Posts Tagged ‘newborns’

Advice for parents-to-be of twins.

September 25, 2009

Six weeks in, and all I can say is: relax.

While you may have imagined two babies screaming non-stop, or two little angels gurgling away – or probably something in between, you didn’t imagine it correctly. How could you? Don’t blame yourself. There you were, mammoth and pregnant, and all the cute little socks and fancy prams were gorgeous – but was it really possible to imagine two little people would be in those socks?

We were very anti-pacifier. We didn’t know about the glory of vibrating bouncers (buy two now). We were hardcore about breastfeeding.

Six weeks in, and our babies aren’t very into pacifiers…but the thing is, sometimes they are. And it helps. You’ve got one baby on your lap, feeding it and possibly holding the bottle in place with your mouth while your other hand tries helplessly to mop up the rivers of milk flowing down the side of a little face and pooling into the crevices of the neck. And let me tell you, formula does not smell nice when it has been allowed to fester in fat folds.

So your upper body is busy. You have also, of course, wedged one foot into the frame of a bouncy chair holding the non-feeding baby – because while the vibrations are great, when a baby is really hungry you might as well have placed them on a bed of spikes. You are trying to get a good, strong rhythm of bouncing going ….while not disturbing the delicate balance of bottle-in-your-mouth. Your other foot is probably sockless, while you use your toes to grip a muslin, soft book, or other toy and lift it carefully. Your aim is to somehow fling the book up at your own face, so that you can stop wiping the milk river for a minute and hold the book in front of Baby Two, who is still merrily howling away, in increasing levels of high pitched agony.

You may decide to stop feeding the first baby and give the second a nibble. You may keep switching back and forth. One thing you can be sure of, while you are engaged in this mental dance of Who Shall I Feed And How Should I Do It, you will not wind the babies enough. They will spit up. All over their fresh outfits. (For this reason, ALWAYS have a muslin draped over those expensive vibrating bouncy chairs, because otherwise you need to sponge clean and it leave it empty while it dries. This is not good. An empty chair is a wasted chair). If you do manage to get the worst of the burps out, and somehow also manage to fully feed both babies (who will be inclined to pass out once they have eaten a certain amount, what with you ignoring them to feed their twin), there is no doubt one or both will get the hiccups.

Hiccups make the least burpy baby on earth dribble. And sometimes you just sit there and watch the spit-up cake their cheeks, necks, clothes – because you are locked into some crazy ass feeding position with the other twin.

All of this is trial and error. Most of the time your babies will be really, really happy. They are possibly at their happiest on completely opposite schedules, as they get all one-on-one time….and you, of course, literally never get a second of time to yourself. Being pregnant with twins is excellent training, because that constant feeling of needing to pee? It gets you used to it, which is a good thing because you will have to have a bladder of steel if you want to keep the baby cycle going.

Of course, you are free to leave the babies both screaming while you take the time to pee, with an added luxury of wiping.

Put handwash by every sink. Invest in a thick, non-smelly lotion for every sink, too. While your hands will be cleaned and sterilised to within an inch of their lives, your knuckles start looking like you are an eighty-year-old woman who has made her living by taking in other people’s washing.

Relax. If the chairs work, they work. If the pacifiers do – and you are against them, ease up on the guilt. Life with two newborns is about flexibility, love, a sense of humour, and being honest with yourself. Because you will be tired, you will be snappy, you will feel a guilty relief when you shut the door to the bathroom and excuse yourself from motherhood for an hour – shoving the baby duties onto your equally tired partner. Every baby is different, every adult is different, and every family is different.

Be creative. Try new things and don’t be afraid to mess up. You learn a lot from getting vomited on and peed on at the same time, believe me. (Want to know how to stop your baby boy from peeing everywhere? Let me know. I AM THE MASTER.)

