We need you to lie on your left hand side in this bed and only get up for the toilet for the next few weeks.
We need you to get to 26 weeks to intervene if they come early.
Let me start by saying we are living a happy ending but I will admit that we are scarred by those horrible memories of a very dark time in our pregnancy.
B and A are hurtling towards three , happy and healthy for the most part (outside of normal toddler sickness) and I am extremely proud of my clever, funny 35 plus 1 weekers ( that 1 day is very important in preemie-hood, well to me it was since it meant we were only 6 days away from their planned arrival , we made it! )
A shudder passes through me anytime I relive the day my dad rushed me to the maternity around the 24 week mark. Little did I know that day I wouldn’t go home and would spend the next three weeks in a hospital room begging our world to hang in there.
Imagine being afraid to walk five steps to a bathroom for fear of premature labour.
Imagine being afraid to roll over to your right hand side, even though your hips ached desperately from SPD. Blood flow in pregnancy is better in this position and I wasn’t about to take any risks by flipping over for the sake of comfort.
Imagine being too afraid of losing your babies that you didn’t realise that pulse like sensation that happened every so often in your tummy was actually your little ones saying hello, making their presence known. It took a week of convincing from one of the lovely midwives for me to accept my fighters were desperate for me to rub their little limbs through my skin.
It was almost like they were trying to grasp hold of my thumb with their hands to let me know they were there for the long haul.
Daily tocos (machine wrapped to your stomach by two straps -one for each baby) sent me in a state of panic as we sought out two heartbeats. Sighs of relief were soon replaced by laughter as I poked and prodded little bums to flip around so we could capture those beautiful thuds. I actually began to look forward to those daily sessions of chase the heartbeats.
And then you reach the safety zone, the risk reduces. You both let go the breaths you held for over three weeks and begin to think the worst is over, survival is possible. Your children stand a chance of life. But that breath doesn’t ever fully release.
One scare is enough to take what should be an amazing, exciting time and turn you into a mess. Afraid to buy for your babies incase you jinx anything. Being on rest at home for the remainder of the pregnancy with far too much time to think yet unable to commit to distractions means your pure focus is your ever growing bump.
But as bump grows and limbs settle in your ribcage and pelvis the breath releases a little more and you begin to enjoy what others take for granted in their pregnancy journeys. You caress your babies as your body grows showing their strength. You sing them songs, pick out the nursery colours, the twin buggy and cotbeds.
Delivery is imminent at 36 weeks and the wise advice of our consultant to go back in for bed-rest from 33 weeks proves the right decision when at 35&1 my waters break. Our family is complete with the arrival of our son and daughter.
Fast forward nearly three years later and the experience of near loss stays. It’s a quiet little voice now that only really rears its ugly head if the kids are unwell. High temperatures to one mam might be nothing more than something viral that a bit of medicine will help, at times a momentary feeling brings me right back to when despite my best efforts I am not in control. The feelings subside as sickness leaves the house yet I think it will always linger around.
Being a mam carries a worry that I never fully understood or appreciated until my two entered the world. Going through what we did early on has left its scars but being able to understand and accept that low period left me a little fearful at times is important. What I find more important is that I can be strong enough to say this out loud. But and it’s a big fat positive but, I am so lucky to be able to worry over two toddlers. I will never let fear rule me like it did back then when I could only take things a minute at a time. I may be a little more sensitive when the kids pick up those lovely viral illnesses that we all dread and I may moan over the lack of sleep said viruses bring but I am extremely grateful I have the opportunity to moan twicefold.