Yesterday we visited Emma and Pete, and met Elsie and George for the first time. Elsie and George were born three weeks ago, after Emma did a legendary job of almost carrying the two of them to full term (despite being tiny and really not having too much space for to house her enormous bump).
It was so great to see Emma and Pete in action and to realise that, in a few weeks, we’ll be experiencing exactly the same thing. It was wonderful, in a slightly terrifying and surreal way: it was a glimpse into our future! They’re doing such an amazing job, so we’re looking forward to calling them with stupid questions when our own babies arrive and we have to deal with it all ourselves.
Here’s what I learned from yesterday’s visit:
Babies are tiny! It sounds like a stupid thing to say, but I really haven’t been around many newborns, and particularly not newborns that have come before the 40 week mark – even a few weeks short of that full term date, babies are so little! Elsie and George are in ‘0000’ sized clothing at the moment, and Elsie needs to have her sleeves rolled up to stop her sleepsuit from swamping her! Too adorable for words.
Twins take up a lot of time. Emma and Pete have so got their new family under control, but they told us about their three-hourly feeding schedule and how long it can take to get each baby to take a bottle, and how little time it actually leaves the two of them to do other things, like taking a shower or having a nap. This reinforces my knowledge that I will be doing nothing but baby-related stuff over the summer. And thank goodness I’ll have parents on hand to help me – without my mother, and later my mother-in-law, I fear that we’ll all go for several months with no dinner being prepared and no clothing being washed.
Hospital is not much fun. Emma and the babies were in Auckland Central Hospital for ten days or so, because North Shore Hospital didn’t have room for them, and because the babies spent a few days in NICU and Emma spent a few days recovering from hypertension after the birth. Although the overall level of care sounded great, Emma said that it was pretty frustrating when shift changes meant that she was dealing with different staff members all the time, each of whom had their own opinions about how to handle the babies – and the opinions nearly always contradicted earlier opinions given to her by other staff members! I guess all you can do is to take everything you’re told with a grain of salt and then decide the best plan of action for yourself, but wouldn’t you think that health professionals working in the same department could probably get their collective act together slightly and agree on the advice that they’ll give new mothers? Anyway, Emma joined the growing chorus of people urging me to do less and rest more, to increase the chances that we won’t have to spend long in hospital when our time comes. Wise advice, I know!
Twin caesareans are a big event. Emma reckons there were at least 20 people in the room – some for her, and some for each of the babies.
The Breastapo is alive and kicking. Emma and Pete were told that she and the babies wouldn’t be discharged until she’d managed to breastfeed them for at least 48 hours. She ended up having to get pretty firm with them and tell them that, at the very least, they’d be giving the babies formula top-ups when they finally got home, so the staff might as well just help them in a realistic way. Sadly, this reinforces a lot of recent press coverage about the pressure put on new mothers to breastfeed in NZ hospitals (and the lack of support and information given to mothers who can’t breastfeed, or who choose not to do so for whatever reason). As I think I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, my intention is to have a bit of a ‘post birth’ plan, to set out where I might need help and support from Tristan and others (getting access to lactation consultants, for example, or battling with them if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for us). I’ve also been told that North Shore Hospital’s maternity staff are pretty decent about helping mothers with all sorts of feeding regimes, so hopefully we will be able to have our babies there.
You could definitely while away a whole day just watching babies. I have never been much of a baby person, but I could sit and watch Elsie and George all day – their little faces are just brilliant. God only knows how we’ll get anything done when our own babies arrive! Check out this photo of Tristan holding George and note the way in which George has totally mesmerised Tristan:
Nothing is cuter than the sight of two swaddled babies sharing a cot. A while ago I talked about our nursery plans, and said that I thought that we’d have the babies in separate cots from the start. I’d since revised this plan for two reasons: a) loads of people assured me that twins really do settle better in the same cot when they’re tiny, and that moving them into separate cots later won’t pose a problem, and b) it will be much easier to fit just one cot into our spare room while the bed is still set up in there. Now that I’ve actually seen two little babies snuggled together in one cot, I’m even more convinced that it’s the right move.
It’s pretty tricky to hold a baby when you’ve got a huge comedy bump getting in the way. As evidence, here’s a photo of me holding Elsie:
We cannot wait for our babies to arrive! I’ve been growing steadily more excited (as opposed to mostly being terrified) since we found out who we had on board, and as time passes I’m getting so impatient about meeting our babies. In the meantime, holding Elsie and George was an excellent chance to practise our ‘looking like parents’ skills:
And to think that, one day not that very far away, our babies will be merrily living it up with Elsie and George! How amazing. How cool!