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Category Archives: Thoughts on Twin Parenting

Reflecting on 12 Months of Twin Parenting

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In August 2012, when we found out that we were expecting twins, my immediate reaction was panic. I tell people all the time, that after finding out, I don’t think I even blinked for 24 hours. I was afraid of so many things in those early days of knowing: something happening to one or both of them, the label of a high risk pregnancy, restrictions being placed on me that would impact my other kids, premature labor and birth and the NICU, a c-section, and of course just the prospect of having two infants to care for at the same time. I could get past the potential medical issues. For one thing, I was fairly certain that based on my previous history that I’d have no problems carrying the babies close to term. Secondly, I already had one NICU experience under my belt, and while I didn’t relish the possibility of it happening again. I knew that I could make it through if it did. The hardest thing to wrap my head around was that there would be two babies here, constantly requiring my care, in addition to three other small people who already lived here, and were very set in their ways. It didn’t help either that twin moms around every corner told me stories of woe and catastrophized every worst possible scenario—not unlike the things say when you are expecting your firstborn, but somehow…worse. “Prepare to NEVER sleep again!” “You will never leave the house with both of them alone; it’s just too much work!” “Don’t plan on having any sort of social life, especially for the first year. Your life will be babies babies babies!” I’ve always sort of excelled at the newborn stage, and these comments knocked me down, and made me question whether or not I’d truly be able to handle everything that was to come. I was sure it would be terrible.

And then it wasn’t.

We brought Molly home on a Tuesday; that much I remember. I remember that she would only sleep on top of me for those first few nights. I remember feeling so torn leaving Angus at the hospital and getting so much one on one time with her, but then two days later, on a Thursday, he was home too and the true experience of having infant twins began. There were long days and even longer nights. I was tired, sure. Sometimes I was frazzled and I definitely had some moments of feeling hopeless. But there was never anything so terrible that made me feel like it wasn’t worth it or that it was too much to handle.

I’ve chronicled the months of being pregnant, and then the months of parenting twins over these past 19 months with the original idea being that somehow, if someone else was going through it, that I could help them. I’m not sure that any of the posts are actually helpful or provide any sort of insightful advice, but I will say that they do give a true picture of everything that I’ve been through. I know that I am beyond lucky to have carried my babies for over 36 weeks, and to have had them here with me happy and healthy, since they were one week old.

In a way, I am thankful to the moms who gave me the doom and gloom perspective. Maybe if they hadn’t I wouldn’t be here today thinking that things haven’t been bad because I was expecting the absolute worst.  I don’t know. What I do know is that I would not paint a doom and gloom picture to any mom who is expecting twins. Every single day wasn’t sunshine and roses, but there were very few days that were all thunder clouds and thistles. I have really enjoyed this first year.

I’ve connected with a lot of new twin moms since becoming one myself and when they ask for advice, I always say the same thing: You are enough. It’s easy to feel like this can’t possibly be true, but it is. You ARE. Tell yourself. Hear it. Believe it. Even as you are ignoring one who is squawking because the other is yelling louder, and you inevitably feel guilty that you are causing irreparable damage—you are enough.  Things even out. Babies are resilient, and will be no worse for the wear.

My twins will turn one year old on Saturday, which is what is prompting this sort of reflection. I’m excited to celebrate their birthday but if I’m being honest, I’m just a tiny bit sad that it’s over.  I feel the same way every year, for every kid’s birthday. I love to watch them grow up, but I’d love it more if I could keep a tiny piece of them as they are today in my pocket forever. This time is no different; it’s been a great first year.

Thoughts on Twin Parenting–Month 4

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photoshake_1372735939558The twins turned 4 months old on Monday. (Insert sappy comment about time flying and where are mah baybeees HERE.) 4 months old and they are such little people already.

Molly remains our firecracker.  She is quick to smile and laugh, but is just as quick to get pissed right off. She settles easily as long as she gets just what she wants and no in-betweens.

Gus is still our serious and introspective boy. He loves to just take everything in. It takes a lot to get him to giggle but once you get him going, he doesn’t stop. And he is always just so so so sweet. And is a super drooler.

We have begun to struggle a little bit with Gussy’s sensitivity though. Loud noises, sudden movements and things that are unusual (Like mommy in sunglasses) set him off. He screams and is inconsolable.  I think it is maybe too soon to say whether he actually has a sensory issue as opposed to just being a fraidy-babybut it is a little bit concerning.  At times, the only thing that helps is to take him in to a dark quiet room and just rock him until he settles.  I feel bad for my poor bug; it must be hard to process 6 other noisy people and a dog on a daily basis.

Molly has become so much less screamy since getting her reflux meds under control. Don’t get me wrong–she is still a fussbudget, but is so much better than she was.  I’m not having any more babies, but if I were, my advice would be to skip the Zantac and go right to Prevacid. That stuff works wonders.

