How far do you think we can go when we want to achieve something? I was always reserved for doing some things, just because I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle them from some point and I will fail. For example, talking in public. Problems with my second pregnancy made me overcome this mentality and “walk on a wire”, pushed me to look straight, to hold the equilibrium and not give up until I do not get to the end.
I am a very active person, and I love being busy. Being on bed rest was like cutting my wings. I spent almost nine weeks in the hospital. I was based at Antenatal Care, at University College London Hospitals, sharing the ward with ladies who were about to give birth. Maria, our eldest daughter who was three years old at that time, use to visit me during the weekend and face time the rest of the days. It was incredibly hard being apart from her, and answering her clever question: “Mommy, why are you in the hospital? When are you going to come home? When are you going to get better? Why is the lady crying? When will the babies come?”. I kept doing small steps, just like on the wire, from one day to another. Every passing day was such a significant achievement, and I thanked God for it.
At 24 weeks, the doctors were ready for the babies to come. I had a course of steroids to help the maturation of their lungs, a neonatal doctor came to talk to me and helped me understand what was going to happen, I even went to visit Neonatal Unit, not to have a shock when seeing them. During my visit, I met a baby boy of 26 weeks, weighing around 700g. It was such a bizarre feeling to see him. I did not know how to react, what to say or to do. I already did a research on the internet, and Isaw various photos with premature babies, but it could not compare to seeing a real one. I went back to Antenatal Care and prayed for at least a few more days without giving birth.
I received so much encouragement from the staff, and especially from my husband, who was incredibly supportive and loving. However, the most important, I was motivated by my strong girls. They did not want to come yet, and I was not allowed to do something that could make it happen. The beauty of everything was that I could hear their hearts at least four times a day. That was because anytime, Victoria’s heart could stop, due to fewer fluids.
I was not even thinking to the outside world, except to my family. I used all my energy to carry on with the pregnancy. I also drank a lot of water and it really made a difference. I amazed myself. I could never imagine my person so strong, so focused, able to cope with such high stress and pressure. I learnt that we never know our limits if we do not test them. We never know how strong we are, until we are not pushed to be so.
At 26 weeks and four days, Aurora lost the water too. I started to be very worried. Because she had quite enough fluids, she kept the womb enlarged, this way Victoria also had a chance. They could not stay in for too long now. At 27 weeks and three days, I started to have contractions was moved to Labour Ward. Again, everybody was getting ready to receive the girls. I had another course of steroids, a sequence of magnesium, which helps the prevention of brain bleeding in premature babies, and also slows down the contraction. It did so in my case. A neonatal doctor came to speak again to me, even the anaesthetist. I remember there was a very kind midwife who`s sister gave birth to twins at 27 weeks and 3 days. She said it was difficult, but they grew up so beautiful.
I spent five days at Labour Ward, permanently connected to the monitoring. During this time, I had numerous painful procedures, contractions, and so little sleep. Maria came to see me on Sunday and she was worried when she saw me. I was exhausted. Dr consultant came next day, and he decided that the girls have to come out.
It was Monday, 18th September 2017 when they were born via C- section, at UCLH. At 12:47, baby Victoria came out.2 minutes later, baby Aurora, who even cried. I did not have them at my chest, as it happens with other babies. They went straight to the neonatal team, which did a fantastic job. Weeks after, they told us it was quite challenging to stabilise them. I felt so relieved, and I hoped the girls will do well. Their weight was very encouraging: 990g for Aurora, 1139 for Victoria. It sounds so little, but for their age, it was a good one. I went to the nursery where they were. I could not see much, as they were covered by the wires and the tubing that kept them alive. But, everybody reassured me they were fine.
Next time, I am going to tell you how many things we had to learn again. beginning with how to take care of our babies, but also, of ourselves.