A day in the life of twin toddlers

It is 11:30 am and I just pulled a curly India or Dahli hair out of my freshly baked carrot and apple oat cookie. Of course I have. All I can do is sigh and laugh because today is one of those days where I just have no idea what the girls are going to throw at me next.

I have been planning to write a day in a life of twins for ages! Since they were born really, and it just hasn’t happened. I can’t really say, ‘but now I finally have time to sit down and write it’ because truely I don’t. There are many other things I should probably be doing.  However, I think that so far, today has been crazy, chaotic and hilarious. I think if I was watching down upon us today, I would be laughing hysterically. I would like to have the opportunity in the future to look back and read about days like these. 2 year old twins is definitely the hardest stage for me to date.

Amid the Covid 19 outbreak I am on leave from work and the girls are no longer in family daycare (we did this 2 weeks ago now as Dahli and India are high risk). My husband is working mostly from home. Except for Tuesdays. Today is Tuesday. I should also mention that a few days ago the girls learnt to climb up the change table and Dahli started to climb out of her cot, so during isolation we have taken down the cot rails. So much fun! The first night went fairly well as did the following day. Then we had a couple of days that were pretty awful. Last night was a good night though (after we installed locks on their sliding wardrobe) and today’s nap the girls actually went down without a fuss! Oh wait, I can hear them now!…..so I just went in to check on them. Found them hiding behind the curtain cuddling Reuben bear and India looks up at me and smiles cheekily: ‘Hi’. How can I not smile and glow on the insides at that. So precious. But gosh I hope they sleep now.

Okay so a day in the life of 2 year old toddler twins…Here we go…

We woke to the girls calling out to us at about 6:20am. My husband and I agreed it was his turn to get up to them. Of course he waits until he receives a few nudges from me. The girls get increasingly louder so naturally I am wide awake now. I may as well get up. But I don’t. Hubby goes in eventually and changes their nappies. I hear them help by carrying their nappies out to the bin. I hope he gets them to wash their hands. India is whining constantly and I can’t make out what over but I know he has them on the kitchen bench and that making breakfast with a cranky toddler + her twin will be a challenge, so I get up. I relieve husband of India, settle her and then husband goes for a shower while I make the girls and my breakfast. They decide they want oats. First I put some sourdough in the toaster and then I start on their banana and cinnamon oats with their help (such good stirrers). Oats are still cooking but my toast is ready. I put Vegemite and avo on it and take a bite knowing that this toast is not really mine. I place it on the bench to continue with oats and they lick off the Vegemite and avo. Dahli asks for ‘more butter’ (she means Vegemite) three times. She becomes a Vegemite monster. India wants to help me with the oats. ‘Hot!’ she says. then as she stirs them in the bowl a bit drops on her foot so she screams (its not burning hot….she soon recovers). With oats cooling a little longer I make myself another batch of toast. The girls decide they want to eat outside so we go outside. I attempt to sit down with my breakfast but of course they want my ‘help’ to eat their oats. I help them whilst carefully watching Yogi (crazy, red-haired border collie) and rousing at him for going near my breakfast several times.  This goes on for a while. India wants another helping. She has more and then she finishes her sisters. We tidy up and eventually ‘breakfast’ is over. By this time of the morning routine, daddy peeks his head out to say goodbye. He gets a very affectionate cuddle from two rude nudies. I can’t remember when they took their nappies off!?!

For the next hour and a half I am really wanting to get the girls in the pram to go for a run. But I know if I put them in the pram that they will scream and carry on. It has to be their decision or at least feel like it was their decision. I try asking them if they want to go for a walk multiple times. I bribe them with some sweet potato brownie. I start to think that mummy isn’t going to get her exercise this morning. In the meantime, they have dressed and undressed; taken nappies off twice; yelled at me to push them naked in their doll prams; pointed out a fresh dog poo, ‘yucky’ for me to pick up; decided one wants to be inside yet the other wants to be outside; used their helmets as cradles for their babies and constantly whined at me to open and close the buckle over and over..and so on. Eventually I decide to ‘mamma bear them’. I tell them to get into the pram. India actually does when I start to count down from 3.  Dahli does not so I pick her up and put her in. Of course she whines and fusses but as soon as I give her the sweet potato brownie, she changes her tune. So I finally get my run. They are happy and giggling and singing and chatting and pointing things out. Woo hoo! Success!

doll prams

After the run I say I want to jump in the pool and they both tell me no. I am so hot I tell them that they can’t boss me around so I go outside and lay in the pool. Now they think it’s funny. They get naked (again) and get in too. Lots of fun, lots of giggles. The girls play mostly happily and then I realise that I have oats in my hair. I ask if I can go have a shower. I can as long as they come in with me. So I finally get my shower, I think its around 10am, so not too bad.

