A Twin Mummy's Story - August 2010
At six weeks I experienced some stomach pain and light bleeding. I went to the doctors and was referred to the hospital. I
had an examination and found out I was pregnant with twins, it was such a shock - I was so happy and terrified at the same
time. Unusually I was told the sonographer could already hear their heartbeats, both were strong already. This became the
theme through my subsequent scans, I was told how my babies were growing well, had very strong heart beats and I was in
perfect health. At my 20 week scan I was asked if I wanted to find out the sex, I said yes and was told that I was having two
baby boys. Again, I was shocked and this time, I wasn't immediately happy! My brother has a twin boy and a twin girl and I
had dared to believe that I would naturally have the same.
Now I am ashamed that I felt like that, even though it only lasted a day or two, I feel mortified. Did they know? Even for a
second? Two weeks later I experienced a few twinges in my stomach. I lay down, the pain eased and I went to bed, sleeping
fine. The next day I went to work, at around midday I noticed some light bleeding, I rang the hospital and they told me to
come to the ward in a few hours. I wasn't particularly worried because I'd had bleeding at the beginning of my pregnancy.
But as I was examined, I became frightened; the doctor's faces looked troubled. I was told that my cervix had dilated 3 cm
and the membranes were bulging. Later I was visited by a consultant who told me I would be fine and that I just needed
complete bed rest. The next day I was told different things - from 'expect the worst' to 'it's possible to keep the babies in
the same position for several weeks' even months'. I hardly dared move but I was confident I could hold onto them, of
course I would.
I was given oral antibiotics to control infection, which I later found out had already entered my body. After two days I was
told that the rate of infection was doubling every 12 hours or so and I was given antibiotics via a drip. Talk moved from
saving my babies to saving me. I was told there was a critical point when the infection would get very bad and I would
become very ill, very quickly. I was advised to have an induced miscarriage. I resisted, I decided to wait another day to see
if the infection started to go down, but it didn't, and by that time the infection was apparently reaching critical levels. I
didn't care, I felt physically fine, it was the mental anguish that was unbearable and I refused to make the decision to lose
Eventually, when I complained of some stomach pain I was assured that luckily my body had made the decision for me and
that I was going into labour. The consultant told me I would be given another drip to help induce my labour more quickly. In
the end, the machine was turned down overnight as the ward was too busy so I had to pretend to sleep with the knowledge
that I was going to give birth to my twins the next day at just 22 weeks 5 days. The consultant informed me that as the
babies were too little and their lungs underdeveloped, there would be no obstetrician at the birth, and the babies would
not be helped to survive. I was warned that although the babies may show signs of life, they would not be breathing.
After 5 or 6 hours in labour, Rio was born. I was asked beforehand if I wanted to hold my babies and I was told that they
may not look how I expected a newborn to look. I took Rio in my arms and couldn't believe how perfect he was, and how
long! His tiny fingers and toes were a marvel to me, how perfectly formed yet so tiny. Rio felt warm to the touch and I
couldn't believe he would never be warm again. After a little while, I was told I needed to keep pushing and deliver my next
baby. My mum held Rio while I pushed and pushed, but after about an hour I just wanted to give up. I wanted to leave my
next baby where he was, I didn't want him to come out - he was healthy and oblivious to what was going on. Why couldn't
he stay put? His waters weren't infected, why couldn't he be left alone to grow? Of course I knew this wasn't possible - I'd
been told that the first rule, in a situation where the mother has infection, is to clear the womb - unfortunately this meant
my babies. After two long hours, Omar was born, just as beautiful as his brother.
Due to haemorrhaging and the fact that some of the placenta had been left behind; I was taken into surgery to have the
remaining placenta manually removed. I awoke several hours later in the high dependency unit, next to a woman and her
crying baby. I was completely devastated, in shock and alone. The next few days I was monitored closely as the infection
eventually started to come down, my iron levels were extremely low but I wasn't even aware of how ill I was, or even if I
was. I felt cheated beyond belief. Why me? What had I done wrong? Why had my body failed my babies? What was I
supposed to do now? Was I, am I, a mother? Do I have children? How do I answer those questions?
I am writing the story of my time in hospital in detail because it helps me to try and understand what happened. I hope that
I can help anyone affected by the death of a baby to realise that we are not responsible for this cruel act of nature, that
unfortunately we are only told the happy side of pregnancy and even birth, and that we are more often than not totally
unprepared for the ultimate loss. But it's not our fault. It's not really anybody's fault, it is natural to want to find someone
to blame - the medical staff, ourselves, a God. By talking to someone at Derby Sands and attending a meeting, I realised
that I was not alone, that too many women and families have this unhappy ending. But that we can ask for help, that there
are people that understand, that we can take small steps to make our own and someone's else's experience slightly less
painful. I hope that I can help raise awareness and understanding. For me I like to remember that my beautiful babies were
happy in my tummy and did not know any different - to them that was their life, together forever.
Supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby and
promoting research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives
Created by Barry Thompson © 2010 - 2019 Derby Sands, all rights reserved
Charity registration number 299679