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After Birth…

After the C-section birth of my twins, I was wheeled off to a room that I stayed in for a couple of hours. It was a recovery room equipped for surgeries and emergency situations but not my personal room for the duration of my stay. I had to be in this room because of the C-section. I had lost a lot of blood and needed to be monitored. My blood pressure was very low and my temperature was also getting too low. Without the nursing staff monitoring me, I could have gone into shock. They kept wrapping me in heated blankets…and in my state, I kept pushing them off. They were so hot and uncomfortable. Luckily my husband was there to scold me for not complying considering this was my life they were worried about. I was able to try to nurse both babies at this point. I had a good laugh when I got to see them up close. My firstborn is my little mini-me. These two both had blue eyes.

In my Room

Once I was safely in my personal room, that is, in my mind, when the difficulties started. I started my pregnancy thinking it would be easier this time. But that just wasn’t the case. From finding out we were having twins to the scheduled c-section. Everything was unexpected.

The Pain!

I was on a decent amount of pain medication. This may be obvious to some given that c-sections are major surgeries after all. They told me it was best to get up and walk around as much as I could, I walked around the corridor once, that’s it. The staff gave me pain meds, but there were two instances during my stay that were absolutely excruciating.

The First Incident

On day one after “birthing” my babies early in the morning my 3-year-old came to visit. He was excited to see his new siblings. We forgot to tell him to be careful of my incision. He saw the bandage and the blood then he poked me. I burst into tears, and my poor toddler did as well. I felt so terrible about not preparing him properly. If you’ve met my son you’d know he’s emotionally driven. He loves hard, cries hard, and laughs hard. He feels emotions so acutely. I still chide myself for not considering that fact prior to his visit. I typically try to prepare for all scenarios. Who would have thought pregnancy and a C-section would have thrown me off my game? I had mom guilt for weeks afterward. He was so cautious and would cry when I would get too close due to his fear of hurting me again. Finally, when my doctor gave me the all-clear to lift heavier again and I could pick him up he insisted I pick him up in front of everyone who visited us! Needless to say, I got in quite a few squats that week with my 40-pound weight. His giant smile was well worth it!

The Second Incident

The other point when the pain became overwhelming was when my husband asked the nurse who was delivering the pain meds to come back later because I was sleeping. Of course, while she was gone I woke up and had to go to the restroom. I made it there, but I was still groggy. On the way back to the bed I made it two feet and started bawling. I was in so much pain and could feel the incision with utter clarity. I dropped to my knees in that very spot. My husband had to come and hold me still because even crying was painful. That was the worst physical pain I’ve ever felt. I used to think getting a C-section was the “easy way out” of having a natural vaginal labor. Now I see that is definitely not the case! I wish I’d known how much pain I was going to be in. I wish someone would have told me how drastically different a C-section is from natural birth. I read so many articles and none of them gave me any inkling that it was going to be more than an easy in-and-out procedure. I also ended up with an infection in my incision which is a whole different story. Note to all of you future mothers who have a C-section in your future: One week postpartum is the typical time frame for an infection to rear its head if it’s going to happen. If something feels “off” then get seen ASAP! Also, beware of what you let a doctor prescribe you if you need antibiotics. I had two babies with jaundice. Due to that, the only thing I could safely be given was clindamycin. Do your research know what you’re taking. It can and will affect your breastmilk. Certain antibiotics can also affect tooth development.

Feeding: Formula vs Breast Feed

Before my twins, I was firmly in the “breast is best” group of women. I wish I could say I didn’t judge other moms’ choice not to breastfeed, but I did. I didn’t understand how hard breastfeeding can be. I thought all of those women who weren’t breastfeeding were just lazy and choosing not to because nursing and pumping are inconvenient. Boy, was I wrong. I could not have been more wrong. 

I’ve learned to enjoy my lack of control by breathing through the hard moments, and laughing when they are behind me. 

