Thursday, September 17, 2009

Twins: romance vs reality

I have always wanted twins - I don't know quite where I got this notion from but I do remember always saying I wanted twins.

I even have twins on my vision board!

Then when Dr J told me we were having twins at my 7-week ultrasound, I was beyond excited. I literally couldn't stop smiling.

I suppose it's like those scenes in the movies where the two star-crossed lovers run toward each other across a field of flowers.

Slow motion, soft focus, lovely romantic music...

I had this romantic view of twins - having a lovely belly, giving birth according to plan, being discharged from the hospital WITH my two babies and then looking after them at home.

And of course, dressing them in cute clothes, taking lots of pics, etc.

I knew it would be a lot of work - it's obvious, everything is doubled - but I'm not that lazy (!) so I thought things would be okay.

Well, I had the lovely pregnancy even though the birth didn't go according to plan. And of course, the twins were in NICU which doesn't help matters much.

But bringing them home very quickly jerked that romantic view right out of my head.

When Connor came home the three of us had a lovely 11 days of feeling what it was like with just one baby.

We had some one-on-one bonding time with him despite being sleep deprived and me mourning the sudden end of my pregnancy.

"What are you doing with that camera?"
Well, Connor, since we're up anyway, might as well have some fun!

I really thought this whole thing was doable (despite it being hectic visiting the NICU all the time and the horrible pumping) and couldn't wait for Kendra to come home to complete our family unit.

People, I was crazy! Because I had not a clue of what was to come.

Kendra then came home and I'm like OH MY WORD.

Why on earth did no-one tell me it was THIS bad?


Why does no-one tell you?

Is it that they think they'll rain on your parade or don't want to be a downer?

I'm the type of person that really doesn't like to hear lots of bad things but I would much rather have the truth so I can deal with it than be strung along.

Even with the IVF thing, that's why I loved my Dr G so much - he's not much for the BS - tells it to you straight so you can deal with it.

Anyway, so I started thinking maybe everyone else is just more together than I am, or maybe I really am a freak who will never be a good mother.

I remember being so sleep-deprived I did things like putting dishes meant for the cupboard in the fridge, dropping and breaking medicine bottles, sleeping in my clothes because I was too tired to change into pajamas, not showering until 3pm in the afternoon, leaving crumbs on the counter (big no-no for me!), and the list goes on and on.

D holding Kendra - she would not settle so he had to eat one-handed while holding her

Until I sent a text to my friend Natalie one day saying something like "I'm exhausted, finished, blah blah. Can't do this. Babies driving me crazy, etc."

She'd also had a bad day so we commiserated with one another and that made me feel non-freakish about not loving this newborn stage.

Why do we all pretend that things are fine when they're not?! Or is it only me?

And then most people would say things like "I'm sure you can't imagine your life without them" and I'd just not answer because the truth is "oh yes, I sooooo can".

You see, I really didn't realise it was so relentless.

In addition to the work, there's the time it all takes.

Two babies on a 3-hour feeding schedule = maybe an hour of rest in between

And that's 24/7.

Yay, it's the early hours of the morning and time to play!

In those hours, there's laundry to be done, bottles to wash, sterilise, mix; I have to eat and shower, cook, etc.

I actually screamed at D once when he DARED suggest that I sleep when the babies sleep.

And then who will do the bottles and laundry???

I can't believe I actually considered having our day nanny only start when I go back to work in December. God was definitely guiding me to hire her from September because I think I would be crazy by now. No jokes!

I remembered all this stuff because my friend, R, brought her twin girls home on Tuesday and I think is going through some of what I did. Except she was clever and hired a full-time night nanny. I remember her asking a few months ago if I thought she'd need someone during the day too - um, YES! - so I said my piece but then left it. You also don't want to scare people senseless.

D asked me how she was doing and I said I think going through some of that twin romance thing. He now knows exactly what I mean!

I still think my babies are cute and I love when they do clever things, make their little noises and so on, but boy oh boy, the rose-coloured glasses are firmly off.

