10 things I wish I knew before I became a mom of twins

10 things I wish I knew before I became a mom of twins

Being a parent of twins is amazing, bewildering, and extremely rewarding.

For a first time Mom, expecting twins can be very daunting.

Here are 10 thing I wish I knew about before the girls arrived.

 

 

Number one: Don’t buy too many baby clothes!

Before the girls made an appearance I did the usual. I stocked up on all the essentials. I managed to fill a wardrobe and chest of drawers full of baby clothes ranging from tiny baby, newborn, and 0 to 3 months.

I should have been stocking up on size 3 to 6 months and bigger, as our lovely family and friend bought us lots of beautiful baby clothes.

We needed an extra-large washing machine, let alone a new wardrobe.

 

Number two: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

As I have mentioned before, being a first time parent of twins can be extremely daunting.

And it can take a small thing like a rash to appear on your baby’s face or not being able to bring your baby’s wind up, to send you in to a panic.

When the twins first arrived I didn’t want people to think I didn’t know what I was doing. I felt like I could prove to myself that I could cope and that my motherly instincts would see me through. 

This caused me a lot of anxiety which was unnecessary. Sometimes all you need to do is ask.

 

Number three: To wind or not to wind: that is the question? 

Winding a baby can be really simple or the excruciatingly hard. In my case it was extremely hard.

My husband and I would spend hours trying to bring up the girls’ wind. We tried all the usual techniques and a few that we invented ourselves, only to get a small burp or nothing at all.

I had always thought you had to bring up wind after a feed and sometimes half way through, and if you don’t it could give your baby tummy pains and make them extremely uncomfortable. 

We learned the hard way that sometimes they just don’t need to burp!

 

Number four: Napping when your baby naps is essential.

I’ve never been someone that could take power naps throughout the day; it would always make me feel worse. My mummy friends and family kept telling me that I need to catch up on some sleep or I would burn myself out. They were right.

After a few weeks of long night feeds I was struggling to function and my anxiety was worse than ever. So I started taking the odd nap when the girls slept and I felt more myself again.

Number five: You will become a worrywart.

Honestly, before we got pregnant I didn’t think being a mom would change me. I was laid back and disorganised.

As soon as I became pregnant the worry started and I’m not sure it will ever go away.

But I wish I was more prepared for this uncontrollable emotion. We had the worst winter last year as the girls were ill for the most of it with every bug going, and the worry was just soul-consuming. We seemed to be constantly at the doctor’s/hospital.

I have now learnt that babies do get poorly and can get high temperatures. Stay calm: a bit of Calpol or Nurofen should do the trick. 

 

Number six: A simple cold can take weeks to overcome. 

It really is amazing how long one cold can last, but when a household with twins catches a simple cold it can take weeks to get over!

One baby would come home from nursery with a cold and by the end of the week the other baby would start to show symptoms. With all the lack of sleep and your immune system lowered, the bug then moves on to you and your partner.

It would seem we just keep passing it back to each other.

Number seven: You will never feel love like it.

I had heard about this intense love you’re meant to feel for your newborn baby and also of women that struggle to bond at first.

I was lucky enough to bond with my girls as soon as I heard them cry. The love I felt was incredible and has only grown more with every day, even with them going through the terrible twos.

The first few weeks was just amazing and the best feeling I’ve ever had. It was like we were in this little bubble of happiness and nothing could pop it. 

 

Number eight: You can’t just nip to the shop. 

So I did know this before but I didn’t really believe it. Quickly nipping to the shop is near impossible.

When you’ve got two babies to get out of the car in the pouring rain and you’re struggling to put the pushchair together and the rain covers on it, becomes a whole military operation.

I soon realised it just wasn’t worth the hassle.

 

Number nine: TV becomes amazing after the hours of 2 am.

With newborn babies comes night feeding. With two babies to feed, burping and changing, those nights can be very long.

Luckily I had my husband to help me through the majority of them.

After a couple of weeks one thing we both found hard was try to stay awake during the feeds.

And when we were asleep we would wake up in a panic as we couldn’t remember putting the baby back in her Moses basket. It was this frightful feeling that we might have fallen asleep during a feed.

One thing that really helped us stay awake was putting the TV on. I couldn’t get over how good TV is in the middle of the night! A few years ago all you would be able to find would be shopping channels. Now you can find all your favourite programs on repeat. 

 

Number ten: Sometimes you just need a little help.

I love being a mom of twins – it’s the best job in the world.

But when my hubby went back to work after his paternity finished I was truly terrified about how I was going to cope on my own.

