It’s Been a Long, Tough Summer

Hello…it’s been a while.

I’ve been busy.

I gave birth to twin girls over a month ago. They were born at 30 weeks plus 6 days. The doctors won’t allow me to round up to 31 weeks as apparently that one day makes a huge difference.

I’ve written this entry a hundred times and each time I try not to sound like I’m complaining, but each time it comes across that way. I usually approach my blog entries with a level of humour and sarcasm that aligns with my personality but this post just doesn’t allow it.

Let me just say this – my newborn girls are the most beautiful little beings and I couldn’t be more wrapped up in my love for them.

But the past three months have been hell.

I almost feel like I have nothing to say. Like my words are boring and irrelevant. Blah Blah Blah, it’s been hard; it’s been painful. In my head, I tell myself, “you’ve basically been a couch potato all summer,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Any woman who has given birth, knows that the last few months of pregnancy are always the hardest. You’re uncomfortable, fat, sore, and you can barely breathe let alone walk around. My body has been stretched to its limit – literally.

I went into labour with my girls at 27 weeks. I remember looking at my husband and bursting into tears. We both knew they weren’t supposed to come that early.  I spent the next two weeks in hospital and went into labour – complete with painful contractions – three times. Each time the doctors – and amazing modern medicine – stopped the labour and kept the girls in. I was sent home and put on bed-rest for weeks. I couldn’t drive, couldn’t walk and had no energy for my 2 year old son.

When I finally did give birth at one day short of 31 weeks, I figured I had done well to keep them in that long. My body had been shutting down. I had developed gestational diabetes – I pity the fool who has to tell pregnant women that they can’t eat sugar – and I could barely walk more than 5 feet as my tummy was so large that it was putting an immeasurable amount of strain on my lower back.

To top it all off, one of the twins has too much fluid around her and I had to have a massive needle stuck into my belly – like, straight out of a horror movie – and watch as doctors literally drained LITRES of amniotic fluid out of my womb. To say it was painful was an understatement. I think I would prefer labour over that needle any day…

Shamefully, I was relieved when the girls were born.

My son was born at 33 weeks and we never had found out why he spontaneously came early. We had been lucky with him. No complications and home in just over a week.  So when the girls were born prematurely, I figured I was ready for what was ahead of me. I had seen small babies before. I had seen babies with tubes going into their mouths and noses. I could handle this.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The girls were “healthy” – yes – but they had a long road ahead of them. They couldn’t breathe on their own and they had to be fed from a tube. No bonding moments of latching for me and my girls. I was only able to hold them for an hour a day, and because of the breathing masks, I didn’t actually see their faces until they were a week old.

I would dutifully wake up each night and fumble for my breast pump in the darkness. I would sit and express milk and let the tears stream down my face knowing that my girls were a half-hour drive away. People would joke that at least I could sleep while doctors took care of my babies. Please never say this to anyone with a baby in the hospital. There’s no worse feeling for a mother than to have to leave their baby in a cold, sterile place, and trust another person with the life of their child.

I would’ve traded sleep for my babies any day.

The guilt I felt leaving my two year old son with various family members and friends over the past 5 weeks, as I went to the hospital from 11am-7pm each day, was almost unbearable. He’s worn the disruption to our regular routine extremely well but we mothers know that guilt can be our constant companion. I would pick him out of his crib each morning and carry him into bed with me. I needed to be close to him. I needed my ‘mom and son’ time. We would cuddle and chat to each other until I had to get ready to go. He would be such a stoic little boy and wave to me through the window as I got into the car. I had never felt more torn.

The girls had good days and bad days. They would make good progress and then have a bad night or a bad breathing episode and I would have to get the news when I arrived each morning. Those first moments as I entered the Neo-Natal ward each morning were filled with anxiety but day by day, the girls have become strong –albeit tiny- babies.

There is a light at the end of this long tunnel. The girls are breathing on their own and drinking milk from a bottle. They have finally gained weight – each weighing around 4 pounds now.

I have just gotten the thumbs up from the nursing staff that we can bring the girls home!

So while it’s been a hellish three months, a happier time is hopefully instore for this mum and her three babies.

JB x

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