Surviving

Well, here I am…

The mother of FIVE kids with newborn twins.

I am here to say I am alive, and I am surviving!

Some days I feel like I am thriving, but 8/10 I would say surviving.

Most twin moms say that the first few months are just a blur… so I wanted to document some things I’ve learned that have helped me deal with the needs of five tiny humans.

  • BREASTFEEDING — Guys, I’m doing it. I am breastfeeding twins. I try to do the eat-wake-sleep routine. I had fed my other three girls for 1-year, and so I knew my body could do it. I just wasn’t sure how it would all work out with two babies. I’m grateful I was patient with myself, and now I feel like we found our groove. The around-the-clock feeding at the hospital for two weeks was probably a blessing for us. It was so nice to come home and finally just feed my babies on demand, rather than a strict schedule. It made the world of difference having them in the same room so I could tend to their needs. More often than not, I try to feed them at the same time. The first time I tried it, I felt SO WEIRD. It’s less comfortable than nursing one, but it’s much more efficient. With one baby you can slouch, lean back, lay down… but with two it’s more business. Handling two newborns is only doable with My Breast Friend double nursing pillow. That thing is huge, and super helpful. The boys are growing. They can also take a bottle, so far so good. I’m not against bottle feeding or formula. I may sound super granola to tell people I’m breastfeeding twins. Honestly, I do it because it’s what I know. It’s easiest for me, it’s convenient, it’s regulated by the babies, and it’s cheaper. Their biggest job is learning how to eat, and I think we got that. My favorite is when I get to nurse one at a time… Whether we are out in public, or I just feel like some extra snuggle time, it takes way longer, but it’s sometimes nice.

Breastfeeding in the car… crazy… 

  • BREASTFEEDING WITH OTHER KIDS — It’s all about being prepared. Grab your phone, your water, the remote, a few books, a puzzle, a burp rag… all before you sit down. It’s the worst trying to feed two babies if you have to grab something. You really can’t. However, it is nice because your hands are free. With bottle feeding, you have to hold the bottles. I try to make it a fun time for my other kids, and we can read together or talk. I try to put my phone away if they are nearby, so I don’t totally neglect them.
  • GET CONNECTED — I am so thankful for the Facebook mom groups. It feels like they can read my mind. There is a group for everything. I also realized I can search Facebook and any public posts will pop up. This has been great, and gets right to the issue without lots of scrolling. I’ve never been one to post a lot, but any time I have, it has given me the reassurance I need.
  • BABY GEAR — I’m happy with the things I decided to purchase and how they’re working out. Best investment — the pacifier clips. It’s nice not to have to track those things down, and my girls can help the boys sooth themselves. I also like my rock-n-plays. They are great “holders” while I’m working on something else for a bit. Wade likes to nap in his, since he prefers to be a little more upright and swaddled. I didn’t use my double pack-n-play as much as I thought I would. In the beginning, they were making lots of grunting noises, so we moved them to the nursery. It was nice for the first few weeks to have adorable swaddled blankets at the foot of my bed. It also helped Michael be more hands-on. He was able to hear them, and help hand them to me. The swaddle sacks were great… It’s hard to lift newborn babies up, and they were so tightly bundled it made lifting them with one hand easier.
  • GETTING OUT — Our first outing was to Bush’s Chicken and to a small playground. Of course, the day we loaded all 5 kids in the car was the day that their fryer was broken. A drive-thru experience that should’ve taken 5 minutes was more like 30. It was pretty comical. Luckily, my mom was with me and we just laughed. The boys did fine, but you just never know what to expect. Our second outing was better. We decided to see a morning summer movie at the theater. I didn’t feel like strolling in my double stroller, so I opted for a wrap and carried them both on me. This was great! I did the same the first time I took them both to church. It was nice because I knew I would just be sitting — and I got extra snuggles in. Strangers just smiled and were less nosey… and we got out! I did have to YouTube how to do it a few times. I’m sure I looked hilarious with my phone, wrap, and two babies in the parking lot. Luckily, my mom went in ahead with the other 3 or we would’ve got even more stares. 😉
  • GROCERY SHOPPING — I started doing Walmart grocery pickup. It’s amazing, and feels like I’m cheating the system. Michael picked it up on his way home, and I couldn’t believe I skipped so many steps!! I only had to put them away…. Incredible! I have ventured out with the boys, and everyone always tells me I have my hands full. I just smile, and say to myself, “Oh, if you only knew…” The babies are easy!! I do have to push the stroller and pull the cart. I found it’s the easiest way. Putting two infant carriers in the buggy doesn’t work, and I didn’t want to wear one since they were both sleeping. I think I’ll do the one ride, wear one trick when they can sit up. The craziest outing was when I brought Afton along too. I had the extended cart with the seats and just kept stacking stuff on there. I wasn’t getting more than a few water bottles and paper towels or something, but it was still pretty laughable. I also realized that only old people and SAHMs are at the store at 10am… both groups love babies. 😉
  • DIAPERS — So. many. diapers. WOW. I was grateful Michael’s work gave us a lot of diapers as a gift before the boys arrived. We go through so many of them. I also forgot just how few NB and Size 1 you need. They were up to size 2 by 2 months or so. I also started putting plastic grocery sacks in the nursery dresser drawer. After I change them, I put the diapers in the bag and carry them out to the garage. This worked great, but one day I couldn’t find a baby moccasin shoe (Try keeping track of 4 baby shoes), and I retraced my steps to find it in the trash can. Opps…  So glad I found it. Stinky, but I found it.

