Hello everyone!!! Hope you are all well! As a change of scenery I have asked several people to share their premmie story with all of you, and to kick it off we have Solange's story. I have been following Solange on Instagram for a while and, just like everyone else, got so excited for her and her family when she announced she was pregnant with twins. I briefly met Solange at a fundraising event a few months ago and she is such a sweet and caring woman with incredible strength and courage.
And so ladies and gentlemen, this is Solange's story......
(Just a warning that there will be some sensitive images included below)
It’s been four months, this is my story…
Wow, those two words “my story”. Never in a million years did I think what I am about to tell you would become a part of my story, but it is.
But before I get to that, let me first rewind and start with the joy of it all because I believe the difficult ending shouldn’t define the whole story.
It was a Monday night in October last year. My husband, Phil was at indoor soccer. After putting my two-year-old daughter Alaia to sleep, I decided to catch up on some trash TV aka Keeping Up With The Kardashians. But before I could make it to the couch I felt an overwhelming sense of tiredness. I had “THAT” feeling.
I texted Phil and asked him to purchase a pregnancy test on the way home. I know he had his reservations given my previous ectopic pregnancy only months before, but I felt sure my mother’s instincts that I was expecting were right. By the time he would get home, I would be fast asleep and it was only around 9pm.
I was asleep by the time he got home, but the next morning I karate-kicked my way out of bed at 5.30am. Literally.
I was so excited to take the pregnancy test because like I said, I just knew. They were the longest two minutes of my life, which I’m sure every mother in the room can relate to. But right there beaming back at me were the two blue lines I had hoped for. I was right.
Automatically the tears streamed down and from that moment, no one could wipe the smile off my face. I called Phil to tell him the news as he was already at work. He was ecstatic to say the least. I remember then running into Alaia’s room, waking her up and dancing around the room with her in my arms – this was pure happiness.
Later that week I visited the doctor to get the official verdict. They called me back on Saturday morning to confirm, I was pregnant! That night was the night of the Housing Awards and while I had to abstain from drinking, I had a bigger secret that was far more rewarding that I couldn’t yet share with the world.
To top it off, my husband would go on to win a building award that night – life really couldn’t get much better than this, or could it?!
Similar to my pregnancy with Alaia, morning sickness would hit once again – only this time, ten times as hard. Again, my mother’s instincts came to play – twins I thought. Soon enough at my six week scan, it would be confirmed, there were two – NOTHING will ever compare to that moment!
There were odds stacked against me – PCOS, one fallopian tube due to the ecptopic pregnancy, hernia operation just months earlier – and her I was pregnant naturally with my rainbow baby twins. The doctors couldn’t believe it. We cried, we laughed, it was the happily ever after to our fairytale. Soon we would be a family of five, and we couldn’t wait.
Having twins meant we were given somewhat “extra care and attention”, I wasn’t complaining, it meant I got to see our beautiful twins on screen more often than not – and that meant I grew such an incredible connection with them.
As most mothers will tell you, the second pregnancy flies by. Mostly because you are busy chasing around your menacing toddler but I also think it has a lot to do with the fact you are more relaxed.
Before I knew it, I was 20 weeks pregnant and it was time for our BIG scan aka the anatomy scan. There they were, our two little bundles of joy in all their incredibleness – our scan was perfect. All the concerns for twin pregnancies were thrown out the door and the professor was thrilled at the health of the babies and me. Another HUGE tick in the box!
Before we left we asked her to jot down the gender of the babies on a piece of paper. Remember being a kid and being told you couldn’t look at something? That was me, all I wanted to do that night was neatly open the envelope and peak, BUT I refrained.
We never found out Alaia’s gender during pregnancy so this was a new found excitement for us. Given it was twins and the age gap with Alaia was so small, we decided we needed to be prepared.
Tuesday night would come and a handful of our close family and friends came to the gender reveal. Phil held the needle with Alaia and…
Blue confetti came showering down from one balloon. My head was buried in my hands with tears and our friends and screamed in excitement!
Just as I looked up POP again.
More blue confetti came showering down from the second balloon and the crowd went from excited to mental and I was swamped with hugs and kisses – it was truly one of the best moments of my life – PURE joy would be an understatement!
It wouldn’t have mattered what they were, but that moment and the lead up were just epic. And my mama instincts were right, yet again!
