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Ryleigh Klimenko, New Hampshire, USA
August 30. I can’t keep my excitement to myself! On August 22, my baby MoMo twins were born prematurely at 32 weeks and and 2 days. [MoMo twins or monoamniotic twins are identical twins that share the same amniotic sac in their mother’s womb. The twins also share the placenta, but have two separate umbilical cords. It’s a very rare occurrence and a condition that can be unpredictable with dangerous complications. The umblical cords may easily become entangled, which can cut off the blood flow from the placenta to the fetus.]
The last few days, the girls have been rooting at my breast with a vengeance, although they still have a few days to go until they get to full feeds through a tube even and haven’t been able to breastfeed. Tonight my nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit could clearly feel my pain while I was trying to console my baby Maya during her evening feed. Maya was rubbing her face all over my chest searching for my breast. My heart was breaking.
After a crazy pregnancy that involved my becoming an inpatient in the hospital at 24 weeks and seeing my birth plan going up in smoke, I was holding on to the hope that, if nothing else, I would be able to breastfeed my babies.
So, this evening, my nurse gave me the approval to go ahead and try to breastfeed. My little girl latched on and fed from me for the first time! I am so thrilled and proud of her because she instinctively knew what to do and she is only 33 weeks and 2 days old today. After feeding for a little while, she came off the breast and let out a lovely loud burp before she cuddled back up to me.
September 4. It’s going very well. For two days we tried to get the girls accustomed to taking a bit of milk from the breast a few times a day. I pumped and then offered my breast so she could get the fattier milk. We started working with a nipple shield too. Milena took to the idea very quickly, while Maya needs a bit more practice. They still have their feeding tubes in and get milk that way directly after we breastfeed.
I couldn’t be happier with their progress and it’s lovely to see how much they grow every day and know that it’s because they are getting their nutrition from me. Bonding with the girls this way makes all the pumping and our little journey through the NICU worth it. I love seeing their look of satisfaction after we have a breastfeeding session and they start to fall asleep in my arms.
This was my first pregnancy and I didn’t know what to expect. I have no experience of breastfeeding aside from the resources I’ve found online. In my family, the idea of breastfeeding beyond two or three months is not the norm and when I said my goal was to breastfeed for as long as Maya and Milena wanted, I received a lot of sympathetic smiles from my family, like I have no idea what I am getting myself into. That being said, I’m determined to give this its best go.
I’ve been through one of the scariest pregnancies with eight weeks as an inpatient. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was hooked up to monitors for more than 20 hours a day, and now we are in the middle of our NICU journey. My girls have been through so much, I think they deserve to get started with the best foundation I can give them.
Breastfeeding is such an amazing experience!