On episode 56, Nisha is sharing her story with us from London and is three months post-partum. Nisha is a sales trainer on maternity leave and enjoying every minute of this time with her babies. In her 30’s she didn’t know if she wanted to have children. She asked herself in her late 30’s if she would regret not having children, and she firmly said, “Yes, I would regret not having children.” She tried naturally to have children after she got married at the age of 41. She tried to get pregnant naturally for about a year. It just didn’t happen. It took her awhile to decide if she wanted to put her body through the IVF process. It was hard making that decision in the first place, but once she did in February2021, she just went for it.
I can stick my two fingers up at statistics because I smashed every statistic there is out there!
She decided to do one round of IVF and if it doesn’t work, she’ll decide what to do next, whether it’s to carry on with something else or whether to just give up completely. Being very science-based, her doctor told her she had a very low probability of success. Her egg count was very low, and her quality wasn’t very good, either. Her husband’s results were absolutely fine. Nisha started her first egg retrieval in November 2021. She went on to do two more egg retrievals because she just wasn’t producing enough follicles. By the end of March 2022, she retrieved seven eggs from the three retrievals, created five or six embryos, and had two good quality embryos. Between the retrievals she had fibroids and had them removed which caused some delays. She had a single embryo transfer in September 2022. She thought it may not work, but that’s okay. No matter what, she knew she would be okay. She never let herself make being a mother be-all, end-all to her life. She felt that was important to believe. She managed her emotions through it all. On those days where it was really tough, she didn’t work. She stayed in bed. She was kind to herself and was very in-tune with how she felt.
The doctor told her to take a pregnancy test at home before she went to the doctor for the blood tests. She bought a pack of 12 and started taking the test very early, despite the doctor telling her not to start testing early. She didn’t even tell her husband for a week that she was doing it every day. It showed positive early on, but she kept it to herself. She told her husband, but he wasn’t willing to get excited at all until it was official with doctor. On the day of her blood test, the positive was lighter than the days before. She was afraid she wasn’t pregnant anymore. She got really upset and anxious and shouldn’t have gotten her hopes up all this time. Then she got the blood test, and it was confirmed that she was pregnant. She says she was cautiously excited. She wanted to take it a day at a time. They only told her parents and her husband’s parents.
There was only a 2% chance of her having twins, so she didn’t even consider it a possibility. At six weeks she had her first sonogram. She told herself if there isn’t a heartbeat, she’ll just try again since there is another embryo. She met the sonographer with her husband and they did the internal scan. The sonographer said, “Yes, the first heartbeat is great. The second heartbeat is brilliant, as well.” Nisha was confused and asked about the second heartbeat. She told her there were two babies and Nisha wouldn’t believe her. She kept telling the sonographer that she was wrong. Then her assistant checked again. There were definitely two strong heartbeats. She looked at her husband and she has never felt shock like that before. Nish remembers sitting down after she left the room and cried her eyes out. All of her emotions came to the surface. She was excited, but at five foot nothing she wasn’t sure how she could carry twins. She asked her husband what if she didn’t want twins? She would rather have one than none. Her husband told her they would have been blessed if they had one. They could have walked away with nothing and no heartbeats at all. They were even doubly blessed by having two. They needed to just absorb that for minute and be happy and excited. The train ride home and for the rest of the evening she and her husband were silent. It didn’t sink in for a good two weeks. She and her husband were both like zombies. They just kept looking at each other in complete shock.
She carried on like normal. Nisha didn’t have any symptoms whatsoever. She had no sickness, no morning sickness, no cravings. She works from home, but there were times when she had meetings or had to travel and she felt just fine. She found out she had gestational diabetes. She’s happy she got it because she ate healthier because of it. At first being pregnant was a good excuse to eat anything she wanted, but she had to change her diet. It was a mindset change for her. Nisha is a vegetarian. They told her to limit the carbs, but she didn’t have to eliminate all those things. Portion control was important. She would have lots of vegetables and protein. It was hard for her. She would have a spoon full of cake if she wanted and that satisfied her. She missed the caffeine a lot but substituted it with decaffeinated teas. She ate a lot of cheese, eggs and greens. She made a lot of homemade meals rather than processed food. She tried to make it fun with the recipes she found online. She took the usual sort of vitamin tablets they prescribed and recommend for pregnant mothers. She also took folic acid, insulin for the diabetes and blood thinners as well to make sure she didn’t get any clots. She was used to injections with the IVF process, so they were nothing.
Once she found out that she was pregnant, she moved from private care to the NHS. Her doctors were completely different once she was pregnant. She chose a hospital that specialized in premature births, had a good reputation with their intensive care units for premature babies, and was only a fifteen minute drive. There was a risk that she would deliver premature. She has a nephew that was born at the same hospital that was three months premature. She was put on high risk and was well cared for. She had many appointments. She had a scan every couple of weeks. At one point, they were a little bit concerned that one twin was much smaller than the other twin. They were concerned about twin transfusion syndrome where one twin is getting more nutrition that the other one. They had to monitor a lot more closely. Luckily, the smaller twin caught up. The doctors just didn’t take any risks with her at all. Once they passed the 26th and 27th week, they relaxed and could really celebrate. It was nice to be able to start enjoying the whole thing and get excited about having the girls in their home.
