Meet the Stuart Family

I once knew a lady who had a set of twins and then a couple of years down the track, had a set of triplets. At the time, all I saw and thought was how amazingly lucky she was to have 5 beautiful children!!  This was before I had my own children and therefore I truly didn’t understand what this meant in terms of hard work, sleepless nights etc.  Fast forward a few years and I would have a better understanding than I could have ever imagined.

To say my first pregnancy was a walk in the park, would be false.  My husband Lance and I were told at our 20-week scan that Twin 2, our little girl Indie, was severely growth restricted.  I would require regular monitoring and ultrasound scans.  At 28 weeks, I was put on bedrest in the hope that I would make it to 30 weeks at least.  I made it to 30 weeks and each day after that was a bonus, as Indie’s blood flow started to show increased resistance through the umbilical cord.  At 34 weeks and 3 days, the obstetrician decided enough was enough and scheduled a caesarean section.  It was a very traumatic time and I’m sure a lot of you can relate.  Max and Indie were whipped out and transferred to the SCBU with Lance in tow.  I however, was left lying on the operating table in shock, hoping that my pigeon pair were ok.  Lance and I had both been prepped for what might eventuate but you truly don’t understand until you are in the moment.  Max and Indie spent the next 4 weeks in both the ICU and SCBU units of the hospital, learning to feed and gaining much needed weight.  Finally, we could bring them home and begin our lives as a family of 4.

When Max and Indie were 2 years old, we moved from Brisbane, Australia to Tauranga, New Zealand.  It was about this time that Lance and I started to entertain the idea of having another child.  Prior to this, there is absolutely no way we would have considered it.  We were soooooooooo tired!!!!

It wasn’t until I was 8 weeks pregnant and driving to the Radiology clinic for our first scan, that I decided to google “chances of having a second set of twins after having fraternal twins.” Great timing.  Google came back with a chance of 1 in 12.  At the time, I remember thinking that sounded quite high, but brushed it off, “as if that would happen to us.”  Sure enough, it did happen to us!!!!  As soon as the sonographer began the scan I could see two little sacs with two tiny embryos.  I will never forget the look on Lance’s face when the Sonographer turned to me and said, “well aren’t you a clever girl.”  Poor Lance took the rest of the day off work and went for a 50-km bike ride to process this new development (well actually, make that 2 new developments), only to return later that day to assure me that everything would be fine and that we had better start looking for a new car!!! Most people that we told including our families, thought we were joking.  “How is that possible,” they would say.  Even now, when people ask about our children, they are left gobsmacked when we mention our 2 sets of twins. To us, it’s just normal.  We know no different and to be honest, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

My 2nd pregnancy went a lot smoother than the first.  Our beautiful little girls Sophie and Isabelle were born at 36 weeks and 4 days.  They roomed in with me from the start and we were home within the week.

The second time around was a lot easier than the first.  I think the second time around you don’t have the uncertainty and know what to expect to some degree.  Obviously, we had more children but we were lucky as Max and Indie were so helpful and we included them (as much as possible) in bathing, dressing and keeping the babies entertained.  For a while, we had 4 children under the age of 4 and I won’t lie, it was a relentless, tiring time in our lives. The first year of all my children’s lives is a complete blur but I can honestly say that we are finally starting to come out the other side and feel so, so blessed that we were given the gift of two sets of twins.   Our days are long and our nights can seem even longer (well not as long as those nights with newborn twins……….insert shiver here), but the years are short and fly by.  My biggest advice would be to do what works for your family and your family only.  We have had the odd person/family member criticise some of our parenting choices but it’s no one else’s business except ours.  Ask and accept as much help as you can (I have only learnt to ask for help now and my oldest ones are almost 6).  Try to attend something as simple as playgroup.  Honestly, I used to dread the thought of it (particularly in the early days because I was just so tired) but boy can it be a lifesaver.  Being able to communicate with people who are in the exact situation as you are.  I always used to walk away thinking how wonderful it was that I made the effort and how nice it was to catch up with other people who also may be struggling to see the light.  Finally, don’t feel bad if your house is always a mess.  And for that matter, don’t feel bad if you are the opposite and you like to have a tidy house.  Whatever works for you and keeps you sane I say.

