Vom­it­ing num­ber twos… & banned from brush­ing My teeth!

First she fell preg­nant un­ex­pect­edly... But Jade Higham, 27, from Belfast, was in for an­other, not so nice, sur­prise...

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Hands clasped over my mouth, an­other wave of morn­ing sick­ness hit me. Hor­ri­ble! But it seemed a small price to pay for bring­ing two pre­cious lives into the world.

That’s right, I was car­ry­ing twins.

It was a huge shock, see­ing as me and my fella Jonathan, 32, hadn’t planned on start­ing a fam­ily just yet.

I was 10 weeks gone when the doc­tors had told us.

Now, two weeks down the line, our shock had turned to ex­cite­ment.

The only downer was the hor­ri­ble morn­ing sick­ness, and my belly bal­loon­ing at an alarm­ing pace.

With each and every scan, though, we were as­sured ev­ery­thing was go­ing well.

But then, at 33 weeks, a doc­tor men­tioned one of the ba­bies had stopped grow­ing.

‘They’ll be fine,’ she as­sured us. ‘But don’t worry, we’ll keep an eye on things.’

Just two weeks later, I was brought in for a Cae­sarean.

With just a sheet sep­a­rat­ing me from the twins, I held Jonathan’s hand tightly and waited ner­vously to hear my lit­tle ones’ first cries.

‘Here comes baby num­ber one,’ the doc­tor said.

I could just about hear Jonathan Ju­nior’s gen­tle wails as he made his en­trance into the world weigh­ing 4lb 12oz.

Then his not-so-lit­tle brother Al­fie swiftly fol­lowed weigh­ing in at a 5lb 6oz.

‘They’re both fine, you did so well,’ Jonathan smiled, giv­ing me a kiss.

They were do­ing great at first but then, a cou­ple of days later, they started to strug­gle to feed.

Both were moved to the Neona­tal In­ten­sive Care Unit (NICU) at Royal Vic­to­ria Hospi­tal for mon­i­tor­ing.

Lit­tle JJ es­pe­cially needed to build up his strength.

My boys were tiny and so very pre­cious.

‘Grow nice and strong for me,’ I cooed to them, my heart burst­ing with joy.

‘Mum needs to get bet­ter, too,’ Jonathan said.

‘Oh, I’m fine,’ I smiled. Doc­tors had sewn me up and I was just a bit sore.

But, as the hours passed, I started to feel re­ally strange.

My legs felt like jelly, and my head was spin­ning.

I as­sumed that it was the last of the anaes­the­sia wear­ing off.

But later, as I sat in bed try­ing to feed Al­fie, I sud­denly blacked out for a few sec­onds.

Com­ing round, my arms were empty.

‘Where’s Al­fie?’ I cried. That’s when I re­alised that I’d dropped him.

‘He’s safe, a nurse has him. What hap­pened?’ Jonathan asked, con­cerned.

I had no idea. The im­por­tant thing was that Al­fie was OK.

He’d fallen out of my arms onto the bed, and had been scooped up by a nurse.

Doc­tors re­as­sured me that I was prob­a­bly just ex­hausted, but af­ter that, I was scared to hold my ba­bies again.

‘Just rest,’ a doc­tor said.

So I did, spent the next few hours try­ing to sleep.

How­ever, that evening, a feel­ing in my stom­ach made me sit bolt up­right.

‘I don’t feel great…’ I started telling the nurse.

Then, out of nowhere, a wave of vomit rose in my throat. With no time to run, I threw up all over the floor.

It looked dis­gust­ing. A nasty brown-and-green sludge.

Then the foul aroma sud­denly hit me.

It was not the nor­mal queasy stench of food and bile. But some­thing much, much worse.

The smell of poo – vile like

It looked as if I was bring­ing up my num­ber twos!

the con­tents of a fresh nappy.

I wanted to ask the nurse what was hap­pen­ing, why it looked as if I was bring­ing up my num­ber twos.