At 16 weeks, she decided she wanted to find out the genders through ultrasound. They already had girl names, so they wanted to know if they needed to pick out boy names. She was overjoyed to have twin girls. Her husband has two sisters, so he’s used to having girls in the house. Neither of them care as long as they were healthy, but deep down they both wanted girls! They were overjoyed with the news that they were girls.
To prep for birth, she listened to a lot of advice. Her doctor said a natural birth was too risky, so she already knew she was going to have a planned c-section. She had her bags packed. She didn’t really research C-sections until quite later on because she was too scared. She was afraid if she knew too much, she would freak out. She just went with the flow.
Her due date was on a Tuesday, but the Thursday before, she started having contractions. She didn’t know she was having contractions because she’s had really heavy period pains in the past. It felt like just heavy cramping. It didn’t feel like contractions at all. She phoned the hospital and they suggested it was probably a UTI. She told them that she thought this was something different and she was spotting, tool. It would be a three to four hour wait to be seen, so she went to the hospital and waited. The doctors took my blood pressure, blood tests and they saw everything was fine and they were about to discharge her. At the last minute, the doctor wanted to do an internal scan. She wasn’t going anywhere. The doctor could feel the baby’s head and she was 3 centimeters dilated. The next morning she was four centimeters dilated. There were two male doctors that asked her if she wanted to try a vaginal birth. She thought she could do it naturally because it hadn’t been that bad so far. She was prepped and sent to the birthing room, but nothing was happening. The doctors suggested an epidural, and hopefully, this will happen in the next few hours. Getting an epidural was painful and she was scared to move, but she just went with the flow. Twelve hours later, nothing had happened. They told her she and the babies were in distress. They moved her straight into the OR to have a C-section at midnight. There was Stevie Wonder singing Isn’t She Lovely and everyone was dancing and singing. Within ten minutes, her two daughters were born and the whole room was like a party. The babies came out and she could hear them crying and they were born one minute apart. They gave her skin-to-skin very quickly and then they took the babies away from her. She found out later that their oxygen levels were decreasing quite quickly. They gave them extra oxygen. The babies were rushed to the NICU right away and her husband went with them. She describes it as a really beautiful experience. With the medication, it didn’t register to Nisha that the babies needed help.
In recovery, Nisha had excessive blood in her urine. They were very worried for the next four or five hours because her kidneys had stopped working well. She was still out of it because of the medication and assumed her babies were absolutely fine. She assumed the bleeding would correct itself. She thought everything was okay despite the reality. She had a CT scan and it was all clear. They just couldn’t figure out what was going on, but within seven-eight hours, the blood started decreasing. They told her the babies had squashed her kidneys. It was just taking a while to correct itself and go back to normal.
She was so heavily medicated afterwards that she didn’t know what the big deal was about a c-section recovery. Once the drugs wear off, like 24-28 hours later, it was hard. It’s major surgery. Nisha was released after three days, but she stayed with the babies. They gave her a pull up bed, which she couldn’t lay on because her back was killing her. She slept in an armchair. After three or so days, she cracked and they made her go home. The babies were in the hospital for about 10 days, but, she was there every night for the babies. What was really hard to talk about is when you have newborns and you have no idea what to do and how important it is to get that advice and learn. While the girls were in NICU, she was able to get some advice from the nurses and midwives on various shifts. She felt like she was in baby school for seven days. They showed her everything about breastfeeding and the bottle. They showed me how to get them to sleep, how to change nappies and everything. She will always be grateful for all they did for her. By the time, she got home, she was much more confident than she would have been if they had just gone straight home.
Her breastfeeding experience was tough. She produced colostrum at the beginning, and she didn’t put any pressure on herself. She breastfed as a top-up three to four weeks after they were born. Then she gave up. She didn’t want to put herself through it, and wanted babies that were fed instead of breastfed. If all she could give was colostrum, then she was happy with that. She didn’t want them to see a stressed and anxious mum. She wasn’t producing enough milk to satisfy both babies.
I feel like I was born to be a mother and feel like I have purpose in my life.
After three months, she’s beginning to get into the rhythm of things. It’s been incredible. She never thought that she’d be able to have one, even through the journey. And now, she’s celebrating three months with two! Even the tough days where she had only two hours of sleep a night. She didn’t complain once. She’s had her moments where it’s been really tough, but she’s never complained. She’s always been so grateful. She feels like she was born to be a mother and feels like she has a purpose. She feels like the last three months she has gotten up in the morning with the same smile, even with the lack of sleep, even with the vomit down her tops… the craziness that motherhood brings with newborns. She’s looking forward to juggling her old life with her new life again, which will begin in November.