Sunday, 22 April 2012

Breastfeeding Twins ~ Tandem, Rugby and side by side............

Breastfeeding Twins ~ Jack and Megan a few days old 

A few weeks ago I vaguely remember saying how easy breastfeeding Twins was to a few people and I really should highlight the word WAS boldly. 
It isn't anymore! It's tiring, I'm a little sore and they feed ALL day and ALL night (well it feels like they are constantly attached!) they are regularly on and off (Megan is now stirring having only fed half hour ago......)

I know they are going through a growth spurt but they have had one since birth and it's just got worse! ha ha 

I've discovered that I really dislike tandem feeding, there are a few reason why.
Firstly it feels weird (hardly descriptive but the word suits) I just can't wait for them to stop feeding when I have to feed them this way (most feeds as of late.... *sigh) this makes me feel quite sad as I know many mums love tandeming their babes but it's not for me.
It's much easier if you do like doing it, because then you have longer between feeds but I quite like the individual time spent with each, so that doesn't bother me much.

Number 2 - It's bloody uncomfortable. Even when I'm propped with pillows I still feel uncomfortable, but I guess number 1 reason doesn't help.

Number 3 - I can't do anything! I can't reach for a drink, type (this is essential! )........ I'm stuck!. My boobs are not big enough to move about much, so when I try to reach for things they unlatch and get annoyed. 

I've tried all tandem positions and prefer to use the side by side (3rd image on first row)

So yeah I try to avoid doing it but lately the feeding is very frequent and quite often they both want to feed at the same time, so I have no choice. I know some reading will be saying well why not pump and someone feed the other occasionally?... but I prefer not to interfere with building my supply before 6 weeks, demand feeding is there for a reason and so I keep telling myself  "I't WILL get easier!" plus I'm far too pig headed when I feel a certain way about how I want to do things, I guess that's one of the reasons for getting our home birth! Happy Smiley

Megan is a hoover and nipple feeder, she has been since birth and made my nipple bleed on day 3, but the Earth Mama Angel Baby quickly remedied that one! I also swapped them over so she didn't do any further 'damage' but my nipples are still sore, hopefully they will toughen up again soon.

Even though it's hard and tiring the benefits of doing it are MASSIVE! This list keeps me going............ (click image to englarge) plus if you right click and open in new tab/window you can zoom in!
ever wondered whats in breast milk?

Not only this but I do love the closeness and how much I saw it do for my girls, to me it's something I should do and if I'm able to (which I am) then no matter what I will until we feel ready to stop.

I'm currently planning to go to 2 years (Lottie fed to a few weeks shy of her 2nd birthday) so when we get there I will maybe rethink then. 

For now this is it as it's took me 2 hours to write this with all the boob breaks!

Natasha x

Monday, 9 April 2012

Placenta Encapsulation, Smoothies and Post Twin Tummy

Ok so a review on the Placenta Smoothie and Encapsulation first.

As I said in the birth story, Lesley from IPEN ( ) came to mine a few hours after birth and made me a smoothie out of both Jack and Megan's Placentas, unfortunately while being so out of it I didn't think to take a picture so pinched one from somewhere else to give an idea of what it looked like.

It looked very much like this!
Here is a link on how to make the Smoothie

It tasted of nothing but fruit, it was thick however but perfectly pleasant and easy to swallow :)
I noticed a big improvement in how I felt energy wise as prior to drinking it I felt absolutely awful, washed out and although it wasn't a hard long labour it was most definitely the most painful and exhausting (at the end) birth compared to the girls labours and I guess all that pre labour I had experienced over the weeks before had caught up with me too. I wouldn't say it made me feel on top of the world after, I still felt like I'd given birth! but it was a good 'pick me up'. I had another one the next morning after having not slept all night and it managed to make me feel a little more human again and able to cope with the lack of sleep.
I would highly recommend it to other mums to be, particularly those who have other children to care for as well because of how low energy is after birth (also depending on how birth went) and if there is anything that can help make that a bit easier it is worth its weight in gold!

