Tracey shares her experience of having twins – and breastfeeding them!
We were in our obstetricians’ office doing a dating scan when he joked to us about twins (I am a twin and twins are on both sides of our family). Our little then 2 year old was having a tantrum so daddy went to deal with that on the other side of the office while I was getting a scan and saw straight away two little blobs … my heart stopped and I started to laugh. Our OB (Paul Robinson from Origins a legend if anyone is looking!) looked at me and said opps shouldn’t have joked … famous last words! My husband came over and said what’s up, Paul pointed out look one heart beat nice and strong and here is another nice and strong to which my husband responded “our baby has two hearts?” in a panic stricken voice. Imagine Paul and I passing looks of – will you can tell the idiot or shall I! Needless to say when we left the office we didn’t speak. We were going thru a kind of emotion that is hard to explain, happiness and fear combined with disbelief.
We discovered we were having identical twin boys at our 11 week scan and then began the long journey of twin pregnancy which involves a lot of scans and check ups. Near the end of the pregnancy I was seeing the OB once a week, the hospital for monitoring once a week and a growth scan once a week … that’s 3 visits a week with a 2 1/2 year old in tow.
We were very lucky to have a straight forward pregnancy until we reached 36 weeks and it changed in a matter of days. Harry or Twin A as he was known by the medical staff had decided that he has enough of growing thank you very much and no one was going to change his mind. We found out on a Wednesday at the weekly growth scan, were as they were always a few grams within weight all of a sudden there was a large difference. We had an appointment with our OB the next day and I had a feeling I knew what was about to be said. Paul was fantastic explaining the options, we could have me on bed rest at the hospital with monitoring three times a day (because I hadn’t had enough of monitoring already!!) or go in the next day for a csection with the understanding that the boys would most likely have to transfer to NICU straight after the birth. To say it was a hard decision is a lie, with a toddler already bed rest was not an option and considering the boys were a decent weight for 36 weeks we decided to deliver.
It was about now that mother nature decided to play a sick joke and put me into labour. Contractions all night long meant a very broken sleep! We arrived at National Womens at 9.30am ready to go and because I had started labour they bumped us up the queue and we were in theatre just after 11am. Funny moments happened when they give me a pillow and asked me to bend over the pillow so my back would curve and allow access for the epidural. Needless to say my large LARGE twin belly made bending with a pillow impossible and it was after a few minutes they suddenly clicked and told me to bend over my belly instead. The delivery was straight forward and Paul delivered Harry first followed 1 minute later by Tom. Harry was perfect and both apgars very high. Tom however decided he did not enjoy evacuating the mother ship and had a dusky episode which was very scary as I could not see them but could hear them reviving him. He was fine within minutes thank goodness and both were breathing on their own (most likely the contractions exercised their lungs and taught them to breath) so no NICU or SCBU care was needed!
I truly feel the success to breastfeeding is latching bubs as soon as possible so that was the mission as soon as we wheeled out of theatre. Luckily they did and all dignity goes out the door with three nurses helping hold the babies to me to tandem feed! Luckily I had purchased a twin feeding pillowfrom Breastmates and it was the best money I ever spent as soon as we were back in the ward I started using it and wow it was an amazing aid and helped so much. All twin mums to be get this pillow it is oh so brilliant!!!!!
The midwives were amazed at how I tandem feed so easily but seriously it was the aid of the pillow they were positioned correctly by the pillow and it just felt easy. I tried without the pillow once and never again it was far too hard without it!
Another key to breastfeeding is to always remember it does get easier. It is not easy in the beginning and babies seem to feed forever but as they grow they become more efficient and it actually becomes second nature and easier.
Also remember if it doesn’t work, don’t sweat it there is enough mummy guilt out there so if you need to or want to bottle feed do it without guilt. I breastfed my daughter till she self weaned at 9 months. However with the boys I breastfed till 3 months and switched to expressed and bottle then straight formula only, as I found it was hard keeping up with a toddler while feeding two and I did suffer mummy guilt and wish I had someone tell me its ok. Obviously I know it is ok because my boys are thriving and happy wee chappies, but the emphasis out there is “Brest is best” well I think that should change to “What works for YOUR family is best”.
Breastmates a massive thank you for your support and products that have helped me with both breast and bottle feeding. You’re always so fast with your deliveries and I love how you care so much about all your customers. THANK YOU THANK YOU!