I often think back to the lady that had the twins and then the triplets and although I can now relate, to some degree of what she went through, my feelings of her being extremely lucky have never changed.

Meet the Santos Family

My name is Nicole, and I grew up in a small town on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa with my younger sister Heidi and our wonderful parents.  I enjoyed the simple and easy life of a small neighbourhood and living in a town where everyone knew all about your life.  After school, most of my friends went to university and others left to go to Europe.  I just wanted to be financially independent and earn the big bucks. I went on a mission and eventually landed a job in the “big city” my parents were not too keen on me moving away but they supported me anyway.

Life was good; I enjoyed the idea of working in the corporate world being surrounded by people that gave whatever it took to make money.  I kept my head down and worked away to get “the title” “the reputation” or whatever was perceived by me at the time to make me happy.  I bought my first house and enjoyed the carefree days that followed. A few years later I became good friends with a work colleague, we enjoyed each other’s company and would hang out with other work colleagues from time to time, little did I know he was my future husband, I wouldn’t believe you if you told me so then.  How could I ever be so lucky to marry my best friend?  It was about three years later that one day we literally fell, and I mean fell without any warning in love.  It was a huge challenge from a work point of view, as personal relationships were against company policy, but as it turns out, we were blindly in love and would do whatever it took to be together, I moved on to a new company and we made it happen.

We dated for one year and he proposed to me – I never expected it.  He caught me by surprise in every possible way.  So on this roller-coaster, we went – full on.  We got married in a beautiful coastal town on the beach, a picture perfect, intimate wedding with our closest friends and loved ones.  We were so happy and content; we worked hard and rewarded ourselves with great holidays.  We spoke about having kids one day but were not too concerned about it at the time.  About a year later I received a call from my doctor (I would go for my annual doctor’s check up every year, pap-smear, etc.) to come and see him regarding my latest results.  It turns out that they found abnormal cells on my uterus and that they needed to operate.  So I went through the procedure and it all turned out fine, except for the one comment the doctor made that changed our goals instantly.  There was a possibility that my condition could affect both my fertility and my ability to carry a baby to term. Now this sounds a little over the top I thought but given that I have a family with a history of cancer I didn’t want to play around with a maybe or could be.  So we both decided that would try to have a baby, no big deal just take one day at a time and see how we went along the journey. I still remember saying that we try for a year and if it doesn’t happen we go on our Sydney holiday that we had been saving for at the time and then maybe consider going to a fertility clinic.

Yeah right! About eight months later –  I remember having great difficulty sipping my champagne at a Gatsby theme party in Cape Town.  I knew something was up, we arrived back in Johannesburg on a Sunday night, and the first thing on Monday morning I drove past the pharmacy to get a home pregnancy test, and what do you know two very faint little lines appeared. I was not convinced, so I made an appointment with the pathology lab to have blood tests done, and they confirmed that I was three weeks pregnant.  Wow! We were absolutely ecstatic and terrified at the same time.  I set up an appointment with my gynaecologist so that I could have the absolute confirmation in my head that I was going to be a mom.  So off we went for our very first ultrasound at four weeks.  The doctor had a very serious look on her face as she was moving the probe around on my tummy and I asked (out of the blue) if there were two? Like two heartbeats? She looked very surprised and said that we shouldn’t be happy or scared yet but yes there were two heart beats!  So there we were going from let’s try for a baby, to we are HAVING TWINS!

My pregnancy was hectic. I had morning sickness from around three months until the day after the boys were born.  I gained 30kg and waddled like a duck most of the time; heartburn was part of my every day.  It was not my best season in life but I embraced it and I was grateful that the boys were developing well and that I was healthy.

January in the middle of summer in Johannesburg temperatures reaching 35 degrees, and I was so uncomfortable. I had terrible back pain the night before and what I thought were Braxton hicks – I struggled to get myself out of bed the next morning but finally got in the car to go to the gynaecologist for my 34-week check-up.   She confirmed that I had been in labour and that I needed an emergency caesarian there and then.

