To be honest, the twin’s birth story is not particularly interesting. However, I thought I should blog about it anyway for my own record.
From fairly early on in the pregnancy, I already knew that I would be going for an elective caesarean. The main reason was that I had Karissa via emergency caesarean only last May so I didn’t want to risk a VBAC with twins. Later on we found out that Tristan was breech and in Singapore the protocol is usually for a csection when that happens anyway. With the decision made, an elective caesarean was scheduled for Oct 1 at 38 weeks. However, I was feeling so uncomfortable towards the end of the pregnancy that I talked to my obstetrician, Dr Tan, about moving the date one week forward. He agreed but I had to go for 2 steroid jabs in the week leading up to the csection so as to help strengthen the twins’ lungs.
The caesarean was rescheduled for 24 September at 8am. On that day, we arrived at the hospital at 6am. I was given some forms to fill up and then we were taken to the room to wait. I felt very calm this time round as I knew exactly what to expect. It was very surreal though. The both of us still could not believe that in less than 2 hours time, we would be parents to not 1 but 3 kids!
At around 7.30am, I was taken to the operating theatre to prepare for the caesarean while Merrill went to change. To be honest, I was a really dreading the spinal because I didn’t have a great experience the previous time. It was tempting to opt for a GA when discussing my elective caesarean with Dr Tan previously but I really didn’t want to miss out on being able to see and hold the twins straight away so I stuck to the spinal. I had a different anesthetist this time round and things went a lot smoother. It was hard to curl up for the injection due to the size of my tummy but it wasn’t as uncomfortable as the last time. It also didn’t hurt as much and I did not experience the electric shock sensation. While waiting for the spinal to take effect, I was prepared to panic like I did previously when I started feeling my body go numb but thankfully it didn’t happen. I also had an IV inserted and the anesthetist told me she was giving me morphine and some other painkillers to help with the pain after the spinal wears off. Shortly after, Merrill came in and the operation started.
I think the anaestetist must have given me an extremely strong dose during my first csection while giving birth to Karissa because I was so groggy during the whole operation that I really didn’t remember much. This time round though I was a lot more awake and could actually chat and joke with Dr Tan throughout the whole procedure. I also could feel a lot more. It didn’t hurt but I could definitely feel some pressure and tugging whereas previously I did not feel a single thing. At one point I told Dr Tan that I could see the reflection of blood on the operating theatre lights above me and it was freaking me out a little so he pulled the screen a little higher to block out my view.
He worked quickly and before I knew it Katelyn was out! There was no pushing on my bump this time round as the twins were a lot lower down compared to Karissa. We also always knew that the girl would be the first one out as she was lower down plus the boy was breech. Dr Tan lifted Katelyn over the screen so I could have a look at my baby girl before passing her to the nurses. One minute later, Tristan was out too! Again, Dr Tan lifted him over the screen for a quick look before he was handed over to the nurses to get cleaned up.
The twins enters the world
After the twins were cleaned up, I got to hold and cuddle them for a bit while I was getting stitched back up. Initially I thought that since I was going through this for the second time it wouldn’t feel as emotional. However I was wrong. Looking at these two tiny beings, I could feel my heart explode with love. I couldn’t stop my tears of joy and I felt so in awe that I actually carried the both of them inside me for 37 weeks. Everything that I have gone through and the months of discomfort were all worth it. I am in love and our family is now complete.
Katelyn Jiaying Yap entered this world on 24 September 2013 at 8.15am measuring 50cm and weighing 2.8kg. Her twin brother Tristan Jiawei Yap was born one minute behind at 8.16am measuring 51cm and weighing 2.5kg. They are both perfect.
DADDY’S Recount of events
Well, it’s probably going to be with some difficulty that I’m limiting myself to thoughts that fall specifically within the scope of this post topic as there’s just so much that has gone on pre and post the arrival of the twins. In the spirit of staying on track (which is so not in my spirit of doing things), I’ll try not to digress. Well anyhoo, after 37 weeks of waiting and waddling like a duck (for some), the day has finally arrived for my twin spawn to be hatched forth from their watery foetal bubble. Why 37 weeks? Well Erica and I discussed this topic over the preceding weeks when we were drafting up their eviction notice. We decided upon 37 weeks primarily due to the fact that Erica was suffering from immense discomfort that was increasing day by day. By week 36, she was struggling to sleep due to the seemingly perpetual grudge match between Tristan and Katelyn in-utero. Just looking at her belly, I could see them fisticuffs a happening from the outside and shudder to think what my wife’s organs would be feeling from the inside.
