The following post was written on Day 18 of our babies’ lives, as well as updated a few days afterwards.
Our boy/girl twins are 18 days old. For the first 3 days, we were in the hospital. We had a steady stream of nurses, doctors, staff, and family. We slept some. We ate some. I drank lots of apple juice. We were told we were “Super Parents” by the lactation nurses/nurses/doctors, etc. We felt great! The babies slept. They were perfect. We were happy.
The last day in the hospital was exhausting. We had someone knocking on the door every 5 minutes… I kid you not. Exhausting. It was a relief to finally head home at 5:00 (much later than we had originally planned).
My mom stayed the night with us, and she stayed on through the next few days and nights. It was so helpful to have her take over after the morning feeding (around 6 or 7 AM), so we could get just a little more sleep. Still, that first night at our house was exhausting again, as we all transitioned into our new home all together.
We went to the pediatrician the next day, and she gave us the hint of giving the babies expressed breast milk after their feedings as a supplement to help them gain weight in a passive manner, so as not to waste too many calories sucking. It worked! This helped them sleep!
Then, we noticed they were spitting up a lot of milk. We realized we were pumping them full of too much milk. With the pediatrician’s advice, we backed off the supplements until we stopped doing it completely.
For the first 10 days of our twins’ lives, we felt that we had a handle on things. Then Audrey (Baby A- and the bigger of the two) went through a growth spurt (we realized this after she was up every hour all night long). “Ok,” we thought, “it’s a growth spurt. As long as we know to expect this, we will be okay.”
We made do with limited sleep.
David (Baby B and the smaller of the two) hit his growth spurt over a few nights and days, and it was harder to pinpoint. Because of his size, he doesn’t like being cold or wet or hungry or tired, and his cries are piercing and heartbreaking. After him being up every hour one night (around Day 16), I took our sleeping bag and pillow and camped out in his room. It was easier to be there for feedings on demand for a couple nights instead of making the trek from our room to the nursery (we moved them into the nursery from our room at about this time as well) Tim was returning to work at that point, and he needed to sleep more. I could nap “when they napped.” Yeah, right.
It was around this point that I started to have my doubts about my mommy abilities. How in the world was I going to do this on my own? There was no way I could tandem feed these babies by myself, as I had with the help of my mom, Tim’s mom, or Tim. I also had a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. I definitely felt the closeness to my babies, but I also felt very helpless at the same time. I was stuck in the chair while Tim or one of our moms got things ready for the babies or handed them to me. I didn’t mind everyone helping out around the house, but for some reason this feeling of helplessness really got me down. In addition, my breasts and nipples really hurt, despite knowing that the babies had very good latches. I was tired, I didn’t like the feeling of “let down,” and the constant feeling of being tied to that chair was suffocating.
We tried bottles and found some bottles that both babies would take. Hooray! But I still had to express milk (pump) in order to provide for them. More being tied to the chair. Our parents watched the babies so that Tim and I could go out. It was so freeing, but it was also just a temporary fix.
It wasn’t true postpartum depression, but it was a small case of the baby blues. I was having a hard time adjusting.
I had slight glimpses of success, such as when I was able to feed one then the other (and change them) all by myself for 2 consecutive feedings. It felt great to be able to do this, but later the feeling came back that it was going to be so hard to continue this longterm.
I found myself wishing for the time when my babies would be old enough to take food other than my milk. Freedom from the chair! But then I didn’t want to wish away this infancy either! These two sides made my head spin.
I also was envious of my friends who had only a singleton. Even if they had 2 children at home, did they realize how easy they had it with only going through 1 growth spurt at a time? One crying baby? One umbilical cord? One diaper change? One mouth to nurse?
Although I was envious, I also wouldn’t trade my babies for the world. Once it was just Tim, myself, Audrey, and David cuddling on the couch watching TV, we realized there was nothing better. But then, we would enter reality again and they would be so fussy all night long.
Twins aren’t easy. We love them so much, but they aren’t easy.
I wrote everything above this point at 18 days postpartum. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and a hormonal mess. I still am having my hormones all over the place, but I just give in to it a bit more. I let myself cry. Or laugh. Or ache. Or smile. Or coo at my babies. I do it all, because that’s what the hormones dictate. It’s so much easier letting go.
I also realized that part of my stress was that I had several items hanging over my head from before the babies were born. I had gotten a lot checked off my list, but I didn’t have everything done. It was all that other stuff that prevented me from letting go completely. So, with Tim’s help (and our amazing parents), I started (frantically) checking things off my list. No more Personally Yours orders. No more new commitments to the blog. Finishing the holiday presents. No more. I was going to dedicate myself only to my babies.
Easier said than done, but with this newfound commitment, it did make my overall stress go away. I was still exhausted, but it helped.
As I always try to do, throughout this all, I tried to focus on the positive. This positive was in the form of our new family and the amazing things they were doing each day.
So you may see a rush of posts in the upcoming days as I have finished the posts that were lined up. After that, my posts will probably be more sparse. I will be updated info and pictures on the babies, but that will probably be about it for a while.
I’m in Mommy Mode.
At the Day 18 mark, I wrote the following list to help keep me focused. It gave me the energy to keep going during that long night- past the exhaustion and worry and pain:
Some of the things we love are:
- The faces that David makes (and has made since Day 1). We call him Popeye because of these faces.
- The hiccups that Audrey gets after every feeding.
- The way that Audrey and David will sleep with their arms up over their heads/in front of their faces/curled around their ears. They are always the same, even though they change it up with each nap.
- The little giggles that Audrey makes (and David has started to make).
- The little grunts that Audrey makes when she eats, as if she will never see another meal again.
- The way that David shakes his head before latching on every single time. He also makes the biggest surprised faces.
- The fact that David has Tim’s eyes.
- The fact that Audrey is my Mini Me.
- Cuddling with both of our babies.
- Having two healthy babies that came home from the hospital with us.