A very big week: pregnancy & birth of the Burrell-Smith twins


Wow, what a week it has been. Exactly a week ago I was about to be sliced open and the twins, Twin 1, Aengus (spelling is Gaelic and a family name) Jeffrey (2.55kg) and Henry ‘Harry’ Barnaby (2.93kg) were born. As you can imagine it has been a very special time and I cannot even tell you how amazing people have been so to everyone who has Facebook messaged, emailed, contacted us, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. It has been just so touching. So I thought I would take you through the final week of the pregnancy and exactly what happened last Friday and over the past week I have spent at Hotel Mater - https://mns.org.au/home for anyone who is interested.

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The final week of pregnancy

I tried to make the last week of my 36 1/2 week pregnancy as enjoyable as possible even though I was feeling pretty ordinary. At this point I had gained 15kg but in the final week or so I gained literally 3-4kg that week, of heavy fluid that left me feeling pretty heavy and terrible. As such, with Chris on breakfast radio we spent much of the last week sleeping and trying to control the fluid I was carrying. We enjoyed plenty of lunches and meals out including a last night indulgence at The Boat House in Glebe which left me with terrible heartburn that was totally worth it. So by the time Friday came around we were well and truly ready.

B-Day – Friday 22nd January 2016

On the day of the surgery (my twins were both breech so I was always booked for a Cesarean with Dr Hartman {http://sydneyobgyn.com.au/}) I had to stop eating by 8am so we ducked out for a final Latte & pastry and walk before we were due at The Mater at midday. After checking in I went down to theatres at about 3pm. The drugs hit me pretty hard and I felt pretty  sick going into theatres and luckily my anesthetist could give me some anti nausea medication to help me feel better during my surgery.

The birth

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The funny thing about the birth was that  it was so quiet. After 6 months watching ‘One Born Every Minute’ I had been expecting a big dramatic scene but everything calm and so, so quiet. Even the baby’s were quiet when they came out. They were clearly indicating that they had no plans to come out anytime soon even though they had been digging me in the liver, cervix and ribs for months. It was quite strange. Even when I held them for the first time, they kept sleeping. The surgery was pain free and I was back in recovery by 5pm.

IMG_2684I had a little drama immediately after the birth as I lost a lot of blood. I also had terribly itchy skin (probably due to the drugs) and could not cool down. Luckily my mum who is a special care nursery nurse was able to reassure me that things with the boys were fine – Aengus the smaller twin had a little fluid on the lungs so had gone to special care while my Dad was sitting with Henry watching TV. Chris was very worried but my old school Dr who has delivered more than 10c00 babies was not and said my blood loss was simply due to carrying twins. I felt terrible though, the worst I had ever felt in my life and nothing could pacify me. I almost told a nurse where to stick her breastfeeding as she tried to get me to feed my baby in front of a room of people when I felt like I was about to die. Mind you, my family were beside themselves with their new grandchildren/ nephews/ sons and by 9pm decided that it was best to leave me and go and get dinner because they were all starving having been at the hospital since midday without eating.

A nurse then took good care of me, gave me a bath and finally something to eat because I was starving, which is one of the reasons I think I felt so sick throughout the procedure. Finally at 3am, after drinking plenty of water and eating as much food as I could find I suddenly felt much better. I texted mum to ask if she thought I should get up and go and see the baby’s. Not long after that the nurses brought Harry to me. He had been fed and was sleeping peacefully next to me. Then the nurse came back around, topped up my pain relief and helped me get up and by 6am I was walking down to see my other bub. I went to the special care nursery first and saw Gus and straight away I messaged Chris to say, ‘Is this your son or what’ – to me he is the spitting image of his Dad. He was doing well. Chris and my Mum arrived with coffee by 8am and the day began.

I had been quite naughty and not gone to any of the classes so was pretty clueless about what goes at the hospital after having a baby and what a nice surprise I got – a night nursery, food every 2 hours, hot drink delivery, supper cart, city views, high tea, amazing staff, kitchens – I have never seen or been offered so much food in my life and was thinking it was a tad excessive until my milk came in and I realised why – breastfeeding makes you hungry, sooooo hungry.

