Technically, my twins are now 15 months old, so this post is three months late, but ever since I found out I was expecting twins I knew that the first year would be the most interesting. I always wished that all the other moms of twins that I know, had written a summary of the first year, because every mom all "mysteriously" seems to have forgotten many of the details of what the first year was like for them.... and trust me, there are many things I can't wait to forget, but I am writing my experience down for other moms of twins, or those who are curious, this post is an honest one which includes ALL of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Twin Pregnancy for me was a love and hate experience, when it was really good it was really good, and when it was really bad, it was really bad. I got morning sickness at about 4 weeks and it lasted until about 16 weeks. And it was awful! I would work for 10 minutes, and then run to the bathroom for 10 minutes of vomiting, and then start the cycle over again... all day everyday until I discovered Ginger Caplets, oh my goodness, they were a miracle! Exhaustion... YES... it was twice as bad. I had to gain twice the weight, twice as fast (to ensure my twins got the weight they needed). The last three months were excruciating, I had gained just about 50 lbs... (that is roughly half my body weight) and my knees still hate me for it. But just knowing that I had two babies on the way was overwhelmingly humbling. I remember a friend of mine telling me that I must be an extraordinary woman, because Heavenly Father only chooses special women to send twins too. My doctors told my husband and I when we had the girls, that they always worried about sending twins/multiples home, but with us they had no worries at all, they knew we could handle it (despite running our own business, blindness and two toddlers already.) I never felt so close to heaven, as I did when being pregnant with my girls, I knew angels were present, I can't tell you how many times I drove to the store and the very front parking spot would open up right as I pulled up, it was just the little things that reassured me that Heavenly Father was aware of our situation. I hated it at the time, but I worked all day everyday right up until the night before I went into the Hospital for my C-Section. I was so tired, but I know now that it was a blessing to be as busy as I was, because I never had a moment to complain about my discomfort, or worry about what was to come, I just had to put all my trust in the Lord.
C-Section, yes I had to have one, and I am so grateful I did. 100 years ago if I was having twin babies both being breach, odds are very slim that I or my girls would have survived. But with modern medicine it was a very happy experience. It took just minutes to see my tiny girls, and witness their personalities instantly. Alyssa, didn't cry, just pulled both hands together to her cheek and looked around, and then two minutes later... Lydia, tiny as can be, arms out as far as possible and screaming as loud as a 4 lb 13 oz baby can.... non-stop for at least an hour. Yeah, it was hard not being able to hold them instantly, but I knew they were getting the medical attention they needed. Lydia was the first baby they brought to me about an hour later, she had calmed down, but immediately knew who I was, she is a mamma's girl and there is no changing that. Alyssa finally came to me after 4 hours in the NICU being on oxygen, and it was so hard getting her to eat... but once she figured it out... she never stopped, this girl now out weighs her twin by about 2 lbs.
I was amazed at how naturally caring for twins came. Holding the girls at the same time was easy, and I haven't had the hip problems that I usually get with my babies, because I have to have one on each hip. Picking them up, was another story, but they have always seemed to understand, and have always helped me with picking them up. I nursed both girls at the same time for 10 months... this was awful, but if you are going to nurse twins....you have to feed them at the same time or it will never work out. I was a human cow, but we all make sacrifices for our kids. The day I finally got them taking formula... I stopped, it was just too much to have to eat all day and fight two babies without an extra hand, once they started fighting with each other... that was enough.
The first month was so easy! I remember thinking..."wow, this is going to be a piece of cake". They slept, woke up to eat and then after their diaper changes, they fell right back to sleep all day and all night. So naturally when friends and family offered to help, I was able to say "no thanks"....big mistake.
Months two and three were the worst. It's like the girl's all of the sudden woke up... and the only thing they wanted to do was scream... and scream all day long, and they did. With twins, you have to have a very scheduled routine, and you have to enforce it early, if you ever want any sanity. So according to my books I started sleep training and they just did not want to sleep. So I would lay them down and they would both scream for an hour, then one would fall asleep to the other one screaming, and when the second one would finally fall asleep the sleeping one would start to scream, which would wake the one who just dosed off. They screamed all day, everyday from about 7 am until about 9 - 10 pm. IT WAS AWFUL!!! It got so bad that even when they weren't screaming, I could still hear their screaming in my mind, I seriously started to think I had snapped. And Jacob felt the same way. All my books told me it would be this way, but to stick to it and it would pay off (which it definitely did pay off.)
The bigger problem was when I needed a nap, trust me, I needed a lot of naps. So we are self-employed, and we both work at home. The worst part of the twins was that no one ever felt like we needed help because Jacob was at home all day everyday. Well... reality check... Jacob WORKS from home, not ASSISTS me from home. He almost never helped me with the twins during the day, he couldn't, some one has to get the work done so we can pay the bills. Yes, we live by both our families, but my mom works full time and Jacob's mom has health issues and a few kids still at home. There was nothing more discouraging than asking for help, when we finally hit the wall... and no one was able to help us. Because we had family around, no one outside our family felt the need to help. Now, I did get help... don't panic. Just not any where near as much help as I needed. I had a grand total of four meals brought in, until my awesome sister dropped by about 10 months later and made me a freezer full of meals (and she is the best cook ever.) I had a neighbor help with my other two kids in the summer, off and on. And my sister and sister-in-law would come babysit about once a month. If you or someone you know is having twins, ask for help now, and get it lined up before you have them, and plan on getting that help a few months after you have the twins not right after you have the twins.
