My twin nephews, born at John Hunter Hospital
Meet Shaun & Rachel, aka uncle Shaun & aunty Rach, mum & dad of four beautiful boys and an angel baby. Let me give you a little bit of background around Rachel's pregnancy and birth history so you can feel my anxiety on making it to the hospital for twins Paddy & Billy. Rach had her first baby boy, Niall, in Feb 2019, arriving at 35 weeks 5 days after a very quick 2hrs15 minute labour. 19 months later along comes Rory at 35 weeks 4 days, racing in after a short 20 minutes when Rach was induced via rupture of membranes, a one push wonder. Devastatingly, Shaun & Rachel lost their third bub early into their pregnancy, to naturally fall pregnant with identical twin boys for their fourth pregnancy. Shaun and Rach made a move North, with John Hunter becoming their birthing hospital being classed as high risk with previous pregnancies ending early and now twins on board. Rachel was put under a professor at John Hunter who was monitoring her closely after discovering her placenta was the reason Niall and Rory's pregnancies had come to a very sudden holt. So you can imagine, with an hours drive ahead of me, we were wondering how I would make it to this birth.
The professor advised Rach to be ready from any point beyond 28 weeks, these babies could really make an appearance at any time. 30 weeks came and went, then 31, 32 and suddenly we were at 35 weeks, wondering how Rach had even made it this far with her track record. So about 35+3 I get a message that contractions are 2-3 minutes apart, Rach is in hospital with monitoring on that confirms very consistent strong contractions and I am praying to, I dunno what, that I get to the hospital in time. Well, I did! We were set, all systems go, expecting things to kick off at full speed in typical Mrs Hill fashion, however prodromal labour strikes! Super common for third labours, and took us all by surprise with well over 8 hours of contractions 2-3 minutes apart. So heading into the evening I decided to risk the trip back home expecting waters to break at any minute. Contractions fizzled out, disheartened and confused we waited for these babies to decide when they were ready to come...
The following day was Mother's Day, a tough one for Rach waking up in hospital without her little boys, all signs of meeting her newest bubs disappearing overnight. The day before, contractions had been consistent for hours with limited sleep for a number of days, Shaun and Rachel had made the choice to break baby A's waters. Baby A could well have been Baby B at this point, the twins had a tendency to swap places, which I imagine will be a common theme for the rest of their lives... Just as the OB had walked in to break Rach's waters, NICU advised there wasn't enough space for the twins, they had hit capacity and could only stretch if the twins came naturally on their own. The boys not yet 36 weeks meant they had a compulsory trip to NICU, so the hospitals goal turned into delaying their arrival for as long as possible. However, we had an exhausted mum on our hands, experiencing regular intense contractions and respectfully get fed up with labour, or lack there of. Extremely frustrating for Shaun & Rach, against medical advice they decided to leave the hospital for Mother's Day and spend their last Mother's Day as a family. The best thing for Rach to do was distract herself and build her oxytocin, what better way than spending sometime with her boys in the fresh air. The day went smoothly, with little to no contractions and Rach returned to John Hunter in time for dinner, shower & bed.
At 11pm Rach woke from her first contraction, after days of what appeared to be false labour, she waited to see how things would progress. At 11:45pm Rach knew this was the real deal, we were on and the midwife, knowing Rachel's history, panicked. The midwife had Rachel straight back in bed, and began a panicked dash from maternity to birthing suite. At 12:12am as they were entering the birthing suite Rachel's waters broke. This was when I got a phone call from Shaun unaware that anything had happened up until now, it was baby time! I started my hours drive, knowing there was every chance I was going to miss this birth, but hoping I didn't. At 12:50am I received a message from Shaun, "all happening". Cr!p.
My parking ticket time stamped as 1:14am. I ran in through the emergency entry of John Hunter Hospital, up the flight of stairs, into birthing suite and down the hall, opening Rachel's room to a team of Paed's, all facing me. I assumed I had missed it & they were all getting ready to leave. I slowed, unsure, and what I imagined with a very confused face asked if I'd missed the whole thing. One of the Paed's offers "baby's moving down the birth canal". Before I could pull out my camera Rach was pushing. They'd just lost baby A on the monitor with the OB requesting forceps, but Rachel wasn't even going to give her enough time to get them ready. She had this, we all knew it, and just like that at 1:20am Paddy practically flew into the midwives arms, I've never seen a catch like it.
After some time with mum, the midwives whisked young Paddy away after many failed attempts to release the FSE (Fetal Scalp Electrode) out of his lushes hair. With no luck they decided on a quick haircut and then returned Paddy and his chins back to his mumma.
Contractions ramped up pretty quickly, midwives stepping back into their positions with Rachel getting ready to push again. Shaun never missed a beat with reassuring Rachel exactly what she was capable of. And then she pushed, and baby B's waters bulged outward, slowly expanding and inching out further and further. The midwife nervous about the gush that would follow, grabbed a plastic gown to cover her clothes from getting soaked, but again didn't have time to fully equip herself when suddenly the bulging bag of waters filled with Billy's head, his little body following quickly behind and causing the sac to open. And just like that, Shaun & Rachel met their fourth son at 1:27am, a short 7 minutes behind Paddy.
Now that the boys had arrived, they had only a few short moments with mum before they were required to head to NICU. Enjoying as much skin to skin as they could allow for and even a feed, Rach held her boys close while she delivered her placenta, before they were wrapped up and wheeled to NICU where they would stay for a couple of days.