Having twins was not an issue that ever came up in my mind, until the scan result when I was almost in my 28th week of pregnancy. The doctor had issued me a routine scan form (or so I thought), when I had gone for one of my antenatal visits.
That particular ante natal visit, I had been lucky to see the Consultant, whose name was written on my folder at the General Hospital. He checked the heartbeat of the baby and measured by bulging stomach with his tape ruler and asked me again how far along I was. I told him. He then asked, if I had done a scan, “No” I innocently replied.
He instructed me to immediately get one done before my next visit, and handed me the required forms to fill. On the day that I went to the scan center, which was situated in the General Hospital, it did not cross my mind that I was going to be given a scan report that said I was carrying twins.
Considering the fact that multiple births was somewhat common in both mine and my husband’s families, it just never crossed my mind. So, I lay down, and pulled up my gown to reveal my moderately bulging stomach. The cool gel was applied, and the scan progressed with the Radiologist gisting with me, I guess trying to calm me down. I was nervous. This was a first for me.
I remember that he was a jovial fellow, cracking jokes about the legs and heads of the babies. When he told me that he was seeing two babies there, I was deliriously happy. There I was, not thinking about twins, and I got them on a platter of gold. My heart was filled with joy.
The Radiologist later went on prodding, which prompted me to ask him what he was looking for again, to which he replied that he was looking for the third one. We both laughed at that.
Less than a month after that scan, the twins came prematurely on a rainy Saturday in the middle of June. My water broke in the morning, around 8 o clock. At first, I thought I was bed wetting, because I was sleeping, I rushed into the toilet and there, realised that the water was not stopping and it was not the normal reflex of wanting to ease myself.
So, I woke my husband up and told him, my water had broken. Being first time parents, we were not exactly sure what to do, he called his Mom, I called mine, and the verdict was, “Go to the hospital.” So, in the rain, we headed for the hospital. I was not carrying much because at the back of my mind was the knowledge that they were not due. I was a first time mother-to-be hence, expected a long labour and to be sent back home, so there would be time to do all that.
If only I had known that the twins had another plan altogether. When the nurse checked on me, she said I was dilated and should be ready in a few hours and she came out with bloodied gloves. That examination was a painful one for me.
I lay on the bed, on my left side, and did my best to stifle the cries, when the contractions came; I had been told by one of my mummies that If I cried during labour the first time, I would likely do the same through-out my child-bearing years. What a joke that was. In my naivety, I held onto it like the gospel truth. In my mind, this mum bore six kids, so knew what she is talking about.
So, I kept moaning, while the other mothers around me screamed or shouted, when the pain hit. About four hours later, the urge to push was so strong and I could feel the head of my first born coming out. I walked bowlegged into the labour room and onto the bed, while my ankles were pulled into positions.
At the first push, my first son sprinted into the world, I did not hear him cry but the Nurse held him up and asked that identify his sex, while telling me the time of his birth. Seven minutes later, his sister was born. Before she came, I remember the nurse telling me to start praying that the second twin should come, as the birth of the second twin always comes with some challenges.
But, she reached inside of me all the same and burst her sac and out she came, she cried, I identified her sex and I was told the time. I felt exhausted but I wanted to hold them, but couldn’t. As they were premature, they needed a Paediatrician more than they needed their mother. So, my husband, sister and my landlady helped to take them to the teaching hospital close by.
I did not lay eyes on them again until the next day. Immediately I was discharged, I went to see them and I fell in love with their beauty. The fight for their survival began. The hospital never had enough oxygen for the tiny tots, the Paediatrician was always busy, breastfeeding them was a learning process. That was a different ball game. But now, they are hale and hearty 7 year olds.
While, I was happy at the news of twins the first time, I was not happy to hear it the second time. I was devastated. I had just started to get my life in shape and started thinking seriously about implementing a very long term family planning measure.
The pregnancy test I did came out negative, until I went to the hospital for the second time in a month, quite unusual for me. The doctor told me to go for a scan to rule out the chance of pregnancy.
I had to drink plenty of water before the scan could be done. My stomach was really flat, so it needed to be swollen for the machine to pick up the embryo. And it did pick up, not one, but two heartbeats.
I cried when I told my husband we were expecting another set of twins. He was perplexed at my reaction; he did not really know what to do with my tears.
With this pregnancy, the scans were fairly regular. I saw my Consultant more, and he ensured I had scans at regular intervals.
At a stage, he was worried that he could only hear one heartbeat, because the first twin was taking up so much space in the womb. I went for one scan, which result stated that the sex of the second baby could not be determined.
I remembered how I worried about having a baby whose sex could not be defined. My imagination took free reign, from thinking about sex assignment surgeries, to tests to check hormones to determine the original sex of the baby, and the money to do all these things, were what my mind was grappling with.
Anyway, I went back to the private center, for another scan. Incidentally, it was the same Radiologists that performed the first one that attended to me. I let him do the scan, before telling him my concerns. He came out with an A-okay verdict, although, he could not determine the sex of the second baby.
But, I slept more easily, knowing that the babies were fine, just that I would not know the sex of one of them before hand.
Two weeks before there were due, I was in my house, doing domestic chores, when someone with whom I had discussed the current doctors’ strike at the General Hospital, and that I was looking for an alternative hospital, came to visit.
She suggested that I go with her to a hospital close to the one I was using. We went there, and as it turned out, I saw two of the doctors whom I used to see at the General Hospital there. One of the doctors checked me and asked, “Madam, you wan born for road?”. I told him that I was not in pain and my water had not broken. As it turned out, less than two hours after I said that, I gave birth to the second set of twins; the big boy and the very tiny girl, who is a big girl now. They were just three minutes apart and no one told me to pray that the second baby should come out easily.
This time around too, I screamed, yes!! It is not an everyday occurrence and it was my last trip to the labour ward. So, I let the pain rule me. Selfish? Maybe a little, or may be, I wanted my husband to realise that giving birth is a big deal, and a painful one at that.
Did I get my point across? No, because, he walked into the labour ward with a bottle of malt in his hand. Celebration has started. And yes, they were worth celebrating, they were very healthy….and I am eternally grateful for my 4 beautiful gifts from God!
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