I went into hospital this morning to see Vanessa. She was in a lot of pain. Her constipation had not improved and she had not eaten anything since Saturday morning. She also had not slept since Friday morning and was very weak. She had just had it! I'd made up my mind that something had to be done today and I was very relieved that the consultants at the hospital were also in agreement.
I spent sometime in the morning trying to organize a stem cell kit so that stem cells could be collected from the babies' cords (if they were to be delivered). These stem cells could then be transplanted into Vanessa as another way to potentially treat her leukemia. I had found out the night before that the stem cell collection was not an NHS procedure and that I needed to get a special kit to collect the cells. I got in touch with people at 'smartcells.com' in London who agreed to courier two kits up to Aberdeen for about 6.30pm.
About 11.00am Vanessa had to drink a bottle of fairly disgusting stuff called 'Gastograffin' which is a mild laxative but also a tracer for X-Rays and would hopefully help to determine what was wrong. Her condition now was beginning to worsen and she was in a lot of discomfort. The rest of the morning was spent meeting various consultants: Obstetrics, Surgical, Hematology and Pediatrics. Everyone we spoke to was very helpful and very patient (having to answer all my questions!). If the X-Ray showed that Vanessa's bowel could be easily fixed then they would try to do that without delivering the babies. If however things were a bit more difficult then the babies would have to be delivered and then a repair made to Vanessa's bowel.
We went up for the X-Ray at around 2.30pm, accompanied by Susan – a midwife from the AMH (she stayed with me and Vanessa well beyond the end of her shift and I am extremely grateful for her kindness to Vanessa and me :-). The Surgical consultant came through to the X-ray department to see Vanessa. There was a little bit of a delay in her getting her X-ray but he soon sped things up and we were both very grateful that he did. Rather than admitting Vanessa to the surgical ward and then taking her for surgery they just took her straight in. There were more people in surgery than in most football teams. Two of everything from pediatrics for the babies, Obstetrics consultant and assistant, plus all of the surgical team.
I sat outside with Susan and waited for the results of the surgery. Another great help was Mark from the surgical team, he popped in and out of the surgery to keep me updated and popped his head round the door to tell me at 4.15 that I was the proud Dad of two little boys! I got to see the each of the boys before they went in the Ambulance down to the neo-natal unit at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.
Blake Charles Love was born at 16.02 and is 3lbs and 9ozs and Rohan Watson Love was born at 16.03 and is 3lbs and 5ozs. Rohan had a little trouble breathing at first but this was very quickly dealt with. Both boys were put onto ventilators as a precaution while they were transported between hospitals. At about 5pm I left Vanessa, who was still in surgery to check on the boys and to be sure that they had been transferred successfully. Both were doing well and Neo-natal unit are pleased with their progress.
Meanwhile, Vanessa was still in surgery. It was just after 6.30 pm before she left surgery and the surgical consultant spoke to me to let me know what had happened. Vanessa, it appears, had been born with a mal-rotation of the bowel, which basically means that her insides had been round the wrong way – essentially an accident waiting to happen. Her large intestine was four times bigger than it should be an this had been built up mostly in the short term but some of this had been accumulated over time. This had made her severely constipated and no end of treatments would have cleared it – only surgery. It was just our misfortune that it this had presented itself at this point during her pregnancy. It was not related to her pregnancy or her leukemia. She had a significant portion of her bowel removed but she shouldn't notice any real longer term problems with this.
After I knew that Vanessa was okay I went to see the boys again and then returned to Ward 51 to wait for Vanessa to arrive from recovery. She didn't arrive for three hours – she had been in a lot of pain in recovery and it had taken sometime to get her pain management right before should could proceed to the ward. After telling her about her wonderful little boys, I left her at about 10.00pm. She had been very groggy from the pain medication but I left her fast asleep and snoring – the first real sleep she had had since Thursday night.
I popped in to see the boys again and to collect the stem cell kits (which unfortunately arrived too late to use) and then came home. I extremely proud of Vanessa – she is an absolute trooper and she never complained once about the how she was feeling. The boys were doing well when I left and I'm looking forward to tomorrow to see how everyone is.