Author: Amber Waugh
My twin story started a little over 4 years ago at my 12 week pregnancy scan. My husband, Chris and I already had a son, Caden, who was about 18 months old at the time. Chris had only ever wanted one child, and with me wanting three we decided to meet in the middle and have one more child to complete our family. Well as fate would have it, I seemed to get my way that day. We were very shocked to hear we had two little beans nestled inside me, each with their own sacs and placentas. We later found out that they were identical, via genetic tested after they were born.
Pre-eclampsia at 36+5 weeks pregnant with twins
The majority of my pregnancy was uneventful, with all the morning sickness, aches and pains that typically accompany twin pregnancy. At 36+5 weeks I developed a terrible headache that wouldn’t go away. A trip to the hospital confirmed early stage pre-eclampsia so it was time for these babies to come out.
At the recommendation of my doctor, I had an epidural and was induced. Labour was a breeze, I quite literally sleep through the majority of it. When I woke, baby A was crowning and with 2 pushes my little Levi was born weighing 2.5kgs.
Baby B was still sitting very high, so the doctors broke his waters and tried to coax him down. Baby B immediately thought it was party time with all the extra room, did a flip, moved into the transverse position and stuck his little hand out to say ‘hi’. Unfortunately this was not a great position to birth in so I was quickly whisked away for an emergency c-section. My little Luca was born all battered and bruised, but healthy, weighing just 2.25kgs.
Our breastfeeding journey
Unfortunately there were some complications during my c-section resulting in a very large amount of blood loss. In the days following my surgery I was given 2 bags of blood and struggled with a lot of pain. Because of the trauma, my body failed to produce enough colostrum and my milk took over a week to come in.
Despite multiple attempts my boys would never latch properly and I didn’t produce enough milk for both of them. We ended up mix feeding for 5 months with formula and expressed milk. My boys thrived on this and today they are happy and healthy.
The lead up to being diagnosed with Postnatal Depression
I struggled a lot in the first year. At only 2 years old, Cade didn’t transition well to being a big brother of newborn twins. Levi and Luca were relatively easy babies, however I really struggled with the exhaustion, while trying to divide my time between a 2 year old who was desperately demanding of my attention and newborn twins.
By the time they were 8 months old I had reached breaking point. I felt like I had lost control of everything in my life and I struggled to complete even basic day to day tasks. I constantly questioned my decision to become a parent and had convinced myself that I was not cut out to be a parent at all, let alone one of 3 young boys.
I felt like a failure and I genuinely thought that my kids were out to get me. It eventually got to the point when Chris was regularly having to come home from work to take over parenting duties because I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Postnatal Depression and Twins
Following my diagnoses we made some changes. I started seeing a psychologist regularly where I did cognitive behavioural therapy. Chris arranged to work from home so he was always there if I needed support. I can quite confidently say that without the amazing love and support from Chris, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
It was a dark and horrible time in our relationship and despite it all, he never gave up on me, even though there were plenty of opportunities for him to do so. At the suggestion of my psychologist we started prioritising ourselves and our relationship. We arranged regular date nights, and even now, the first Saturday of every month is dedicated to our monthly date night.
We also respected each other’s need for time away from the kids when we were struggling. The thing that helped my mental health the most was when I started taking care of myself, eating healthy and doing some light exercise. Even today, if I have a day or two of eating not so great foods, I feel a dark fog in my mind and struggle with my moods.
Struggling with my own identity
At this time in my life I was really struggling with my own identity. I felt like I was failing at life and needed something that I could do for me.
Seeing the difference that healthy eating had played in my own mental health and also Cade’s behaviour, I decided to enroll in a Bachelor of Food and Nutrition Science, part time. Being able to do something just for me, and having some dedicated time away from the kids each week made a huge difference to my mental health.
Four afternoons a week, when Chris finished work, he would take care of the kids and I’d study. I began to feel more refreshed, my confidence improved and I started to develop more intimate relationships with my boys.
Volunteering with our local multiple birth association really helped.
I decided to volunteer at our local multiple birth association so I could connect with other parents with similar experiences. Now I host a weekly play group and am also the local contact coordinator where I contact, welcome and offer support to new members.
Where are we now?
Last year, 2018, was a big year for us. Cade started school, Levi and Luca started daycare and we purchased a house.
With the added financial pressure of home ownership I decided to return to work three full days a week. I am now time poor and it is taking its toll on my studying. I study 1-2 afternoons a week, into the evenings and over the weekend. Studying takes away time that I can be spending with my family or doing other day to day tasks.
It also means Chris spends most of his time looking after the kids while I am at work and studying. As I am only part time, I have been studying for three years and am only in my second year. I have another three years to go. While I still enjoy the content and learning, the added pressure has me less motivated and I regret not having as much time to spend with my family. I am just so exhausted and often consider putting my study on hold.
Nevertheless, I have come this far so have to keep my mind on the future and just soldier on.
Surviving Postnatal Depression and Twins and a big brother!
Cade is now 6 and Levi and Luca are about to turn 4. Parenting still has its challenges but it is finally getting easier. The love I have for my boys is indescribable and I am proud to say that I love being their mummy. I now know that I was made to be their mummy and do not regret my decision to have children. They are my absolute greatest achievement.
Note from Twinfo: Postnatal depression and twins or triplets is quite common, You can read more about it HERE.