14 episodes

Finding out you’re having twins, triplets, or quads will have your mind flooded with questions, and if you’re like most people, worry.

Let’s face it, it’s hard enough dealing with the shock of your incredible news without having to worry about putting in hours of research to make sense of it all.

Well, I’ve done all the legwork for you.

On Season One, you’ll get to hear from maternal-fetal medicine experts, a gestational diabetes educator, a neonatologist, a nutritionist, a birthing coach, psychologists, a lactation consultant, and personal stories from other parents who have been exactly where you are right now.

Double Happiness Multiplied Sally Barker - Hypnotherapist

    • Kids & Family

Finding out you’re having twins, triplets, or quads will have your mind flooded with questions, and if you’re like most people, worry.

Let’s face it, it’s hard enough dealing with the shock of your incredible news without having to worry about putting in hours of research to make sense of it all.

Well, I’ve done all the legwork for you.

On Season One, you’ll get to hear from maternal-fetal medicine experts, a gestational diabetes educator, a neonatologist, a nutritionist, a birthing coach, psychologists, a lactation consultant, and personal stories from other parents who have been exactly where you are right now.

    How to Heal After the Death of a Twin

    How to Heal After the Death of a Twin

     

     

    Order your pre-launch copy of the book DOUBLE HAPPINESS MULTIPLIED - What you need to know about having Twins, Triplets, & Quads HERE: 

    https://www.doublehappinessmultiplied.com/twins-triplets-quads-book/

     

     

    On the final episode of Season One of the Double Happiness Multiplied podcast we discuss the different avenues people take to address their grief when things don’t go the way they hoped during their multiple pregnancies.

    Alexa Bigwarfe tells us how she turned to advocacy to help her heal following the passing of one of her twin daughters, just two days after her birth.

    Scott Beedie gives us a dad’s perspective of the emotional struggle and turmoil he experienced when he was told one of his twin’s hearts had stopped beating t just 21-weeks’ gestation.

    And, Psychologist Dr Gretta Little shares some advice on recognising when it’s time you need to get some professional help to deal with your emotions.

    Joy and Sorrow

    We’ve spoken about the joys and the sorrows of multiple pregnancies throughout Season One of this podcast, and it’s clear each and every person who’s been touched by multiples find their own way to face their realities, whether it’s coming to terms with carrying more than one, two, or three babies or finding out that you won’t be taking one or both of your twins’ home.

    Alexa’s Story

    After Alexa Bigwarfe’s twin girls were born, she was certain the medical system would fix her daughter who was extremely affected by twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, sadly Kathryn passed away just two days after she was born. Her twin sister Charis had a long journey in the NICU, which saw Alexa turn to advocacy to come to terms with the loss.

    “In a nutshell, I started blogging both about my grief and about twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome,”

    “I started interviewing other parents and talking with them about their stories, and what I found was that so many situations were so similar to mine,”

    “Their doctors were either nonchalant about it, never mentioned it, didn’t give them all the information,’’ says Alexa.

    Do your Research

    During her research, Alexa found that there are a significant number of babies born prematurely between 26-and-30 weeks because of twin-to-twin-transfusion syndrome, which means they’re impacted by all the issue that comes with being pre-term.

    “I wanted to really make some noise about it,”

    “In the year that I was looking at the research, I found out that more babies died annually from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome than SIDS,”

    “We couldn’t change our story but potentially if someone else got the information in time then they could change theirs,” Alexa says.

    The Advocate

    It wasn’t long before Alexa found herself acting as an advocate for mothers. She says with doctors being so busy, mums and dads carting multiples have to be their own advocates and their own source of information,” she says.

    Alexa admits she never like being the negative person but now if she comes across someone who is pregnant with identical twins, whether she knows them or not, she gives them information about TTTS.

    “I say to them, I don’t want to scare you but I’d rather you be scared than go through a situation like I did,”

    “I tell them about TTTS, and I tell them where the best resources for information are and I tell them where to find the questions to ask their doctor,

    “And I say if your doctor is unwilling, or can’t find answers to these questions, I beg you to go and find another doctor immediately,” insists Alexa.

    Purpose

    • 15 min
    Ditch the Mum Guilt Over Breast vs Bottle Feeding Multiples

    Ditch the Mum Guilt Over Breast vs Bottle Feeding Multiples

     

    Order your pre-launch copy of the book DOUBLE HAPPINESS MULTIPLIED - What you need to know about having Twins, Triplets, & Quads HERE: 

    https://www.doublehappinessmultiplied.com/twins-triplets-quads-book/

     

     

    On episode 11 of the Double Happiness Multiplied podcast, we talk about breast and bottle feeding.