Around month four, Alyssa calmed down, and they both started to sort of take naps, which made life a lot more bearable. However, Lydia still kept right on screaming. Lydia definitely had and still has colic. I love her so much, but she is the most high-strung, and easily ticked off baby. Once she is set off, she will cry for the rest of the day, non-stop, and it doesn't take much to make her tick. I went through a phase, where I had a really hard time not favoring Alyssa over Lydia just because of the strong personalities. Alyssa is very calm and easy going while Lydia was jealous and loud (always cried.) Which is one thing that only a mother of twins would understand. For the longest time no one ever wanted to hold Lydia because she would just scream. It got to the point where everyone that would visit would fight over Alyssa but no one even wanted to hold Lydia. It was really heart-breaking. Fortunately, Lydia has gotten much better, and she warms up to people now, but I still have issues with people favoring one twin or the other for whatever reason.
The absolute worst thing for me with twins was sympathy and empathy or lack there of from others. I hate attention, I am the type of person that likes to sit in the back corner and would prefer to never be noticed, but with twins, you become the center of attention, and comments. Whenever we go out, I have to brace myself for some sort of comment, most are just curious people that compliment how adorable your babies are, or don't know how you do it. Others say the normal "I'm so glad it is you, not me." ....my reaction... "thanks.... I guess." what are you suppose to say to that...? A real eye opener to me was that many people, friends, family and even strangers may be offended or threatened by the natural attention that twins bring, keep in mind people that may be having fertility issues, or those who are comparative. I have learned through experiences with my twins to be more aware of these personalities, and be aware that unexpected jealousies will happen much more frequently with twins. Also, if you have older kids, always make sure to bring attention to them. People will always comment on the twins, but always seem to miss that there are other children, which can cause jealousy, so always point out to commentor's your big helper or helpers, this helps them feel just as important or needed.
Twice as hard, but twice the laughs. Every milestone with the twins has been double the fun or trouble. To watch them roll over, then crawl and now (as of this week) walk, has been twice the fun. I love how much my girls love each other... and I am surprised at how much they bug each other! At 7 months I had to put them in separate cribs just because Alyssa likes to cuddle (more like lay on top of her smaller twin) and Lydia prefers to spread out and enjoy her space. It is still funny to me, how they can't sleep without having the other in sight. They always sleep as close as they can to each other (even though they are across the room from each other.) They always lean towards each other when in their highchair or car seats. And in the tub, they always have to be on the same end. When one falls down the stairs, the other cries until mom comes to help, or will try to pick up and help the other. When one is in time out (the crib) the other sits outside the crib and patiently waits until she is released. When Lydia was taking her first steps, and mom and dad where cheering her on, Alyssa was cheering her twin on even louder. But when they fight....boy do they fight. They pull hair, kick and bite much more than my other two do. And when Aaron goes after one, the other twin is right their to put up a fight, which usually ends up with Aaron in tears.
The biggest thing with twins is the exhaustion! Which is why I am sure most of my twin mom friends have forgotten so many details.
Here are some of the best tips I have gotten and or learned from my experience when it comes to the first year of twins.
-Schedule EVERYTHING! If it isn't on the schedule, it won't happen ever.
-Get all your help lined up before you have the babies, plan for most the help after the first month.
-Plan on paper and plastic plates and utensils for the first 6 months... trust me, dishes are the last thing to ever get done.
-Always do both twins at the same time for everything! That goes for feeding, diapers, naps, play, bath and ect. If one baby wakes up to eat in the night, wake up the other one... trust me, this is a LIFESAVER!
-Go to sleep the minute your twins go to sleep, if you don't, you will never sleep.
-Let the hubby take care of dishes, laundry and other kids for a while.
-Get out, whenever you can by yourself, you will need to walk away at least once a day. Even if it is only 10 minutes, do it!
-Double stroller, I use mine everyday... get one, and get the best one you can buy.
-Amazon is the best and cheapest place to buy bulk diapers, especially with the mom rewards points... look into it.
-Find someone you trust (beyond your spouse) and vent to them as often as you can... you need some adult time.
-Be blunt with the comments. If someone says something that makes you uncomfortable, tell them it makes you uncomfortable and why...even if it is a complete stranger... just say it and walk away, this will help get it off your chest immediately... and believe you me, you don't have time to dwell on all the weird or rude comments you will get from people.
-Just keep breathing... take it one minute at a time literally And ENJOY it! Like my friend said to me...Heavenly Father only chooses special women to send twins to, you have this blessing for a reason, and many other mothers will never experience this, so enjoy it, enjoy every minute!
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Pictured above is Kaylie at her School's Christmas Program, there were so many people there, that this was the best picture I could get. This program was on December 14th, the same day as the awful Newtown Elementary School Shooting, news was still breaking when I went to it, and I can't express the uneasy feeling that was in the air, at the time the news was saying that the shooting took place in a Kindergarten Class, turns out it was first grade, but being a panicked parent, you better believe I took her home right after the program. As awful as the whole shooting was, I am grateful for a reminder of how fragile our kids are, and I have made it a resolution of mine to enjoy every possible minute with my kids.
My kids didn't wake up until 8:45! It was a great Christmas Present for mom and dad! After literally working 15 sometimes 18 hour days all month of December, it was a priceless extra 2 hours of sleep!
Aaron is sporting his Spider-Man PJ's... he loves them. I have to tell you, they were a Black Friday (aka Black Thursday) steal at Target. They were $5, and the last available pair right in the middle of the pile of girl pj's and they were his size... it was a Christmas Miracle.... yes I am playing it up a bit... but hey, it was worth fighting the awful crowds!
Kaylie and her Hello Kitty Pj's.... she loves them too!
All the kids... I still can't believe I have four... from left to right, Aaron, Alyssa, Lydia and Kaylie!
Posted by Jacob and Krista Flamm at 10:33 AM