Tuesday, June 2

So I got my happy-ending that I dreamt about for so long. It all came full circle, and I thank Hashem every single day of my life for giving me my family.

Yonatan and Danielle were born by elective caesar at 9.36 and 9.37 respectively on the morning of the 8th of January 2009. Yonatan weighed 2.2 kgs and Danielle a very scary 1.7 kgs. They both looked like two little plucked chickens, so fragile and raw. I saw them for the first time all white with vernix-goo, I was attached to an operating table, the nurse thrust them in my face one by one before they were whisked off to intensive care. I was imobile, one arm was tied to a little table with my blood pressure being monitored all the time, and my other arm/hand was squeezing the Donor's hand so tightly that he actually should have had the bp machine attached to him, so the babies still covered in white goo were pushed in my face one by one by a very forceful ex-soviet nurse, saying or rather demanding, "give mommy a kiss', I very reluctantly but obediently kissed both babies dutifully. The next time I saw them was only in the evening, as has become common practice with me, the day did not pass uneventfully, I had to have not one but two blood transfusions. Also. I wasn't passing adequate urine so we had to wait till I had been adequately 'transfused' and had wee'd enough. Also, I found to my amazement that if you have a caesar in Israel, you are drugged so heavily that you can barely keep your eyes open long enough to focus, there I was in my drugged-euphoria, slurring 'can I get up now' over and over. I couldn't stand yet, couldn't focus, couldn't wee and didn't have enough blood, but I was determined to get up and see them. That wasn't happeneing, Israeli's are tough tough tough, and the nurses even tougher. But with all my eagerness to get vertical already, the lovliest thing happened that I would not have missed for anything, at around 10 pm, that same night, a young nurse told my husband to leave the room and that he would get a new wife in a half an hour. I was like, whatever, still morphined out I guess, turned out she wanted to help me shower. I really was not interested, but it turned out to be one of the most compassionate acts I have ever received. This nurse, went through my bag and took out my cream, deodorant, perfume, comb, underwear and clothes. She helped me get up, which is no easy feat after a caesar. Had I forgotten what a very very painful thing a caesar is?? We made our way to the bathroom, and she proceeded to help me, words will never be able to describe what a wonderful and unselfish act this was. You are totally unable of doing ANYTHING for yourself, that first day is a real challenge physically. So a half hour later my husband came back to the room and really did find a new wife, clean, awake and coherent.

We then went to see the babies (which I had already actually seen on cell phone pictures taken by the Donor). Adam and Noam were both in the Neonatal unit after they were born, Adam in the more serious one to start and Noam only in the less serious one. Nothing can ever prepare you to see the life-form that you have created so helpless, so tiny and naked, attached to every imaginable tube and IV, and ofcourse the relentless beeping of alarms and machines is enough to do your head in. And heaven help you if you look to either your left or right, because you will see babies smaller than 1.7 kgs, it is almost inhuman. Just focus on yours, don't look around, Neonatal Units are NOT fun places, no-one wants to be there, we all just want to get out as quickly and as far away as possible. And ofcourse with your baby/babies. But amongst the perpetual beeping and soundless cries of babies in incubators, there is this wonderful feeling of

I went to sleep that night with a mixture of overwhelming fear and relief. It was over, but the beginning was starting. For the 4 weeks prior to having the caesar I had been hospitalised in the high risk pregnancy ward in Tel Hashomer Hospital. The diagnosis, I had gone in for my amniocentesis, which was classified as a late amniocenteses on week 34, I had decided on doing it late based on information from the internet, that 'early' 19 week twin amnocenteses hold a higher risk for miscarriage in twin pregnancies, and if G-d forbid, I had to go into early labour the chances for saving the babies were much greater at week 34 as the babies could be removed by caesar as aversed to no chance at 19 weeks. So I went in to do the amnio and after much prodding and poking and ultrasounding by two doctors I was told that the twin on my right hand side (we still had not found out the sexes) had almost no amniotic fluid and it was not possible for them to do the amnio, I was advised to go home and to come back in 2 days and hope that the fluid had somehow improved by then. Two days of anxious waiting, resting, water drinking, and also shopping for a bigger car (I know, weird, but that is me and the Donor) I went back and it hadn't, I was admitted immediately.