We streamed the reveal live on Instagram and many of our friends filmed it for us. Who knew that our biggest joy would soon become our biggest pain. Those videos would become the unravelling of me…
For the next few weeks, I would spent countless hours buying the cutest matching boys outfits, I really was going a little nuts but living at that point was heaven on earth. Every day I would come home and show Phil and he loved every moment of it. There wasn’t a day that passed that we didn’t speak of our excitement for the boys arrival between each other and to Alaia also, we really couldn’t believe God had picked us for such a blessing.
Friday 9th February. Phil took the day off work and we decided to go buy the boys cots and nursery furniture. We found the most gorgeous grey and timber cots and after Alaia road testing them and giving her tick of approval, we ordered the lot. We were on Cloud 9. Our little family was so happy and it was only going to get happier or so we thought.
Saturday night. 10th of February. My birthday! 32. A birthday I will NEVER forget. Life couldn’t get much better. I told Phil no gifts this year, as I already had mine and we opted for just a dinner instead.
We went to our favourite Italian, followed by a dessert bar and by midnight we would be home. I washed off my makeup put my PJs on and hopped into bed. As soon as my back hit that bed a shooting pain reaped havoc through my body and I jumped up. One of the twins must be sitting on a nerve I thought to myself – I didn’t sense anything more sinister than that. I walked and swayed my way around the house, trying to get them to move.
An hour would pass and the pain had not subsided. I called St John of God Hospital and they suggested I pack a bag and go straight to King Edward Memorial Hosptial, so we did. I remember having to hold myself in the car up by arms, hovering over the car seat as I couldn’t sit flat on my bottom, the pain was unbearable. Through it all, still I didn’t have a bad feeling and thought we would be sent back home in a matter of hours. My instincts had failed me.
The next three words would change the course of my life forever – “You’re already dilating”.
NUMB. ABSOLUTELY NUMB.
I was 22 weeks, how could this be? What did this mean? Would our boys survive? We had entered new territory, the world of the unknown – all of this was new to us, but so quickly we would learn.
After making contact with our obstetrician, we were immediately assigned “The Golden Team” aka the best of the best at King Edward, it was somewhat comforting.
At 2 am a scan would show twin 1 was already protruding out, meaning stitching was out of the question. I was ordered strict bedrest. The doctors were convinced I would birth that night (or should I say morning) or at least within the next 48 hours. Again, my mother’s instincts didn’t agree – maybe it was hope, maybe it was stupidity but I wasn’t ready to give up on my sons. I told them I disagreed and I was prepared to stay on bed rest for the next 6-8 weeks and even Phil agreed. We were so optimistic even though the doctor’s faces would paint a completely different story.
I remember seeing motivational speaker Tony Robbins in Sydney and his words stuck with me, never allow someone to tell you a diagnosis of an ending be it cancer, early birth whatever because as soon as you accept that into your subconscious, you give up. Giving up was the last thing on my mind, I was ready to fight to the very end for my boys and I did.
I prayed, I hoped and I stayed positive.
We were given the most incredible midwife and Phil also pushed me to share what was happening on my social media. I was so against it but in the end I did and within hours hundreds of stories of hope came flooding. The messages of support, our daughter, our midwife and the fantastic team at King Edward were our saving grace during that time.
48 hours would pass and I was still pregnant. The doctors couldn’t believe it. Suddenly the prognosis changed and there was talk of possibly saving twin 2 should twin one come away. But, I still had faith both would survive.
Four days in and the mood was lightened yet again. There was mention of me being shifted to a ward instead of remaining in the delivery suite. I was also heading into the birth “grey area” where they could begin steroid injections in just three days to help strengthen the boys lungs. Things were looking up.
The following day, on the 15 February (my grandma’s birthday) I woke up feeling fine and was mentally prepared for the long haul of living in a hospital. We had a lot of visitors that day which was lovely. Alaia came up also and as always seeing her gave me the strength I needed to fight for her brothers.
