Can you ever prepare for a Twin birth?

Okay, so where we left off I was lamenting about the surprise news that I was expecting twins. I freaked out, panicked and then finally came around to the idea, (not that I had a choice in the matter ). So as much as the pregnancy was a lot to mentally process and physically handle, the birth was a whole new ballgame. While pregnant I read as many books as possible, scoured the internet for twin birth stories (thank you Nesting Story for sharing yours) and talked to several twin moms. What I came to realize is that everyone had different experiences, but a common thread was that multiples usually came before 38 weeks, a twin birth likely takes place in the operating room, with a team of people are present at the birth, and that I should expect the babies to spend some time in the nursery and potentially the NICU. This was a lot to process considering I had my first child two years prior in what I like to think of as a peaceful setting, still in the hospital, but with only my midwives present as the sun came up in the early morning hours.

First moments of skin to skin with my first born
First moments of skin to skin with my first born

Due to low water levels in one of the baby’s sac’s I was told that I would be induced at 36 weeks. The boys were measuring well, they were both head down and there seemed to be no other complications. I was extremely happy to have been given a date as I was physically tapped out. I was scheduled to be induced on a Sunday in January and thankfully we had arranged family members to come stay with our daughter. I also was very lucky as I was able to be followed by midwives, one of whom had been a part of my first pregnancy, and a doctor to do the actual delivery. So the idea of having a date and a plan gave me some relief.   

Can you ever prepare for a twin birth? - Fallon Melander for Nesting Story
35 weeks pregnant with the twins and ready to pop

That morning we went into the hospital very anxious and excited. I was planning on a vaginal delivery with both twins as they were in the perfect position. However, I knew that there was a chance that I would need a C-section if any complications arose. Luckily I had the full support of my midwives and doctor to try this route for a twin birth instead of just scheduling a C-section. After settling in I was hooked up to the monitors we were told that they were going to begin the inducement by administering oxytocin. Needless to say I was ready to evict these twins out of my broken body. About an hour later I was informed that the one anestheologist on duty was in a surgery and would not be able to give me an epidural until he was finished, which happened to take a couple hours.

Things progressed very slowly all day. I was only receiving a small amount of oxytocin as the delivery doctor and the anestheologist were both called into another emergency surgery. Being bed bound I began to get bored and frustrated. I could hear women in the rooms next to me bringing new life into the world, I was on my second shift of nurses, and the Women’s network movies were beginning to repeat themselves. After 12 hours of being bed bound I was just plain pissed. In my fit of anger I began to feel some discomfort down below – burning pain that I thought maybe was my catheter. After a few nurses came and left my husband turned to me and said are you ok? I started to say yes while spontaneously crying from searing pain. He ran to get the nurses and I struggled to keep myself from breaking the guard rail off of the bed.

I was rushed to the operating room and transferred to the cold table while also feeling every inch of pain – which is when I realized that the epidural was not working from my hips down. When everyone was in place, about 13 of us in total, I was told to push and after a few pushes Baby A was out and whisked away immediately to the warming table and a team of nurses to be inspected. I was worried about Baby A, but I also remembered that I had to still give birth to another baby. At this point all I could think was “I have to do that all over again!” This is when I really cursed the fact that the epidural was not working.

The next thing I knew an ultrasound machine was on my stomach to locate Baby B. Turns out he had flipped sideways when his brother left the womb and was no longer head down. Of course I did not know this at the time and with my mind still on Baby A and preparing myself for another birth. It felt like mere seconds had passed when the doctor told me to push gently (is there such a thing?) and the next thing I knew Baby B was out and also whisked away to the adjacent warmer. At this point I looked over to my husband who looked in shock and the doctor who still had not said a word but was covered in blood. My husband then told me that Baby B had come out feet first and our ever stoic doctor looked like he had been in a scene of the Walking Dead.

This is when I started to panic about the health of both babies, especially Baby B who had made his appearance into the world at 9:31pm, 9 minutes after his brother in an unforgettable way. Thankfully my midwives were there are kept us informed and told us that both babies were having difficulty breathing and needed to be taken to the NICU. All of a sudden we heard a long deep beeping noise and I looked at my husband wild eyed. It sounded like the unthinkable but my midwife ran over to me and told me that it was just the battery on one of the warmers that had been unplugged that was making the noise.

