This photo may not look like much but it is our last photo as a family of 3. We snapped this quick picture at bedtime, the night before the twins were born 🙂
Did you know that full-term for twins is 37 weeks instead of 40? I did not know that. I also learnt that as long as each twin crossed the 2 kg mark, it is considered the “safe” zone. Having said that, I also learnt that weight is not the only criteria for twins to be declared healthy and in the clear. They’d have to be able to breathe on their own, i.e. their lungs have to be strong enough once they are out of the womb.
The official due date for the twins fell on an easy-to-remember date: 4 July 2017 (Independence Day!). Elliott was delivered at Mount Alvernia Hospital and I really hoped to do the same for the twins. My gynae, Dr C, told us early in the pregnancy that if the twins arrive early, we’d have to deliver at KKH as they’d be the best equipped to manage pre-term babies.
However, if we manage to cross 1 June, we can then deliver at Mount A. As Elliott was delivered via emergency c-sect, we opted for an elective c-sect for the twins. To cut a long story short(er), THE DATE was eventually fixed on 12 June 2017 which makes it 37 weeks. I was glad that we managed to hold on till the appointed date and that the pregnancy was progressing well.
We had it all planned: The boy and I would drop Elliott at school together on THE day (where I’d try not to cry), then head to Mount A for admission. He will stay the night at the in-laws and they’d drop him at school as usual the next day. My mum will then pick him from school and take him to visit me and his new siblings at the hospital.
Things didn’t quite go as planned. The evening before the big day, Elliott came down with a high fever of 39.8 degrees. AGAIN. It sent me into a bit of a tailspin as the timing couldn’t be worst. Oddly, the fever went away at night and we all sat around on the couch to watch Transformers.
Obviously, we couldn’t send him to school the next day and I did not want to catch whatever bug he had because it is no good to get sick before a big op?!
The night, instead of my big plan to cuddle him properly as an only child, I had to sleep in the other room so as not to risk getting sick. Sigh. I slept surprisingly well from 2.30 am till 6 am and did not even need to get up to pee?! BIG WIN.
The elective c-sect operation was fixed at 1 pm, hence I had to fast from 7am. Woke at 6am and had a BBQ bun and a cup of hot Milo as the day broke. It was my “light breakfast” before the life-changing op and would be my last meal until the next day. I remember it being utterly quiet, save for the sound of chirping birds. It was…peaceful.
We arranged for my mum to come over to our place instead to care for Elliott. We then left the house quietly and made our way to the hospital.
The ride was surprising quick despite morning traffic. We were lucky – we secured a nice parking lot near the lift so I didn’t need to waddle too far. It was getting ridiculously awkward to walk more than a few steps and I couldn’t wait to “offload”.
The boy took this picture of me for posterity’s sake. Yes, I know I don’t look that big to be carrying twins but please be assured that by this time, my entire back was aching, my feet were swollen, suffered from pregnancy sinusitis and had carpal tunnel syndrome on my right hand. It was just really…uncomfortable.
As we pre-registered, the hospital was expecting us. After the usual paperwork and registration, we were shown to the ward. It turned out to be the same ward I stayed at when birthing Elliott – Our Lady’s Ward on level 3 at the main block.
We were assigned to a room that was at the end of the corridor. As I’d be staying overnight on my own (I prefer that the boy go home to be with Elliott), I asked the kind nurse if there was another room closer to the nurses’ counter so that it wouldn’t be too…isolated. Eventually, we were allocated Room 338 – St Simon. Trivia: We were previously in Room 330 when I birthed Elliott. I felt a wave of nostalgia when we walked past it.
Each baby was gifted with one of these bags and because we had twins, we received two! Can you tell that the backpacks are “inspired” by the Anello backpacks? Each backpack contained loads of freebies and samples, ranging from breastpads, diapers, storage bottle, changing mat, nursing cover to all sorts of baby cream, baby onesie and even bedroom slippers (which proved very useful during confinement).
Close to noon, a kind and friendly nurse came by to prepare me for the operation. She also tagged my right wrist with two tags because yep, twins. We chatted for a bit and when it was almost 1 pm, I was placed in a wheelchair and pushed to the operating theatre waiting area. Ok, I have no idea what the area is called but it’s basically where you wait before you are pushed in for your operation.
I ended up waiting for almost an hour in a lying-down position because Dr C was held up by the operation before mine (I knew she had another operation at 12.30 pm at the same hospital). At first, I wasn’t nervous at all as I knew what to expect. However, as time ticked by, I started to get a little nervous. I guess this is what happens when you are just lying there and waiting for something to happen.