But, what a difference a few hours can make – 5pm hit and suddenly I became very ill. What was happening? Suddenly I was vomiting, weak, hunched over, had a temperature and before I knew it doctor and midwives were in and out of the room and they were preparing for what was to come. I had contracted an infection and now my life was at risk. The inevitable was going to occur. They had to bring on my labour to save me but in doing do, my sons would be sacrificed. My whole world came crashing down… only in those moments I knew, I knew the fight was over, I knew my mother’s instincts had failed me, I knew I would lose my sons forever. I was completely broken.
Nothing can prepare you for that – nothing. I don’t think I stopped crying from that moment until long after their birth. It’s as if someone is physically ripping out your heart out. And while every effort was made to make the experience as comfortable as possible, it was something I do not wish on even my worst enemy.
I took every drug under the sun, not because I feared the physical pain but more so the pain on my heart. I wanted to be numb and I was exactly that.
At 11.51pm that night, Leo made his entrance into the world. He was the most beautiful boy I ever did see and had such striking resemblance to his sister. I always wondered how parents loved more than one child the same but there it was, the love gushing from my heart in floods and I finally understood.
I held him for hours, the hardest part was letting him go. But part of me knew grandma was there to take him.
Soon enough at 2.09am Cruz arrived he was equally as gorgeous and bared a striking resemblance to his Nonno, my father in law. Again the unwavering love unleashed – my precious boys, I thought I loved them inside me and that love was only a sliver to what I felt now.
I don’t know what the hardest part of the whole ordeal was losing them, leaving them, burying them or not having the chance to tell them just how much you love them. I guess they are all equally painful.
For weeks I looked for reasons and blamed myself in more ways than I can count – was it pilates, did I lift something heavy, was it herbal tea, was it making love to my husband which made my cervix open, answers I will never know. The truth is, even medically it remains unexplained.
But, I’ve made a decision to end my suffering. I can continue to focus on the heartache of it all and continue to run myself to the ground or I can focus on those six most incredible months they gave me where I experienced some of the greatest joy I have known. I choose that!
Because although I only had hours in my arms, they are forever imprinted on my heart. I AM a mother of three and I stand proud! I will never forget my sons and will never be embarrassed or ashamed to share their name no matter how confronting that might be to others. I know I will have my days, but I will continue to talk to Alaia about her brothers and will continue to tell their story. I carried them, I fought for them, I held them and I loved them and I will continue fight for them, so that all women who loved and lost don’t give into society and forget their angels but rather speak loudly their names with such pride. Because although they are gone, they will NEVER be forgotten. And although they are not here, doesn’t take away that you are still their mother.
So to all the angel mothers out there, I honour you. What we have endured is a pain like no other, in fact every mother’s worst nightmare. And although you may never be the same, you are better because you had the chance to know them and know a love of that kind. You are allowed to scream, you are allowed to cry, but promise me you will never give up.
And to all the other mamas reading this, grip your loved ones a little tighter tonight because sometimes we take for granted what is right before us. And be KIND, my god be really kind, everyone is fighting a battle you may know nothing about.
And so I leave you with this:
“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss in life is what dies inside us while we still live.”
I will not allow myself to die inside, I will continue to live for them.
So, to my precious sons Leo and Cruz – you gave me a love so strong it made saying hello and goodbye in the same day worth all the pain. I love you both more than you will ever know and just like I fought until the end for you, I will continue to fight for women and for research in your honour. I promise you I’ll live life to the fullest filled with greater love, greater compassion, greater kindness, greater appreciation, greater presence and greater joy. I hope I make you proud.
All my love, your mama x
(To follow Solange on Instagram click here, or to view her website, click here )
So just want to touch base with you all about how things are going in the Sacker household. The boys are going well- Richie had his birthday recently so now I have a threenager - I thought after the terrible two's were done we would be getting less attitude from Mr Richie, but we have been getting a lot more attitude and stubbornness. But he is a great big brother to Harry- Richie loves playing with him (even sharing his beloved toys with him) and Harry idolizes Richie. It's so cute how Harry's face just lights up when Richie is around.
Harry is now 6 months old and he is still such a happy and chilled out bub! He loves nothing more than to sit on his mat and chew his toys (I forgot how slobbery teething was!)
So lately my anxiety has reared it ugly face again. I've been feeling so out of control- Richie is really testing my patience and because of that I have been a massive stress-head and very snappy. It also doesn't help that we are toilet training and Harry isn't sleeping the best at night. If you had told me 10 years ago that a three year old would be controlling my life and emotions I would have laughed but now I understand where the term 'threenager' comes from!!
