3 Babies in 9 Months?
You might be wondering how that's possible! Well... I'd just had my wonderful baby girl Mollie in September, then my husband thought it would be a great idea to have another baby - Yes, just a month later!
Fast forward 8 weeks and I find out I’m pregnant. We joked that we’d probably end up having twins! We went for an early scan at 7 weeks due to bleeding. The sonographer asks to perform an internal scan after putting the probe on my belly - panic set in as the last time I’d been asked this was when I’d had a missed miscarriage (molar pregnancy) before we had Molllie. She looked a little confused and didn’t know if to congratulate us or tell us the bad news...well she thought it might of been more of a shock but somehow we already knew what she was about to tell us.....
"There’s more than 1 in there”
Paddy filled up - his words “Its like winning the lottery” On the other hand my brain starts to go into panic mode - how am i going to cope with 3 babies under 10 month old?? We were asked to come back a few weeks later to check if we were having Identical or non identical twins. So we went for our next ultrasound and confirmed we were having mono/di (Identical twins that share a placenta).
So it’s basically like winning the lottery as my husband said - Identical twins are a stroke of luck and do not run in the family.
We were told we’d have to come back every 2 weeks as identical twins that share a placenta are high risk (as if my anxiety levels were not high enough finding out I was about to have another 2 babies, I’d now have to be monitored closely throughout my pregnancy). The main thing that needs to be looked for is Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (where one baby gets more blood and nutrients from the placenta and the other stops growing) it can be life threatening to one or both babies. I found out I had Group B strep at 36 weeks in my pregnancy with Mollie - luckily everything was fine but I was worried I might get it again. Apart from turning into a crazy psycho pregnant woman and almost breaking my back carrying Mollie around whilst having a huge twin belly....I felt fine lol!
My pregnancy went pretty smoothly, despite all the extra scans and tests everything was fine....then at 28 weeks I started to go into labor!
After hours on a monitor, nifedipine to stop contractions, steroids to mature babies lungs and magnesium for their brains I was told I’d have to be transferred to another hospital as they didn’t have the space or capabilities to look after babies so young at Stepping Hill Hospital. Nobody warns you about this when you have your consultant appointments. I was transferred to Oldham Hospital where I spent the next week on bed rest. It was so frustrating as every time I moved around or got up to go to the toilet my contractions would start again. All was well for a few weeks and then it all started again - lots more drugs and I’m now in Wythenshawe hospital where I spent another week.
At this point I was totally fed up and starting to get really down and worried about how I’d cope if my babies were born now and I’d have to leave them in hospital - go home and look after 2 more children and get to the hospital everyday! My babies were about to be born and a section was planned for the minute I hit 4cm! Luckily, I never got to that stage and all was well until 35 weeks.
I rang triage to say my feet seemed very puffy and I didn’t feel right. Bear in mind I hadn’t felt any contractions in a while but I had been in for reduced movement monitoring everyday the week before. The midwife advised me that the swelling in my legs was down to the hot weather and that I should just go home and take it easy. Then the doctor comes in and says she’s putting me on the monitor for half an hour just to check movements. Half an hour later she comes back and tells me.....you’re in LABOR!! I’m not joking when I say I didn’t even feel a contraction.
They do say a twin pregnancy / labor can be totally different from that of a single pregnancy. It was definitely the opposite of what I expected. I didn’t have any morning sickness, I didn’t even know when I was in true labor! I was warned about this from various midwives but I didn’t take much notice. I’d gone to the hospital on my own and told Paddy I’d bring him a KFC home...he wasn’t expecting me to call him to say the babies were on the way and he needs to get to the hospital quick! 20 mins later I was taken into theatre to have my beautiful boys. I had Mollie via C-Section just 9 months earlier so was advised the safest way to have the twins was via C-Section.
Niall and Luke were born on the 20th of June (35 weeks) weighing 4lb 11 and 5lb 2. Both babies were very healthy, didn’t need any oxygen or neonatal time and were allowed to go home after 1 night.
