I promised myself I wouldn’t do this

I promised myself I wouldn’t do this, and honestly I never meant to but when I turned the page and saw the words ‘parents evening’ on the school calendar, I realised it has been almost a year since we went to THAT appointment.

The night before said appointment, I was sat in the school hall wearing the baggiest dress I could find trying to hide my growing bump. Even though we were well past the 12 week ‘danger zone’ I still didn’t want to share the news with everyone at school. The teachers and the school staff knew but the 200 children and their parents? Not yet. With the last appointment of the night done, I slid my parents evening notes into my mark book and headed for the door. When I left the building that night, it was the last time I would leave school pregnant with our twins, the last time I would set foot in the building for months and the last time I would feel like ‘me’ for almost a year.

Ok so THAT appointment – Thursday 9th March 2017. We’d spent 40 minutes in an ultrasound scan, the sonographer barely spoke, called in a second person and politely shut down just about every question Mark and I dared to ask. Actually there was one question she did answer – “Is everything ok?”… “We need to get the Consultant to speak to you”. With Mark and I sat one side of the bed, the Consultant and the sonographer on the other, the words that left her mouth went a bit like this…

“As you know with monochoronic twins* there is a risk of TTTS and today we have seen clear signs of severe TTTS. Twin 1 is significantly smaller than Twin 2, there is virtually no amniotic fluid surrounding Twin 1, there are signs of IUGR** and we can see from the scan that Twin 2 has a severe cleft lip and palate.”

While both of us sat there trying to digest the words that had just smacked us in the face, I realised she wasn’t quite finished – brace yourself…

“We can laser the placenta to try and save them although there is only a 10% chance Twin 1 will survive and 70% chance Twin 2 will survive. If we don’t do the surgery today, both your babies will die.”

Now you know when people talk about an out of body experience?  Well that is the only way I can describe what I felt at that precise moment in time. I felt like I was in the corner of the room looking at these 2 people sitting, holding hands, staring at a woman moving her lips and communicating something they couldn’t quite comprehend.  Who the bloody hell was she talking to? It was then I realised she was talking to us. Our babies were going to die, my body had failed them, the two little ones I should have been protecting were at the mercy of a deadly disease and my body had let it happen – what kind of Mother was I?

The surgery itself was horrific, seeing one of their tiny hands on the screen in front of us as they lasered the twins separate from one another was an image that will never escape my mind – no matter how hard I try. Maybe one day I’ll write about the surgery, maybe not, but either way the scars it left were more than physical.

With the surgery complete, we headed home hand in hand with an appointment to return the following week – Thursday 16th March, which just so happens to be my birthday. Then exactly one week after I turned 32, we delivered our twins.

As much as I used to dread parents evening, this year I’m dreading the month of March even more. As much as I’m trying not to make an anniversary out of everything, the next few weeks are going to be an achievement to get through. But if the last year has taught me anything, it’s that one step at a time, I can get through whatever the world throws at me – so come on March let’s do this.

As always thanks for sticking with another one of my offloads.

Love and hugs,

Amanda xx

* Identical twins who share one placenta.

**Intrauterine Growth Restriction

 

 

 

 

We’re having a baby!

I guess you could say finding out we were pregnant was completely unexpected, we weren’t even sure we could have children. I was told about my Polycystic Ovaries at the age of 18 and only the year previous had undergone surgery to remove my Endometriosis – needless to say we fully expected to have difficulties conceiving. But we figured if we didn’t start trying, we’d never know, so we came off the pill and got to it! Finding out we were having a baby (we had no idea it was twins at the time) and announcing it to our families went a little bit like this…

“So I still haven’t come on, do you think we should do a test?” The message I sent when I was 2 weeks overdue and the Christmas work party was only a few days away. Mark picked up the pregnancy test on the way home from work and no sooner was he home I was sitting on the loo peeing on a stick! Three minutes on the buzzer, test covered so we could both see it at the same time, we stood in the kitchen simply waiting for the seconds to pass. One minute left on the clock. Times up. The exact words that escaped my boyfriend’s mouth at the time I won’t repeat! But there we were, two future parents standing in the house we were about to make a family home. To say it felt surreal would be an understatement, everything about the situation felt like it was happening to someone else – we were going to be parents! Although just to ensure there had been no mistake we did another 4 tests that night and then set out about finding out what the hell we were supposed to do next.

With Christmas just around the corner we decided to wait and announce our news on Christmas Day. It was our first Christmas in our new home and both our families were coming.  When the big day arrived, Mark prepared what we were going to say, handed everyone a glass of champagne and made the announcement – “I’d like to raise a glass to our first Christmas in our new home and our last Christmas as just the two of us” OK yes everyone looked just as confused as you probably are right now reading it – note to self, if you ever announce a pregnancy again just come out and say it! “We’re having a baby!” The reaction was overwhelming and actually a bit of a blur, I remember hugs, kisses, screams and my Dad’s face – his eldest daughter carrying his first grandchild, I could feel his sense of pride and emotion and his hug said everything his mouth couldn’t.

That Christmas I managed to over-cook the veg, under-cook the roast potatoes and served dinner an hour later than planned but none of that mattered – we were giving everyone the most amazing gift! We were making our siblings aunts and uncles, our parents grandparents, our grandparents great-grandparents and most excitingly of all we were going to be someone’s Mum & Dad.

The 25th December 2016 is a Christmas I’ll treasure, together we shared a precious moment and despite everything that (unbeknown to us) was due to follow, that Christmas night we went to bed with a feeling I’ll never forget.