Friday, May 23, 2014

Twin Birth Story: Joanna Grant

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Name: Joanna Grant

Where do you currently live?  Northampton, England

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins? 7 Weeks, 2 Days

Any issues during your pregnancy? Generally, no, I was very lucky. I was very stubborn and insisted from the very beginning that I would work for as long as possible, and that I could cope. My midwife told me that women pregnant with twins should start maternity leave at 28 weeks. I thought this was silly and that I could cope - how wrong (and so silly!) was I. By the time I was 26 weeks I was suddenly EXHAUSTED and the size of a 40 week singleton pregnancy. I also started experiencing regular and strong Braxton Hicks contractions. At 27 weeks, 2 days (beginning of December) I was teaching (once again issues begin!) and I was having BH contractions every eight minutes. They were strong enough to make me sit down. Of course, being a first time Mum I had no idea what REAL contractions felt like and so thought these Braxton Hicks were the real deal. I went to the school nurse, who sent me straight to the hospital! Luckily, I was just in false labour, but I was told that my cervix was very soft and that it was my body's way of telling me that enough was enough. I was signed off work and told that if I carried on like that the babies would arrive before Christmas. It was the wake up call I needed and made me realize how unimportant work was.  I was officially sofa bound.

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant:  There were so many memorable moments during my pregnancy! The most memorable moment was when I found out that I was expecting twins. It started as a horrible day.... I am a teacher, and during one of my classes I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my stomach, and then another, and another. Knowing that I was pregnant, I rushed out of work fearing the worst. My husband was on a stag do (Bachelor Party), so not wanting to worry him I called my Mum who took me to the hospital. The staff thought I may be having an Ectopic pregnancy and so they called a sonographer in from home to do an emergency scan (it was Friday night by this point). My Mum then got called away to move her car so I had to have the scan by myself.  The lady turned the screen towards me and I said, ''Is there two?!?" "It appears that way, did you not know?" "Does this look like a face of someone in the know?!!!!" Luckily, the pain I was experiencing was my uterus stretching so quickly because I was pregnant with twins...... and so the most wonderful journey of our life began! I then had to call my husband at 11pm to tell him that a) I was in the hospital and b) It was all OK, but we were having two babies! His reaction was priceless..... "Yes, yes, but are you OK??" "Yes, Ian I'm fine....are you listening, we are having two babies!!"

Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self?  To enjoy it a bit more! I was super paranoid throughout my whole pregnancy. I was convinced something would go wrong. I would also recommend that if you must read the internet (I did, all the time) that you try to only read the positive sites....not the doom and gloom ones. Easier said than done....