I opted to stay an extra night as I was worried about the recovery after my section. Nobody prepares you for what comes after having a section - everyone seems to think it’s the easy way out, but it really isn’t! I had a 3rd degree tear with my first delivery with Oliver - I’d take that any day over a section! When I had Mollie I declined the morphene and concoction of drugs I was offered just before the spinal was about to wear off....biggest mistake ever!! That was my biggest set back and why it took me so long to recover the first time round. If only I’d taken those pills so I could get out of bed without feeling like I’d been cut in half or like my legs were about to cave in under me. It took 2 days to get out of bed just to wash the blood and yellow stuff they paint all over you when having a spinal. I couldn’t understand why everyone else was finding it so much easier to get off the bed and walk around, and why I felt like I needed every drug possible just to move around the bed. I couldn’t even feed mollie and I felt like a failure as I was in so much pain. I took that with me to my next section and made sure I requested those drugs before the spinal was due to wear off. Take the drugs they offer you - you will thank me later! This was the only way I managed to get up and have a shower the same day (I’m not promising you’ll feel great or it won’t hurt, but you’ll be able to get out of bed and feel slightly human / be able to hold your baby).
I was dreading the recovery as I now had 2 premature babies to look after whilst I had a 9 month old who had just taken her first steps, I also had a 6 year old who had to go to school. They say it’ll take 6 weeks to recover and you cannot drive or do much in those 6 weeks. I was driving both times after 2 weeks - you have to when you’ve got kids at school and your husband has gone back at work. The first week is awful - I felt fine in myself after the 2nd week. This is when panic really set in for me - how am I going to do the school run with 3 babies??
The nice thing is all 3 babies will be in the same school year as Mollie was born in September and the boys were born in June - it’s going to be an expensive year but it’s nice to know Mollie will have 2 big brothers to look after her :)
The first 6 months with 3 babies....
Nobody will ever prepare you for the shock of having 3 babies and the fact you now have to keep them all alive whilst keeping yourself sane! Your life will turn into a military operation. You’ll feed one baby, feed the other, change them, then be back onto feeds again before you know it. My husband said it’s like that game where you hit the moles on the head with a hammer and they keep popping up - that’s exactly how I’d describe life with 3 babies. You will go out and feel like an instant celebrity - everyone will stop you and ask you the following questions
1. Are they TWINS?? Are they Identical??
2. What are their names?
3. How much did they weigh?
4. When were they born?
5. She’s yours too - how old??
6. Do twins run in the family then? Nope, identical twins do not run in families - they’re a fluke...well a MIRACLE!
6. How do you cope?
I went to John Lewis once and must've had around 30 people stop me and ask the same questions, It's nice at first but it soon gets pretty annoying! You need to add an extra hour to your trip if you want to go out as you'll spend more time talking to people than you will doing the thing you planned to do. I need to buy a t-shirt with all the questions on above it’ll save me a lot of time lol!
I was offered loads of help before I had the twins, I’m yet to see half of the people that offered to help me. I’m not sure if they don’t like the thought of visiting someone with so many babies as it’s too stressful, or maybe they just have too much going on in their own lives and don’t think they need to contact me. I’ve not had 1 person invite me out during the day with or without the babies who hasn’t cancelled on me, or just hasn’t bothered to ask at all. I thought I had friends I could rely on, friends that would make the effort to either come and see me and the babies, or just try and get me out of the house. I haven’t had either - It's one of the main reasons I feel so down.
Niall and Luke went home at 35 weeks 2 days weighing 4lb 11 and 5lb 2oz.
We received daily visits from the midwife for nearly 3 weeks as both babies jaundice levels were getting pretty high. We were advised we’d have to go back into hospital for phototherapy if they didn’t improve - thankfully all was ok!
I was worried about how Mollie would be with the babies seen as she’s only 9 month old herself. The first thing she did was kiss them and has done everyday since - she melts my heart :)
I struggled for a good week and half with my section wound and the pain it caused me. I couldn’t do much in terms of lifting, housework (good excuse not to do the cleaning) or bending down. It certainly wasn’t as hard as my recovery with Mollie. I was expecting it to be twice as bad.
My husband didn’t take 2 weeks off work as he had lots of time off when I was in and out of hospital. He has his own business and his busiest time is in the summer months. My sister came up for the 2nd week so that was a big help. I had a few visitors, but not loads. I guess most people like to stay away and let family come round the first few weeks.