Seeing as this isn't my first dance with anxiety (I struggled with it after I had Riche), I knew of some tips to try and calm myself down and look after myself- but this time around, even though am definitely taking better care of myself, I don't seem to have as much spare time to totally de-stress. So I went to my GP and she had some great tips and ideas, which I am now trying to implement, and 'touch wood' I'm feeling a lot less stressed.
So if anyone is struggling with their mental health, do not be ashamed to ask for help.
It has been a while since my last blog post- life is hectic here in the Sacker household!!! Harry is growing up so quickly- his personality is shining through already and he is such a fun, happy baby! Richie is a typical 2 almost 3 year old- lots of attitude and energy, but he is still a mumma's boy at heart and really enjoys his younger brother. Terry is working as hard as ever which we are greatful for and I'm just super busy with the two boys and trying to find time for housework and business time.
I went to a fundraiser high tea on the weekend, supporting premature mothers and their babies- whether the outcome was positive or not. And I took a couple of things away from that day.
The first was that Terry and I are extremely lucky- Richie was born spontaneously at 34 weeks so his lungs weren't strong enough to breathe on his own. We are constantly reminded about how lucky we are that he hasn't suffered any long term physical issues from this birth (none that we are aware of yet) nor any emotional/social issues to date.
Carrying on from this, I always feel a bit of guilt when talking about my premmie birth experience to other premmie mums as Richie was born a lot later than other premature babies, and so other prem babies may suffer or have suffered other ............things other than just poor lungs- like heart or gut problems. I have never shied away from the fact that I struggled having Richie in hospital for 4 weeks, both mentally and physically, so when I talk about this with other mums I feel like I'm almost apologising for my story- I have found myself starting sentences with "I know Richie was only born at 34 weeks but...".
I know I should never feel like I have to apologise or belittle my story as everyone has a different story and reacts differently, but this reaction from me comes without thinking. I feel like my story isn't as important or significant as others as we have had a happy ending. And then comes the mum guilt- the dreaded mum guilt.
I still think to this day that I am still processing Richies birth, even though it was almost three years ago, and so I am still going through all these emotions and processes from the birth.
I know that my story is important, and without this experience I wouldn't have found my passion for helping others in a similar situation and I never would have dreamed of being a small business owner before Richie so as the saying goes, a blessing in disguise :)
It's been almost 3 months since Harry was born and everything is going great. We are all settled in as a family of 4, Richie is loving his baby brother- he calls Harry his best friend(super cute!!)
Harry's personality is starting to shine through now. He is super laid back but still has the cheeky smile that his big brother has. I will definitely have my hands full in a few years with these two!!
So back to another topic that I covered while pregnant- breastfeeding. As most of you know from previous blog write ups, I struggled with breastfeeding Richie, which I put down partially to him being a premature baby and my body just not being ready for it yet. This time around with Harry, I breastfed exclusively for his first two weeks, then had to add formula top-ups onto his feeds as I wasn't producing enough milk for him. I have decided in the last week that I cant keep on doing top-ups anymore as it was too time consuming for me to breastfeed for 20mins, then add a bottle feed on top of that- Richie isn't the most patient toddler so he needs my time a lot at the moment. I feel that just formula feeds is the best thing for our situation- I was starting to feel a bit of anxiety about my breastfeeding capabilities so by only doing formula feeds this has helped with my anxiety. I was starting to feel a bit down about how I couldn't produce enough milk, was feeling a bit frustrated about the boob and bottle feeds and was feeling a bit down that my body just wouldn't produce more milk, even though I was doing everything possible(within my toddler/time constraints) to produce more, and trying everything to increase the supply.
Luckily for me, Terry is very supportive with however I feed Harry- he just wants me to do whatever is easiest and best for me. I did say to him that it could sound like I'm being lazy with my decision to stop breastfeeding as a couple of people have commented that if I tried a bit more that I would produce more. But the way I justify my decision(not that I have to justify it) is that its the best way for me to keep my sanity. Plus it always helps when hubby can help me with the feeds!
I do miss breastfeeding Harry and at first he missed it too as he was always nuzzling into my boobs, but this was a decision which had to be made. And as they say, fed is best :)
Anyone else had a tough time breastfeeding??
