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Raising Twins, Did You Say Two Babies?
Where It Started...
Every person on the planet that longs to be a parent finds themselves in this hurricane of emotions that we all refer to as "baby fever". I was no different and would soon learn that one should be careful what they wish for as they might just get more than they bargained for.
I was 26 years old and dying to fulfill my lifelong dreams of becoming a Mother to a baby and, like most baby crazy women, was ready and willing to try any and all old wives tales known to man on how to properly conceive a child. I had countless women tell me what I should and shouldn't do to increase my chances of getting pregnant that ranged from positions to standing on your head for 30 minutes afterwards to help direct traffic. I can't say that any of these tricks actually worked as my husband was unable to convince his swimmers to correctly find my egg, probably because they were just so pumped full of a decades worth of Mountain Dew that they swam in circles, for 2 consecutive years. We tried over and over with every month ending up with heartache and defeat. It felt like something that just wasn't meant to be and as if my childhood dreams were just dreams and nothing more. What is it that they say about conceiving a baby, once you stop trying it will happen? Well, it worked. Who knew that giving up would actually pay off?
January 2009, one woman desperate to see the proof of a pregnancy that had eluded her and a husband scared out of his mind sit and wait as the first ultrasound for their first born baby is taking place. "You've got two" were the words spoken by the ultrasound technician as she poked around my uterus. My eyes lit up and all I could think to say was "I knew it!" while my husband, who was nervously holding my hand, sat in disbelief and asked, almost instantly, "two of what?" "Babies, two babies" the Ultrasound Technician said. His jaw dropped right to the floor. I, on the other hand, was ecstatic. I wish I could tell you why and how I knew I was having twins but I really can't, especially if you factor in that twins do not run in either of our families. This "motherly instinct" of mine just kicked in early I suppose.
Hitting the baby lotto wasn't something I had envisioned for myself. I actually thought I would have 3 children of different ages and sexes and ended up with two sets of testicles growing inside my uterus at the same time. Yes, I gave birth to identical twin boys, River and Alexander.
Everything that I ever got in life had been a struggle and my pregnancy was certainly no piece of cake, although I did crave a lot of cupcakes during the 8 months of my expansion. My OB/GYN had warned us right from the beginning that this was going to be a high risk pregnancy that could very well end up with premature births and would indeed be a very well documented pregnancy complete with one of the most photographed uterus's in her practice. Well, she wasn't joking and I certainly wasn't laughing.
Eight months I carried two vampires in my body, eight months I didn't sleep, eight months I cried and after struggling through what seemed to be the most painful experience in my life I gave birth to identical twin boys on July 23, 2009. I was just 35 weeks pregnant.
The boys were born 5 weeks premature, via c-section, because my body rejected pregnancy much in the same way a new organ recipient rejects a liver. It was as if the mere challenge of growing more babies than a woman's body was meant to house wasn't enough as I was hit with complication after complication. First it was pure hormonal insanity which manifested itself into what my doctor called "irritable uterus", which is basically nonstop pre-term labor. This was followed up by gestational diabetes which then took me down the road of pre-eclampsia and the final breaking point that made me deliver two premature babies.
At 4lbs 14oz and 4lbs 15oz, baby "a" and baby "b" were so frail that no one wanted to hold them for fear that they would break. Every bone in their body was visible and you could watch their ribs expand and contract with every breath. I desperately wanted to take them home yet at the same time I desperately wanted to stay in the hospital on bed rest with nurses on standby to take care of two newborn babies. Well, as I am sure you guessed my insurance company sent me packing after five of the shortest days of my life. I did, however, go home alone. River and Alexander were taken to PICU, or Pediatric Intensive Care, when I was discharged. They were not unhealthy babies they were just too small to take home that even their newborn car seats were too big to safely strap them into. Alexander came home after a total of 7 days while is brother, River, came home after 10 days. What was to come with our family unit now consisting of a 4 person household was much much more than I anticipated.
That first year went by so quickly that it literally feels like I just blinked and poof it was over. I do not know how I managed to get through it but, as of this moment, everyone in my house is still breathing albeit a little crazy but alive nonetheless. I suppose you could say that despite all my best efforts to screw up, and there have been many of those moments, I'm still managing to keep smiles on their faces.
My boys have just turned 2 years old and we are now in full blown toddler combat with cannons exploding left and right and where the statement "not tonight honey, I have a headache" is a commonality in our nighttime talks. I am by no means an expert at raising a child and am even less of an expert at raising two children of the same age at once but I am experienced and if you are anything like I was the moment I left the hospital you'll be fascinated to see what the future lies in store and just how much aspirin you may need to purchase. I encourage you to keep reading, especially if you are a brand new Mother like I was. I may not have all the answers but I may have a lot of mistakes and hey, isn't learning through another person's misfortune how one becomes knowledgeable? I guess we'll find out.
- Raising Twins, Welcome to Motherhood
First comes pregnancy, then comes a swift kick in the butt.