I now had to get my son to school and cart 3 babies around with me. I nearly cried the first time I had to do it. I still didn’t feel great after my section and couldn’t lift the pram in and out of the car. I asked Paddy to ring school to see if they’d bring Oliver to reception for a week to make it a bit easier. That week was great, but I was dreading the week after. It all seemed way too stressful getting 3 babies in the car to drive 15 minutes to school, get them out of their car seats, put them in the pram to go into school for 2 minutes, put them back in their car seats to get them out of their car seats again to go home :( this is when I wish I lived within walking distance of Oliver’s school. This is currently a daily battle and one that is giving me a great deal of stress and anxiety.
Both babies were a dream for the first 7 weeks. Week 8 comes and I’m hit with a brick! Both babies just start screaming for no reason, constantly! I didn’t know what to do, but I had the week from hell. I tried infacol, gripewater, colic drops - nothing seemed to work!
I was literally on the edge and told my husband I needed some help. I just felt like I couldn’t cope with 3 babies (2 which screamed at me all day, and one which was only 10 month old and wanted my attention). I also had Oliver to worry about and the stress of getting him from School. Before I had the twins I was promised loads of help off everyone. In my head I had help nearly every day!
Word of warning....don’t bank on the help until they show up! I had to pay someone to come and help me 2 days a week as I felt like I couldn’t rely on anyone. When you have 3 babies to look after you rely on that help so much, then if someone lets you down you start to feel like you cannot breathe! On the days I knew I had help I knew I’d be able to do the school run without having to get all the babies in and out of the car! It might seem pretty easy to some, but when you have to do it every day whilst trying to get 3 babies fed, changed, keep the house in order, make tea, do work and get out of the door - it’s actually very difficult!
I still have 2 screaming babies and Idon’t know what to do :(
I look at childcare options - Do I put Mollie in nursery 2 days a week or hire someone to help me at home. I didn’t want Mollie to feel like she had to grow up too quick and had to go to nursery. The best option was to get someone to come and help me at home so I could either spend more time on my own with Mollie, or spent time with the Twins. It would also make it a lot easier to do the school run. I would then be able to pick Oliver up from school and spend some time with him on his own (this hasn’t actually happened that often). So I employ a nanny called Charlotte on a Tuesday and Friday. My mum helps now and again on a Monday and Paddy’s Mum has Mollie on a Wednesday so I get to spend time with the boys on my own. Some might think that’s amazing but even when Charlotte or my mums here it’s still a 2 person job looking after 3 babies - you never actually get a break! I try and get a shower when Mollie goes for a lie down so I’m not leaving Charlotte with all 3 babies.
I’m about to lose my mind as I still have 2 babies that scream all day! What am I going to do? I'm counting down the hours until Paddy gets home from work so i can have a break...and an adult conversation!!
I do lots and lots of research and come across what is dubbed as ‘A Miracle’ Colief Drops! The reviews were amazing so I had to give them a go. Bear in mind they’re a tiny little bottle so I nearly had a heart attack when I went to the till and the lady says £11.99! life was about to get a lot more expensive! If it works though who cares how much it costs. So I bought the drops and changed my bottles to MAM antic colic bottles -2 hours later I had 2 angel babies! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing....or the fact I couldn’t hear babies screaming constantly!
What are these amazing drops? Colief break down the lactose in formula or breastmilk (can be used if expressing) which some babies find it hard to digest until their bodies mature and can break it down themselves. The only thing we didn’t realise at first is you have to leave the bottle 30 minutes for the drops to work. If you have a baby that cries excessively and nothing seems to work....give these a go - they could change your life. My life changed in an instant! Some doctors will prescribe them - mine wouldn’t! The cheapest place I’ve found them is on amazon. You can get double the amount for what you’d pay in the pharmacy. One 15ml bottle would last 2 babies around a week and a half - it certainly isn’t cheap when you’re buying 3 of them a month on top of baby milk, nappies and wipes. Don't want to complain too much as it's worth every penny. Anything that gives me a bit of peace and quiet is worth it!
