At some point in my pregnancy, when we knew about Diane’s little problem (http://bit.ly/1oiLjkB), we went to see an antenatal specialist to discuss what’s waiting for us.
It was a very stressful day, since we didn’t really know what to expect or if we can do anything.
The 60-year young doctor came while we were waiting in a room, and was the sweetest person ever. He sat next to me and asked me questions about how I was doing. He then explained about what my gynecologist had seen during the ultrasound and how it can be treated. This was a bit hard to hear but it went well.
But then, he added something completely unexpected, about how when something is detected in the ultrasound it MAY mean that the baby might have a « bigger » problem, which is having the down syndrome.
I obviously didn’t see that coming, so I started asking tons of questions. Why? How? How do I know? Etc.
He explained that in order to know for sure, I can take a test, where they extract some of the amniotic liquid and analyze it to see if indeed the baby has down syndrome or not.
Then things got more intense. He told me that this test is risky not only for the child they’re testing, but also for their twin. The risk? Death.
Then I said that I obviously wouldn’t do it if it’s that risky. I asked what would I be able to do if I do take the risk and find out.
And this is where things got disturbing.
He replied: You can « end » the pregnancy.
It took me a few seconds. What does « end » the pregnancy mean? It means the obvious: Abort the child, probably both of the children in my case.
I didn’t hesitate one moment when I finally realized what he’s saying. I answered: « That’s completely out of the question ».
He replied, calmly: « What is out of the question? » I said: « To abort because there might be an infinitely small possibility that one of the twins has down syndrome! »
He turned to Salim to ask him if it were his stand as well. Salim replied by the affirmative.
And this is when the doctor changed his way of talking immediately. Turns out he was extremely happy with our reaction and that he was against abortion as well.
That’s the story. Now the several questions that this experience induces:
1- Why does the doctor have to use terms like « end the pregnancy » when he obviously is against it?
2- Why is abortion even an option in this case?
3- Are there really parents who put both of their babies in danger to do the test so, in case one does have down syndrome, they put the other one in danger to willingly kill the « not-so-perfect » one?
4- What world are we living in?
Honestly I think this is going too far. Yes, maybe not wanting to make any effort to love a child with down syndrome means that the parents don’t even deserve that child, but really. When did we become so selfish?
Every time I remember that day, I have a feeling of « what the hell » then just hatred towards humanity.
I think it is time to dig deep in our conscience and start making better judgements before we start aborting depending on eye colors.
That being said, I shall also share some thoughts I wrote about this a few weeks ago on Facebook:
Today, I woke up feeling the need-the urge even- to speak up. And what better place to do so than on Facebook, right? So here it is.
I seriously think that this feminist extremist movement need to stop using the excuse of “my body my choice” to kill babies.
I’m not sure if you realize that what comes out of “your body” isn’t really yours. A human being is conceived as, and will still grow as, a separate being. It is not you.
People who know me well definitely know that I’m not a judgmental person, and my statement might even come as a shock to some, since many consider me as a feminist.
I do understand that sometimes, things are too hard to explain or to understand by others. I know that sometimes reality is so much different than we could even imagine. I know that sometimes, things don’t go the way we planned.
But for the love of God, Allah, Buddha, humanity, please stop using feminism as an excuse for murder.
Yes, I did say murder. Because, in the end, I wouldn’t hurt my precious Diane and Alexandre now, would I have, a few months ago?
We were taught for our whole lives that the smallest thing in our environment is part of a life. “Cells are the smallest unit of life”.
We frequently read about finding “life on Mars”. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t find a living Martian, but what has the potential of life.
So, for everyone’s sake, please find another excuse than “my body, my choice”, stop disfiguring feminism to explain such a horrible act, and definitely don’t use the exceptions of getting pregnant in atrocious ways (Aka rape, which by the way literally makes me throw up) to justify a general rule of abortion.
Hate comments may start flooding my post as of… now!
And I’ll definitely say it again, hate comments may start flooding here as well, my conscious wouldn’t let me shut up about this.