Wow!!! Talk about how time flies!!! Harry is now over 8 weeks old now and it just feels like yesterday that he was born!! We have had our 6-8 week check ups with the GP and Harry and I are doing well and Harry had his first lot of vaccinations, which he didn't like but didn't cry for too long!!!
Even now I'm still seeing differences in my experiences with Richie and Harry. I'm surprised at how quickly Harry is growing- he is putting weight on like a champ and therefore filling his clothes nicely, has great head control and is smiling and cooing too. I'm not sure if it was because Richie was premature or if its just because its been two and a half years since Richie was a baby, but I don't remember Richie developing like this at Harry's age. I'm still feeling like Harry is my first baby- as Richie was prem its all we know so getting used to full term baby milestones is taking its time.
As most mothers do, I saved some of Richies clothes as hand me downs for Harry. And this week, Harry wore one of Richies onesies and it made me realise just how small Richie was when he was a baby. I have photos of Richie wearing it when he was around 5 months of age and Harry is wearing it and he isn't even 2 months old yet!!!
It just amazes me that the boys can be so similar and yet so different!! Can anyone else relate?? Are your kids complete opposites, very similar or both??
We have been home from hospital for just over 4 weeks now, which means that Terry is back at work now. It was so nice having him home to help me out for the first 2 weeks- having him help out with Richie was a lifesaver as Richie didn't quite understand why mummy couldn't lift him up or run around after him.
Ive been struggling a bit with breastfeeding - once again my supply isn't enough to solely feed Harry from the boob so have been topping him up with formula. At first, I was told just to feed him whenever he was hungry but that turned into Harry waking every hour to be fed(obviously coz I wasn't giving him enough to sleep for too long), so we decided to use the formula aswell as my sleep and sanity were affected by the constant feeding.
I have to say that this time around I'm feeling overwhelmed and a bit unsure about looking after Harry as this is the first time Ive had a newborn at home. Richie didn't come home til he was 4 weeks old and by then he already had a feeding routine so even though he would still wake up for feeds, it was every 4 hrs so it wasn't as much of a struggle. With Harry, at first I was waking every 2-3 hrs and wasnt sure if he was hungry or just needing a cuddle or had gas. At the moment, he is sleeping quite well, so his feeds must be keeping him content but its only week 5 so Im not expecting these good nights to continue. Its definitely more of an at home challenge this time around.
Being able to have Harry home straight away has made me realise what we missed out on when Richie was born and in the hospital. At this stage with Richie, it hadn't really sunk in that I was a mum as I couldn't take me baby out with me to the shops, or to show him off to family and friends. I'm loving the opportunity to take Harry with me wherever I go at the moment- mostly because he is such a chilled baby, so when its leap time my feelings may change :)
Well, it has been a few weeks since I have written my blog but its been super busy!!!
We welcomed Harrison Randolph Sacker into the world on 3rd November, but it wasnt as easy a labour as I was hoping it would be.
it all started as a normal labour story, waters broke and so we went to the hospital. Once the contractions started labour was progressing nicely, but towards the end of labour Harry's heart rate wasnt recovering between contractions so the forceps were brought intot the equation. This is where things get complicated. Somehow the forceps were touching/flicking my Sciatic nerve which was causing me great pain(more painful than the contractions!!!) and so the Dr couldnt pull out Harry without me screaming in agony, and so the decision was made to go to theatre, give me a spinal tap and pull out Harry safe and sound. To add on top of the labour, I had a lot of blood loss and so also had to have an iron transfusion, which took a while to kick in, and so was tired and easily breathless for the first week or so after Harry was born. In total, labour was 5 and a half hrs and the most traumatic experience I have ever had. The Drs and nursing staff at Joondalup Hospital were fantastic and cant recommend them enough.
So even though Harry's birth was traumatic for both of us, we only stayed at the hospital a couple of nights and we are loving being home as a family of 4. As you can tell from the photo below, Harry had some bruising and abrasions to his face but it was all superficial and I'm happy to say that everything has gone down and there is no scarring to be seen! Richie is slowly adjusting to having his brother around- he is still a typical 2 yr old with the tantrums and the defiance but the moments when he is such a loving,caring brother just melts my heart!!!
