My name is Elizabeth Wescott-Hewitt and my husband Randall and I are the owners of Lizzy Lou's Family Farm. A small pasture based family farm in Southeastern NC. With sustainability in mind we have developed into a farm with a focus on rotational grazing, a seasonal heirloom variety market garden and apiary. We offer hands on children's tours and fields trips in an attempt to share our love of farming, the animals and a deep seeded love of the land with the children in our community. We strive to really achieve what I like to call full circle farming: utilizing a plethora of intricate interconnected farm relationships that help to inch us closer and closer to suitability each day.
Farm life has changed for us over the last two years with the addition of our identical twin girls Vera Bluebelle and Reba Rose. Farming itself can be challenging, adding two babies at once into the mix can be downright difficult. Nevertheless farming teaches us to go with the flow; that things don't always go as planned and that they don't have to. We use the same adaptability in our approach to farming with babies. Some days it means working together while the babies play nearby. Other days it means working in shifts or dividing chores we once did together. Since we stared this farm in 2014 I have felt immensely blessed to be farming.
No matter the difficulties that may sometimes present themselves, to share this journey with my children, to have them by my side while we live this incredible life is the greatest blessing of all
To be pregnant with one baby is such a blessing. I don't think there are words to describe how it feels to find out that one baby is actually is two. To be completely honest I am still in shock. If I had to put a word to the feeling I had the moment the doctor said, with a knowing smile "both babies look great" I would call it giddy. Giddy in a really deep within my soul kind of way. There must have been sunbeams shining from my face that moment. It was and still is such an amazing feeling.
I farmed up until 30 weeks or so but I'll be the first to admit I took a LOT of naps over the months during hours I would have usually been working. I had to run and jump a fence gate from a charging angry Momma cow around 30 weeks or so; while I got away unscathed I figured it was time for me to stop going into pasture at that point. At 30 weeks with twins I was huge and in no shape for running from cows.
We ended up splitting off a lot of chores we had once done together. My husband mostly took over feeding animals, rotating the herds through the pastures and cleaning barns. I did help some but I didn't help with those things nearly as much as I did before I was pregnant. I kept up the market garden and our little csa through the season and I napped, a lot. Growing two babies is hard work!
Favorite maternity farm clothes: "Because my belly was so big with two babies I bought five pairs of the largest maternity leggings I could find at old navy and lived in them. Those and xxl tee shirts."
Birth & PostPartum
After a very healthy twin pregnancy I ended up with pre eclampsia and was admitted to the hospital antepartum at 33 weeks. My babies were delivered via emergency c-section at 34.2 weeks and spent 17 and 21 days in the NICU. The first few weeks/months home with my girls was a blur. Two infants, two premature infants to care for is such an overwhelming and exausting task. Thankfully it was winter and our high tunnel hadn't been built yet, so I was able to stay indoors with my girls to rest and recover while my husband tended the animals. As spring got closer and the weather improved I managed to grab some time here and there in the garden and ended up pulling off a small csa season even though I had vowed to take the year off.
Farming with twins
I think the hardest thing balancing farming with babies is the weather. Here in southeastern NC its hot and humid in the spring and the summer, sometimes even into fall. Some days are just too much for the babies to be out in. We work in shifts those days or early morning and late afternoons. Im looking forward to having a hightunnel to work in for the first time this winter. That will help me and the girls get "outdoors" more in the cold months. This past year we didn't get out much on the really cold days.
A Typical Day
"We wake up around first light to the sounds of roosters crowing, ducks, guinea's and geese honking as the cattle bump and bang their way out of the barn and trod slowly out to pasture. We live above the barn so the sounds of the animals are always around us. We cosleep in a giant family bed so Im usually by woken by one or two smiling babies crawling on top of me. We snuggle for a bit then get up for coffee and morning milk for the girls. We get the most amazing raw milk from a good farming friend of mine and we all LOVE how rich and creamy it is. I make the girls a good breakfast because having hungry babies in tow is no way to get work done on the farm. "Veggie eggs" is my go-to for them; some greens and onions from the garden sautéed and scrambled with some of our pastured eggs. It is an easy and filling breakfast for them. We head out to the garden first thing in the warmer months while Daddy hangs back at the barns to feed up for the day. We built the girls an enclosed play area within the market garden with a little house and a mock well. It is fenced and allows me to work while they play in an area that I know is safe. Other days I let them run wild through the garden while I work. They play in the hose and with a bubble machine, dig through the beds as I weed or look for berries to eat. One of my girls is an expert strawberry picker at just 16 months. I have to watch her or she'll eat all the good berries. Sometime around noon we all head back inside for lunch. I usually make something quick and easy for the girls. Some of our pastured ground beef, a bit of avocado and some fried sweet potato or something similar. The girls play for a bit after they eat lunch and usually fall asleep watching elmo while they snuggle together with their blankies. Daddy heads back outside to work while I use the quiet time to clean or answer emails, whatever needs to be done that I can do inside. I head back outside to work in the garden again around 3 or 4pm as the day is beginning to cool off and we start to get some shade in the garden. Some days the girls come with me other days they stay upstairs with Daddy since he's usually coming in around that time. Other days we all go back out to the garden to work again. It just depends on what needs to be done. Im usually out there until 7pm or so when I head in to make dinner. Having the very best food is a huge part of what makes farming so rewarding. My favorite dinner is one of our skirt steaks cooked on the grill with a big plate of veggies from the garden on the side. Nothing is better than digging into a plate full of your own food after a long productive day on the farm. After dinner I shower with the girls if needed and everyone is back in bed by 9pm, ready to get up and do it all again the next day."
My advice for expectant mothers of twins is to just let go and let the ride take you. It can be so hard but it is so so rewarding. Make friends with other twin moms even if its just online. You need those connections so you have someone who understands the joys as well as the struggles. Im often asked if I think its harder having two at once. I always answer that I dont really know since Ive only had the two but I would imagine the truth is that it is a little of both. There are two babies that need you but they have each other too. I am doing everything in my power to foster and nurture the love my girls have for each other. As a twin Mom you have to accept that you arent the only one who can comfort your baby; their love for each other is also their comfort and that is the best part!!