    Lactation Consultant Judy Adams, who is also a twin mum, gives us advice about breastfeeding multiples and also shares her story of the pressure she felt to exclusively breastfeed her boys.

    Twin mum Rebecca Perrie and mum of Quadruplets Jannelle Snaddon also join us to talk about supplementing with formula to get some rest.

    BREASTFEEDING TWINS

    Lactation Consultant Judy Adams from King Edward Memorial Hospital in Western Australia tells us, the business of breastfeeding multiples isn’t easy and many women feel enormous pressure to exclusively breastfeed their babies, which is often an incredible emotional upheaval especially if the babies are born preterm.

    When you have three babies, breastfeeding is another story. Judy explains that in this situation, some mums often choose to twin feed and then give expressed breast milk to the third baby, while other mums choose to do replacement feeds with expressed breast milk.

    Is it important to introduce the bottle as well as the breast?

    Judy says she tries to be very open-minded about it, and part of being a preterm baby means that you have to have bottles, you can’t go home unless you can suck all of your feeds. However, creating an individualised plan with the mum as to what the maximum amount of breastfeeding she can do is the best strategy.

    If the babies are still in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at 37-weeks’ gestation, Judy says specialised teats are used to help make the baby suck.

    Supplementing with formula

    The baby has to be able to grow, that’s the bottom line. So, if mum hasn’t got enough breast milk then you don’t have any option and formula is a necessity. And, if the baby isn’t thriving then you’re running into all sorts of other problem, explains Judy. 

    “As hard as it is, I know very well myself, I burst into tears when I first bought formula, and I ended up throwing it out anyway,”

    “But it’s very emotional, you’re in the supermarket and you reach for it, and then you put it back, and then you reach for it again, and I thought I better have some just in case,” says Judy.

    Some mums don’t have a choice. Whether for health reasons or some other complication, some mums can’t provide milk for their baby, and they shouldn’t feel guilty that they’re giving their babies formula.

    We’ve spoken about nutrition during your pregnancy on Episode Three of this season, but Judy tells us it’s just as important to monitor your diet while you’re breastfeeding.

    Water is incredibly important when you're breastfeeding and the best guide is to drink to your thirst, however, if you’re not someone who gets thirsty you should aim for about two-litres of water per day.

    Foods to avoid

    There are all sorts of myths about fried onions and broccoli and all sorts of things but Judy says you should eat a normal diet, in moderation.

    So,  if you love chocolate, Judy says it's okay to have a bit but just don't eat the entire bar in one sitting.

    The rule of thumb is to stick to your normal triangle of fruit, veg, and cereals.

    And remember, if it upsets you it’ll probably upset the babies.

    Rebecca’s Story

    Rebecca Perrie says having gestational diabetes during her twin pregnancy meant her girls needed some nutritional support after they were born....

    • 15 min
    How Parents Navigate Having Babies in the NICU with Other Kids at Home

    How Parents Navigate Having Babies in the NICU with Other Kids at Home

     

    Order your pre-launch copy of the book DOUBLE HAPPINESS MULTIPLIED - What you need to know about having Twins, Triplets, & Quads HERE: 

    https://www.doublehappinessmultiplied.com/twins-triplets-quads-book/

     

     

    On this episode, we discuss taking care of your children while you have babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

    Psychologist Dr Monique Robinson has some tips to help normalise the situation as much as possible.

    Joanne Beedie shares her heartbreaking story of grieving for her baby boy who died inutero while watching her surviving twin fight for his life in the NICU.

    And, Senior Social Worker Clare Dimer explains the pressures facing families in this situation.

    Psychologist Dr Monique Robinson tells us that when you’re going through your NICU journey you will need support, however, asking for help doesn’t come easily to some people and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and not completely in control.

    The Reality of NICU

    Even if you knew leading up to the birth your babies were going to come early, there can often be a sense of this isn’t what I was expecting. This is not what I signed up for, this is not what I imagined having twins would be.



    “As much as it sounds like it’s just a revision of plans, for many women that total change in expectations, and the change in the plans for the future, and where they thought they were going to be at what time is really difficult.”

    ~Psychologist Dr Monique Robinson~

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    Dr Robinson says it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and to accept that this is your reality for a while. And, that it’s going to be really tough, really tough.

    “But, if you’re finding that suddenly getting out of bed in the morning isn’t coming that easy to you, that’s when you need to ask for support,”



    “It might not be until the babies are 3-months old that suddenly you feel 100% in control and committed to it, and that’s okay.”

