Support/gifts for prem twins

(8 Posts)
DragonMamma Sun 03-Mar-13 07:09:59

Last night I became the proud auntie to B/G twins. They made a surprise entrance at 33 weeks and there was only the opportunity to get one dose of steroids in to mum before a emcs, as they were both footling breech.

One is almost 6lbs (I know, he's huge for his gestation!) And on CPAP and my little niece is a bit over 4lb and isn't on cpap but is needing some help.

Obviously we knew they'd be a bit premature but she had sailed through until yesterday morning when her waters just went.

How long would you they usually be in hospital for? I know it's hard to say but I have no idea if it'll be a coupke of weeks or longer?

What's the do's and don'ts when they are in special care? I obviously want to race down there and check they are all ok but is it only immediate family allowed in special care?

And lastly, where can I get gifts for them, that they'll be able to put to use and make their stay easier?

Hi Dragon, congratulations!
Special care units often say to expect staying in hospital until due date, but in practice it's usually a bit less than that. Mine came at 30 weeks and stayed in for 7, and I suspect could've come home a bit earlier.
Anecdotally I know of several twins where the boy was bigger than the girl but needed more breathing assistance, was certainly the case with my two, and he's certainly suffered no ill effects from it.
First advice re gifts would be to send balloon/flowers/card while mum is in hospital. Lots of people don't send anything if you have a prem, but obviously you also don't have your baby with you on the ward, and it can make your bed a very depressing place, I wanted my babies acknowledged and celebrated, thank you very much!
When things have settled down a little they might need some small baby clothes, although lots of units supply their own and a 6lber won't be in them for long! Mothercare, boots, M&co and
Tescos all make 5lb and 7lb clothes.
The main way people can help is by supporting them once mum is home and babies are still in hospital, meals, lifts (mum won't be able to drive), child/pet care, shopping, chores etc. it is practically as well as emotionally a very stressful time.
Other lovely gifts we received were books so we could read to them in their incubators/cots, nice blankets for bringing them home in, smellies for me to make myself relax and feel a bit more human. If they haven't got all the baby stuff ready they might also have some ideas of things they need, but I'd wait a week or two until coming home is getting closer.
Most of the wards I know were parent, grandparents and immediate siblings to visit only, although my sil did visit once they were a few weeks old. Friends had many more visitors, but I was very happy to keep our two away from the world, I'd be led by the parents regarding going to see the babies. Stay away if you have any sniffles etc!
Hope that helps a little. Wishing them all the best.

DragonMamma Sun 03-Mar-13 09:18:23

Thank you! These are her 2 and 3rd babies so I'll arrange to have my other nephew over the coming weeks and go over the hospital later with half of Clintons with me - we aren't allowed flowers in our PCT but I'll go balloon crazy and take her some goodies to eat as she said she was feeling shakey this morning and hasn't actually seen them yet.

It's all a bit of a shock really, one minute she was coming over to see me, the next her waters went and she was 7cm and they had to deliver. I don't think she can get het head around it either.

Will take lots of your brilliant advice, her best friend already cleaned the house from top to bottom last night (she loves loves cleaning!) So that's covered. I'll get cooking instead...

Oh poor her, I had a 0-60 labour too!
Once we were all home I had a debrief with the supervisor of midwives which helped me get my head round it all and fill in the gaps.
Another great tip is to have a camera and a nice keepsake notebook and take lots of pics and write lots of notes, it helps you keep track of all the medical stuff as well as preserving memories because it's a very confusing and busy time.

DigestivesWithCheese Sun 03-Mar-13 10:23:03

You sound like a lovely Auntie smile

My waters went later (at 36 weeks exactly) but I also laboured very quickly and had a emergency section, it was a shock. I've got B/G twins and the girl was okay, although she was smaller. My son (6lb 1) really struggled at first. He was borderline for ventilation but managed to get away with CPAP. He looked terrible for the first couple of days (he was shaking all the time and had foam coming out of his mouth) so he had brain scans to rule out seizures. He also had a few x-rays to check his stomach and every time I went to visit it seemed like there was a new line in his body or he was being tested for something new.

But, after about 4 days, he then picked up really suddenly and went onto oxygen. By 8 days he started to feed properly and then he brought to thw ward for a night then we were allowed home (the release home happened so suddenly that it was a shock in itself!).

Even though it was only a week, it was the most horrendous week of my life. Is your sister/SIL expressing milk to send to neonatal? If so, any support with that would probably help as I found it really hard when I was struggling to express enough. Lots of nice fruity drinks helped, as well as food that can be taken to hospital (like wraps or pasta salad). DH also picked up fenugreek & protein shakes to try and help with my milk supply.

At our hospital, any adults are allowed to visit neonatal as long as they are accompanied by a parent. It sounds like you understand that the birth has been a shock, as well as neonatal. I found that some friends or family members were phoning/texting and being very excited and congratulating us without really acknowledging the fact that one of our babies wasn't with us and thst we hadn't even been able to hold him or look at him properly after the birth.

Their reactions/congratulations felt strange because we were going through such a worrying, emotional time and really didn't feel ready to celebrate. I appreciated the friend who texted and said "you must be feeling very emotional being seperated from your baby, I'm thinking of you and will visit when you want me too". I felt like she understood a lot more than some of the others.

I hope your nephew picks up soon and they can all get home and her some rest.

DragonMamma Sun 03-Mar-13 15:15:17

Thanks everybody. She's finally seen them and they are trying him off cpap already so that seems like a great step in the right direction. She's been moved to a private room as I think it's tough being on a bay without your babies.

She will express and I'll try and help her with that, she isn't planning on bf'ing in the longer term.

I am going to do her some spinach, pine nut and feta pasta - figure there's nothing better than carbs, especially as I can't give her good poisoning with that.

I'm going down just to see her tonight and will see my little babies tomorrow - very excited now.

Is there any nice online prem baby stockists? We've only moved house this weekend and have no time to get to mothercare for some bits.

Thanks for sharing your advice and stories, it's been lovely hearing how to help her manage.

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 03-Mar-13 15:53:12

Teddy and Me do lovely and practical clothes for premature babies but bear in mind some hospitals don't like the babies wearing clothes other than nappies - something about needing to see their chests to help monitor breathing I think?

Hand cream is also a good present as you have to wash and sanitise your hands ALL THE TIME on the ward.

Oh agree about hand cream! Also agreed prob no need for clothes for a while, ours didn't wear anything until they were off all machines except monitors and in warm cots.
So pleased she's seen them and they're doing well.

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