The Placenta Capsules

So a few days later Lesley came to mine with a bag of goodies :)

Megan and Jacks Cords (Lesley made a J out of Jacks :) )

In the bag was dosage instructions, IPEN leaflets, Lesley's business cards, Jack and Megan's dried cords as keepsakes, Megan's Placenta capsules (Raw) and Jacks Placenta capsules (TCM) 
Visit here for Raw version information
Visit here for TCM version information

Megan's capsule

Jacks capsule

So for around the past 10/11 days I've been taking Megan's Raw placenta capsules, I felt drawn to taking these at the moment and here are a few things I noticed :-

* Breast milk - I had a very good flow by day 3 and have continued to have a very good flow of breast milk, now I know putting them both to the breast as much as I have has obviously helped that (supply/demand rules) but I'm not a breastfeeding novice and with both girls it took a bit of extra work to get a nice steady flow going and usually by 6 weeks there was a lovely supply but it seems to have happened already and I guess having the two of them working at the supply has also helped but my eating pattern hasn't been the best at all (naughty but hey ho....) plus Megan is a nipple feeder (ouch!) so with all this I'm quite certain the capsules have played a part in my lovely abundant milk flow!

* Energy/Moods - Well I wont lie I've been a moody cow BUT not long after taking the capsules I do notice a change in my mood for a good few hours after, I feel less irritable and a bit calmer. This has happened AFTER taking the pills each time. Along with this (and possibly why my mood is elevated) my energy levels are a little higher and I'm able to function. Considering  I barely get a few hours here and there during the night I would be expecting to feel like the walking dead but I don't. Although it's certainly not good for my mental well being to have only a few hours sleep, I'm able to rest comfortably still without feeling like each inch of energy and life force is being sucked away at every feed :)

* Bleeding/After birth pains - After birth the after pains kicked in immediately (as expected) they did make me wince a little, especially during the feeds, I took paracetamol for the first day. After having the smoothie I barely noticed the after pains (along with taking pain relief) this was actually quite surprising for me as with Charlotte even while taking pain meds the pain was crippling and during every feed for the first 3 days felt like I was in labour (most of the time) it was awful, after pains went on for nearly a week. With that in mind I was expecting it to be far worse with a bigger uterus (which actually contracted down very quickly after Jack was born) and bigger wound area where both placentas were. The next day I didn't need paracetamol for it (only took some because of unrelated pelvic pain) as it was bearable and easy to manage, by day 3 I barely felt anything but a few mild cramps. Whether it was the smoothie or not I'm not sure but I'd like to say it contributed.
The bleeding has been very steady and most days mild/light period. With both girls I bled for weeks (6 weeks with Olivia and around 3/4 with Charlotte) Since I started taking the capsules the bleeding had remained mild/light and because of that along with increase in mood/energy I then started over doing it :-/ It lead me to believe that my body was able to go back to doing what I did before, which is my own stupid fault (not the capsules fault!) and the bleeding for the past two days or so has been quite a bit heavier and I've been feeling very 'periody' (not a real word but you get what I mean!) so I've slowed down again and so has the bleeding (yey!).

I'm planning to start the TCM (Jacks) once my cold/cough has cleared, it's recommend you don't take them while unwell (Infection/fever)

Quoted from

Contraindications: placenta should not be taken alone if there is heat from yin deficiency. This would be characterized as flushed cheeks, hot palms and feet, afternoon fever, nightsweats (yes, these are common menopausal sx- many of which are caused by yin deficiency). Because in TCM many acute illnesses, esp. those characterized by fever, chills, aches, sneezing are seen as the invasion of a pathogenic evil, placenta should NEVER be taken with these symptoms. Placenta is a powerful tonifier and cannot differentiate between the body's defensive qi and the invading pathogen. Taking it while fighting off, say, a common cold, or more to the point, a breast infection (which sx are fever, aches, chills, etc.) can make the pathogen stronger and go deeper. (This is the same reason ginseng--a tonifier--is not to be taken with a common cold.) Watch those ladies right now who get influenza after delivery--they should avoid any tonifiers (placenta or otherwise) as well.
Apparently this isn't so with the Raw ones from what I remember (correct me if I'm wrong!)

Post Twin Tummy!

