My sister went into labor yesterday on my son's birthday and came out of the hospital with surprise twin girls!!! They were 7 lb 10 oz and 7 lb 3 oz and respectively 19 and 18 inches long!!!
My question is this...what advice can you give me to help her? What about from long distance or close. I'll be there for 6 weeks later in around 3 months. What should I offer her? What should I avoid? Should I avoid calling her? should I avoid asking if she is ok?
I know she will breastfeed both. I know she will use cloth diapers. I know she already has 4 kids, this makes 6. I just want to know what's best so I don't make her upset or stressed during this hard time.
Thanks everyone in advance.
Did she not know she was having twins???
I'm moving this to the Mothering Multiples forum where you might get more advice.
WOW! Mine were anything but a surprise. I can't imagine not having time to get used to the idea.
The fact that you're going out to help her is probably the best thing you can do. It's at a good time, too, when the help usually starts to dry up. I needed as much help as I could get for the whole first year, and particularly the first 9 months or so.
When you get there, cook her dinner, play with her older kids (who will probably be going through a tough time because mom will be so busy with the babies), and clean for her. You're probably already planning to do that. For me, I actually appreciated having people hold the babies because I felt like it was hard to hold them enough.
If there's a grocer who delivers in town, give her a gc for them. Help her find a teen who can help around the house for a few dollars an hour. With twins you basically need a clone, so the more hands the better.
For BFing, ask her if it's hard, but don't imply it's impossible. Listen when she tells you that she never gets up off the couch and that she is literally feeding constantly. Help her get really good help from someone knowledgeable about TWINS if she has trouble. Buy her the LLL book "Mothering Multiples." Sub her to the APMultiples list on Yahoogroups, which is run by the author of MM.
Get her a doubleblessings foam twin nursing pillow. Get her two slings. Be gentle with your AP expectations for her and help her be gentle with herself. You can't do everything the way you want to and that is hard. MOTs often need to let go of a lot of guilt.
Definitely call, but understand if she can't talk or doesn't call you back. Catch as catch can and know that her weeks are slipping by in the blink of an eye. Let her know you understand and you'll be there when she resurfaces. It may not be for many months.
Send her older kids cards and gifts to remind them that they're special and not just "the siblings of the twins." Twins get tons of attention and that can make the adjustment even harder for older kids.
Those are the ideas I've got right now. Hugs and I hope this helps. Congrats, new auntie to twins!
Yeah, what Cate said! I wish I had any extra advice, but dang, she covered it all!
Congrats on being an Aunt to twins!! It's so cool that your sister missed all the stress of being automatically lumped in to a "high risk" catagory when she was pregnant!
Le Leche has a wonderful handout about helping a mother of twins and also tips for breastfeeding. You could request a copy from Le Leche or email me and I would be glad to get a copy to you.
Here's some suggestions:
*Offer to call around and get some support for her for things like laundry, dishes, meals, and other light housekeeping.
*Concentrate on "mothering the Mother" and helping with household chores rather thatn trying to take over the care of the babies.
*Mothers of twins need extra help for at least six months to a year, letting her know that most moms need help may make it more easy for her to ask for help.
*Be a good listener especially on the days when she feels like to she can't do it for another moment. Tell her what a good job she is doing with the babies and resist giving advice when she complains or seems tired.
*Make sure that Mom is getting enough to eat and drink. Have baskets of food she likes close to where she nurses since it might be easier to nibble while she can.
*Find out is there are other Moms of twins in here area. Moms of twins can sometimes feel isolated.
*If she doesn't have a cordless phone she might really want to get one (or it would be a great gift).
Take lots of pictures because the first year can be a blur!! There are so many fun days ahead though!!
Would love to hear her birth story later down the road if she is interested in sharing it!
I thought of something! Buy her some larger sized non-pregnancy clothes. Really pretty stuff. It takes a long time for the weight to come completely off and it goes a long way towards making her feel better to have pretty clothes that fit. I wore my pregnancy clothes and dh's jeans for the first 3 months until I decided that even if I don't stay this size long, I deserve pretty clothes.