But I couldn’t. Be­cause the vomit didn’t stop com­ing – the poor nurses had to run for bowls and buck­ets.

Thank­fully, Jonathan was with the boys, and didn’t wit­ness the hor­ror.

But, even when it did stop, the trauma didn’t end.

With bits of it still in my mouth, the foulest taste lin­ger­ing on my tongue, I wanted to scrub my teeth with a tooth­brush, wash my mouth out with the strong­est mouthwash. But I wasn’t al­lowed. ‘Any­thing you take in could just make the vomit worse,’ the nurses ex­plained.

And the rea­son for all this?

‘It seems the surgery has paral­ysed your bowel,’ ex­plained the sur­geon.

It’s a com­mon af­ter-ef­fect of ab­dom­i­nal surgery, but vom­it­ing poo was some­thing that even the doc­tors hadn’t ex­pected.

‘And with your bowel not work­ing,’ the sur­geon said, as I heaved into a sick bag, ‘the body can only get rid of things one way.’

So I’m throw­ing up my own fae­ces?!

Hor­ren­dous. De­spite the nurses tak­ing me off food over the next two days, it didn’t get any eas­ier.

The vomit con­tin­ued, the taste still as wretched, the smell still as pun­gent.

Doc­tors said I just had to sit it out, that my bowel would go back to nor­mal even­tu­ally.

Mean­while, banned from clean­ing my teeth, al­lowed only to sip wa­ter, I was mis­er­able.

I felt so guilty I couldn’t see my ba­bies, too dis­gust­ing to want Jonathan near.

‘It’s not your fault,’ he soothed. But I felt re­pul­sive.

The doc­tors hoped that med­i­ca­tion would mend my bowel but it wasn’t do­ing the trick, which left only one more thing to try. A colonoscopy – a cam­era in­serted into my bot­tom to look for a block­age and try to clear me out.

So ly­ing on my side, dozy from the painkiller, I let the doc­tor root around.

I imag­ine, if I hadn’t been drowsy I’d have been cring­ing. But by now, I didn’t care. Just wanted this over with.

To my re­lief, not only did the colonoscopy help open ev­ery­thing up and re­duce swelling, within 24 hours ev­ery­thing was back to nor­mal and I could use the loo again. ‘Thank good­ness for that,’ Jonathan laughed, ‘Now go and brush your teeth.’

‘You don’t have to tell me twice!’ I said.

I al­most fin­ished a tube of tooth­paste, as I brushed and swilled my mouth clean. Later that day, I was dis­charged, but we weren’t done yet. Head­ing to the ma­ter­nity ward, I asked for the dis­charge pa­pers from there. Then I went straight to the boys’ cots.

It had been four long days since I’d seen them. They were still tiny but cer­tainly look­ing good. All I wanted now was to cra­dle and feed my ba­bies. ‘They’re do­ing it,’ I smiled as Al­fie took my milk, feed­ing nat­u­rally and eas­ily. It felt so bliss­fully nor­mal to be able to feed my own child at last. ‘Way to go, Mum!’ winked Jonathan. He’d been just fan­tas­tic, prac­ti­cally run ragged, go­ing from the boys at one end of the hospi­tal to me at the other. How­ever, I think we both knew we’d not be get­ting any rest any time soon. Fi­nally, two weeks later, we brought the boys home. Yes, it was chal­leng­ing

– but see­ing my lit­tle lads cud­dling in their sleep was all the re­ward that I needed. Now the boys are grow­ing steadily and I’ve not had any more sick­ness.

Last June was mem­o­rable, to say the least…

The good thing now is that not even the boys’ dirt­i­est nap­pies bother me. Noth­ing is grosser than throw­ing up your own poo. Sil­ver lin­ings, I guess..!

Now, my boys are grow­ing steadily

Feed­ing Al­fie, then the drama hap­pened!

Hands full, but do­ing fine. Un­til...

Pre­cious Jonathan Ju­nior and Al­fie

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