The day after my gender reveal, the country went into lockdown, and we were told to stay at home. Life as we had known it was about to change drastically. I would no longer be allowed anyone to come to my hospital appointments or scans, my mum had come to every single one of my appointments up until now, and the disappointment at not being able to share it was crushing. I wouldn't even be allowed my mum or sister to come to a private scan, so there was no point booking anymore of those. I felt so grateful that we were able to see my babies together one last time the day before. It made it even more special. Lucy was going to be in exactly the same position as me. Her husband Sam would no longer be able to come with her, and she had extra scans and appointments booked because of the extra fluid she was carrying and the potential risks this could cause.
When the country had been told to stay at home, we were allowed out to exercise for an hour a day, and form a bubble with another household. Only go to work if it was impossible to work from home, which didn't really matter as both myself and Lucy were still working together at our mums, and go out for essentials. We were all pretty worried about the virus covid19, at this point. There were horror stories on the news everyday and me, Lucy and our dad were classed as vulnerable because of our pregnancies and my dad's health problems. Mum and Sam did all the shopping for all three of our households, and went out only when really necessary. Mum would go and get the shopping, come home, strip off outside the back door and go and shower before coming into contact with us. She would do the same when dropping our post once a week at the post office. There was apparently a special system in place in the supermarkets, a one way system all social distanced, so you had to que to get into the shops. We didn't experience this first hand, but my mum must have felt under a huge amount of pressure to keep us safe.
My 18 week scan went OK, still no signs of TTTS, although twin 1 was still measuring that bit smaller. The man scanning me was African, and told me how in his culture twins were seen as very lucky. I certainly felt very blessed to be carrying them and to be a twin mama. Being so close to my own sister, I was relieved that they would always have one another. A ready made best friend that they could always count on, like me and my sister have. had bought a special face mask to wear inside the hospital, and it made my feel very claustrophobic and hot, but first scan on my own, done!
I could now feel them moving inside me and it was the most reassuring feeling. You could see little movements across my rapidly growing tummy, and although I still didn't feel very good, I was starting to feel a bit less nauseous on the whole. Lucy's tummy movements were very obvious now, she was huge! She had a big bump with Marley too, but the extra amniotic fluid she was carrying made her seem even bigger. She had been hoping for a home birth after a traumatic long labour and birth with Marley, but covid had first dashed her hopes as midwives were being told they couldn't go out and do home births as the staffing was at a minimum, and the extra fluid meant that there was a risk with her labouring naturally. She was advised her safest option would be to deliver via c section about a week before her due date. I know only had about 4 weeks until I would be meeting my nephew!
By my 20 week scan I was finding it difficult to lay on my back. The scan seemed to be taking forever and I kept feeling sick and lightheaded. The sonographer was struggling to get both babies measurements as they kept moving. After a good 90 minutes he told me that there was a couple of measurements he hadn't been able to record, but as I was having another scan in 2 weeks it shouldn't be a problem. Twin 1 was still small, but looked healthy, there was a small cyst on her brain, but apparently very common at this gestation and it would disperse by itself before delivery. This didn't stop my brain going into overdrive and going straight onto Google as soon as I got back in the car with mum. She now patiently waited outside for me, so she was there in case I needed her. The great news was I had now got to 20 weeks gestation without any sign of TTTS. Halfway through the danger zone, although it didn't stop me wishing away the next four weeks until the babies were viable.
Lucy finished up work on the Friday a week before her c section was booked. I'd now be working alone, but I'd still see her all the time, as we classed ourself under the same bubble, and mum would be having Marley when Lucy went into hospital. Two days later on Sunday morning I got a phone call from mum. I was still groggy from sleep as I was finding it difficult to get comfy in bed and so not sleeping well. "Get up, get dressed I'm coming to get you in 5 minutes, Lucy is in labour and wants a photo of you two together with your bumps". My brain struggled to comprehend what was going on, so I stuttered while mum just shouted at me to go get ready! Exactly 5 minutes later, mum was at my door. She grabbed my make up bag and Fig and pushed me back outside. She was in a complete fluster and in the end I had to shout at her to calm down. Lucy had only just gone into labour, Marley's labour had taken 4 days and a lot of force, she wasn't having this baby anytime soon.
