Thursday, April 03, 2014

Letters From the Twin Trenches: From One M.o.M. to Another

When we were in the BVI's we met up with some blog followers.  They were young, fun and we enjoyed hanging out with them (and the left over provisions they gave us from their charter when they flew home the next day).  Fast forward to months later when I announced our twin pregnancy on the blog...  Imagine my surprise when I got an email from Kimberly telling me that she, too, was pregnant with twins and only a week ahead of me.  "Must have been something in those painkillers!" she wrote, referencing the alcoholic beverage made famous on Jost van Dyke... And so began a pretty incredible and prolific pen-pal friendship chronicling our respective pregnancies and birth stories that continues to this day.  Her beautiful fraternal twin girls were born (full term) a week before ours and I have to tell you, sharing our (eerily similar) journeys via email has been very cathartic for me.  Solidarity.  If there is one thing you need as a parent of twins it's community.  We need to know we are not alone when it seems our sanity is teetering on the brink, which it will do from time to time when there are two newborns in the house.  Particularly if those newborns are screaming in unison.  

I wanted to write a pithy blog post yesterday and update you all on what's been going on but struggled with what to write and how to start it.  So instead, I stepped away from the blog and replied to Kimberly's most recent email.  Once I hit send I thought, "Heck! Why not post my reply to her on the blog?" It tells it like it is (good, bad and ugly) and, let's face it, I'm all about efficiency these days.  If I can kill two (or more) birds with one stone, well, I, with Kimberly's blessing, here it is...  I've edited and added few bits here and there, but this is the gist of it:

First of all, you look great.  Amazing actually.  I know you are wearing the Moby wrap in that picture (high five!!) but, honestly, you look thin and cute and not at all like a zombie.  As for me - do not be misled, I do not look good in a bikini YET - but there is hope (like you, I have no stretch marks or "twin skin"- hooray!), and I can cling to hope.  When I put on normal clothes, however, I feel chunky, frumpy and blah.  Not good for moral when you have a decent sized vanity streak like I do.  I just need to be patient I guess, a trait that I was not naturally blessed with but one that motherhood has planted in me - and one that twin motherhood has fertilized Monsanto-style.  I am impressed you went sailing. I barely get outside, but that is mostly due to the fact that this winter will Not. Let. Go.  I feel your concern about the whole 'falling in while baby-wearing' thing, but I honestly felt safer with Isla on me rather than in a life jacket in the cockpit or something when she was a newborn, and she was much, much happier that way as well (fyi, tiny babies, in our experience, do NOT enjoy life jackets!). 
So good to hear from you.  When your email came in I was literally *just* about to write you.  Breath of fresh air!!  Relieved to hear we are going through similar things.  Last night I was at wits end.  Dropping curse words all over the place, suuuuper frustrated and doing the whole "why me?" thing in my head...Mira (surprise!) was the one last night; she cried non-stop for about four hours.  Simply could not be consoled.  She has awful gas and it was totally heartbreaking and trying my sanity.  As soon as we'd get her calm, Haven would pipe up.  It was non-stop mayhem between 6pm and 11pm.  Scott and I were totally wrecked.  I swear if I'd had a time machine between those hours I would have hopped in that sucker and not gotten pregnant when we did.  It's nights like last night that make me want to drop kick anyone who complains about the stress of one newborn child.  I mean, are you joking?  I cannot stop thinking of how much easier this would be if it were a singleton...and again, I know that is super unproductive, inappropriate and totally unfair but...well, yeah.  I absolutely love our girls but this whole two newborns at once is a total roller coaster.  One day I am on top of it and feel great, the next I am looking for the "return to sender" label.  Fun times.  
During the madness, I made the colossal mistake of googling "when will twins get easier?" (similar to Googling "twin skin" while pregnant.  Do. Not. Do. It.) Imagine my horror upon finding forum after forum full of people who lament, "My twins are nine and worse than ever!! Help me!!" or "It NEVER gets easier, only harder with each passing stage!" and the like...Not to mention the fact that a family friend, who has twin granddaughters comes over and tells me, "Oh, when they are three life gets so much better!" I realize she's trying to be helpful and positive but I'm thinking to myself, "You do realize you told me I have to wait THREE YEARS for life to get better, right?!" Haha...I laugh though.  Thank god for a sense of humor.   
Luckily I stopped reading and I have a feeling once we pass this itty bitty newborn stage (aka "the fourth trimester") and our girls get a bit more independent (i.e. can sleep without physically touching me) and their digestive systems mature a little more (i.e. less painful gas) things will get much, much easier.  Hell, I don't even care about sleeping through the night at this point (three hour chunks is actually totally do-able for me) - but a couple consecutive hours not sleeping sitting up would be heaven right now (so funny you sleep the same way - thought I was nutso and the only one!)?  Oh, perspective.  It's the little things over here.
Today has been so much better and I feel human and sane again.  You know how it goes.  And actually Haven and Mira are sleeping soundly not on me right now and have been for 30+ minutes which is quite the milestone.  We started giving them probiotics to help with the crying/colic so I am hoping this is part of the issue (digestion/gas/reflux) and we're on track to happier, more comfortable babies.  But we shall see.  
Okay.  That is all for now.  The sun is actually out today and it is above 30 degrees so I am going to take the girls on a walk! Yay me!  I think a daily outing; be it to the park or down the aisles of a grocery store - is necessary for my sanity to feel human and productive.  Days I get out are a lot better than the ones where I feel a slave to the couch.  Oh - and days when Dancing with the Stars is on are always good.  Man, I love that show.
Our sleeping arrangement.  It's really kind of great, actually.
Our beauties.  Wide-eyed Haven on the left, mellow Mira on the right.  Love bugs.
The tandem breastfeeding position with my twin nursing pillow.


