Hammocks within the Womb by: Lara Jane Porter
Hammocks within the Womb
By: Lara Jane Porter (Livesey)
A long time ago, when I first heard of the singer named Kate Bush, I loved her voice. The first time I heard her song entitled, ‘Room for the Life’, I thought the lyrics were amazing! It goes something like this, “…inside of you can be two, woman…” I was about 18 years old at the time.
When I was 25 years old, I fell pregnant (unexpectedly!) Well, it was a shock and a huge surprise to all. As we grew used to the idea of being pregnant, it became more and more exciting. There were so many amazing changes taking place and I found the entire experience exhilarating. I was so full of energy and believe me, working in the hospitality industry at the time, one always prays for more energy! I never had any morning sickness and the pregnancy was really enjoyable.
I struggled to get an appointment with my gynaecologist at that time, as he was always fully booked. By the time I went for my first scan, I was already 17.5 weeks pregnant. We were a young couple who never expected any of this so soon, especially since I had fallen pregnant through the contraceptive pill. It was one of those unfortunate events where anti-biotics were used to cure a bout of bronchitis!
Our first appointment with the gynaecologist for the scan was incredibly nerve-wracking. When I eventually caught a glimpse of my new little life, the gynaecologist said, “It’s all looking very good so far, but hang on - here’s a surprise….you’re not having one baby, you’re having two!”
Oh, my heart sank! This was not from disappointment, but merely from the thought that I was scared that I had not been taking in enough nutrition for them both. I immediately thought of spina-bifida, and conjoined twins because I was so afraid that I really had not been sufficiently nourished for two babies to be formed properly. At the news, I burst into tears and laughed at the same time!
When I saw the scan up close as the doctor was moving the camera around, these two little beings, each lying in their own hammock it seemed, one head facing left and the other head facing right, were perfectly and beautifully formed. I just could not believe how magnificent they were! Perfect little spines, no deformities and doctor was very happy! They just lay there, on their backs and looked as though they were on vacation.
The rest of the pregnancy was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant with twins. The only discomfort was in the late stages where I found that heartburn was a bit annoying, my ridiculously swollen ankles were too much for me to even look at because they resembled nothing of my former self, and the funniest part was watching as these two fought for space within my belly. I spent my time watching and laughing at this wonder and I still remember how deformed my belly looked when they were spinning in opposite directions at the same time.
I told my doctor that under no circumstances other than if my life or my babies lives’ were at stake, would I allow a C-section. I was told that if both babies heads were facing down and they were both over 1kg, we could go for natural birth with an epidural. (I must admit, I’d rather feel the pain, because the epidural made my legs feel ice-cold and it was like hitting chunks of dead meat! I couldn’t feel when I had to push, even when the nurses told me what to do, and so that was the worst part for me.)
At 36 weeks, the doctor informed me that there was no more room for these two holiday-makers. It was time to induce. On the 14th of December 2006, our perfect little girls were born. We decided that whoever was born first, would be named Victoria (after my dad) and Gabriella was born 7 minutes later and named after the other grandfather.
Double the joy, double the fatigue, double the nappies…but let me tell you, that with these little girls who will be six years old in December of 2012, I would go through all the wonder again in an instant!
I believe that throughout any pregnancy, whether it is a single baby or a multiple birth, mothers and fathers have to stick together and help each other out through this exhausting period for both parents. So many changes take place, but if both parents, who have created these amazing little beings, can learn to stick by each others’ sides throughout the sleepless nights, and help each other wherever possible, there will be an amazing foundation formed for your families future.
Appreciate the changes that take place, and learn to laugh together about having a sleepless night - it passes by so quickly! When one parent has a bit more strength and energy, allow some of the responsibility to be taken off the other parents shoulders so they can rest. In this way, both parents are not exhausted at the same time. Of course, there will be those occasions where both parents will be fatigued out of their minds, but you take the good with the bad.
Trust me, it can’t be all that bad if one and a half years later, I was pregnant with my third daughter! But, oh, the folly of youth…
See the rest of the Pregnancy and Children Short Stories