It’s school holidays so I don’t have to worry about going to school - it feels so good not having to leave the house. I do have a 6 year old to entertain now though, as well as look after the babies. We attempt the play centre one day - we eventually got out of the house at 5pm. I can honestly say I won’t be doing it again on my own :( it was seriously stressful, but I’d promised Oliver I’d take him, even if it was tea time by the time we got there!
We took the kids (all 5 of them, including my step son to a caravan for 3 nights). I had this vision in my head that it’d be all nice and relaxing like it was when I was a kid. It felt like we were at home, but 10 times smaller!
It rained for 2 days so we couldn’t do much. The kids spent most of their time in the arcades. They wanted to book onto activities which required adult supervision. So I was stuck back in the caravan with 3 babies whilst Paddy went off to have fun with the boys. I felt like I might as well be at home. It wasn’t fun at all. Paddy couldn’t wait to go back to work and said he felt like he was in Prison for 3 days - spare a thought for me, I wasn’t the one off having fun with the kids!
Month 4 - September
Back to school! Both babies have outgrown the carrycot they shared.
I now have the worry of putting both babies in the pram and either putting a sling on or carrying Mollie and pushing a double pram. You might ask why I chose not to buy a triple pram? I didn’t want to buy one as I’d still need a single for Mollie when she’s not with me, or if I go out with her on her own, or if I’m out with just the twins I’m pushing a huge 3 seater pram around which won’t fit through my front door or any shop doors. It was just a logistical nightmare and that’s why I opted for a twin. We were about to buy a new 7 seater car which wouldn’t even fit my twin pram in, never mind a triple!
Mollies 1st Birthday
Where did my baby go :( she’s 1 already, yet she’s still so tiny. She’s the best big sister to her baby brothers. She’s such an angel, she’s the only baby I know who likes going to bed. She’ll stand at the gate waiting to be let up the stairs, then goes down without any problems and will sleep for a good 12 hours. She came out in what we thought was a bruise on her forehead around 8 week old - it now looks like a bruise but it got scarily big and had to be treated with Propanolol. We took her off it at around 7 month old as it was disturbing her sleep. It’s actually gone down so much now even though she’s not been having any treatment for it. They say it should disappear on its own by the time she’s 2.
Niall and Luke are starting to make cute noises and acknowledging each other.
Trying to juggle looking after the babies whilst working on my new website mumtobe.com which will go live in October.
Month 5 - October
I’m finding myself stuck in the house all day with the babies, too scared to go anywhere as it’s pretty much impossible on my own, even when Charlotte comes on a Tuesday and Friday I’m either trying to get the house tidied, catch up on piles of washing, help her with the babies or do some work. I also have a Charity called Wish for a wedding so I need to try and keep on top of that and make sure I’m checking emails - maybe organise a wedding for someone less fortunate than myself who doesn’t have long to live.
Family holiday to Lanzarote - we must be mad!!
We soon figured out that we couldn’t go on a plane with 3 babies as they all need to sit on an adults lap. We convinced Paddy’s Mum, Dad and sister to come with us. I can honestly say if we hadn’t of had them with us it would’ve been a nightmare and not at all possible. Apart from the stress of getting through the airport it all went pretty smooth and all babies were well behaved. The twins had a cold so Luke had a good cry on the plane but settled quickly enough. It was nice to get some sun and have a little bit of a break. We spent a lot of time trying to keep the twins out of the sun, luckily they had day beds so we hired them for the week. We made the mistake of forgetting the sun shade and hood for the twins pram - big mistake!
It was my birthday while we were there so Paddy took me out for a nice meal. I don’t know if that was the start of me feeling down or not but I just broke down crying on the night of my birthday. I should’ve been happy but I didn’t feel anything but sad and wanted to go home.