Now after I gave birth my uterus contracted down very well, I did feel like I needed to hold my stomach when I had my bath and shower. Over the next few days it went down a little more, but you could most certainly see it sticking out under my top but considering I just had two babies it wasn't bad!
By day 3 I popped on the corset and left it on day and night.
Two days after I noticed an immediate change (haven't got after birth tummy pic doh!)

Corset has a velcro fastening on the side and just stretches over.
Here is a link to where I bought it Clicky  (ebay person will love me!) 

I got the smallest (6-10) as I'm a size 8-10 pre preg but it would easily fit someone who was a size 12 pre preg as it's quite big and has a lot of stretch.

Here I am a week after giving birth

I just can't believe how much it's gone down! I think along with breastfeeding, possibly the placenta pills and corset it's all played a part in helping it all go down. The interesting thing is that after I had Charlotte my tummy was much bigger than this and I had a 'belly' for a good 3/4 months after! So I'm really impressed and feel optimistic about getting back into shape later on :)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Twin Home Birth Story!

Twin Home Water Birth Story

During the week building up to the birth, I was woken up by lower backache and frequent trips to the toilet. I had lots of pressure every time I had a bowel movement (hate that phrase.... ha ha) ok nightly diarrhea episodes! (why at night?!!!) I was feeling sick still most evenings which wasn’t fun either, this along with pelvic pain and 3 point turns to get out of bed I was feeling pretty fed up.

Having already been told at 35 weeks I was 4cms, I was thinking every night that this was going to be it. But of course it wasn’t and every morning I’d wake shattered and wondering when it was all going to kick off but also hoping they would stay put until the following week when I turn 37 weeks.

The following Monday at 37 weeks at 2am in the morning the backache was stronger, I had at least 6 or 7 poo trips and I started losing bloody show. I had been losing plug for weeks but this was the first sign that labour was not too far away.
I went back to bed feeling like this could be it but fell asleep and in the morning it all stopped, I felt odd........ quiet before the storm!

My midwife Cheryl rang and said she will come and see me as I said I felt odd (which was strange as I was thinking to myself that I could do with seeing her just before she called!) and she did my blood pressure, wee and everything was fine. She left on the note that things were probably not far off and I felt quite teary when she left, I just couldn't put my finger on why I felt so weird. I really didn’t feel labour was going to come but still I informed Nicky the Independent midwife who I had invited to the birth (as she had never been to twin home birth and had been a great support while getting my home birth through the NHS) and told her it’s likely to happen that week (subconscious kicking in there!) and while still feeling odd I also felt very tired so had an early night.

Birth Day

It’s around 5am and I get woken up by a huge urge to go toilet, I sat there in disbelief that I had slept from 9pm until 5am without a wee trip or poo trip so I just thought the urgency was because of that. But I had quite intense lower backache, still in denial I just put it down to Twin 1 being posterior, but then I felt a surge in my lower back and it didn’t go away and then I had lots more bloody show..... still sat there thinking am I? and then another intense surge..... YES I AM!

I ran downstairs........ well no I waddled ha ha who am I kidding! as Paul (the other half) was downstairs on the sofa with Olivia my eldest (sleeping arrangements were higgledy piggledy due to me taking up the whole bed and the youngest Charlotte, Olivia had decided to join him in the night) I told him I was in labour and by this point the backache felt constant and quite intense but still totally manageable!

I got him to ring maternity while I let Nicky (IM) know what was happening so she could make her way once the midwives had come.
It’s now around 6am and Cheryl is here. We make our way upstairs to check bp and babies. I have a few ‘back contractions’ and she suggests having a check to see where I was.

I lay back on my bed and I then get informed I was 9cm.......... 9cm!!! wow I got to 9cm without much discomfort?! Cheryl said it was unlikely I’d make getting in the pool!

I went downstairs to inform Paul while in total shock and urged him to get going with the pool quick!

Then the supervisor of Midwives turned up and around 10 minutes later a hospital Midwife.
I felt in a fluster but the SOM and hospital Midwife took over and sorted out Olivia’s lunch and hair for school (ha ha! NOT on the job description but so thankful they did that!) while I went off and made calls between contractions...... which were still in my back!