We then spent the next 3 days with family who were very keen to meet the boys. As I had to visit special care to spend time with Gus which was a bit of a walk I got really tired and after losing close to 2L of blood plus already going in with low iron levels I felt like death warmed up. Luckily my Dr had arranged an iron infusion on Sunday and after spending a day in bed Monday learning to breastfeed I started to feel much better.

Gus was on day release from special care on Tuesday and then stayed with me until we left the hospital on Thursday. He is not so interested in eating so we have to work hard for him to get his calories. Harry on the other hand is much more embracing of the entire meal experience. I don’t think we will have any eating issues there.


Breast Pump

I never really thought much about breastfeeding. I naturally hoped I could do it but having twins knew I would likely have to also use some formula. I also didn’t want to get too stressed about it and when Monday arrived and I still had no milk I was thinking that things were not looking good. And then within 3 hours I went from literally having no boobs at all to an instant boob job, it was amazing. So mum took my down to special care where you have a private space and we got out breastfeeding on. I would now like to introduce you to my new breast friend – My Avent Double Breast Pump - http://www.philips.com.au/c-p/SCF334_02/avent-breast-pumps-comfort-double-electric-breast-pump. We have only been dating a week, but we are spending every spare moment together and the freedom Avent gives me is making the first week of motherhood very enjoyable. Will keep you posted on how our relationship progresses.

Going Home


Chris and I were lucky to have a couple of quiet nights together with the bubs at the hospital and naturally we fully embraced the supper cart. It was a really special time as we started to learn more about our boys and at this stage I think Harry looks like my side of the family with Chris’s easy going nature while Gus, my stubborn lower twin looks just like his Dad but is temperamental just like his mum. It is too funny.

Come Thursday it was time to leave hotel Mater and we have been home altogether for 2 days now. The first day was a little tough because we were all nervous and I was keen to get the house organised and some routines sorted but by this morning things were on track. It is very early days. The boys are feeding well and I am just working out a balance of feeding and sleeping and working that will suit me and the boys.

Food and nutrition

I have never been so hungry in my life and I can really tell that my milk supply differs when I have not eaten much. And I would be drinking close to 3L of water a day – lucky we have a Zip Tap (I am a Zip ambassador) as we can also use the hot water to help clean the feeding equipment and make Mummy lots of cups of tea quickly - https://www.zipwater.com/uk/blogs/2015/08/12/06/27/the-easiest-way-to-improve-your-nutrition. I am eating as much nutritious food as I can but I have to be honest with you I am not being overly strict because I am so so hungry and want to have as much milk as I can to feed the twins. If Gus loses weight he may have to go back to hospital so it is my focus ATM to keep him well fed. Generally I start the day with tea and fruit toast at about 6am, then coffee and an egg or pastry. Fruit mid-morning and maybe more toast. Salmon sandwiches for lunch with more fruit. Cheese and crackers late afternoon and then lots of vegetables and protein for dinner followed by biscuits or some chocolate after dinner – when I say chocolate I am talking a few individual chocolates or a biscuit or two with one of my million cups of tea – it is no binge.

My body

IMG_2770I gained about 18kg in total by the end of the pregnancy and 10kg have gone straight away which leaves me with 5-8kg to drop depending on how much fluid I am still carrying. I am very breathless after having 2 children jammed into me for 8 months and not having trained for 4-5 weeks so will now build up my walking again slowly. The only real place my body has changed is my tummy which looks like I am 6 months pregnant with one baby but I am sure it will go down quickly as I have a 3 level house which means a lot of stairs are climbed each day as we move up and down to check the twins. I will start walking next week and then back to gym in 2-3 weeks so will keep you posted.

From here


Just to finish I want to say a massive thanks again to everyone who has been so delightful with kind and supportive words. It has been so touching at this very special time in our lives. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.Love Susie B, Baby Gus & Harry