Identical Twin Diaries: Three Weeks Old

Sunday, 16 July 2017

newborn identical twins in hospital

Wow... How my life has changed in just a couple of posts! Things had been going so smoothly all the way through my pregnancy - it really did seem too good to be true! And I guess it really was.

Shortly after writing my 35 week post where I mentioned I'd been feeling pretty rubbish and swollen, I went into hospital for a routine check. We were meant to be in and out within thirty minutes but we were ushered along to one of the private rooms and I was told I had third stage pre-eclampsia and wouldn't be leaving the hospital until I'd had the twins. Things escalated quickly and before I knew it, we were headed to the labour ward where I was told the babies would be delivered that evening! It did however get pretty scary for Jay as I had a reaction to some of the medication and lost consciousness and from then on, the first few days are a bit of a blur.

I'll save all the details for my birth story post but the good news is, I'm finally on the mend. Time has absolutely flown by and I can't believe how much they've grown and changed already. Everyday I look at them and notice something new and different.

newborn identical twins So honestly, what's it like with newborn identical twins? It's the hardest job I've ever done but the easiest at the same time. I'm not going to lie, I've had a couple of meltdowns... mostly towards the end of the end of the day when the sleep depravation gets the better of me and I realise I'm not going to get a nice solid straight eight hours again. Speaking of which, the girls sleep really well BUT no one told me how noisy newborns (especially preemies) are. They sound like little french bulldogs, snoring away and then they cough up fluid because they were section babies and then they dream and make random cries which ultimately results in one paranoid mum checking them all the time. I never switch off. That makes recovering from a section and eclampsia really hard but I wouldn't change any of it for a second.

It's fascinating watching them grow from babies into little people. They are already developing their little personalities and although we're not sleeping through the night, we're in a good routine right now.

There's a few things that nobody told me which I've learnt since becoming a Mum to our twins and wanted to share for other soon to be twin mums. So in no particular order:

  • Tommee Tippee Bottles aren't always best!

  • Everyone I spoke to recommended them until I got to the hospital and our girls couldn't manage the teats. We used the hospital bottles and teats from then on but once we were home we ended up spending a small fortune hunting down teats which both of them could manage. We're now using these MAM Anti-Colic Self-Sterilising Bottles which are much better for little mouths.

  • Newborns are noisy!

  • As mentioned above, not all babies sleep silently like you'd imagine. There's a number of noises and these are amplified times two with twins. They snore, cough, let out little cries and talk to each other in their sleep which makes for one very tired Mum. I cried on my midwife around about the third day we'd spent at home as I'd had no sleep at all and she assured me the babies would turn their heads if something was wrong and I'd get used to the noises. She was right - I've now started to work out what all the different squeaks, grunts and groans mean and though I hear them, I don't react to them all now. If I'd known this before, I would have felt much better.

  • You know your body!

  • I'd had such an easy pregnancy and I carried very small. Everyone kept telling me you'll get really big at the end and this put me off complaining to the midwives and doctors when I did. I felt different in those last couple of weeks... my face felt squishy, my legs had no shape and when everyone said 'it's twins your carrying, it will be hard' I believed them. I shouldn't have because I've since learnt how serious pre-eclampsia and eclampsia are and though the girls were fine, I put my life at risk by waiting for my appointment and not ringing my GP or midwife and I missed out on a lot of the first few days of the girls because I was so poorly. You know your body and if you feel something isn't right, don't listen to anyone else and call your pregnancy unit. It's much better to be safe than sorry.

Introducing our Identical Twin Girls Edie and Mabel

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

If you follow me on Instagram, you will already have seen our news. Two days after my last post, our beautiful identical twin girls, Edie Caroline Tate and Mabel Alice Tate unexpectedly arrived into the world via an emergency c-section at 9.02 and 9.03pm on June 22nd.

Though my pregnancy had been rather smooth running, there were a few complications in the last couple of days and though both the girls were perfect weighing 4 lbs 2 and 3 lbs 7, my recovery has been a little bit harder than expected. I will of course be writing about their birth story at some point but for the moment, we're enjoying our first week at home spending time as a family of four. We are so incredibly in love with them and feel so lucky that we made it to 35 weeks.