A friend of mine told me to schedule as many friends and family in to help as possible.

But me being me I didn’t feel that I could ask for the help from others, especially as we all lead busy lives. Also I didn’t want it to seem I couldn’t cope or that I was struggling.

Luckily when the time came, we didn’t have to ask; our amazing family and friends rallied around us and gave us all the help we could have ever asked for.

We even had dinners brought round every night for the first few weeks by our friends, which really helped.

No matter how much you think you can do this on your own, your closest and dearest will always be there for you and my advice is to take as much help as you can! You will need it…!

 

Thanks for reading.

Why not comment and tell me what you wish you had known about before you had your babies?

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I’m a twin mom, get me out of here!

before c-sect.JPGBefore I went in to hospital on the day of my caesarean section I knew that I’d have to stay in for a night or two.

I really don’t like hospitals; you could say I’m a little scared of them. They’re not the sort of place you really want to be in and normally you’re there for bad reasons. The thought of having to stay overnight really freaked me out.

After my caesarean section I was brought down on to an extremely busy ward and I was given one of those fish tank-like cots for the girls to sleep in.

I wasn’t asked if I wanted the girls to sleep together in the same cot, and they weren’t exactly small babies at the time of birth. We just got on with it and the girls seemed happy being cuddled up together.

It must have been the NHS cutbacks, as twin newborns must share as there aren’t enough to go around.

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The first few hours where a bit of a blur as I was on a lot of painkillers and my new-found friend ‘morphine’. We only got a couple of hours alone together as a brand new little family before visiting families arrived.

Visiting hours ended and I felt a sinking feeling. How was I going to look after these two tiny babies when I couldn’t move? I still had my catheter in and I was scared to move about much in case it hurt.

My hubby gave his brand new daughters a kiss and then kissed me good bye. My eyes filled with tears as I held myself back and let him go.

The midwives didn’t explain much of what I could and couldn’t do after my operation. My husband had been passing the girls to me from their cot and now he was gone.

Anxiety started to sink in.

How was I going to feed them?

After about 40 minutes I rang the call button and a midwife came. I asked her what I should do when I need to feed the girls, and when I would be able to walk. She replied that I should call the button for assistance with feeding, until my catheter was removed.

At one point during the night I was breast feeding both girls at the same time and couldn’t move for fear of dropping one. I was stuck and there wasn’t anyone around to help.

I didn’t really like my time in hospital, though I was really lucky to meet a lovely lady who came in late on my first night. She had also had a c-section and this was her third child.

Rachel was so lovely, kind and friendly, it was so nice to have someone to chat to during the night feeds. It was just what I needed, as she had more experience than me so I could ask her advice. I saw her as a motherly figure.

On my third day in hospital the midwife made her rounds to assess who could go home. She checked over the babies, weighed them, and completed her observations.

Unfortunately both of my girls had lost some of their birth weight. I had wanted to breast feed but on my second day another midwife had advised me to add extra bottle feeds as I could have to stay in longer because both girls were very sleepy and didn’t want to feed much.

I had to wake them up every four hours to feed and it was extremely hard to keep them awake for very long.

Lilly had lost 9% of her birth weight and because of this the midwife wanted me to stay in for a couple more days.

I was devastated. All I wanted to do was to take my babies home and have some support from my husband. I hadn’t slept in three days and had barely eaten anything other than cold toast as I didn’t like the food.

My baby blues must have kicked in, as I sat and cried for hours.

The following day my friend Rachel was given the all clear to go home. As happy as I was for her, I was also gutted that I was losing my mate.

I needed to get out of hospital for my own sanity, so I worked so hard to feed the girls as much as I could. I expressed all my milk so that I could measure and keep note of how much the girls were taking. I topped them up with formula milk when I could.       `

I honestly think this is where my anxiety started.

The night that Rachel left, my husband asked the midwifes if I could move to a different part of the ward, as I was having to leave the girls on their own and to walk to the other end of the ward to where the feeding room was to prepare their milk.

I didn’t mind leaving the girls before as I knew they were safe with Rachel being across the bed from me.

The midwife agreed to move me as it was a lot quieter on the ward. This was the worst mistake we could have made. The girls were all really nice and I even knew one from my NCT course.

But two of them were having problems feeding and I’m not sure what was wrong with the other baby.

They screamed all night from 10pm till about 5:30am. I felt so sorry for the one girl who was in a right state. Her baby was struggling latching on and starving. She had tried everything and was completely broken by morning.

All this screaming through the night had tipped me over the edge. I became a woman on a mission! Crazed, I packed up all our belongings, got changed, and put the girlies in their going home outfits.

