Jane Seymour Recalls Scary First Few Months With Twin Sons

10/23/2009 at 05:00 PM ET
Alexandra Wyman/WireImage

In an expansive new interview with About.com, actress and author Jane Seymour dishes on the highs — and occasional lows — of being a mom to twins.

When in-vitro fertilization resulted in two miscarriages, Jane says that she and husband James Keach had “almost given up,” but then a third pregnancy resulted in three embryos. One “never really formed,” and the end result were twin boys John and Kristopher, now 13.

Born six weeks prematurely via emergency c-section after Jane developed pre-eclampsia, the babies weren’t out of the woods yet.

“Johnny turned blue twice when we got home because we really wanted to come home soon and that was a big mistake,” Jane recalls. “So then we had to take both of them back to the hospital and I had to stay with them overnight, a couple of nights, monitoring them for sucking, swallowing and breathing.”

Breastfeeding was a challenge for mom, too. Noting that “the beauty of the human body is you have two feeding apparatus,” Jane says that the boys “invariably … wanted to eat at the same time.” As one would finish up the other would be readying to nurse.

“I was referred to as the ‘Dairy Queen,” Jane quips. “I was literally on tap all the time.” When she found herself struggling to even eat enough food to sustain her milk supply, Jane supplemented with formula — to good results.

“[It] worked just perfectly for us. It was no problem with them adjusting to a combination. I always tell people, ‘Don’t feel you have to do one thing and not another.'”

Click below to read about why Jane was on ‘pins and needles’ during the twins’ infancy.

Because she needed to return to the set of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman three weeks after delivering, and because the boys had unique health issues, Jane sought help at night. “I had someone helping me…so that if I could — if I had a chance — sleep even if it was for an hour and a half in increments,” she explains. “I had somebody that could watch the children because they were both on heart monitors.”

Indeed, Johnny and Kris needed round-the-clock observation for the first four months of their lives. “If they even wriggled, the heart monitor would go off and somebody would have to be right on top of them and immediately make sure that they were breathing and that they hadn’t turned blue,” Jane explains. “We literally were on pins and needles for a number of months when they were young.”

As the boys grew older they not only grew stronger — they also grew closer. “They would love to sleep together in the same crib and then in the same bed,” Jane shares. “In fact to this day, although now they are almost fourteen and they will fight, they only really have had their own bedrooms, separate bedrooms, in the last year.”

Calling the act of parenting twins “a wonderful adventure,” Jane notes that “even though they sometimes say that they hate each other, clearly they love one another.”

“There is a bond that twins have that is unspoken and quite formidable.”

Still, it’s a bond that even Johnny and Kris need reminding of from time to time. “I keep telling the boys, ‘You’ll always have this unique connection that the rest of us don’t have,'” Jane explains. “For the rest of your life.”

“If it means you’re doing a sport, you’ll always know what the other one’s about to do. And if it’s something you’re doing that’s musical, you clearly know how to play together. And you also pretty much know how to make one another mad, how to make one another sad, and hopefully how to make one another happy.”

In addition to the twins, Jane is mom to Katherine, 27, and Sean, 23, with ex-husband David Flynn.

Source: About.com

— Missy

FILED UNDER: Multiples , News , Parenting

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Showing 16 comments

urbanadventurertales on

Glad to hear her speak up about this! One of my twins was in the NICU for a few days and it was so difficult, but worth it to bring them both home healthy! And I can totally relate to the breastfeeding. Eventually it becomes easier when they can feed at the same time, but for awhile doing the back to back feedings are exhausting!

Sarah on

I have always liked Jane. I remember so well when she was pregnant on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” (I still miss it!!) and didn’t know to the extent of the twins’ issues at the time. Maybe when you’re “in it”, it’s hard to talk about until much later. I am glad she spoke up about now after 13 years.

Vera on

I’m sorry, but she named her kids Sean and John? Katherine and Kristopher, fine, but Sean is John in another language, they rhyme, and if you slur them slightly they sound identical…

New Shoes on

Vera, I believe John was named after Johnny Cash, who was a very dear person in her and her husband’s life. And they call John “Johnny” too, which helps to differentiate Sean from John more.

starb37 on

Johnny was named after Johnny Cash, and Kristopher was named after Christopher Reeve, another dear friend. Both men were her sons’ godfathers, I believe. And Sean and Katherine were both born over 10 years before the twins, so I don’t think the names were done that way on purpose.

gemini on

i cannot imagine how hard it must have been for her and her family to have to go through those difficult times

on another note, i just can’t understand why there is so much “bashing” and/or “hate” towards names that people have chosen for their children. What could anyone possibly expect to gain from stating your dislike of a name chosen by other people. If you don’t like it fine, that’s your opinion, but as far as I can see there really is no need for there to be so many comments regarding names. It’s getting harder and harder for me to want to continue reading comments on articles, because I just know that there is going to be ongoing debates and unnecessary comments and judging from what comments I have read in other articles I am not the only one who feels that way (a few of my friends have stopped visiting CBB completely because they were offended by certain comments made)…

Jane on

My thoughts exactly about Sean and John for brothers. It’s even worse that her name is Jane. It’s all the same name.

