To answer your questions…

I saw this posted online, and had to share for the laughs. If you’re a fellow MoM (mother of multiples), you’ll get this! 

1. Yes, they are twins.

2. They are fraternal.

3. Yes, we can tell them apart.

4. A boy and a girl.

5. That one is the girl. 

6. Yes, I’m positive they’re not identical.

7. Yes, twins run in my family. They run all over the place!

8. Yes, we found out before they were born.

9. Yes, we were shocked.

10. Yes, they’re on the same schedule.

11. I’m glad it happened to me, too!

12. Yes, my hands are full.

13. No, I didn’t watch Jon and Kate plus 8.

14. Yes, they are natural. What’s an artificial twin, anyway? 

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I’m exhausted

That’s all I can think to reply when I’m asked how we’re doing. Maybe that’s a little too honest for people, but it’s truly the truth. I feel so incredibly lucky to have two beautiful, sweet babies, but I am mentally and physically exhausted. 

I saw this quote, and I thought, “Hell yeah, I’m exhausted!”. Every day, no matter how exhausted I am, I get up in the morning for my babies (ah, who am I kidding… I get up all night long, too!). I change their diapers. Feed them. Cloth them. Grocery shop for them. Do their laundry. Entertain them. Rock them. Buy them toys. All. Day. Long. 

And, the exhaustion is well worth it, because they get to have a GREAT parent. 

Things I wish I would have known before having multiples

1. You will go through a ton of wipes.

Everyone focuses on diapers. Yes, you will go through a lot of those. But, no one thinks about wipes. I wish we were more prepared for the amount of wipes we would need. Just remember, babies have MAD blowouts. 

2. You can hire a doula, nanny or nurse to help you at night.

And, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The first two months, you will be up every two hours, changing and feeding. You can hire someone to help you out at night. This may seem like a luxury to singleton parents, but it could be necessity for parents of multiples. Plus, it’s truly a godsend-think about being immobile due to a cesarean. If only I looked into this before the second day home with our little ones…

3. They won’t be on the same schedule [when you take them home from the hospital].

You would think that since they spent nine months rooming together that they would be on the exact same routine? Nope, think again. They’re individuals. Even at one second after birth. That means they eat, sleep and poop on their own times. As I’ve said before, you have to work out a schedule (this can be parent-led, baby-led, or a combination). 

4. Write everything down!

When did Baby A last eat or poop?! What time did Baby B get tired? What time did they wake up? When you’re sleep deprived, you won’t remember anything. Trying to get them on a schedule by recognizing their patterns or trying to make sure all their needs are met when you can’t remember a thing is beyond difficult. Writing things down or using apps is the best way to ensure you don’t miss anything! 

5. There are so many types of formula, it gets expensive and don’t bulk order until you find the perfect one!

There’s sensitive, soy, alimentum, ready-to-feed or powder formula. There’s so many to chose from, and it all starts off as experiments. If you are unable to produce enough for both babies or choose to formula feed, you’re going to be looking at high grocery bills! If one or both babies are on one of the speciality formulas, like Grayson is, double your bill. 

6. You don’t need two of everything.

Some people say it’s safe to buy two of everything, but even if you have boy/girl twins, you don’t need two of everything. When it comes to buying double, stick to the essentials-cribs, diapers, wipes, car seats. While it’s nice to have two pack n plays, two walkers, two bouncers, it’s not absolutely necessary. They can share and learn to take turns. 

7. Take pictures, lots of pictures!

Weekly pregnancy bump pictures, weekly growth pictures, pictures of crawling, sitting, standing. Heck, make up a reason to take pictures. You’ll be talking to someone one day, and because of the grueling sleepless nights, and the twin chaos, you won’t remember those moments. With pictures, you can look back, and it can help trigger memories. And, don’t forget to write things down, especially milestones. 

8. Join a multiples group while pregnant.

Yes, there are support groups for parents of and expecting parents of twins and multiples. If you’re already connected to something while pregnant, you’re going to have people to turn to when you have the babies, and you’ll have just a little more of a reason to go. 

