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Are you expecting twins and wondering what it’s going to be like? Or maybe you’re a tired mama and just need someone to commiserate with. Well, I can help because I’m sharing my top ten realities of having twins. In other words, the things I just had no clue about when I was blissfully and honestly some days, miserably, growing two little humans. Oh, and if you’re curious, for some reason Disney songs kept popping into my head as I was writing. Maybe because I hear them on loop in my home?
When You Wish Upon A Star
Be careful what you wish for.
We struggled with infertility, which was never surprising to me since I’ve had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) since I was a teenager and kind of always expected it would be difficult to get pregnant. It took about a year of trying for our first before I went to the doctor, was prescribed Clomid and boom, first try, I got pregnant. So when we were ready to try again, I figured it would be about the same. Again, we tried for about a year and nothing, so again I was prescribed Clomid and this time, there was no boom. We ended up doing four rounds of increasing doses of Clomid before I got pregnant.
I strolled into that first ultrasound so confidant and so blissfully unaware. And then the image popped up on the screen and before the ultrasound technician could even say a word, I already knew. I saw the grainy image of two little ovals and I knew. Then she said it, two, two, TWO (or maybe it just echoed and sounded more dramatic in my head). The conversation that followed went something like this:
Me: “Twins? Seriously?”
Her: “Well, you took Clomid.” Like, duh, you should have expected this.
Me: “Well I only got one the first time!”
And right there was pretty much the biggest mental obstacle I had to overcome throughout my TWIN pregnancy. This pregnancy, the post pregnancy, the infant stage, the toddler stage, nothing was going to be the same or how I had pictured it.
Reality #1: Let It Go
It’s OK to be a little sad.
I know this sounds strange, but when I first learned that I was having twins, I was a little sad. Not because I was having twins but more like a sense of loss for the expectation I had in my head. In some ways (only slight ways), I think having twins first would have been easier because I would have had no expectations. I would have had no experience carrying one baby, birthing one baby, bonding with one baby. Now that I had that experience, it was so hard to change my mental image of what it was going to be like.
Don’t get me wrong, from the moment I saw those two little babies, I was in love. However, it was still a mental struggle throughout my pregnancy to let go of what it was “supposed to be like”. And there were so many questions. How would my body survive carrying and giving birth to two babies? Would I be able to bond with them both the same? How would I be able to care for them both, especially since we now had toddler in the mix too?
If you found out you’re having multiples, and you’re feeling guilty for being a little sad about it, you are not alone. And please, feel free to tell me so that I know I’m not alone!
Reality #2: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
A twin pregnancy is painful.
Why did I pick that song since it has nothing to do with this topic? Because I couldn’t find a Disney song about being in pain and that was the closest I could find to something that resembles an expletive. I repeat, a twin pregnancy is friggin’ painful.
I’m sure this is different for everyone but my twin pregnancy was so different than my single pregnancy. I don’t just mean that there were two little people doing backflips in there, but I was surprised to find that I was in so much pain very early on. By 20 weeks, my hips were so achy from sleeping on my sides, I couldn’t lay on my back for more than a minute, and I had so much pain in my pelvic area that I could barely walk. But I will say that a twin pregnancy will definitely make you marvel at what our bodies are capable of. Every day, you will wonder how your stomach can stretch any further.
I knew going into this that I was going to be huge but I didn’t know how difficult it would be just to walk, move, or do anything really. Also, combine all of that with having a toddler this time around and it was definitely one long pregnancy. By 26 weeks, I was already wearing a support band, which I highly recommend, as it really does help. This is the one I used.
Reality #3: A Whole New World
A twin birth is nothing like a single birth.
I remember the birth of my daughter as this surreal experience. I pushed for two hours yet it was weirdly quiet and calm. Of course, I only say that because I had an epidural and wasn’t feeling any pain.
With twins, SO different. I had to deliver in an operating room just in case there was a need for a C-section. Talk about freaky, being wheeled into a room at 2am with lights as bright as the sun and having an entourage staring back at you. I think there were at least 10 other people in the room between a team of nurses for each baby, my doctor and a nurse, the anesthesiologist and a nurse that I’m pretty sure was there just to comfort my husband.
Bravo to all the mamas who have delivered via C-section or in an operating room because it’s definitely a little scary in there!
Reality #4: A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes
But too bad you won’t be dreaming.
I quickly realized that I was so incredibly blessed by my first child, or maybe fooled? She was always a good sleeper, sleeping in 3 hour stretches and through the night by four months old. With the twins, they sometimes slept for 2 hours at a time but for the first few weeks, I would feed one, put him or her down, feed the next and literally by the time I got the second baby to sleep, the first would be waking up again. I remember sobbing from exhaustion. This is where you take any help you’re offered. Thank goodness for family who came over almost daily for the first couple weeks and watched the kids so my husband and I could get a little sleep during the day. I repeat, take any help you can get!
A few weeks in, I discovered a few products that became my life savers during night time feedings. The Twin Z Pillow is a double feeding pillow and is amazing. If you are having twins, go here and buy it now! This works for bottle feeding and breast feeding. I was able to start feeding them at the same time so it cut down on feeding time tremendously. At 21 months, they still lay on this pillow every day to drink from their cups or just watch TV, they love it.
As they got a little bigger, I discovered the Table For Two, a double feeding station. We used this for bottle feedings day and night as well as meals once they started trying solid foods. They used this until about 10 months old so we got our money out of it for sure. You also get to customize your fabrics which is super cute. Last, invest in a bottle maker (if you are formula feeding). This saves so much time during the night and is worth every penny. The Baby Brezza, in particular, dispenses both formula and warm water so it’s a double life saver when you’re exhausted at 2am. You can buy it on Amazon and read all the great reviews.