The next scene…The girls sit at my feet in the shower, playing happily and I feel very accomplished and proud. Then I get out and dry off and take a photo of this precious moment. I think ‘it’ must have happened when I took the photo….because when I put my phone down Dahli stands up and I ask is she is ready to get out. Much to my disgust the word that comes out of her mouth is ‘poo’ and then India says ‘yucky.’ Yup, soggy wet poo. India sits obediently (in the midst of the muck) while I clean off her sister first. She then gets a good clean while Dahli stands very still on the bath mat, not wanting to move because the tiles are ‘slippwwwweeee’. We all manage to get dressed-ish. The girls in nappies, me in a dress. Today I am behind on laundry and I can’t for the life of me find a pair of comfy undies- currently going commando. After this the girls grab one another’s hands and start dancing and walking around the house for a bit. Heart melters.

before the poo

Next, I ask the girls if they would like to make some cookies. Yes, they both decide. So up on the bench they go. It starts out well. But once the batter is mixed and its time to shape the cookies, things go pear shaped. I have never made such a mess in the kitchen before. They have handfuls of gunky cookie batter before I can stop them. They rub it on their legs and feet and all over the bench. All while smiling.  I watch in horror as I simultaneously try to clean them. My efforts at cleaning the girls down with a wet washer are not enough, so I banish them both to the pool to clean off. I am surprised that they are both happy with this! I watch them play while I finish the cookies off and clean up. Another success! Wahoo! — unfortunately no time for photos here!!

The girls are still playing happily outside. They have turned their chairs over and are using them as slides for their mini dinosaurs. So I start making them a veggie omelette for lunch. Of course this is when the fighting starts. Both want to be in the same pram. I watch and hope they work it out. They don’t. India is trying to push Dahli out. I tell her not to push and to get her own pram. Next she hits Dahli in the head. I go and get India and tell her she needs to say sorry. She says no. After a short time in her room, India returns to the scene to apologise and then continue to bully Dahli to get of the pram. Dahli goes to the other pram with my suggestion and then gets over it and wants to come inside. By this time lunch is ready so they come inside and sit at the big table (dining table) to have their lunch. I try and clean up the kitchen but yet again, I have to sit next to them and ‘help’. They both eat well. India gets very upset that she can’t eat her’s and Dahli’s cookie. Then I realise that half of India’s cookie is on the floor. Happy India again, for a moment. When they are all done I head to the kitchen to get a washer and notice all the flies from the girls coming out and in all morning. I swap between wiping the girls down and trying to clean the kitchen. They have lost it now. They are tired. Its 11am and the flies are enjoying the mess on the bench but I have to put the girls down.

We change nappies, find dummies, bunny and lamby and I carry both girls to their room, one under each arm. Often they walk themselves but I know that is not happening today. I put on their sleep suits. India has found a random nappy and is screaming at me ‘nappy’ demanding that I change her nappy to the one she found. I don’t crack to her bullying me and she gets over it. I pick her up and rock her, then as I place her into her cot she bossily tells me that Dahli needs to be rocked too. I give Dahli a rock and put her down and tuck her in. They say ‘bye ,bye’ and I leave their room, wondering what mischief they will get up to. They are quiet. Time to clean and tidy and catch up on washing.

So I clean my shower, hang, fold and pack away washing. I prep a new load (which can’t go on yet because it will wake the girls). I  clean the dining table, the kitchen, and sweep and mop the floor. I take the bins out and tidy toys and random shit that ends up in random places. I place cookies in a container and tidy the kitchen again. I wash my hands a million times. I do all this worrying that the house is still not tidy enough and then I remember I haven’t had a sip of water since after my run. So I scull half a bottle, make a cup of coffee (never drank this stuff until I had twins) and sit down with one of the cookies. My first moment of relaxation and silence for the day. First bite…I think it is maybe a stringy bit of carrot but no, definitely a toddler hair. I eat it anyway!

Whilst eating my cookie, sipping my coffee and writing this post, I have been in and out of the girls room three times. I have changed Dahli’s pooey nappy and had India tell me she has done one too. She hasn’t. I’ve popped them back in their bed over and over but they still get out. They are crying and tired and clearly not ready to get up. I guess I will try one more time but I don’t like my chances… I imagine that this cookie is my lunch for now.

………………………………………………….