9. Learn how to install and use your car seats well before the babies arrive.

We’re about to leave the hospital, and we haven’t installed our car seats. Tyler is running around, trying to figuring out how to work the things. He had to call his friend to help him. Imagine our panic as we’re supposed to take our two new babies home, and we don’t know what the heck we’re doing! Since you don’t know when the babies will arrive, get them and get familiar with them ASAP. Also, imagine trying to install a car seat when it’s raining or snowing, you’ll really wish you did it earlier! 

10. Keep every number on speed dial!

Is speed dial still a thing? 

Add every phone number you get to your phone! You get a lot of phone numbers (OB’s office, OB’s cell, MFM office, MFM cell, after hours line, insurance, billing, pediatrician’s office, pediatrician’s cell, on-call doctor’s cell, and so on). If something happens, you’ll want that number without having to dig for it or without calling seven wrong numbers (yes, I’m speaking from experience). 

11. Organize! 

Baby proof the house. Buy organizers for medical bills. Wash some of their clothing. Wash bottles. All before they’re born. Once the twins arrive, it becomes difficult to stay on top of things. You don’t want to be scrambling to pay medical bills last second, because they got tossed aside (you get SO many) and now you’re about to be sent to collections. 

Postpartum part II

Since it’s been a few months since I posted about my struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety, I thought it was fitting to catch up. 

Oh… where do I start?

If you’ve gone through it, you know. You practically experiment with medication, and it’s so hard to keep up with therapy. No matter how much you need to go, willing yourself there, just doesn’t cut it. Then, life gets in the way. If you’re a mother, let alone of multiples, add a million more tasks on your to-do list. 

I started slacking on attending therapy, once I met with the medication management doctor. It wasn’t because I just wanted new “drugs”. It wasn’t because she was a bad therapist, and I thought I could do it on my own [better]. She was absolutely great. But, life happened. 

I switched medications. I thought this was going to fix the feelings I was having. The doctor said there was an extra “kick”, which should help my energy levels. Instead, I felt like I spiraled. 

I started off at the lowest dosage. It wasn’t terrible. It had some unfortunate side effects, such as dizziness and nausea, but what SSRI doesn’t? I took the lowest dosage for a week, then switched to the next dosage. This is when it became hell. 

I was angry. I was irritable, migraines, dizziness, and tired, oh my god was I tired. To add, I had to take the medication at the same time every day, with food, or else I would have my head in the toilet, feeling like I was withdrawaling. I practically hated everyone and everything, but I wasn’t exactly depressed.  

My dosage was increased. 

God. I wish I wouldn’t have switched. The negative side effects increased. I couldn’t remember anything. I had brain zaps. My eyes and brain couldn’t catch up with one another. I would look around, and it felt like my mind would glitch. Then one day, I accidentally took my medication three times. 

I couldn’t do it anymore. I wouldn’t. I read about how the medication was new, so a lot of people had issues with it, just like I was. Not to mention, it wasn’t tested with breastmilk. I was going to go cold turkey. I tried, but the withdrawal side effects were too strong. I caved after a while, and cut my dose in half. 

I laid in bed panicking. I couldn’t close my eyes. I had anxiety, felt sick and I thought I was losing my mind. I didn’t trust myself. I wouldn’t let Tyler go to sleep. 

I called my doctor three times. Somehow my message was deleted, so it wasn’t heard the first time. They told me to stop taking the medication immediately. I was terrified. Bailee had her seizures that same week. This added to my paranoia and sickness. 

I went back to the doctor, and she switched my medication again. But, this time, she offered me a test that looked at my genes and how my body would react to medications. 

Come to find out, according to my genes, I shouldn’t take most depression medications. She switched my medication again to the one medication on the list that was safe for breastfeeding. She also added a medication for anxiety.

I didn’t tell her, but I wasn’t going to take the medications, unless I felt like I had no choice. After all I was going through, I couldn’t risk experimenting with medications. With the last medication, I didn’t even trust myself giving the twins a bath. I was unsteady, and felt like I would drop them. I couldn’t go through that again. 

