By Kari Hastings
When Carmen and Anand’s twin daughters made their debut in October 2016, the couple got initiated into baby land – times two. “Neither of us had any experience with babies, like zero,” Carmen says. “The first time Anand held a baby was when he held our girls.”
Going from zero to 60 overnight was intense, and both Carmen and Anand say they couldn’t have done it without Bridgetown Baby’s Welcome Home and overnight packages. Carmen had a cesarean birth at 34 weeks. Her babies, Anais and Amara, spent 20 days in the Neonative Intensive Care Unit, which she describes as “baby boot camp.” “We learned a ton from the NICU nurses,” she says. “But it’s different when you’re home with them, and you have to figure out what to do.”
Anais, born at just 3 pounds 12 ounces, had significant reflux issues and screamed in pain after every feeding. Bridgetown Baby postpartum doulas Merriah Fairchild, Rose Otter and Catherine Akerson Bailey all worked with the twins, demonstrating how to get them to breastfeed and bottle-feed at the same time, and how to massage their tiny bellies to relieve pressure, burp them and wear them around the house in a wrap. The doulas also assisted with practical things, like setting up an organized bottle-feeding system and figuring out which bottles and nipples worked best.
Anand says having their input was calming.
“I’m a research-oriented person,” he says. “I do a ton of reading and look up everything online. I was able to just let go, save up my questions and ask the professionals when they showed up every week. It really helped our relationship with the babies and our relationship with each other.”
Carmen says the “overnights” were the best.
“Those overnights were a godsend,” she says. “We just bought it like it was another resource. It’s really not a luxury item. It’s a need to have, not a want. Merriah would leave the next morning, and the babies and I would be happy and rested, the kitchen would look great, lactation cookies would be baked and breakfast would be on the table.
“The biggest gifts they gave us were confidence and peace of mind. Our postpartum doulas really were a bridge to our new life.”