I tried to keep myself occupied by glancing at the various medical personnel flitting past me, trying to figure out if they were nurses or doctors. I tried to nap but it was impossible as it was so uncomfortable lying on my back. What made it worst? As it turns out, the boy was waiting close by but he also had no idea what was happening and was getting worried. Throughout the wait, I had various people come round to talk to me – the midwives (2 of them, one for each twin), the anesthetist, etc.
Finally, at almost 2 pm, I was wheeled into the operating theatre and the boy appeared behind me decked in scrubs. Dr C also appeared in her surgery gear, apologising profusely as her op ran into some complications. Everything kicked into high gear and I was prepped to be
cut up operated on.
The anesthetist came by to administer the epidural. I knew that I had to “curl up like a shrimp” from last experience and so I tried my best to. As best as I could with a giant belly, that is. He asked me to try moving my legs and it just wouldn’t move despite my best efforts.
Check out this picture that boy snapped of me as I WAS BEING CUT UP behind that blue screen. I honestly wasn’t feeling any pain, except for tugging and pulling which is somewhat…strange. With Elliott’s birth, I was pretty out of it as I was exhausted and drugged up. This time round, I was 100% awake and…sober. In fact, I was having a casual chat with Dr C who was operating on me and asking if we have decided on names, etc. If you listened in, you’d think that we were sitting at a cafe sipping tea and having a chat.
At one point, a nurse came close to the left side of my head and started to push my belly forward. It occurred to me that this is it – they were getting Twin 1 (girl) out. The boy also whispered: I think they just burst your water bag.
I whispered back: How do you know?
The boy: I just saw a huge gush of water. Must be lah.
Me: Ooh, cool.
Suddenly, I heard what is best described as…ducks squawking. It was hard to register in my head that Twin 1 was out and that was her cry. It just did not sound like a baby’s wail! I guess that’s because she still had all sorts of fluids covering her because soon after, a proper baby’s wail could be heard, loud and clear. Ah, she’s out!
Almost immediately, after yet more tugging and pulling, another series of duck squawks could be heard. That must be Twin 2, I thought. I had no idea what was happening but thanks to photos the boy snapped, they were being cleaned up quickly.
Soon after, Twin 1 was placed in my arms. “Hello!“, I said with a beam, while stroking her left cheek gently. Soon after, Twin 2 was brought to us as well and I remember asking: Hmm, how do we do this? I don’t think I can balance two of them at the same time!
The anesthetist (I think) offered to help us with photos. I also remember the boy forgetting to remove his mask and was asked to do so. Hur hur. Oddly, our camera ran out of memory space at this very moment (which shouldn’t happen because the memory card has like, a bazillion amount of storage space on it – odd!) so the boy passed him his phone for our first picture together.
Twin 1 weighed in at 2.6 kg and Twin 2 at 2.43 kg. Coincidentally, both were 46 cm in length and both had a head circumference of 33 cm. How cute! They both scored 10 on the Apgar newborn test and we were very very relieved that they did not require special medical care of any kind.
After the obligatory pictures, the twins were whisked away and the boy also left my side to accompany them. This is also when I was sewn up and I swear, it felt like FOREVER. I don’t remember them taking this long with Elliott but I think that’s because I was really out of it so I had no concept of time. This time round, I could feel every pull, push and tug.
At one point, my uterus felt like it was being squeezed and I felt period-like pain. Dr C said that it was the uterus contracting (so fast!) and wow, it was pretty uncomfortable. I have a vivid imagination so even though I couldn’t see what was going on, I was imagining my tummy and other bits of my insides being thrown back in and sewn up. I also remembered thinking that you need to have a very strong stomach to be a gynae. Imagine all that blood and internal bits. Sheesh.
When I was finally done, I was wheeled back to the same ‘waiting’ area. It was probably about 3pm+. I ended up staying there for quite a while, almost an hour (I think) as I was feeling the after-effects of the epidural. I was shivering uncontrollably and the kind nurse kept giving me blankets to try and keep me warm. The thing is, the shivers were coming from internally so no amount of blankets was helping. I also developed rashes (hives)?! I also felt the urge to throw up and when I finally did, it was pure gastric juices because I haven’t eaten anything since 6.30 am. I’ve always had reactions to certain drugs and medication so the gamut of side effects from the epidural wasn’t unexpected.
I was finally moved to the ward to rest at about 4 pm+ and the boy was there waiting. He was starting to wonder what happened to his wife. I requested for skin-to-skin with the babies and the midwife suggested we do it in the ward instead of the operating theatre as it is very cold in there and everyone is in a big rush to clean up and vacate for the next operation.
I agreed and at about 4.45 pm, the twins were wheeled in and placed on me, one at a time. I only remember the time because the boy snapped this picture. You can still see the red marks on my forehead and chest from the rashes. Thankfully, the shivering and rashes subsided in a couple of hours and I was good as gold again.
So there you go, the birth story of Twin 1 and Twin 2 who eventually became known as Edith and Everett.