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Episode 335

Eloise

In today’s episode Eloise takes us through her eventful pregnancy journey. Her pregnancy was a surprise and at eight weeks she learned she was pregnant with twins (two sacs, one placenta). She opted to take things day by day instead of getting too concerned about what life would look like with two babies. Her calm and grounded nature definitely helped when she was diagnosed with a blood clot in the artery leading to her cervix at 30 weeks. Later that day, her twins were diagnosed with twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTTS) and at 31 weeks she birthed her babies via caesarean while under general anaesthetic. Eloise talks at length about her NICU experience, bringing her baby girls home after nine weeks in hospital and how she juggles breastfeeding twins.

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“It was a surprise pregnancy; we’d talked about having kids before but it wasn’t on the cards for another five years or so. I didn’t track my periods very much but I was so unwell for a week at work and I had a sharp pain in my abdomen. One of my friends asked if my boobs were hurting and they were and then I did a pregnancy test and the two lines came up. My partner cried tears of joy and I cried tears of fear. I spent four days in bed after that just thinking about all the possibilities. I’d never even held a baby in my life, it was all so new and unknown to me.

“I changed GPs and found a female GP who was at the same stage of pregnancy as me. I had a dating scan and I had to go alone because we were in the middle of a covid lockdown. I had to drive half an hour away and the sonographer laid me down and the first thing she said to me was: oh, twins! – I was so excited, all my fears and worries just disappeared. It was a real turning point for me. There’s twins on both sides of the family so we always knew we would have a chance of having twins.

“I cried the whole way home and as soon as I walked in the door he saw the smile on my face and said: It’s twins, isn’t it!

“We had to get four scans before it was confirmed that they were MCDA twins which are identical. They had their own sacs but they were sharing a placenta which is high-risk. I had to have fortnightly appointments with the obstetrician and fortnightly ultrasounds to track their progress and monitor the placental function. We were taking each day as it came; we didn’t want to think or worry too much about what life would be like afterwards.

“The girls were perfect until 30 weeks when one of them got slightly bigger but it wasn’t too much of a concern. We had birth education booked for 34 weeks but we didn’t make it that far. I took myself to the hospital at 29 weeks because one leg was really swollen and as soon as I got there they were scared that I had a blood clot in my leg but they couldn’t find it so they sent me home. The following week I took myself to the osteopath and he told me to go straight to hospital and told me not to leave till I had an answer. After extensive testing they found a blood clot in one of the arteries leading to my cervix. I wasn’t too concerned but the doctors were. If I was a few weeks more advanced they would have delivered the babies but the risk of delivering the babies then was higher than me living with the blood clot. I had blood thinning injections daily and I was about to be discharged when they did an ultrasound and diagnosed twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTTS).

“I was rushed straight to the Royal Women’s Hospital and once I was there I was told that the babies would be born within the next few days because there was 10 cm of amniotic fluid in Baby A’s sac. I was so overwhelmed; excited that they were coming but anxious that they may not make it because it was so early. That night I started having contractions so they moved me to the birthing suite and a few hours later another ultrasound showed 20 cm of amniotic fluid in Baby A’s sac. Another major concern was that I was on blood thinning medication and it could be really dangerous at birth.

“My safety and the babies’ safety was the absolute priority. We only had an hour or two to plan and that’s when I was told that I would have to go under general anaesthetic because the medication I was on made it too risky for me to have an epidural. I got into the operating room and there was a team of about 20 specialists in there. I was lying there as we were waiting on more doctors and then I went under and the next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room. I lost a lot of blood but the babies and I were ok and that’s all that mattered.

“The girls were both born unresponsive and poor Will heard the code blue and saw all the doctors rush in. He didn’t know what was going on and it was really overwhelming. Sloane was 1.2kg and Andy was 1.8kg. I couldn’t see them straight away because I’d lost so much blood and I was having breathing issues so I was encouraged to sleep. The girls were born at 2pm and at 8:30pm that night I was wheeled down to meet them. I burst into tears when I saw them, it was so amazing to see them, even though it was scary.

“I started expressing straight away and I was so lucky because I had an amazing supply. We stayed in the Ronald McDonald House for three weeks which was a godsend; I didn’t need to worry about anything in regards to food or meals.

“Sloane was jaundiced and anaemic but other than that she soared through. Andy had quite a few problems and was a few weeks behind. We brought Sloane home a couple of weeks earlier than Andy; it was like a little trial. Andy came home the day before their due date..she’d actually been sent to the Children’s Hospital because she was pooping blood. I rushed to the Royal Women’s and then I went in the ambulance with her to the Children’s and it was really hard. They just didn’t know what was wrong but in the end they discovered that she has a dairy allergy.

“I didn’t sleep the first night they were both home, it was so surreal. They are now perfect little babies and don’t have any health concerns from being premature. I’m still breastfeeding them; they get a bottle in the morning and at night and then I tandem feed throughout the day.”

Topics Discussed

blood clot, Breastfeeding, Caesarean birth, General anaesthetic, Identical Twins, NICU, Surprise pregnancy, TTTTS

Episode Sponsor

Today’s episode of the show is sponsored by Who Gives A Crap.

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