Just to add from this part everything is quite hazy so I will do my best to get everything down!

So here I am labouring away, and at some point I remember Nicky turning up and someone else (I think.....) it’s around 8 now and Olivia has gone over the road to a neighbours house and they took her to school, Charlotte is in her element being fussed over and I’m over a chair still with back pain and really wanting to get in that pool!

The contractions had started to move round the front too at this point, they were coming and going but I don’t think they had a real pattern they were quite short but I trusted they were doing what was needed.

Not sure on times now but the pool was ready, I got in and my goodness it felt GOOD! I had a few more contractions in there. I looked over to the front room and noticed an extra person, she introduced herself as Sue (Head of midwifery who I had wrote to and had support from but it didn’t click it was her!) and I remember thinking wow she’s done up (in full make up while I feel rough as rats) but then focused again on my hands and knees hoping that it was helping to turn the little lady round.

I looked up at the clock and it was nearly 9, I was waiting for my Mum to turn up and deep down didn’t want anything to happen without her there. I think around 10 minutes later I saw her come through the front room door and I knew then I wasn’t far off from having them.

The contractions stalled and Cheryl suggested I stood up and my waters still hadn’t gone, I felt that it was likely she was still trying to turn. I got out of the pool and felt like I needed a wee so I went upstairs, it felt like she was going to fall out! I managed to do a little wee and came back down after a contraction on the loo. Sue suggested I get on the ball and do some pelvic rolls, the contractions returned both back and front and were really intense now. I was still able to breathe through them and was wishing my waters would just go........ they didn’t and feeling frustrated I got off the ball and tried squatting, this was really uncomfortable so I gave up with that and Cheryl said she would like to try some reflexology. While Cheryl did this I had some very intense contractions, but still no water breaking. Cheryl said it might be an idea to break my waters, although the contractions were there they were still infrequent or short and I think she could see how fed up I was. I said I had enough and wanted to get back in the pool. Cheryl suggested breaking my waters first if I wanted and my head just screamed YES!
She checked me first and said I was complete and little ladies head was ‘right there’ bag bulging.
She got everything ready, hook out and after what seemed like forever I felt a gush! and it felt great! I felt instant relief!

The contractions changed and I felt like I had moved right onto the next stage. I got back in the pool and got in a hands and knees position and the contractions now felt like my back was being torn in two. I got Paul to put pressure on my back (he put his whole weight on me and it still didn’t feel enough!) I was feeling weepy now (ahhhh transition.......) fed up and so over it!
I tried doing little pushes to see if it would help but it felt like they were doing nothing.
I moved round to sitting up to see if this would help, but it didn’t and the contractions were very hard and intense so I moved back round to all fours and the urge to push started. I vaguely remembering hearing that it might be good to stand up or get out as the contractions were spreading out again but I didn’t want to and just ignored what was being said. I felt really weepy and pathetic and just really fed up, I was pushing and getting Paul to push on my back but it felt like it was doing nothing, the pushing felt ineffective and the pushing on my back was really not cutting it! The pain was too intense now and the whole time I was just thinking I could really do with some gas and air  and why am I not asking for it?! I continued to debate this in my head while now being very vocal about how I really didn’t want to do this anymore. I also remember saying in to myself why am I not having this pain free birth I’ve read about?! what did I do wrong?!! Orgasmic birth my ass!

I moved back round as I wanted to birth little lady in a sitting position, I held onto the handles and asked Paul to hold onto my shoulders, but he was doing it wrong and I told him to get off! So my Mum stepped in and said she would. The pushing and contractions felt unbearable and so hard, I was shouting at this point and feeling so so fed up. The contractions now felt constant and there was no relief even when pushing. Finally I heard that they could see her, but after I stopped pushing I could feel her move back up, I felt like I was never going to get her out! Still pushing down I seemed to be getting closer but it was getting more and more intense, I couldn’t do it anymore I didn’t want to be there anymore and I didn’t want to push anymore!
I heard Cheryl tell me to breathe through them and stop pushing (I guess she was near crowning) but Paul was saying push and I vaguely remember telling him to f’ing shut up (woops!)