Do you like people to tell you the truth even if it's hard to hear?

P.S. I know I may be royally annoying a lot of you esp if you're not pregnant yet. I totally get that. I remember reading something on Tertia's blog once where she complained about her toddlers not sleeping and how she had to get up numerous times at night. I got irritated reading that post thinking I would KILL to have that problem because it'd mean I'd have children. And someone actually commented and said something like that.

So I get it. I'm very grateful to have the babies and when I'm rested and they're sleeping, I am VERY happy and feel rivers of love for them. I'm just really, REALLY looking forward to the days when I can sleep 6 - 8 hours consecutively again.


  1. I think I'm feeling the same way- only with one baby. I've always loved the idea of twins, but now that I have one, I wonder if I could truly make it with two at once. I suppose we'll see how much God trusts me when I get pregnant again. In the meanwhile, I love my baby with all of my heart and I thank God for him everyday, but I'm not digging the newborn stage. It's rough. I HATE breastfeeding and I feel like I'm struggling so hard to get some sleep that I'm wasting my nights and days away. I tried to explain it all in my blog and really struggled to not sound so negative. I'm glad someone else understands, though. Thanks for writing this!

  2. Anonymous4:33 am

    Okay ~ go out and buy an obnoxious number of bottles and nipples and sterilize them so you only have to wash and sterilize once every other day. Keep them in a sudsy new bucket of soapy water until you are ready to do them. That alone kept me sane.
    My sister had a six week old infant when she and hubby had their "reuniting honeymoon" after he was born. She got pregnant with identical twin boys. Three boys. Two pregnancies. 19 months. Want reality?? Wait until you put them down and they roll away/crawl/run/dig through your stuff/ break things/ throw food and spill stuff/ scream in anger at you/ refuse to sit still/ pinch or bite you/ run away in a shopping centre/ both have a vomiting virus at the same time.... Oh, dear one! Parenting is VERY hard. I can remember calling my husband at work after one of mine broke something and saying to him, "I can never have nice things again!!" crying not because the item was valuable, but because everything, including the clothes on my back, was "game" for destruction!!!!!
    It passes quickly, though, when you are down the pike and looking back. I only have a handful of years before my eldest moves away to college ~ I can't believe it.
    Every stage has it's difficulty and it's joy. Try to write down ALL the joys you can think of!!

    This too shall pass... more quickly than you will ever want it to. You are living the years you will reminisce about when you are older. THESE are the memories you will cherish, no matter how difficult.
    Hang in there!

  3. I'm sure there are more challenges to come (like walking and potty training, ugh!!), but speaking from the nearly-6-month gets SO much better!! When they are smiling, laughing, and "talking," it's a little easier to deal with the bad moments. You may actually feel better when you go back to work...I say work is like a "break" for me sometimes! : )

  4. HA! If they told us all the horrors we a.) wouldn't believe that it was THAT bad and b.) would slowly stop procreating! I feel you on missing sleep. I often wonder how I am going to work with these two! I swear the NICU always discharges the "good" baby first!
    You are a wonderful mother who is learning to cope with her ever changing and evolving world! Sleep deprivation is an evil reality for us and you need not punish yourself. However often people say "sleep when they sleep" is truly crazy and has never had twins! Besides by the time you actually fell asleep and started to get some real rest, they'd wake up to be fed again! I often wonder why the singletons complain about their one and congratulate us on our two?!?!
    As for the truth-it's always the best path no matter how difficult it is to take!

  5. I have a good friend at work that has twin boys that are now 3 years old. She never told me how hard it would be when I was pregnant. I don't think she wanted to scare me. I appreciate that.

    She told me how bad it was when I started complaining. Now she's my cheerleader. She stops by my desk and chants, "It gets easier. They will sleep someday."

    We are getting close to them both sleeping through the night and they are 16 weeks today. Hang in there.

