Pages 38 — 40
Brendan had not been home from work long. He was pulling on his running shorts and joggers when I yelled out to him from the bathroom.
“What’s up.” He said.
“I need you.”
“Can you just come here?”
“I need your help.”
“Can it wait?” I could hear him trying not to laugh. He loved winding me up.
“Oh my God, can you just come here?”
He popped his head through the doorway.
“I thought you’d at least be naked,” he laughed.
‘You’re so annoying,” I said, trying not to laugh with him as I held up two pregnancy tests. “Look! I think they’re both positive,” I was nervous, we had been trying for a while. I wasn’t sure if I could believe my eyes.
‘Yep, that’s positive.” He said, looking at both sticks, from one to the other, before looking up at me, his mouth open in shock.
“I told you those double rainbows coming back from Queensland were a sign.”
“Shit!” He said. “Your pregnant.” With that, he grabbed me and kissed me. “How are you going to explain not drinking next Friday night at Debs 30th?”
“I don’t know? Just buy me sevens of lemonade and I’ll tell her I’m drinking vodka.”
“She won’t buy that. She’ll know.”
The usual crowd were at my little sisters 30th birthday celebration. You wouldn’t find a better bunch of people. When did grub face grow up? It feels like only yesterday I was carrying her around on my hip. I was only eight, probably closer to nine by that time. But still it didn’t feel that long ago.
Bren and I were sitting with Mum, Dad, Sue, Mike and the girls. We were there early so grabbed a table as far away from the birthday girls as possible. If she couldn’t see I wasn’t drinking, she wouldn’t ask me why.
“What are you drinking?” Sue asked.
Shit! “Vodka Lime and Lemonade,” I said, a little too quickly.
“You’ve gone off Scotch.”
“Nah, just trying something different.”
“Here Caro-line, try my beer,” Mike said, teasing. He knows I don’t like beer. I can’t stand the smell of it. Even when I’m not pregnant. He’s also the only one who ever calls me Caroline. My names Carolyn and I get Callie – he loves winding me up too.
“Shhh, Andy’s about to give his speech,” I said.
Saved by the bell. When the speeches were over, and Andy’s bought the house down – made us laugh and cry and then laugh again, the cake was cut. It was the perfect time for Bren and me to make our excuses to leave. We wanted to save our news and tell everyone on Mothers Day. And I wasn’t sure I could keep it to myself with the entire family together in one place.
By late-October, my heavy twin pregnancy was becoming very uncomfortable. Bren had just come home from a weekend at the Super Bikes on Phillip Island in Melbourne. His last big birthday bash with mates before the kids came along. And was taking me to an OB appointment.
It was an unseasonably hot spring day, and I was starting to feel unwell. At thirty weeks, I didn’t have a whole lot of space for these two babies to grow into over the next ten.
As we drove around Purfleet roundabout on our way to the appointment, I could faintly hear Bren saying, ‘babe, babe, are you alright,” and I woke as the car skidded off the road to an abrupt halt. One of the babies had pressed on something, and I was out for the count. I had passed out mid roundabout and my husband had nearly crapped his pants.
I was admitted to the base hospital straight away. With edema and high blood pressure, I was at risk of preeclampsia — along with the high risk of premature delivery that came with a geriatric twin pregnancy. Hospital bed rest was ordered. At the time, we were told it would most likely continue for the remainder of my pregnancy.
I was incredibly uncomfortable as I got down from my hospital bed to use the bathroom two nights later, when my waters broke on one baby. I still had nine weeks to go. I was put in an ambulance and rushed to a larger hospital two hours away. I began to panic. These babies were not cooked yet. Brendan’s words not mine, and he was right. He followed us to Newcastle.
I had been desperately trying to hold onto my babies for a week. I was worried about the baby whose waters had broken. Imagining him with no fluid around him and his sack almost suffocating him. The nurse assured me that although the amniotic fluid would continue to leak slowly, my body would make more. That was a relief. They were more concerned about infection.
Mum, Dad, Deb and Andy came to visit the weekend after I was admitted to John Hunter. When everyone had left, Bren helped me back into a nightie the size of a small tent — so I could settle into bed. In the early hours of the morning, he was called back to the hospital. I was in labour. He rang our families to let them know the babies were coming. It was too early. They would be too small, their little lungs wouldn’t be ready.
Mum, Dad, Deb and Andy all made their way back to the hospital with Sue, Mike and their four girls in tow. Bren’s parents had made the trip too. I can only imagine the excited chatter that was going on. They had quite a wait ahead of them.
Just after lunch, the doctor came in and gave me an epidural. If my temperature spiked, it would indicate infection, and I would have an emergency cesarian. Bren saw the needle and fainted. My two midwives were more than happy to make sure he was ok while I had an 8 cm needle inserted into my spine. This would be a great story to tell at the kids 18th.
My temperature spiked, Bren was gowned up, and our babies were coming out as fast as the doctors could get an operating theatre organised. They arrived 8 weeks early, and although tiny, they were healthy. I’m told their father burst into the waiting room and proudly announced to our family that I had delivered a perfect baby boy and a perfect little Dolly. Our baby girl looked just like my mum, Dolly. Everyone cried. If you haven’t noticed already, my family are very emotionally intelligent. We cry at the drop of a hat.