Let’s make Life cool again.
We can all agree on the fact that lullabies and kids’ songs are not always enjoyable. So I figured that since my twins are still too young to understand the songs’ words, we’d listen to cool songs that have a nice rhythm to it without me killing myself over the annoying songs, because hey, I’ll have a lifetime to do that.
So here’s my list of cool songs that my kids like:
1- You and I, by Ingrid Michaelson:
This is for the afternoon, when you just are out of inspiration and they become very demanding. Don’t forget to cheesy-dance to it.
2- Bruises, by Chairlift:
This comes right after You and I, or when you can’t listen to you and I anymore. But there’s obviously a different dance to it. It has more beat and all.
3- Dancing queen, by Abba:
This song is just perfect for hand gestures/acting in your favorite play. And the kids dig that.
4- Yesterday, by The Beatles:
A classic. Make it an afternoon nap classic.
5- I want the world to stop, by Belle and Sebastian:
Ok, I do admit it makes me feel better since I feel like I frequently need a break. But it has a nice soft rhythm to it. Just don’t play it if your kids are older and want to know what it means.
6- Living on a prayer, by Bon Jovi:
Weird, right? Not when they’re just amazed by the way you head bang.
7- Milord, by Edith Piaf:
You have to have a french Piaf classic in your playlist.
8- Only time, by Enya:
It does miracles. It really helps as well if you think about the JC Vandamme Volvo ad while endlessly listening to it. It will make you feel heroic.
9- Any song, by James Blunt:
Just play it all. I know you have every album.
10- What a wonderful world, by Louis Armstrong:
End their day and yours with this soul soothing classic.
We hear a lot about moms’ first reactions when they see their newborn. So in our future-mom mind, it’s going to be just perfect.
But in the back of our heads, we can’t help thinking about what can go wrong with our baby.
I lived the ups and downs of that.
During the fifth month’s ultrasound (so basically the big one, where the anatomy is studied and usually when the bad news occur), my gynecologist finished by saying: « Both of your babies are doing great, but your daughter has a small « particularity » ». My heart started beating extremely fast to the sound of that.
He explained that she had a deformity in her feet. He said that it can be treated. The treatment, nonetheless, is long and involves seeing her go through different annoying stages of « fixing ».
I obviously didn’t take that too well. I dreamed, like many people, of the day I can see their tiny feet. All of a sudden, I started having nightmares (which, by the way, isn’t that rare with pregnant women) about the kids and in those bad dreams, I could never see her feet. It was one of those wanting-to-grab-something-but-can’t dreams. It was awful.
Salim and I did tons of research. It involved accepting this fact by realizing exactly what it is, and, even harder, having to make a choice between two treatment methods.Those of you who are parents know exactly how difficult it is to choose something that involves your child and their well-being.
I, more than Salim, had my ups and downs. There were days where I thanked God it wasn’t worse, then there were days where I couldn’t bare the idea of my tiny baby having a cast on her tiny tiny feet.
I had a couple of months to be psychologically prepared to this « imperfectness » before my twins were born. But even then, I wasn’t ready.
Diane was born on February 23rd. She was, and still is, absolutely perfect. She is now four months old and is adapting perfectly to her treatment. She’s an inspiration to me, she’s so extremely strong, she makes me ashamed of my weaknesses. She actually started turning over on her belly already and Alexandre, with his « perfect » feet, still hasn’t.
So the answer is yes. Your kids will always be perfect to you, even with their imperfections. I thought I had the time to mourn a perfect child, when really, I didn’t have to.
I’m obviously not saying it wasn’t/isn’t hard. As Salim says, every time we take off her Browne’s splint (http://bit.ly/1pIHkEx) and put it back, we feel like traitors. Nevertheless, to her it became a playing sort of thing, and I realized it is mainly hard for us.
This article is dedicated to my perfect little monsters. And to yours.
