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Preparing DH for twins
15 replies to this topic
Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:45 PM
So we are approaching the 24 week mark (this Friday ) and I am starting to believe that we really are going to bring home two babies!
Just wondering what other people did to prepare their DH for the arrival of twins. So far I have given my DH a booklet that the hospital gave me on raising twins (may have been an AMBA one) and we are booked to go to the AMBA information night at our hospital.
It is possible that our twins will arrive early as they are sharing the same placenta. In addition I have placenta previa (also had that last pregnancy).
It has been recommended that we go and see the local NICU with the advice given that is better to do this before the babies arrive so that if they do come early we know what to expect. Apparently our OB can organise this.
Just wondering what sorts of things other people did (or wish they had done) to prepare their DH for the arrival of twins (both the hospital part and the taking the babies home part)? I feel like I have a reasonable level of information as I have read a fair bit on EB. Not surprisingly DH who hasn't done this is a bit more clueless. We have two other children so the baby part isn't new, but premmie/special care and two at once issues are!
Until recently DH was under the impression that even if the babies were in the NICU/Special Care that we would still be able to take them to Recovery / on the ward with us as we could just "unplug the humidicrib and plug it back in in the next room". He also seemed very vague (or maybe it was denial) on the issue of it being a bit tricky for me to feed two babies by myself overnight.
PS I should mention that my DH is absolutely awesome with our other children and doing stuff around the house. He just seems genuinely ignorant about the issues that might arise with twins.
Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:50 PM
Have you contacted your local AMBA group? Ours run a new/expecting parents morning tea, might be helpful for him to meet/talk to other parents who are going through it or have been through it and hear their experiences? Is he attending your doctors appointments, did your doctor run through the risks associated with your twins' situation?
Posted 17 April 2012 - 11:11 AM
lol your poor DH. we never did anything special DH was clued in, came to what Drs appointments he could so any questions he had could be answered by the Dr
Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:42 PM
Does your DH want to know more?
I ask because I didn't. My twin pregnancy was complicated, my OB was amazed that we made it past 30 weeks (we got to 36+5, he actuallysaid afterwards that we were incredibly lucky to end up with two healthy babies). Quite early on when it became clear that there were problems I asked him to only tell me what I had to know. I didn't want to know risks, I didn't want to know what might happen and I certainly didn't want to run through "what ifs". There was no way I was visiting NICU (and I'd visited friends in SCN so had seen that). I knew I was in denial and "delusionally optimistic" but it was the best way for me to deal with the stress.
DH came to appointments, he had discussions with the OB (some without me). He knew only too well the risks and realities of twins and premature babies (from before we fell pregnant with twins) and he was totally stressed out. He coped by having rational, statistics-based discussions with the OB, running through different scenarios. Everyone copes differently. We didn't buy a car to fit all four kids until the twins were 6 weeks old, DH couldn't even contemplate doing it before they were born (we could work around this for a while and it was fine with me). I organised the bare essentials (capsules) and we had most stuff from previous babies so it all worked out fine.
He also seemed very vague (or maybe it was denial) on the issue of it being a bit tricky for me to feed two babies by myself overnight.
We tried having both of us doing feeds and then we tried each feeding one baby for the first week home (I expressed for the first few weeks) and it didn't work for us (I know that these things do work for others). The best system was for me to do all overnight feeds while everyone else slept then DH would get up with the kids and do a morning feed while I got a few hours sleep. My focus was on feeding babies and sleeping when I could, he looked after the older kids and took care of shopping, house etc. Having two of us sleep deprived and cranky was a nightmare.
Because he really disliked talking about having two babies (because he was so stressed), we never discussed it. We had a general understanding that he'd need to step up more than the singletons and he arranged to have a lot of time of work (if needed) but the rest we agreed to just play by ear.
Posted 17 April 2012 - 12:52 PM
He could prepare to take over dinner preparations, I found with 3 other children and breastfeeding twins, the best help from DH was to ensure all the other kids were fed whilst I fed the twins. He was probably already cooking 65% of the dinners but increasing this to 100% really helped. He also bathed the twins & our toddler which gave me some time to spend twin-free with the older 2 children which was enjoyable.
Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:54 PM
We did nothing special either, and why cant you feed two babies overnight? I do. Granted they are breastfed so noone else can anyway but its not that hard. I actually in the early days found it harder during day with the elder two hanging off me and wanting attention.
