This is definitely one of my more open post so stay with me only if you want hear the truth. The truth is, being a twin mom is pretty cool. You get two babies, only one pregnancy, and your children have a life long, built-in best friend. The truth is also that being am mom to twins has broken me down and molded me in so many ways. This is my experience.
The hardest three months of my life. When we brought the babies home I was still in the honeymoon phase. They slept the whole first week. I was still extremely swollen and my boobs felt like hell. All I did was nurse, nurse, and nurse.
By the end of that first month, all of the life was sucked out of me, literally, and I was hanging on by thread. Patrick and my mom were back at work and I was home with the boys. Every morning I'd wake with extreme anxiety knowing Patrick would be leaving for the day to go work, and I would be left with the twins alone. I could handle having the babies on my own, but when he was there I just felt much more...capable and relaxed, I didn't worry as much. From the moment the boys woke up it was go, go go. Not to mention, they were still waking 3-4 times through out the night to eat. I began to supplement with formula in hopes of keeping them fuller, longer, but that didn't work for us. They didn't sleep any longer, so we were exhausted.
I spent every day of the first 3 months doing the same exact things over and over again. I didn't do anything other than feed them, hold them, and pump. Often, I would forget to eat, and if you know me that's very out of character.
When I did a a little bit of down time in the day, I would read every blog and watch every YouTube video I could about babies and sleep. There were days when they both were so fussy and I had to choose who to pick up and comfort first. My heart aways ached anytime I wasn't able to console both. It seemed like they were never happy at the same time.
I was so relieved when their pediatrician gave us the go ahead to start going out in public. Finally, I would see something other than these 4 walls. I started to go on walks 2 time sometimes 3 times a day. If it was too hot I'd go to the mall with my mom and walk around. Getting them out and in the stroller was nice but I it was such a long process to even leave the house.
They needed to be fed and put in clean diapers and dressed. Then I needed to shower and get dressed. By the time I was dressed it was time for them to eat again, so then I had to halfway undress to nurse them again, and then pump, and then change diapers again. Leaving the house felt like one big shit show, it was always chaotic.
I did have a lot of anxiety about taking them out in public also, and my biggest fear was that I would be walking through the mall with 2 screaming babies and me not being able to keep it together in that situation and everyone just staring at me waiting for me to settle them and make them stop crying.
These were probably 2 more of the hardest months of my life. Kinly was diagnosed with strider ( a noisy or high-pitched breathing, usually caused by a blockage). It was so scary because it always seemed like he was struggling to breathe. He had to be hospitalized for multiple days.
The babies slept in bed with us and we were going on however many days in a row without consecutive hours of sleep at a time. We could have started the process of sleep training, but I hadn't found a method yet that I felt comfortable using, and I just felt like they were just to young. I was still hanging on to nursing for about half of their feedings as I noticed my supply starting to dwindle down. Their daily schedule looked a lot different at this point because they were awake and alert for lot longer periods of time.
I had finally come up with a daily schedule that we could stick too but they still weren't sleeping through the night. They were much more aware and became more demanding for my attention. I remember rolling all over the living room floor sometimes with some of their favorite toys, making the silliest noises just to keep them entertained and crying to a minimum. It was rare when they were both content at the same time.
It was still pretty hard. Babies were still not sleeping through the night but now they were able to entertain them selves a bit more. We introduced the walkers and a giant hand-me-down playpen that their cousins gave us. We set it up in the living room and they loved it. It allowed them to have so much safe space in the living room to roll around and crawl, and I didn't have to worry about them getting into places they shouldn't be.
Even though they were able to entertain themselves a bit more they were extremely clingy because they were used to being with just me all day. I would feel so bad when Patrick would come home from work and the boys would be so stand offish the first few minutes of him being home but they would eventually warm up.
I was still holding on for deer life to nursing the boys, but Mattix had become extremely uninterested in the boob, probably because my supply wasn't as abundant, so he would get bottles of stored breastmilk. Every time that I nursed Kinly and bottle-fed Mattix I felt guilty, even though I wasn't producing enough milk for both of them anyway.
I was still pumping every 2 hours, even throughout the night. Pumping became my main priority other than taking care of the babies. We also introduced solids at this time. It was so much fun seeing them try different things.
I kicked the pump to the curb and I was done with nursing. I was extremely committed to to nursing and pumping because I felt like they HAD to have my milk because that's what all the experts in the articles said, but I had had enough. My milk making obsession had finally taken a toll on me and I decided one morning after I had gotten behind on my pumping schedule and I had two hungry babies screaming at me while trying to pump them a bottle to eat. That was my breaking point. Why was I sitting there attached to a machine watching my babies cry because they're hungry and I could've have just made them a quick bottle of formula. Ofcourse, I felt guilty for "giving up" but I felt so free once I stopped. I was so much better mentally and physically. I was such a better mom once I let go of pressure I put on my self to soley feed my babies from my body. I missed absolutely nothing about pumping but I did miss the bonding time that came from nursing. I am thankful I was able to do it for as long as I did.
Once we put them on formula completely my days became a lot less stressful, and that anxiety I would feel as Patrick got ready for work in the mornings was nowhere near as intense. I started to enjoy being a stay at home mom again, and I didn't spend half an hour at a time attached to a machine. It was pure bliss.
