The birthing of twins – Part 2
Michelle Cumberland, 44-year-old single mother, with her children. EVERYTHING MADE Sherrina Richards’ pregnancy with twins different from her first.
It was a whole new experience, and each time an obstacle was overcome, several others came to light and made the process much harder.
“The symptoms started much earlier and the morning sickness was more intolerable. Fatigue was heightened, more frequent urination, larger stomach, far more discomfort and weight gain. My blood count was low as with the first (pregnancy). I was on iron tablets for three months. With this pregnancy, I was eating foods to build up my blood count and taking two different forms of medication, though it (blood count) barely moved.”
According to Richards, her vomiting episodes were so overwhelming that she thought she really would have died before giving birth.
She also thought that her husband would have died after an accident he had four days before she was due to give birth.
“The car flipped about five times with him, missing light posts by inches, and landed on the top. He pulled the seat belt and walked out without a scratch!”
It was a near miss, and Richards was thankful that the life of her biggest supporter was spared. However, she had a tumultuous road ahead of her.
“I was due to deliver on September 17, but the hospital made the decision to take the babies on the 5th of September as, usually, they don’t allow mothers to go full term with twins. However, on the 19th of August I started seeing signs that looked like the twins were on their way. There was no pain, but the tell-tale signs continued throughout the night.”
Though reluctant, Richards was convinced that she needed to go to the hospital, and when she did, she received shocking news.
“The doctors finally came, checked and confirmed that I was leaking amniotic fluid for over 24 hours and they were going to have to take me to the theatre as Twin One was in a breach position. I was prepped for surgery and two girls were delivered at 4:13 and 4:15 p.m., Saturday August 20, weighing 6 pounds 2 ounces and 5 pounds 11 ounces, respectively.”
The Richards, after three days, were now home and settling into their new routine of changing diapers and scheduling feeding times, but the disappointments kept coming.
“Friday, six days post-delivery, I woke up with a mild fever and it got worse as the day progressed. So my husband gave me some soup and told me to sleep and sweat it out. It worked as by late afternoon, I was fine again. However, that was far from it. By night, the fever had returned with stomach pains and I also started to vomit. My husband took me back to the hospital the Saturday morning as by now, my stomach was getting higher instead of lower after childbirth, and I was having fever and chills, with vomiting.”
READMITTED TO HOSPITAL
After hours of tests, observations, constant vomiting, swelling of the stomach, and pain medication, Richards soon had to be readmitted to the hospital.
“The Monday night, they inserted a nasogastric (NG) tube to try to deflate my distended stomach. However, after 12 hours of non-stop pain and antinausea medication and a very uncomfortable NG tube down my stomach, my belly continued to swell.”
“By the Tuesday night, the maternity staff, along with the hospital’s surgical team, decided that they will have to take me back to theatre to conduct a laparoscopy in order to find out what was happening. However, my blood count was too low for them to operate and they were out of O-negative blood. It was very frightening for me and my husband because not only had I done surgery nine days ago, but the doctors explained that there was a strong possibility they would not be able to close me back up after the surgery because of how swollen my belly was and they would have to keep me on a life-support machine in the Intensive Care Unit until the swelling went down.”
Richards had her surgery but she was still not in the clear. Though she received the highest dose of pain medication, she was still feeling excruciating pains.
She had to be quarantined as a result of aggressive post-surgery bacteria that needed clearing up, and though physically, healing was looking good, Richards was dying emotionally – she needed to see her children.
Just over a week had passed and Richards was finally in the clear to return home. Had it not been for the great support from her husband and her sister, Richards said she could not have made it.
“There are so many things that made the experience worth it – from how resilient and strong our marriage and faith in God has become to the joys of having beautiful children. I think what stands out the most is the love and appreciation that were strengthened between my husband and me, knowing that we almost lost each other in the same month. We are more thankful for life and we learn to treasure the simple things in our lives”
The Richards family. From left: Percival with baby Sahirah and Sherrina with baby Sahaara. In front is the eldest daughter, Shahane.