Victoria said...

You are kicking ass in the twin trenches!! :) Keeping up and following your posts, and although we've never met I really wish I could be there to help you out! <3 <3

Slim said...

Father of two year old twins here and follower of your high seas adventures via Jen Wilkinson. You are so right on about community! I think the thing that drove my wife and I nuts was the unabashed advice from folks who didn't have twins, but had two small children around the same age. News flash! Twins are a completely different challenge and only multiples parents can relate. "It gets better" was also noted and was never consoling. It gets different and/or more fun/challenging is perhaps the approach we have come to realize.

Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) said...

Refreshingly honest! Let me go ahead and apologize ahead of time for any whining that may come along next month as I'm taking care of only one newborn ;) I'll do my best to think of the challenges of twins and give myself some perspective, but no promises!

For what it's worth, you seem to be doing an amazing job and hopefully with each week that passes, things will fall a little more into a predictable routine.

Great thinking on the probiotics, too. I was actually going to suggest it. Hope they help!

D. said...

Just a thought, but try infant probiotic drops for the gas. They work wonders! Plus give healthy flora to their tummy's. Hopefully it helps, if you haven't found something else. As one exhausted curse word dripping mommy to another, hang in there!! :)

Aline said...

No sleep no bueno. I couldn't function. You may feel blah, but your skin is looking beautiful and the manicure is fabulous.

Unknown said...

You are incredible!!! Seriously! And You look amazing too!!! One thing that helped me out with crying fussy, bad tummy, along with the probiotics, was taking my baby boys (7month apart babies) to the chiropractor and having them (my younger one needed this especially!) To get cranial sacral and small touch helped set his digestive system straight and he was WAY calmer and happier and his system would get reset...just a thought that helped me get thrrough some painful times...two *about* the same age (with a husband that was gone for work for 8months sstraight) but doing totally different needy things in completely different stages is no better!! I am beginning to feel much more human now, Way before either one of them is three (they are 22 months and 15 months)!!!! I.feel. Your. Pain. And Your JOY! Keep up your amazing work with your absolutely gorgeous and sweet babies! (All 3 of them!) You are inspiring to us all!!!

Michael Robertson said...

Hang in there. I'm resolved to stop complaining about the burden of getting 4-5 blog posts up per month. After all, my kids are 10 and 8--how do you do it? Michael

Jane said...

Hi, I have eight month old twins and survived - and now I can say that I love it. The first six weeks were hellish - we had one who cried constantly from 5 till midnight like clockwork, I seriously made a dent in the sofa from constant breastfeeding, and I had no idea it was even possible to be that tired (three weeks on bed rest and a c section didn't help). But really, truly, it does get better. I was counting down to the six week mark where apparently things would get better, and thank all the gods it did. The crying miraculously stopped and my boy turned into the angel baby I had hoped was in there somewhere :) Sure, two infants was still hard, but much much easier. We managed a vacation even at eight weeks (more a change of scene as the sleepless nights were still there, but it was lovely all the same!). What helped me was pumping for my husband (who had a large chunk of time off work) to feed them between midnight and 5am, generally just one feed. It in no way affected my supply, I didn't get up in that time to pump, and I could get some essential rest. We probably did that for the first six weeks or so till they started sleeping slightly longer chunks at night and I was less tired.
And yes, twin community is awesome. No one gets it like another MoM. Hang in there (what else can you do, right?!;), hopefully the colic will subside at six weeks (gas drops helped us a bit), and totally with you on getting out - fresh air and a change of scene (from the damn sofa!) is so so good for all of you.
You can do it!! We all get through it, and very soon it will even become fun :)

heather k said...

I will sum up my comments for the last three posts: CUTE!!!!!! So much cuteness!! Love those minnie ears on Isla. Love those adorable kicked pants onesies! LOVE the twins and that judging by some recent pictures there is hope that all of us virtual friends will all be able to tell them apart. And you are pretty cute too Brittany! Those two bambinos sleeping on you, it looks like bliss in a picture (although I'm trying not to be tricked into thinking so in real life). You are looking GREAT! And it sounds like you are doing a fabulous job M.O.M.!! Hang in there!! Hope some sunshine arrives in Chicago soon just for you!!

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