Club Member Profiles

McRae Family Profile

McRae Family photo.

Above: Phoebe holding Grace, Andrew holding Lydia.

My name is Phoebe McRae, married to Andrew McRae. On April 5th 2013, God blessed us with two beautiful girls, Lydia Phoebe and Grace Elsbeth. Like the majority of parents with multiples we were not expecting twins at all. Even though Andrew’s dad is a twin and there are twins on my side as well, the thought of having twins did not dawn on us.

My twin journey started when I was 9 weeks pregnant. Pregnancy sickness lasted all day and I couldn’t even get up to go to the kitchen, the thought just put me off. I had a bit of spotting at 9 weeks so I called my Doctor and he arranged for a scan. I remember the scan so clearly. I was looking up at the monitor and suddenly two blobs appeared. I knew straight away it was twins but I was thinking “I hope that’s one and its shadow..” but no, it was two! Andrew was shocked and happy. I, on the other hand, was shocked and scared. I had no idea what to expect. At least I knew why I was so sick.

The next task was to find a midwife. I actually think it was a blessing I hadn’t found one yet, as now I had to find one that was experienced with twins. Thankfully my mother in-law worked in a medical centre and asked the nurses who they would recommend. My midwife was fantastic.

Being my first pregnancy, I had no idea what to expect in regards to emotions or appointments. I was too afraid to ask questions so I just went day to day hoping for the best. Thankfully I had my husband and family praying for me, as I needed the strength to get through each day. The sickness carried on for the majority of the pregnancy and really got me down. Yet I managed to get out for walks each day and started to eat a bit more.

My pregnancy went quite smoothly. I only had heartburn, nose bleeds and back ache. On Good Friday, (36 weeks) Andrew and I were due to move from Lower Hutt to the Kapiti Coast to be closer to Andrew’s parents. This was also the day I ended up in hospital with high blood pressure. Thankfully at 6pm I was discharged.

The following Wednesday I had another scan, blood tests and urine sample. After another day of waiting in the hospital I found out I was going to be induced on Friday (37 weeks). On Friday Andrew and I went into hospital and my waters were broken at 8:30am. Andrew and the Wellington midwifes were really good. I also had my student midwife, who was also a NICU nurse which made me more comfortable. The best news of all though was my obstetrician who I had been seeing all through my pregnancy was on call. He knew I wanted to deliver naturally, even though Twin B was breech.

I had the epidural after 6hours and then the vomiting started AGAIN! It was so violent I do not wish it upon anyone. At 8pm I was fully dilated, yet Twin A hadn’t descended. Around 9:30, after vomiting some more, the midwife decided to check and Twin A was on her way. Thankfully after some more vomiting in-between pushes, Lydia arrived. And then so did the obstetrician. Then all my contractions stopped. 40 minutes later, Grace arrived legs first. I lost 1.6L of blood but thankfully I did not need to go to theatre or have a blood transfusion.

Our days in NICU were short, 10 days in total and then we decided to bring them home. The only thing stopping them from being discharged was antibiotics. But after a lot of discussion and tears they allowed as to give them their antibiotics orally. It was fantastic news.

The next few weeks were a blur. I was expressing, as well as breast feeding one at a time and top ups with the bottle. At 3 months I got tandem feeding sorted and the girls were fully breast feed up to 11 months when my milk supply dropped so went to a bottle.

Lydia and Grace have just had their first birthday and I have no idea where that first year went. I had many ups and downs but through my husband’s support and family members I made it through my toughest year to date. Lydia and Grace are developing quickly and I just love the age they are at.

From feeling scared, anxious, worried and inadequate to being a twin mum, I have found my groove and love it to bits. Having twin girls is the best blessing ever. I have been told that the next few years don’t get easy, they are different. I am looking forward to more fun, laughter and challenges to come.


Andrews Family Profile

The Andrews Family.

Once upon a time there was a humble girl called Jess, who after finishing Uni and travelling the world decided to call Wellington her home. Jess was offered some work part time in a raging Courteney Place bar, meanwhile she desperately tried to start a career working for the Department of Conservation. Little did she know that upon meeting the handsome bar DJ Neill Andrews in 2004 that her life would change for ever and inevitably end up a mother of twins named Isabella and Jack Andrews.