I wouldnt have toured the SCN or NICU, even if I knew without a shadow of doubt that we would be in there. AS it was, my son spent almost three weeks in SCN and if i had seen parents coming round 'for a look' it would have upset me. I dont have a rational explantion as to why, only that when a ladies mother came over to look at my son without asking meand made comments about him i felt all mother bear protective and didnt want her to look at him. Im not usually like that, but my little boy was so damn sick and it was my first instinct.
Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:14 PM
Thanks everyone for the replies, certainly lots of food for thought.
Re: feeding two babies overnight, I have had supply issues with both my previous singletons so am not confident of being able to BF two at once. That said, you never know. I think bottle feeding two at once by myself would be very difficult?
My DH and I generally work better in situtations where we know what to expect, so I guess I am trying to work out how to get him enough information so that he doesn't go into a tailspin when the babies arrive. However obviously I don't want to stress him out with too much information.
We have had some logisitical problems with him making it to OB appt's / ultrasounds (he has been caring for our other children). We have resolved that now and he should be able to come along from here on in. Hopefully that will help.
With going to the NICU/Special Care, we will be very respectful of the privacy and space of other families there. We just want to have an understanding of what is involved rather than face that for the first time when we are under immense emotional stress.
Posted 18 April 2012 - 11:03 PM
i don't think dh went to any dr appts with me when i was pg with twins. he had to work. we didn't do anything to prepare him either. Had a vague plan in place...
i did buy the Gina Ford book on twins and made dh read it...neither of us read more than half, it was just a bit ridiculous and impossible to implement for us.
we more or less followed exactly what we did with ds1. We recorded everything for ds1 in the first 8 weeks daily...how many feeds, what time, how long was each feed cycle, how much wake time, how long he slept, how many poos and wees, fussy periods....and dh and I went over the records just to refresh ourselves. First 2 weeks is good then next 3 weeks is tough then there's light at the end of the tunnel!
Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:14 AM
Re: feeding two babies overnight, I have had supply issues with both my previous singletons so am not confident of being able to BF two at once. That said, you never know. I think bottle feeding two at once by myself would be very difficult?
I know that tandem feeding is a more efficient use of time but I never mastered it. I couldn't tandem feed when they were newborns, one had IUGR and it did take the best part of an hour to keep her awake enough to feed. She couldn't breastfeed effectively until she was 8 weeks or so, it was just too exhausting for her.
I used to feed one then the other. When I got the girls home from SCN the nurses had discussed this with me and they were on schedules 1 hour apart. For my babies this worked well. I'd get the first one up and feed, pop into a bouncer at my feet and settle her while I fed the second one. I'd then pop the first one back into bed and settle the second one in the bouncer while I expressed for the next feed. They were on 4 hourly feeds so I did usually get an hour+ sleep between feeds + a block of 4 hours or so when DH took one feed.
By 8 weeks or so they were on the same schedule and I'd do half a feed then swap them over. The baby waiting to be fed would be in a bouncer at my feet. The break mid-feed helped with their chronic chucking
so I guess I am trying to work out how to get him enough information so that he doesn't go into a tailspin when the babies arrive. However obviously I don't want to stress him out with too much information
In that case I second the recommendation to speak to twin mums and go to AMBA sessions. I didn't join AMBA but two of my girlfriends had had twins in the 2 years before I was pregnant with mine so I'd seen how they coped with the two babies + older kids. The great thing about this was that I had an idea about the challenges of two babies but my confidence was boosted by seeing them work through things and adapt strategies to suit their own babies and families.
Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:45 AM
We didn't really have a set plan for things and worked it out as we went.
Fortunately DH was able to stay home for about 5wks or so after my twins were born.
I gave DH and DD1 the job of baths and DH made dinners and lunches and looking after DD1 when I was busy settling the twins for sleeps.
When it came to feeding, I tandem breast fed and we used formula top ups.
So for Bottles, we fed one baby each at the same time, day and night.
For tandem BF, DH's job was to do what the Midwives had done at the hospital to assist, basically to be an extra set of hands to pass the babies to me so I could attach them and then adjust pillows etc as needed.
Then do the nappy change after being fed.
At night we had the same routine, except DH would do the nappy change before the feed. Whilst it was tandem feeding, I wouldn't get the second baby until the first baby was well attached and sucking. So it was kind of staggered tandem feeding. I think we fed 3hourly.
After a few weeks things changed and while I still found it easier to tandem feed during the day, I fed one by one at night only when waking. When I stopped waking my sleepier DD for feeds she would often sleep from 10 - 5am. So basically I usually only had one baby with middle of night feeds after 5wks or so.
I don't think my DH really understood how much time looking after baby twins was going to take. He quickly realised!
