3 years ago, I went into premature labour and after a few days, gave birth to my beautiful twin girls weighing 2lb 10oz and 3lb 6oz. They were 10 weeks early and came as a bit of a surprise.
We went through 7 weeks of visiting them in hospital...long draining days where we would sit for hours staring into incubators, wishing we could do more for our babies, longing to be a proper mummy and daddy. It was the same routine every day - hospital in the morning, lunch in the hospital canteen, back to the Neonatal Ward, sometimes home for dinner, then stay by their bedside until late evening. Each night was finished off by a phone call to the unit just before bed, to check the girls were settled. It was both emotionally and physically draining to say the least.
Luckily the girls were born healthy and they were just to feed and grow, however they both needed help with their breathing and for a week, we didn't see Olivia's face as she was on CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) with a mask over her. For the first 5 weeks, the girls were doing well, until one Tuesday night when we were leaving to go home, Lauren wouldn't let go of my finger. Something inside me told me to stay a little bit longer - her eyes were saying to me "Please don't leave me Mummy"
The next hour was a bit of a blur. Her monitor starting beeping showing her oxygen sats dropping drastically, her apnea monitor went off and she basically started shutting down. The nurses had to bag air into her to keep her breathing and whisked her off to intensive care. I sat in shock, and cried and cried. Leaving that night to go home, was one of the hardest things I have had to do, not knowing whether she would be OK or make it through the night.
The next few days that followed were horrible. The doctors determined that she had an infection, but didn't know what it was. It was basically trial and error with antibiotics to see if her CRP levels would fall, but to no avail. She was tested for all sorts - chest xrays, lumbar punctures, a drip inserted into her skull. She was so small and frail, that her veins started to collapse meaning that they couldn't get essential medication into her, meaning crisis talks with the doctors. By this point, she was technically only 35wks gestation, weighing about 4lbs. Her kidneys had shut down, she was swollen, she wasn't breathing for herself and was on a breathing machine called 'Bounce' which meant her lungs were kept open most of the time, with only short shallow breaths being made for her to try and help her recover. I hardly recognised her. My little baby was so ill and we feared the worst. Every hour was critical.
It was decided that the best course of action was to operate and insert a central line into her chest, where IV access could be restored. She was whisked off in an ambulance on her own to a specialist children's hospital, where they worked wonders on her. Her op was a success, she started responding to medication and within a fortnight both her and her sister came home.
Now I hear you ask, what is the purpose of this post? I find it hard thinking of this time in our lives - it was hard. Really hard. Something which I never hope anyone else should have to go through, but the reality of it is, that this type of thing happens all the time. We never shout about the girls' time in hospital, but we never feel that anyone truly understands what we went through. Our trying to even have the girls in the first place, was a struggle - I had previously lost two babies, which I was absolutely distraught about. And then my pregnancy with the girls was pretty bad.
The purpose of this post is to say that I am truly grateful for the children we have been given. Although there are times they are hard work and they push my patience, I cherish every cuddle, smile and laugh from them. Each time they tell me they love me or that I am the best cook the in the world (which I am not!), it melts my heart.
Some people are so ungrateful for their children. They think their only job is to push them out, and then they can go back to living their lives of going out every weekend, papping their children off to whoever will have them and moan about every single thing their child does. Recently I have had an experience, of someone who won't sit down and teach their child to count because "they just don't pick it up" and has only recently started doing things with their child as "they do it at nursery" Being a parent takes work. And I am not saying I am perfect, but it really pees me off when I see people who just don't care. All these kids want is attention, love and their parents' time. Time which is obviously too precious to give to their children. Some people just expect everything just to be handed to them on a plate - people like that don't deserve kids.