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Parenting Advice When You’re Having Twins (Part 1)

Fertility treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be an emotional roller coaster for couples who often experience multiple losses before they finally have success. That’s exactly what happened to Jane Nordell and her wife Erin Firestone. So when the couple learned their first IVF treatment resulted in twins, they were thrilled. The news enabled them to make financial adjustments early and line up the emotional and physical support they needed before the arrival of their twins.

Below, read part one of Nordell’s journey to becoming a mom to nine-month-olds Tate and Johanna.

Money matters

Nordell prides herself on being the chief financial officer (CFO) of their family. As soon as they got the news, she started budgeting and created a savings plan. She nailed down childcare right away by negotiating a three-day commitment with daycare, along with help from family. “I did the math on diapers and formula for twins and looked for things to cut from our budget,” Nordell says. “There’s very little you can control when you’re having multiples. Getting control of our finances helped.”

Expect the unexpected

At 24 weeks, Nordell learned her baby girl wasn’t getting the nutrients she needed from the placenta. As the weeks went by, her baby’s growth slowed, then stalled, until she finally fell off the chart due to placenta insufficiency. At 29 weeks, Nordell took leave from work to go on bedrest. Physicians gave her two rounds of steroid injections to help accelerate lung development. “It was scary. Full bedrest was the only solution to increase blood flow to my little girl.” It worked. And at 34 weeks Nordell had a cesarean section.

Feeding assistance in the NICU

Remarkably, neither Tate (5 pounds, 12 ounces) nor Johanna (2 pounds, 15 ounces) needed to be on a ventilator to breathe – a common concern for premature babies. Yet both babies did require feeding assistance at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest’s level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Tate was discharged after just two weeks. Johanna needed more help to establish feeding skills and finally went home after four weeks.

The family visited Johanna as often as possible. On days they couldn’t, they watched their little girl on the NICU’s BabyCam. “Recovering from a C-section, pumping breast milk and caring for a newborn were all physically exhausting. Being able to see Johanna on BabyCam really helped.”

Next week, read part two of Nordell and Firestone’s journey and learn how the couple adjusted to life as a family of four.