  • DINNERS — The ladies from my church were incredible. I felt so spoiled. Meals from Aug – Sept! A lot of times, everyone gets hungry at the same time. That means the babies need to be fed the same time as the kids. It was difficult to have the girls home from 3:30, and have to feed them instead of give them attention in that small window. I tried to have an after school snack on the counter before they walked in the door. Sometimes I would have to feed the babies at 3:3o and again at 6:30 ish… Cluster feeding in the evenings is HARD!! Also, right when you sit down to help babies, is when your 3-year-old will come walking in with the ice cream container begging for ice cream. It’s always best to have things in their reach in the pantry or fridge for them to get when it gets busy!! I also needed to decide on dinner BEFORE dinner time. If I just make the decision of what to eat around lunch time, it seems so much easier. I also chop stuff or prep around lunch time, so my kitchen can just get messy one time… then dinner is less crazy.
  • ZONES — I operate with zones. We get out of the car… we bring everything in. I have to essentially “cross that zone off in my mind.” That means, Wherever I am, I try to concentrate on that area until I leave. If I’m playing with Afton in the playroom… it gets messy. I don’t mind the mess… but I have to clean it before we move on to the next room and activity. When we get ready in the morning, we aren’t “done” until the clothes are off the floor and that room can be crossed off. This makes it more peaceful in my home, because I can move from room to room without feeling overwhelmed. I’m not perfect at it, but it’s my goal.
  • ALWAYS HOLDING SOMETHING — Along with the zones, I realized I need to always have something in my hands. Walking down the hall? Take something to the kitchen. Going to your room? Take that thing that needs to be put away. I am constantly cleaning up without technically “cleaning up” because it’s just transporting things to their proper room. Sometimes I’ll leave a little pile and then when it’s that zone’s turn, it’ll get put away. I also talk to my girls about “leaving a trail.” This means, when I walk into the bathroom and I see a spray bottle, the towel on the ground, the water left on, and the brush on the counter… I can guess what you were doing. You left a trail. I feel like it’s very visual for them to see their tracks. The less trails, the less mess. Less stress.
  • SMILES — The best day was when the boys started making eye contact and smiling. It felt like zombie mode was (almost) ending, and I was connecting with real babies!!! It felt like it took forever!!! That’s like 600 feedings later 😉 … I think just around the 2-month mark. I love them. They make my heart melt, and their whole faces light up. Michael is the best at making them giggle!

  • N-SYNC — I think the hardest part of having twins is the battle of being synchronized. You’re sleepy..are you? Oh dang, he’s crying and hungry but he’s still asleep. What do you do? Stall one? Wake one? He’s not falling asleep, but that one’s been asleep for an hour… What do you do?!?! It’s a constant inner struggle. It’s not for the faint of heart. I’ve done a mixture of things, and there is no right answer. Just know that it’s a thing. A real thing. You battle with each baby having his own independence, and the need to keep them the same so you don’t die all day long. You know that they are each individuals with needs, but it’s just super great when those needs match up with brother’s! Sometimes when they are a little off, it lends itself to more one-on-one time. Extra rocks, snuggles, smiles and attention. I will say one thing… the nights I tried to just feed one, instead of waking the other… I literally saw every hour on the clock. Awful. It is so hard to wake a sleeping baby. Try doing it at 2am.
  • HOLDING TWO — The other thing I didn’t realize was how hard it is to hold two babies. Think about it– have you ever held two babies at once? I don’t think I had, until the boys came. It’s actually pretty difficult. They are squirmy and don’t have the best head-coordination, so lifting and maneuvering two is hard. Going into bath time, getting one out of the bath. Trying to do diaper changes. Getting them into the car. It’s kinda crazy. Everywhere I go, babies need to come. It’s double everything. Get one car seat out, get another out. I literally open every door in my car. It’s so funny. I’m grateful for my minivan with the sliding doors… There’s no way I could worry about bumping doors on both sides of my vehicle trying to get two infant carriers out. I go everywhere with my snap-n-go stroller. It’s the only way. It does feel silly to wheel that thing up to a play date at a friend’s house… but guess what.. It’s a holding tank. It’s a command center. It’s a way for you to tend to one, while setting the other down. It’s totally necessary. With that said, it does cause a scene… 😉 But that’s just the norm with twins.
  • CELEBRITIES — We really do feel like celebrities when we walk out. I overhear moms say, “Oh look, she has TWOOO babies.” Or grandmas that love to ask questions. Everyone is fascinated with them. A lot of moms on FB say this is annoying… and yeah, I get it, but it’s also a great way to talk to random people. Most people in East Texas are really friendly. I find it’s a fun way to connect with people, during a generation of iPhones and blank stares. This was when we went to get our oil changed…

