Sand between my toes!

13 September 2009

Comings and goings

Getting into a routine with twins can be quite difficult. They seem to instinctively know what the other one is doing. Most of the time only one twin seemed to be awake. So in the early days it was possible to feed, change and bathe a single baby. But that quickly disintergrated into half-dressed babies screaming their head off. Not while my Hungarian Mother was around though.

As I said before, Mum was around to take the screaming baby and look after her for a few hours while I got some sleep. In fact Mum made me take a nap during the day, in the early days when we were at home, logically pointing out that for the first three weeks they would still have been in my womb. I did try to take naps but they were so cute and if they were awake I would end up playing with them, quietly so Mum didn't hear. One day when the sun was pouring into the bedroom, adding to the subtropical conditions Mum had insisted on having in the house, because the twins were early and needed heat. Not sure if that was the whole reason, coming to England from Australia when it would have been their autumn and the temperature would still have been in the high 20's, as this was March, in England it was not quite that balmy weather. Pippa was awake and she still looked a little yellow from jaundice so I took her out of her papoose and let her tiny stick like legs and feet get some sun. She was so adorable and just stared into my eyes hardly making a sound. Mum had crept upstairs and caught me out playing with her. She was not pleased.

I thought that they were such well behaved babies in the first few weeks, but when the health visitor came and visited and did her regular weighing of the twins, Pippa had systematically been loosing a few ounces and had gone from 6lb 7oz to 5lb 11oz. A substantial loss for a new borne. This was why she was so quiet.

We immediately put her on to bottle milk as clearly she was not thriving on breast milk. At first I had tried desperately to breast feed both babies and had sort of managed but not very sucessfully so had expressed milk for the first few weeks and given them the most important nutrients. However with different problems with both I admitted defeat and started them on bottle milk. Pippa was so uninterested in being fed that she just wouldn't suck. So we had to get a bigger and bigger hole in the teat until the milk just flowed in. At last she started to gain some weight! It was quite scary watching a tiny baby get so lethargic. SJ took a bit more time and Mum used to feed her more often than not. For information on breast feeding techniques look up this really excellent site it will give you amazing tips.

Family and friends were also often visiting us at this time and it was great to see them. It was a huge emotional support to me to know that so many people would be around to lend me their shoulders to cry on if and when times got really hard. We had not told anyone but our own family and our closest friends that SJ had Downs Syndrome as we had took the decision to let people see them as twin babies first.

We also had the necessary visit from our Health Visitor who was great but shocked to see on her first visit that SJ had Downs syndrome as the hospital had not informed our local doctors surgery. She was so upset. She had been my Health Visitor when I had Lisa so we already knew each other and she was upset that she had not been better prepared. She was a great support to me just like she had been when Lisa was born. She retired quite some time ago now and I still see her ocassionally.

We also had a brilliant Occupational Therapist who came to visit when the twins were about eight weeks old and suggested some exercises we could do with SJ to help her muscle tone. We were already doing our own exercises, out of Mum's worn out book. Mum had exercised me in the same way, and I in turn had done the same to Nathan, Lisa and now Pippa and SJ. The Occupational Therapist had included a really useful one to help with her head control and tongue control.

I had no idea at this time how much time would be taken up by either visiting professionals or them visiting us. It is difficult to remember this time because the first few months just flew by. Getting Lisa to school while Mum was there was a breeze, not so from September onwards.

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