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

It feels very surreal typing this, that it's my last week by week post before the babies arrive! I am absolutely in awe that my body has allowed me to get so far given everything that all the doctors, midwives and various other medical professionals I've seen have said. Along my journey, I came across another three mo/di twin mum's to be who all had due dates either the same or just after mine and all have given birth. The only explanation as to why these two haven't made an early appearance by now is probably down to the fact they're both sat in breech position which in my eyes as uncomfortable as I am now, is a blessing.

How Big are the Babies:
At our 34 week scan, Twin 1 was 4.11 and Twin 2 was 4.9 so perfectly on track to hopefully make it to 5lbs for week 36 when they'll be delivered. Our family have been taking bets about how big the girls are each week when we've been scanned and this week everyone got a shock as no one thought they would have made those weights!

I've been a bit quiet lately on here and on social media... mainly because I've felt so rubbish the past couple of weeks. I don't really feel like I can complain as I've had hardly any symptoms up until around 30/32 weeks. My blood pressure has been perfect throughout the pregnancy but I started to swell up and everyone had a little panic it might be preeclampsia - thankfully it wasn't. However the babies are sitting blocking the flow to my legs which no matter what I do causes them to swell up excessively. Much more so than your usual pregnancy fluid retention. I'd already been referred to a physio through my consultant and she's been so helpful, attempting to move the babies by manipulating my back and providing me with crutches for support. I've also got a not so sexy support wrap that makes me look like I've been mummified to support my back and abs.

As I've felt so heavy, that's took toll on my energy levels and I've been napping a lot more throughout the day. On a night I've been waking up to go to the bathroom but I've been so exhausted I've gone straight back to sleep, despite been so uncomfortable. I do have a new found admiration for fraternal twin mum's as I have no idea how you manage to get through these final few weeks and go full term!

I've tried my best to stick to my three healthy meals a day and healthy snacks but with feeling so glum I've treat myself recently. I've indulged in ice creams and chocolate bars when I've wanted and considering how good I've been till now I don't feel guilty at all.

Weight Gain:
Curiosity got the better of me and I hopped on my Mum's scales the other night! I've put on around 35lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight which isn't too bad I don't think considering there's nearly 10lbs of baby, a placenta, a lot more blood and fluid in general in me right now. Like I mentioned in my last update, family are still shocked at the size of my bump but I think that's because I was so slim and always have been but strangers and those who don't know I'm expecting twins can't believe there's two in there!

As with last week's update - I'm trying to stay as active as possible but at the same time following Doctor's orders to keep my feet up and rest as much as I can.

As mentioned above - I'm exhausted from carrying all this weight around. It's disturbed sleep but I'm getting lots of it.

Other Notable Things:
Yikes! I start pre-op in a couple of days and the next time I write a blog post, my two tiny twins will be here! See you on the other side!

Twin Pregnancy : The Anti-Birth Plan

Friday, 16 June 2017

On my last update post, I announced that we'd found out our d-day in our latest appointment with our consultant and provided our girls don't make an early appearance of their own, they'll be joining us at 36 weeks, in June. It was a surreal experience finding out the birthday of your babies before they're here but I've known for a while because of our twins chorionicity that the process would be much more clinical than a singleton pregnancy.

Our type of twins, mo/di share a placenta and are separated by a thin membrane (our doctor describes it as a piece of clingfilm in a bag of water) and research has shown, as well as other various reasons, the placenta isn't strong enough for both after 36 weeks. Therefore they are delivered early. However modi's apparently have a habit of turning up of their own accord earlier than this!

Been under consultant care means we've been seen and scanned at least every two weeks, sometimes more depending on what has been going on. On top of this I've had additional appointments with community midwives, health visitors and my GP, so we've definitely been well looked after. Birth was discussed at our very first consultant appointment and it was explained we could still potentially have a natural birth provided the circumstances were right. I'm not a doctor so I won't even begin to try and repeat everything we were told here. I also believe that everyone is different and as it turns out because of our twins circumstances, the best thing for us, was to plan a date in for a section at 36 weeks.