Diane and Alexandre were born at week 35, almost 36. For those of you who are not familiar with this, babies are due on week 41. Twins are normally due 3 weeks before that. I was scheduled to give birth mid march.
As I’ve mentioned, my twins decided to show up on February 23rd, so three weeks before their due-date.
I’ve been told that past week 34, there’s rarely a vital risk and that at week 36, they can adapt to the outside world. I had gotten there. I was happy. They’re safe now.
What I didn’t know is that even though they’re more or less on the safe side, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to have them and take them home the next day.
Here’s a list of things I’ve learned from having my twins in special care for three weeks after their birth before being able to take them home:
1- If you’re in this situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s very serious. Sometimes it’s just a phase they have to get through, especially when they’re twins.
2- You’re still their mom. They haven’t picked a nurse to be their mom instead of you. The connection, even if it doesn’t really look like it sometimes, is still there between you and your baby.
3- Remember that towards the nurses, doctors and everyone who’s taking care of them, you are the mother (and father). Do not let them tell you what to do. Obviously, do listen to what they have to say, but remember that you have a saying in everything related to your newborn.
4- Demand explanations. The staff may have a tendency to ignore giving you some information and/or explanations since to them, it’s standard procedure. Remind them that you do not know what’s happening and they have to explain step-by-step what’s going on.
5- Talk about it. It’s a hard phase, very hard even. It’s a huge psychological burden. Talk about it, a lot, with your partner. It is definitely not easy to not have your babies with you all the time. It is difficult to go back home after your maternity stay without your baby. I definitely didn’t imagine I’d be back « empty handed ».
6- Know exactly why your babies are still at the hospital. The reason can also change without you knowing. For example, what can start as « your baby isn’t breathing properly » can become a « we’re just waiting till your baby can finish all his bottles of milk« .
7- Be present. For your baby of course, but also towards the staff. Ask questions, talk to everyone.
8- Take it easy. Do not be too hard on yourself. You’re not being a bad mother because they have to stay for a while. You didn’t do anything wrong.
9- Do not worry about looking like an idiot to others. Sing to your newborns, talk baby to them, do whatever you would have done alone. The other parents in the same room would definitely understand and might even feel more comfortable to do so as well. If you want to breastfeed, do it. It’s not extremely convenient to have people around, but it shouldn’t stop you from doing it.
10- Finally, do not worry about people asking you about how wonderful life is with your newborns when you’re not even being able to be with them as much as you want. Just smile and nod, but definitely don’t feel bad about it.
Your feedback and experiences are more than welcome!
A week or so before the (unplanned) birth, I asked Salim a question that was starting to haunt me: « Am I going to die while giving birth?«
I admit it was an intense question, but hey I am kind of a drama queen, sometimes.
He replied with a huge smile on his face by diminishing the probability of dying while giving birth since you know, we’re in 2014 and all.
I honestly laughed as well. Because nothing’s going to happen, right? I’m giving birth in one of the best hospitals in France. I’ve taken my preparation classes. I’m like, so ready for this!
Then came D-day. I went to the ER that day, a month before the birth was programmed, because I noticed some water dripping. Nothing too significant but I was advised by a friend-gynecologist to check it out anyway.
Salim took a few things with us in the car, in case I do give birth, I laughed at him, almost nervously.
I was told that I was going to give birth in the coming 24 hours. I’ll give details about that in another article.
So here I was, waiting in the room, for the little dude and dudette to decide to start coming out of my huge belly:
I was obviously very tired.
A few hours later, Diane was born. It was pure joy. I thought she was absolutely gorgeous. Then Alexandre was born. I didn’t have the time to think anything.
It was too good to be true since I started right afterwards feeling that there was something weird going on when they « evacuated » the kids and asked my husband to go « take care » of the kids. He said « no, it’s okay, I’ll stay with Lara« . They insisted. I asked questions in my head about whether this was standard procedure or not. No one told me anything about that!