And there I sat for 4 weeks, my normality became constant monitoring, ultrasounding, blood pressure taking, testing.checking, blood taking. This was going to be my new home until I gave birth, when I was first admitted the chances were very strong that if the fluid in the one baby continued to worsen then I would have to be caesared within the next few days. I was terrified. I din't know what was happening, it was all to fast, all to unreal. But Slowly and thankfully I guess, those first few days stretched into weeks and thank G-d, we made it to 36 weeks. The reality of where I was was constantly on my mind, you couldn't escape it, within the first week of me being there I was witness to the horror and reality which is life on a high-risk pregnancy ward. I was waiting my turn on the chairs outside the ultrasound room, the door was closed and I knew that there was someone from our ward inside having her turn at seeing her babies heartbeat and checking amiotic fluid for the day. That daily heartbeat check is what keeps you going. All of a sudden these deathly screams came from inside the room. Cries of 'no, no noooooo'. Only later once I had managed to calm down and stop crying back in my bed, did I hear her story, she (and I never found out who she was) had been 36 weeks pregnant, the baby weighed 2.5 kgs, and everything had been normal except for a low-ish quantity of amniotic fluid. She was almost seeing the end, she had had a normal scan the day before, and all of a sudden, No heartbeat, no explanation, just no heartbeat. I think about this woman so often, what happened to her, how she is, how will she ever come out of that unscarred? Just horrific.

I was in a 3 bed room at the window, the first bed also had a girl who was in for the long haul, the middle bed was like a bus station, women just coming and going all the time, just a haze of nameless pregnant women in early stages of labour, moaning and groaning and crying. It was all so insensitive. Placing high risk pregnancies where you don't know if your whatever-week fetus is going to survive, to 36 week plus women having natural labour right next to you, many a night was spent crying and listening to the pants and moans and cries from the 'middle bed'/

Mostly what I remember about my hospital stay was on the one had the filth and the cockroaches, and on the other the most wonderful caring and unbelievable staff of nurses and doctors. These people who I cried with and laughed with for 4 weeks.

So in the end I never even gave birth at that hospital, I transferred to a private hospital where I could be guaranteed of having the gynaecologist of my choice. The birthing experience is very different in Israel, loads of rules and regulations, but most of all beuracracy. We would not be able to film the caesar, and we would not be able to not have a curtain put up. That was the worst part, the curtain. In South Africa my husband and mother witnessed the birth of my firstborn by caesar, and my second I (almost) witnessed, the incision had been made into my uterus, and the babies head was out, and my gynacologist then, said look look quickly, I was able to lift my head and see my daughters head and face slowly turning from left to right, all with the rest of her body still inside me, This was one of the most unbeleivable experiences ever. So sinking in this thick red tape, my two beautiful little plucked chickens came screaming into the world on that wonderous day almost one year ago.

There are no words to describe my joy and wonder at my family, all four amazing children. Adam, almost 7 years old, Noam, 5 and a half and then these two babies who are discovering and finding out more wonders of the world as each day passes. Each milestone has taken a bit longer to reach, lifting heads, crawling, sitting. Danielle is still not sitting, but she will soon. Yonatan has three bottom teeth and two more have just come out on top. Danielle has two bottom teeth. They make each other laugh, like they are having their own private jokes, it is the most incredible thing to witness, I feel like I am a priveleged bystander being allowed in to their little world. I thought Adam and Noam would treat them like the main attraction for the first few weeks, and then slowly the interest would wane off, well I couldn't have been more wrong. They love, adore, hug, kiss, smooch, play with them at every possible moment, it never ends kisses goodbye, kisses hello, kisses just-because.

And here I sit, and think about where I was this time last year. In a miserable state hospital, winter and raining, in constant fear, longing for my two beautiful and Please G-d, healthy babies to enter the world, surrounded by people who supported and loved me.

And Thank G-d, we made it. We made it.


"Q: In which cases does removal of the fallopian tubes improve the outcome?
A: In recent years, impressive evidence has shown that hydrosalpinx (swollen fallopian tubes, filled with fluid) can reduce chances of implantation. It seems that the reason for this is that the fluid in the fallopian tubes contains inflammatory products that leak into the abdominal cavity and damage the embryo trying to implant itself in the endometrium. In cases of recurrent failure of IVF therapy, the condition of the fallopian tubes should always be assessed using a hysterosalpingogram and ultrasound scan. If the state of the fallopian tubes is very poorly, and might affect the implantation of the embryos, the benefit of their removal should be considered. The removal of oneor both fallopian tubes is performed by laparoscopy, where a laparoscope (a fine telescope) is inserted through an umbilical incision."