Thursday, 16 October 2014

How we got to four....Part 2

We learnt quickly that carrying a twin pregnancy wasn't a simple thing. Carrying identical twins in particular put me up in the high risk category (eek) for problems to do with even growth of both babies because they share the placenta. I read up on Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) and was relieved to hear that there was treatment for this. Thankfully, it occurs in only 10% of identical pregnancies, so the odds were on our side.

I was told I'd be having scans every two weeks from 16 weeks to monitor the growth of the babies. Secretly, I was quite pleased about this. I loved the idea of seeing the babies regularly and I also loved being in the maternity section of the hospital. There was such a sense of anticipation there, of new babies growing and becoming ripe for delivery.

At our 22 week scan, the sonographer spent a really long time trying to get a measure of the blood flow in one of the cords. When she finally finished, I was asked to wait to see the obstetrician. I waited nervously in the corridor for my name to be called, my anxiety slowly building. Eventually, two doctors called me into a little room where I proceeded to sit, physically shaking with nerves and fear while one of them explained in some technical jargon that they thought I was on the verge of developing TTTS. Or it might be nothing, she said. She asked what my previous pregnancies had been like, and I told her they'd been without incident. I struggled not to cry. I'd been so spoilt with my first two pregnancies that complications were completely new territory for me.

She told me to come back the following week for another scan to see what eventuated. Brilliant. What a week that was. My husband was horrified that I'd had to deal with this without him, so the following week, we both turned up. Same results in the scan. Both babies were growing well, though Twin 2 (who later became our Baby J) with the abnormal blood flow was slightly smaller. We saw the same doctor afterwards, who admitted she wasn't sure what was happening, but that it might still turn into TTTS. I decided to start collecting facts in case it did turn out to be this. I asked her how successful the treatment was. She replied, 'Its 90%'. (Fabulous!) 'For one baby,' she continued. (WTF?)

You should probably know at this point that I am somewhat of a catastrophiser. I spent the week trying to come to terms with the likelihood of only one baby surviving whatever was happening in my uterus. On the outside I think I came off pretty calm but on the inside a little seed of hysteria had planted itself. So over the next few days my mild but persistent anxiety developed into full-scale panic that had me in constant floods of tears and snapping at my poor kids.  I called my local twins support group at my sister's suggestion and left a hugely embarrassing, emotional message on their machine, which was extremely unlikely to have been understood by anyone. So much so that my sister had to leave an additional message explaining away my hysterical garble and assuring them that I was ok.

In the end my frantic calls for help got me referred to the top guy at my local hospital, who took over my antenatal care from that point. He personally scanned the twins and sat down with me afterwards, giving me the most reassuring encouragement. He said my case was unusual but with the babies growing so well at 23 weeks, he was confident that I'd get to 30 weeks without too much issue. Apparently it wasn't so much that TTTS was the issue, it was the risk of twin 2's cord losing its efficiency, which could send the baby into distress. And if  this baby suddenly died, it could injure the other one. He worked brilliantly with my anxiety, even giving me his mobile number so I could call him as needed, at any time!

Slowly, I began to breathe again....

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