Then there was absolute silence in the OR. I was surrounded by medical personnel. I was too afraid to ask what was happening. Then being my eloquent self, I dared « Hmmm, is everything okay?«
My gynecologist answered by saying things I didn’t quite understand but amongst everything she replied, I assimilated a « you’re bleeding, a lot, and we’re trying to stop that ». She didn’t look at me while saying those words, I could tell by the blood on her hands and the other gynecologist’s arms that it was indeed pretty serious.
Fine. They’re pros, right? They’re going to make everything right. I’ll be reunited with my newborns in no time and we’re going to live happily ever after.
I don’t know how much time went by, but it was too long and way longer in my head. Then the gynecologist took off her gloves, looked at me and explained stuff. I’m saying stuff because I have no idea what she said. She explained what they’ve been trying to do. Great, I figured. Can I go now?
She finished by saying: « Nothing is working, we’re not being able to stop the bleeding. We’re going to have to transfer you to a more specialized hospital ».
This struck me. Everything I could think about was my new tiny babies. They’re not serious! I’m not being transferred right? It’s all a joke. I started begging my gynecologist to do something since I really didn’t want to leave my babies for an intervention in God-knows-where. We discussed for a few minutes and she told me that she was going to try again something she had already tried.
Miraculously, it worked this time. They immediately brought blood bags to « fill me up » again since I’ve lost around two liters of blood in this process. I stayed 24 hours under surveillance without being able to move so they make sure I don’t die or something.
That certainly didn’t feel like I imagined it would. I didn’t feel like a mom. I barely held Diane and I barely saw Alexandre, I couldn’t even hold him before he graciously left the room. I was mostly extremely tired and very disappointed. I was feeling like I was living in a dream-a bad one.
Long story short, here’s what happened (as told and discussed by my slightly-traumatised-by-this-experience gynecologist):
After Alexandre’s birth, my uterus that was extremely huge since I was carrying relatively big twins, and that had to contract after the birth, well, didn’t.
I lost a very big amount of blood and I was continuing to lose blood in big quantities. The medical team feared that by the time I actually get to the other hospital, I wouldn’t really make it. But at some point they didn’t have the choice.
Here’s a photo of me, a few hours after the « incident », when I started feeling a bit better:
Scary and white as a sheet, I know.
That being a very disturbing story, I shall point out a few tips and tricks, or at least stuff I’ve learned from that experience and that I would absolutely love sharing with future moms, not to scare you guys but so you can get to live this experience more peacefully than I did:
1- Although giving birth in atypical ways/ at different places (homes, in a tub, in the nature, on a bird nest) might sound fun and comfortable, I highly suggest you actually give birth at a good hospital.
2- Trust the medical team: Choose a gynecologist you trust so that in difficult times, you don’t have existential/weird questions about whether you should have checked if the doctor has a medical degree.
3- Stay calm.
4- Bear in mind that this is still a very rare thing to happen. Being pregnant with twins, I had a higher risk of complications but that doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience.
Please do share your stories in case you have similar/ extremely different ones with maybe tips from your own experience! You can also ask me whatever question you have in mind about my experience of giving birth.
Being a mother makes you do things you’ve never done before. So I’m starting a blog.
This blog is about my awesome twins’ evolution, but also about my life with the twins. I will also mention the cool father and husband sometimes because, hey, he’s cool.
I’m going to start with a few key-dates:
Salim (the father) and I got married in June 2013.
I realized that I was pregnant in July 2013.
The first ultrasound was in August 2013. We discovered that there were two of those tiny « things ». I cried. But we’ll get back to that later.
The twins were born on my birthday, on February 23rd 2014. We named them Diane Marie and Alexandre Joseph. You can call them Diane and Alexandre.
I hope that this blog helps parents, parents-to-be and you curious peeps to understand and share stuff about parenting/twins parenting.
Also, Diane has a talipes equines which basically is a deformity of the feet that makes the foot appears to have been rotated internally at the ankle. So I’ll let you know how that goes with her and with us.
Thank you for following me, do not hesitate to leave a comment or a suggestion about anything!
PS: Here’s a picture of us!