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I paced the corridor awaiting the arrival of the paediatrician, as the midwives had assured me that she would be making her rounds soon.

We were the last babies to be seen at 4:00pm. The girls were weighed and to my delight they had both put on weight.

But before I could take a sigh of relief the paediatrician explained that the girls were both slightly yellow and that they would need to be tested for jaundice.

I felt that lump in my throat and the tears started rolling down my face. I knew if they had jaundice the girls could need treatment and we would not be going home.

My husband tried to console me but it was no use. He explained to one of the midwives how desperate I was to get out of hospital.

The midwife was lovely. She explained that if I was to stay in for the girls to have treatment that they would find me a private room and hubby could stay in with me.

Why was this not offered before? I had heard that there were some women that had their husbands staying with them.

The girls had their tests and we awaited the results anxiously, but luckily it turned out to only be a mild case and we could go home.

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No wonder there are some many women with postnatal depression; the stress that we go through…

The hospitals are understaffed and the midwives can’t offer the support that’s needed.

The one night I needed help with feeding there were only two midwives on a whole ward. This needs to change…

If I could have done anything to change my hospital experience it would be insisting that I had my own room where my husband could stay with us to help out.

Unexpected mother of twins

I think we all know someone that’s had the most magical pregnancy and they’ve loved every second of it.

There seem to be idealistic thoughts towards pregnancy. Women are supposed to feel amazed by the miracle that is growing another human life. Totally besotted by the changes of their body and the new-found glow, which I’m really not sure even exists!

This may even be you?

Well I have to say my pregnancy wasn’t the littlest bit kind to me.

In fact I swore I would never put myself through that again.

It’s funny how everything changes when your babies make an appearance.

I really did envy all the other ‘moms to be’ that were loving their magical pregnancy.

The first few weeks were the easiest; I was tired, bloated, and had extremely sore breasts but apart from that I was feeling good. I was so excited that we were going to have our own little bear soon.

But it was going to be so hard trying to keep it a secret for twelve weeks. If any of you know me I’m terrible at keeping secrets and my husband has always had to lock my Christmas presents away at his work in a safe, just to keep them a surprise!

Before we knew we were expecting, we had planned a skiing trip with some friends and family which was at the end of January.

I was 6 weeks pregnant when we set off for a very long drive to the French Alps. My hubby had booked us on the night ferry over to France, which I could never understand as he is scared stiff of the sea.

I have to say it was one of the longest nights of my life! As soon as I set foot on the boat my morning sickness started. As the holiday progressed, my sickness became worse and I knew this couldn’t be normal.

I really shouldn’t call it morning sickness as I was sick all day.

Our good friends who were sharing an apartment with had identical twin boys that were 7 months old. As I knew I wouldn’t be able to join in with the skiing, I offered my babysitting skills so that my friends could spend some time skiing together. It was so lovely spending time with the boys as they had such beautiful little personalities, even at 7 months old.

I remember telling my hubby when we get home I hope we don’t have twins as it’s really hard work looking after two, especially when you’re throwing up every five minutes. I have to say that was one of the worst holidays I have ever had and there was no keeping my pregnancy secret. Every person on our holiday knew that I was pregnant.

Not long after we got back I had my first midwife appointment. I was desperate for this appointment as I was still extremely sick and couldn’t eat anything other than the odd biscuit. I was starting to get concerned that the baby wasn’t getting any food/nutrition.

My midwife assured me this was completely normal and my baby would be fine. I thought maybe the midwife was going to be able to give me something for the sickness. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. All the midwife gave me was some omega 3 tables and some other vitamins.

Well the omega 3 tables weren’t much use, as I took one and threw up fishy vomit all over my lounge! Needless to say, I threw the rest of the tablets in the bin.

Everyday life was becoming challenging, but I really wanted to leave it as long as possible before telling my manger.

I was concerned how he would take the news, considering that just a few months earlier two other staff members had informed him that they were also pregnant.

This was going to make me the third staff member that would be leaving to go off on maternity and as the senior colourist in the salon I had a very large clientele which would be affected.

By week 10 of my pregnancy I had to call a meeting with my manger as everyone was becoming suspicious. I’m not one for calling in sick and in the 10 years of working for the salon I must have only had about 7 days off. I hated to let my clients and the rest of the staff down. Being pregnant was changing this I had to be sent home. I couldn’t get through one colour without running to the toilet to throw up.

Luckily my manager took my news extremely well and had already guessed. This was such a weight lifted off my mind. My manager was very considerate to me having to take a lot of time off work, as I found it nearly impossible to do my job most days.

