Author: Shay Baynton
I fell pregnant with my multiples just before Xmas 2013, we were both so excited to be adding to our little family, at the time we had a nearly 2 yr old, Luna. My husband Andrew has worked FIFO or DIDO for nearly as long as we have known each other, first as a driller all over QLD and the NT then with Rio Tinto in QLD. At the time I fell pregnant with our twins we lived in a tiny mining town 3 hrs from the nearest big hospitals Mackay.
My first inkling that this pregnancy was any different from my first began very early in the first few weeks; the all day sickness was relentless. Eventually on Xmas Eve, after 3 days of keeping nothing down, I ended up in hospital. It was early days and after the usual treatment I refused to stay not wanting to miss Xmas morning with my toddler at home. Andrew had just finished his dayshift swing and managed to make it to town to take me home from hospital. And so began the juggle of managing a twin pregnancy plus toddler at home with a partner working a rotating roster 3 hours from home.
Finding out I was pregnant with twins
I didn’t at this stage even have any clue that I was pregnant with twins. I hadn’t booked my first scan until I was almost 13 weeks, the only appt I could make around Andrews roster at the time. There was no mistaking at that first scan the obvious fact there were two babies making me so sick. Genuinely speechless would be an understatement. Two babies, two sacs, two placentas, fraternal twins.
Being pregnant with twins when your partner is FIFO
Andrew continued to work away during my pregnancy, it was a challenge in many ways. Not only booking appointments around his roster, but the overwhelming fatigue that comes with growing two babies. My morning sickness was debilitating at times making chasing and amusing a 2 two year old so difficult. Some days were beyond exhausting.
There is only you when your partner is away at work. No looking forward to a break and them walking in the door at 5pm, so you cope as best you can. Despite me finding the pregnancy harder than the usual in almost every way, the twins start were growing and developing as they should. I had to travel 3 hours into Mackay for my appointments and scans.
30 weeks pregnant with twins
At 30 weeks we made the decision to move to Mackay to be closer to the support we would need when the twins arrived. Andrew would still be working away trying not to use any leave knowing multiple births can be unpredictable and he would probably need extra time at home with our babies and toddler when the time came.
After the 30 week mark I was having regular growth scans, during my last trimester my nausea had finally eased but the fatigue and intense hip pain made it still so difficult to keep up with Luna. It was agony just walking towards the end.
At 34 weeks l had a scan and then an urgent appointment with my doctor. Twin B had stopped growing and an urgent c section was booked for 2 days time. Andrew of course didn’t leave for work as planned he had to take his six weeks leave from then to be at home.
Twins born at 34 weeks and three days
Charlotte (4lbs5oz) and Louis (3lbs11oz) were born at 34 weeks 3 days on the 8th of July. Louis (Twin B) was also born with a pneumothorax. He was transferred to the nearby base hospital while Charlotte was taken to special care. Andrew went with Louis and thankfully after 24 hrs they were both able to return and Louis joined Charlotte in special care.
In total they spent 4 weeks in hospital growing bigger and stronger, when we were finally able to be together at home Andrew had 2 weeks leave left. Then with 2 newborns and a toddler at home he headed back west. And so began my life as a FIFO partner while raising twins and more. It is often underestimated I think the toll it takes on the partner to be away from home, when they would desperately like to be there for all the big and little moments plus of course to parent and help with all the mundane tasks.
Reflection of my life as a FIFO partner while raising twins and more
As hard as I try to remember those early years so much is a fog, not in the least from the very real exhaustion from feeding, expressing and settling two babies. A lot of the time is spent counting down the days till your partner is back again. It’s a combined effort to not let resentment build and still work as parenting as a team.
Charlotte and Louis are now 5, big school next year, and we’ve since added our last baby to our family. James was born when the twins were 3 and Luna 5. There’s been no easier stage, just different ones. There’s still only one of me, two of us when Andrews home but forever outnumbered. So many families in different circumstances make working away a great lifestyle. It’s just worth remembering it is work on both sides, away and at home.