It was a textbook labour: full term, all signs of labour confirmed without the slightest bit of doubt, working through those clearly identifiable stages and, presto! A baby arrives. Except this that this wasn’t my labour: I was reading it from a book. It was 2am. I couldn’t sleep. Again. No calf muscle cramps or heartburn this time, just wide awake. At least I was back in my own bed. Just.
We’d been away for 6 weeks, which was three weeks longer than planned. January was going to be a month at home for some relaxing, some extreme nesting and preparing for the arrival Jake & Jordan. But instead we were in Brisbane. Waiting. Waiting for the Fitzroy to go down and the Bruce to open (the river and the highway respectively). Finally water subsided and traffic commenced. Two days earlier we drove from Brisbane to Rockhampton, barely stopping for fear of being one of those news stories about a roadside delivery and our kids being named after the ambulance driver-come-midwife.
Nope, still can’t sleep. I might as well get up and do some work. I’ll just go to the toilet and… uh oh. Where’s that textbook? I think the floodwaters had breached the levy, to use a phrase we had heard so often in January 2011. Uh oh. This-can’t-be-happening-it’s-too-soon-I’m-not-ready. Deep breath. Suck it up. Deal with it. It’s happening; it probably is a bit soon; you have to be ready.
Despite knowing that about three quarters of multiple pregnancies are early, I was completely unprepared for mine ending this early. Earlier that day the doctor had told me that making it to today was good, because any earlier would mean the boys would be transferred to Brisbane for special care. Could I still have a natural birth if I was this early? What health implications will there be for the boys? Where are they going to sleep? I took about 10 minutes to regroup, threw some things in a bag, woke Tim, called the hospital, woke our neighbours to watch Layne and we were off on our merry way.
That day at the obstetrician I told him I felt ready to pop. Told you so! I needed to have two steroid injections 12 hours apart to help the boys’ lungs and something else to stop the labour. It was a Thursday morning. I was told that this would slow things down, give the steroids a chance and have the boys sometime over the weekend. The boys had other plans. Thursday night my contractions started. I was on a train building speed, with no stopping at the station to get off.
At about 4am on Friday morning I rang Tim and we moved to the delivery room. He was a bit squeamish when Layne was born and stayed right away from the business end. To distract him this time, I got him to time the contractions (of course there’s an app for that). I did a lot of walking. Tim played a lot of stick cricket. The contractions were getting strong and I was sure it was nearly time to push, wanting it to be over, but also wanting the boys to hold on a long as possible for the steroids to take effect. Nope, 6cm. That’s good. And bad. A bit of gas and a short nap and it was time. Time to push. What a circus! Obstetrician, midwives, paediatrician and some curious onlookers for good measure.
The amazing hormones the body releases, and that good gas, means the rest is a bit of a blur, but with seemingly little effort (seemingly?! Yes the body is amazing at making us forget), Jake arrived at 9:51 (2.2kg, 44cm). He was whisked away by the paediatrician. OK, one more to go. These boys were in a hurry because Jordan arrived four minutes later (2.02kg, 43cm). I got a quick cuddle with Jordy before he was examined. The obstetrician and I both joked about how slow Princess Mary was with 30 minutes between her twins!
Then I fell asleep. Finally. Just over 48 hours after waking up and nine weeks earlier than their due date.