Zeke and Skeeter were born Thursday morning this week. Zeke is on the right. He was born first and weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces. Skeeter was born second and weighed 6 pounds 15 ounces. They are both super big and healthy for twins. However, they are my smallest babies ever, and they were 4 weeks early.
I was so happy to be able to deliver them without having to have a cesarean section. I was given a choice because they were both head down when I went into labor. It was pretty hard to choose, because I knew that regular deliver was more risky–that it had a chance of turning into an emergency c-section. But in the end, I could not bring myself to ask to be cut open–even though I knew I was okay with whatever delivery had to happen to get them here safely. Lucky me, no emergencies happened. The nurses all told me how happy they were for me, that almost no one gets to have their twins without at least 1 c-section. Probably a good thing that I hadn’t realized the odds were that bad against me.
The twins were born fast, just like all my other babies. Labor started a little after 7 p.m. And finally turned into something I was sure was the real thing at about 10:30. I got to the hospital at 11:45 pm and they were born a little over an hour later at 1:02 and 1:08 a.m. It was intense but not too scary or stressful because I had 4 awesome cheerful nurses and my trusted doctor. It was like a big party in the OR.
Everything seemed peachy and normal.
Then when Zeke and Skeeter were 2 days old, things started going a little downhill. Saturday morning, I was worried enough about breast feeding two babies at once that I asked the lactation consultant to watch me feeding them and to see if she could give me any tips. I was having a little trouble getting them to latch on properly (they have tiny mouths), and they were falling asleep instead of eating once I got them latched on. In less than 5 minutes she had shown me what I was doing wrong, and they began eating great. I was so happy. It was totally worth letting a strange woman handle my Dairy Queens to get the babies eating better.
Then the twins’ temperatures and blood sugar levels suddenly plummeted, and Skeeter developed jaundice badly enough that he had to go under the blue lights.
The pediatrician said that they weren’t getting enough to eat and that each time after they nursed, they had to drink 30 mL of formula as well.
This didn’t phase me at first because I thought it was a one or two time stop gap procedure to get their sugars back up, and then it would stop. Also, the twins were nursing so much better, I was feeling very positive about everything.
Sunday morning, I woke up realizing that the doctor was having them eat as much formula as they needed and not counting the nursing as any food at all. If things kept up as they were, I definitely would not have enough milk to feed them, because they weren’t eating enough to signal my body that more was needed.
Then at the next feeding, the twins were both really sluggish about eating until they got to the bottle, and then they sucked it down. I realized they were starting to prefer the formula because bottles are easier to drink from.
The pediatrician came in to let me know that we had to stay in the hospital anther 2 days at least because Skeeter’s jaundice wasn’t down enough and Zeke’s jaundice was rising. He wanted the feedings to continue as they were, with formula every time. Also, the twins were still having trouble staying warm. He repeated several times that breast fed babies take longer to get over jaundice (I think this is total baloney, by the way) and that I shouldn’t feel bad if I couldn’t keep up with feeding 2 babies. I asked him if I could start pumping milk to keep my supply up, and he sort of airily said, “Oh yes, if you want to.” And then he changed the subject.
Clearly this doctor underestimated me. I am not used to being underestimated. I may have been a little slow figuring out what was going on, but I sure as heck was not going to be edged out of feeding my babies the way I know is best for them.
After I called the DH and bawled my eyes out and told him to bring me my good Medela pump, I pulled myself together and shuffled myself down to the nursery to talk to the babies’ nurse.
She instantly agreed that I could use the pump and we could feed the twins bottles of breast milk instead of formula. “There is nothing magic about the formula,” she said. “It is just easier for them to drink from a bottle, and for us to see what they are eating.”
Now the eating schedule is: Skeeter nurses for 20 minutes (so he doesn’t forget how) and then drinks a 20-30 mL bottle of breast milk. Then repeat for Zeke. Then I set up the pump and fill up more bottles with whatever the twins didn’t eat.
By myself the process takes two and a half hours, and I begin again in half an hour because they have to eat every 3 hours or less. If I have a helper to feed the bottles, the feeding only takes one and a half to two hours and I get a whole hour break to rest before we begin again.
I am happy to report that the Dairy Queens are totally keeping up with supplying 2 babies with milk . Also, since he is exclusively on breast milk, Zeke’s plumbing is working much better, which is exactly what he needed to happen to keep his jaundice level from getting too high.
Take that, doctor.
I produce milk. What’s your superpower?