The boys were rushed out to the NICU and a very nice Resident doctor wearing a clear face shield (straight out of a SWAT movie) did the rest of the delivery – the placenta. I don’t know if she put it on as a precaution after she saw the doctor pull Baby B out and the aftermath that covered the doctor, or if that is standard practice. The whole time however my mind was on the babies and I had no idea what was happening to them. It was quite a whirlwind and once I was back in the delivery room my husband went with the nurse to see the babies. Meanwhile we had been getting updates from my midwife and she told us that they were stable but needed help breathing. I was being monitored and after I was cleared a few hours later I was able to go see the babies, who were still known as Baby A and B at this point.

Baby A was a vaginal twin birth
Baby A

Both babies were hooked up to the CPAP machine and other than difficulty breathing everything else seemed to be okay. One of the biggest surprises to me was how big they were, measuring at 6.4lbs and 6.1lbs. I couldn’t believe that I had been carrying over 12lbs of baby! To be honest at this point I was utterly exhausted and still was not processing everything that had happened – a faulty epidural, a breach baby birth, two babies on respiratory support, and a twin birth that did not require stitches! My midwife told me that I was a freaking unicorn, but I felt like I was in a foggy dream.

Baby B was a breach baby birth
Baby B

We still had a journey to overcome in the following days of our NICU stay and bringing home the twins but I think I will end the story here for now. Needless to say I am thankful that I have two healthy, strong twin toddlers who despite a rocky start are doing amazing.

Melander twins taking a sink bath at 1 year old

I hope this has helped some of you who may be expecting multiples to put your mind at ease and to know that there are some things you cannot control. I have talked to many twin moms about their pregnancy and birth journey and I have learned how unique each one is, and also how strong both babies and mothers truly are. This may seem like the ultimate test, but it’s the beginning of your story and what I hope is an amazing journey.

Caesarean Section vs Vaginal Birth: Stories From A Mom Who’s Been Through Both

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Before giving birth to any of my four children, I was always fascinated and curious about the entire process. I would try to fathom the pain, the excitement, the exhaustion, the thrill and the love. I would ponder if I would be able to deliver my kids vaginally, or would I require a Caesarean section?

I would drill my own mother, (also a mother of four), who had all four of her kids vaginally, three of them unmedicated. What did contractions feel like? How do you really know when you are in labour? Would I need an epidural? Would my deliveries be long and drawn out, or quick and dramatic?

Or, would I be heading an entirely different route? Something that my own mother couldn’t prep me for and answer my hundreds of questions. Would I need major surgery to deliver my baby?

It just so happens that I got to experience both.

But unlike many other mothers’ experiences, each of my deliveries were (thankfully) very textbook, uneventful births. Well, other than the fact that I had twins. But even their delivery was as best case scenario as it comes.

So, vaginal birth vs Caesarean section. Is one better than the other? What are the perks and disadvantages of each? Here is a breakdown according to my personal experience…

Preparation leading up to delivery

Vaginal Birth: With each of my two babies that I delivered vaginally, I was full of anticipation, anxiety and wondering if every minute could be the moment I went into active labor. With my first, I took a parenting class, but failed to really prepare myself for the actual labor. With my second, I hired a doula and had her coach me on how to deal with the pain, which made a huge difference. My bags were packed weeks before giving birth, and even though I went into labor at 39 weeks for each of them, I was very impatient and it felt like I had been pregnant for 40 + weeks. Each of them moved into a head-down position fairly early on, so I knew I would be having them vaginally, as long as everything went as planned.

ready to have a baby

39 weeks pregnant with my first, and VERY ready to pop

Caesarean section: Although I had really wanted to deliver my twins vaginally as well, baby A decided to plug the exit with her bum, while baby B settled herself so high inside my ribs, that my OB was a little nervous about getting her our even via C section.

Once I knew that I was headed for a C section, I made the decision to really accept this, and prepare myself as much as possible. I asked my friends and family about their experiences and had them each walk me through explicit detail as to what to expect.