  • WALKS — We don’t get out to run errands or be in public every day. I try to do one day out, one day at home. This gives the boys some solid naps that aren’t in their carseats, and it gives me a chance to catch up on things and give Afton some attention. With that said, we usually try to go on a long morning walk. I remember doing this with my first baby, and it’s a great way to get the Vitamin D and tire them out for their morning nap. I love that it’s fall, and the fresh air is just perfect! I play I Spy with Afton, and it makes life feel simple for a bit.

  • ME TIME — It can be totally exhausting to take care of twins. The back-to-school grind has been tough. Picking up kids, managing homework, getting kids to soccer 3 nights a week… We are go, go, go. One night Michael sent me to bed at 7 or 8, as he put the other kids to bed. I used the time to take a bath, watch a show, paint my nails and just be me! It felt great. I probably should have been sleeping…. The boys were doing their long stretches at night from 8pm – 12am, so that was great…but 12am to 4am is better! 😉 Anyway, it felt good to just have some time. It’s hard for me to nap when I get up and start moving. One day I tried to nap, and spent the whole 2 hours I had trying to get the babies to sleep so I could sleep. I usually just close my eyes for 5-10 minutes, and I feel like I slept for hours. Bags under my eyes are a real thing. It’s crazy how much sleep affects your appearance, but also your mood. I realized I need to be extra patient with my kids because I am running on empty. When I would get irritated or upset, it’s rarely because of something they did, and more because I’m utterly exhausted. I did have the perspective– it doesn’t last forever. I know that those first 2 months are the worst. Just last night I had my first time sleeping from 11pm to 4am! I could NOT believe it!! It felt wonderful. I also left one night to go shopping… Weston is growing out of his clothes and needed some bigger sizes. I was gone for 1.5 hours and hit 3 stores. I felt so FREEEE….. It’s liberating to go somewhere and only worry about yourself.
  • REMEMBER THE FUN — Michael had a guy’s trip planned, and he had a great time for 5 days in Arizona. People thought I was crazy for letting him go, but you have to remember the fun. Remember that he’s a human too. Luckily, my good friend from high school came out to help. She and I stayed up talking and laughing, and she was the BEST to have around. She was so helpful!! We managed to do the first weekend of soccer games, go out to eat and more… She’s supermom, and we had FUN! 

I sent this picture to Michael… all 5 kids!! 

  • TAKE MORE PICTURES — In this world of iPhones and such, it seems silly to say take more pictures. But for real, it goes by so fast. The first few months have so much change. You forget!! With Carmen I think I took her picture every day. I was so enamored by her, and I loved showing off her new outfits! I have to remind myself to take lots of pictures of the boys. Some alone, some together, some with mom, some with dad. The combos are endless, and I can’t take enough photos. They are two separate babies, after all. The time will come when I’ll need a bathtime photo of so-and-so… and you can’t mess that up. 😉

MY BODY — Ok, so let’s be honest. The real achievement is being able to carry TWO babies to term. I’m so proud of my body and what it was able to accomplish. I had so many aches and pains towards the end, I forgot how miserable I felt. I couldn’t stand up to have a conversation, and I took a bath every night. I rubbed myself with lotion, and I was exhausted! The second those boys came out, I felt like a new person. I was so light!! I could walk! I could go grab something!! I told people, I feel like I can relate to what it feels like to be obese in a way… the lack of energy, the heartburn, the amount of effort it takes to do every day things. It’s miserable. You really are living your life on the sidelines, watching everything happen. Ok, that’s dramatic… but you get the idea. I’m so happy! I gained 50+ lbs, and I still have 20 to go, but there’s a time and season for that too. I can’t exercise and diet hard core, when I’m feeding two humans around the clock. My focus is still on fattening them up. I will get my body back, I will get my body back, I will get my body back… Until then… one day at a time. 

These were my feet the week before I delivered. 😦 

  • FUNNY MOMENTS — There have been some funny moments too. Like when Wade peed on Weston’s face in the tub. Only twins could say that… Or when they are both sitting peacefully and simultaneously fill their diaper. So random.

 

We are happy. We are surviving! It’s fun, and most days it is crazy… but I can’t picture my life any other way. I feel so humbled by this blessing. Two beautiful, healthy boys! As we say in the South, God is so good, and I am so blessed.

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One response to “Surviving

  1. Pingback: Twin Mama 2017 |·

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