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...
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