I was right. The girls are banging on their door so I open it and I am greeted with a very happy ‘Hello, hello hello’. No sleep today, it is going to be an early night. I make the girls a cup of tea and they have it with a cookie at the dining table. Dahli pulls a straw sippy cup from nowhere and demands I put her tea in it. I do this and then India starts crying because she wants the same so I find her one and make that happen. They sit nicely for a while, but of course before long someone makes a mess. India tips her cup upside down and shakes it all out on the chair, her lap and the table. I tell her that we don’t spill our tea on purpose and that she may have to go in her room. She signs and says, ‘sorry, sorry, sorry, mummy’ and hugs me tight. Heart melted. I clean it up and we move on to the next thing.

This afternoon we use homemade watercolours (ice, water, food dye) to paint. The girls have fun painting paper for a bit, then themselves. They also try to eat it like ice-blocks. It doesn’t take long before India is distracted by other things and wanders off while Dahli and I paint for a little longer.

Soon it is 2pm and we are surprised by daddy coming home! He says hello and then heads for a shower (because Covid19). The girls climb up on their toy box (I moved it out of their room after today’s unsuccessful nap). It is outside the bathroom window and so they yell out to daddy over and over, ‘hello, hello, hello!’ Of course they are super excited and all over daddy when he comes outside. India especially….as if she is saying ‘I have been an angel all day’….

The rest of the afternoon is spent having a family paddle in the pool; helping daddy weed the garden and then taking their bubbas for a walk out the front of the house with daddy while I clean up, again. When I finally go out to join in, India is banging on Daddy’s car demanding to get in. We think maybe we could go for a drive but no, India screams and screams because she wants to sit in the driver’s seat. When this tantrum subsides they continue playing with their bubbas and prams and have a little explore with us in the edge of the bush.

Finally it is dinner time. The girls eat this outside and want daddy to help this time so I go and tidy up and turn on the bath. After a little play, Dahli comes up to me and says, ‘baby, baby’. I pick her up and rock her like a baby and sing the lullaby, making up new words about going for a bath. Hubby does the same to India and they both enter the bath happily. Bath-time is lovely today. Just me and the girls. They lay down on their tummies, both saying, “I swim, I swim” and when I suggest they have a little kiss…they comply. Gah sooooo gorgeous.

The rest of the night goes something like this: get nappies and PJs on -making sure we put on lots of crim (cream); bottle; teeth (after I catch them); fighting over a baby hat (see video below of a very happy Dahli and a devastated India scream in the background); vacuuming the house with daddy; the beginning of bed time (5:40pm- 20 minutes earlier than usual); multiple resettles (including soothing India after she has fallen out); and now, finally quiet….for the time being.

It is now 9:45pm and that was a day in the life of twin toddlers in the Greenhalgh house.

vacuuming

 

Wow that was a long one. Well done and thank you if you stuck with it until the end. Apologies for any grammar or spelling mistakes. I was writing in past and present tense as I kept coming back to this piece and my brain got confused! Hopefully I fixed most of it.

I have realised writing a day in the life post is extremely hard….this is sooooo long, yet so much more happened in our day.  I also found it impossible to write creatively when I am trying to fit so much in. Life isn’t about being perfect though, so here it is 🙂

Sending out lots of love,

From Terri

 

For Dahli & India – A letter on your Second Birthday

First a little slide show…..

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Dear Dahli and India,

 

I know you won’t remember, these early years of your life

And I know you won’t recall, the terrifying days and nights

As I lay in a hospital bed, nurses tracing your every move

Hoping that you would not yet arrive, and that my situation would improve.

 

I hope those first three months, have only made you stronger

And that the trauma you experienced, will stay with you no longer.

I pray that I am doing things right, that you’ll grow to know you’re loved

I hope that above all you value kindness, and know that Reuben is your guardian angel above.

 

I want you to know that you’re special, and that you have a gift to give

Already I see the compassion, in your gorgeous twin narrative.

You know what it is to fight, its engrained; it runs in your blood

I encourage you to use your passion to fight for what it is you love.

 

I hope that the words I say to you, help you to grow confident in yourself

And that you can value something in everyone, no matter of differences, health or wealth.

I want you not to be scared; to advocate for yourself and each other

And I hope you hold a special place in your heart for your little, baby brother.

 

It is almost your second birthday, and so much is happening

We’ve moved states and I have to go back to work, I find this change so challenging.

I wanted to stay in the twin baby haze and never, ever leave

But you’re twin toddlers now and I am so proud of all that we have achieved.

 

I want you to know that each day, I need to see the sparkle in your eyes

That watching your twin antics and keeping up with you, is what has kept me alive.

I hope that you know you are my everything and that I always have your best interest at heart

I want you to feel how my heart glows, thinking of you as every day starts.

 

Dahli, you’re so funny and cheeky when you steal your sister’s toys

India, you’re a leader and you love to play with the boys

Dahli, you’re our parrot and you surprise us every day

India, you’re so maternal and very sensitive in your ways.

