Birth Story: ‘I fell pregnant with twins, nine months after my first’

Posted in Birth Stories.

Jacquii and twins Cali and Theo first cuddle

Imagine being a new mother, your baby still not even at their first birthday, and you find out you are expecting again. This can be a scary moment for any parent even when the pregnancy is planned. You wonder how you are going to manage the morning sickness, the fatigue and aches and pains, all while taking care of your toddler. You wonder how you can possibly love another baby as much as you love your firstborn. And then you discover that you are pregnant with twins.

This was the reality that Jacquii and Michael were facing. Twin to Twin syndrome, preterm pre-labour rupture of membranes and a long stay in the NICU, is what the couple faced bringing their girls safely into the world.

A surprise pregnancy

Photo of Jacquii 31 weeks pregnant, michael and Lexi.

Jacquii and Michael had been together for twelve years when they had their first child during the peak of Covid, in October 2020. Jacquii experienced a slightly traumatic birth with her first daughter, Lexi, resulting in a fourth-degree tear and postpartum depression.

When Lexi was just nine months old, Jacquii discovered she was pregnant again. The surprise? She was pregnant with twins. With no twins running in either family, it was safe to say that they were in shock.

Fetal laser surgery to save Twin B

At 16 weeks, Jacquii and Michael discovered twin B, Cali, short for Calliope, was lacking blood as it was being taken by her sister Theo, twin A, and Cali was deteriorating.

Twin-to-twin syndrome, also known as Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), is a rare condition where identical twins share a placenta. One twin, in Jacquii’s case, Twin B, Cali was sending Twin A, Theo, blood through connecting blood vessels, causing her to deteriorate.

Jacquii was admitted for fetal laser surgery to separate the blood vessels in the placenta which saved Cali’s life. “We then played leapfrog between which baby was strongest for a few weeks.”

At 30 weeks Jacquii was back in hospital

At 30 weeks one of the Twins sac ruptured and Jacquii was back in hospital. “I had Preterm Pre-labour Rupture of Membranes (PPROM) and I was kept on bedrest in hospital for 6 days. I was probably one of the most boring patients ever, apart from fluid loss I had zero issues. So, I was released to go home and take it easy”.

It’s Birth Time

Jacquii c-section birth

“On March 5th at 31 weeks, 3 days gestation, contractions started around 6pm and increased quickly by 8pm. We packed everything up and dropped big sister Lexi off at nanny and poppy’s to stay the night.

“We arrived at Mater Mothers Pregnancy Assessment Centre around 11pm, and once checked over, found out I was already 6cm dilated. I was told we could try a vaginal birth, but I knew given the risks of one turning part way through, an emergency c-section was the safest option for all three of us, and given my first labour with Lexi, it avoided retearing or a potential episiotomy.

“By 1.17am and 1.18am both girls were brought into the world healthy, breathing and the fight to keep going began”. Theo was taken out first and the doctors discovered it was Cali’s sac that had burst during PPROM. At the time the hole was too small to see, but during the birth, it was clear to see Cali’s foot was no longer contained in the sac”.

Newborn Cali Twin A and Twin B Theo on NICU

“Michael cut both girls cords, and all three went to NICU and Michael was brought back to me. After being stitched up and monitored in recovery I was taken for a quick tour past the NICU to have my first real view of both girls who were in incubator cribs. I went upstairs to the ward and had a fantastic sleep. Around lunchtime I was encouraged to walk to make sure I was recovering well from the c-section and was then taken down to have first cuddles and see the girls properly and discuss how they were going.

52 days later, two infections, two hospitals and many cuddles later. They came home.”

Not the last hospital visit

Baby Cali Twin A and Twin B Theo wrapped in swaddles in hospital

Unfortunately for Jacquii and Michael, this wasn’t the end of their hospital visits.

“After the girls were released from the hospital, we spent a week at home before they were readmitted to Logan Pediatrics for RSV, where they spent a week recovering slowly. We have had what feels like every huge sickness imaginable, RSV, phenomena, gastroenteritis, COVID, HFM, colds, flus, bronchiolitis, rhinoviruses, you name it, they’ve had it and beaten it!

Jacquii, Cali and Theo at 10 months of age

For the past 10 months at home, they’ve thrived. Theo is walking around furniture and enjoys all kinds of food. Cali is a power crawler and eats far more delicately. Both girls are very much in love with their big sister and all three girls are in constant smiles and just light up a room”

Jacquii and Michael are now enjoying their life as a family of five with big sister Lexi eager to help with her new sisters.

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