the Sister hunted for my notes I was told all they had on my file was my name and unit number. Interesting. Because they hadn't got any data from the first scan I was booked in for another scan (no problems for us!) so they could attempt to determine whether or not our twins were identical (which may have caused problems) or fraternal (which would be a lot easier). We now had 2 appointments rather than one, as we had to see the consultant as well, so we would have a chance to discuss any concerns and get any questions answered. At least now we knew what was happening and when.

November 12th dawned with the usual apprehension and worry; would the babies be ok? Would they find a third? Would we find a parking space within 2 miles of the hospital? What would happen if we got lost in the miles of corridors within the hospital? Thankfully we got there in time, and we didn't get lost, but we did end up having to sit in the waiting room of the antenatal clinic for about 25 minutes before we were called in to our scan. Again, as I had with our first venture into the maternity unit in Lichfield, I felt a little out of place as most of the other mums to be had very definite rounded bumps; although I did have a bump I sort of felt as though I was 'playing' at being pregnant. We were called through by the sonographer a little earlier than we thought, and similar to our earlier scan I asked her to confirm there were just the two of them in there (I had been getting increasingly concerned they would find a third as I seemed to be expanding very rapidly). On went the scanner and the gel (its always freezing) and as before there they were, only this time they wouldn't both fit on the screen at the same time. (And yes there was absolutely without a doubt only 2 in there). Both hearts were checked and beating away furiously, and their little bones glowed white on the machine. Measurements were taken around the skull and the length of the thigh bone, they were too big to get a crown to rump measurement like before. Twin A (on the right) was behaving very well and let the sonographer take the measurements (we think they were asleep) while Twin B was performing all sorts of acrobatics and giving the sonographer a hard time! Thankfully they were both growing very well and were measuring at 17 weeks gestation which considering I was only 16+2 was rather a surprise. We managed to get 4 pictures to add to our growing scan pic collection (see the end of this blog for pics).

After the scan we saw our consultant. She was really lovely, and took the time to go through our huge list of questions and answer them as fully as she could as well as going through the scan procedure for the rest of the pregnancy. A few of our questions couldn't be answered such as 'would a Caesarian be necessary' and 'when will they arrive' as they depend on factors such as the size of the babies at 36 weeks and also their position in the womb at the same point. If the leading twin is head down at 36 weeks the a natural birth is most likely. If they are breech then a C-section may be needed. Here's hoping they behave and get into the right position! I was also given the results of my haemoglobin tests (which I didn't know I had had) and was told my oxygen saturation level was 100%, which considering I'm carrying twins was very surprising, but reassuring as it means I don't need iron supplements. Yay!

So after a number of weeks of uncertainty and worry, everything has gone more or less to plan; we met our consultant, we have been given our scan dates up until march and most importantly we have seen the babies who are happy and very healthy, which is more than any parents to be could ask for. And as one countdown ends, so the next begins. Roll on Wednesday 8 December...

                                          Twin A, on the right hand side, asleep on his/her face

                                          Twin B, on the left hand side, the potential gymnast.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The First Foray into the Maternity Unit

At the beginning of september a plain looking brown envelope fell through the letterbox. It didnt appear overly promising, it was a little tatty around the edges as though it had been tumbled around in an industrial sized washing machine for a week or so, but its contents were much more exciting; our first midwife appointment has been issued. Maybe it wasn't the most exciting thing ever but it was for us!

Thursday 16 september dawned, rather damp and chilly, and we were rained on several times as we headed across town to the local hospital. Walking into the maternity unit was quite unnerving, there were several ladies waiting with very obvious bumps and I felt a bit of a fraud, only being 9 weeks gone and not visibly pregnant at that point. We were very quickly called in by the midwife, who was very lovely and asked us how we were to which we replied 'excited, nervous, terrified........!!'. The booking in appointment itself was very straight forward, basic questions (name, rank, serial number that sort of thing) and the medical history of the prospective parents. Nothing too strenuous so far. Then she enquired whether we had had any thoughts on where we wanted our baby to be delivered (cue images of FedEx standing at the door with a baby under one arm and one of those annoying little boxes which manages to completely mangle your signature beyond recognition in hand). We had discussed the place of delivery several times, and decided as close to home as poosible was the best idea for us. So in reverse order, 4th on our list was Burton, 3rd Good Hope, 2nd Lichfield and 1st was in the comfort of our living room. Fortunately our midwife agreed, and our home birth was booked. I had some blood taken for tests (P didnt look) and then our 12 week dating scan was booked for the 12 October, and we were done. We left feeling excited, and were certain we would meet family/friend/neighbour on our way home as we were carrying a huge plastic folder with 'Your Pregnancy Notes' emblazened all over it and no bag to hide it in (we were determined to keep the pregnancy quiet for as long as we could). Thankfully, we made it home without seeing anyone we knew.