I filled the prescriptions, just in case. Part of me is glad I did. I had a really hard time one day. I tried the anxiety medication, and it was like a wave of calmness came over me. No negative side effects. If limited, it’s safe to take while breastfeeding. It doesn’t cause withdrawal, and I don’t have to take it if I don’t want or need it. Finally, a solution! 

I won’t deny it. I’ve had a lot of these hard days since ending my medications. I’ve had a lot of days where my heart is racing, and I want to scream and cry. I feel like my days are starting to get better, though (without the anxiety medication). I started doing things to make myself feel better, like getting facials. My mom comes over to help me. I’ve become hyper-focused on wedding planning. I’ve started to learn healthier ways to cope.

While my days aren’t perfect, and won’t be, at least until I feel comfortable with medication again, and I go back to therapy, I still have hope. 

My biggest hope is that the next time I write about postpartum, I’ll get to say I’m recovered! 

It’s complicated 

There are so many things that could go wrong with a twin pregnancy, because the more babies you carry, the more you’re at risk for complications. It’s scary, especially if this is your first pregnancy. But, rest assured, there are “success” stories!

I remember during my pregnancy, I had bleeding. Not the spotting that most women see, but bleeding. Come to find out, one of the placentas was detaching from the wall. There was bleeding behind the placenta. We had already been on edge knowing the risks we faced by having two babies, but it actually started happening. To add, the twins weren’t growing properly, and I was anemic. I was considered to have a high risk pregnancy, and had to see maternal fetal medicine specialists. 

During this part of my pregnancy, I was still working. On my lunch breaks, I would grab two blankets. Put one under my head, and the other I’d pull over me, and I’d nap. I was so tired. 

About five months in, I couldn’t do it anymore. I was so stressed out, and exhausted, I had to take it easy, per professionals recommendation. I ended up resigning my position and went part-time. Even part-time became too difficult for me, but I wanted to continue working. 

We were six weeks away from my scheduled induction date. I had been having Braxton Hicks since the beginning of the second trimester, but this day was different.

I got a facial that day, and as I was leaving, I started having contractions. Real contractions. They were pretty close and hurt. I ignored them, thinking I relaxed a little too much during my facial or perhaps it was the fact that I’m always on my feet. I drove home, and as I was driving, I felt worse. I started panicking. I got home, and was bending over in pain and hyperventilating. I called the hospital, and they told me to come in. I called Tyler telling him to go to the hospital. Oh my god, I was in labor. Five weeks too early for comfort! 

I got to the hospital, and was hooked up to monitors. I was having contractions about two minutes apart, and was sixty percent effaced and dilated one centimeter. The babies looked great. THANK GOD! But, even with those conditions, the doctor was fairly confident and reassured us that there was no way they were going to allow me to have babies that early. Another huge relief! But, in order to do that, I had to stay. 

They gave me fluids, steroids and magnesium sulfate- “mag” is used to slow contractions. After that was started, the next few days were a blur. 

The magnesium makes you feel like you were set on fire. Actually. The nurses brought me ice packs, and I was only allowed ice and water at first. I sucked down pitchers of water like I had been trapped in the desert for a week. Finally, I was allowed to eat. Guess what? Mag makes your head spin. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom on my own. On top of that, it makes you sick to your stomach. I could barely bring myself to cut the bland chicken in front of me, which I suprisingly grew fond of- it was the only thing that I could stomach besides ice water. Fourty-eight hours of this tortuous medication. 

After the medications and tests, we were given a “two weeks notice”, so to speak . Basically, the babies could end up coming at any point after two weeks post visit. Even with that notion, my doctor didn’t like the idea of complete bed rest. He said it could cause more complications, such as blood clots. I was to keep my activity way down, but not to be bedridden. I continued to work part-time, but I stayed on my bottom that entire time. I only stood, if absolutely necessary.

After this incident, my monitoring increased. Ultrasounds. Blood tests. Urine screenings. Non-stress tests!(which is a way to monitor fetal health). And, there was always an issue. I failed the non-stress test almost every visit. I had strong and close contractions majority of my visits, except those in the morning. 

•Six. That’s the number of weeks the babies stayed in after my visit.

•Twenty-nine. That’s the number of times I had doctor’s visits, not including at maternal fetal medicine. 

