We had our last midwife appointment in mid march, at 34wks. Nothing spectacular occured, we learned twin 1 was very very low down, I think thats at least 1 'very' more than when we had the growth scan at 32wks. My body was starting to really ache and protest at every little thing, my hips felt as though they were dislocated most of the time, my knees had also joined in the aches and pains party even though they hadnt been invited and my feet looked like they had taken inspiration from Joseph Merrick (I think he was aka the Elephant Man... apologies if not..elephant feet are lovely, especially on elephants). I managed to wobble (Im certain it would have been easier, but not as graceful Im sure, to have been rolled a la Violet the blueberry from the proper version of Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory) from the doctors surgery to Costa-fortune coffee for a well deserved hot chocolate and choc donut (I wanted an almond croissant but they didnt have any. grrrrrrrrrr) and upon attempting to get out of my chair to leave got assaulted by well meaning people commenting on my rather small size, 'ooooh when are you due? tomorrow? last week?' erm no, 6wks time actually.... I love looking back and remembering the looks of horror cross peoples faces...
Monday 21st March was the day I first thought things might have been starting, nothing major mind just little niggles like feeling a little 'off', more pressure in my pelvis, more painful braxton hicks, that sort of thing. But nothing happened. I was quite pleased in some ways as I was still only 34wks (+ 5 days) and wanted to get as far as possible to reduce the time the babies would have to spend in neonatal but on the other hand I was desperate to get them out so I could have my body back! And meet them of course!
Nothing happened the day after either, I started to wonder whether I was wishing them out so much that I was seeing patterns/signs where there werent any. Wednesday night changed that completely. I got up off the settee aroud 8.30pm and waddled to the bathroom... En route I felt something 'pop' and then gush in a rather revolting fashion but thought 'ooooh waters have gone!!'. My joy and excitement were short lived; as I walked into the bathroom I noticed the pale lino accruing some large red droplets.. 20 seconds later my clothes were sodden. Not good. I will spare the details, but suffice to say panic was now rather firmly in control as I yelled to P to ring the ambulance.. All credit to them, the rapid response car arrived within 5 minutes with the ambulance 10 mins behind, and we were at Burton hospital by 9.20pm. I was examined by 'my' consultant who deemed the tsunami was my show (so much for small jelly-like mucous plug all the preggy websites harp on about) and I was 2cm dilated. So one type of panic started to reduce a little only for anothr type of panic to appear.... it had started.... Babies were coming!
I was kept in the delivery suite overnight for monitoring, thankfully P was allowed to stay too. A few more checks overnight showed we had advanced by 1cm (woooooo) and I was getting contractions rather than braxton hicks tightenings. Cue the steriod injections just in case; very painful I can tell you! Especially as they go in your bum... I think someone was attempting 'how many different body parts can we puncture?'. My hands were assaulted by 3 different people trying to get a canular into me, the first 2 attempts failed and sent my body into shock but finally someone was found who could get the blooming thing into a vein. I have a lovely blue bruise covering most of the back of my left hand now. In the morning it was decided that things werent going to progress that fast so I was moved to the labour ward for yet more monitoring. Its no fun being attached to so many cables that you cant move or get comfy. Nor is it fun when very wriggly babies manage to escape the range of the monitor so all the sticky things have to be moved around only for babies to move again 5 minutes later. The consultant come to see me/us and told us we were booked in for a scan in the morning to assess where the blood had come from although she was still sure it was just my show and nothing more serious. If the scan was clear we would be discharged until things picked up pace. Best laid plans and all that...
At just after midnight I was woken by what felt like severe period pains with bowel cramps thrown in for good measure. I hunted down some co-codamol, which would usually work quite fast, and went back to bed. Just over an hour later I was back at the midwife station being groped and assessed as having contractions, not braxtons. And they just didnt stop. In little over an hour I had gone from having a few tigntenings in several hours to having 3-4 contractions in 10 minutes. Hmmmmm, dont think I will be going home today somehow! More monitoring followed so now not only could I not move for all the cables but I also had contractions to contend with. The midwife said at one point 'oh we dont need the machine to tell when you're contracting, I can see the entire outlines of both your babies!'. At least she was happy. A shot of pethidine later (again, in the bum, ouch) and I was happier too! At 6am I was taken back to the delivery suite, and you've guessed it, hooked back up to the blooming monitor again. I had wanted to be active during labour so I could move around and get comfy(ish), not cabled to the bed. Such is the joy of being in premature labour with twins, and of course their safety was paramount to me and P but it would have been nice to have been a bit more comfy. Another assessment showed I was now 4cm dilated. Wow it was taking a while. Meanwhile that monitor was showing twin 2 was not happy about being monitored either, their heartbeat kept dipping quite low so I was advised to have an epidural just in case it dropped lower and a trip to theatre was necessary. Not that I needed any convincing, even though I had been adamant I wouldnt have anything stronger than gas and air. P arrived just as the epidural was being ordered, it was so nice to have someone I actually knew back in the room with me while I was being poked and groped. By 9am the epidural was in, it didnt totally take away the pain (it was a mobile epidural so some feeling was left) but my goodness what a relief. And then the midwife appeared with her crochet hook, twin 1's waters were ruptured and I was officially in labour according to the hospital. A bag of contraction stimulant stuff whose name has totally escaped me was attached to me via drip and we were left to it. The epidural was topped up a few times during the day and by 6pm we were told the joyous news that I was 10cm dilated and things should start happening..
A couple of hours (and several random people in blue scrubs who insisted on putting their hands where hands really shouldnt go) later revealed that twin 1 was malpresenting; rather than the top of the head coming out first it was the face that the doctors could feel, meaning baby was back to back with me, which explained why I was so uncomfy lying down, and they were effectively stuck. Twin 2's heartbeat was also still dropping below 100 beats per minute. When the doctor/registrar told us the only option was a caesarian I could have kissed her. Again I had put in my birth plan I didnt want one but by this point I was exhausted and the babies wanted out so the forms were signed and away to theatre we went.
Edward (twin 1) arrived first, covered in bruises from all the drs poking him, at 22.27 on friday 25 march 2011. He weighed an impressive 6lb 3.5oz :-). Harriet was born 2 minutes later weighing 6lb. Impressive because they were 5wks early so even by twin standards they were premature. Thankfully though they didnt need any time in neonatal care, all the aches and pains from being so vastly enormous in the final weeks were definitely worth it!