My ex 25weeker twins boys turned 3 last week. Just a wee look back at the boys birthday week each year.
17th November 2021
A day to celebrate and remember all of our Preemie Warriors. Those still here and fighting every challenge they face. Also, to those who fought so damn hard but ultimately, they were far too good for this world.
Well hello everyone. It has been many many months since I provided you guys with any type of update. The boys have been coming on leaps and bounds, it is this tired twin mamma that has been having the less than ideal life experiences. With that being said I just couldn’t let this day – 17th November 2021 pass us by.
The boys being 15 weeks premature means this day is always a day that is close to my heart and always brings with it a day of reflection. Even though in science there appears to be no hereditary link with pre term labour, I do sometimes wonder if there is and it is just a lack of scientific studies. Each visit to the doctors I had since discovering I was pregnant I would pass on that my mother had went into preterm labour. I was always told ‘don’t worry about it’ and that ‘there is no hereditary link’ As my twin boys were ‘kicked out the womb’ at 25 weeks gestation, my mums body seemed to prefer the 26 week gestation mark. Speaking with other mums who have given birth early, there does seem to be a correlation between being born early and giving birth early. Of course this is pure conjecture and I am no scientist, but it does give me food for thought. On doing research now in 2021 there are some studies that suggest preterm labour can be genetic.
Possibly as time goes on there may be larger studies done to answer this question once and for all. If you speak to the doctors there is a definite mix of views. Some believing that preterm birth does run in families and some not. If preterm birth does run in families though this opens up more questions for me. Is it due to genetics? Is it due to environmental factors? Can IVF increase the chance of premature birth?
Lewis and Logan will be 7 this coming February. Wow, excuse me whilst I take a moment to let that scary thought sink in. The boys were in our local neonatal unit for 6 months. I remember every single day at that time feeling as though it was an eternity. The closer the boys got to be healthy enough for discharge the longer the days seem to go. sitting here in my kitchen remembering this feels like 5 minutes ago. Time has most definitely flown by. Facebook has many good and bad qualities but one of the things for me that makes it good is the memories that pop up each day when you log in. Just last week I shared a post to my friends and family celebrating the news that both of my boys were now oxygen free.
This seemed like such a massive milestone to smash. I remember feeling so so happy that I no longer had to try and peel off the stickers that kept their nasal cannulas in place. I would no longer have to Humph 2 x heavy oxygen cylinders as well as 2 x babies from house to car, from car to pram etc.
I would also no longer give the teacher of the local music makers and shakers class heart failure dancing around the class with a baby that had miles of O2 tubing attached. Seriously though, have you ever tried to do the hokey kokey with what felt like miles of tubing and not fall on your ass? trust me, it was not easy!!! I was just determined that my boys have the exact same experiences as other 8 month old babies. If I am being completely honest with myself I also wanted to have the exact same experiences as any other new mum would have as well.
Having a child born preterm brings with it a sense of loss, a sense of grief. In the moment, as a mum you are beside yourself with worry. Worry that your child, your precious innocent child will survive all the challenges that they face. Also extreme guilt. mummy guilt times a thousand, the irrational part of your brain that screams this is all your fault. Your child is suffering because you failed as a mum and couldn’t hold onto them for 9 months. Guilt from seeing my boys overcome obstacles that were directly due to their preterm birth which I always blamed myself for. I struggled with these feelings of guilt for many years and at times the negative thoughts creep back into my brain. It is only when the boys and I were all home again that the feeling of loss washed over me.
Grief for the 3 months of pregnancy that I missed.
Grief for the baby kicks that I didn’t feel.
Grief for the big pregnant belly/twin belly I did not get.
Hell even Grief for the baby shower I didn’t have, although Scotland in 2015 baby showers and gender reveals etc were not as commonly done as they are now.
Now, almost 7 years later, knowing I will never be pregnant again, I do feel sad knowing I will never experience the afore mentioned things but it does bother me less. After all of those years of fertility treatments I at least not only got to be pregnant but also got to bring my boys home which is sadly not the case for everyone. I not only know I am blessed but feel incredibly blessed and grateful. As much as I struggle navigating the world of what is neurotypical 6 year old behaviour and what is directly associated with the boys Additional Support Needs there is never a day that goes by that they don’t make me laugh and fill my heart with joy.