At 13:45 pm our two perfect little boys, Daniel and Miguel were born.  They spent ten days in NICU where we had unbelievable support from staff – I was able to room in with them for three days. It was not easy to go home without them, but I was at the hospital every three hours during the day to breastfeed, and the positive was that the time they spent in the hospital gave us the opportunity to wrap our heads around the fact that we had two tiny guys to take care of. We were certainly more prepared at home that we would have been if we took them home after a full term pregnancy.

We now live in sunny Tauranga with our energetic, but delightful 3-year-old boys, they may look the same, but they are very much different in the best ways.  They are both wonderful helpers around the home and have a contagious sense of humour.

Daniel and Miguel are both at Kindy during the weekday mornings, while my husband, Rui, works during the day and I attend to our home and all the administration that goes with stay home mum duties.  On our days off we enjoy the beautiful Tauranga beaches and parks.

New 2021 Commitee

Our recent AGM was held on the 27th May – this is our annual opportunity to confirm priorities for our charity for the next year, nominate and assign roles, agree to any updates to the constitution and celebrate what we’ve achieved in the past 12 months. 😁   🎉

After a three year stint as President we see Jo step down from this role and Lisa take over. Jo has had a successful three years leading the committee achieving the goals that were set when taking on the role 🥇. We thank Jo for her time she put into this and are delighted to see her stay on in the past president role for support .

Your 2021 committee consists of Lisa as President, Jo as immediate past president and grant and funding co-ordinator, Julia as Secretary, Becky as Playgroup co-ordinator and Equipment co-ordinator, Nikita as events co-ordinator, Sarah as membership co-ordinator, Casie as support co-ordinator, Carole as Communications co-ordinator and the Treasurer role is still to be confirmed. Please contact us if you are ever interested in joining the committee. 👯 👯 👯 👯

We would like to ensure you are familiar with the calendar on the website which lets you know the upcoming events. We invite you to attend these and meet some fellow multiple families. These events are such a good way to assist you in your multiples journey. We have dads and ladies’ nights coming up for everyone to enjoy a night out (9th of July for the Dads and Ladies night date to be confirmed)

Also a reminder about playgroups. These run every Monday morning at the Otumoetai plunket rooms from 9.30am – 12pm. 😎

Regards

Secretary

Multiples Bay of Plenty 

Membership Renewals due 1st April.

It is now that time of year when your membership to Multiples Bay of Plenty is due for renewal. If you would like to renew your membership, please complete the Membership Renewal form. If you decide to renew as a premium member, our bank account details will be emailed to you once you submit the form.  We will be in touch as soon as possible.

Please note that all memberships and renewals can take a few weeks to process, should you have any concerns please contact us directly.

Thank you.

Movie fundraising event

Multiples Bay Of Plenty invites you to a special Mothers Day screening of ‘Life of the Party’ to raise funds for our charity, which supports our community of parents, caregivers, siblings, twins, triplets and higher order multiples.
We would love for you to join us at Rialto Cinema, Tauranga, Sunday 13th May 2018 from 6.45pm. (Movie starts at 7.30pm)

There will be desert/nibbles provided and some amazing raffles to enter on the night.
There is a bar to purchases drinks or other snacks if you so desire.

Please fill out the form below to reserve your ticket or Get Tickets Tickets are $20.00 per person.
Could you please fill out a form for each ticket ordered (payment can be made in one transaction).

Tickets are limited and sold on a first in first served basis so please pay promptly to avoid disappointment.
Once payment is cleared your ticket/s will be emailed to you.

Watch the trailer here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mupW5smhT4A

Click here to order tickets:
https://goo.gl/forms/Y9efns9GjL3bfmr82

We are all looking forward to a fun night out – Thank you!

2017 Christmas Party

Our 2017 Christmas Party is scheduled for 17th December 10:30-1:30pm at Classic Flyers at the Mount.

This event is free for our Premium Members. $16 per child for General Members and $5 per additional adult attending (grandparents, aunts, uncles etc).