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 35 weeks, 5 days 

Baby A's Information: Max Robin
January 26, 2014
5:44 pm
5lb 3oz

Baby B's Information: Leo Kevin
January 26, 2014
6 pm
5lb 10oz

Are your twins identical?  No

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery?  Natural Delivery. My waters broke at 4.30am Sunday morning, however it wasn't a big gush as I expected, and I wasn't contracting, so I didn't know what to do. I called the hospital who advised me to go in to reduce the risk of infection. We arrived at 5.30am and I was examined. I was told that one of the babies had most likely torn their sac, and that I would definitely go into active labour soon. We called my Mum who was also my birth partner. They said that they wanted me to have the babies in the day, rather than at night because of staffing issues that come with it being a Sunday, let alone Sunday night! They said that once the labour ward had quietened down that they would break Twin 1's waters. At 2.50pm in the afternoon they came in and fitted my cannula ready for my epidural (I was told I had to have this, in case twin 2 was in distress and they had to intervene in an emergency situation). They then broke my waters. I was told "We'll give you two hours, but you're a first time Mum so you'll take ages. We'll have to hook you up to a hormone drip after that. The anesthetist will be in later to give you your epidural and then we'll take you down to theatre (operating room) as we would like you to give birth there." WELL, within 15 minutes I was contracting every two minutes. After an hour, I was contracting every 20 seconds. The asesthetist arrived at which point I was 9cm dilated and telling my midwife I had to push.  It was too late (brilliant, I never wanted an epidural really anyway)! Max was born at 5:44pm. He had a short cord so they had to put him on my tummy. My husband cut the cord and we were all incredibly emotional. They then asked me if I was ready to give birth again (Really?! Again?!), and they broke Leo's waters. The doctor then clamped down on my tummy and I had no idea why. Now I know that she was holding Leo in place as he was starting to spin and go breach. She held him in place until he arrived. That doctor saved me from having to have a C-Section for Twin 2!! Of course this is all going on around me and I forgot that I wasn't actually where I was supposed to be at all. They hadn't got me to theatre and I was in a tiny labour room with one midwife and one doctor (who were both fantastic). The rest of the team that I was suppose to have were standing outside the door in the corridor with a resuscitator. Ian said that an alarm was going off from outside to tell my midwife how long it had been since I had given birth to Max. I had to give birth to Leo within 20 minutes in case the placentas started to come away. Thankfully, I didn't hear this as I would have panicked. Leo was born 16 minutes later. Unfortunately, soon after they had handed him to me they took him to the pediatricians in the corridor to help him breath. This was soooo scary, but Ian was with him. He came back in well and Ian and I got to do skin to skin. This was the most incredible, emotional, memorable experience of my life..... all in 2 hours and 29 minutes. I cannot thank the two staff I had enough as they ensured my two boys arrived safely.

Any NICU time? If yes, for what reason and how long? No. As the boys were premature they had a few problems but they stayed in the ward with me (five days). They had a few problems so would go down to the NICU a couple of times a day for antibiotics and to see pediatricians. They both had a 'grunt' after birth so they had cannulas in their hand for antibiotics to ward off infection. They both struggled to maintain their temperatures and experienced jaundice so they had to go on the Billibeds. They also struggled with feeding. The first two days in hospital were by far the hardest, and there was a part of me that wished they had just put them in incubators so I knew they were warm and fed. It was an incredible responsibility to look after two babies on my own during the night. I didn't sleep and just fed all night long.  Day three we all turned a corner and the boys began to thrive.

Did you have any complications after delivery? I lost a lot of blood and was very, very weak. My Mum took me down the corridor to help me shower as I couldn't stand but the ward had no hot water (no, really). So I had a cold shower after giving birth to two babies.....

How long did you (the parents) stay in the hospital?  Five days

Did your twins stay with you or in the hospital nursery at night?  With me (no nurseries in England)

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital? 
- My buzzer!! I loved the ladies who helped me during my stay.
- My camera phone... to capture 100, OK 1,000, beautiful moments with my babies.
- Fancy soaps and shower bits...these made me feel sooo much better.

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital:  The staff put the babies in two seperate cots and they wouldn't settle at all. In the middle of the night on day two, I picked up Leo and put him in with Max. They immediately nuzzled in to each other and fell straight asleep. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? Feel completely blessed. You are truly so lucky.
When you have the babies......
- Accept all offers of help.
- Learn to say 'No' when you feel uncomfortable with something (this took me a while to learn.... the novelty of twins brings an incredible amount of visitors, even people who we don't really know. After five weeks of at least one visitor every day, I fell really ill. I now say 'No' when we need family time, and I make excuses when I don't want my babies passed around...this is tough to do, but YOU'RE their Mummy, YOU know best).
- When you are exhausted and feel completely deflated, go out...even just to the supermarket. The thousands of cooing admirers will remind you of how lucky you are.


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  1. Love your reaction!! Congrats, they are precious!!

  2. Thank you, I think so but I'm biased!! X

  3. Loved this story!! Especially liked your advice! It's really hard to say no to people when they just want to see the babies. I wish I would have said no sometimes so we could have had a little more time as a family To bond with each other those first few days. Congrats on your beautiful boys!

  4. It is SO hard to say no. On one hand I wanted to see everyone and to show my babies off, on the other hand I was exhausted and constantly tidying up because someone was coming over. Literaly every day for 6 weeks I had a visitor...everyone was so generous but eventually I had to say no. I remember our first day alone... We just cuddled our babies all day... It was SO lovely!