Real Birth Journey: Jude Martin and Leo Riley

Birth. It is the most incredible, indescribable, unpredictable and miraculous occurrence. Bringing life into the world is an experience that is personal and precious beyond belief. Each delivery is different to the next, and yet I feel that despite the varying differences it is something so special it can actually bring us altogether. I’m pulling together a range of real birth stories to share in the hope of expanding our knowledge and expectations of birth, and to dwell in the wonder that is the gift of life, in the countless forms it may arrive in!

Name & age at birth:
Tegan Hawes, 29

Due date:
18/02/2020 

Cravings during pregnancy: 
Milk! I would drink milkshakes or ice coffees etc. every day! 

Worst symptom/s: 
Exhaustion! I would fall asleep during important work meetings all the time, so thankful I told my boss early that I was pregnant so he wasn’t offended! He also helped me out to pretend I had back pain so no one guessed! 

Biggest concern about birth was: 
Having a c-section or twin to twin transfer syndrome.

Ideal birth plan was: 
Water birth, all natural minimal pain relief with my husband and a close friend of ours who was planned to join us and support me.

Hours in labour: 
My waters broke 13 days before my boys were actually born. They expected my labour to start at any time and after 48 hours with no labour we were pretty impressed, but then the pain started from day 6 post waters breaking and I was in and out of labour then for the next week.

How we went from wombmate to roommate: 
There is sooo much more to this story, but I don’t think you have 5 hours to read it so I’ll keep it short! 

I was flown to Hobart hospital from Launceston with broken waters at 29 weeks, I was on bed rest and my labour started after a week and was off and on until the birth. After 2 weeks of bed rest in hospital my blood tests showed that the boys were showing signs of the start of an infection and my labour pains were 5 minutes apart, so it was time. I was told at 5pm that the theatre was booked for 7pm ‘so grab the camera,’ at 30+6 weeks gestation these boys were coming out and I had no option other than an emergency c-section. 

I was staying in Hobart Private Hospital and due to the complications with a premature birth with twins we were taken to theatre at Royal Hobart Hospital so that the obstetrician who had been looked after me for the past 2 weeks could deliver my boys and give them straight to the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) staff. My husband wasn’t allowed in theatre for the spinal block and I have a needle phobia so my obstetrician held my hands until he joined me, she was truly amazing! In theatre were 2 obstetricians, 2 anaesthetists, about 4 NICO staff for each child and a number of nurses – I think in total there was 20 hospital staff and my husband and I in the room.

We had delayed cord clamping for both boys so I was able to reach out and touch them in the 2 minutes we were still connected before they were taken by the NICU staff to be put on CPAP to help them breathe. My husband was asked to cut both of their cords though which I am thankful for too! 

Jude was born first and taken straight to the NICU and Daniel went with him but they brought Leo back to me once he was checked over and wrapped up warm so that I could talk to him until the NICU staff returned for him. The nurse who collected me from recovery took me via the NICU so that I could at least see my babies and Daniel. The nurse helped me to extract colostrum to leave for them that night. While in Hobart they were receiving donor milk from the hospital which was amazing. 

I was then taken back to my room at the private hospital and wouldn’t see my boys again until the next day. Apparently I was the first new mum up and showered the next day – I just wanted to get back to my babies. I was able to hold Jude the next day as he was stable and had his CPAP already removed, but we weren’t able to hold Leo until he was 2 days old. 

I had the first hold with Jude so Daniel had the first hold with Leo, he wasn’t strong enough for both of us to hold him so he was 3 days old when he had his CPAP removed and I was able to hold him for the first time. 

The boys were transferred to Launceston General Hospital on New Year’s Eve and we were staying at home (2+ hours away) and driving to them everyday until they were discharged at 6 weeks and 1 day old (37 weeks adjusted).

Most vivid memory during labour:
Wondering if Daniel would make it back from his weekend away in Launceston before the boys arrived.