The idea of a 'Birth Plan' isn't something I've ever been comfortable with. I'm no expert but in my opinion there are so many things that can happen during labor or an operation that really it would be hard to make a plan for what you want to happen. And I think this is why so many friends, family members and people I've spoke to feel so disappointed with their birthing experiences... because they didn't go the way they intended.

So I've been very much anti-plan from day one... I'm happy to go with the flow and whatever is best and safest for the twins is what I want. We've got all our dates to begin the process which starts the week prior and then our section date but if the twins decide to make an earlier appearance, we'll be assessed then to see what the best course of action is.

What I have done is made some points with our consultant which we discussed. For example, I quite like the idea of hearing the process so if I can, I want to know what's going on. In terms of skin to skin, the priority is obviously making sure the girls are fine and healthy but as soon as possible, section or v-bac, we'd like whoever can if that's me or Jay to be able to have some skin to skin time with the babies. Finally if the babies or one of them needs to go to NICU, Jay is to go with them while I'm finished been stitched up.

And that is as far as the plan on paper goes. The rest of the plan is to spend the time between now and the twins arrival getting ourselves and our home ready for them and enjoying what time we have left as just the two of us as much as we can. It feels very surreal but terribly exciting that we'll shortly be meeting our two little mini me's!


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The bags under my eyes in this bump photo say it all. Growing two tiny humans is exhausting. Some days I feel like I have been pregnant forever and other days it only seems like yesterday I was throwing the ClearBlue stick at Jay explaining 'we might have a little issue...' Oh if I'd only known then that our little issue might be x2. I have successfully made it to 32 weeks pregnant with our little modi twins and looking back, I've really not had that bad of a pregnancy. I have however started to really notice my limitations. Not long now though - we met our consultant again this week and d-day (or c-day should I say) has been decided!

How Big are the Babies:
Been scanned by our consultant this week was a different experience to been scanned by our twin midwife as there was a lot to take in while she was doing the scanning. The girls are now so big and are cuddled up together so it's really hard to make out two baby shapes - we really just see various body parts and to top it off they were sat in strange positions. Twin 1 was 3 lb 7oz, still comfortably sat in breech position. Twin 2 for the first time in the whole pregnancy had over taken her sister and was 3lb 8oz, also breech and both facing each other, heads together. Twin 2 had definitely been doing some stretching as one of her legs was up by her head!

The back pain continues - it's more of a dull ache everywhere until I try and do something like bend or reach then sometimes I get a sharp pain. It's also waking me up during the night and whilst I'm most comfortable sleeping on my left, I get bored and turning over is really uncomfortable. Generally, once I've turned I need the bathroom and have to get up so it just doesn't seem worth it. I did have a very successful physiotherapy appointment today which I'm going to cover in a separate post as it could be really useful to anyone else who's pregnant with twins!

Braxton hicks - apparently my Mum never even noticed when she had these. Mine sometimes are a little uncomfortable but are worst when I'm a passenger in a car. Going over bumps in the road is like a form of torture.

I still have a healthy appetite and eat more than I used to but I wouldn't say I'm eating for three or even for two. I'm still having three balanced meals and as I type this, after lunch and before dinner, I'm snacking on a tin of peach slices.

Weight Gain:
No idea. Family and generally older people (our gardener for example) take great pleasure in saying 'oooh you're getting bigger' 'looks like you have two in their ha ha' and 'have you swallowed a couple watermelons?' Friends, friends of friends and strangers have slightly different reactions - some comment that I don't even look pregnant from certain angles, others 'can't believe there's two in there' and a few have said 'what a tidy little bump.'

So my bump is definitely growing and is bigger but I really don't care as long as our twinnies are healthy. I have started to notice I'm carrying more fluid and my face, ankles, feet and hands are swollen. With only a few weeks to go, I don't think this is bad going though.

I don't think I can call it exercise any longer - I move and I try and keep as active as I can. I walk a lot slower and I haven't been swimming due to my classes running out. I've still been doing my stretching and I'll be adding the exercises my physio gave me to these.

As mentioned above, I go to the bathroom multiple times through the night now and turning over is a challenge so it's not great sleep. There has been the odd night where the twins have decided to have a party and all I can feel is them turning and kicking, which is a lovely comfort to know they are there and ok but a pain in the bum when you're just dropping off and someone thinks your bladder is a trampoline.