I thought that because it was so easy with my first that it would be the same with my twins. No worries. I didn’t even think twice about it my babies were going to be breastfed. End of story. So I didn’t put much thought into it. I didn’t have a backup plan. But when my twins arrived they lost a lot of weight too quickly, they were delivered at 37 weeks, and weren’t quite ready to suckle effectively. Also, I couldn’t “keep up”. What I later learned was that babies when they are first born have stomachs approximately the size of a cherry. My expectation of being able to produce a couple of ounces right away was ridiculous. At the time, though, I didn’t know that. I was so hard on myself I cried and cried. I wanted this so badly. My babies were screaming and hungry. They were losing too much weight. Colostrum isn’t a calorie-filled drink. It’s mainly antibodies. 

After 8 hours of trying to nurse to no avail, I finally requested a medical-grade breast pump around 1:00 AM. The nurse assigned to us kindly brought what I’d requested with a million different-sized flanges for me to try to see what worked. I had pumped off and on every 20 minutes without sleeping. I refused to give up. Nothing happened. I was devastated. And at this point, it was 3:00 AM and I was exhausted after not having slept well for the previous 48 hours. I had another breakdown. Through my tears, I asked the nurse if the hospital had any formula. My milk still hadn’t come in, my babies were hungry and losing weight. Even though I wanted so badly to nurse. I had to think of their needs first. This is what they needed right now. 

The nurse brought a few hours worth of meals. My babies ate. They stopped crying. They slept. They looked happy and peaceful. Their turmoil had ended, and my mom guilt fired up again. Why did I wait so long to ask for formula? Why didn’t I research formulas so I knew which one I would want to try first? I’m a bit self-critical and overanalytical when it comes to my kids. I have always wanted to give them the best. Who doesn’t? I finally slept, which I later felt guilty for since my husband (also lacking in sleep) stayed up with them the whole time to make sure they were safe. After I woke up at about 10:00 AM, my milk had come in very well and I was pumping a few ounces. I was overjoyed! I felt guilty for not asking for formula sooner. I felt ashamed for being so pompous in assuming I wouldn’t need any help from a pump and the milk would just come in quickly like the first time. That was the moment I started to realize that “fed is best”.  

 Feeding After the Hospital

Once we arrived home I still struggled with production and keeping up with twin feeding demands. My son the giant ate 40 ounces a day at his peak. I figured the average baby eats 20 ounces per day and since we had premature twins born at 37 weeks…I just assumed I’d be able to do it. I was very hard on myself, and formula was so easy that I almost gave up, but my husband pushed me with obnoxious encouragement that made me feel challenged in a good way. He knew how much I wanted to give the twins what I gave our firstborn and he wanted me to have the motherhood experience that I wanted.

I wish I would have realized before all of this happened that sometimes things are just out of your control. All of the things that I was so hung up on being a certain way I later realized didn’t have to be the way I thought they did. That lesson has rung through my motherhood with so much force that I’ve learned to enjoy my lack of control by breathing through the hard moments and laughing when they are behind me.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Having a support person is crucial.
  2. I wish I’d have brought my own fluffy robe.
  3. My husband wishes we would have brought him a warm blanket and his own pillow.
  4. We should have brought more cash for his meals (A support person’s meals are often not covered)
  5. I wish I’d have bought my hand pump in advance.
  6. I wish I’d thought to bring formula, as a backup.
  7. I wish I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself to do things a certain way.
  8. I wish I’d have brought my own water bottle.

The Formula Our Hospital Gave Us for Preemies

We read into this formula afterward and continued to use it. We loved it. Other formula brands are owned by chocolate manufacturers. This one is NOT. It has a great rating and due to its safety is awesome for preemies. It comes premixed. So, all you have to do is shake a bit and screw on the supplied nipple.

Buy on Amazon

Amazon Recommended Robe

This robe would have been perfect for the hospital. It’s cozy and cute and comes in a few different colors!

Buy on Amazon

Here’s the Hand Pump We Bought the Day We Came Home

This pump is functional and nice although I would have liked the chance to do more research and get a hand pump that was a bit more intuitive. Click the pic to see more info on Amazon

Buy on Amazon

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