“And there’s the second heartbeat”

This time last year David and I were wandering round New York City in awe and taking in all it had to offer. My best friend married an American and lives in New Jersey with an impressive Manhattan skyline view. So needless to say she spent the five days we were there as our tour guide. Her inside knowledge enhanced our trip greatly. We managed to do more than we had planned to and came home in need of another holiday to relax our tired legs from the 40 plus miles we walked that week. 

It was the holiday of a lifetime and I throughly enjoyed it. I just felt I couldn’t be 100% me. Why? Because I was carrying a secret – the baby kind of secret. I was seven weeks pregnant! 

My favourite picture form our holiday: Top of The Rock

2015 hadn’t been the best year for us as we suffered two consecutive miscarriages trying to conceive baby number 2. David’s 30th Birthday was coming up and I had been saving for two years to take him to New York as a surprise. With all that had been going on I took the plunge and purchased our British Airway flights and booked our Holiday Inn all on New Years Eve. I was determined 2016 would hold better for us.
10 months after we started trying for our second baby we found out we were pregnant (again!). This pregnancy brought a lot of fear for me. What if I miscarried again? What if it happened when I was in NYC? How would we afford to pay for my medical treatment? How would I mentally cope having to go through that experience again, especially so far away from home? All these thoughts and so many more were running through my head. I was scared. 

The only people who knew we were pregnant were my parents. Having suffered so many miscarriages I didn’t want to tell others till I knew we were passed the twelve week mark. My mum helped to reassure me that I had the strength to cope no matter what the outcome was. And it really helped to have someone outside of our marriage know our secret and be understanding to our feelings. 
Two weeks before we were due to leave for NYC I started suffering from horrible nausea. I had experienced it when I was pregnant with Finlay but fortunately in that pregnancy I was never sick. This time it seemed different, almost worse. My mum assured me these were all good signs and I should relax and ride it out. The day before  our holiday I had decided to have a tuna mayo roll for my lunch – mistake! The whole roll plus my breakfast came right back up. It was disgusting. And the nausea soon followed. The rest of the day involved numerous trips back and forth from the toilet, which resulted in me telling my sister the pregnancy news, as she was concerned she was going to catch the bug I had! 
Needless to say this added a whole new level of worry to my trip. What if I can’t stop being sick the whole time away? And What if I can’t eat anything? I decided for the sake of David and our trip I would push through my many irrational thoughts and focus on enjoying one on one time with my husband. 
Fortunately the nausea subsided and the next day I felt fit and able for the 8 hour flight ahead of us. The holiday went by without one trip to the toilet to be sick, though there were many times when I felt like I was going to vomit! One such excerience was on our last day in the Big Apple. My friend and her husband were taking us to their favourite restaurant for a NYC style brunch. We waited 40 minutes in the glorious sunshine for a table to free up, which helped me build up an appetite. A quick scan of the menu and I decided upon Croque-Monsieur (after a glowing review from my friend!) Another food mistake. The rest of the day involved me battling through my nausea and panicking I was going to vomit in public, which would mean my friend would find out about the pregnancy. And then what if we miscarriaged and I had to explain that to her? Lots of stopping on park benches, sipping water and deep breathing helped me get through the rest of the day’s activities. 

Five days later and we returned from the trip of a lifetime. Because we had suffered so many miscarriages I had been reassured by the maternity staff at my local hospital, that when we did fall pregnant again, we would get an early scan at 8 weeks to check all was ok. Only a few days to countdown till we would see our tiny, grain of rice sized baby on the screen. Again this brought up feelings of fear and anxiety. What if there wasn’t a heartbeat? What if I had to go through the pain of another operation to remove my dead child? Would I ever leave the maternity unit with a second baby?

We sat outside the maternity ward waiting for the sonographer to call us into the scanning room. My palms were sweaty and my heart was beating so fast. They called us through. I lay down on the bed and the cool gel hit my belly. The sonographer took his time. He then said the most reassuring words ever: “There is baby and their heartbeat looks strong” Phew! But having had so many scans before I knew something wasn’t right. He wasn’t spending enough time focusing on baby. In a spilt second my mind was thinking a thousand thoughts: “Is my baby deformed? Will they survive the whole 9 months? Will they need an operation? Before I could continue with these utterly irrational thoughts I heard the sonographer say: “And there’s the second heartbeat!” Two heartbeats. Did my baby have two hearts?! I looked at David who looked at me with the same perplexed face. We then looked at the sonographer: “Congratulations you’re expecting twins!” 
Twins!! He was definitely joking. There are no twins in my family. It was explained to us that the twins were non-identical twins as they each possessed their own amniotic sac and placenta, technically known as DC/DA (Dichorionic diamniotic) twins. 
Our scan ended and we were left with a thousand and one questions. We were ushered into a side room in the maternity ward and waited for a midwife. The midwife came laden with leaflets about twin pregnancy. The main questions I had were about delivery. Would I be able to deliver my twins in our small island hospital? Would I need a caeseran section? What is considered full term for a twin pregnancy? Quite a lot of these questions could not be answered as it was too early. 

Our twelve week scan.

We left the hospital with the biggest smiles on our faces. Twins! A double blessing. We had a lot to consider, especially where we would live as our flat was too small for three of us let alone five! We drove back to my mums house and told her. Her reaction: Well lets just say it was the only time I’ve seen my mum speechless (for a few seconds!). “I always wanted twins and now I’m getting them!” She said. She was amazing and so supportive. After discussing it with her it all became clear – I had been feeling so sick because there were two tiny miracles inside me not just one. 

The rest of my pregnancy was pretty problem free for it being a twin pregnancy. There was the normal heartburn, swollen ankles and hands, difficulty breathing towards the end and the extreme heaviness. I have never felt so heavy. 
In November 2016 I gave birth to our rainbow babies. A rainbow baby is a baby following pregnancy or neonatal loss. It is based on the Biblical story of when God sent the rainbow as a sign to Noah of his promise. A rainbow follows a storm so a rainbow baby follows loss. 
God has blessed us beyond measure by giving us two babies to replace the two we lost. I just need to remember this when they are both screaming at me for their bottles! 

My rainbow babies aged 6 days.

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