After six years and three rounds of IVF, Kimberley Smylie and her partner finally fell pregnant and brought a miracle into the world, their beautiful boy, Jack.
Then, just weeks after giving birth, Kimberley was surprised to find out she was pregnant, again. We chatted to Kimberley about her experience of having two baby boys just 10 months apart.
So, we’re dying to know… was having two babies 10 months apart planned or a surprise?
Definitely not planned, after everything we went through with IVF to get Jack we were not planning on having any more children. Although it was a pleasant surprise!
You had been trying to fall pregnant for six years before you had Jack. Describe the feeling when you first saw the positive pregnancy test.
Jack was our third attempt at IVF, and we had tried other fertility treatments prior to this as well. My heart skipped a beat when I saw that second line appear on the at home pregnancy test. I had been through so many pregnancy tests over the years with constant disappointment. There were lots of tears of joy, but with that came some fear and anxiety as well. I was so scared that I would lose the baby. It all seemed very surreal.
What was it like finding out you were pregnant a few weeks after having your first baby? What emotions went through your head?
I was terrified when I found out I was pregnant with Sam, I had only just recovered from my caesarian and Jack was still so little. It was a complete shock as we did not think we could conceive naturally. We were excited to give Jack a sibling but I had my concerns about how hard it was going to be with them being so close together.
How did your body cope with having two babies in 10 months?
I had pre-eclampsia
with my pregnancy with Jack so that was tough on my body to begin with. Jack was born by emergency caesarian at 35 weeks due to complications.
There was some concern with me being pregnant again so soon, as my wound was still very fresh and the uterus still thin after such a recent pregnancy. In hindsight, this could have contributed to my premature labour with Sam: my waters broke at 30 weeks and he was born by emergency caesarean at 32 weeks as my scar was also at risk of rupturing.
It was tough looking after Jack while pregnant with Sam. I had morning sickness right through to 18 weeks and as I got bigger it was harder to keep up with him. I also got a lot of funny looks and comments carrying a little baby around with a big pregnant belly.
What are the positives of having babies so close together? And the challenges?
It’s great that they will be so close in age growing up and be able to play together. On the plus side, they are babies at the same time so I don’t have to go through that stage multiple times. Also, I felt like I had one very long pregnancy!
The challenges would be that they are both so dependent, Jack is not walking and still needs me to do everything for him which is hard with only one pair of hands. Sam is breastfeeding every two hours and when I am nursing him my hands are tied which is really hard when Jack also wants constant attention. Sleep deprivation is also a factor with Sam feeding through the night and Jack teething.
Tell us a bit about Sam’s premature birth and how long he was in the neonatal ward for. How is he doing now?
With Sammy, I started having contractions at 29 weeks my waters broke at 30 weeks and I was transferred from Christchurch hospital to Dunedin due to the NICU being too full. I was in preterm labour for three weeks, before they decided to deliver Sam by emergency C-section at 32 weeks, due to signs of progressing to active labour, risk of infection and scar rupture.
He needed to have assisted breathing by CPAP after he was born, and had some digestive issues but he improved quickly. We were transferred back to Christchurch two weeks later and he was released from Christchurch NICU at 35 weeks, which was amazing, due to him establishing breastfeeding early.
He is doing really well now. He has some breathing issues while feeding, but this will improve as he matures.
What milestones are you looking forward to as your boys age? Have you imagined whether they’ll be in the same class at school?
I am looking forward to this Christmas, as the last two have been a blur with pregnancy complications and premature babies! They will both be one year old this Christmas day. They get to share the same age two months of the year!
Their dad is currently training for his black belt in Karate so they will get to join him when they are both four. I think as Jack was born at the beginning of the year and Sam at the end they will be in a different year at school.
What message of encouragement or advice do you want to give mums by sharing your story?
I am a strong believer that with a positive mindset you can create the lifestyle you choose. I have been thrown so many hurdles over the past few years and they have only made me stronger. I have come out the other end with everything I could have ever wished for, and more.
I have learnt so much from my experiences and want to share my journey on my blog The Modern Mummy Lifestyle to hopefully motivate and inspire other mummies that they too can create the lifestyle they deserve.
Have you shared a similar experience to Kimberley’s, having two babies close in age? How did you find it?