Early in my multiple pregnancy I realised, that with multiples one have to expect the unexpected during your pregnancy.
Our pregnancy was no exception. At 31w4d I had a bout of energy and felt like gardening, after some time I felt a period like back pain and went to lie down for a bit thinking I just hurt my back bending. On one of the 100 trips to the bathroom I noticed something that resembled the mucus plug and proceeded to call my gynaecologist. I went in for a checkup and doctor couldn’t find any changes on the sonar but send me for a stress test. This test showed contractions that I wasn’t aware off, they also send away a urine sample for testing. I was admitted and received my first dose of steroids and medications to suppress contractions. After a two day stay and another steroid shot I was discharged on bedrest and a instruction for 24h urine sampling as protein was picked up on the test on admission two days before. It was summer during this time and I spent most of my time in bed under the air conditioner. The next day I woke up swollen even more than before my knees couldn’t be seen anymore as my legs was huge I also started with shortness of breath. That night I couldn’t even sleep as I couldn’t breath. I realised something terrible was wrong. I phoned my doctor and I was immediately referred to another doctor and hospital with NICU facilities.
I was admitted on 32w1d with pre-eclampsia and pulmonary oedema (fluid on the lungs) at a different hospital than planned and with a different doctor. The day was spent going for numerous tests to see the extent of the pre-eclampsia and visits from the NICU staff to prepare is for the possibility of having the girls soon. I was kept nil per mouth the night for incase and had the worst heartburn, was dying of thirst and running to the loo every 5 mins because of the medication to decrease fluid buildup.
The next morning (28 January 2012) at doctors rounds Dr. du Buisson (my new dr) announced that for safety reasons he wanted to deliver the twins later that day. The morning felt like forever until a few friends arrived, I had a baby shower planned for that day and some of the girls decided to stop by.(Jana, Lilla, Anmar and Louis you guys don’t know how much that meaned to me)
We were prepared for theatre and taken in. I was so thankful that my Dr that I had for the duration of my pregnancy could assist that day. Dr Lizette White was so comforting during my spinal and I am so glad there was one other familiar face with me and Kosie there. The spinal worked immediately and at 13:08 Hanlie was born and at 13:10 Santie. Kosie talked me through everything as he watched. Both girls cried after birth and Dr showed them to me briefly. The girls where immediately taken to NICU and Kosie left the theatre with them The rest of the procedure is a blur.
We didn’t take our camera into theatre as we didn’t know what to expect of having premature babies and how things would have worked out at birth. Today I regret that.
When I was stable and back in the ward Kosie showed me photos of the girls. Hanlie weighed 2.075kg and Santie 1,810kg. The girls where stable and doing well. Santie was on CPap for the first few hours, Hanlie didn’t need any oxygen. That first night every time I heard something in the passage way I hoped it was the NICU bringing my babies to me so that I could see them.
And so our NICU journey started
I went to visit the girls the next day, both where in closed incubators with all the monitoring devices and drips attached to them. I was totally overcome with emotions the moment I saw them. NOTHING can prepare you for that first glimpse at these tiny little humans. That night we where allowed to do skin-to-skin for the first time. What an amazing feeling that was. The nurse that was on duty that night was so kind to take some photos with her phone and send them to me. To this day I can’t remember her name but the way she treated us will never be forgotten.
Santie with me
Hanlie with Kosie
I started expressing breastmilk for them and often made trips to the NICU with the precious liquid gold in hand. The second night we could do skin-to-skin again, the nurse that was on duty dressed Santie up a bit and she held her so we could take nice photos too.
Recovery for me was hard but on day 3 I could go home. The worst part was to leave the girls there. Day 3 also marked the day they where upgraded to high care.
The following few weeks is a total blur. I went into survival mode. Having a fresh cesarean section wound, milk in your breasts and no baby at home was hard. I pumped every 3 hours and slowly but surely the milk supply was increasing. We washed the girl’s clothes and got the cot ready.
The girls where doing well and gaining weight well, they came out of the closed incubators and went into open cribs between 1-2 weeks old.
The trips to the hospital was exhausting and the first two weeks everyday someone else was taking me there. When I started driving there myself I stayed for half a day at a time.
Santie – look at the hair
The other challenge was every morning I phoned the NICU to find out how the girls are doing and to tell then when I’ll be there for a breastfeed and they have to go and search where they are. The girls where moved around as the NICU was so full. They had rooms in labour ward that they had made into a high care units and the girls even ended up in the baby room once.
I met an amazing mom in NICU and also some lovely nurses whom I’ll always remember.
The girls came home after 23 days in Panorama medi-clinic NICU
Ready to go home
Today Hanlie and Santie is happy and healthy almost 4 years old. Today mark world prematurity day 2015 and I would like to say thank you to each and everyone that supported us during our NICU stay, for each and every nurse and doctor that cared for our girls and to the Lord for happy and healthy toddlers.