One morning I was in the hospital working together with the midwives when a woman in active labour came to the unit.
Her blood pressure was dangerously high and her mother told us that she had had a fitting episode a little earlier on. My first thought was that she had eclampsia. This is a very serious and life threatening condition which can occur in pregnancy. She had the typical signs of eclampsia: proteinuria, oedema, fitting and high blood pressure. Had she not had the fit it would have been classified as pre-eclampsia.
We treated her with magnesium sulphate, a drug used to avoid further eclamptic fits, and with antihypertensives. Her labour was quick and she delivered a live, crying baby. However the midwife and I looked at each other because the little baby boy seemed rather small for the size of the mother's belly. Both of us were having exactly the same thought: twins!
Ten minutes later another little baby boy was born. He needed some resuscitation but an hour later both little boys were breastfeeding thanks to the help of their grandmother.
Three days later our patient wanted to go home and there was no way of persuading her to stay any longer. The babies were breastfeeding well, the woman's blood pressure was starting to settle and she was eating well.
She went home with her mother, her little twins and her belongings on a donkey cart.