Ok, the gist of the story is this from what my mom told me...Everyone was telling her how BIG she was. She carries her babies out front anyway, so she kept telling everyone to just be quiet when they all inevitably said, "are you sure you're not having twins???" She continually asked if everyone could just be quiet about her size because she is always big and it's the 5th pregnancy, doesn't everyone know that yet??
3 and a half weeks early, on my son's birthday, at around 2am, her water broke. They imediately thought of my 4 yr old! Born on a cousin's birthday! Wow! How special... So, 6am, they called my mom. They are going in today. By 7:30 or so, they call again saying they can't make it to the long drive to the south of town in rush hour traffic, so they are going to the closer hospital er. Contractions are close and regular. 8:53, a baby girl was born. Mom's words were, "I'll NEVER do that again!!" All was great and as they transferred her to the recovery bed, she had to support her stomach...strange...why? She said she felt like pushing, but didn't remember that in the other 4 pregnancies! Again, Strange... she thought she'd done it all enough to know what to expect!
All family and friends were in with her by then and my mom had just gone back out to the waiting room to knit and out rushed the friends..."Don't go anywhere!!! The nurse said she saw another sack and there's another baby in there!!!!" Wow! You've got to be kidding! Everyone was flabergasted! Oh, how I wish I'd been there! Well, 10:08 or something like that, baby girl 2 was born.
Another interresting thing is, both babies were breech! Born vaginal, completely natural...
No complications and no problems. Both babies and mom are now home in the comfort of their house with siblings and proud papa!
What an amazing story!! I met a woman the other day who didn't know she was having twins either. How is your sister doing? Are the girls nursing well? How are the older siblings handling the wonderful surprise? One last question...had your sister had an ultrasound? I know some people don't get one but was wondering if she had one and they simply missed Baby B.
There are clubs for mothers of multiples all over the country. They may not be very AP but they will have all sorts of info on twins and resources she might be interested in. You could do a search and see if anything comes up in her area. Also, if someone hasn't already done so, try to organize her friends to bring dinner for her or, if she has a house of worship she attends, contact them and see if they have something like this to offer her. If you live close enough to drive you could prepare things she likes and take them to freeze for later. I know my main problem has been finding the time to cook more than frozen dinners or sandwiches
I feel like I can't do much because we live half the US away from each other. Literally. But when I finally talked to her last night, she said her friend organized diaper service for at least 2 weeks, (3 now in cloth diapers...any one want to donate some???) and meals for 2-3 weeks. Everything is ok. She said if my diet was the same as hers, she would ask me to help nurse in these first times when she's finding her rythm. She is in remarkably high spirits and the older kids are doing fantastic. I'm sending them little gifts soon. I am also buying her a cordless phone and writing a letter to the local car dealerships to ask for a donated van for 10 passsengers cause they now have 8 in the family. I'm going to stress that they didn't know about the twins and how fantastic a family they are and how they have been in the community since age 17.
I guess I'm doing enough, but I always want to help more...
Just wanted to let you know that we already had 4 children and BOOM along came my b/g twins! I told the midwife all along it was twins but no one would believe me until I insisted on an ultrasound at 19 weeks and there they were!
This is the best advice I can give;
1)Nursing can be and was very different, difficult and exhausting with multiples so as mentioned above make sure Mom is drinking plenty of water, eating well and trying to get rest! (Ha Ha!) Also make sure she is getting all the support she needs and any help quickly if problems arise! For some reason I tended to get Mastitis more with twins.
2)Have someone you trust watch and play with the other kids. This was something that I felt so guilty about and still do. I just did not have time for anything else but nursing and changing diapers and if I did have any time I just wanted to sleep! My MIL was a great asset for me and would come every day for the first month and played with my then 3 year old.
3)Have someone bring dinner for a month or two. This was done for us and was a tremendous help!
4)If someone can just let her get her rest all will be well soon!
I know I thought I would never make it and was miserable the first 2 - 3 months and at times still am but I look back on it and feel so proud of all I have done and am still doing! I haven't had a full nights sleep in about 5 years and can not wait until the night comes I finally do but every day I get those wet, slobbery kisses I know it has not all been in vain!
Wish her all the luck in the world and she is lucky to have you!
The twins are all well. She is nursing really great. She says all is going fine. I'm not there. I will finally be there on the 22 of June. I can't wait!!