We were booked in for a scheduled caesarean at 10am on Wednesday the 28th of July, 2010. That morning, Andrew and I got up early, got Arch ready for day care and took him down together. I felt a bit sad for him as we left as I wanted him to understand what was going on and that he would still be our beautiful, important Arch after today. We drove home and called a taxi to take us to the hospital, which was just up the road. I was feeling kind of excited to know that the pregnancy was over but also emotional and scared. I felt desperate to see the faces of my boys to know that they were going to be OK. I was also worried about the epidural as having people messing with your spinal cord is always fraught with stress.
When we went into the operating room it was freezing and I remember worrying that Andrew would be cold as he had to sit there for quite a while and at least I was covered in blankets. I sat on the side of the bed while they put the epidural/spine block in. I could hear Dr Harms instructing the female anaesthetist and guessed she was in training but that actually didn’t worry me. I could also hear nurses counting things in unison and it reminded me of Archie’s birth when I could hear them counting, only in Chinese. I was nervous about the pain but it actually wasn’t too bad and it was reassuring to look over and see Andrew sitting there looking worried about me. I felt a warmth going down my legs and that was the epidural taking effect. Then they had me lay down and started putting up drapes and I guessed we were ready to go. The midwives also explained to me exactly what would happen as the babies came out, if they needed help breathing or needed to go to special care etc. They were really great and reassuring.
I remember the anaesthetist talking to the other anaesthetist about how the mother’s emotions affect something (can’t remember what) and they commented on how calm I was. I remember thinking, yeah, I felt really calm. I was just talking to Andrew, the anaesthetists and the nurse and thinking they’d probably start cutting soon, not realising that they were already well underway. It was not long after the ‘calm’ comment that I started to feel really uncomfortable with the fact that I couldn’t move my legs. Within a few seconds I had started to feel really panicky and told the doctors that I had to get up and move my legs. I tried to lift my upper body off the table but couldn’t move much. I felt so panicked, it was one of the most awful feelings I have ever had. I guess now that it was like claustrophobia. It was the most horrible feeling of having no control. I heard Dr Harms and other people trying to calm me down by saying that everything was going well, it wouldn’t be long until the babies were out and that I’d be OK. I don’t actually remember hearing Andrew’s voice but I do remember squeezing his hand really hard. I also remember saying to myself out loud to calm down and trying to breathe slowly. It was only a few minutes and the anaesthetists stabilised my blood pressure and I started to calm down. Dr Harms said it was a reaction to a sudden drop in blood pressure, resulting in not enough blood getting to the brain and my body going into an adrenaline flight or flight mode.
Not long after that I heard a baby cry and Rafi came out. The doctor held him up and I could see his body but not his face as it was tilted back. I wanted to touch him but they took him out to check his breathing. It was only a minute later that Sonny came out and as they held him up I did see his face but was still worried and needed to have a proper look to know they were both OK. I asked someone if they were normal I think. Soon after that Andrew went into the next room to be with the boys as they both needed help with breathing. They brought Rafi in and he lay on my chest for a few minutes but they had to take him back as he needed to go into the humidicrib for a little while to help get a bit of fluid out of his lungs. They told me Sonny had to go to special care as he was having trouble breathing but would be OK. Their calm manner helped to reassure me and I wasn’t worried at all, although I really wanted to see him.
Andrew went off to be with Sonny and after I was stitched up (which seemed to take a long time) I was wheeled into recovery where Rafi was waiting for me in a humidicrib. I had started to shake because of the anaesthetic and so they packed me with blankets and one of those silver blankets. It was nice and cozy. I can’t remember if I was able to take Rafi out of the humidicrib but I don’t think so as I know I got a sore arm reaching in there and feeling his beautiful soft skin. I asked if I could see Sonny and they said they’d wheel me up there ‘if they weren’t too busy down there’. Not a good response. I had not even seen him yet since the first glimpse as they pulled him out.
Andrew came in and I think he wheeled Rafi’s humidicrib out while my bed got wheeled up to the 6th floor to see Sonny. I can’t remember if Andrew came or if he took Rafi back to the room on the ward. I stayed with Sonny for only a little while and they wheeled me back up to room 811 on the 8th floor, which I was immensely relieved to find was a single room. I guess Rafi and Andrew were there, I am a bit hazy now but I do remember the crucifix above the door as my bed was wheeled in.
Once I felt my legs were strong enough, the nurse took me in a wheelchair down to special care again to see Sonny and I was able to sit next to his crib for a while. Later that night, I think about 6, the special care nurse called to say Sonny was doing well and I could probably try to feed him. So I went down again and had a longer visit and was able to cuddle and feed him. He was so tiny and had all these tubes and things all over him. I still wasn’t worried at all, but felt sorry for him all alone in there. I also felt sorry for him that he’d been suddenly separated from his brother after being so close together for so long. I felt bad that he had to spend the night there away from his Mummy, Daddy and brother. He didn’t get discharged from special care until 2pm the next day and we were happy to have him back with us. I had a really long cuddle with both Sonny and Rafi on my chest once they were reunited and it was so beautiful.
The whole time in hospital I just wanted to hold them all the time. I had forgotten how lovely and sweet newborn babies are and I was totally in love with these two boys. The other totally gorgeous thing that happened was when Archie met the two of them. He just giggled with delight and excitement. It was so cute. We sat him up with the two boys on either side of him and he touched their noses and said ‘they got tiny nose’ and ‘they got tiny toes’. He kissed each of them and then gave the most beautiful smile. It was so lovely to see him as a big brother, as I had wanted that for him for a long time.