About 10 days before our scan I started to feel 'something' getting in the way whenever I bent over to feed the cats or load the dvd player, which I put down to being bloated (I had read in my pregnancy book that bloating was very likely in the first 3 months of pregnancy) and thought little more about it. A few days later my mum phoned me, all excited, and exclaimed 'I had a dream that you rang and said you were having twins! It was so vivid that when I woke up I was convinced you had phoned!'. P and I laughed it off, although it planted a seed of doubt in our minds...

We arrived at the maternity unit for our 12 scan feeling excited but nervous, and on my part quite desperate for the loo (I was told to drink a pint of water before leaving the house in order to make the locating of the uterus easier fo the sonographer). In the back of our minds we were concerned they wouldn't find anything, or discover that we had conceived but it hadn't survived, and of course somewhere in there the word 'twins' was lurking.. The midwife called us through, and I was told to lie on the bed. I jokingly said 'please just tell me theres one in there..', and she turned and looked at her colleague. 'Well, the previous 2 ladies we've scanned this morning are both having multiples, one's having twins and the other has triplets!'. Oh dear. Its not looking good then! On went the gel (rather cold I must say) and on went the scanner. A grainy black and white image appeared on the monitor, and she quickly turned it off, muttering 'oh dear I will just reset it and then we'll try again..'. Take 2.. The screen came on, I glanced at P, and commented 'oh crikey', (what I wanted to say was a little stronger than that) which said it all. On the screen were 2 little white blobs in a sea of grey, with 2 very clear hearts frantically beating away. By this point P was lost in a cloud of utter terror and shellshock, whilst the only words I could muster were 'oh my goodness' over and over again. Through the bombshell though was extreme happiness, yes there were 2 of them, yes our lives were well and truly altered beyond all recognition, not to mention how on earth are we going to fit 2 babies into the flat, but they were there, growing, wriggling around, healthy. And that was suddenly all that mattered. They were healthy babies, albeit double what we were expecting.

Somehow we managed to stagger, dumbfounded, out of the hospital and make it to P's mum's house, where we collapsed on the sofa, P with a large mug of strong tea in hand. Silently we handed over the scan pics, which the midwife had annotated with 'twin 1', 'twin 2' and 'both', and slowly it became clear as to why we were so white. Suffice to say, most of the Lancaster-Hamilton clans were equally as shocked. By the time we were home however, most of cyberspace knew thanks to the wonders of social networking sites, and the messages came flooding in. Then, oh so very slowly, it started to sink in a little more.. 'You're having twins...'

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Journey Begins...

On friday 13th August, 2010, I sat rather nervously on the side of the bath, a small white plastic stick in my hand. In a matter of minutes this innocuous piece of technology would let me know if my life, and that of my husband, would be changing forever. Its amazing just how long 2 minutes can be...

When I gathered the courage to look, about 5 minutes later, 2 little lines had appeared, one just a shade darker than the other. Ok then. Positive. Wow. Blimey. Am I ready for this?! 

Im not really sure how I managed to get my phone to make contact with my husband, who was away at the time of testing, but thankfully it was he who answered and not a random stranger. Somehow I was able to stutter 'its positive', and after a few confused comments from him he realised what I meant.. We both spent the rest of the day walking around with stupid smiles on our faces in our respective corners of the UK.

Three days and 2 further positive tests later (we had to make sure we weren't hallucinating) I rang my GP's surgery to make an appointment for the tests to be verified (they don't just take your word for it around here). We were so worried that this test would come back negative, especially when I rang for the results at the given time only to be told they didnt have them yet. Another nervous 24hrs passed, this time I was told they did have the results (they had had them since I phoned the previous day) and yes it had come back positive. Cue a huge joint sigh of relief in the Lancaster household!

And so it has been confirmed, we are pregnant, expecting, with child, up the duff, whichever phrase you wish to employ at this juncture. Let the life changing experience begin!