Most amusing/interesting moment during labour/birth:
Daniel and I are not always the most ‘serious’ people especially in stressful situations, we like to lighten the mood. 

So when Daniel was getting ready to go with Jude to the NICU, the nurse exclaimed ‘ah it’s dead’ about one of the machines. Daniel decided it would be hilarious to state ‘wait my babies dead’ knowing full well what she meant, the poor girl felt awful, but Daniel thought he was pretty funny. 

During labour/birth, I definitely did not expect:
Once your waters break, they stay broken! So for 13 days I was leaking (so attractive!) I also believed that once your waters broke you needed to give birth in the next 24 hours but as it was so early it’s diagnosed as p-prom (premature-prelabour rupture of membranes) and it’s safer to keep the babies in so they grow more, but the chance of infection is heightened so lots of blood tests to check for infections.

A myth/misconception I believed prior that I now don’t is:
You need to get your baby on your boob straight away or you won’t be able to breastfeed, skin to skin immediately is basically essential and if you give your babies bottles or dummy’s they’ll never take the boob. 

Baby’s name, birth weight and date:
Jude Martin Hawes 1607g (3.61 pounds) and
Leo Riley Hawes 1704g (3.75 pounds)  16/12/19.

Baby’s name was almost:
Jude was always locked in but Leo was meant to be Felix. I was so sure they were girls that I left it until we found out they were boys and instantly I turned to my husband and said ‘if we call him Felix his friends might call him “licks whores” in high school’ to which my husband replied ‘or “feels whores” ’ so yes, an unfortunate surname forced us to choose another name.

Time spent in hospital post birth:
I was in the hospital for 13 days before they were born and 4 days post birth. After this we moved to the Ronald McDonald house for approximately 2 weeks while the boys stayed at Royal Hobart Hospital before being transferred to the Launceston General Hospital. The boys were in hospital for 6 weeks and 1 day all up post birth. 

Best tip/trick you received for those early days:
Love to dream swaddles. 
I also have had so much advice from a beautiful friend with twins who are now 3, she handed me down a ‘twin-z’ type pillow which was a God send for so many things but especially being able to do 2 bottles at once! 

Top 3 lifesaving items for a newborn:
For twins – a twin-z pillow! 
Co-sleeper bed (I’d like to pretend we don’t give in every night for cuddles) 
Thermos to keep hot water in for bottle making! 

If you could go back and speak with your pregnant self, what would you say?
I know you think you’re organised but please stop listening to people telling you not to rush things and just get more organised!! Pack your hospital bag before your third trimester, you can always repack it! Wash those baby clothes! Get that nursery done! All going to plan it’ll just be less to do later! 

If you could speak with yourself during labour, what would you say?
It’s ok, it’s all going to be ok, you’re going through the worst and best time of your life all at once but it does work out for the best. You’re stronger than you know. 

If you could speak with yourself on day 3 of having a newborn, what would you say?
You do not need to be strong right now. Don’t hide your tears from the nurses or strangers. Let it out, it’s ok to feel this way. Don’t wait until you’re completely broken to ask for help.

Any words for first time mums-to-be nervous about their own upcoming birth?
I had anything but a ‘typical birth’ and even with everything working against us I’m laying here tonight next to two of the most gorgeous, strong and healthy boys. Everything worked out for the best. Have faith that everything will go as it is meant to and no matter what happens, this crazy journey is so worth it.

Any further notes you’d like to include:
Due to Endometriosis I was unable to conceive naturally and we had to go through IVF to start our family. We only had 1 embryo transferred each cycle so there was a less than 1% chance of our babies being twins. Many people have an assumption that twins are common with IVF but that is only if you had multiple embryos transferred and in Australia there are only very extreme cases that they allow multiple embryo transfers so it’s actually not very common at all! 

If you’re interested in knowing more of the boys journey or my IVF journey it is also shared on my Instagram page @wifetomama

If you have a birth story you’d like to share, then please get in touch and let’s start the conversation and continue celebrating this incredible life changing event!


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