Our Family. Our Story.

When it all began…

In January 2018 when we found out we were pregnant, we had no idea what was coming our way. It wasn’t until our first scan at 12 weeks with our Obstetrician (OB), Dr Ross Turner at the Wesley, ┬áthat we found out we were expecting twins. We were excited about what laid ahead for our new family and all of the adventures we would have as a family of four.

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We were most excited for our 13-week scan with Dr. Frank Carmody at the Wesley as this was our first 3D scan where we could easily see our two babies moving about. The twins moved for the entire 1.5-hour scan! It was incredible.

The scan is of course not really about seeing your babies move around, but rather to check they’re healthy, most importantly that all the organs and limbs are growing the way they should be. Everything looked perfect!

We decided not to find out the sex of our twins – this stayed a surprise until the boys were born.

This is a short video of our 3D scan of our two little babies moving around!

Our first overseas holiday while pregnant…

After a great deal of research on safe holiday destinations while pregnant, we quickly booked our last overseas holiday sans kids. The research took a while… what countries could we visit that are not Zika infected, where is a destination that is ‘pregnancy friendly’, i.e no massive hikes and also the holiday that required the least amount of planning given we gave ourselves only a week or so to plan it!

We landed on a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line from Japan, sailing to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. It was a one-stop shop with minimal planning required!

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The rest of the pregnancy…

It wasn’t until we were back from the trip that we told family and friends about our two little babies on board. I was around 15 weeks pregnant.

I had what would be considered the easiest pregnancy up until 28 weeks. Zero morning sickness, zero cravings (unless you count KFC because the ‘babies’ felt like it!), and zero complications.

We enjoyed our first of two babymoons down at the Sofitel, Darling Harbour. WOW just wow! If you’re thinking of going, definitely click here to read more!

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The second and final babymoon was at the Sofitel Noosa. Again, another WOW property! It was a perfect hotel to relax and enjoy the poolside. If you’re looking at heading north, click here to find out more!

Then, 28 weeks on the dot, Tuesday, 17 July 2018, I woke up at 1.10am with what I thought was Twin 1, subsequently names Henry, sitting on my bladder. I did find it odd, however, decided to ignore it, went back to bed… woke up and went to work. Steven was quite concerned and mentioned several times that morning that he thinks my waters broke… I figured I had seen enough movies to know that when your waters break, you have contractions and then your baby is born. I had zero pain so thought nothing of it.

I called my OB’s office mid-morning (my OB was in Scotland this week!) and staff calmly advised me to make my way to the labour ward at the Wesley Hospital as soon as possible. So, a quick phone call to Steven, who was not surprised, asking him to leave work and meet me at home so we can get to the hospital.

Sure enough, I arrived at the labour ward, met the OB who was covering for Ross this week, Dr. Stephen Cook, who confirmed that Twin 1 had ruptured membranes.

Twin 1 has ruptured membranes… The next 48 hours are critical…

The stress kicked in right then and there. I kept saying, I am only 28 weeks, this can’t happen now, my babies are too small, how will they survive? I am not ready for this.

Stephen gave me a dose of antibiotics, a steroid injection to help boost the lung development of the twins as well as anti-contraction medication as the next 48 hours were absolutely critical for lung development. It was this point that I had to be transferred via ambulance to the Mater Mothers Hospital as the Wesley does not cater for babies before 32 weeks gestation and do not have a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

I was on bed rest with bathroom privileges, every day the twins stayed put, the more they grew, the better the survival rates became. The aim was to get to 32 weeks.

To be honest, you hear about some premature babies, however, I wasn’t really aware of what this meant, what a NICU was or what the likely outcome would be for our boys. Why would you ever need to know any of this stuff unless you absolutely had to? We arranged a tour of the NICU so we knew what to expect after our boys were born.

I received a second steroid injection 10 days later to boost the lung development of the twins. I had a further two scans at the Mater Mother’s to monitor the amniotic fluid around Twin 1 with the ruptured membranes. Both babies appeared to be in good health and nothing to worry about. We were told Twin 1 had quite a bit of hair!

The arrival of our twins…

On Friday, 3 August, close to midnight, I started to get these horrendous pains. Steven was sleeping on the lounge/spouse bed in the room and I was conscious not to wake him up. Having alerted the midwife of the pain, it was put down to round ligament pain based upon where the pain was situated. It got worse. So much worse. I tried heat packs, the fetal position, hot showers and then the midwife put the CTG machine on and even then it wasn’t recording any contractions.

5 am on Saturday, 4 August 2018, I asked the nurse to call my OB to find out what time Stephen would be arriving that morning. Apparently, Ross had told Stephen, who was covering for the weekend, in handover that I had some niggles and the twins may be coming over the weekend. Ross was right!

Stephen told the midwife to take me straight down to the birthing suite. I was 30 weeks + 4 days.

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Twin 1 was in a massive hurry to join us earth-side, he was not waiting for anyone or anything.

It felt like an eternity for them to set up the emergency cesarean room. I think it took around 1.5 hours, however as I was having twins, they needed two of everything and everyone to cater for the two babies.

At 9.17am, Twin 1 (Henry) was born. I got a glimpse of him before he was taken to the room next door. At 9.19am, Twin 2 (Archie) was born. Again, I got a glimpse of him before he was taken to that same room.

All of a sudden, it was just me, my OB and one other person in the room. Everyone else, Steven included, was in the other room with our boys. I had no idea how they were going.

I was then wheeled into recovery and was there for around 1.5 hours.

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On our way back up to our room, they wheeled me in on the big hospital bed to see my boys. I only spent around 5 minutes in there to have my first proper look at them from my bed into the incubators- it is quite intense seeing your boys hooked up to so many tubes, wires and require respiratory support.

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Little did I know what our future would hold…

Back up to the room, we waited for my epidural to wear off so I could get myself into a wheelchair and we could see our boys again.

We went down to NICU and ran into our Neonatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Hurrion, who asked us to go into an interview room for an update on the boys (who were yet to be named at this point). “Let’s start with the easy one, Twin 1 is doing well. He is on CPAP which is to be expected but is doing very well”.

It was not the case for Twin 2. Elizabeth said she had never in her career seen lung x-rays like this before and had no clear idea of what was causing the problem. They started treating Archie for pneumonia and it was also apparent that his Patent Ductus Aarteriosus had not closed after birth which is common in premature babies, so was being treated for that as well.

Archie was born with Neonatal Chronic Lung Disease and later diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease with Alveolar Growth Abnormalities. Archie was not expected to survive the weekend. He was our superhero and never gave up. We were blessed with getting to know our Archie for 5.5 months before he swapped his cape over for Angel Wings on 18 January 2019.

For Archie’s full journey, click here.

Family 1

Photo: Photography by Kristy Lee

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One Comment on “Our Family. Our Story.

  1. Pingback: The story of Archie du Preez - The Well Travelled Family

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