Kjerstin and Michael

When we found out we were pregnant with twins, we were both shocked and delighted, very unaware and naive about what we were in for as first time parents. I wish I had known Mars then. Instead we went the regular hospital route and I gave birth by c-section due to Twin A, Thalia, being breech at 38 weeks. My girls were healthy and good weights, yet we were in hospital for 6 days. These were terrifying days, of doctors, nurses and lots and lots of confusing and contradicting advice. I really wish I had known Mars then. Thalia, my little twin, wasn’t feeding well, but after some weight loss she gained a little and we were allowed home. I was determined to breast feed. But 10 days in, Thalia had lost more weight and we were back in hospital watching a tube be put down her throat. These were dark days. Finally we managed to get her to feed from a bottle, and we were again allowed to leave hospital. For the next few weeks I expressed and bottle fed Thalia while breast feeding Linnea. Linnea was and has ever since been a champion eater making the comparison even more acute and worrying.

My husband realised we needed help. I couldn’t keep doing the rigourous routine of expressing, bottle feeding Thalia, cleaning bottles and breast feeding Linnea round the clock. Through a very fortunate coincidence the first doula we contacted was busy and referred us to Mars, as she was a twin specialist and training to be a lactation consultant. I kept telling myself that Thalia would never feed off the breast, and had resigned myself to feeding them breast milk in this complicated manner until they were three months and then switch them both to formula as I couldn’t face just doing that to Thalia. This thought broke my heart. Enter Mars. She confidently told me that in two weeks Thalia would be feeding off the breast, but I secretly thought she was crazy and that she hadn’t met my Thalia. Sure enough, two weeks in Thalia was feeding off the breast, and gaining lots of weight, to the amazement of the midwives and us. She accurately saw that Thalia was compacted during my pregnancy and had a stiff jaw, she got a wonderful osteopath involved whom gave Thalia weekly massages. She also gave me confidence to keep trying and never give up. She had lots of advice and tricks and didn’t make feel weak for breaking down ALL THE TIME.

She also cooked us dinner, played with the girls and was a lot of fun to hang out with. She even helped us with laundry and little things around the house. I have no idea how I would have survived those first months without her, we often say you can’t put a price on how what she gave us. My girls are now 9 months old and still breast fed. We are also following baby led weaning with great success. And my husband and I are very proud of the fact that we have never bought even one bottle of formula. This is all due to Mars.

Helen and Steve

Helen says:

Steve and I were thrilled to find out we were expecting last autumn, but after a few scares, minor complications and disheartening midwife appointments we were feeling a lot less positive about the upcoming birth. Our families live abroad and we were missing their support, so we went looking for a doula to help us through the rest of our journey. From the minute Mars walked into our home for the first time she was a calming, reassuring presence and a friend to us. She gave me confidence in my natural ability to birth my baby, and eased my anxieties about a hospital birth.

I called her a few mornings before my due date miserably uncomfortable and as she we were discussing symptoms my waters went! At first she told me to keep her updated and she would be ready when I was, but then she called back after remembering my family history of quick labour and said she was on her way. I look back on the early stages of labour and laugh because I spent them doing my hair, bossing my husband around, and watching Glee and eating biscuits with Mars! Her presence and knowledge gave me confidence to relax and listen to my body and enjoy labouring at home as long as possible instead of rushing to the hospital, and when it was time I just knew. Although some details of that afternoon are hazy, I clearly remember saying that I couldn’t push anymore, but then Mars took my hands, looked me in the eyes, and said ‘yes you can Helen.’

Unfortunately my little one got stuck and required a forceps delivery in theatre, but we made peace with it and Mars was right there for us when we were done to help get breastfeeding started. Breastfeeding was a real struggle for us the first week of little Elliott’s life, but Mars was there for us every step of the way through a hospital visit, midnight phone calls and endless texts, and I’m happily exclusively breastfeeding over four months on!

Steve says:

Let me start off by saying that Mars was just amazing and gave me comfort and reassurance during what I’m sure would have been so much more stressful time than it was!

As Helen mentioned, we were a little apprehensive about the birthing process because of some minor issues and the indication that the size of our baby would lead to complications.  We weren’t comfortable with the way midwife appointments were going, as everyone seemed to have different answers that weren’t very clear to us.  Then we sat down with Mars.  Within minutes Helen and I were so much more comfortable that we could do this.  She reminded us that everything going on was perfectly normal, and there was nothing to be overly concerned about.

Mars quickly had us putting together a birth plan to determine the experience that we wanted to have, and work toward that.  She always reminded us to have an open mind that if something happens, which it usually does, your birthing plan might not go as expected- but that will be ok because you did all you can do.  From that point forward Helen and I were so much at ease that everything was going to be ok. After all, birthing is such a natural thing.  It’s something that we realized doesn’t seemed to be talked about much, we usually have this medical image in our head of how things go at a birth.  But Mars quickly reminded us how innate it is to have a child, and the advantages of trying to stay as natural as possible.  Before hearing this, I never even considered taking a more natural approach to the situation.  But once I did, it made so much sense.

The experience itself was incredible, and Mars was so supportive.  She never interfered with my role as the father, but gave so much subtle guidance, and I swear just her presence made the whole experience so much calmer.  It was a great comfort having someone with us that we trusted, and knew was really looking out for our best interests.  It’s hard to thank Mars enough for everything she did for our little Elliott!