So I have reached my final milestone that I wanted to achieve during this pregnancy!!!! I now have a full term baby (37 weeks is considered full term). Now while this may not seem like a big deal, it is for me as its something I have worried about during this pregnancy and now that I have been passed this important stage I feel so many emotions- relief, happiness and worry just to name a few.
I'm excited as I know my baby boy is mostly developed so I don't have to worry about any possible hospital stays and that with him being full term , with the birth going according to plan, we will be able to take him home within a day or 2 of delivery- I'm so excited about that as I feel with Richie we missed out on the full experience as we had to wait 4 weeks til we could bring him home.
I'm also nervous about the next 3 weeks as I haven't been this far along in a pregnancy before so I feel like this is my first pregnancy! All the late 3rd trimester symptoms are all new for me so I'm complaining a lot, which Terry has been great for listening to all my whining. I have been suffering from the usual sore back, tight belly and tiredness that would normally be expected, but I didn't expect to get the swollen hands and feet(but no cankles yet!) I think these surprised me as I wasn't expecting to be this far along during the pregnancy so I didn't think about me having all this water retention.
Any suggestions on how to reduce the swelling???
(Ive even had to take my rings off as they were getting too tight on my fingers!)
Well, I've passed all of my milestones I wanted to reach, bar one.
As I have already mentioned in my previous post, I have had my baby shower this time around and have been pregnant while it occurred, but I have also gone past two more milestones since my last post.
Firstly, I have finally been able to experience maternity leave- with Richie my waters broke the morning after I finished work so I had no time to 'nest' or prepare or even just relax before he was born. So far, I have had a week of maternity leave and no baby so its been a productive week for me, doing odds and ends around the house and watching a bit of Netflix that doesn't include any kids cartoons!!
Secondly, I've been pregnant this time around for longer than when I was pregnant with Richie!! This was a huge milestone for me to get past, as it was always in the back of my mind from about 30 weeks til I hit 34 weeks that baby Sacker could come early, and now that I have passed the 34 weeks gestation I feel like I can relax that little bit more. However, with me saying that, I feel like im experiencing something new with this pregnancy, as I have never been this far along I now dont know what to expect- everything is new to me again!! Im starting to understand other women when they say they feel so uncomfortable at this stage of the pregnancy :)
My final milestone is to have a full term baby, so will have to wait and see if bub will stay in for at least another 2 and a bit weeks!!! There is a running joke with my family and friends that this time around the baby will be overdue as I have been so prepared for a premature baby last time, this time will be opposite!! I don't really know what to think about that as I'm starting to feel quite uncomfortable now so I can really imagine how I'm going to feel in 6 weeks time!!
Another few more week gone, and one step closer to baby Sacker being full term!!! Im starting to slow down now, with my back starting to ache and moving slower- and as Terry likes to remind me, Im starting to waddle :)
I had my grandfathers funeral since I wrote my last blog and I tell you what, funerals are tough enough as it is, but add pregnancy hormones(plus lack of sleep due to a pain in the bum toddler) and it is 10 times more emotional and draining!!! Luckily Terry is an amazing hubby and has been super supportive and apart from the restless nights, RIchie has been reasonably well behaved!
I also had my baby shower on the weekend just gone, and it felt amazing to celebrate baby Sacker with my family and close friends while the baby was still in my tummy- when I had my baby shower with RIchie, he was already one week old and in NICU and so my mind wasn't 100% at the baby shower, it was preoccupied with my many thoughts about my small, premature baby in hospital. The two baby showers were totally different experiences, and I'm so glad I got to experience a shower while pregnant.
Its getting to the stage of this pregnancy where I'm counting the milestones I'm reaching that I didn't manage to get to while pregnant with Richie. My first milestone was to have my baby shower while pregnant, so that's one milestone down, more to follow (hopefully!). My next milestone is to have at least one day of maternity leave- with Richie I finished work Friday afternoon and by Saturday morning he was born! This time around I finish work this Friday so will see if we reach this milestone!
I'm getting really excited about bubs arrival, I cant wait to meet him and give him cuddles!! I also cant wait to see Richie's face when he sees his baby brother- he is going to be in for a shock :)
My name is Briana and I am a wife to Terry, a mother to ,my gorgeous 2 year old son Richie with another bub on the way.