If you are anything like me, I’ll never forget the day I found out that I was having twins. The doctor cracked a joke, the nurse laughed, so I laughed too. Then, the doctor got serious, the nurse gave me an apologetic look, and they sent me home with two pacifiers to break the news to my husband. Definitely wasn’t prepared for that!
My husband and I both laughed a little as I told him over dinner, while our 10 month old daughter was wreaking havoc at the dining room table. The look on his face said, “seriously two more of these?” I’m pretty sure that it took both of us a few weeks for it to sink in and become real.
The great thing about pregnancies is that you have time. You have time to read the books, get the nursery ready, and create your baby registry or buy the items that you need.
The bad thing about pregnancies is that you have time. Time for your hormonal brain to play out all sorts of crazy scenarios. Too much time to google, which is a nightmare in itself. Time to worry yourself into a panic.
Ways to Prepare
So here are a few things that I did or that I wish I had done to prepare for the beautiful blessing of having multiples.
1.Take a deep breath. You can do this.
I’m pretty sure that I repeated this line to any and everyone that would listen, “How am I going to feed two at the same time?” Meanwhile, I was thinking, “and nurse two, and change all those diapers, and soothe them both?” I remember their responses were always, you will find a way. Or a number of the other cliché responses you expect to get, but they were 100% correct. Once you get your precious twins, triplets, or quadruplets home you will get into a routine and just get things done. I’m sure that even the idea of all that is overwhelming at this point, especially if this is your first pregnancy, but I promise you can do it. More on routines and bringing them home later.
2. Stay positive
More than likely doctors will sit you down or already have and will explain all the added risks of having multiples. Please, please remember that it is a doctors’ job to prepare you for all possible scenarios. As they are explaining the risks or possible risks, take it all with a grain of salt, and focus on your current situation. Remember that it is good to be informed but don’t spend every waking moment worrying about the “what if”.
There were so many times during my pregnancy that they would tell me, that x,y, and z could potentially happen and that is all I would focus on. I would lose sight of the fact that at that exact moment x, y, and z were not happening and that everything was in fact okay.
And for me, knowing that there were potential disasters that could occur at any moment in my pregnancy, I was often a basket case. I remember returning to school after numerous sonograms and just having to sit in the counselors or the secretary’s office and get myself together just so I could continue with my day.
It was in those moments, that I was reminded over and over, to try to focus on the positive. Someone would always ask, well how is your health? How is the other twin? Forcing me to step out from under my dark cloud and realize that there are things to celebrate. There were positives.
3. Avoid Google
This goes along with staying positive. I always told myself, “I’m just looking it up so that I know more of what is going on.” The problem with that is that often times what you find will only make you panic, freak out, or become an emotional wreck, at least that’s what it did for me.
For example, about a month into my pregnancy they started talking about Twin to Twin Syndrome. The doctors wouldn’t give me a lot of details because I hadn’t been diagnosed yet, but they were on alert for it based on how my pregnancy was progressing. So, I immediately went to Google.
I read horror story after story and post after post that just broke my heart. I learned a lot about the Syndrome itself, but with that came statistics and not-so-happy endings. From that point on, I tried not to Google medical terms unless it was absolutely necessary.
Doctors, nurses, and even sonogram technicians are there to answer your questions. So instead of Googling every little thing, try to keep a list of the questions that you have for your next appointment.
4. You will not need two of EVERYTHING
You will need two of some things like cribs, high chairs, and car seats, but not of everything. We quickly learned that our girls didn’t necessarily love the same things.
Tuna would get a few minutes on the tummy time mat while Shrimp sat in the bouncy seat or in the bumbo seat. We would alternate them between toys, instead of having two of everything.
Shrimp absolutely despised tummy time and technically was on medical restrictions for tummy time for a while, so she spent a lot of time in things like the exersaucer or the bouncy seat.
We were so fortunate that we were able to borrow another swing from some good friends, so we did have two of those which was nice for short naps. But other than that you really do not need two of everything.
If you can borrow from friends or family members that is also something to consider. Babies outgrow the tummy time mats, swings, bouncy seats, and exersaucer type toys very quickly so borrowing and/or sharing is always an easy alternative.