Right after Christmas time, they were reaching the end of 8 months we finally dove into sleep training after months of research and talking myself into doing it. We did a gentle cry it out method with a dream feed around 10pm, and they were sleep within the first 5 minutes the first night and slept through 11 hours straight. We were SHOOK, and immediately thought "why hadn't we done this sooner?" It was so refreshing to finally get more than 2-3 consecutive hours of sleep. I was brand new person!
By nine months, the boys were just busy, busy, busy. Still sleeping through the night pretty well, bedtime at 7pm, waking around 6:30-7:00am with two naps in the daytime. Everyday was a little bit easier, getting good nights sleep made a huge difference. At the end of the nine month mark, Mattix was completely walking. Mckinly was catching on quickly too. He'd take few consecutive steps here and there, but I think because he was so tall he had much harder time getting his balance. It was so exciting to see them toddling around everywhere. Unfortunately, their consistent ear infections that started around this time didn't help with them trying to balancing, so walking was rough at times. They would get ear infections all the time, sometimes twice a month, so we started considering getting their adenoids removed and tubes put in.
I started working in July, when they were about 14 months. Of course, I had to put them in daycare. I dreaded this moment all year long knowing I had planned on starting work after their first year. I had so many worries. Will they eat at daycare? Will they take their naps at daycare? When I drop them off will they think I'm leaving them forever?
Luckily I was able to ease them into to daycare. Their first few days they went for a few hours and we slowly built up to them being able to stay all day. I know they would have been fine staying the whole day, they had amazing teachers, it was me that was having the hard time letting go. I went from spending all my days with them to not, and that was hard. I cried in the parking lot of my job for the first few weeks. I just missed everything about being with them 24/7 and not missing a beat. I was still excited about finally starting my career, but I was missing that precious time at home with my babies. I felt guilty, especially when I would drop them off in the morning and they'd be hysteraical. To my surprise the crying didn't last very long, well for Mattix is didn't. Mattix took to daycare like he had been going there is whole life, not surprising. Mckinly had a bit harder time adjusting, like his mama. When we'd pull to the daycare and they'd realized where they were going, I'd have to basically pry Mckinly out of his carseat to go inside.
Even though the transition from staying at home and going to daycare was extremely difficult for us all, it was worth it. Besides the boys being able to enjoy being around other kids, they learned so much!
The only downside to daycare was that they got sick, A LOT! By October, I had use just about all my sick days because of how often they would get sick. Colds with high fevers, strep, flu, RSV, stomach bug. Mattix even had to be hospitalized with severe breathing issues caused by a respiratoty virus, he was in the beginning stages of pneumonia.
18 Months - Present
My greatest challenge yet. As soon as the boys turned 18 months, everything changed. They were talking. Throwing tantrums, and getting in and out of their beds at night. We are exhausted, and the will power of a toddler is unmatched. The things they pick up on are so funny and cute, the things they are starting to say are hilarious. They have these cute little conversations that only they can understand. They are becoming so much more independent, its insane. They can communicate so much better now and everyday is full of surprises!
This journey, raising twins has been such a ride. It's such a cool experience to watch the bond these little boys have from my lens. I know the bond that twins have, and to experience that and then to watch it from the start has been, so fulfilling and so special!
Tips for Surviving the first 2 years with twins:
1. It's the little moments that are the most memorable. Being at home these last few months have given me a lot of time to reflect. These are the moments that I will miss the most. The days when we don't leave the couch and eat chicken nuggets for lunch, and dinner. Other days we're running circles around the livingroom playing tag while dinner's in the oven. These moments tend to feel insignificant, but in reality they are so special. I already mourn this time we've had to spend our days together from start to finish when we go back to work. We have not planned a single day since quarantine, there's so much beauty in that. Letting the day go by slowly until we're all back in bed and ready to do it again. Count the small things.
2. Stop and BREATHE. Our favorite things to do these days is to get outside. When the boys are fussing and not getting along, going outside seems to do the trick. Letting them get some fresh air and run around has really made a difference.
3. You need two of everything even if people tell you, you only need one. Taking turns is not an option, try it, and you'll see what I mean.
4. Lower your expectations. You may have ideas in your head how you think an experience is going to go, but no matter how well you plan you cannot predict how things are going to go with 2 babies.
5. Take advantages of the one on one time. I started doing this early on. Whenever one of the boys would sleep longer than the other, instead waking the other up right away, I'd use that time for extra cuddles and bonding with whoever was up with me. It was nice to have that little time with one baby to really focus on them and give them 100 percent of my attention. The time is s valuable even when they're little.
6. Get used to getting out of the house. I know with two babies, just the thought of getting ready and going out somewhere in public is overwhelming. It is, but don't let that hold you back from experiencing the things you want to experience. Is it hard getting two babies and yourself out of the house all in one piece, HELL YES! But, the more you do it the easier it gets and eventually, packing the diaper bag and getting ready to leave the house becomes second nature and less time consuming.
7. Get in a routine. Stay on a routine not only helps me but it helps once you establish routines for different things so that your babies know what to expect. For example, we have routines for pretty much everything. now, they are not very strict but there are certain steps that we do every single day for different things. For example; when the boys wake up in the morning we do a series of the same exact things daily. It cuts down on tantrums because they already know what is to come. For bathtime, and bedtime we have a routine as well. It is up to you how strict or loose you want to be with a routine, but I will say when your baby knows what to expect from you each day, everything goes a lot smoother.