 

Dahli, you’re so mindful with all your toys and books

India, you’re  hilarious with your dance moves and funny looks

Dahli, you’re miss independent and you love bows in your hair

India, you’re a wonderful helper with plenty of cuddles to show you care.

 

Dahli you love the water

India you love to climb

Identical; yet so different

I still pinch myself that you’re mine.

 

Happy second birthday to our Warrior Princesses.

 

Below I have made a collage for both girls. If you hover over each photo, the caption explains each picture. They are not in order (I am not that clever). I found looking through these pictures and watching their NICU videos recently, so emotional. My heart ached as I flicked through and as I watched and could see little things that I perhaps didn’t notice at the time the photos/videos were taken. These girls really did fight so hard. They are both warriors and my absolute inspiration.  I feel so sad that my babies are getting so big but I am also super proud of them and us.

 

Dahli Greenhalgh

India Greenhalgh

Love Mummy

Do you ever imagine that you don’t know this life and you’ve entered just a short clip of what your future you will be? You look around and you get clues about what your future entails? I do. Maybe I am more dramatic than most and this isn’t the norm but this blog is a transparent me and so I thought, why not share? Maybe others do the weird things that I do.? Maybe they don’t? Oh well! … So this evening I stopped for a moment and I looked around. My mind pretended I didn’t know this life. I was outside a house, standing on warm, hard pavers. Where am I?, I thought. I looked around for clues. I saw two pink bikes, multiple pairs of toddler shoes,  two pairs of pink, flowered swimmers drying in the sun…I have twin girls I thought. Then tears of joy ran down my face. How lucky am I!? And now I live in a house, not an apartment…awesome! Next I continued into the house. I walked past my hungry dogs (whom I am just about to feed) and into the living room. I was now drawn towards a bookshelf and atop it a portrait sketch of a baby in my hand or perhaps, a baby angel. I see his name sketched and I notice his halo. And I think…oh that’s right I lose a precious baby boy…

And when I am not off in a daydream like this, this is what its like…every day. Yet most of the time its not so gentle or gradual. Its every moment of happiness, or every ray of sunshine I absorb…then circled around to the memory…oh, but I lost my baby boy. Its only when you sit down and think about it, that you realise how awfully exhausting this rollercoaster is. Its having a fun night with friends, then noticing the bassinet that they have returned that was supposed to be for your baby boy and you absolutely lose it; Its putting your baby girls to bed for the night and high-fiving your husband, then sitting on the couch and wishing you were nursing your baby boy; Its getting so excited with planning Christmas fun, then remembering that your newborn won’t be snuggled in your arms, nor passed around for cuddles by the Christmas tree;  Its lying in bed at night and gazing out the side of your bed, visualising the bassinet and your baby boy that should be cooing next to you. And you wonder… when will I ever experience happiness again, without the almost instant realisation that I lost a child?

I know how blessed I am to have my baby girls. And I do not need any more reminders of this..I never needed to be reminded. This loss is not about my girls. And having them does not make the loss okay.

I also know how lucky I am to have the support I do. Even though friends are close and afar, I have people who try to understand and who show their love most days; this means the world to me. And had I not gone through the heartache that I have, I would not have connected with some amazing people who give me more strength every day.

I have not written in a while. I’ve been dissolving in twin life, uni commitments, grief, moving states, legal meetings for medical negligence, exercising for my mental health, human rights complaints, the maternal inquest, and planning to say goodbye to my beloved current school. I did not plan to write tonight. But it has been on my mind  because of a lovely friend. I was recently telling her a twin story and she asked if I wrote about it and encouraged me to. This reminded me that I have neglected my writing and so I plan to get back into it. I guess tonight’s post doesn’t really have a flowing goal or purpose. I apologise for this. But it is a start. A start of beginning to share again. And I do aim for my next post to be much more uplifting. Specifically, I have a ‘Day in a life’ post planned very soon to feature on Growing Our Tribe’s page. I am looking forward to writing more.

Love Terri

National Breast Feeding week- My Breast Feeding journey

Today is the final day of breast feeding week so I thought I’d share a little bit about my breast feeding journey. 

With Dahli and India being born at 27 weeks and in NICU and SCU, for a very long time I was not able to try and breastfeed them. They were not strong enough and not ready, plus their CPAP would have gotten in the way anyway! 

