Back in March of this year, we had the absolute pleasure to host a guest blogger right here on NSSLOU. That guest blogger was Sam Goodwin.
Sam told us her inspirational story of the birth of, and the first 6 months with, premature twins. You can read Sam’s blog post, ‘6 months in, 6 months out’ here.
Well, just in case you haven’t figured it out, this month her twins turn the big ONE! And we are delighted to have Sam back on our blog today, giving us an update on how things have been since her last guest blog, and what life is like now with one year old twins.
So again, please show Sam some love for the bravery to share her story publicly, and maybe we might be able to have more guest bloggers here on NSSLOU in the future.
’12 Months with Twins’ by Sam Goodwin
Today my 24 weekers turn one!
This whole year has been a roller coaster ride that’s for sure.
After 104 days in hospital, we finally made it home. But we still had many issues we had to address in order to stay home.
Feeding issues and weight gain were our main struggles at first. Kalani and Keanu were tube fed breast milk in hospital until later in our stay where they were transitioned to bottle feeds. And let me tell you, it was no walk in the park!
Despite trying everything it was almost impossible to wake them for feeds. Plus, with Kalani having major jaundice, it was even harder to feed him.
It took us at least 1.5 months to actually feed properly! I thought for sure they had upper lip ties, reflux, colic…something that would explain it. But after many, many doctor visits they all said the same thing, “YOUR BABIES ARE FINE!”
Of course that didn’t sit well with me because I knew something was wrong. It’s just a motherly instinct. You never overlook it!
Though it wasn’t diagnosed my gut feeling was that my babies had colic, so I did get off the shelf medicines appropriate for their age to see if it made a difference. It was touch and go as I found these medicines did and didn’t work.
I spent hundreds of dollars trying different formulas and different types of milk only to find that nothing worked and reverted back to our original formula.
Soooooo, now we come to their sleeping habits… You know those mamas that have a baby who sleeps through from 6 weeks? Yeah, not my sons! We’ve had a heck of a ride when it came to our sleep… Oh let me just tell you!
We had an in home sleep consultant come out to our house and write up a plan that suited our family and lifestyle when they were 4 months corrected age. It worked for probably… hmm… 4 days!
I was so disappointed because I had such high hopes and I was extremely sleep deprived. I still am! So I really hoped we had a solution. I didn’t want to give up because let’s be real… A well rested mama is a great, great, great, great mama! And I wanted to be that mama!
So we tried desperately to get into sleep school at the Ellen Barron Family Centre. And then we finally got accepted when the boys were 6 months old.
Unfortunately, even that didn’t work for us.
The nurses at Ellen Barron called Keanu ‘El Toro the Bull’. He was absolutely horrid. OH BELIEVE ME, I KNOW! Still to this day he is an absolute bugger to put to sleep.
I spent countless hours patting, rocking, shooshing, rocking in the pram, driving around and around and cuddling my babies trying to get them to sleep. COUNTLESS hours! I’m blessed with the amount of hair I still have on my head as a result.
I had also tried…
Darkening their room, introducing soft music, swaddles, sleeping bags, co-sleeping, offering more milk, offering more food, adjusting their sleep times, adjusting their awake times, reading sleep books… Everything you can name, I did!
In the end, I just threw my hands up and said whatever, I’ll just deal with it. So hello, from a proud, tired, sleepless mama of twin boys who are terrible, terrible sleepers. Anyone else? Wanna join my club! There’s coffee! Lot’s of coffee!
So onto the health side of things…
As you know, Kalani and Keanu were born 24+5 weeks gestation. Because of this, we have had continuous check ups at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital for both boys with the surgeon who performed their bowel surgeries.
They had noticed both boys testicles were too high and if by 12 months they haven’t dropped they would need further surgery.
Thankfully Keanu’s did drop into place, but Kalani isn’t as lucky as his little brother and we will be going back for surgery within the next 90 days.
HOPEFULLY… That will be the end of all the surgeries for my little guys. Because with this new surgery, that will make it number four for Kalani. It’s no biggy though! We’ve had worse! I just hope it works the first time. Hospitals make me uneasy and I don’t like being there any longer than I have to.
Babies get sick. And when your baby is sick everyone is sick, tired and miserable. Because the boys were so premature, they are prone to get everything and anything. Every week they’ve had a cold or the flu! High temps, ear infections. You name it. NO EXAGGERATION.
We had the worst of the worst a few months ago where Kalani came down with Norovirus and Salmonella food poisoning. Both… At the same time! It was such a horrible and exhausting 5 days in hospital. My little man couldn’t catch a break. And the worst part for me about that hospital stay was trying to tear myself into two again between my twins, with one in hospital and one at home.
BUT… With all the bad aside, we’ve also had some great times too.
The boys have developed their own unique personalities. Kalani is a soft, sensitive, curious cuddle bug, who roars and growls like a tiger. HE IS SUCH A MUMMIES BOY.
Keanu is a loud, outgoing dare devil with a twinkle in his eye who demands all the attention in the world. Just ask all the grandmas at Woolworths!
They are slowly but surely reaching their milestones too, with a little help from physiotherapy.
Keanu is now sitting to crawling, trying to pull himself onto furniture, saying dada and mama and can twinkle his fingers to twinkle, twinkle little star. And Kalani can too! (It’s their favourite song).
Kalani is sitting and commando crawling and saying dada. We find Kalani is about 2 weeks behind Keanu but we don’t mind because he’s still our little baby and he will catch up at his own pace.
Both boys love their food. They also LOVE painting, LOVE water play and absolutely LOVE other children and being out and about being social butterflies. But I guess you have to be social if you’re a twin right?
Everywhere we go people stop me 100 times. Twins are fascinating, I get it! But OMG, could you imagine having quadruplets?
– Are they twins?
– Are they identical?
– Are they both boys?
– Were they premature?
– Were they naturally conceived?
– Will you have anymore?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, NO! (Joking)
– You must have your hands full?
– Double trouble!
– Twice the love!
– You are so blessed!
I have heard it all!
I say this however, being a first time mum has really tested me. I suffered severe PND (post natal depression) for the first 6 months of motherhood, that I have now managed to overcome.
I would cry at the drop of a hat and it was very tough on me to try and be the best mother to two little humans who had feeding, sleeping and medical issues. As well as dealing with whatever life wanted to throw at me too. Thankfully I had my mum, my sisters and my best friend to keep me grounded through my most darkest days, and give a helping hand.
I now really enjoy being a first time mama to twins. But sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to have a singleton for a day or two! I’ve adjusted quite well and I am more confident within myself and my babies, even if they don’t sleep and have no routine whatsoever. We just go with the flow.
People now ask me how I do it. I don’t know if I can answer that. I just do.
And because of this, it now just comes naturally.
Happy first birthday, Kalani and Keanu.
Thanks Sam. We wish the boys a wonderful first birthday. And well done Mama, you made it!
*If you or someone you know is suffering from Post Natal Depression you can get information and help at www.panda.org.au