Welcoming their twin boys at just 27 weeks was a tumultuous time for North Canterbury couple Heather and Matt. Bellyful was able to make things a little easier by delivering some yummy, freshly-cooked meals.
Twin boys Mack and Monty were born via emergency caesarean section in Christchurch. “The prognosis for us was pretty grim,” Heather recalls. “I was told half an hour before they were bringing them into this world that they might not make it. To prepare for a baby’s funeral, for two.”
Blessedly, the beautiful boys made it, but then spent 120 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Christchurch, a one-hour round trip from their Pegasus home.
“Our first-born Harvey was only 11 months old at this point. Among other things I was stressing about how I was going to be there for these two tiny babies who were fighting for their life while keeping Harvey as settled as possible,” Heather says.
She was encouraged to contact Bellyful by another mum in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, who also had twins at 27 weeks.
“She said oh look it might be helpful, especially when you have another child at home.”
Bellyful is a growing, volunteer-driven charity that cooks and delivers free meals to anyone, with babies or young children, who needs some support. It often helps whānau who have just welcomed twins or after early births.
Heather says the service was a massive help. “It was one less thing to worry about. I was able to spend more time with Harvey instead of cooking when I was away from the twins.”
Bellyful was also able to cater for Heather being dairy-free, as her boys were not tolerating milk.
Since they have been all at home together, the whānau of five is happy, if tired. And the twins have hit some great milestones.
“We were prepared for the worst and now they are both here thriving, so we are very lucky,” Heather says.
“I couldn’t have done it on my own. Well, I probably could’ve, but it would have been very hard and the fact there is a service that can provide just even a little bit of respite from something as mundane as cooking a meal, when you’ve got that many other balls in the air, that one less thing to do is a huge help. You don’t like to ask for help but, in that situation, we really did need to take what we could.”