Leading up to my C section, I was surprisingly calm. I just wanted my babies to arrive safely. I was able to plan everything I needed in advance, including babysitters for my older kids, which really relaxed me.

The hours leading up to giving birth

Vaginal birth: Although each of my vaginal deliveries were almost identical experiences, the way my labor started was very different with each. With my first, I started into early labor weeks before I actually delivered my son, with back pain and dialation. I lost my mucus plug a week before I went into active labor and I didn’t start having contractions until 20 minutes after my water broke, no I should say exploded, during the night.  I woke up and thought I had peed a little. I stood up and it was like someone poured a vase of water on the floor. Very dramatic!

Once I got to the hospital, I was a hot mess. I couldn’t handle the pain of my contractions that were less than two minutes apart. I hadn’t prepared for what felt like someone was snapping my pelvis like a wishbone. I opted for the epidural, and although it helped, it was spotty and was too strong. I started vomiting and felt drunk. When I arrived at the hospital, I was 5 cm dilated and I quickly jumped to 10 cm within a couple of hours.

sick after epidural

My husband kept calling me a pirate, because I couldn’t open up one eye, my epidural was so strong

With my second, I had just been recovering from having the flu. Although it felt like I had been pregnant forever, I needed a couple more day to rest. But one night I started cramping, (the exact time my water broke with my son). My pain was so all over the map that I kept brushing it off as nothing. I would try to sleep, then take a bath, then try to sleep again. Finally, my husband called my mom and said, “you better get over here, Joanna is in labor and she is in denial.” I think I was waiting for my water to break, like it had with my first.

in labor

In complete denial that I was in active labor

When my mother arrived, I was doubled over the counter. It was time to go. I was able to manage the pain more with my daughter, because I had prepared myself ahead of time. But because I was going to have an IV because I tested positive for Group Strep B Streptococcus Infection, I decided to opt for the epidural again. This time, I knew to get an anti-nauseant. This epidural was bliss. In fact, my husband and I felt like we were on a date. Maybe that was because it was so rare we were away from our son. Like my first, I jumped from 5 to 10 cm within a couple hours.

happy with an epidural

High on the best epidural ever administered and loving life

Caesarean section: The hours leading up to my scheduled C section were very different. There was no drama, no pain involved and no wondering “am I really in labor?” We left our house at 5 AM, to get prepped from my 8 AM C section. Tip: if you are getting a C section, try to get the earliest slot in the day possible. You will less likely be bumped. 

twin belly

One last twin pregnancy belly shot before heading to the hospital

Once arriving at the hospital, I registered, changed into a hospital gown, got my IV and was groomed down below, (yes they do that). Eventually the nurses and doctors started arriving and introducing themselves. Keep in mind I was delivering twins, so there was probably more introductions involved than a singleton C section, including who was on team baby A and team baby B. My husband was waiting in his scrubs and finally a nurse ushered me in.

I had been surprisingly calm up until this point. Yes, I had adrenaline flowing through me, but I was just ready to do this. It wasn’t until I walked into the operating room that I started to freak out. It was scary! It was then that it really sunk in that this was major surgery. I think the fact that everyone was in full scrubs and masks, plus that there were TWO warming beds, made the whole environment very surreal.

I turned my panic inward and used every tactic I could to keep myself from falling apart. I had a great nurse stand in front of me while I got my epidural and chat and distract me. It was showtime.

The birth

Vaginal birth: This is where my first two deliveries were eerily similar. I was in the bed, with my epidural and was told that I was 10 cm, but my baby was sunny side up, so we would hold on a little longer to let them turn. Remember that pelvis pain I felt? This explained it. Each of my babies did turn and within 15 minutes of pushing they arrived.

I panicked a bit with my first before pushing. I got really scared. But I had decided to turn down my epidural so I could feel just enough pain to push effectively, and it worked. Knowing this, I chose to do the same thing with my daughter, which resulted in a short amount of pushing. With both of my vaginal deliveries I received only a couple of stitches. Very lucky!

The entire experience was exciting and a bit of blur. I just held our son after he was born. He was all wrapped up and I didn’t think to ask to do skin to skin. I tried to breastfeed him and failed. I was in awe.