Good luck with your family!
Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:55 AM
If your DH has read the booklet you mentioned, you are already one step ahead of me. I gave my DH a booklet about Twin Pregnancy when I was 8 weeks, and he still hasn't read it!!!
So as punishment he gets to hear every single complaint I have. In thorough detail.
Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:48 PM
I think visiting the NICU and meeting with your local AMBA to talk to other twin parents are 2 great ideas. Does your hospital or anywhere offer multiple birth antenatal classes? I live in a regional area and nothing like that is available here, but if you are in a major city you may have access to some kind of classes.
You are already one step on us as the twins were our first and we were clueless as to how much work it took to keep one baby going, let alone two
DH helped with the night feeds every night unless he was working at night. I was initially tandem breastfeeding so I made it his job to change nappies halfway through feeds (our boys were sleepy feeders and changing halfway helped wake them a little) and help with burping. When we started bottle feeding we were initially both getting up and feeding a bottle each, which as they got a little older progressed to taking it in turns to get up and feed one after the other so we each got a few hours sleep.
You can always master 2 bottles at once too, with the aid of towels, boomerang pillows, bouncers etc.....whatever works for you. I used my car capsules for a short time to be able to feed both at once.
Good luck with the rest of you pregnancy
Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:11 PM
When our twins finally came home, the best information we were both given was for DH to try and take on as many of the household jobs as possible.
I would not be overly worried about twin specific information. If the bubs' arrive early, the NIC nursing staff take over and you are very much kept in the loop. Nothing can really prepare anyone for twins.
Enjoy the ride!
Posted 22 April 2012 - 11:04 PM
We were both 1st time parents so learning curve for both of us. I'm a very practical person so not much fazed me other than visitors! Hated having drop ins both at hospital and home as I didn't have the energy to waste talking when i'd had little sleep.
Tandem feeding clicked in around week three for me(as in I could do it by myself). DH helped at night when needed so 1st few weeks he'd curl up and sleep on the nursery floor whilst the girls fed then help me put them back in their cots. My Mum stayed a few nights, then my sister etc so that was a massive help in the early days.
Rockers were my best friend. I had a couch set up in the nursery. Take bub1 out of cot and put in rocker.. repeat...
Have pillows set up either side of you on lounge. Put bub 1 on pillow... repeat. Attach bub one, attach bub 2. Burp bub one put back on(mine were VERY sleepy slow feeders) repeat with bub 2. Put one bub back in rocker other bub back in cot, then bub 2 in cot.
Get a couple of hours sleep then REPEAT
You get plenty of practice so you get good at it. Mine fed every 3- 3.5 hrs for 12 months! I stopped tandem feeding around 5 months or so as I couldn't safely feed them together they rolled around and looked at each other etc.
Don't really know how I would have managed with other kids too. That may be DH's job in your household.
I too think talking about NICU or SC is a good idea. I had an uncomplicated 38week fraternal twin pregnancy but my 2 spent a short time in SC with breathing issues. Not at all what we were expecting. The babies and DH were taken straight to special care when they were delivered(Csection) I was in recovery by myself for a while and didn't get to see my girls for a while. I held twin 1 late the 1st night and twin 2 I didn't see until I had drips and catheter etc removed the following day and I could be wheeled down to sit by the humidicrib.
Midwives had me on double breastpump in hospital and I really think that helped with supply.
Posted 26 April 2012 - 10:40 PM
Twins were our first (and only) too. DH was sufficiently scared at the thought of twins to come to antenatal classes with me, and milestone US and OB appts (he didn't come to all as there were simply too many of them).
DH did get up for night feeds early on while he was on leave. As per PP, he would pass me a baby, nap on the floor until we were done, then put one baby to bed. By the time we had been doing it 3-4 weeks, the babies had good enough head control that I could easily manage on my own.
We didn't do any SCN/NICU tours. We spent 2 weeks in SCN after DDs were born and I'm not sure if a tour would have made it any easier. Perhaps if we had been high risk for NICU it might have been beneficial to do a tour.
Posted 28 April 2012 - 12:56 PM
Very helpful tips everyone! Keep it coming...
PS I think it has finally dawned on DH today that when the twins arrive he will pretty much be looking after our two older children by himself all weekend. When the penny dropped he wanted to reopoen the discussion about why we decided to have a third child!! Ummm, I think it's a bit late for that now!!
Anyway we have agreed that from now until the babies arrive he will practice looking after the two eldest on weekends. Stay in there babies - I think Dad needs a bit of practice time!!
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