After a year of their meeting and a career choice change on Jess's behalf, they ventured to Sydney to see what beheld them in this land of opportunity. Prince Neill proposed to humble Jess and off they went on another adventure to Singapore which they called home for a short time before embarking to Melbourne. Jess had it all planned out you see ... a beautiful NZ wedding followed by a 3 month campervan tour of Europe where she would romantically fall pregnant with a child.

But as life would have it for Jess and Neill things didn't turn out that way and in April 2008 in the midst of wedding preparations Jess discovered she was expecting! She waited until her sister's birthday to tell her the news, and as Jess went to her sister's room with a big smile on her face, her sister leapt up and excitedly said "Oh have you bought me a kitten for my birthday?"

Not too long later Neill and Jess naively went to the 12 week scan. "Oh" the radiographer said, "Is this your first scan?" "Why yes" they both replied. "Well I'm seeing double!" said the radiographer. pause….. "uuuummmmmm double what?" A confused Jess replied. "Look at the screen" she said. "I'm not sure what I'm looking at?" Jess nervously replied. "You're having twins!" Silence fell in the room before a "OH MY GOD!" fell from the mouth of a stunned Jess and something more unprintable fell from the mouth of an even more stunned Neill.

The parents to be decided hastily to move back to their home country as family support would be in desperate need come October 2008. Despite the twin pregnancy things went text bookly well. Growing Jess loved every minute of it and even though she was having weekly scans near the end as there were concerns that little Isabella was not growing as well as she should be Jess remained positive. She told herself and anyone that would listen she was going to have a lovely natural birth and put her 6 week hypnobirthing course into practice and be the most calm labouring mum that any Doctor had seen in all the land. Oh, how wrong she was!

And so on Friday 24th Oct Jess went in for a scan followed by an unusually long wait in the waiting room for the specialist. " want you to go home and pack your bags right now as we are admitting you tonight" were the precise words the specialist said. "We are going to give you steroids to strengthen up their lungs and we will deliver them by c section on Sunday the 26th." Jess's heart stopped. "But I am only 31 weeks and 6 days" she thought to herself, "how can this be?" The specialists believed that a defect in little Isabella's umbilical cord was causing her not to grow at a good rate and that they could see fluid on her lungs. Jess proceeded to break almost every nail on her hands from packing her bag at such a rate.

Isabella Lee arrived at 7.05pm Sunday 26th October 2008 at a tremendous 1.3kg with no fluid on the lungs or defected umbilical cord and Jack L.J followed two minutes later at 1.5kg. In spite of the shock of being admitted early, the whole C section experience was painless and went without drama. The team at the Wellington Hospital were extraordinary and couldn't have been more professional.

And so after five weeks of the Neonatal unit and many, many hours of expressing milk, the two wee cherubs, two chilly bins of frozen breast milk, and a nervous but grateful and happy mum were allowed to go home ... where the real story was about to begin.

Two years on, and I can honestly say it has been like a fairy tale ... a fairy tale full of vomit, endless poo, leaky boobs, eye baggage and unlimited amounts of washing ... but a fairy tale none the less. Neill and I married in February 2010 and it felt lovely to have the kids there to share the experience. Neill now operates his own online advertising agency and still DJ's in the city. I hope to soon find some time to start up my Personal Training business again.

The hours of breastfeeding have now been replaced with playcentre, preschool, mainly music, swimming, play dates and all sorts of fun. Having twins is absolutely wonderful and I wouldn't change it for a thing. All those sleepless nights have been totally outweighed by all the laughter, smiles and cuddles. It just gets better and better every day and I never knew I could love two little people as much as I do. I feel totally blessed I have such a wonderful family.


Hubbard Family Profile

The Hubbard Family.

Hi, we are the Hubbards, Mum Susie, Dad Hubbard (the name preferred by all – Martin being his given name), and most importantly Alex and Petra (20 months).

Some background about us: We met shortly after we both permanently moved to Wellington from very different places. Susie is originally from the mainland, a small town south of Dunedin in South Otago. Career development with my then employer, NZ Post, resulted in a permanent relocation to Wellington, after a year of commuting between Dunedin and Wellington on project assignments.

Hubbard is a Pom, who arrived in Wellington in 2000 as a stopover point on a round the world trip (either a deferred youthful OE or early mid-life crisis). After dossing on a friend's couch for 6 months watching day-time TV trash Hubbard headed back to Europe for a friend's wedding and further travel. He returned to Wellington 5 months later actively seeking work and was employed with Fletcher Construction in a continuation of his career in construction management.