This month marked my return to work, so the twins started daycare 2 days a week and are spending 2 days with Grammy. This is a pretty good system right now. I like that I can go upstairs for quick snuggles 3 of the 5 weekdays and spend my lunch break with them as well.  It’s good for my mom to spend time with them too, I think.

Their 4-month checkup went quite well (aside from a good day and a half of being crabs after their shots). Molly weighed in at 13lbs13oz and was 24.25 inches and Angus was 13lbs15oz and 24.5 inches.  This puts them in the 50th percentile (ish) for their actual age, and more like the 75th for adjusted age. They are very twinny! Molly looks bigger than Gus these days though; I think he carries most of his weight in his head.

Month 4 Happenings:

  • Outgrew ALL 0-3 month outfits
  • Started to enjoy some floor time (as long as they are on their backs)
  • Started giggling in earnest
  • Started going to daycare
  • Upgraded to larger swaddles, but routinely break their arms out
  • Discovered their hands and became Grabby Grabbersons
  • Rode on a float in a parade
  • Were big enough to ride in the big kid stroller
  • Went to the zoo
  • Stopped sleeping in the same crib 😦

Month 4 Picture Dump:

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Newborn Photos

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Back in March, we were lucky enough to have 2 friends in the photography business who offered to take newborn shots of the twins.  I never did newborn photos with the other kids, so I thought it would be fun to do, even though I was exhausted.

First my old friend Liz got her hands on the babies when they were about 3 weeks old.  We had fun catching up and she did an amazing job.  Seriously, just look.

Photos below credited to Elizabeth Lee Millen Images

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The following week, our friend Donna took some photos.  She was the one who also did our family photo session in February, before the twins were born.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

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I was so happy with both sessions, and I am so glad to have a remembrance of the babies when they were fresh and new. Time is going so fast! I can hardly remember them being so teeny.

Thoughts on Twin Parenting-Month One…OH and Month Two

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Well I had planned on doing a monthly update, and here we are with the babies turning 2 months old (and then some!) and all I’ve managed is my birth story, so there is one small insight in to how the parenting of twins is going.  I wouldn’t call it difficult, per se, but it is certainly busy.  24/7 busy for sure.  Add in 3 more kids and well, I don’t really think I need to paint the picture.

The first month was really quite the blur.  Feedings.  Changings. Some sleep. Really, we were all sort of getting used to each other, and we needed to figure out what worked for us in this situation and what worked for the babies.  Molly was feisty, just as she was in the womb and Gus was very laid back so figuring out how to keep them both happy, at the same time if possible, was a challenge because they both need different things at different times.

I spent the first month feeling guilty that I needed to devote so much time to holding and soothing Molly while Gus was content to just chill in the bouncy seat or in the crib. Unless he needed to be fed or changed, he didn’t need us much at all and with Molly being SO demanding, well, we just sort of let him hang out.  Things evened out a bit in month 2 though.  Angus seemed to wake up a bit and say “Hey! I’m here!” and he demanded more of our attention.  Still not as much as Molly the Queen of Drama, but attention just the same. In fact, as I type this, Molly is next to me in the boppy, demanding to be touched, while Gus is sleeping in the bouncy.

I’m pleased to say that even with being nearly 4 weeks premature, the twins don’t really seem to have any sort of milestone delays.  They are awake and alert for solid chunks during the day.  They are really good at holding up their heads.  They have both started smiling heart-melting smiles right at us in the last week or so.  Also for the last 5 or so days? Sleeping around 7 hours in a row at night.  Consistent with Eddie and Caitlyn and 8 weeks (Hannah, not so much). While I’m hopeful that it continues, I’m not going to hold my breath.

The big kids are very much in love with the babies, sometimes to the point where I am annoyed that they won’t just leave them the hell alone.  Eddie has surprised us in being very interested and helpful. It’s really a fantastic thing to watch, and it is nice to have the help.

The rest of this probably won’t be interesting to anyone but me, except for the photos maybe, but I want to note some things for the record.

Month One Happenings:

  • Gus stayed 3 extra days in the Special Care Nursery
  • As our room was under construction, the twins slept through the noise and chaos
  • We entertained many visitors and were blessed with so many gifts for the babies, and meals for us.
  • The twins met their great great Aunt Rita
  • We went to dinner twice and the movies once as a family of 7.
  • The twins celebrated their first Easter
  • Molly spent 3 days in the hospital thanks to a nasty fever and cellulitis.

Month One Photos:

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Month Two Happenings:

  • The babies became more alert
  • Both babies starting smiling
  • Molly gained 3 pounds
  • Gussy gained 2 pounds
  • Gus loves to smile at the living room blinds and lights
  • Molly is coos and gurgles at the animals on her bouncy seat

Month Two Photos:

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