  6. Anonymous12:53 pm

    Thanks for your honesty Marcia, I really enjoyed reading this blog. I would definitely like people to tell me the truth rather than only telling me the good things. It's a good thing to have some idea how difficult it is, before the twins arrive, than have blinkers on, and then when they arrive, you feel desperate,like you are drowning and no-one is there to save you. I am so glad that I have been able to read your blogs before my twins arrive! Love Caren

  7. A friend once told me that if we knew everything there was to know about having children that no one would ever have any. Same thing about marriage. If we knew everything we would never do it! It's hard and I often wonder how anyone does it with twins. I did not sleep one full minute last night. I went to bed at 12:30, because, hello! There are things to do! Chores, bottles, not to mention thank you notes for gifts and birth announcements! Anyway, I laid down at 12:30 am after feeding BB and she was up every 1/2 hour until 6:30 this morning. My eyes are crossing I'm so tired! I totally get what you are saying! Don't feel bad. It's reality! We can love our babies with everything in us but that doesn't make it less difficult to be so crazy tired and busy! We do what we can! For instance, BB is in a laundry basket lined with blankets right now! = ) And she is sleeping peacefully...little stinker!

  8. Anonymous10:56 pm

    My baby is 3 weeks old and I feel the same way! (but I have it so much easier with just one baby). I truly don't know how twin mamas do it! Being a mommy is so much harder than I thought it would be. Of course I love him to pieces, but I confess that I don't totally love the newborn stage (and I feel extremely guilty about that!). You are definitely not alone.

  9. Every baby is different and every story is different. I've had Mom's with a "good" baby sit in wonder of what's wrong and try to give advice to the Mom of a "difficult" baby.

    Kendra was such an EASY baby. Her first few days home from the hospital, she did fuss a lot, but my mom and Tim pitched in and by the time I was on my own with her, she had mellowed out. Except the night that I tried to bathe her in the bathroom sink and nearly drowned her, I did really well. She slept good, ate good, and I got plenty of sleep. She was cheerful and easily entertained and almost never sick.

    Roll forward 2 1/2 years. Vannan was born and she was fussy, didn't sleep or eat well, and totally off schedule of my now hyper and precocious 2 year old. If Vannan was awake, she was crying. Kendra managed to interupt most of Vannan's meals - she figured out how to unlock the door and thought it was a hoot to take off her clothes and run into the front yard - which was postage stamp size and along a MAJOR road. Kendra was a good sleeper, and went to bed early, and got up early. Vannan was up half the night, so I wasn't getting much sleep. I wondered many days if I was really cut out to be a mom - and one VERY sleep deprived moment, at the end of one very long week, I was walking back and forth on the deck (high above ground), stumbling around with a screaming baby watching Kendra play ... and the thought crossed my mind that if I were to fall and drop this screaming baby over the edge, I could sleep finally. At which point I was so shaken by such a thought, that I made Kendra come inside for the rest of the day. I called Tim to bring home supper, and when he walked in the door, gave him crying Vannan and went straight to bed.

    It did get better. By 4 months, things were settling down. Today, Kendra is still easily entertained and easily distracted. Nothing ruffles her feathers. And often it is hard to keep her on a task because nothing really seems that important to her. Vannan is still high strung and walks to her own drum beat - but loves check lists and completes most of her chores without any reminders or prodding, though she's immature enough that I do have to make sure she didn't overlook anything.

    Honestly, you would have a very different picture of twins if you had 2 Conner's and and even bleaker picture of motherhood if you had 2 Kendra's.

    The days are long ... but the years are short. Take tons of pictures and cope the best you can. Soon things will settle down and it will get easier.

  10. Rachel, what a beautiful comment.

    D said if we had triplet Connors it would still be less work than Connor and Kendra! I totally agree with you and thank God every day I didn’t get TWO high maintenance babies!


Thank you so much for leaving a comment and filling my love tank. I appreciate it!

I'd love to answer your email so please make sure your email address is enabled. In Blogger, go to Edit Profile, and under Privacy, tick the 3rd block and then Save Profile :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails