I have been thinking a lot about this blog especially the last few days. I am going to share some special memories and thoughts about the twins with you all. Some of you will probably know some of these things already but hopefully not all of it.
We found out that they were twin boys at the 20 week scan so began thinking of boys names shortly after. Typically we had lots of girls names we liked but not so many boys. We both decided on Charlie quite quickly but that was really as far as we had got before I went into labour. There were a few we both liked but not necessarily the same few! Once they were born they were whisked away to the neonatal unit very quickly without us seeing them. When we were taken round to see them a little later they were labelled twin 1 and twin 2. We were asked straight away what we were going to call them. I was in complete shock and did not even realise that you named babies that might die, I feel guilty for thinking that. So twin 1 became Charlie and twin 2 became Joshua, one of the other names we both liked. Charlie Robert, the same middle name as Dominic and Joshua Thomas, Thomas meaning twin apparently.I like that we can find things with their names on like these teddies that are nearly 18 years old too.
2. Family trees
Over the years at school Jessica and Samuel have been asked about their family, brothers and sisters etc. I love the fact that they have always been completely open and included Charlie and Joshua in our family, probably easier for them when they were younger but they always seem happy to talk about them even now. Often, in Spanish and German particularly it has made me smile to see their names in their books and also included on family trees. I remember so clearly Jessica asking if she could take a photo in of the twins to show her first teacher, not your normal show and tell! Luckily Jess had the best teacher and teaching assistant in Reception who were lovely and did not seem at all fazed by the photo. Thanks Tracey and Valda.
3. About the pregnancy
I think I have touched on this before in previous blogs. I was so sick with this pregnancy (and the next two in fact!). I was sick every single day of the pregnancy and had to eat whatever I could manage to keep down. I kept thinking that the sickness would stop after the first 12 weeks but it never did with me. Nothing tasted right either- I certainly didn’t bloom. I was definitely fit though as that year I had been moved into the brand new class room at the school I was teaching in, that was great except it was quite a run to the toilet. I had a great TA who would cover as I was running down the corridor yet again!
4. I knew it was twins!
I just had a feeling that it was twins right from the beginning! I am not even sure if I mentioned my thoughts to anyone. When we went for our first appointment I expected them to say they could hear two, but that wasn’t the case when they listened to the heart beat(s) using the doppler. I didn’t realise at that point that it was difficult to distinguish between both especially when it was presumed to be one baby! So when we went for the scan at 14 weeks ( a bit late) I had got the idea out of my head. When we were told it was twins it was one of the happiest moments of my life. I felt so important, so special, a mum of twins- how amazing is that? Dominic and I came out a little shell shocked. We then had the lovely task of telling our parents, it was by text to my mum and dad as they were on holiday. I think they were a little surprised too!
5. Their bedroom and their things
We waited until the 20 week scan before we bought very much as we wanted to make sure everything was okay. Once we knew they were boys and that everything seemed fine we began to buy things and sort out their bedroom. We bought 2 cot beds and decorated their bedroom mostly in blue. We were so excited and so organised. Everything was ready for them before I went into labour- except me. We had cots, car seats, bouncy chairs, clothes and much more- all bought in the space of 6 weeks. The pram was another story, I wanted a pram where they could face each other not a side by side pram. We did a lot of research and finally found the one that we wanted in London. We went to see it on the 12th September, loved it, bought it and arranged for it to be delivered. It was a busy day in London and I was exhausted when I got home. It was the next day that I went into labour. I felt so guilty for a long time afterwards that I had done too much that day and thought that was why I had a premature labour. After being pregnant with Samuel and Jessica being so little I realised that this was not the case. I had to do far more to look after Jess than I did that day in London.
6. Blood group
The twins blood group was the same as mine A-. We found that out soon after they were born. I don’t know what Jess and Samuel are but would like to know. Both twins had to have blood transfusions, Joshua more than Charlie in his extra week of life. At that point I decided that I would give blood at some point. I rang soon after they died to be told that I had to wait until a year after being pregnant. I then didn’t try again until many years later, it was always on my ‘to do’ list. It was seeing a friend of mines Facebook post that made me get it sorted. Thanks Lindsey. I have given blood twice now and have my next appointment booked.
7. Bringing them home
After they had both died we had to stay an extra night to register their births and deaths- one of the hardest things I have ever done. Then we had the problem of getting them home. They were going to Humphris Funeral Directors but I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving them. They could get them home for us but I wanted to be with them. Then it was suggested that we could bring them home ourselves in our car. We needed a letter to take with us and then we basically wrapped them in their blankets, carried them out of the hospital and Dominic drove us all back to Banbury with them on my lap. I couldn’t actually believe what I was doing really, but was so glad that we could take them ourselves.
8. Apgar scores
:an index used to evaluate the condition of a newborn infant based on a rating of 0, 1, or 2 for each of the five characteristics of colour, heart rate, response to stimulation of the sole of the foot, muscle tone, and respiration with 10 being a perfect score.
At the time I wasn’t overly familiar with what the Apgar scores were measuring and what they should be scoring. At Stoke on Trent they took the scores at 1 minute and 5 minutes. Charlie scored 8 at 1 minute and 9 at 5 minutes. Joshua scored 1 at 1 minute, basically needing resuscitating and 5 at 5 minutes. Joshua’s condition at birth is recorded in the notes. ‘pale, cold, cord around neck’ His low apgar scores are listed as problems throughout his notes too. So at that point Charlie was the healthier twin.
9. Jessica’s Christening
Jessica was Christened on the 26th November at almost 3 months old. The twins had a Baptism in hospital when we found out Charlie was going to die. We wanted them Christened together but also wanted to be able to Christen Joshua if he lived once he was out of hospital so it was a difficult decision to make.
Charlie’s memory box and Baptism certificate Joshua’s
Anyway back to Jess! We met with the lovely vicar who married Dominic and I and asked him if he could include the twins in some way in the service. It was beautiful as he talked a little about her twin brothers and their individual characters during the service and at the end he gave us candles for both Charlie, Joshua and Jessica. It had been hard to decide on God Parents for Jess as we had already chosen for the twins and now couldn’t have them all. Heather my friend who also lost her twins just before me was Jessica’s God Mother along with my friend Mary and our two brothers. Ellen, was then God Parent to Samuel as she was also one that we wanted for the twins.
We had a get together after the Christening where we could proudly show Jess off and get together with our friends and family. Everyone was so supportive as it was quite a difficult day. We had kept the top tier of our wedding cake ready for our first baby so decided to still have it for the twins. Mum kindly made another one for Jess and decorated them both.
I shared a blog about the hospital notes before I started the challenges. We wanted the notes to have a written record of our stay in hospital. They are hard to read as they are very to the point but I am glad we have them.
11. Tamba Memebership Card
I found this the other day when I was sorting through the treasure chest. I don’t actually remember getting this. At the time it wasn’t really a group that I wanted to be a member of! I mean that in the way that obviously I was very glad of Tamba and their support but I would have rather be a member of a toddler group with them alive and well.
12. Newspaper articles
We had our story in a few newspapers after I lost them. I had a friend who worked at Tommy’s who arranged some of them. I liked to share my experience whenever I could. This article was in The Times.
I was pregnant with Samuel, laid on the sofa feeling dreadful trying to play with Jess and I got a phone call to say they wanted to come later that day. I managed some how to get showered and put some make up on ahead of having the interview and my photo taken.
13. My favourite photographs
These are my two (or maybe a few more) favourite photos of them both.
This photo is so special as it is the first time I held Joshua and he was doing fairly well. It was the middle of the night and Erica, one of the nurses let me hold him. Such a special memory.
These photos are taken after they had died. We don’t have any photos of them both together alive as they were always both in different incubators fighting to live.
14. Family Occasions
I have been so touched that for every significant occasion that has happened since they died my lovely family has included the twins in some ways, at my mum and dad’s Silver Wedding, Neil and Adele’s wedding, Heather and Stuart’s wedding to name a few. I truly did not expect it at any of these and I think it has made me cry (happy tears) every time.
Heather and Stuart’s wedding.
Neil and Adele’s wedding
The C and J were on the table with two red roses at mum and dad’s Silver Wedding
These things are so precious- it means so much and helps so much on days like these.
15. Family- who met them
We were so lucky that quite a few people came to meet Charlie and Joshua, mainly whilst they were alive but also a few people after they had died. The neonatal unit were great in allowing visitors. I will try hard to remember everyone but some of the time we spent there is a little blurry so let me know if I have forgotten you
Mum, Dad, Neil, Dominic’s mum and dad, Stuart, Ellen, Danielle, Carla, Mary, Isabel
I am so pleased that they were real little people and characters to more than just Dominic and I. We were proud to show them off, they were our perfect little twin boys.
16. About the birth
You might already know some of this but just a few facts from the birth. Charlie was born at 10.31 a.m. and weighed 1lb 12oz. Joshua was born 13 minutes later at 10.44 a.m. and weighed 1lb 10oz. They were identical although I could easily tell them apart. They had dark hair like Dominic. They were whisked off to special care before we even saw them. Charlie made a little cry but Joshua didn’t. Joshua began to open his eyes in the second week of his life. He also had a tiny dummy. I only held Charlie as he died but held Joshua on two separate occasions. To begin with I just wanted to leave everything to the doctors and get them better but that changed once Charlie died as I realised I needed to do everything I could then. For that reason I did so much more for Joshua which I do feel guilty about. I could go on forever but I will leave you with the fact that they were absolutely perfect in every way, just tiny.
17. A few odd facts from the notes-
- temperature at birth 35.2degrees
- weight in grams 760
- bloods at birth 3mm- should be between 4 and 7
- theatre booked for long line at Birmingham Children’s hospital on 23/9/99. Ambulance booked for 11 o’clock.
- Operation 2.30 p.m- temperature 30 degrees in theatre. Out of theatre at 5 p.m. and warmed with nurses and mum’s hands. 7 p.m still awaiting ambulance.
- 25/9/99 8.50 a.m top up transfusion, 5 p.m tried to intubate, not responding to resuscitation 6.12 p.m. no breaths and no heartbeat
- Admitted to neonatal unit at 10.45 a.m.
- 800 grams
- Head circumference 26.7 cms, temp 35.8 and pulse 169
- Bloods at birth 2 mm- given sugar
- bloods very up and down each day- insulin and sugar given on many occasions
- 19/9/99 12.55 p.m. Christened with Joshua, 1.05 p.m. Mum asks to hold Charlie before he dies. 1.34 p.m No heartbeat
18. Twins in the family
We do not have any live twins in our family but there were twins in my mums family, a few generations back on my Grandad’s side. Sadly they didn’t live either.