I will be posting a series of ‘things I have learnt about twins’.
Now, how I have handled the last 2 years are not anything to benchmark against in terms of how-to with twins, as I have made (and continue to still make) way more mistakes than I ever thought possible and really still do have no idea. But in case it helps ANYONE who finds out they are expecting twins (or even if you are friends with someone who is), this is some shiz that I have learnt along the way that has worked for me…
Todays post… midwives and sticking up for your peeps.
With twins you may be in the hospital for longer than the average Joe (we were in for 2 weeks). During this time you will encounter many midwives, some who you love and wish they stayed at the hospital with you day in day out, and others who, well, how do I put this… seem to know shiz about twins.
Like twins sometimes do, our twins came early and were in special care for 2 weeks with me staying in hospital with them. I did not enjoy being in hospital. This was because with every shift change a whole new set of midwives came along with a whole new set of their own personal WAY pushed in my face about what I should/should not be doing with the twins. I had no idea what I was doing, and I craved consistent advice, which never came.
- Feed one at a time/feed them both together
- Just keep breastfeeding your milk will come in soon/they are hungry we need to give them a bottle
- They are not eating well and need tubes/what are they doing with tubes in, get them out
- Tube in/tube out
- Feed them every 2 hours/3 hours/4 hours
- Keep them together/keep one with you on the ward
- Only give them expressed milk from a bottle/here I have made you up some formula to give them
- Twin feed them football style together/what are you doing it is too soon to twin feed them football style together
- Here try this bottle teat/No bottles what are you doing
- Pump and express/What are you doing on that pump
Seriously, one would put me on a program to breastfeed them every 2 hours + express on a pump for 20 minutes an hour after, repeat….. then the next shift change they would tell me to just breastfeed them every 3 hours and that it should be done as double football twin feed only… then the next shift they would tell me that the tubes were going back in and that they were going to just tube feed…. all in the one day.
It was like a really bad rollercoaster, and not at all what I had imagined.
I also found that because one twin was in special care and one twin registered to the ward (but kept with the other twin in special care most of the time), and both having feeding tubes in and out on various days, we fell between the cracks. It was not cool and being a first time mummy I didn’t realise I could have dictated a bit more about what went down instead of just doing what I was told and crying in the loo.
It all came to a head on day 9 when one of the middys in special care yelled at me for taking 1 hour to get the twins fed and back to bed (at this stage I was feeding them one after the other). She said I should have them both fed and back to bed in 30 minutes total. It was about this stage that we decided to ignore all of the middys except 2 who were totally rad, and got docs permission to high-tail it out of there. I am not sure if this is common or not, but the twins were effectively discharged from special care straight to home without getting put back on the ward.
Once at home, I contacted a private middy who specialised in twin feeding and she did home visits every 2nd day to help establish twin feeds, twin routines, and general support for premmie little twins. She was the bomb and I love her long time.
To me, many of the hospital middys we encountered appeared to just spout off their own sometimes personal views on things without trying to give us some consistency to follow. And because I was a first time mama and totally overwhelmed by the experience, I didn’t really stick up/speak up for myself and my babies as much as I would have liked in hindsight.
While the physios, doctors, and tea ladies* all said the same message as each other day in and day out, the middys seemed to just tell us their own (sometimes I wondered ‘personal’) view on what we were to do. At the time I followed every piece of advice, as what did I know. But now, looking back, it kind of fecks me off that they did that, and that I did that.
So my personal advice from this lesson learnt is: pick one or two middys who you love and feel ‘gets’ you and twins… and just listen to them. Nod and smile at the others, but don’t bust yourself trying to do everything they say.
* yes I got the tea lady lecture about the dangers of eating luke-warm food left on a tray in my room for more than 40minutes a couple of times. I just nodded and smiled but really what I was thinking in my head was “Really lady I know this shiz, but I haven’t eaten all day because I have been up in special care while I try to double breast feed twins with the 3 of us having no idea, and actually right now, I would pick a chicken leg off the floor and chow down on that if I walked past one”.