    ~Psychologist Dr Monique Robinson~

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    Joanne’s Story

    You might remember on Episode Nine, we heard from Joanne Beedie who gave birth to her twins at 27-weeks’ gestation, sadly one of her boys had passed away inutero at 21-weeks’ gestation due to twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

    She says coming to terms with the loss of her baby, having another baby in the NICU fighting for his life, and a toddler at home was a lot to cope with and the guilt was crippling.

    “I think if it wasn’t for the fact that my husband’s and my parents flew in from Scotland to help us, I’m really not sure how we would have done it,” says Joanne.

    Joanne says for her son Archie,

    • 16 min
    Angel Babies

    Angel Babies

     

    Order your pre-launch copy of the book DOUBLE HAPPINESS MULTIPLIED - What you need to know about having Twins, Triplets, & Quads HERE: 

    https://www.doublehappinessmultiplied.com/twins-triplets-quads-book/

     

     

     

    On episode Nine, of Double Happiness Multiplied, we honour the families who sadly didn’t get to take one or more of their babies’ home.

    Alexa Bigwarfe shares her story of grief following the loss of one of her twins, due to twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

    Psychologist Dr Monique Robinson talks about the importance of grieving and reaching out and speaking to others who have experienced the loss of a multiple.

    And, Joanne Beedie tells us of her devastation at being told the heart of one of her twins had stopped at just 21-weeks’ gestation.

    They’re known as Angel Babies. They’re the precious souls who didn’t make it into the world alive, or they were only here long enough to exhale a few short breaths of love before passing away.

    The sad reality of multiple births is that compared with singletons, babies from multiple pregnancies have a substantially higher rate of perinatal death. This higher rate of loss is largely due to preterm birth.

    It’s not uncommon for one or two babies from a multiple pregnancy to die Inutero and the more embryos you have the more likely you are to have a loss.

    The emotional pain and the strain on the family unit after losing one or more babies from a multiple pregnancy is undeniably excruciating.

    Alexa Bigwarfe was has lived this very reality. She was diagnosed with twin-to-twin-transfusion syndrome when she was 20-weeks’ pregnant with her identical twin girls. By the time the condition was detected, the disease had progressed to stage 3, which made treatment options less effective.

    “There was emotion overload just all the time, and I wanted to be happy and I wanted to have faith and believe, and I still believed when they were both born and they were both alive, I still believed the medical system was going to fix her, that it was still going to be okay,”

    “So, when they told us it was time to turn off the machines, I didn’t believe it,” says Alexa



    “There was emotion overload just all the time, and I wanted to be happy and I wanted to have faith and believe, and I still believed when they were both born and they were both alive, I still believed the medical system was going to fix her, that it was still going to be okay. So, when they told us it was time to turn off the machines, I didn’t believe it.”

    ~Alexa Bigwarfe – twin mum~

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    Alexa explains how difficult it was to try and grieve one child while she had another one who was still trying to survive. She says the hardest part was trying to bond with her surviving twin.

    “It was really difficult to bond with her for multiple reasons, I didn’t even get to hold her until she was about a week old, and then I was scared of bonding with her because I wasn’t sure that she was going to live either,” admits Alexa.

    Empty arms

    Alexa explains that she understood the pain that comes with the loss of a baby but she just couldn’t understa...

    • 28 min
    What To Expect if Your Twins are Born Prematurely

    What To Expect if Your Twins are Born Prematurely

     

    Order your pre-launch copy of the book DOUBLE HAPPINESS MULTIPLIED - What you need to know about having Twins, Triplets, & Quads HERE: 

    https://www.doublehappinessmultiplied.com/twins-triplets-quads-book/

     

     

     

    On this episode of the Double Happiness Multiplied podcast, we talk with Consultant Neonatologist Doctor Patricia Woods from King Edward Memorial Hospital in Western Australia about what to expect when you have babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

    Mum of quadruplets Jannelle Snaddon walks us through her NICU journey.

    Psychologist Doctor Monique Robinson offers practical advice about taking care of your emotional wellbeing when you have babies in NICU.

    I’ll share my NICU story with you and I’ll read a moving letter from a micro-premmie mum written to other parents of premature babies.

    What does pre-term mean?

    A Preterm or Premmie baby is defined as being born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed. There are sub-categories of preterm birth, however, based on gestational age:



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    Extremely preterm, or micro premmies, are born at less than 28-weeks’ gestation,



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    Very preterm are those babies born between 28 and 32-weeks’ gestation,



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    And, moderate to late preterm, which are babies born after 32 weeks and before 37-weeks’ gestation.