With my daughter, I had skin to skin and breastfed her right away. It was such a simple and beautiful moment.

skin to skin after vaginal delivery

Breastfeeding my daughter right after she was born

Caesarean section: This birth is still very vivid. The doctor started opening me up before my husband came in, I asked for him just as he was walking in the door. There was a lot of pushing and pulling involved. I didn’t feel any pain, until I got a sharp pain in my shoulder. This was normal, I was told, and it soon passed. I just focused on breathing in and out. The OB finally gave up having small talk with me because I kept forgetting to respond. “Breathe,” I thought, “breathe.”

Suddenly, a round faced baby was held up in the air. “She looks just like you!” My husband yelled. Seeing my daughter, twin A, snapped me out of my trance and reminded me why going through this was so worth it. Soon after, baby B was held up, looking exactly like my husband.

They were here. I did it. I was so in tune with every word spoken and every action taken at that point by the nurses, and was acutely aware of what was going on when my husband told me that baby B was having difficulty breathing and had to be rushed to the NICU. I sent him to be with her, while I focused on staying calm and watching my other baby being examined. The entire time this was going on, I was being stitched up, stapled and cleaned up. I still couldn’t feel a thing and can’t remember any of that process.

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Baby A and baby B

You can read a more detailed post about my twins’ birth here: Giving birth to twins and what a C section is really like

The first two hours after giving birth

Vaginal birth: Almost immediately after having my son, visitors poured into my room and started passing him around. He was born on a Friday in June, which increased the number of visitors that came to the hospital. I was so excited to show him off, I didn’t think about the repercussions. I should have been focusing on the two of us, and trying to breastfeed. I do think that because I had had such an easy delivery, the nurses were very relaxed about visitors. I continued to push myself, walking around, and entertaining all of my guests.

vistors holding a new baby

Guests holding my new baby

With my daughter, who was born on a Monday in February, I only got one immediate visitor, my father-in-law. Everyone was either working, or sick. My husband and I didn’t mind one bit. After mastering breastfeeding with her, I started getting nauseous. I passed my daughter to my husband and began vomiting. Finally after a few popsicles, I felt better.

After an hour in the labor and delivery room, I was asked to walk to my shared room in the maternity ward.

Caesarean section: After being wheeled out of the operating room and into recovery, I began shaking, and I couldn’t stop. The nurse passed baby A to me, and I clumsily held her and tried to breastfeed, but eventually passed her to my husband.

C section birth

Trying to find a comfortable way to hold my baby while violently shivering

Finally, baby B reunited with us, breathing well at this point and I stared at both girls in awe.

Holding newborn twins

In shock that I just gave birth to twins

Once the nurses had taken my blood pressure, I was given both babies and my hospital bed was pushed down the hall, through the waiting room, to my private room in the maternity ward. As I was pushed down the hall, I somewhat remember hearing squeals of “look twins” and seeing my mother-in-law’s excited face as she got a glimpse of her twin granddaughters.

Once arriving in my room, my fantastic nurse made sure no one could come visit until my babies each laid skin to skin on me. The warmth finally stopped my shivering and shaking. This was the most incredible two hours. I was still so numb and was completely fine with laying in one spot.

Finally visitors were allowed to trickle in, but to their disappointment, and my glee, they were only allowed to look, not hold my babies.

The first few days

Vaginal birth: The first few days with my son were a mix of feeling excited and terrified. I had a terrible time getting him to latch, and shared are room with a mother who snored VERY loud. I was desperate to hit the 24 hours mark and head home, but he had to breastfeed successfully before we could be discharged. Finally by the 23rd hour, he latched and we left the hospital. I had my husband sleep the previous night in the fold out chair, while I laid awake staring at my baby the entire night.

The days following were very stressful. I was trying to navigate motherhood and breastfeeding, my ankles swelled because I hadn’t put my feet up enough, we had busloads of visitors, and we weren’t sleeping at all because our son kept gagging, (he still had amniotic fluid in his lungs, a side-effect from coming out so fast and not enough pushes to get the fluid out). I melted down many times that first week, and it took me a long time to really find my rhythm.

a new mom

A terrified and exhausted new mother

With my daughter, I had learned from my previous mistakes. I sent my husband home that night to get some rest, while I soaked up every bonding minute with my little girl. I mastered breastfeeding her, and was ready to go at the 24 hour mark, because my poor roommate had a baby who wouldn’t stop crying.

