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We were asked if we wanted to resusitate, before our twins were even born

When Tina discovered on her 29th birthday she was pregnant with twins, she was shocked and readily admits there were a lot of tears in those first few weeks as she struggled with constant nausea, vomiting and weight loss.

This is Tina’s story:

Our first ultrasound revealed it was twins! We were shocked, excited and a bit scared at the thought of At 17 weeks we discovered I had a short cervix so I started on progesterone and finished up work. Things stayed relatively stable until 22 weeks when I started having bad cramps one evening and went into the birth unit where it was found that my cervix had shortened dramatically, and one twin had her foot inside my cervix. I was admitted to hospital and had to decide whether I would have a cervical stitch or not. This was really difficult as I felt like I was deciding which way I would be more comfortable losing my babies. Do I not get the stitch and then end up going into labour and my cervix doesn’t hold and I regret not getting it? Or do I get the stitch and they accidentally break my waters, or I get an infection and lose my babies then regret getting it? In the end I felt the choice was made for me as my cervix kept shortening and I knew it was our last shot.

I remember talking to the NICU team at 23 weeks. At first, I was so excited that we had reached a gestation where we could talk to them. But then we were discussing whether we would resuscitate or not and I remember saying to my partner that I feel like we just had to decide whether we would kill our children or not. It was awful.

I spent a lot of time in hospital on bed rest in Sydney, in the middle of the pandemic, without being able to see my son and sometimes even my partner. I had multiple episodes of preterm labour but my stitch held until 32 weeks and bought us more time than we could have hoped for!

Welcoming my girls

I had a beautiful VBAC and my girls Alyssa and Brielle were born weighing 1917grams and 1825grams respectively. Both girls required CPAP for up to 48 hours. Alyssa ended up going back on to high flow for a few more days, had jaundice therapy and an extravasation injury she had a rough time! But medically it was relatively uneventful. 

Unfortunately, during their NICU stay there was a COVID exposure in the NICU that meant I couldn’t go in for 5 days. This was honestly the worst 5 days of my life – I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. I spent every day in tears still pumping around the clock and getting my partner to drop milk off. I just wanted to go and bang on the doors and beg them to let me see my babies. I was offered to FaceTime them but this seemed crazy to me. My babies weren’t even meant to be born. They needed skin to skin with their mama not FaceTime! Thankfully we got through it.

More hurdles

The next hurdle was an unplanned transfer to a smaller hospital which happened to be one that I worked at! I found this emotionally difficult as I was only able to get into the nursery twice a day as I also had a 7 year old home-schooling in lockdown. I felt like my work colleagues got to spend more time with my babies than I did. After 4 weeks we finally got to bring our babies home!

The challenges of twins

After 104 days we finally made it to a hospital closer to home, and after another 2 weeks Gwen and Eli were discharged and we were at last all together at home. 

Tomorrow, it will be one year on from Gwen and Eli’s due date. They are going well, considering the tough start they had. Eli has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and we are working with therapists to support him as he grows. They both bring us so much joy day by day.

Share your story

Have you found comfort in reading other parents’ stories? We get lots of grateful feedback on how reading these personal stories help new parents to cope with their own experience. Every family has a unique and important story to share. Share your journey and celebrate your story below.

Karen Peters


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