'Their birth almost killed me'

Every first-time mom or dad can probably testify to the fact that kids change your life radically. Our adventure started after only 4 months of marriage, totally unplanned.

We got married in November. The following May we found out I was pregnant. Our first shock. Especially since we had only planned to fall pregnant after another year. The second shock came after hearing our baby’s hearbeat when the gynecologist casually mentioned, “And there’s the other heartbeat”. We were having twins!

“So does it run in the family?” he asked. Fact is, there were two sets of twins in the family that we knew of, but since genetically twins tend to come through the mother’s side, our answer was ‘no’. Boy, were we wrong.

My grandmother layed out the family tree for us that night. In the two generations preceding me, there were 6 sets of twins. I guess it was just inevitable.

We had a couple of hiccups during the pregnancy, some bleeding, bad nausea and unstable blood pressure. This only resulted in me having an overprotective husband who warned all my colleagues to split on me whenever I even thought of over-extending myself.

In the last month, however, I had a couple of days of extreme abdominal pain, which I attributed to indigestion. It seemed to fit, for a while. About two weeks of severe pain, my blood pressure measured very high. Shortly after, I was doubling up in pain again and we immediately left for the hospital. Apart from having very high blood pressure they could not determine what was wrong with me, but diagnosed me with pre-ecclampsia.

I was given steriods to make sure that our babies were fully developed and the following week the doctor noticed that the babies’ weight estimation was completely wrong. The babies were bigger than anticipated and the c-section was scheduled for the following week.

I don’t think I can explain the feelings that go through one’s mind anticipating a c-section. Anxiety, excitement, some more anxiety… You get the picture.

The main event

Lying on the operating table that Monday was what I’d call a ‘full’ experience, no other word really describes it. The epidural kicked in, I could feel a tremendous tugging, yet no pain. A feint little yelp from the other side of the curtain signaeled that Yael was born. The ‘other’ heartbeat turned out to be a little girl too. I was so happy and they were so tiny.

The doctor had a quick looksie at my insides before the stitching began. I heard her say, “Come have a look here…” It didn’t sound very good. Not something you’d like to hear while lying on the operating table. She asked me then what kind of fertility treatment we used. I replied that the once-off lack of plastic did the trick for us. After some time, she asked the same question again. I replied again, we were very concientious NOT to fall pregnant, except for once. She still didn’t believe me, and I started to get this nagging feeling that something else was going on.

A friend of mine, another doctor, was there to hold my hand. She explained that I had cysts on my ovaries. Somewhere during the pregnancy they burst open and my insides were filled with infection. My ovaries had to be removed, immediately. The choice was simple. We planned two biological kids. We got a two-in-one deal. The ovaries had to go.

Our premature babies went directly to the baby ward, and mommy ended up in the ICU. But we were alive. And that was all that counted. I wasn’t supposed to fall pregnant but I did. We had no idea about the cysts. They burst open and we had no idea about that either. Apparently I was walking with the infection for roughly two months.

We are lucky to be alive. Blessed infact.

Today, they are six months old. On par with their development, pure bundles of joy and the cause of lack of sleep. But we are truly blessed to be parents.

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