Other Notable Things:
So my little bit of a wobble while trying to put socks on is now a full blown impersonation of a weeble (remember them?). I can't reach and I've stopped trying. I can't pick things up off the floor without doing the most ridiculous looking lunge and I waddle when I walk. I get stuck in our sofa and feel like a space hopper with giant arms.

The most exciting news which I briefly touched on above was that we had another appointment with our consultant and we now know when the babies will be born, this is provided they don't decide to make an early appearance themselves! Since there is a lot involved with twin pregnancy birth plans I've already started drafting a separate post about ours to go live later this week. It's very much an anti-birth plan. Can you believe than in less than a month myself and Jay will be the proud parents of two tiny humans? Now that's going to fly over...

Pregnancy Dreams: The Weird and Wonderful

Monday, 29 May 2017

I thought I'd stray a little from my usual type of post as this was something that no one had ever mentioned or warned me about prior to getting pregnant! Despite friends already having babies and attending all my sex education and biology classes as a teenager, you'd have thought at some point I would have heard about pregnancy dreams...

I've always had a very good imagination. My Mum used to tell me that as a child, I'd tell her the most amazing stories about the places I'd been and what I'd seen but actually I'd never left the farm where I grew up. These adventures I went on got me into lots of trouble, like the time I once shaved my shetland pony practically bald and gave her a mohawk as we'd 'been to the jungle,' or when I started my own jungle gym business and built a homemade seesaw which I catapulted my younger brother off breaking both his arms (sorry Adam). Mum was convinced that I'd eventually write children's books one day (marketing isn't that dissimilar at times, instead I tell brands stories) however I grew out of it the older I got. That was until I got pregnant and my subconscious mind led me astray again on some of the most odd dreams.

So with the risk of getting myself called a crazy lady or the possibility that you might share howling in laughter at me like my family and friends did, I thought I'd introduce you to three of the bizarre scenarios my mind played out in my sleep over the past 8 months - one from each trimester.

At my old gym, there was a swimming pool however it was mainly designed for kids as it had a wave pool and various props to make it look like a beach. I hadn't been swimming there in months as it was really hard to squeeze in between work and the term vs half term timetables.

This wasn't where my dream started though. I was at a beach which looked a lot like Tynemouth, I'd been there a while despite the fact the weather wasn't the greatest and I don't really remember what I was doing until I discovered an oil tanker had crashed spilling oil all over the sea. Strangely no birds, other than a colony of over 100 penguins were harmed in the accident. I decided it was my job to rescue said colony and was suddenly in a truck driving a trailer load of oily penguins down the motorway!

It didn't take long for me to reach my destination - my gym. I had several arguments with various staff members before they agreed this was the best place for the penguins to be as the wave pool would simulate their natural environment (supposedly - I'm not sure when I became such an expert on penguins and their habitat). I ushered the penguins in and they were swimming and generally enjoying the leisure centre's facilities before my alarm rudely woke me up and I explained to Jay, 'you'll not believe the dream I just had!'

Turns out, in time Jay would come to believe that I was having crazy dreams because at the start of the second trimester I slept walked for the first time ever. I didn't get very far - I only went to the bathroom but I was out for the count and though I remembered dreaming, I didn't recall the conversation I'd had with Jay or what I'd got up to!

At some point in the middle of the night I apparently started nudging Jay and asking him to wake up. He panicked and asked me what was wrong to which I replied 'I'm scared, the aliens have tried to take the babies!' I was convinced that aliens had tried to abduct my unborn children - obviously unsettling for any sleepy soon to be father.

Realising I'd had a bad dream, my calm and patient as ever husband tried to settle me and tell me to go back to sleep however I had other ideas. I actually made Jay wake up, turn the lightS on and check for aliens before I'd go to the bathroom. On my return, I explained they'd been hovering by the bed and had tried to take the twins for testing and that we needed to be careful in case they came back, I then promptly fell back to sleep.

The following morning, I knew I'd had a strange dream about aliens but I had no idea about the rest. Thankfully Jay has the patience of a saint however I'm not sure how he would have coped if this had happened every night.