People (and the endless books) will tell you that everything is definite. You must form a routine for twins immediately. You must use black out curtains. You must do this, you musn’t do that. I’ve found that if you just use a bit of common sense and match things to fit your lifestyle and personality, you’ll probably be just fine.

I have spent the first six weeks quite happily, and messily, mucking along. Feeding on demand, completely following each baby’s lead, etc. While no book advises this and says it causes mothers huge amounts of stress, things have been okay. Really okay.

But in the spirit of flexibility and longer stretches of sleep at night, things may be changing soon. In the meantime, we are sleeping them in the same cot (you win a prize of honour or horror, depending on who you listen to), feeding on demand, having playtimes whenever it can be assumed they won’t vomit, talking loads to them, having them sleep on us during the day when we feel like it, etc. We even have them sleep in rooms that are not pitch black…shudder, horror. Things are fine.

This is my last week with Mil here. Next week I’m completely on my own the whole week. You may see less of me in this blog, but rest assured I am probably wearing very comfortable pants, my hair pulled back into messy buns, and I am spending a lot of time kissing little cheeks.

If you are expecting twins, you can expect to be surprised a lot – by how capable you are, by how tired you are, by how special it all is. You can also expect to spend a lot of time thanking various deities that you did not have triplets.

Love to all.

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Thirty-eight weeks. (Or: today is your REAL due date.)

August 26, 2009

Thirty-eight weeks ago today Рexactly Рmy eggs had been collected, and the two embryos that would become our son and daughter had already been mixed with sperm. We would find out three days later that all our embryos had done well, but two were absolutely perfect in every way, and these would be placed back into my womb for a loooooooooooong  journey.

‘Thirty-eight weeks’ sounds like so short a time, so little space occupied in the expanse of a life. But in that time you went from a few cells to¬† beating hearts to hiccupy madness….to real people.

As we hold you today, you are already both so different than you were two weeks (and one day) ago. More alert, more awake time. Tummy time times two, hanging out on beanbags, beginning to make little baby noises. You both hold your heads up so well.

And while you look so different (to us, anyway – medical professionals keep asking if you are identical, which is a little offputting because you would think the whole penis-vagina thing, not to mention medical training, would clue them into the fact that you are non-identical twins), you make such similar facial expressions.

Little girl, you are hungrier than your brother. You have just had your lifetime record of 150 mils, and now you are blissed out in the beanbag while we watch you for signs of abrupt vomiting of this gluttony. You wake up quiet and wide eyed, and you go to sleep the same way. You like to curl up like a prawn, and maybe that’s because you were that way in the womb. Poos make you scream.

Little boy, you are much noisier. You pee everywhere, including on your sister (who also is a champion at peeing on people). You have a little bit of a tongue tie, and are a lazy feeder, and that makes mealtimes…interesting. And long. You kick, kick, kick while you sleep, you squeal, you stretch. You snort. You are a poo deceiver, appearing to be asleep while it still pours out of you.

So far, you’re both just the way you were in the womb. You sleep together at night, but during the days you mostly hang out in your carrycots attached to your Super Pram ™ and don’t seem to mind too much that you are having some alone time. You are both very easygoing, happy, and relaxed babies. Touch wood.

I know I need to write your birth story, but I sort of want to do that when I can be sure I’ll have enough time. Only today did I finally hear TMD’s version of events, especially as she experienced things quite differently than I did. I still have a huge numb spot on my ass (like my whole right cheek), but as a permanent reminder of that experience it could have been worse. Our other reminder is the scrubs I made your mommy steal because she looked so hot in them.

Yes.

Okay, time to go now. I am utterly stinky and tired, and this appears to be a very rare calm spot in the evening hours. I don’t know if I even care about showering (but the itching, oh, the itching), but I do know that should I decide to shower, you will both begin screaming the second I do so. It happens every night, and TMD is left bouncing, jiggling, getting peed on, and singing.

All this to two little eggs that came out of me, exactly thirty-eight weeks ago.