This includes:
* Access to the Torpedo Park kids play area
* Full access to the main museum
* Use of the Pedal planes (suitable for under 5 years)
* Use of the Super Hero Shooting Gallery (suitable for 3 years and above)
* Rides on the vintage fire engine for every child attending
* Loot bags for every paying child attending
* Kids party food for all the kids (age 2 to 5 years)

Food will be provided. If you or your child has specific alergy requirements, please bring your own snacks. Please also bring a small, named gift for each child attending as Santa is coming along to wish everyone a happy Christmas.

 

What happens if you end up in NICU?

2017 Issue 2: April

A stay in NICU, long or short, is never an experience anyone wants, but as we experience multiple pregnancies, it can happen. Within NICU, there are three levels of care – level three for the most severe cases (intensive care), level two for the less needy babies who still need extra care or have specific medical conditions, and level one for babies just about to leave the hospital. The unit at Waikato Hospital is one of six level three newborn units throughout the country. This unit caters for babies from Waikato, the wider Midland health region (which includes the Bay of Plenty) and sometimes babies are transferred in by ambulance or rescue helicopter from parts of the country where a Level 3 intense neonatal unit is not available, or the nearest NICU is full. Recently I spoke to a Bay of Plenty mum whose newborn twins spent time at Waikato DHB in their Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and she shared some practical advice based on her experience.

As a parent, you will always be welcome at your babies’ bedsides, day or night. However, NICU has strict visiting hours and visitors are limited to two people per baby at any one time. And obviously, no one will be allowed to enter if they are sick.

If your babies are in Level 3 NICU, they will be in an incubator and therefore won’t be wearing any clothes. When they transition to a cot, they will be wearing clothes, but don’t worry about buying premature clothes – NICU has massive amounts of clothes available.

You can’t room in with your babies at NICU until just before you scheduled for discharge. However, you will be found accommodation as near as possible to the hospital for the duration of your babies’ stay.

Expect to express every 3 hours -breastfeeding is encouraged. NICU have a ‘pumping room’ and a lactation consultant available.

Being discharged from NICU

If your babies’ health allows, the NICU team will try to coordinate things so that they discharge both your babies at the same time.

If that’s not possible, the hospital will discharge one of your babies while the other stays in NICU. This situation can be tricky to coordinate, especially as once the hospital discharges your babies they cannot go back into the unit. You may need to arrange someone to help you look after the discharged twin so you can visit your baby still in care.

Transitioning after NICU can be difficult. It can be easy to fixate on numbers – for example, how many milliliters has each baby had at this feed?

When you are admitted, it is likely that the NICU team will take over your care from your midwife and you may not have opportunities for further contact with her. When the hospital discharges you, you will be eligible for a home care nurse for a period.

Looking after yourself

If you have an older child or children, it will be difficult especially with such a distance between you, your babies and the rest of your family. Perhaps you need to have a discussion with family and build a support network to help you during this difficult time.

If you have your babies very early, you might not have started your antenatal classes, and it can be difficult to develop relationships with other new mums, particularly as they may not be able to relate to your situation. However, you can make special and long-standing friendships with other parents with babies in NICU.

If you are transferred to NICU from out of town (for example from the Bay of Plenty to Waikato), you can get breakfast, which volunteers supply, and evening meal vouchers.

Remember that your babies’ time in NICU will end – it may not feel like it at the time, but no child ever goes to school from NICU!

Resources

Here’s a few NICU resources and stories relating to twins spending time in NICU recently:

  • The Southern District Health Board have a virtual tour available of their NICU.
  • MidCentral DHB has a phone app called Babble that caters to the needs of parents with children at the neonatal unit at Palmerston North Hospital.
  • https://www.neonataltrust.org.nz/ 2017/03/21/neonatal-twins-celebrate- their-first-birthday.
  • http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/ parenting/baby/73582091/BLOG- Double-trouble-Starting-life-in-NICU.

