October 09, 2019
 In HuffPost Birth Diaries we hear the extraordinary stories of the everyday miracle of birth. This week, Dana James-Edwards shares her story. If you’d like to share yours, email amy.packham@huffpost.com.We never expected twins. You hear about other couples having multiple pregnancies, but you never think it’ll happen to you. We didn’t, anyway. But lo and behold, two tiny humans showed up on the screen during our scan. We were gobsmacked.
Birth Diaries: ‘The First Time I Saw My Babys Face Was On WhatsApp’
We kept my pregnancy a secret for as long as we could. I had struggled with my fertility and had an ectopic pregnancy, so we decided to only tell my mum, sister and my partner’s sister – for six months!
Throughout my pregnancy, my main goal was to make it to 37 weeks – which is considered full-term for twins.
When that time finally came around, I felt a mixture of emotions: relief, excitement, and nerves, too. I couldn’t believe we’d made it this far with no hiccups. We were all in good spirits the morning of my planned C-section (both babies were breech, so I had to have a caesarean).
As far as we were concerned, the hardest part was over. Related... 'I Opted Out Of The Home Birth I Always Wanted But Then Gave Birth In My Bedroom' We were the first appointment of the day, so there was no long waiting time. As I was wheeled in, I was told I could pick my own Spotify playlist (I chose Justin Bieber, if you’re wondering). It was all quite zen.
It took a few tries for them to do the anaesthetic, but when it worked – it worked. My husband said everyone was surprised how quickly it all came on; I just remember a numb feeling, and then becoming really sleepy. Honestly, it was like I was knocked out, and that’s how I felt for the whole surgery. It was a blur.
My first memory after the anaesthetic was my first twin, Noah, being placed on me to hold. I willed myself to keep my eyes open, but I was so out of it. It was meant to be a huge, magical moment – I remember the feeling of my baby on me, but I don’t remember how I felt, what he looked like, or how my husband reacted. 
Noah was taken away for a checkup before the second baby was delivered – and that’s when I remember lots more people coming in the room. Unlike with Noah, who let out a huge cry, I was told David didn’t make a noise. “Dana, your baby is having some problems breathing,” someone told me. “We’re going to take him to NICU. Don’t worry, he’s going to be fine. He just needs a little extra help.”
I wasn’t mentally prepared for that to happen. I’d made it to 37 weeks. In my mind, everything was supposed to be fine.
My husband and I had already discussed a plan in advance in case anything did go wrong. We’d agreed that if one of our babies was ill, my husband would go to the ward with him. My mum was called to stay with me and Noah. 
People were telling me I’d lost a lot of blood and that I might need a transfusion, so they were running a lot of tests on me. While I was in recovery and the drugs started to subside, my memories started coming back more clearly. I wish I had been more conscious throughout it all, but my main concern was David.I spent the next 24 hours in a ward where I was monitored, and had skin-to-skin contact with Noah. The first time I saw David was in a photo on a WhatsApp message sent by my husband. He was in his own little pod on the NICU ward.
I couldn’t go to see him myself because I was too unwell. I was reassured that they’d take me down in a wheelchair as soon as I was able to. The wait was agonising.
The next day – a few hours before I was going to go down to meet him for the first time – he suddenly arrived on my ward. Oh my God, it was amazing to see him.
My mum says the look on my face was priceless. I had wanted to hold him so badly, seeing a picture of him just wasn’t the same. I was so relieved to have him in my arms, and didn’t put him down for ages – no one else got to hold him. 
The whole experience was a bit of a whirlwind. The twins were born on 25 March and we got David back on the evening of 26 March. We were told David was put in the NICU because of Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN). It’s extra fluid in the lungs that means babies must breathe faster and harder to get oxygen into their lungs.
Once he was stable, we stayed in the hospital for another 24 hours – but it was important to me to get home as soon as possible. I was out of hospital on 27 March through sheer force of will. I was able to walk and determined to get out so I could start my life with our babies. I begged to be discharged. In my mind, my twins weren’t safe until they were at home.
I know for some families having twins, we got off lightly. But in the moment, when things aren’t quite going right, it feels so personal and huge for you. I’m just so glad everything turned out okay.My birth advice?If you have a C-section, get up to move soon after. Not for the first day or so, but I absolutely did not want to move when they asked me do – but I felt so much better once I had. It gives you the strength to feel better.Related... 'I Thought I Was Sick With A Bug – Hours Later I Gave Birth In An Ambulance' 'Why I'm Still In Favour Of Home Births – Even Though Mine Ended Up In Hospital' 'My Husband Was On A Work Do When I Went Into Labour – And Fell Asleep In The Hospital'
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