For many years I have always wanted to get a tattoo for my boys. To celebrate all of the hurdles they have overcame. This year I decided was the year to do it. I contacted my artist Laura McClintock who is well renowned within her field. She knows me well, also knows that I have no artistic bone in my body. I told her what I wanted and I can tell you, this wonderful lady did not disappoint. So last week I went to her shop in Stirling and saw the design for the first time. I instantly fell in love and so proud of my boys.
I will post another picture in the near future once the design is healed. The boys adore my new ink. They love the fact that mummy has their names on her skin so even when we are apart I always have my boys with me. Lewis also seemed to be impressed by mummy having Space Jam on her thigh – I didn’t have the heart to say nope sorry it is just your mum being a cat crazy lady and wanted a baby Sylvester to symbolise my boys. Also, at some point I may need to get Tweetie Pie added in. “I tawt I taw a puddy tat! I did, I did see a puddy tat!”
So, on this day I would like to give a massive shout out to our Preemie Warriors. They are the heart and soul to so many people not just their families. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have so many people love my boys, pray for my boys – trust me there were so many people in my local chapel walking about with skint knees due to praying so much!! There have been old friends and new all having the common goal of putting good vibes out into the universe.
Please don’t forget the Mummy’s of our Preemie Warriors. We put all of our energy and love ❤️ into supporting our babies, but we get that strength from our close family, friends and support systems. Do not underestimate the power of an online support group. I have made friends with ladies I have never met but I know they have my back. Our common denominator?? Having twins. All mums are fantastic, however, I have only ever been a twin mum and have to say my fellow twin mums are rock stars. Never judging and always supporting,
As always, be kind to each other. We all have our own journey to travel. Together we can accomplish anything.
Scottish Twin Mamma.
I thought I had set this to automatically post on the 17th, however, I’m obviously useless with technology, so here it is 1 day late! x
It has been a few months since I wrote my last blog about the boys. Tbh I have been really struggling with my mood and keeping my game face on. Took a while to realise it just isn’t possible to do it all, so prioritising the boys and work I took the spare moments I would usually use for writing my blog to just have 5 mins, Practice my Soothing Rhythm Breathing and attempt to be less critical of myself in the process. I have been using the compassionatemind.co.uk website and I have found it to be a massive tool I have used to help me remain calm and grounded.
The boys have been full of mischief as usual. Out of the 4 places on offer for special education nursery provision in North Lanarkshire my boys were very lucky and were allocated a morning space each. They start Clydeview Nursery in Motherwell in August and will be there for 2 years until they start primary school. I am hoping this will be the game changer in their development progress. Already since May I have seen such a difference in not only Lewis’ speech development but also Logan’s. it is so so cute hearing Lewis shout ‘again’ or ‘my turn’, in the morning waking up to Logan shouting ‘ewis where are you?’
I am very proud to write that I am friends with the author as our journey in the NICU overlapped with each other’s. if you get the chance please give it a read.
Scottish Twin Mamma
This blog has taken over a week of research to do and I must admit a lot of procrastinating. I think mainly because this area of the boys development scares me. They will be 3 next month and don’t speak. Logan is classed as non-verbal and Lewis has always been making noises and sounds after the SALT (speech and language team) got involved but yesterday he said mummy clear as day whilst looking at me for the very first time. Over the festive break he started saying bye-bye whilst waving. The boys did babble when they were around 9 months then after Both were very unwell with bronchiolitis they just stopped making sounds all together. No babble. Just silence. They spent a year in silence until Kirsty our therapist started coming out to the house every 2 weeks. We had Kirsty for 1 year and I can tell you she made a massive difference in our lives. She taught me that early communication skills do not include speech. There are steps to reach before then.