If only eh? This is one of the latest ones and is probably the most random. The dream set off fairly normal, Jay and I were heading to one of our routine scans at the hospital however we weren't been seen by our usual midwife or consultant. This new girl did the scan and then explained because we'd spent so much in car parking fees at the hospital, she'd go bring the car to us. It was part of a new service the hospital were offering, so we told her where we'd parked our black Audi A3 and the reg.

We headed to the hospital's Costa to grab me a decaf latte when Jay realised he'd left his wallet and phone in the car along with his passport. The new midwife, with our car had yet to turn up so we panicked assuming she'd stolen the car and our belongings. All of a sudden we were meant to be going on holiday to Florida with our family and so Jay went off to report the stolen car to the police whilst I (heavily pregnant with twins) decided to bike from Durham to Redcar (xx miles - fairly sure my consultant would have a few strong words about this if it were real).

So I'm on my bike, heading over the country roads to go meet Jay's family when I suddenly find Jay's wallet on route. The new evil midwife must have thrown it out of the car when she was stealing it, I explained to him on the phone... I'm still not sure how he answered as his phone was meant to be in the car too. I eventually got to Redcar which looked like my home in Durham and I realised we didn't need to go to Florida after all because my Dad had built a new Disney World right behind our farm. Big Ben was also randomly there and the sun was setting so I decided to take some photos because the view looked so pretty of the Disney Princess Castle, with my house and Big Ben all in shot - only to get shouted at by some fellow cyclists for stopping and blocking their path. "Can't you see I'm pregnant with twins?" I shouted back to which they swore back at me. So dream me pulled out the only line I could at that, "Don't you know who I am? My Dad built that Disney World and you're now not getting in!"

I've had funny dreams before where I've thought they meant things, for example I used to dream my teeth were falling out if I was feeling anxious or unhappy. Honestly though, I'm not sure where you'd start analysing these dreams so I'm just putting them down to the fact that pregnancy can sometimes just be a little bit weird.

Pregnancy Pick Me Up: SHOW Beauty

Thursday, 25 May 2017

You may remember last summer I was invited to the launch of the new SHOW Dry at House of Fraser in the Metro Centre. I popped through after work one evening and was treated to the biggest, bounciest and probably the best blow dry I've ever had! I was annoyed at myself for having not taken the day off work and gone early in the morning as I loved it so much. So on a day when my pregnancy was getting me down and I was feeling particularly rubbish about myself, I was delighted to receive an email inviting me to the launch of their new Lux Volume Care Collection at House of Fraser in the MetroCentre.

Founded by Tamara Ecclestone, SHOW Beauty is an opulent hair care, styling and finishing collection. I'm not sure where these pregnancy hormones that make your hair bounce and shine are but the lack of them combined with moving into the new house and only having use of my parents bathroom whilst ours was been fitted, meant I was in need of some pampering.

The girls at SHOW treat me to an up-do and sent me off with the new Volumising Shampoo and Volumising Conditioner to try. Part of me wanted to keep them until our new bathroom was complete but I couldn't help myself and I broke into them the day after the event - I have no willpower!

As well as the luxurious packaging, the first real thing you notice when you start to use the products is the smell. It's delicious and the more you lather, the stronger this gets. My Mum actually shouted to check I was ok as I had been in the shower for so long the first day I used them. I've been using them for over a month now and they were the first things I moved into our new bathroom as soon as the shower was ready to use!

Anyone who knows me, will know I have naturally thick, heavy hair - I've longed for natural light waves for years and I've come to the conclusion that we all want what we can't have unless we're Kate Middleton and have a hairdresser on hand 24/7. However using the SHOW products is the closest I've ever come! They leave my hair feeling so light and healthy - I don't tend to do too much with my hair at the moment due to a lack of energy (thanks third trimester) but I really don't need to now. I just towel dry the ends and leave it to form some beach style waves.

I love using these products and I've seen a massive difference in my hair since I started using them. If your hair suffers with flatness, or if you're looking to give yourself a little pregnancy pick me up by adding that spa smelling experience to your bathroom, then I cannot recommend these enough. Find out more about SHOW Beauty and SHOW Dry on their website or book an appointment at your nearest boutique now.