When we got to Lucy's, she answered the door calm and collected. See, I was right, no rush or panic. Within 5 minutes though Lucy was having a contraction. She was handling it like a real champ and waited for me to put make up on so we could go out in the garden for some matching bump pictures. She and Sam had been recording the time and duration of her contractions and they were definitely getting closer. As we went downstairs to go outside she had another one. Mum put her hand on Lucy's back to reassure her and Lucy snapped, "DON'T TOUCH ME", so unlike Lucy. She must really be in a lot of pain. Sam tried encouraging her to get ready to leave for the hospital, but she wanted the photos. It was very unlikely we would ever be pregnant at the same time again and photos were very precious to her. By the time we had taken photos we wanted, after stopping several times for Lucy to have another contraction, Sam and mum were getting worried. The contractions were literally 2 1/2 minutes apart now and they were getting more painful. We sent Sam and Lucy on their way and started to get Marleys sleepover bag sorted. Marley was going to be coming round to my house to bake a cake for mummy and the new baby.
Just under an hour after the left we arrived at my house and I started to get the ingredients out. It was very important to us that Marley still felt special, and we didn't want him to worry about what was happening to his mummy, destraction was key! My phone, and mum's went off at the same time, it was Sam, probably letting us know they'd arrived OK and they were waiting to be seen. As I opened my phone, my jaw dropped. There was an image of my sister on the bed holding her baby.
Indhi Albert Patrick was born within 10 minutes of Lucy arriving at the hospital. Sam had had to wait outside while she went in, but when she couldn't do the urine sample and screamed she wanted to push, they let him come straight in and onto the delivery ward. Very luckily, there had been no complications with the extra amniotic fluid, apart from a midwife getting soaked. Lucy had come pretty close to having a home birth, although not the one she planned. He was a perfect, healthy 8lb 2oz and I was an auntie again. I thought back to 4 1/2 years ago when Marley was born. I had been there along with mum and Sam when Lucy had brought Marley into the world, and how different that world was now. Sam had to leave shortly after Indhi was born, and Lucy was left alone on the ward with her new baby. She wouldn't be coming home until the next day and so we wouldn't be able to meet him, or give Lucy a hug until then. I felt gutted that we were missing this important time, but more importantly I was worried about my sister and wanted to be there for her. She had decided she wanted to try breastfeeding Indhi, but there was no one to help her as they were short staffed. She got no sleep that night as the girl in the bed next to her cried while her newborn baby screamed the whole night. Lucy spent most of the night trying to comfort her. This didn't seem right to be leaving women alone at their most vulnerable hour, covid or not. I couldn't wait for them to be home.
The next day Lucy was let out at about 3pm. She hadn't been able to have a wash, was in pain and felt pretty awful from her short stay in hospital. Once she had been home long enough to have a bath and take some painkillers she wanted us to come over, have a take away and meet Indhi. Marley was a bit hesitant, and a little off with Lucy, which broke our hearts. She desperately just wanted to cuddle her big boy, but felt shunned. We were careful to make sure that Marley did not feel left out and gave him lots of attention, while reassuring Lucy that he would come round. Indhi was adorable and I fell in love immediately. He didn't look like Marley as much as we thought he was going to, but he was equally as beautiful. He immediately settled when I cuddled him onto my bump, and we joked that he was giving his cousins their first hug. It seemed surreal to think I would have two newborns of my own to look after.
Every day for the rest of the week we went round to Lucy's after I had finished work to help out in anyway and make sure she was doing OK. She looked fabulous and not at all like she had just had a baby, but she was struggling with feeding Indhi. The pain was immense and she wasn't sure on his latch. I'd obvously never breastfed before, and it had been nearly 30 years since my mum had done it, but I was determined to help her in anyway I could. We got her nipple shields to give her a bit of a break and I watched as many videos on breastfeeding and good latch as I could. We'd sit with her, helping to position him and offering as much moral support as we could and after a few days he seemed to be feeding a little better, although she had noticed as soon as he was born that he had tongue tie, so that obviously wasn't helping. Her midwife agreed that it should be cut, and arranged for someone to contact her, so all she could do in the meantime was persevere, he had lost a little weight at his first check in but that was normal, so no need to worry. He was so far a calm and happy baby.
The weather was fairly warm for this time of year and I was struggling in the heat. My legs and feet started to swell by the end of the day, and mum wanted me to put my feet up a bit more. It was difficult as Lucy was not working and I needed to keep our business going. At every opportunity she was outside with me, helping me with my orders and keeping me company. So far, everything was going well with my pregnancy and Indhi being born had proved a good distraction from any worries I had been having. On the 6th day after Indhi was born I had my 22 week scan booked, and things were about to once again get very scary.
I was about 20 weeks pregnant here.
My beautiful nephew Indhi, look at those wrinkles!