Going home this time was a little different. I had a toddler as well and pretty much had to jump into everyday life. With both deliveries, my recovery was not bad at all.

mom of two

Trying to figure out how to parent TWO kids

Caesarean section: I spent 5 days in the hospital with my twins. The extra two days were to keep an eye on baby B. I can honestly say, I had a great time during that hospital stay. I enjoyed having visitors, including friends who stayed and laughed with me while passing around babies way beyond visiting hours. I took advantage of all of the support I was given by the nursing staff, even mastering tandem breastfeeding.

recovering from a c section in hospital

Sleeping in the hospital as much as I can before heading home

The biggest advantage of a C section, to me, was spending those first few scary days, in a hospital with help. By the time I was discharged, I knew each baby so well, and wasn’t scared. My pain was managed really well, and the biggest discomfort I experienced was trying to lay down while my organs moved back into place, (the most suffocating and bizarre pain I have ever felt). This, of course was more to do with having twins than having a C section.

Final thoughts on a Caesarean section vs a vaginal birth…

After being through each birthing scenario, I would say that each have their perks and their negatives. A C section is major surgery, and kind of scary, but there is definitely a lot more time to prepare for a C section, and a lot more care and attention given to your recovery after.

A vaginal birth is a much faster, unpredictable and not as much attention is given to your recovery. You are sent off into the world, trying to recover, while figuring out your baby from day two on.

Looking back on each birth, I can see how a series of circumstances impacted each outcome. My own preparation also had an affect, to a point.

But I am so grateful that regardless of how my four babies arrived into this world, they were healthy, and I will cherish every memory for the rest of my life.

four kids

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Bottom photo by Sarah Martin Photography

I Don’t Want My Pre-baby Body Back

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“Did you get your pre-baby body back?” “No.” I answered honestly to a nervous, first time, pregnant mom. The truth is, given the chance, I don’t think I’d want my old body back.

For as long as I can remember, and way before becoming a mother, I struggled with my weight. I was painfully self-conscious, and I missed out on a lot of life because of my insecurities. I was always comparing myself to everyone around me, and never feeling good enough to relax into my own skin.

Throughout my teens and early twenties, I was so hard on myself and focused on every flaw. The littlest comment, or ill-fitting outfit irrationally discouraged me.

Even when I had finally reached my goal weight before having kids, I always felt like I wasn’t thin enough, toned enough, or sculpted enough.honeymoon

Becoming pregnant and having children slowly changed me. During my pregnancies, I felt like my body had a purpose. I accepted my new curves and was able to wrap my mind around losing the baby weight after each pregnancy.

But it wasn’t until my twin pregnancy, when I fully appreciated the violent and miraculous journey my body had been on.

The hip pain, swollen ankles, sore breasts…

first pregnancy

Braxton hicks contractions, stretching…

second pregnancy

Contractions, rib pain and so much more.

Twin pregnancy

During and after birth, my body was stretched, sliced, stitched and pulled apart.

after giving birth

This journey of creating, birthing and caring for life is really wild and brutal when you think about it. But I wouldn’t give all of that torture up for one second. My body endured and withstood and healed from all of that pain.

It created these four perfect humans.four kids

So, do I want my old body back? No, I don’t. Although I am on a new fitness journey to regain strength lost. My body worked really hard for those soft, doughy spots, those wider hips, those stretch marks and those scars.

Today, I am more confident than ever. I see my body’s purpose and know it’s power. I know that the war my body has been through is it’s own and can’t be compared to other bodies.

I have no intentions of erasing my journey, just rehabilitating the body that brought my kids into this world.

With toddler on beach

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Photo of my four kids: Sarah Martin Photography

What To Wear After A C-Section

What Clothing to wear after a C sectionAt first, after a C-section, you will look like this. Sporting hospital gowns and baggy draw-string pajama pants. Eventually you will want to put real clothes on.