A caesarian was always on the cards due to the fact that a) Karissa was a C sect baby (unplanned), and b) Tristan was breeched. And so that was how the day began. Clinical and clockwork like. Alarm rang, we snuck out of bed so as not to wake Karissa, and made off to the hospital like bandits to crank out 2 more human beings into the world. It’s a surreal concept when you think about it. After checking into our room, the nurses wheeled Erica into surgery while I was made to wait in the lounge for them to call me in. Like the shitty Christian I am that generally ends up only praying in times of need, I clamped my sweaty palms together and begged God that if he delivered Tweedledum and Tweedledee complication free, I’ll do all I can, to be a better man. Just like that neanderthal Robbie Williams.
They made me sign some form that quite boldly stated that no photography is allowed in the operating theatre. This made me worry as I was hell bent on doing which I did for Karissa’s delivery, which is to take a sneaky video of the delivery. I asked the nurse if it was okay to take a photo because Dr Tan had previously said it was, and she said to re-confirm with him in the theatre. And so she ushered me into the change room where I got my scrubs on, and then made me sit my ass in a chair until they called me in. It seemed like an eternity before someone came to fetch me. I kept fiddling around with the Sony Nex camera hidden under my scrubs like an under-equipped KGB spy with the largest and shittiest spy camera in the world. It honestly felt like I had those old timey cameras with the tripod, black hood, and powder flash stick concealed in my pants.
Walking into the operating room was a completely different experience, feel wise, from when Karissa was born. With Karissa’s birth, Erica was about as lucid as a hobo all hopped on booze and bath salts. This time, she was fully aware and awake. It was almost as if she was not sedated at all. Conversation was flowing between Erica, Dr Tan, and the anaesthetist (Dr Tan’s wife), like they were having high tea with those stupid finger sandwiches instead of about to forcibly remove two infants from their watery cubbyhole.
I held Erica’s hand and joined in the small talk whilst I patiently waited for the waiter to serve me my lavender scented chamomile, or 2nd child and 3rd child, I was confused with the casualness of it all but yet strangely, reassured. I really do love Dr Tan’s professional manner, all through the pregnancy and delivery. He has this air of calm dignity and confidence which just inspires confidence in turn and reassurance. If I ever get pregnant, he’ll be the one I want doing the delivery. I decided it was now or never that I raise the topic of photography, to which he answered that I could take a photo when he pulled the baby out. This is similar to what Dr Chow said during Karissa’s delivery.
And so snip snip slice slice laser laser….. it all happened so quickly, partially due to the casual banter going back and forth. I kinda anticipated some suspense or silent built up to the main event, like a drumroll so to speak, where conversation would cease as Dr Copperfield got ready to pull a screaming baby out of a hat, but no. He just kept talking and then said the baby is coming and voila! Katelyn! My camera was held up with the video rolling, but I used my thumb to hide the display and feathered the shutter button to give the impression I was taking photos instead of a video. I tracked Kately to her prep table and then back to Erica when Dr Tan announced Tristan’s arrival.
It was a moment of sheer wonder, but still different from when Karissa was born. Sure my heart was bursting with joy and love and all that, but there was still this strong novelty aspect of it that made me smile. I mean… twins! Damn. Erica cried, because she’s soppy like that. I just couldn’t stop smiling like an idiot at the fact that Erica carried 2 little people inside her for so long, and finally they are here. Calling it surreal just doesn’t cut it. After the obligatory post delivery photo taking shenanigans with proud father and teary eyed mother, I was told that I needed to exit with the twins while they sew mummy back up.
And so we left together, proud Daddy with his brand spanking new son and daughter for the weigh-in and clean up. We weighed and measured the bubs, I got my first solo photo taken with them, and off they went to the nursery to get cleaned up while I went to our room to wait for everyone. The nurse told me Erica would be along in 30mins. In the meantime, I got straight onto instagramming and Facebooking the newborn pics like a teenage girl. 30 minutes passed… no wife. 60 minutes passed… no wife. 90 minutes passed… no wife. I was starting to get worried about what had happened and all sorts of crazy thoughts started to enter my mind. I asked the nurse if there had been any problems and if Erica would be here soon, and she said yes.
I waited a little while longer and just as I was about to leave to room to investigate the situation, in she came. Apparently there was just a small issue where she was bleeding more than usual or something like that, but it was all okay in the end. And that is basically the delivery story. The tone of my recount is somewhat different from that of what I wrote for Karissa, because it felt different and till now, continues to be so. My emotional connection to the twins is very different and hard to explain than that to Karissa, but I think I’ll need to dedicate a post to that as it’s a rather complicated issue.