Twinline became a lifeline to Sarah, when she found out her twin girls were an MCMA pregnancy.
During MCMA (or monochorionic monoamniotic) pregnancies, both babies share an amniotic sac and placenta. So at the same time she was told she was expecting twins- Sarah found out she could lose them at any moment. All she and her husband could do was wait.
“You can’t do anything, you can’t buy the cot and you can’t plan the nursery because at any moment, they might go. So I just remember feeling a moment of utter, utter sadness and desperation,” Sarah said.
After searching the Tamba website, she found the Twinline number and dialled a volunteer.
“The kindness on the end of the phone was just extraordinary because it was such a bleak moment. Just talking to someone who had twins in their house meant so much. Almost as soon as she said hello I started to cry,” Sarah said.
“But it was wonderful to talk to someone who was there and who understood, if not all of it, at least some of it and they were willing to help. It was a gift.”
Sarah ended up calling Twinline a couple of times as she went through her rollercoaster pregnancy. Thankfully, despite the risks, she did not lose either of the babies- and gave birth to ID twin girls at 32 weeks. They spent some time in neonatal care and after they were discharged from hospital, Sarah and her husband effectively ran a neonatal ward from home. Then gradually the twins became strong enough to come off their feeding tubes, and her husband returned to work.
“Then I realised somehow I was going to have look after them by myself, which sounds so ridiculous because we didn’t really think we were going to take them home until we were standing at the door of the hospital,” Sarah said.
“And at that moment I remember thinking ‘how will I manage? How would anybody manage? How will I feed them both? How will I go to the toilet?’”
So once again Sarah called Twinline to get some support.
“The lady on the phone arranged for someone local to call me, who then helped me to get in touch with local twin networks,” Sarah said.
This local supporter gave Sarah information about how to get in contact with other mothers of multiples. While they were talking, Sarah could hear twins in the background. Knowing she was speaking to someone who had multiples and could relate to her was a huge help.
“All our friends were having single babies and a lot of things were the same- but not that utter craziness and wonderfulness of just how overwhelming it is to be in charge of two tiny humans. It’s such a relief with Twinline, because the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t have to imagine what it’s like- they know what it’s like,” Sarah said.
“Sometimes it gets to the point where you need to speak to someone who knows the fear and the frustration and the joy of having twins. Sometimes I see a note on Facebook or Twitter to say Twinline is open, and I think ‘if it gets really bad I can just call.’ The fact that it’s there is a real cushion- it’s very valuable.”
There’s no charge for calling Twinline, Tamba’s free telephone support services. All the volunteers who run the service are mothers of multiples. Twinline is open between 10am and 1pm and 7pm and 10pm every day of the year on 0800 138 0509.
You don’t have to be in a crisis to call- Twinline is also open for when you want to ask for advice about anything multiples related- from feeding to eating to sleeping. Sometimes, it’s just a chance to chat with someone who understands at the end of a long day.
*All photos of Sarah and family supplied by Steve Gilbert Scott.
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