Sunday, 23 November 2014

Introducing the Olive Dragonfly Twins

by Bex

You have probably seen by now that we've had our twins!  Even if you missed the blog announcement, it's been hard to miss my tweets and instagram pictures of our gorgeous little bundles.  Sorry if you're not into babies, I might calm down a bit but I just can't get enough of them and am constantly taking photos of their sweet wee faces.  Life has changed so much and I couldn't be happier!

Anyway, here is a little introduction into how they came into this world.  It's not really a birth story as such since it was all pretty straightforward being an elective caesarean section.  There's not much to tell about the birth part, no going into labour, rushing to the hospital, etc. but I will briefly describe my experience of theatre and the surgery as I hope people might find it reassuring as well as knowing to make it clear what is important to you.  I wish we'd made more of a fuss about skin to skin asap, knowing the hospital encourage this we hadn't worried about it but I didn't get my babies for ages which was quite frustrating.

I wasn't overly worried about having a section as I know so many lovely ladies on Twitter who have had one, all of whom willing to talk about their experiences and many of the comments left on Rebecca's post about her section also reassured me.  I was mostly worried about the spinal anaesthetic as I have quite an arched back and Nik (who has done an anesthetics rotation before) had been getting me to practice curving over to the correct position and I was struggling to manage which had me worried they might have to resort to a general anaesthetic.  I would have been completely gutted if that were the case as I would not only miss it but they wouldn't let Nik into theatre if I was asleep so we'd both miss the birth AND we'd have no photos of the event.  I secretly hoped they might let him stay regardless since he is a surgeon and used to a theatre environment but luckily we never had to find out.

Our section was booked for Monday the 10th November.  We were given the option of anytime that week between 37 and 38 weeks and we chose the Monday as Nik already had that week booked as annual leave so we'd have the maximum time all together.  (Although I have to admit I was tempted to ask for the Friday so their date of birth would be 14/11/14.)  It was very strange knowing when the babies would be born but it definitely appealed to the planner in me!  I'm so glad they made it to full term and gave us the maximum amount of time to prepare for them in the new house as well as ensuring they were fit & healthy when they were born of course!  I also had a lovely meal before fasting on the last night - crispy duck pancakes from our local Chinese :)

Anyway, although the babies behaved and stayed inside, things didn't quite go to plan as we were bumped from first on the list due to medical reasons of another mother and by the time they were ready for us (which did seem quite delayed) there had been a huge amount of labouring women admitted, some of whom were more urgent than us.  Therefore, after being told we were about to go down in 5 minutes, we were then told that unfortunately they weren't able to carry out our elective section that day due to a shortage of staff to deal with the added influx of more complicated cases.  This was obviously quite tough having been so worked up with anticipation as well as having fasted from 2am and hanging out in the hospital for 5 hours by this point but we both understand that these things happen and some cases are definitely more of a priority.

They obviously brought me some food straight away and apologised and assured us that we'd be first on the list the next day unless there was another medical reason someone else needed to be.  So we went back home, took some more 'last day of the bump' photos and a boring dinner (as we didn't have much in since we thought we'd be in hospital for 3 nights) before bed and more fasting.

So take two back in the hospital and we were quite happy as we ended up with a bigger room this time (I think I mentioned before that all the rooms are private at Pembury with en suite bathrooms and Nik was allowed to stay over with me on our single airbed we took with us).  We also felt happier about our obstetric team on day two as the previous day we had asked about taking photos hoping we might get a better opportunity for good photos if they knew how important that was to us.  We knew we weren't allowed to include members of staff in the photos but explained how important photos are to us (and if I could have had my way I'd have liked to see the whole thing!) and would it be OK for Nik to take some of the babies coming out.  The registrar was not happy with this and said we could only take photos at the resuscitaire when the babies were taken to be cleaned and weighed as it's 'policy' that no pictures are allowed of the surgical site (for legal reasons we suspect).  So we weren't even going to be able to take photos as they were lifted up.  :(

As has become clear over many hundreds of posts on this blog, I am obsessed with photos.  I love documenting everything and especially something as special and longed for as this moment.  I really treasure pictures and had made it clear to Nik that I didn't care about him worrying about me and being by my head - I wanted him to concentrate on capturing the birth of the twins as best as possible.  We were really disappointed but there was nothing we could do although the lovely nurse who'd been looking after us said she would mention to them that Nik was a surgeon and would stay out of the way and respect the theatre staff.  When the consultant came to see us, she did say they would hold the babies up for one photo before they were taken to be cleaned up and then we could take as many as we wanted.

On day two however, we had an entirely different team and when we asked again about photos - they didn't care at all and said we could take any photos we wanted once the drapes were dropped!  Yay!!!  We later found out that the nurse (the same lovely one as the day before) also had a word with the consultant anaesthetist about how important this was for us and he was SO helpful in the theatre asking for us when the drapes could go down (as he could see what was happening) and he sorted them himself ensuring we had a good view and telling Nik as soon as he could stand for photos.  You can see the results below - I am THRILLED with them!  I'm so grateful to our chilled out team on the day and to Nik for taking such great shots - exactly what I hoped for!  My absolute favourite of the birth has to be this one of Priya making herself known to the world.  She was quiet as she was born but definitely had a 'TA-DA, I'M HERE' moment with arms and legs akimbo - quite the entrance I think!