Mollie Finally gets her first tooth at 14 month old!! No issues whatsoever with waking in the night or irritability teething - let’s see if this continues! Trip to the park with my little lady on our own
Month 6 - November
The week after our holiday Niall was really unsettled. My cousin and aunty were coming for tea. Paddy had gone out with his friends. As soon as my cousin arrived both babies started to scream like mad. I think Niall set Luke off with his crying. Niall’s legs were going purple he was screaming that much. We didn’t know what to do but we were all pretty worried and wondered whether to take him to hospital or not. He stopped crying after a while but was still unsettled. Once they went home I decided to change their bums and immediately noticed a rash on Niall’s legs. I rang my cousin and asked her what I should do. She told me to do the glass test. My heart sank when I pressed the glass over his legs - it didn’t disappear :(
I rang NHS Direct who told me I needed to get him to a hospital within the hour. I didn’t want to ring Paddy as he was out with his friends and I didn’t want to ruin his night out. His Mum came over to watch the kids whilst I went to the hospital with my cousin. She was an absolute lifesaver that night she stayed with me all night whilst they prodded at my baby, shaved his hair off so they could put a canula in his head. They said they didn’t know what it was but they had to treat for suspected meningitis as it was a non blanching rash under his skin. We’d have to start antibiotics for the next few days and wait for the blood cultures to mature.
It wasn’t nice seeing my baby in hospital. It was the first time the twins had spent a night apart in 5 months. I went home one day and only had 2 babies to look after. I couldn’t believe how much easier it was! We still couldn’t wait to get Niall back home. 3 days later were told the blood cultures are showing something but they don’t know what. It was all very confusing as they changed their mind a couple of times depending on which doctor came in! We finally went home after 4 days with the all clear. They didn’t know what it was but they said it must’ve been viral. It’s better to be safe than sorry so always go in and check! It was nice to have all the babies back together.
Niall and Luke hold hands for the first time - soooo cute. Just tried them out in their new high chairs with a bit of baby porridge
I photographed a wedding in August ( I tried to cancel it and book her another photographer but she really wanted me to do it) so I had over 1000 photos to edit whilst looking after the babies. As you can imagine it’s not easy trying to get onto the computer to do work whilst you’re on your own with the babies. I’d have to sacrifice my evenings and use the time when Charlotte comes to help. It was soul destroying as I’d just want to get out of the house whilst she was here and have a break for just an hour, yet I couldn’t as I had this work hanging over me. I felt awful that I’d photographed this wedding in August, it was now November and I was only just about finished editing. My life felt so much lighter when I finally finished. I could finally spend some time with my babies
My new car arrives - all 7 seats! Just need to work out how we get a pram in when we have 6 or 7 seats up!
Month 7 - December
I’m starting to wonder if I have any friends. I’d tried to organise a girls holiday but nearly everyone pulled out on me, I tried to organise various nights out but not one of them have happened - everyone just seems too busy. Can’t even plan a night out in 2 months time without someone making up an excuse as to why they can’t make it. I know I’ve not been the best at keeping in contact with everyone, but surely people can see that it’s not as easy to get on my phone as it once was. I’ve also been snowed under with work so I’ve hardly stepped out of the door in months. It doesn’t mean I can’t go out in the day or they can’t ask me to meet up with them, call round and see me for an hour or ask me to meet up on an evening once Paddy is home. Just because I have 3 babies doesn’t mean I’m not allowed a life! I set up a twins group in my area to try and meet other twin mums in a similar position.
2nd wedding anniversary night away to Chester.
It was really nice to spend a night away with my husband without any kids, play cards, have a meal in peace and get some sleep. 2 years ago we had the most amazing wedding in Paris! My mother in law tells me all babies slept all night - first time ever! She needs to come more often!
We went to view the most amazing house - our offer was accepted! YAY! It’s not in the area we currently live and Oliver will have to move schools, but there’s positives to both of those. I did think twice about moving area, but the lack of people I see means I no longer care who I live near. If anyone wants to make the effort to see me or wants to meet up with me I’m only 15 minutes further down the motorway
20th of December
Niall and Luke are 6 months old. They’re getting so big and so cute. I’ve been trying them on baby food for a few weeks. I bought a blender to try and make it myself, not only will I know what’s in it but it’s also a lot cheaper to make it yourself. Both boys are sleeping most of the night which is amazing! Luke wants to roll over but isn’t quite getting it. They both take their dummies in and out of their mouths and try to hold their bottles themselves.
Christmas shopping with babies in tow - why do we leave these things to the last minute! Niall, Luke and Oliver are full of a cold. Oliver goes to his dads Christmas Eve and Oscar goes back to his mums. I had Oliver last year so it’s his turn to go to his dads this year - cannot say im too happy about it but that’s what has to happen when you split up and have to take it in turns.