It was an hour after the girls birth that my midwife came and offered to help me hand express some milk. I was surprised that I was doing this so quickly. And even more surprised that she managed to help me get enough milk out for my girls first feed! (They were fed through a nasal gastric tube). I think it was about 1ml in total. From this lesson on, every three hours, day and night I would express. At first just with my hands, then with the expressing machine as a stimulator before hand expressing, and then solely on the expressing machine. I would set my alarm for every three hours and expressed day and night. At times I did it next to one of the girls in their humidicrib, sometimes downstairs in my hospital room and then at home when I was finally discharged. When I was allowed to hold the girls I would hold one of them for ‘breast cuddles’ to encourage my milk supply and then I would sit there next to them and express afterwards. At home I would flick through the millions of photos and videos of my baby girls to help me make lots of milk. And I made a hell of a lot. It’s amazing what our bodies can do! I was expressing so much milk, litres a day. The hospital had to freeze some and I got to freeze some at home when they couldn’t fit anymore in their freezer. 

expressing at indias bedside
Expressing next to India’s humidicrib

The girls first breast feeding practice was sucking my milk off a cotton tip. Soooo cute and fascinating. And then at around 31 weeks (1 month old), India was off the CPAP and had her first proper breast feeding practice. She was 1377g this day and it was quite remarkable that she managed a little feed at this stage. I still remember how excited and proud I was. She got quite the surprise with how much milk came out, I remember she threw up on me and herself a few times! 🤣 For a long time we would continue this breast feeding practice as the nurse tube fed her my EBM. 

Dahli didn’t get to start practicing breastfeeding until a little while longer (almost 35 weeks) because she she still needed the breathing support. But finally while on high flow, she got her first practice. Dahli latched straight away and then screwed her face up. She was either shocked or unsure of the taste and then she fell asleep on me as I stared at her beautiful face that after almost three months, I could finally see properly.  Now both girls were off CPAP and able to practise sucking I was able to start tandem feeding. This was super exciting and a huge moment for me. When I learnt I was having twins this was one of the first things I thought about. The twin feeding pillow was no longer just for cuddles, but for actually feeding my babies!

The tandem feeding journey was filled with joy and anxiety, proud and happy tears and sad, disappointed tears. It had far more unsuccessful experiences than successful and it was heartbreaking. Once the girls were in SCU the focus became on getting them to full feeds so that they could finally graduate and go home. I was determined to breast feed. I would breastfeed them and then top them up with my EBM. It was an intense juggling act made easier when my husband was there. It also brought up lots of feelings of incompetency as nurses had to help feed because tandem was not working and they were on the same schedule. I longed to get them home and focus on breastfeeding in the comfort of our own home. But in hospital I was only allowed to practice with them every alternate feed. And then when we could see that the bottle was the fastest route home, that’s what mattered most. 

When we finally got home the juggling act continued but with much less anxiety and stress. On and on for months. I eventually decided to just do breast feeds for bonding and supply purposes because they just couldn’t get a full feed. So I learnt a way to express while bottle feeding them simultaneously. And if one bubba wanted a little settling or mummy time, I’d offer them my breast. One of my fondest memories of this time was having them both on me in the bathtub and them both fighting over the same nipple 🤣 

feeding station
My breast feeding station-twin credible, lap, warmed bottles of EBM, water bottle, TV remote, expressing machine, and of course India and Dahli

 

Eventually the girls weren’t really interested in my breast. They wanted the bottle of EBM and eventually formula top ups when my supply started to run low and not be enough for the girls. A combination of their growing appetite and less time to express. 

I expressed until the girls were 9 months old. My machine wasn’t really cutting it any more, my girls were now on solids and my spare time was spent making them solid food! If I tried expressing as I bottle fed them, they would pull out the tubing! And if I tried expressing as they played, their attention span would dwindle…along with my supply. So I weaned my boobies and put the expressing machine in storage….and I burnt my god damn expressing bras! 🤣 From then on the girls were on homemade, delicious solids and organic formula. I was happy that I had gotten them to this stage, although mummy guilt was also very much present.

 

So that’s my breastfeeding journey! I hoped Reuben to be a more successful breastfeeding story. My supply did actually come in and I was back to expressing again. This colostrum/milk was a gift to the girls from Reuben (which came at a good time as they were very sick). This was an extremely hard and emotional thing to do. I tried to just zone out and not think about what I was doing and why I had to do it. In the end I ended up needing help to make my supply go away and after a few weeks, I got tablets to help stop it. 

Everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different and I believe that all mummy’s make the decision that is best for them and their babies. I have moved on from the sadness and guilt I felt from my unexpected breastfeeding experience. I now know that I was a NICU mummy rockstar and I did absolutely everything I could do to get my bubba’s their mummy’s milk (including the multiple batches of lactation cookies, nighttime googling of lactation foods (hello oats!), many cups of lactation tea and finally motilium to help boost supply!).

Thanks for reading!