As for the spinal - the positioning wasn't a problem.  The anaesthetic registrar did it and it was nothing like I expected, even when they said I'd feel pressure - it was minimal and before I knew it I felt the warmth spreading as they said it should, easy.  I obviously managed to get into the curved position they needed as they didn't seem to have any trouble and we were soon getting underway.  It was so friendly in theatre with everyone being very smiley and introducing themselves and what they did.  I imagine elective sections are a fun list to do with happy parents and cute babies without any drama.

The surgery itself was again absolutely fine, I felt less than I'd thought I would as I know the spinal just takes the pain away, not all sensations but I barely felt any pushing, pulling or movement as they got to work.  It wasn't long before Kalyan was born and he was whisked away to be checked - I'd hardly had a glimpse so again, the fantastic anaesthetist stepped in and asked for Mum (me, oh my gosh!) to get to see him properly before they took him away.  We had two paediatricians in the room as we were having twins so I wasn't able to get them handed to me first.

The hospital has just completed a trial in kangaroo care for sections and now offer wraps to everyone to wear under the hospital gown to encourage early skin to skin.  Being very keen for this to happen I had one on under my gown but we didn't actually get to have them skin to skin until we were in recovery.  I'd thought they would be passed back to me asap but despite me asking while they stitched me back up, I was only brought one of them completely bundled up in towels to have on my chest.  I'd hoped to get the babies back much quicker than I did and this was the only bit I was disappointed with about the whole event.  I mean, you can see below just how bundled they were when I had them both to be wheeled out of theatre - no chance of any skin contact there, we could hardly see their faces!

I had also thought Nik didn't get to cut the cords either as we forgot to ask about this in advance and no one asked him as far as I could hear.  I wasn't sure whether he could still do it without being scrubbed as they obviously need to keep the surgical field sterile.  As it turned out, although he didn't get to cut the cord to separate them from me and the placentas, he did get to cut them short later when they were being sorted out behind me.  While I was waiting for the babies to finally be passed to me I was trying to crane my neck to see them and watch what was happening but it was right behind my head so I just had to lie patiently waiting before they finally brought me Kalyan and Nik came over to join us while we waited on Priya and the anaesthetic reg took some photos of us.  Again, Nik took lots of photos though so I have now been able to get a glimpse of what was going on.

Whenever I felt remotely strange or nauseous, one word to the anaesthetics reg and she sorted me out.  The obstetrics reg apologised for her stitching job as she couldn't stop my scar pulling up a bit on the right apparently but I didn't care.  She said she had OCD (a good trait in a surgeon I reckon!) and felt pressure knowing Nik was a facial surgeon (we didn't tell her but someone did as she joked with me that I didn't warn her what he did when she'd popped in to introduce herself on the ward) so wanted to do a very neat job but I think it looks great and the midwife who took my dressing off on day 5 was very impressed with it!

Once I did have the babies safely snuggled into my chest in the recovery room it was just amazing, watching their instinct (well just his really as she was content just squishing her adorable chubby cheeks into me for a while) to headbob over and find a nipple to feed was just fascinating.  I was feeling fine after the surgery and just on cloud nine looking at our babies and marvelling at this moment I never thought would come.  I have never in my life felt so happy and full of awe.

This is back in my room after recovery, I just love how happy I look to have my two babies nestled in.

So here are the rest of my very favourite pictures from the birth and immediately after, I've been strict with myself here and may share more in another post.  There are some surgical type pictures so if you're squeamish you might not want to look.

Excitedly waiting to meet the twins!

And waiting (this was the Monday).

In theatre, ready for babies

Kalyan being born

They didn't hold him up so this is the best picture we have of his birth.

Priya making her grand entrance!

She was soon making noise.

Getting her checks done and all cleaned up.

Me finally getting to cuddle Kalyan.

Extremely well packaged babies!

Finally getting skin to skin with my babes!

Priya's little cubby hand.

And her smooshy wee face!

Peeking at Daddy and the camera.

Snuggling with my babies ready to go back to our room.

I took this one from my bed as Nik held Kalyan.

When I have time, I will write about the first few days after the birth which was unfortunately not quite as straightforward or fun!


Emma R said...

I can't believe you have had time to write on your blog with your new babies, but I'm glad you have! I've loved all your photos on Instagram and it's lovely to hear your birth story too! Hope you are all well and managing well as a new family of 4! X

Ling @ Ling Out Loud said...

Beautiful birth photos! Nik did good!!! My hubby got the shakes and took awful photos of the birth of our baby girl (seen here but oh well...I made up for it afterwards by turning into mamarazzi :P

Congrats again to the OD family :D

Lorri said...

Beautiful babies & beautiful pictures. Two precious miracles to love & cherish. Congratulations to you both. So happy for you. Lorri x

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