When our twin’s C-section fate was finally sealed when Mia (Twin A) plugged the exit with her bum, I had a million questions about what a C-section would be like. After having two easy vaginal deliveries, I wanted to know every gritty detail so I could prepare myself as much as possible. One topic I grilled my C-section-veteran-friends on was “what do you wear after a C-section?” Since the incision is made just above your pubic bone, (in your pubic area), your regular pants would rub and irritate the fresh incision. So what post C-section attire is best to pack for the hospital and heading home? Here are a couple great options (NOT a sponsored post):

Lululemon Relaxed Fit Pants: Any draw-string pant would work really well after a C-section because you can control the tightness and where it sits on your waist. My Lululemon Relaxed Fit Pants were my go to after C-section pants. In fact, if you showed up at my house today, there is about a 99% chance that I would answer my door wearing a pair of these. At $98.00 CAN , this is an investment piece that is well worth it! The fit and the quality are incredible. Guess what, there’s more. These pants were my favourite pair of maternity pants too! Whaaaaat????? You heard me, the genius who designed these must have been a woman. The waistband of the pants even folds over with extra holes for the draw-string on the inside so you can make them low waisted. These would be one of the items I would take with me onto a deserted island. Okay, I am finished gushing now!

Lululemon Relaxed Fit Pants

Strapless Maxi Dress: Another great post C-section clothing option is a strapless maxi dress. If you are going to give birth during a heat wave, (which was me, two out of three times), you will most likely want to go for a flowy, airy option that you can easily breast feed in. This Tube Maxi Dress from Old Navy, $34.94 CAN, is a great option, complete with the key to after C-Section comfort: a draw-string!

Old Navy C Section Dress

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Life With Twins: The First Two Weeks Part Two – Going Home

collage 8Read Part One Here: Life With Twins: The First Two Weeks – The Hospital Stay

After a five day hospital stay, once our precious girls Mia and Everly arrived via Cesarean section at 37 weeks 4 days, we had finally been given the green light to go home.  Mike proudly carried our two tiny 6lb bundles out into the hot summer air away from our safe haven of doctors and nurses, who for the past five days had been helping us non-stop.  We were on our own now… gulp!

We knew we had a bit of extra time before we were losing our babysitters who were looking after our two older kids, Holden and Beau, so Mike and I decided to drop into a baby boutique to pick up more swaddling blankets.  Venturing out of my hospital cocoon felt so absurd.  I felt hypersensitive to lights and the bustle of people around me.  After walking around the store a bit I started to weaken and parked myself on a chair near the door with our girls while Mike finished paying.  Reality was setting in that real life was about to begin and I was pretty nervous.  Not nervous about caring for two babies at once.  Nervous about creating a new family dynamic and making sure that I was giving everyone enough attention.

Once arriving home I was told that Beau was still napping, so after Holden quickly greeted his baby sisters I darted upstairs to the nursery with Mia and Everly to nurse them.  After a serene feeding session I started to hear muffled whispers and the sound of a vacuum outside the nursery door.  Once I ventured out of the room to see what was going on I knew immediately what happened by the overpowering stench.  Baby powder.  While we all thought Beau was napping, in reality she had been emptying an entire bottle of baby powder in her room.  I am still shocked to this day that Mike was so patient about it.

We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying our newest members of the family while my mom, as well as Holden and Beau helped feed them.  I was trying to accommodate our kids as much as possible but my energy was quickly fading.

collage 2I put our girls down for their first nap in their cribs with huge success.  I realized then that sending our girls out to the nurses for help while in the hospital actually helped them get accustomed to sleeping independently which transferred over nicely when it was time to sleep in their nursery.

Side note: I had tried having Holden room share with us when he was born, which didn’t work out since I am such a light sleeper.  We had our girls sleep in separate cribs in their nursery so that we could use Angelcare monitors with the breathing pads for peace of mind.  If they shared a crib the monitors would not work.  (This post is not sponsored by Angelcare, I just LOVE their monitors).  See Nesting Story’s Twin Nursery Tour And Tandem Feeding Tutorial Video for more on our sleeping arrangements and how I would tandem feed them without help right from the start.