My sister comes up from London for Christmas so she calls round with Mum - It looks like Santa has arrived already the amount of presents they brought round! Starting to feel Christmasy but I haven’t yet wrapped 1 present!
It was so nice to see Mollie open her presents - she loved her little car :) All 3 babies are full of a cold. We somehow manage to have half of our Christmas dinner. Paddy is also feeling awful and getting this dreaded cold.
The big boys arrive home. We have another Christmas Day and they open their presents - we have 2 very happy boys :) Trip to visit the in laws who have also been very poorly over Christmas.
The dreaded bug has hit us all. I’m now full of a cold, Paddy’s full of the flu, all babies are ill and it’s not much fun at all. 3 days later I have the flu. This is not what you need when you have babies who are poorly and need looking after, and you can’t even lift your head off the pillow. We had lots planned over Christmas but didn’t go out of the house once between Boxing Day and the new year. I spent NYE in bed feeling sorry for myself. We didn’t feel like we had much of a Christmas which was pretty rubbish as I was looking forward to the boys 1st Christmas. With everyone being ill for the past few weeks it’s been enough to break me. It also gives me a lot of anxiety when the kids are ill and get a temperature. When Oliver was a baby he had 3 fits due to a temperature - we spent his first Christmas in hospital with suspected meningitis. Thank god all was ok and it was just febrile seizures caused by a high temperature but it seriously scares the life out of you. Seeing your baby having a lumbar puncture is one of the worst things! The 2nd time it happened Oliver was in his car seat having a seizure - I wouldn’t of known unless I’d of been reversing out of a car park and saw him. I couldn’t go in my car after that and drive anywhere with him in his car seat for a while. He’s now 6 and I still get worried when he gets ill but I know it’s something that disappeared once he turned 3. I still panic if one of the babies gets a temperature and wonder if they’ll have a seizure - it’s not something that will disappear from my mind anytime soon.
I can honestly say it’s been a very difficult 6 months. My patience has been tested, I’ve learnt who my real friends are, I’ve turned into an emotional wreck and felt like I couldn’t cope, had days where I just want to pull my hair out but you just have to get up and get on with it. I used to get up, put a full face of make up on and care about how I looked. I couldn’t care less what I look like anymore and who’s paying attention to how much make up I have on my face! I’m sure I look like something out of a horror movie when Charlotte turns up on a morning!
I’d do anything for my kids, but it doesn’t stop you worrying about how you’re going to cope, wondering if you doing the right thing, feeling guilty that you don’t spend enough quality time with any of them as you’re trying to juggle work and give attention to 3 babies plus an older child who you don’t want to leave out.
Things I’ve done that make life with twins / multiples a lot easier....
- Prepare clothes for everyone the night before.
- Make sure the house is clean and tidy before you go to bed - don’t leave it until the morning it’ll make you feel groggy and it’s not a good start to the day!
- Don't leave your washing so it ends up resembling a mountain. You'll feel very overwhelmed if you let washing pile up. Putting washing on and putting it away on an evening will help in the long run. I'm sure you'd just love to sit down, but do not let the washing slip. You will regret it.
- Leave breakfast on the table for the older children for the morning - they just have to put their own milk on.
- If babies still wake in the night for a feed I’d wake both up at the same time (instead of going back to sleep and waking up again when the other decides to wake up) you’ll sleep a lot better and not be waking up wondering when the other is going to wake for a feed. Buy a twin feeding pillow to make your life easier - this has been my best purchase (apart from my perfect prep machine)
- Get up before the kids, get dressed and have a shower - If you do not do this you’ll be in your pjs all day and never get out of the house! I’ve spent months like this and struggle every day to go anywhere. Start the day this way and your day will be easier and less stressful.
- You DO NOT need to bathe your baby every day. Trying to bathe 2 - 3 babies at once is just not going to happen, especially If you're on your own.
- Take all the help you can get. Admit when you need help, and do something about it.
- I’ve started listening to spa music to get me to sleep. Pretend you’re in a spa - you’ll soon be in another world!
- spend 15 minutes each day with each child doing something the enjoy. Draw a picture, play snap, read a book,