I was finding that I was spending most of my free time in bed. Whenever I moved, I got sick. I had also started becoming very spotty, again this was something I wasn’t used to. Especially as they started appearing on parts of my body I didn’t know you could get spots. They were painful, big nasty crater-sized spots!

Before I became pregnant I had decided that I was going to try and be as healthy as possible and that I would keep my exercise up.

This all went don’t the toilet as I attended two Zumba classes. After a bit of shaking, jumping around and then running to the toilet as it made me need to wee every five minutes, finally I threw in the towel on my fitness days. All in all I was completely beaten by this pregnancy and couldn’t imagine how I was going to get through the next 30 weeks.

Our friend (who was the father of the twin boys I mentioned earlier) had been praying for us to have twins, or better yet triplets – as he loved to wind my husband Dean up.

He constantly joked that we were having multiple babies and even sent us a picture just before our scan of him pretend praying with  his arms in the air: ‘Please let it be triplets!’

Then the day of our first scan came and the nervousness set in.

Was our baby going to be healthy? Were they even going to find a baby at all?

My hubby and I sat eagerly in our car in the hospital car park as we found ourselves early. Hubby turned round to me and said; ‘What are we going to do if they find there are two babies and it’s twins?’ I laughed and replied; ‘Don’t be silly – we aren’t that lucky!’

As we sat in the waiting room I glanced around at the other mothers to be and it was quite clear by the size of the ladies who were there for their 12 weeks scan and who was there for the 20 weeks.

I then looked down and my very noticeable baby belly and felt a sinking feeling. Either I was further along than the doctors thought, or this was going to be one large baby!

Or maybe it could be twins…!

Twins scan

Twins scan!

How we became a twintastic family…

My hubby and I have had numerous conversations about starting a family over the years, but while we were on honeymoon in Italy the subject arose once again.

This time it all seemed extremely real. For my husband to bring up this conversation was strange as it has always been me who had talked about having children. I’ve always wanted my own little munchkins and we had agreed to get married first, as my husband was determined to enjoy and make the most of life before children.

But this was it: we had come to the conclusion we were ready and after enjoying a few months of married life we would start trying.

I honestly thought that being pregnant was going to be magical. Unfortunately the start of my pregnancy was not so magical. I was tired, moody and sick. This wasn’t the normal morning sickness –  I was sick all day, every day. And considering how sick I was, and that it was pretty much impossible to eat anything other than biscuits, my bulging belly really seemed to grow. I thought to myself that at this rate I was going to have one giant baby.

I had read that I should still be fitting into my jeans and that I shouldn’t start to show until around 15 weeks. This should have been my first clue of what was to come…

Then on the 19th of March 2013 at about 2:15 pm my hubby and I received some life-changing news that we were expecting fraternal twins. But as the panic and excitement started to kick in, the midwife found a problem with twin two while scanning. She told us that it was highly likely that twin two would have Down’s Syndrome. At that moment my world came crashing down. At this point I didn’t know much about Down’s; all I knew was they could risk having serious health complications.

We were referred to a specialist to find out more. What I did not expect when we turned up to our appointment was for the consultant to tell us that she was going to do a CVS test (Chorionic Villus Sampling), and that we needed to be prepared to abort one of my unborn babies.

This was all too much for me to take – all I wanted was a normal pregnancy. After taking some time to calm down and to do some serious research we returned to see the consultant and had a amniocentesis. This was probably the worst test I have ever had in my life and the 10-day wait for the results were just plain torture. Even though it wouldn’t have made a difference – I was keeping BOTH of my babies.

twintastic 1stOn the 10th of September 2013 at 1:00pm while ‘burn’ by Ellie Golding was playing on the radio my beautiful daughter Lilly Isabel (twin 1) entered the world, weeing all over the doctors.

She weighed a whopping 7lb 6oz, which is big for a twin. After she had a full check over, Lilly was bundled up in numerous blankets and passed to my hubby.

I never thought I would see the day that my hubby would be so happy that he shed a tear. Even on our wedding day he managed to keep his composure. But not this time!

On this day he became a daddy.
twintastic 2.jpgAs my eyes caught a glimpse of the most angelic beautiful baby I have ever seen, my second daughter Poppy Elizabeth (twin 2) was pulled into the world at 1:01pm.

Poppy was perfectly healthy, weighing 6lb 9oz and she let out the best most amazing cry I have ever heard.

My heart was bursting with love for these tiny little bundles of joy and I have to say even though sometimes they can be ‘double the trouble’ they are definitely 100% double the JOY.