Please remember we are not medically trained, this does not constitute medical advice, and everyone’s experience is different – if you are concerned about any aspect of your pregnancy, contact your LMC in the first instance. One of our members kindly provided this information; her fraternal twins were born at 28.2 weeks in late 2015. One twin was in NICU at Waikato Hospital until he was 42 weeks and the other twin spent a total of 190 days in the hospital. That’s one amazing mama we have in our midst!!!

Using reusable nappies

2016 Issue 3: August

Written by Anita Rapson

We used reusable nappies and homemade wipes from when Ada and Hazel were little. Using reusable nappies was something that was really important to me, however during my pregnancy I was quite focused on getting through the pregnancy and didn’t really consider how life was going to be once our two bundles of joy arrived. Needless to say, I wasn’t organised enough to have any reusable nappies in the house when we returned from the hospital or for a couple of months afterwards.

I was lost in a world of abbreviations and nappy terminology that I didn’t understand, probably exasperated by my lack of sleep and the general anxiety I was experiencing at that time. So I hired a box of reusables for six weeks. It cost me about $50 and included 6 pre- folds and 1 snappi, 7 pockets and inserts, 10 fitteds, 9 covers, microfleece stay-dry liners, boosters and extra inserts, wet bag, and cloth wipes.

None of this made any sense to me and I remember sitting in our lounge, surrounded by the contents of the hire kit (none of which correlated with the list that I had supposedley received), balling my eyes out, when my mother visited and she looked every bit as overwhelmed as I felt.

But eventually, with the power of Youtube and Google, things began to make more sense.

How we used the nappies

I started the reusable nappies from when Ada and Hazel were around twelve weeks old, initially just one each a day. After I returned the hire kit, I had a better idea of the style that suited us and was ready to buy our own. We started with four “All-in-Ones” and gradually built up our collection. By the time the girls were ready for toilet training, we had 22 in total (I sold the initial 4 small sized nappies on Trademe). This was about the right number for us.

We always used liners. At one point I bought nappy liner fabric and made my own liners, which we used for a few months. However, after a few complaints from my partner, I just ended up buying the flushable liners (although I never flushed them).

We also didn’t use reusable at night time. We just didn’t try it – I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a problem or anything.

Washing and Drying

I found that washing the reusable nappies was probably easier with twins because it meant I was doing a full load every one to two days, whereas with a single baby things might have got a bit stinky or I might have had to do half loads. We had a bucket with a lid in the laundry. Everything got a rinse out, then chucked in there while waiting to be washed. I had some tea tree essential oil and I’d add a drop to the bucket every so often. Unlike Kate suggests in the earlier article, only the nappies went into a nappy wash. We are also somewhat lucky as we have our washing line under cover as well as fireplace in our garage (weird, I know, but it sources our wetback), so the nappies dried quickly all year around.

Review of nappies

Here’s a few thoughts abouts the different styles and brands of nappies we used, although I did find that what worked when Ada and Hazel were tiny, changed by the time they were three:

Imsevimse all in ones: these were the first (and the most expensive nappies) I bought and I’m not sure you can get them in NZ anymore (I got them from Nature Baby). We used the small size and then progressed to the medium size. They were great – so easy to fold (no need to stuff anything), felt super soft, the velcro on the front meant they were easily adjustable and we never had any leaks.

Punga Tails: I got these on sale as a pack, which made them very cost effective. I got the snap version of these pocket nappies, although the sizing was never quite right because of the placement of the snaps.

Cherub Tree: I found these quite easy to use and I had both velcro and snap versions. Overall, they were very similar to the Punga Tails nappies. But, lets just say that I never loved stuffing the inners.

TotsBots EasyFit: These all-in-one nappies worked quite well for us. Although, I’m not quite sure why, but if any nappies were going to leak (which didn’t happen very often), it was these ones. Wearing their TotsBots

Bambino Mio: Overtime these became my favourite nappies. They didn’t seem quite so bulky, were super quick to dry and never leaked. They were also super cute!

Homemade wipes

We used Wendyl Nissen’s recipe for homemade baby wipes, but I skipped the rosewater and got chux cloths in bulk and reused them. Sometimes I added olive oil or an essential oil but mostly I forgot!