•Five. That’s the number of times I was admitted into the hospital for monitoring. 

•Six. The number of nights I spent sleeping in a hospital bed. 

•Zero. The most important number. The number of days the twins stayed in the NICU!! 

After all the complications, I went almost all the way. Two days before my induction date, the twins made their arrival. 60% of twins are born prematurely. Having twins, well, it’s complicated. It may have been a complicated journey for us, but I would live every second of it all over again, any day!

Questions you get as a parent of twins

As a parent of twins, you’re subject to a series of questioning, whether appropriate or not. Here is a list of common questions twin parents get:

1. “Are they TWINS?!”

This is the initiation of complete strangers striking up conversation, and asking a million questions about your children. This question always tempts me to be sarcastic, but I refrain due to the possibility of someone taking me serious and looking at me in horror as I say, ” No, triplets, but we sold the third one for diapers”. 

2.  “Are they identical or fraternal?”

People want to clarify if twins are identical or non-identical, but most really don’t know what that even means. Unless you know what it means, don’t ask. 

3. “Boys or girls?”

I’ll admit, my daughter has gone bald twice, I don’t put bows, tutus or frilly clothing on her all the time, and we’ve left the house on a few occasions with her wearing her brother’s clothing. I could see why someone would question her sex during those times. Nonetheless, every family outing, I’m asked “boys or girls?”.  Very, very rarely, “One of each?” (I think everyone forgets boy/girl twins exist).

4. “So you’re done now?”

This is one of those questions that really irks me. And, here’s why: People assume that reproducing is always a choice. What if I didn’t have a choice? What if I didn’t have a choice to be “done”? What if that choice was already decided, because I couldn’t conceive again due to infertility? What if I was devastated that I couldn’t grow my family, having a large family like I had always dreamed? 

Also, if I were to say, “No, we want to have more”, I imagine that you are imaging me trying to have more children, and that’s just weird. 

5. “We’re they conceived naturally?”

Whoa. Let’s just get to it. Want to ask me how many tries it took to conceive them, too?  

Remember, infertility is a sensitive topic. If you don’t know the person, you probably shouldn’t ask this question. 

6. “Which is your favorite?”

Ask me every day, and each day, I could give you a different answer. On some days, that answer could be neither or both. Both babies have okay, good, great, bad and terrible days. That doesn’t mean I like one more than the other. I love them both, equally. 

7. “Do twins run in your family?”

Although twins seem elusive, twins exist in every family. Sometimes it’s distant relatives that are twins or sometimes it’s immediate. Having a twin or being a twin doesn’t require immediate family members to be twins. It doesn’t have to “run” in families, and can occur for other reasons. Also, remember-identical twins can occur spontaneously. 

8. “How do you do it?”

I just do. I mean, I have to. It’s hard, and I knew it would be the moment I found out I was having twins. A lot of times I’m poorly rested, underequipped, and overwhelmed. I chose to be a mommy, though. I go with my gut instinct, and do what the situation demands. 

9. “Are you nursing?” 

As they look at your breasts. Not even joking. 

You can ask this question, just don’t make it weird.

10. “Who was first?”

People have this notion that birth order determines personality. People also believe that boys should be the first born, to be the “big, older brother”. That’s not how it works with twins. The truth is, most twins are born within minutes of each other, and that time frame is not enough to dictate their personalities. 

Which means yes, either sex can come first. 

11. “Did you have them naturally?”

No, I had them VAGINALLY. 

12. “What if you have twins again (or triplets)?

This journey of having twins has made me so thankful that I could even carry one, let alone two babies. So, if it happens, it happens, and I’ll be better equipped this time. 

13. “What do you when they both cry at the same time?”

I cry, too! Okay, not every time, but I definitely have before. With twins, you try your best to get them on the same schedule. With that, they’re bound to get hungry, fussy, tired, poop, around the same time. This means they might cry at the same time. So, depending on the need and urgency of the need, I may try: 

•Consoling one, while the other remains crying

•Try double duty by holding them both 

•Bottle prop

But, very rarely, do they both demonstrate equal amount of distress at the same time, and in that case, whoever is louder, wins.