Reality #5: Circus Parade
You’ll feel like a freak show. Alternate title: Poor Unfortunate Souls.
Don’t expect to leave the house and be left alone. Everyone will stare and almost everyone will ask, “Are they twins?” This was a perplexing question. Why would I have two newborns and a double stroller? And I still get this question to this day. Or occasionally I get “Good luck” or “I’m so glad I don’t have twins.”
Yes, they’re twins and yes, my son is a lot bigger than my daughter but yep, they’re still twins. Yes, twins run in our family but no, I’m not going to go in depth with you Mrs. Stranger about whether or not they are “natural” twins. And the staring, I know they’re staring at the babies, or maybe my un-showered, three days caked with dry shampoo hair, but it feels like I’m walking in a parade as I walk through the grocery aisles.
Reality #6: When Will My Life Begin?
You might become a prisoner in your own home.
Since having twins, I think I have spent more time in my house than in my entire life. It’s just so much easier to stay home. The idea of loading so many kids into car seats and packing all the gear is just exhausting. And it’s pretty much guaranteed that someone is going to have a meltdown; probably one of the kids, but possibly me or my husband.
We did so much with our first, going to dinners, camping, the water park, and hot springs, determined not to let parenthood slow us down. At almost two, we’ve never taken the twins swimming, aside from a kiddie pool, let alone the water park, hot springs and camping. The challenge is, we’re outnumbered. I’m watching one twin, my husband is watching the other and who is watching our four-year-old? We really need a third parent to help run interference.
So, we try to make the best of it by having some fun toys in our backyard, setting up our own little pool and even a slip and slide my husband fashioned from a tarp! And our idea of a wild Friday night? Dance parties courtesy of Amazon Echo in our living room. These kids really know how to party.
Reality #7: A Pirate’s Life For Me
You know those cute videos of twins babbling to one another in their own language? That was my vision of twins. Dang YouTube for misleading me! You know what my twins’ favorite game is? They shove each other. Yep, they chase after each other and shove the other one down. They laugh and giggle until someone gets hurt and then they cry and start hitting each other for real. Arrrrg!
Seriously! What is this bond I hear all about? Is it because mine each had their own private wing in my uterus? They could not be more different. And the fighting. I have lovingly renamed them the Twin Thugs because they physically fight all the time, my living room is a literal battle field. It’s pretty embarrassing when the other moms at daycare have “heard stories” about them or when I pick them up from church nursery and find out they had to be separated because they were fighting. Lord, please forgive them for fighting at CHURCH.
Reality #8: I Wanna Be Like You
Twice the baby, twice the everything.
In the beginning, I’m pretty sure I changed something like 20+ diapers a day. I really wanted to be the eco-friendly mama who did the whole reusable diaper thing, but I couldn’t. I bought them and had them ready to go but it was just too much to handle. I even bought a sprayer for my toilet and this handy little splatter shield for cleaning off the poo, that’s how committed I was.
If you are like me and can’t handle rinsing diapers out 20 times a day, I highly suggest Subscribe and Save through Amazon Family. You save 20% on diapers and also get discounts on wipes, baby food, or anything else you want to have sent to you without even thinking. It’s a survival tool for tired mamas!
Twice the food, twice the clothes, twice the tantrums and twice the tears. All day, every day, enough said.
Twice the Firsts. Aha, now this is where I get to the good stuff. Finally, right? You know that amazing moment when you hear your baby giggle for the first time? Well, twin mamas, you get to experience that twice and its nothing short of amazing the second time around. Two distinct little laughs attached to two distinct personalities. Two different reactions to eating solid food for the first time. Remember how exciting it was when your baby rolled over and that look of surprise on his face? Well, lucky you, you get to do it again. Two first words, two first steps. You get to enjoy all of these amazing moments TWICE.
Reality #9: Can You Feel The Love Tonight?
Double the love.
You’re probably thinking that having twins sounds amazing, right? 😉 At the end of the day, all of the challenges and crazy moments are replaced by the enormous amount of love for these two little humans. There is nothing like coming home to two happy faces who couldn’t be more excited to see you and smother you with love and slobbery kisses.
And while I’m not joking in the slightest when I say they fight like cats and dogs, every once in a while, I do get to witness that YouTube worthy moment where they hug and love on each other. I’d like to think that as they get older, they’ll fight a little less and bond a little more. My four-year-old is constantly looking for someone to play with her, so it’s pretty cool to think that these two will never lack for having a playmate, a confidant, someone to sit next to at school, and hopefully a best friend.
Reality #10: If I Didn’t Have You
I never thought I would have twins and if you had asked me before if I wanted them, it would have been a resounding no. Of course now, I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. As challenging as life may be, they completed our family and have brought so much joy into our lives. And though I may not love all the stares and questions, I know it’s because they’re special and they make us special. We get to be part of this cool little twin community I never knew existed. It’s like you have an unspoken bond with other twin families, maybe because you totally understand each other’s struggles! We’ve had so many parents of twins come up just to tell us, it gets a little easier every day. And it’s true.
So if you see us walking down the grocery aisle, feel free to stare and wish us good luck; though I already know we couldn’t be luckier to have them. But let’s be real, more than likely you won’t see us, since we’re probably holed up at home, dancing the night away.