After flatting and renting we purchased our first home together in Crofton Downs, Wellington. We married in 2005 in Wellington and our plan was to start a family as soon as possible. By this time our careers had progressed with Hubbard now working for a project management consultancy and Susie having joined IT solutions provider Datacom.

A year later, with no pregnancy success, we were referred to Fertility Associates. As there was nothing to explain why we were not conceiving naturally we went through the whole range of gradually intensifying treatment. After approximately a year of treatment we were ecstatic to be told that the IUI was successful. This was to have been our last attempt with IUI, as we had finally met all the criteria for IVF. At the 7 week scan we were somewhat surprised and delighted to be told there were 2. Sadly at 21.4 weeks Susie went into pre-mature labour and our sons (Travis and Ryan) were still-born.

During this pregnancy we followed through on our plans to move from our compact Wellington town-house to a place with more space for a family. Our search bought us to Paremata where we enjoy the sun and water views. The IVF option was now available to us so we proceeded with this a few months later. As we only had two viable embryos on 'transfer' day both were implanted. Being at this stage very familiar with blood test results/numbers it was not such a surprise this time to be told we were expecting twins again. Because we were classified as a high risk pregnancy we had very regular scans and consultations with our obstetrician – it seemed like we were there every week and for the bulk of the pregnancy we probably were!!

The pregnancy still presented challenges along the way with 3 unscheduled stays in Wellington Hospital which unfortunately included our last planned weekend away in luxury. This did have an advantage of making us very familiar with the new maternity unit and staff.

At 32 weeks at home in Paremata things took a dramatic turn which resulted in a lights and siren ambulance journey to hospital where Alex and Petra (1.9kg each) were born by emergency caesarean.

Alex and Petra spent their first week in the new Wellington Neo-nates where they were then transferred to SCBU (special care baby unit) in Lower Hutt as a result of high demand in Neo-Nates. Three weeks after they entered the world we were able to bring them home. Both were born without any issues and just needed the time in hospital to feed and grow.

The first few months were exhausting, as all new parents know and multiple birth parents especially. Our life turned a huge corner with Petra starting sleeping through the night at 10 weeks and then Alex following at 12. Thankfully their great sleeping patterns have continued and we are the envy of many parents with our late starts (avg wakeup time 7:30-8am).

Susie returned to work full time at Datacom as a Service Delivery Manager just after Alex and Petra's 1st birthday. By this time we had been joined by our German AuPair which has been fantastic for both the children and us. The children get the stability of life at home and a stress-free routine which is also the case for Mum and Dad. We also benefit from having an energetic young foreigner living with us as part of our family. We are now onto our 2nd AuPair and plan to continue this successful arrangement for some years to come.

Alex and Petra are typical 20 month toddlers, full of energy, mischief and discovery. Though twins, they are very different in personality. Despite sharing the same environment and nurture they are now showing stereo-typical boy/girl interests. Alex loves cars, planes, things with flashy lights, noise and rough and tumble play, where as Petra loves books, cuddling her toys and dancing.

We are currently enjoying home life and sunny days of discovery and fun with the kids in the garden. It makes the day to day slog worthwhile. We are also looking forward to skipping the worst of the NZ winter when we make our first big family trip back to Hubbard's homeland in July and August. This will be the first opportunity for Alex and Petra to meet many of Hubbard's family and friends.


Breastfeeding Support

Lorraine TaylorHi I’m Lorraine Taylor. I am a community breastfeeding counsellor with La Leche (Lay-chay) League. I have twins myself and enjoyed a successful breastfeeding relationship with them. I have been involved in the Kapi-Mana and Wellington Multiple Birth clubs in various roles including new members, president and funding but particularly in breastfeeding education and support. I have run many breastfeeding information sessions as part of the Wellington Multiple Birth Club antenatal classes.

I am available if you would like to chat about breastfeeding. It doesn't cost anything. Feel free to ring me, or email. I can point you in the right direction for excellent resources and experienced breastfeeding mothers who can offer support and a friendly ear.

Read these articles about Breastfeeding: How to Breastfeed Multiples, Breastfeeding after a Caesarian, Breastfeeding Books.

Contact me: Lorraine Taylor, (04) 233 6513 or email lorraine.aaron@xtra.co.nz