The birthing of twins – Part 2

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Ta­mara Bai­ley Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­

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.”


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.

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