Once it was finally my turn to have a sleep I was so excited to pass out in my own bed without an enormous pregnant belly.  I had been sleeping in a slightly reclined hospital bed since my c-section up to this point.  I eased my bruised and battered body into my bed and was ready to go into a coma.  As soon as I laid down it felt as if someone place a 50 lb weight on my chest.  I couldn’t breathe.  I sat up in a panic and thought to myself, “what the hell was that?”  I tried repeatedly and every time I felt like I was suffocating.  I started sobbing as Mike entered the room.  I explained that I just wanted to sleep but couldn’t.  I eventually found a way to sleep somewhat comfortably by grabbing Beau’s decorative pillow’s from her bed and slept upright for the following few days.  This was something I had never experienced following my vaginal deliveries with my older two.  I think it had been a combination of healing from surgery as well as my organs being misplaced after carrying our twins for almost nine months.Collage 4

The next day I noticed my feet and ankles began to swell.  This happened after Holden’s delivery (which was also during the summer heat), so I wasn’t surprised.  But the amount of swelling was incredible, so much so that it was alarming my parents who kept taking my blood pressure, worrying that it might be the cause.  Nope, blood pressure was fine.  The uncomfortable ankle swelling went on for three weeks before it subsided.  I had kept saying to Mike that if my ankle swelling went down I would feel so much better.

I wasn’t allowed to drive for two weeks after my c-section and thankfully Mike was home during that time.  We ventured out all as one big family and enjoyed the long summer day.  Holden was adjusting beautifully to his new sisters and after a few giggles when I would nurse Mia and Everly uncovered in front of him, he got over it pretty quickly.  Beau was a mix between clinging to me and being very defiant.  She had her moments of being an extremely helpful little mommy, but then she would start taking advantage of my guilt.  I was trying to be so accommodating, worrying that she might feel completely shafted.  After my mom witnessed what was going on, she gave me fantastic advice.  “Joanna, she is a big girl.  What this family needs right now is a mom that is taking care of herself and healing properly from a very major surgery.  Your number one priority are those two tiny babies.”  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  From that point forward I put my foot down and Beau quickly realized the jig was up.  To this day it is still a balance between extra love, attention and one on one time vs structure and discipline with Beau.

The first couple days at home came with it’s share of visitors.  I was careful to schedule the visits for when it suited us and not over do it.

collage 3We had scheduled a newborn photography shoot for day three at home.  This was a turning point for us.  We had a babysitter for Holden and Beau while Mike and I hid out, lounging on couches while the photographers gingerly photographed our little dolls for four hours straight only stopping here and there so I could feed them.  This gave Mike and I some time to get away from visitors and the activity of our home.  We put our feet up, relaxed and regrouped.
collage 5In the days that followed we all found our groove.  I actually enjoyed getting up with Mia and Everly to feed them during the night.  When one would wake, I would also wake the sleeping baby and do one big feeding.  I was actually getting a pretty decent amount of sleep and would soak in those intimate quiet moments when it was just the three of us.  We mastered bathing two babies (think assembly line), and a routine was starting to take shape.collage 9

Holden and Beau were and still are fascinated and completely in love with “their” babies.  They both started finding ways they could help safely.  Beau would even mimic me breastfeeding with her dolls.  There were days that I would get teary and think I wasn’t spending enough time with one child or another and always feeling spread so thin.  But as time has passed I have learned that even a quick hug and kiss in passing when you don’t have time for more can make all the difference.  I also try to be constantly in tune with who may be having a rough time and give them extra attention.  It is a constant balancing act.

After the first two weeks I was feeling much better, but taking my wise nurse’s advice, I didn’t over do it at that point, including going on long walks.  It took a couple months to really start feeling like myself again.  Although I was relieved that I was on the other side and had completed my “marathon” of a pregnancy, there was a lot of healing that needed to happen.
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By the end of the first two weeks, Mia and Everly were still those easy to please, happy babies that I had experienced in the hospital.  But little did I know that something was brewing and our lives would soon be turned upside down.

Read Postpartum Depression, Fructose Intolerence And Why I Stopped Breastfeeding Our Twins to see what was waiting for us at the three week point.SMP005

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