Love Terri

Double the Joy

I was asked recently if I have experienced any joy since Reuben’s passing. I was a little confused by the question but it had quite a simple answer: yes. And then the question got me thinking, perhaps there are people who go through similar trauma and loss and for a very long time, they will not experience real joy. But me, I receive joy every day. At first the joy came with guilt. But now most of the time I am able to be present in the joy and not feel bad about it. The joy I am of course talking about is my precious, little warrior princesses Dahli and India. And I think it helpful and the perfect time to write a post about the joy they have been bringing me daily.

26th july

 

We are so grateful everyday to have been blessed with twins. It truely is double the love.

18 mnths
18 months old today!

Its double the giggles, double the smiles, double the milestones, double the poo…double everything really and it is absolutely amazing. I feel that I was destined for this role. It feels natural, it is challenging at times but it is all that I know and I love it every single day. India and Dahli are now 18 months old (15 months corrected). This corrected business means that developmentally, this is where they are. I am not completely sure, but I think by the time they are around three, we can let the whole ‘corrected thing’ go a little.

 

 

So lately, these little girls have been making us laugh and smile and really been holding our whole world together. Let’s talk about some of these things that make me feel so grateful and happy every day.

Twin talk

Twin talk really started when the girls were in NICU. I remember feeling so proud yet devastatingly disappointed and upset that the nurses heard it first. One night the girls began calling out and responding to each other in their humicribs from opposite sides of their room. The nurses were telling me how cute and yet how naughty they were chatting all night long. Hehe. Such cheeky girls from the very beginning! It wasn’t long though until I heard it for myself. The video below shows one of my twin cuddles with the girls where they sound like little lambs chatting away. Total heart melters.

Today their twin talk has changed a lot. No longer do they speak in their little lamb prem voices, but they babble expressively in an undecipherable language. Usually one takes the lead and talks the most and the other responds here and there. A few days ago, India was sharing her sultanas with Dahli and telling her to say ‘ta’. Tonight in the bath they were both cuddling their bubbas and India let hers go ‘bubba’?! Dahli found India’s bubba and kindly gave it back to her. Sometimes I look at them having their conversations in disbelief. When did they get so clever?! I have been trying to get their conversations on video for a while now but they stop as soon as I try! So I did my best.

Sharing

So I already told a little story above about India sharing her sultanas and there are a playquite a few other sharing moments. They often like to pass food to one another in their highchairs or steal from one another trays. Haha. Apart from food, the girls have security bunnies and security lambies. Lately if Dahli has been getting upset, India has found her dummy and given it to her and also given her the lambie or bunny that she was holding. Soooo cute! One time she instantly got upset and wanted her bunny back though! Most of the time though, the girls don’t like to share. India is the boss at the moment and she wants everything. Dahli is adapting and beginning to not get bothered if India takes her toys…but her tolerance depends on how tired she is.

 

Toddling around

As the girls were born so premature, I had in my mind that they would walk at 15 months corrected. And guess what! I was right!! The anxiety has always been there about milestones-smiling, rolling, sitting, crawling…would they ever get there? And if so, when?? Walking seems like for now, the final milestone and they have stood up to the ‘statistics’, toddling their way into a whole new phase, completely unaware of the trauma they experienced in the first few months of their lives and oblivious to the fact that they are mummy and daddy’s amazing little miracles…suddenly getting too big too fast! I could just sit and watch them toddle around all day, it still takes my breath away the pride I feel.

Kissing and cuddling me and each other

Oh my gosh this has to be one of the best things about twins. Double the affection! Dahli and India can be so kind to each other. Cuddling and kissing and laying on one another. At the moment they cuddle and kiss on cue…its unbelievably cute! And then at other times one tries to ride the other without permission which of course ends in screaming and mummy and daddy trying not to laugh. The first time I ever showed the girls Reuben’s little urn, they both kissed it. So sweet and in-tune. From that day, each time I put the girls to bed I say goodnight to the girls and to Reuben and they all get a little kiss (at the moment Reuben’s urn is on a little shelf in the girl’s room so that he can be with his sisters). Sometimes I get his urn down, and without fail India always goes in to kiss him.

The girls were never really cuddly, loving babies when they were littler. I always wondered if its because they spent their first three months of their lives in an isolette or hospital cot, away from one another and only having one or two long cuddles a day. It could have been that or perhaps just their personalities. It made me sad though that when they got wriggly they wouldn’t want to have many cuddles. But literally, since the day Reuben was born they have been the most cuddly babies ever. They always want me and are always up for a cuddle, snuggle or kiss. It is absolute bliss.

mummy snugglesunicorn snuggles

Mimicking us

Already we are having to be careful of what we say because we have double the chance of being mimicked. Its funny the things the girls start to say that we don’t even realise we must say a lot. India’s favourite is ‘uh oh’! At the moment. And the other day Dahli actually mimicked daddy’s ‘f*#! that!’ Haha. I feel like they are trying to show each other how clever they are with their words at the moment.

