Twice as nice: Twin class creates long-term bonds among families

March 01, 2023 | by Kate Gawlik, RN
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

Pictured above: A gathering in summer 2022 brought together five sets of twins who grew up together. Their parents met at an Edward Hospital birthing class.

Friendships are created through many avenues, whether at work and school or neighborhoods and activities. Bonds also blossom at unlikely places, like a birthing class at Edward Hospital. Twelve years ago, in 2011, five families fell into a friendship after participating in such a class focused on delivering multiples.

The families include: Andy and Tiffany Eck with twins Chloe and Logan; Mallory Hall with twins Avery and Dylan Muzzo; Wayne and Susan Hoffman with twins Maggie and Patrick; Michele and Edward Ludwig with twins Cecelia and Vivien; and Colleen Muchowksi with twins Grace and Hailey. The group has navigated babies and toddlers to pre-teens, new schools, expanding families and so much more. They also said goodbye to Susan, who passed away three years ago.

Mallory says, “I think we stayed in contact because having twins is a different experience than having a singleton, and it is nice to bond over experiences and challenges that are unique to being a twin mom.”

When the kids were little, the group had frequent playdates and outings. It became harder to navigate get-togethers as the kids got older with sports and school obligations plus changing careers for the parents.

“We would often get together while pregnant,” Tiffany says. “The moms formed a strong friendship and did mom trips together. Over the years we've gotten all the kids together just because it was a lot of fun. Now, three of the sets of twins all go to the same school.”

Regarding his late wife’s involvement in the group, Wayne adds, “Susan was such an active individual with the twins club and so many other groups. It really was an important connection, having twins and a group of friends going through the same experiences together at the same time. We have been fortunate to have made these friendships and look forward to many years to come. It may be double the work, but it is easily more than double the reward to have and raise twins.”


Pictured above: A 10-baby playdate helped twin parents feel connected.

Many choose to deliver at Edward Hospital because of obstetrician affiliation, the multiples class and the Level III Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Two of the five sets of twins were in the NICU. For the Ecks, Chloe was in the NICU for 14 days, and Logan was there for 15. The babies, born at 34 weeks, needed time to grow and work on feedings. Grace and Hailey were born at 31 weeks, and they were cared for in the NICU for five and six weeks, respectively.

“NICU life was a whirlwind with lots of emotions, like fear, joy, happiness and frustration,” Tiffany remembers. “It was nice to go in and see Colleen and have someone to talk to who was going through the exact same thing as me.”

In 2018, Edward Hospital celebrated the birth of its 2,000th set of multiples since 1996, when the Edward Hospital and DuPage Neonatology Associates partnership began. Soon after, the NICU received its Level III designation and could treat micro-preemies through term infants with various conditions, illnesses and surgical needs. That 2018 count included 1,931 sets of twins, 64 sets of triplets, four sets of quadruplets and one set of quintuplets. Since the 2018 milestone, Edward has delivered more than 250 sets of twins.

“The rate of multiples delivery has decreased with a peak in 2008,” explains Bob Covert, M.D., an independent neonatologist and immediate past medical director of the Edward Hospital NICU. “In part, as IVF techniques have become more accurate, the frequency has dropped. However, multiples are more likely to need NICU care than singletons. The Edward NICU admitted 40% and 49% of twin deliveries in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The reasons range from prematurity to respiratory or cardiac issues, specialty surgeries, infection, the inability to efficiently feed and grow, and other issues. Our neonatologist group and its network of specialists have expanded in the 27 years of running a Level III NICU to be there for every baby who needs us.”

Twin parents often say it doesn’t matter how many babies you have, because once you are tied or outnumbered as a parent duo, it’s all the same. Having friends to share this experience with makes all the difference.

Michele explains, “When we realized we were having two babies, we were really nervous. Yet, when we met other parents feeling the same, it was a relief. We bonded immediately over our shared situation. They became my sounding board, my information resource, my support system and my friends. I don’t think I could have done it without them.”

Some babies are born needing special care. At Edward-Elmhurst Health, we’re fully equipped to care for newborns who require special attention, such as extremely premature infants, infants on ventilators and newborns with congenital conditions.

Edward Hospital provides a Level III NICU—with the capabilities to treat the sickest and most fragile newborns of all gestational ages, including those with a variety of congenital and surgical conditions. Elmhurst Hospital provides a Level IIe Special Care Nursery with extended capabilities to care for low birth weight and premature infants, as well as infants on ventilators, at 30 or more weeks gestation.

Learn more about the NICU and Special Care Nursery at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Edward-Elmhurst Health offers numerous resources and support for new moms and dads. Pregnancy, childbirth, infant care, exercise, nutrition and more is covered in the in-person and virtual courses. Learn more about classes, tours and resources at Edward-Elmhurst-Health.

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