Since having the twins and beginning this new crazy chapter in my life, I have created a new virtual village of blogging/vlogging social media Mummies and Daddies, who inspire and support me. I’ve also started listening to parenting podcasts, and it seems that Day 3 is the day when most new Mums lose their shit. Hormones are all over the shop, milk’s coming in, lack of sleep is really kicking in and the adrenaline rush has peaked already. However for me, all this panic began on Day 2; apart from the bit about milk coming in! I’d have to wait a bit longer for that. 😫
The euphoria of the twins safe arrival and my super hero hand expressing abilities had scarpered and all I had left was fear and doubt! Fear of the plethora of wires and beeps while I sat with the twins. What did they all mean? Fear of the electric breast pump machine that now sat next to my bed and doubt that my milk would ever come in! I’d never used a pump before and I think I’d been subconsciously kidding myself that despite being born too early and too small to latch on and feed straightaway, they would prove everyone wrong and just do it. There is no rational reason why I was so afraid of using the big yellow milking machine, apart from the fact it was out of my comfort zone, that I had to learn about sterilising and ultimately make peace with the fact that for a while my milk wasn’t enough for both of them. Given that he was the smallest and would benefit the most from it, Nayan got exclusively breast milk feeds and so therefore Arjun would need topping up with formula. I accepted this scenario relatively quickly but was determined to push my fears aside and become better acquainted with my pump, so that I could up my supply and make enough milk for both of them.
This is where three real super heroes join the story. The Maternity Care Assistant’s (MCA’s) who supported me during the lows and highs of my short time on the maternity ward, were beyond amazing! They tried everything to help reassure me that my milk would come in and did all they could to encourage my milk on its way. This included hand expressing for me in the early hours of the morning, saving me plates of food for when I returned from NICU and taking my mind off everything with a good old chin wag and a chuckle! Thank you ladies!
Sorry I went off on a bit of a tangent there about all things milk related. But in those early days post-partum it really is all about the milk. In other news though I had my catheter removed and successfully managed the first after birth wee, which wasn’t as painful as I remember. I guess I have the c-section to thank for that. Well not the actual weeing anyway, though getting on and off the toilet was sore, to say the least.
As well as the other highs and lows of my emotional Day 2, I also had a visit from Raj, my Mum and Dad and Krish. Well that just tipped me over the emotional cliff! Krish was not keen to come anywhere near me instead he just hid behind Raj’s legs. All I wanted was a big hug from my number one boy but it was as if he was cross with me for leaving him. I expect he was totally overwhelmed with the whole situation….strange place, strange sounds, new faces. He was probably really confused too; wondering what had happened to me and where the babies were now. I was really keen to introduce him to his brothers so slowly (without my wheelchair this time) we walked down to the NICU unit.
Krish was curious about where we were going and was happy to hold my hand as we made our way to see the babies. As we washed our hands and put coats and bags in the lockers, I explained to Krish where we were, how he would need to behave and what he might see. He began to show excitement and some understanding of why I’d been away from him. The memory of the look of love on his face and the sense of an instant connection as he sat next to me with Arjun, will never leave me.
So, much to my relief I did manage to survive Day 2!! In terms of milk arrival, Day 3 held no good news but I was still continuing to use the pump to stimulate the flow and encouraging Arjun to nurse as often as I could. I wish my memories were less hazy but on Wednesday I was still a bit of a wreck and now had to get my head around leaving the hospital with the twins still in NICU. In hindsight this was actually the best thing for me, in terms of my milk production because I had to get to grips with it myself without relying on the dream team of MCA’s for support.
There were no flats (rooms for parents to stay in while their baby is in NICU. Usually reserved for those who cannot commute in each day or for pre-discharge to demonstrate successful feeding and weight gain.) available at hospital, so on Wednesday evening I went home. Though I had only been there for three days it felt like a lot longer and it was a really odd feeling to leave hospital without a baby. I knew they would be fine but I was sad that I wouldn’t be there at night for them, Arjun especially, as the NICU nurses had been calling me to come to him during the night. The staff reassured us that they would ring if there was anything wrong and so reluctantly we left, breast pump, pain meds, anti-clotting injections and needle bin in hand! For those of you who may be interested, the breast pump that the hospital provided on the ward and that NICU lends out when mothers are travelling to and from the unit each day, was the Medela Symphony double electric breast pump. Once I’d got my head around it and accepted that this was par for the course, I actually found it a wonderfully simple and effective breast pump. Not that I’ve ever used any other breast pumps but this one is very clever. Read more on Medela’s website.
Once I started pumping regularly and Arjun began to nurse more effectively, my milk came in as I’d hoped it would. More on that and upping my supply in the next post, where I’ll talk about our new NICU life: routines, friends, progress and of course milk!
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