    Why does preterm birth happen?

    There are many reasons preterm births occur, the most common causes include multiple pregnancies, infections, and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. However, oftentimes no cause is identified but may be due to genetic influences.

    Pre-term birth facts



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    Worldwide, an estimated 15 million babies are born too early every year. That’s more than one in every 10 babies. Sadly, of these babies, approximately 1 million will die each year due to complications of their preterm birth.



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    Prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5 years, globally.



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    In almost all countries with reliable data, preterm birth rates are increasing, with stark inequalities in survival rates around the world.



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    In low-income settings, half of all babies born at or below 32 weeks die due to a lack of feasible, cost-effective care, such as warmth, breastfeeding support, and basic care for infections and breathing difficulties.



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    In contrast, babies born at or below 32-weeks in high-income countries will almost always survive.





    Where and when does preterm birth happen?

    Preterm birth is a global problem despite more than 60 per cent of preterm births occurring in Africa and South Asia. In lower-income countries, on average, 12 per cent of babies are born too early compared with 9 per cent in higher-income countries.

    There is also a dramatic difference in survival rates of premature babies depending on where they’re born. For example, more than 90 per cent of extremely preterm babies born in low-income countries die within the first few days of life; yet less than 10 per cent of extremely preterm babies die in high-income settings.

    These statistics are interesting and for some will offer reassurance and a glimmer of hope during this time of immense emotional turmoil, however, as Consultant Neonatologist Doctor Patricia Woods explains, it can be quite confronting.

    The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

    “I think the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a terrifying place for families.

    • 24 min
    How To Prepare for the Birth of Your Twins, Triplets, or Quads

    How To Prepare for the Birth of Your Twins, Triplets, or Quads

     

    Order your pre-launch copy of the book DOUBLE HAPPINESS MULTIPLIED - What you need to know about having Twins, Triplets, & Quads HERE: 

    https://www.doublehappinessmultiplied.com/twins-triplets-quads-book/



     

    On episode seven of the Double Happiness Multiplied podcast, we explore birthing options for multiples.

    We talk to Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist Professor Craig Pennell about the types of twins that will require a caesarean delivery and those that can be safely delivered vaginally.

    Founder of Rockstar Birth Magazine and Rockstar Birth Radio, Shalome Stone explains why a birthing plan is important.

    Hypnobirthing Practitioner and Birthing Doula Elysee Jamieson shares her experience of birthing breech fraternal twins.

    And, I’ll tell you why my girls were delivered by Caesarean section.

    By the end of this episode, you’ll be armed with all the information you’ll need to make educated decisions about the birth of your babies.

    Talking About Birth

    Birth. The topic can get as heated as bringing up politics, religion, or vaccinations at a dinner party. There are many people who have incredibly strong opinions on the matter, oftentimes formed on the basis of misguided information.

    You’ve probably heard people say things along the lines of, ‘women have been giving birth to babies in the open fields for centuries and they always did fine’, well they often didn’t and the mortality rate was exceptionally high.

    However, pregnancy and birth have become incredibly medicalised and it’s often difficult to find a middle ground as such.

    So, whether you’re someone who holds dear to your plans of a drug-free vaginal delivery or you surrender yourself to an attitude of going-with-flow, it’s important to be educated on the possibility that your ideal birth plans might need to be altered.

    Let’s face it, many multiples wouldn’t cope with the journey down the birth canal and without medical intervention those precious babies wouldn’t survive.

    On the other hand, if you have an uncomplicated multiple pregnancy, and under the guidance of a team with experience in multiple births, Professor Craig Pennell assures us that in most cases you can achieve a vaginal delivery.

    As Professor Pennell explains there are many things that need to be considered in planning the most appropriate form of delivery for a twin pregnancy.



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    Type of twins;



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    Monochorionic Monoamniotic twins will always be delivered by caesarean section,



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    Monochorionic Diamniotic twins have a high rate of caesarean birth due to common complications,



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    Dichorionic-Diamniotic – more likely to achieve vaginal births.







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    Parity of the mother – delivery of twins is technically more difficult for a first-time mum than a woman who has had one or more vaginal births.



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    Complications in the pregnancy.



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    Gestation – delivering a set of twins at 24-weeks is very different from delivering twins at 37-weeks.



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    Location – smaller hospitals might not be equipped to cater for the vaginal delivery of twins.



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    And, the experience of your obstetrician.







    “If you are in the public hospital system in Australia or the United Kingdom, and you have an uncomplicated set of Dichorionic Diamniotic twins, and the first baby is coming head first,

    • 34 min

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