CTBmom on

Wow…now we have retroactive name bashing, lol. The twins are almost 14, and there are people criticizing her for naming one of them John when she already had a son named Sean?!

Tee on

Yes Jane…it is not the end of the world to combine nursing and formula. I had to do both from the moment my DD was born because she was jaundiced. I am STILL nursing her after a year AND she has formula when at the babysitters while I’m working. The funny thing is that she drinks the formula sparingly, but really feeds a lot when nursing. LOL Women should NOT feel bad if they have to use formula. The most important thing is that the baby is fed.

finais on

That must of have been so hard to deal with. I thought my first four months with my daughter were rough, but they were nothing compared to what Jane went through! It’s lovely to hear of the close bond her boys share. And, you’re right, Tee, the most important thing is a healthy and fed baby – whether it’s breastmilk or formula or both.

Alice on

I remember when she was married to Katie and Sean’s father, she was also very close to his daughter – whose name I can’t remember. Even after they divorced I read info. that she was still close to that child. Wonder if they still keep in touch, does anyone know who I’m talking about?

CelebBabyLover on

Sounds like Jane didn’t know it’s possible to breastfeed twins at the same time, using the double-football hold. 🙂

Fern on

Comment #12, the football hold has been around a long time. I have twins and I can tell you the football hold is one of the hardest things in the world to master. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean everyone is able to do it. Any woman who has breastfed knows how shockingly difficult it can be.

kris on

gemini – Well said!

Sam and Freya's mum on

I can relate to how scary – only diff as we had the 1, not twins, which I’d imagine would be even more difficult, two to watch and worry about, not easy. Our son was born 6 1/2 weeks early due to preeclampsia as well. I had to have a general anaesthetic after being induced as Sam’s heartrate dropped – was all go and missed hearing his first cry, seeing him arrive, all very surreal, but at least he was ok. Not ideal first experience at motherhood, lol. He weighed only 3pds 9oz, staying in Neonates unit for exactly 3 weeks – felt more like 3mths at the time though…He’s doing well now though thankfuly and started school in early Sept. Our little trooper, real outgoing, sociable lad, just glad he’s here and ok, no long term probs (was early enough but more likely to have more long-term effects if say 10-12 weeks early or even earlier). His little sis arrived 3 1/2 years later full term, weighing 7pds, a positive, natural birth experience, complete opposite, along with opposite sex…but love our son to bits too of course. Glad her boys are doing well – not a fan of any of her 4 kids names but her children, her choice…As someone mentioned – I think her stepdaughter from 1st marriage was called Katie, could be wrong, but it rings a bell – not sure if still in contact though of course…

am581 on

Thank you Jane! I did both with my daughters, formula and breastfed. Then BOTH (not twins, it was the same scenario twice) developed serious feeding issues. They were quite lactose intolerant, among other things. I tried the “clean” diet with my first with no improvement. #1 also couldnt latch on to a severe gag reflex which later required 6 mos of therapy to be able to eat from a spoon. Even many bottles caused her to gag. On top of that she had a stomach problem (fixed with meds) that caused her to throw up everything I had just fed her. I cant magically produce a new feeding at random, it had to be a bottle of formula. Eventually, with two meds, the therapy, and hypoallergenic formula, all problems were solved and we finally had a happy healthy baby (took over 6 mos). Didnt think it would happen a second time!! #2 also demanded the restricted diet for me, and again little to no improvement. In addition I suffered post partum depression and when she latched on I nearly hyperventilated- minor panic attacks with every feeding. (I received treatment, caught early as I knew that feeling wasnt right, amongst other symptoms). Then #2 was born wanting to dring 6oz at a time. I’m sure most of you moms out there know we cant produce that 2 hours after birth. Today both my girls are healthy kids who are above average in developement. I’d say the formula I was opposed to didnt hurt them one bit. I did my best, which is all any mother can do. Congrats to Jane for going through all she had to to have those boys! She seems like such a lovely person.