It will end the day we bring our boys home and they're safe and healthy in our arms. For now, this blog is to serve as a form of diary for me (Sophie) so I can keep track of their progress, release some emotions and keep all our incredible friends and family informed of how our beautiful boys are. I'll update it as often as possible so check in as often as you like to hear how the boys are doing. It seems a little bit odd using a blog to write about our precious angels but it's been recommended to me by one of the midwives - so here we go.
Matthew wrote an email to some of you telling you all about our weekend and the boys grand entrance in to the world so I'll include it here as he describes the events better than I could - and I've run out of tissues so here is Matthews description of one of the most emotional days of our lives!
Soph and I just wanted to write to you all to thank you so much for the incredible messages of love and support that we have had over the last three days. It has been an absolute rollercoaster of joy, wonder, concern and at many times sheer terror!! It would be very difficult to convey just how much all the messages, phone calls, flowers, presents, hampers, wine, cards etc etc have meant to us and it gives Soph and I such massive comfort to know that at just 4 days old, the boys have so many people that love them and are thinking of them.
We both hope to be able to speak to as many of you as possible over the coming days but I thought I’d write a brief note (sorry if it doesn’t end up being brief!!) to give you an update on us and the twins.
First things first, so you can all stop worrying, the boys are doing well and apart from obviously being 14 weeks too early, are absolutely perfect. Lots of babies are born early and clearly that has associated problems but the big worries come if they are unwell, along with being very premature. Secondly, unfortunately we have a very long road ahead and whilst they have now had a few strong days, they have a long way to go (they will be in hospital for at least 10 weeks) and we have been told to expect ups and downs along the way. For now, they are doing well and we're treasuring every moment we have with them.
Please skim through the below as you see fit, we’ve gone into lots of detail but that’s mainly because we wanted to get it all down so that in the years to come we can remember the events of the 14th Jan appropriately.
So, to start at the beginning, Soph and I were happily picking up our new very unsexy family estate car at Car Giant when Soph didn't feel quite right. Neither of us were the least bit concerned…She had been having periody pains the day before and on Saturday itself but the doctor Sophie saw on Friday suggested it could just be the pelvis stretching. We phoned the hospital and as we have learned, they take no risks with twins so they just advised Soph to come in for a quick check up. To cut a long story short, we had the check up, all seemed well and we were just waiting to see a doctor to ask some questions about why Soph was getting mild pains when things seemed to take a sudden turn for the worse. In the doctors area Soph started bleeding very heavily. To think of it now is horrible as at the time no one could immediately tell she was in labour, she and I just knew something was very wrong and she quickly got very upset, concerned and she was shaking profusely. She was immediately taken upstairs where it took them less than five minutes for a doctor to come in and tell us she was in labour and that the boys were definitely going to be born very soon. Again she got very frightened but as soon as we were transferred into our own room Soph just completely changed from being scared and emotional and just focused everything on breathing and calming down the labour process….anyone who says hypnobirthing couldn’t work should see it in full flow, it was utterly incredible how she just became so strong and in a complete zone, I was so proud of her and there’s no doubt this contributed hugely to the successful natural birth of the boys.
The doctors told us that every extra hour the boys could stay inside Soph would be beneficial and we had no idea how long the whole thing was going to take. She was getting contractions but she just kept breathing through them and very gradually they became more frequent and stronger. We were visited by the Paediatricians who told us the process that would occur as soon as they were born and they had to prepare us for the immediate checks they would do (lungs, heart, stomach, brain) and the potential for what could be wrong with them. This was very upsetting for us both but the doctors and nurses were awesome and comforted us through it. I guess we’d been in our own room for maybe a couple of hours before it was obvious the boys’ arrival was imminent. Within five minutes we had teams of doctors in the room with us, there were about 4 Paediatricians per baby ready to take them straight from Soph to start working on them and then another 4 midwives and doctors looking after Soph. Because the boys were small there was a chance the birth was always going to be incredibly quick and Soph may have a different take on it but Twin No.1 took 4 or 5 big pushes from Soph and Twin No.2 another few. It was all very quick and it was scary but Soph was amazing throughout and the doctors were so calm and encouraging that despite the number of people in the room and the obvious potential issues, we managed to get the joy out of the occasion and they both had a little scream when they came out which we knew was a good sign.
So at 17.09 Xander William Fox was born and he weighed 1lb 15 and he was closely followed at 17.16 by Joseph Devereux Fox who weighed 2lb 2.
What happened next seemed like a blur. The boys were both being worked on very quickly and we only got a passing glance at them as they were handed to their respective teams of doctors. Soph and I were told that early signs were good and that when all their support tubes had been put in place, we would be able to see them. This took a long time and was agony for us both. They kept saying ‘just another hour’, ‘just another hour’. When they came to see us at 11pm and told us it could be another 90 minutes we were both so tired and emotional that they could see how desperate we were to get into to the Neo Natal unit to see them. When we eventually did at just before midnight it was certainly very distressing to see them in their little incubators with big breathing tubes in their mouths, feeding tubes in their noses and various other tubes and monitors. We both found this very hard as all we wanted to do was give them a cuddle and I guess the reality of just how young and potentially ill our babies could be started to set in. Gradually we gained little bits of info as we asked what questions came into our heads. They were quick to tell us that the guys were as healthy as they could be and that all they were doing was supporting their natural growth and helping them in every way they needed to. The level of care and attention they are receiving is phenomenal and it is clear the nurses do their job because they love looking after babies so much.
The last few days have gone by smoothly. We can’t expect them to make huge strides overnight but it is very comforting for us to know they are still healthy and strong and are progressing in a stable fashion. They have been making the kind of improvements the hospital expects them to and at present, they still see no cause for concern. However they do still keep talking about this ‘rocky road’ ahead which clearly leaves Sophie and I more than a little concerned about what we can expect over the coming weeks. Needless to say, our phones have become like alarms and each time they go off, we both immediately cr*p ourselves. We are very sorry if we haven’t returned texts or calls but we have been blessed to have been inundated with so many that we’d need to employ a full time secretary to do so! Please be assured that every message is being read and fully absorbed and we are hugely grateful for everything everyone is offering to do and doing for us.
Soph is now home and getting stronger physically and emotionally by the day. She has started expressing milk which seems to be working well so far and is fantastic for the boys as it is full of so much goodness. I remain so incredibly proud of her and in awe of how strong she is being. As for me, of course there are moments where I really struggle with everything. On the one hand I am so incredibly excited and in love with my two boys but on the other I can’t help but feel so sad they are in the situation they are in. Ultimately I am looking at the huge positives we have received so far and just hope so much that they continue in the same manner. Beyond everything though, Soph and I just can’t wait to take them both home, however right now we’ll just settle for our first proper cuddle.
Attached are a few pics. The photos of Joseph and Xander I took just this morning and for those that saw them over the weekend they will already notice a huge difference. The other shot is our first Fox family pic, Soph holding Joseph on Sunday and little Xander in his incubator behind.
Lots of love to everyone and thank you all again.
Matt and Soph
(and Xander and Joseph!)
Below are the photos we were given by the midwives before we could see them. Xander is in the white hat and Joseph is in the green. Check out Josephs pose! Just like his daddy!