Playing Puppies

This one is hilarious. The girls absolutely love our dogs Yogi (happy and energetic 5 year old boarder collie) and Bongo (old and cranky 13 Year old Maltese Poodle). They love to mimic them, pat them, chase them and having Yogi drag them along by their socks! The girls go under their highchairs after they have eaten and help eat up the scraps they dropped with the doggies. They also like to get down on their tummies and pick the food up from the floor in their mouths just like their big brothers. Hehehe. Great for the immunity no doubt. And a favourite toy when playing outside is the dog bowls (I know…disgusting but these girls can just be too quick for me!). They quite like to clang them together and to sit in them (their little bottoms sit quite perfectly inside the bowls..it actually looks like they are trying to go potty!).  I look forward to watching their doggy bonds continuing to grow.

Doing Makeup

My baby girls love to come and sit with me when I do my makeup. They pull everything out of my makeup bag and put it all back in. Although yesterday I had taken my ugg boots off and they managed to put most of the contents in them which I hadn’t realised until they were napping and I tried to put my uggs on. Sometimes I put a little lip gloss on them and they get so serious about it, watching as I do their sister and leaning forward ready for their lips to be painted too. hehe.

These little, big things and so many more twin antics are my daily dose of joy. But grief is weird. It is always there, it never goes away. Its like this constant bubble that you are living inside from which you do your best to live, to love, to laugh, to carry on with life. All the while knowing that as shit as this grief bubble is; as much as you wish everyday that you could wake up from this nightmare and bring your baby back, You are still so blessed, you are still so loved and you are a god damn, freaking Warrior Queen.

Love Terri

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Asking my questions

Today was a day I have been anxiously waiting for. A day that I dreaded and yet a day that I knew needed to come. It was time to once again attempt to advocate for myself and for my baby boy Reuben, this time with the words I had been preparing for quite a while now. This morning my husband and I attended our 6 week post birth appointment at the hospital.

I walked into our appointment this morning with anxiety riddling my body: from my cloudy, irritated brain and watery strong-willed eyes, to the the butterflies in the tips of my fingers and stomach, right down to my hesitant, fearful feet. As my name was called, I instinctively I knew I just needed to breathe and it would be okay. Well as okay as such a thing could be. Once in the sterile room, I pulled out my prepared typed sheet of questions, as ready as I could be to finally verbalise these questions that have circled my mind since the awful day that I lost my baby boy.

At first we met with a lovely and compassionate female doctor who gave us results to Reuben’s postpartum and to the many blood and placenta tests. This gave us some answers. She also looked at the placenta results from the twin’s pregnancy and we discovered the same issues with the girl’s placenta that my doctor had never disclosed to me. To say I was angry and upset about this is an understatement. Don’t I deserve to get the results about my own body and own pregnancy? Aren’t I entitled to this even if you think I wouldn’t understand? Because these results would have informed future pregnancies, Reubens pregnancy. All I was ever told was “sometimes we don’t know why these things happen”. The paperwork I was given last year to make a complaint about this doctor will finally be getting filled in and sent. No longer will I feel afraid and guilty about affecting him and his career. This information was the final straw and has informed this next step that I will be taking for Dahli, India, Reuben and the future mothers and babies that land themselves in his care.

After we were taken through these results this doctor did her best to answer as many questions as she could. She was very sorry, kind and patient and at times understandably nervous and unable to answer my questions. She also used Reuben’s name—a million brownie points for her. I was determined not to be rushed through and pushed out the door of this appointment. This was our time and we deserved all the time in the world until all our questions were answered and we felt we had received what we had came for. This of course led to the addition of another doctor, the director of specialist outpatients.

This doctor’s speech was very slow and his uncertainty was filled with many umms and errs. When it seemed like he was squashing me and my questions I pushed and fired back. When he was happy with his answers, I pressured and wanted more. Right now I feel pride for how strong I was and amazed at the confidence I found to stand up for my baby boy. We were of course told things that should have been done and about a wonderful new program that will be taking place to avoid these things…all the while I thought blah blah, fucking blah (excuse the angry cursing please) and when there was a pause I would remind him…”Yes but I did not get this”….”Yes but its too late, my baby is dead”…”so you’re telling me that if a high risk pregnancy came in tomorrow you wouldn’t refer them on to the high risk clinic?” I did not filter my thoughts, I did not worry that I might offend or upset someone. I needed to show these medical professionals how wrong this all is. I needed them to know how much I love my son and how deep this grief goes. I needed them to know that they did not do enough and that they made me feel helpless, hopeless and unheard. I used my words. I used my heart. I used my stubborn spirit to do all that I could in honour of my son.

