Rachael Kirkwood

Back to the beginning...Birth Story

6 years ago I gave birth to my handsome little man Oliver. My pregnancy was pretty straight forward - I didn't get any morning sickness, I didn't even feel pregnant, then my belly popped at around 18 weeks.I was living in Auckland, New Zealand at the time and had not long had lazer surgery on my cervix for CIN3 pre cancerous cells (the cells covered the entire thickness of my cervix). I’m very lucky I received a smear test at 22 years old as I wouldn’t have been offered a test until 25 in the UK - I would’ve been brown bread by then! I worried that I wouldn’t get pregnant and there was a chance my cervix wouldn’t hold a baby full term. My waters went 10 days past my due date at 4am in the morning, I then had to be induced. It was a long 26 hour labour which ended in a forceps delivery and a 3rd degree tear! But I soon forgot about that when I saw my beautiful little boy, he weighed a healthy 8lb 2oz! I ended up sitting on a rubber ring for the next 2 weeks - wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but he was worth it! My little man is now 6 and in year 2 at primary school, he is the best big brother and I'm very proud of him.

Fast forward 3 years. I’d moved back to Manchester on my own with Oliver, got chatting to a guy on Facebook that I fancied at high school - I used to send him valentines cards! I was shocked when he asked to take me out on a date! 2 weeks later we were buying a house, 2 months later I was pregnant! Some might think that’s crazy but we just knew it was meant to be and it felt very natural. We paid for an early scan at 7 weeks - I saw a heartbeat and thought everything was ok. 2 weeks later I was at work and didn’t feel great - I felt really hot and dizzy - I knew something wasn’t right so I rang Paddy and asked him to take me to the hospital. After dealing with the rudest receptionist at St Mary’s Hospital (with pink hair) I went in for a scan and was told their wasn't a heartbeat! We were so upset we just weren't expecting this news :( I was then walked into a consultation room and told i’d have to come back in a weeks time to have a procedure to get rid of the baby.

A week later I’d had the vacuum procedure and was told everything had gone. It wasn’t until i was walking around ikea 2 weeks later that i realised something wasn’t right. I started to pour with blood all over the floor. I’d never been so embarrassed in my life leaving ikea toilets covered in blood. I then spent a night in Stepping Hill Hospital and was told there wasn’t enough doctors on shift so they didn’t know when someone could help me! They told me I could discharge myself and go back to St Mary’s if I wanted! So I went back to St Mary’s and had a 2nd procedure to remove what they had missed in the first place. Before I had the procedure I asked for the results of fetal testing as I hadn’t had anything in the post. I was told the results had gone to an address I lived at 10 years before! After my procedure I was met by a consultant who apologised for the mix up and told me i’d had a molar pregnancy! I’d never heard of a molar pregnancy so we both looked at each other in shock when she told me she’d be referring me to a specialist cancer unit in Sheffield.

What is a partial molar pregnancy? There may be a developing foetus present, but this is genetically abnormal and cannot survive outside the womb. This is where two sperm enter the egg and instead of forming twins forms an abnormal foetus. So even though i’d seen a heartbeat on my scan, it was never going to survive.

I was referred to Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield to be monitored for the next few months to make sure the placenta didn't carry on growing and didn't turn cancerous. Thankfully i was given the all clear after a few months of weekly tests. I was worrying that i wouldn’t get pregnant again, but I fell pregnant a few weeks after we got married. I had another easy pregnancy without morning sickness. I went into labour at 38 weeks and ended up having a c section (this was originally planned for 39 weeks). Mollie our little princess was a healthy 8lb 1oz at 38 weeks! She is an amazing little lady who has just turned 1 year old. She has a hemangioma on her forehead (a vascular birthmark) I will talk about this in another blog post.

Just a week after having Mollie my crazy husband said we should have another baby - he really isn’t normal!! So... 6 weeks later I found out I was pregnant AGAIN! I had some spotting so went for an early scan at 7 weeks. The sonographer looked a little concerned and we both thought she was going to tell us i’d had another miscarriage. We definitely didn't expect what she said next….’I thought so…. there’s more than 1 in there!!’ Paddy nearly cried with happiness - he said he felt like he’d won the lottery! Most men would run a mile but he thought it was the best news ever! I just kept thinking how am I going to cope with 3 babies under 10 months old!

I was booked in for another scan 2 weeks later to check if our twins were identical / non identical. They confirmed what the sonographer initially thought that they were identical twins (Monochorionic-Diamniotic) that shared the same placenta but were in their own sacs. I had to have scans every 2 weeks from 16 weeks - Identical twins that share a placenta carry more risks such as twin to twin transfusion syndrome. I felt like I was never out of the hospital. I'd have a scan, then a midwife appointment, then a consultant appointment - a total of 4 hours I'd be there every other Wednesday! We paid for a private gender scan at 16 weeks and found out we were having identical boys :) I was glad about this as I didn't want Mollie to feel left out if we had identical twin girls - she's still the princess now as she's the only girl! I suffered with awful lower back pain (pelvic gurdle pain) when my belly started to get big - mainly due to carrying a 6 month old baby on top of my bump! A few physio visits later I was feeling much better!

After a straight forward pregnancy (apart from turning into a psycho b*tch - stupid pregnancy hormones) and no sickness whatsoever, I started to go into labour at 29 weeks! It was very scary as we didn't know what to expect. After being drugged up with nifedipine, magnesium sulphate and stabbed in the bum with steroid injections I was told i was being transferred to Oldham hospital as they didn't have the resources to deliver the babies there. The nifedipine seemed to work and hold off my labour - it did take a good 14 hours before my contractions stopped! This went on for weeks and I was admitted to Wythenshawe hospital at 32 weeks for the same thing. I was back in at 35 weeks with swollen feet, then ended up going into labour while I was there. I told paddy to stay at home that time as we'd been here before and nothing had happened, little did I know I was about to have 2 babies that night! He got there just in time for my c section at 1am on the 20th of June 2017. Luke and Niall were born weighing a healthy 5lb 12 and 6lb 2 at 35 weeks 2 days! Amazing weights for twins and at that gestation.

The boys were allowed to come straight to the ward. I was expecting them to have breathing difficulties, or at least a weeks stay in hospital but we could've gone home the next day if it wasn't for the fact I'd had a csection. Mollie was 9 1/2 months old when Niall and Luke arrived - she took her first steps the day before! It was like she knew she had to grow up. Having a baby who had just started to walk and 2 premature babies meant my life was about to get very hectic.

Thanks so much for reading my pregnancy stories so far. Please let me know what you think and if any of you have had similar experiences

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