Most kids start to babble then make sounds then begin to say words. Not needing to give extra thought into the processes that begin to work before actual speech occurs. As you may have guessed it my boys like to be different and we had to start from the complete beginning. From birth to 5 is a critical period for detecting communication difficulties & providing intervention, but studies show as many as 64% of parents are unaware of the early warning signs of speech & language disorders. Unfortunately, parents are not alone. Studies show that despite being one of the most common disorders of early childhood, communication disorders are also the least well detected among pediatricians. More often than not, valuable time is lost between the time a weakness is suspected and a child receives the assessment and intervention services he or she needs. In this respect though we have been very lucky. By the simple fact that the boys were born so prematurely all eyes have been on them since the moment they were born. They were the neonatal consultants, neurodevelopment consultants as well as physiotherapists and occupational therapists until they reached the age of 2. They were then transferred over to the community paediatric team who have seen them twice since June 2017. As well as the before mentioned SALT intervention due to difficulties with weaning and eating solid foods. All those experts collectively have kept a very close eye on my boys to watch for and treat any delays that occurred. Both boys suffered from brain bleeds when they were born and as much as we know they are delayed due to Prematurity we don’t know how much of this delay is due to the brain bleeds.
So what can parents do to help their children whom they suspect has a speech delay? They should do some research and educate themselves on the signs of common speech and language disorders in children between birth to 4 years of age, an important stage in early detection of communication disorders. No one professional will serve as a better advocate for your child than you, the parent. You know your child better than anyone else in the world. If your gut tells you that something just isn’t right trust your instinct. There is a reason a mothers intuition is so important.
Signs of a Language Disorder:
• Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)
• Does not babble (4-7 months)
• Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7-12 months)
• Does not understand what others say (7 months-2 years)
• Says only a few words (12-18 months)
• Words are not easily understood (18 months-2 years)
• Does not put words together to make sentences (1.5-3 years)
• Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2-3 years)
• Has trouble with early reading and writing skills (2.5-3 years)
If a communication delay is suspected as it was with my boys early intervention is key. Seek advice from your health visitor and/or nursery key worker ASAP. If no one listens to your concerns and continually fobs you off by saying your are too young to be assessed etc just keep raising your concerns. Don’t stop until someone listens. You are not alone.
If you have any helpful hints or tips on how to help your child with early communication difficulties please feel free to comment. Let me know your personal experiences and how you managed to secure the help your child needs and deserves. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have.
As always. Stay cool.
Scottish Twin Mamma
As you will be aware from the recent media attention, winter bugs are at an all time high at the minute. Norovirus, shingela and influenza namely Aussie flu seem to be doing the rounds currently. For the life of a preemie parent this fills us with dread and despair. A simple cold could have fatal consequences for our vulnerable babies never mind the host of bugs that can cause even the fittest of people to become unwell.
As expected, our household didn’t manage to avoid them this year. By Christmas I had been lulled into a false sense of security thinking this was the first year since the boys have been born that we hadn’t been struck down with some sort of major illness. We had skated by with Just running noses and the sniffles. I hadn’t even needed to give the boys their inhaler via the asthma protocol the doctor had put in place. Oh how wrong could I have been? This twin mammas household was struck by the dreaded Norovirus.
First came Lewis, then Logan then hubby and I. It was absolute hell and we are now only beginning to come out the other end of it. Keep in mind we are on 7th January!! 13 long days of at least one of us being ill. As per usual, poor Logan seemed to take up the lions share of this time. For the past 2 winters he has been admitted to the children’s ward at Wishaw General Hospital due to dehydration for a fluid challenge. I know you are all thinking – Well why didn’t you just fluid challenge him at home? For those of you who don’t know a fluid challenge for a child of his age is 5ml of water every 5-10 minutes. We do this each and every single time he is ill with a vomiting or diarrhoea bug such as Norovirus, but this poor wee lamb normally can’t even tolerate a few mls of water in his stomach. Luckily this time we managed to avoid an admission by the skin of our teeth. I am so grateful we weren’t admitted for a few reasons. The obvious being it’s best to keep him home and also our local NHS along with many other trusts are in a state of crisis at the minute. They are experiencing even further staff shortages due to this and many other bugs hitting their staffing levels hard. Visitors were turned away through the week as wards went on lockdown to prevent visitors passing bugs onto staff and of course vulnerable patients.
The above picture does make me giggle though. I am a nurse and never in my days have I ever seen 3 people cleaning a bed! Even on a deep clean protocol.
