Back story to our "Letters from the Twin Trenches" series...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... And so began a pretty incredible and prolific E-pal friendship chronicling our respective pregnancies and birth stories that continues to this day. Her beautiful fraternal twin girls were born (full term) two weeks 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. These are some letters to her...they tell it like it is. The good, the bad, the ugly...
June 5th, 2014
I am home alone, the house is quiet. It is 7:30pm. I am drinking wine (only glass number one, which is good).
As you might have seen from my most recent blog post, it had been a tough couple of days. But today is a new day, and so far - so good.
I am very glad to hear you didn't lose your breast milk in the "great thaw". That would seriously be awful. Ugh. All that work pumping and for nothing. It's so true what they say: that s**t is liquid GOLD.
And I am beyond impressed at your boating weekend adventures. That is so fantastic that you get out and spend some overnights on the boat and it works out well. Most first time moms would not attempt such an escapade - let alone a mom of twins - so you deserve some major accolades for venturing out like that. Scott and I are very mindful to do things as "minimally" as possible so that we can have that sort of mobility as well. We don't travel with a pack-n-play, we don't bring an arsenal of toys for Isla, we try very hard to travel "light" (although that phrase is downright laughable when you have three kids). Even with our pared down essentials we have a car load of crap. Oh, and I'm addicted to baby wearing so I have, like, eight different wraps that we can use with the girls including a toddler sized carrier for Isla. So I guess it's all relative.
And hooray for monitors!! That's great you could hang with the adults on the dock once you put the girls to bed (I told you, Pisces love the water and they will be drawn to it so of course they slept better on the boat!!). We have a pretty strict 6-7pm bedtime window for all of our girls and WOW- it is so nice to have our evenings back. We can actually make dinner plans knowing the babies won't wake for a feeding until between 10:30 and 11:30 which is awesome. Whether or not I have the energy for those plans is another thing...but, usually, I rally. The promise of wine will do that to a girl like me.
As for the sleep thing. UGH. I know what you mean. It is so frustrating, and infinitely so with two. We follow all the advice in the books; namely not letting them stay awake longer than 2 hours before putting them down for a nap - but then what the hell does the book say if the nap is only 40, 30, or (the WORST) 15 minutes?!?! Nada. I feel your pain on this front and I'm sorry you're struggling. As for how we get them down, we have these things called "lovies" that some friends sent us (snuggly small animal blankets) - those things are their "bedtime cue". I lay them down in the crib, put them on their sides (and sometimes even on their tummies, Mira loves tummy sleeping - and, yes, I know it's a big no no) we put the "lovies" in their arms, close to their faces and then pop their binkies in their mouths. They nuzzle up to the lovies and, on good days, fall asleep (unassisted) within minutes. Of course not all days are good days, in fact most are not - and in that case, I leave the room. I let them fuss/cry a little, then I go back in, replace the binkies, stroke their noses to help them close their eyes, flip them over or re-position them, and then I wait. Sometimes it takes me 30 minutes to get them both sleeping and I am burning mad calories running up and down the stairs here.
Almost ALWAYS one of them falls asleep without issue, so then I freak out about the other going to sleep within 20 minutes of the other for the sake of the "SCHEDULE"....if nothing is working and she is not sleeping, that is when I resort to the moby wrap and I put the offending baby in that which basically guarantees coma-like sleep until the other one will wake up. I have not let them "cry it out" - but I will let them fuss and protest for a few minutes before I go back and try to get them to sleep again. It's exhausting and my life pretty much revolves around this behavior of running up the stairs, stroking noses, and sticking binkies back in mouths in an effort to get the babies to sleep every ninety minutes to two hours. I watch the clock like a hawk and make sure their last "nap" ends within an hour and a half of 6:30 (bedtime) so that they are tired and fall asleep. Evenings are actually much better than naps (most days...not all) - and they will both fall asleep pretty easily at night within 30 minutes of each other and then Haven wakes up for food (and I wake Mira up still too) around 10:30/11. Sometimes I can get her to go another hour if I bring her in bed with me, so I do that too. Mira (our little one) is our better sleeper in general - but she, like your Annalise, is small and just completely feels like a wet noodle compared to Haven whom we refer to as "the beast" (she probably will not take kindly to that nick name later in life I am guessing). But according to our pediatrician, both girls are "normal" and following their "curves" so that is good. You can't really ask for more than healthy babies, right?
That is so great that your girls will do a seven hour stretch here and there...sigh...that must be amazing (stops. guzzles wine.) I CANNOT wait until my girls will go six hours or longer!! I never had to let Isla cry it out, and she didn't sleep through the night (twelve hours) until a year old (but went to bed easily, napped well and only woke up for one tiny feeding session, so it never bothered me) but I don't think I can wait that long with these two. We shall see...I am just hoping to catch that "next carrot" of the four month milestone when more "magic" happens (what that is, exactly, I do not know - but lots of people throw that number out there). But, hey, what do we have if we don't have hope?...oh yeah, awesome, adorable, cute, cuddly babies. And thank you for complimenting their rolls (well, Haven's at least, Mira is a string bean) - I love baby rolls too. And wow, the smiles and coos that these girls give me are SO awesome. Isla never really did that. She was such a serious baby, it was like pulling teeth to get her to smile and you can forget about a cute little baby chit-chat. Nope. She was way too busy taking it all in and planning world domination. These babies though? They are so social and just smile and coo with ease. It's awesome and for sure the Universe's way of making the bad days more bearable, of that I am certain.
I love that your mom has been enlisted as the sleep enforcer. What an awesome trooper she is. And to have made a sleep graph? Well...I think you have your bases covered and struck gold with that one. Something tells me she will work. If she's making charts, she takes it seriously and she'll make it happen. That is awesome to have someone in your camp that "gets it". Yay for your mom! As for your running out of breast milk and not being able to keep up - you have done an AWESOME job. There is NO SHAME in supplementing with formula or stopping the pumping game all together. I honestly tip my hat to working moms who pump. That is SO hard to do and SUCH a pain in the butt. People look at me and are all "way to go with breastfeeding" and I think to myself, "I got the easy gig!!"... It's the working moms who pump that deserve the high five! So, really, high five to you. You are an awesome mom. You do what you gotta do girl. I'm so impressed with how well you are doing as a first time working mom with twins.
I'm glad that work is going well and keeping you off neurotic internet searching - or at least curbing it. I, too, am not researching doom and gloom as much as I used to, though I do pop onto the Mom of Multiples Facebook groups during late night nursing sessions which I think I need to stop doing. Today a new mom who's babies are five months or something asked "what was the hardest stage for your twins?" and everyone was all, "Oh man, the baby stage is a PIECE OF CAKE compared to later!!" and I pretty much wanted to cry. And then I wanted to punch everyone who mocked us moms of twinfants saying that we'd better enjoy them as babies because it gets SO. MUCH. WORSE. when they are toddlers. I mean, come ON. I am thinking about starting a blog entitled "people I want to punch in the face" (the twins have clearly brought out my aggressive, scrappy side) and the first on that list will be moms who smuggly tell me that the baby stage is "soooo easy". I mean, shoot me.
Okay, I'm finishing my second glass of wine and moving onto number three and I think I might even lay on the couch and watch some Portlandia. Do you watch that show? If not - start recording it. It. Is. Brilliant. I want to be best friends will Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. They are comedic brilliance. Possibly the best comedy due since Abbot and Costello.
Much love to you. SO much love.