I knew we wouldn’t remember all that happened in this appointment and so I supplied the doctors with a copy of my questions and they will be replying to them in email as well. There is one thing I do remember right now that made me feel kind of relieved in a way. And that is that I finally got to say something that has been burning a hole in my heart for a very long time. I told these doctors that I am so disappointed and upset that I was never taken seriously. I wasn’t taken seriously with the girls and I nearly lost them. I wasn’t taken seriously with Reuben and now I did lose him. These medical professionals need to learn to listen to mums because sometimes, well actually not sometimes, I honestly believe that always, a mum’s intuition knows best.

Another moment of the appointment that sticks with me is that the doctors went on to tell us what usually happens with these appointments (the ones mum’s who lose their babies have). I learnt that usually we should have an appointment a few weeks after to ask questions and then again at six weeks to answer any questions that may have been unanswerable at that early stage. When I was told this I laid my heart out there and I said “You know I never got a phone call about a follow up appointment. I had to make this appointment. It was like ‘well you gave birth but your baby died so you don’t deserve an appointment’…that’s what it felt like”. Its not really the words that I said that stick with me so much as the sad and regretful faces that I saw on these doctors. It is my hope that no other mum at this hospital, in this situation is made to feel this way because I have made the doctors totally aware of how shit that is and how awful it feels.

The unanswerable questions may or may not be answered in the next appointment we have or the email that should eventually be sent.  But one thing that has put me a little at ease is that when I asked the question ” I don’t understand what more I could have done…my referral said high-risk…I verbalised regularly in my first appointment that I am/was high risk….what else could I have done?…” the answer was ‘nothing. You did everything you could’.

So these medical professionals now know my thoughts. They know that I believe that my son could have been saved. They know that my son was living and healthy one minute and gone the next. They know that things which should have been expedited were not and will now begin the search and cover their bums to explain why my sons life or death situation was not a priority. They know that I have the paperwork to prove that my referral was in fact high-risk and that I should have been liased with and most likely referred to the high risk clinic. They understand that I will not be pushed over and this awful situation will not be swept under the rug. I have fought and I will continue to fight until I am satisfied with the answers that we receive. This is the least that I can do to honour my baby boy.

Having no control is hard. I had no control when my baby girls were born and to fill this hole I expressed breast milk like a mad woman. It was all that I could do. This time I had no control yet again. And its a pretty helpless and hopeless feeling that all I have been able to do for my baby boy is write him poems, plan his funeral, order his urn, be strong for his big sisters and fight for answers.  I know nothing will fix this. Nothing will bring him back or mend the huge, gaping hole in my heart. But this appointment was another something. It was something to help me through the grieving process. It was something to help me honour my baby boy. It was something to be in control of. It was something to make me feel strong, fearless and powerful – much like the warrior women that I consider my baby girls to be.

Thank you so much for the ongoing support. Apologies for the possible many spelling and grammar mistakes…it seems a couple of glasses of wine help to get my creative juices flowing.

finch

 

Love Terri

You are here

Every day I wake up and I think of you. Throughout the night, as I stir, I rub what used to be your home. Some mornings I wake from dreams of you and your big sisters and everything feels lighter. Other mornings my body doesn’t want to move and my mind races through a million unhelpful, yet necessary thoughts. People tell me you are always with me and with every ounce of my being I want to believe this. In this moment as I have began typing,  I am beginning to see that perhaps it is true, you are here.

Right now your here in a way that hurts me so bad that I feel like I am choking and there is a knife in my heart. Yet this morning you were with me in a way that floated me to my baby girl’s room and gave me the sense that everything is going to be alright. You were with me in the car today as I drove myself to an appointment, feeling reassured and noting that everything that I am right now and that I will be, is a part of you just as you are a part of me. You were with me at lunchtime today when I finally made the decision that I actually do need to care for this body, if not for me, for you and Dahli and India. I can not let what happened make me weak and a bad role model for my baby girls and I must not lose myself as well. If I were to lose myself then I will have lost you completely.  You need me to be strong. You need me to take care of myself and you’re guiding me as I do this for you, for my girls, for my husband and for me.

The things I do every day, the things I say, the emotions I feel, you have led me to them all. I can not hold you, but I can feel you. I can not see you, but I am beginning to believe that you can see me. I can not smell you, but I can talk to you. You have given me signs and I patiently await for more. It is not enough. It will never be enough. But it is something. And right now, in this uncharted territory, something is all that I can hope for.

Fly high my sweet finch, and don’t forget to visit your mummy.