Then I could feel it, her head was coming and wow was it intense, I just wanted her out! and finally her head was! RELIEF! I put my hands down and touched her soft little head and I could feel her wriggling and turning I had another contraction and she was out. I got hold of her and pulled her up to my chest, she looked just like Charlotte.......... my heart melted!

This feeling was soon overtaken by very very intense contractions and I asked for her cord to be cut. Paul took off his top for some skin to skin and Sue said she would like to hold little man in place to prevent him turning (now he had all that room!) at that point I didn’t care as it was just so intense and I felt like I couldn’t do it. I got on all fours and just pushed, there wasn’t much of an urge to but I wanted him out! there was no break at all between contractions and I felt like my body was going to give up. I suddenly felt his head and felt the burning as he crowned, he wriggled and I heard that the Caul was still intact! He wriggled some more and as I pushed again he shot out and it broke!

Cheryl passed him through my legs and as I grabbed him I was overcome with every emotion I could have possibly felt! I brought him up and couldn’t believe how small he was and so perfect! Part of his sack was floating off his arm and I was totally in awe! after having 3 girls I just couldn’t get over seeing this little boy.

A little while after I felt really uncomfortable and felt the need to have his cord cut and I wanted to get out of the pool.
I had to hold onto my stomach (it felt like everything was going to drop out) and my Mum helped me get out of the pool and I went over to the sofa, I sat down and still getting contractions the Placentas were on their way.

Paul brought in the boxes we had for them as I had Lesley coming round after (from IPEN Placenta Network) to do me a smoothie and encapsulate their placentas. I gave a little push and out it came!

The Placentas were fussed and looked very healthy, the bleeding was quite minimal and I sat back on the sofa while everyone was sorting out bits around me. This is now quite a blur as I felt really drained by this point. The bleeding got a little heavier so I consented to having syntometrine, a few minutes after this I started being sick and felt pretty awful. Both then had a little feed while one was being weighed. Megan came out at 5lb 7 and Jack 4lb 11. Transitional care was mentioned but I said no and that I would try and see how things went, I felt deep down I was more than capable at keeping them warm and both had taken to the breast easily so I wasn’t worried.

I was sick again and was feeling so crap, Cheryl suggested having a bath so I went up and sat on the toilet while waiting for it to fill. I got in and felt like my body melted, it was just what I needed. I asked Paul to put in a few drops of lavender and just relaxed for a little bit.

I let the bath drain before having a shower and washed my hair, my body felt empty and heavy I needed to get into bed.

I got out of the shower to find Cheryl had put some pads on the bed and I just got right in, it felt good to be there.

Paul brought Megan and Jack up and I had a cuddle with them, people started to leave and everything was being tidied up around me.

Some point after Cheryl did some more checks and then got her bits together to set off, Lesley was due to come after an hour or so (which I was really looking forward to as I felt I needed the smoothie) the time quickly passed and I heard the door, Yey! she was here!
Not long soon after, she comes up the stairs with such a lovely energy and I knew I was going to like this drink!

It had both Megan and Jacks placenta in it, I tried one sip and all I could taste was lovely fruit.
Still in a daze (and overwhelmed) we had a little chat about the birth, it felt so right to have her be there and be a part of the birth experience.

Lesley asked if I would like one Raw version and one based on Traditional Chinese Method

I was happy to try that and Lesley then went off with the Placentas.

Within the hour I felt so much better! The drink was amazing! I am so so glad that I had it. There was also another glass for the next day too so I knew I would have another pick me up and boy would I need it!

That night I had no sleep, Megan fed and fed and I found it  hard to try and get Jack to feed. He was very mucusy but I wasn’t going to give up! Finally at 6am when it finally clicked to try skin to skin he had a great long feed! I felt so relieved.

Both are now doing very very well and both feed like pro’s! I’m glad I followed my instincts.

I’m going to leave it here for now but will post again soon about the Placenta Pills (best thing ever!) and a corset I have been wearing since day 3 after birth (it’s amazing how much my tummy has gone down!!!!) hopefully I haven’t missed too much and Thank you to Nicky for doing our photos of the birth I am hoping to have more soon so will try and pop them on when I have gone through them!

Natasha xx