So what can we do to prevent bugs from being passed to each other?
• Wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet. Ideally, use liquid soap in warm running water but any soap is better than none. Dry properly after washing
• If a potty has to be used, wear gloves when you handle it, dispose of the contents into a toilet, then wash the potty with hot water and detergent and leave it to dry
• Don’t share towels and flannels
• Don’t prepare or serve food for others
• Regularly clean with disinfectant the toilets that you use.
• With hot water and detergent, wipe the flush handle, toilet seat, bathroom taps, surfaces and door handles at least once a day. Keep a cloth just for cleaning the toilet (or use a disposable one each time)
• Stay off work, school, college, etc, until at least 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting
• Avoid contact with other people as far as possible during this time
Excuse the pun but sending your children to nursery when they are ill is a real bug bear of mine and other preemie parents. My boys return to nursery next week and I am terrified that they catch something with their immune system already being compromised. 48 hours after the last episode of vomiting or diarrhoea is essential to stop the virus from spreading to other children and staff. I know people worry about their sick time at work and we don’t live in an ideal world but it seriously upsets me when I see staff at the boys nursery unwell with the cold etc. To the point I have actually said to the nursery manager and her reply is normally that staff shouldn’t come in when unwell but if they do they are kept away from the children. Again, I know this to be untrue as the staff numbers incorporate everyone and breaks need to be covered etc. I just hope and pray that their hand hygiene is top notch as I don’t want my boys ill. Last March Logan was blue lighted to hospital as he was so wheezy and exhausted he had a blue pale complexion and was floppy. A common cold for him had progressed into the dreaded RSV. So please, please, please keep your children away from nursery if they are unwell. Even if you use nursery as your childcare provider. It is time to be less selfish and think of others.
If you are unwell:
- Stay at home – gp surgeries and hospitals cannot offer any treatment to deal with these common bugs. Unless complications arise.
- Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated. Use rehydration sachets if need be.
- Take paracetamol to combat any fever you may have or the general aches and pains you feel when unwell.
- Rest as much as life and your circumstance allow.
As always: Stay Cool.
Scottish Twin Mamma
I hope everyone had a lovely day celebrating Christmas with their loved ones. A special thought to our nearest and dearest who had a party in heaven to celebrate the birth of Jesus with us.
For our current NICU mums I hope you managed to enjoy ur special day with your little miracles. Celebrating in hospital isn’t ideal but just think of what next Christmas will bring if health willing everyone is at home together. Father Christmas still stops by to check in on the babies in hospital. As we know a preemies fight does not stop when they are discharged home. A special prayer goes out to one of my cyber mum friends who has twin boys the same age as mine. Both boys spent Christmas in hospital seriously unwell. At one point they were in different hospitals. I can not imagine the pain and heartaches those mummies have felt this year and I’m guessing it wasn’t the most festive. Massive hugs prayers and good thoughts going out into the universe for those two fighters.
Due to their developmental delays my boys still didn’t really know what was going on except they seem to have new toys to play with. Unsure if this is controversial or not but I did buy my boys twin dolls and a buggy. My family weren’t too keen but I think my Lewis is destined to be a twin dad someday as at the young age of 2 he is smashing it!
Logan even seems to love the dolls and has been cuddling them – something he has never done with teddies. He has also been feeding them himself and me with the baby bottle that came with them. Again this is brand new imaginative play for him so I feel I did the right thing getting them. In this day and age we shouldn’t be worrying about gender stereotypes anyway. We should just love our children and try and get them what they need to develop and grow. Of course also what they want as a wee extra special treat!
Merry Christmas everyone. Hold your babies tight and thank all that is good you have your babies to snuggle In tight too.
Scottish Twin Mamma
Ok I’m on the hunt. As many of you know my husband completed tough mudder in 2015 and raised £2500 to buy a twin cot for the NICU in wishaw general. This cot was amazing and it has been scientifically proven to improve the health of the sicker twin when Both twins are placed back together.
What I want to know is have any you gorgeous lot had your twins in a shared cot whilst in hospital?
Do you know anyone who has? What are your thoughts on the shared cot?
Please get in touch.
Scottish Twin Mamma.