5. Invest in a good double stroller.
I can honestly say that a double stroller is a must-have. Be sure to look into a double stroller that will fit through doors. They are big and bulky enough as it is. Some of the double strollers I’ve seen don’t fit through a single door, so it’s important to find one that will.
We got ours used through Craigslist and we couldn’t be happier with it. It folds down to help with storing or putting in the van but is still very large. Our stroller had the locks for their car seats but also two normal seats for them to grow into.
Trust me, those carriers get heavy quickly even if you are superwoman or superdad, having a double stroller will definitely make outings much easier.
Everyone tells you to sleep while your baby is sleeping, which when you have ONE is a little easier than when you have two.
If you have miracle babies that come out on the same schedule and stay that way until they are two, then you may not need as much rest but that would be a miracle. Having two tiny humans that depend on you 24/7 is taxing, so try to rest as much as you can before they arrive.
Take naps on the weekends or weekdays. Sleep in when you can. I know that towards the end, getting comfortable will be difficult so take advantage of naps when possible.
My twins are 1.5 years old and just last night they were both up until almost midnight and then pretty restless the rest of the night. Now, they are typically not like that but once every few weeks we have a rough night, and they are 1.5 years old.
7. Line up help
I read this little tid bit in one of the very first books that I read when I became pregnant with my first child. Having help when you bring your baby or babies home is a definite blessing.
I was lucky enough that my husband was able to take two weeks each time. With the twins he took a week when we brought Tuna home and a few days when Lacey finally came home.
My mom also came and stayed with us as well as my mother in law. In our situation, I am at a complete loss for what we would have done with out them. At one point I had B at home and two in the NICU. Once we were able to bring Tuna home, I had a newborn at home that I was trying to nurse, B at home, and Shrimp in a hospital 50 minutes away.
My mom even came back once I finally had all three at home just to help us adjust.
Even if you don’t have family members that can move in for a few days or a week, just having friends or family members drop by so that you can take a nap will be so worth it
8. Make and freeze as many meals as possible.
I started trying to do this about a month before I was due. Whenever I made something that would freeze well I just doubled the recipe and froze half.
It was so nice to have those meals once all the help left, especially on those days when I was running on absolutely no sleep and barely functioning. I hate to break it you, but you will have those days. Being able to just thaw, heat, and serve dinner on days like that will severely help, I promise!
9. Read a few books.
I read one or two books when I was pregnant with my oldest, mainly about pregnancy in general and what to expect. When we found out that we were having twins, my husband and I both read a book or two mainly about how the heck to juggle not one but two babies at once.
Keep in mind that every person is different. Some of the ideas you will read about will absolutely not work for you and your family. Others will be a perfect fit. Take what you can, adapt what you can, and don’t worry about the concepts that don’t fit into your lifestyle.
Here are a few that my husband and I both found helpful, whether this is your first pregnancy or just your first with multiples.
Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy is a humorous and a little vulgar book about pregnancies in general. She holds nothing back and really covers everything that women go through when they are pregnant.
I relied so heavily on my faith and the strength I found in prayer during this pregnancy. I truly believe that because of this, I am in a much better place in my walk with the Lord than I was before.
There were at least two different times during my pregnancy with the twins that doctors told me that I was going to lose Shrimp. Two different times they said to me, she is not going to make.
They would rush us here and there for tests, send us to the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, etc.
It was during those times, that I really just had to believe. I had to believe that He had a plan, and I had to have faith in that plan. My prayers, my husbands prayers, our families prayers, and prayers from all over go us through and still continue to get us through each and every day.
I hope and pray that you have a support group around you to help you get through this pregnancy no matter what it brings. You will probably also need a mommy support group once you bring those precious babies home, especially around 2 am.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, scared, and alone at anytime and you need someone to talk to please feel free to email me at DaniWagner@livelovelearngracefully.com.
I would love to be a prayer warrior, or shoulder to lean on if you need to vent or just want to talk to someone that has been there.
If nothing else I hope that you find some peace and maybe a few good books to read as you await the birth of your precious babes.
Wishing you the best.
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As I was reflecting on my pregnancy to write this post, I realized yet again how truly blessed I was and still am to know and have so many amazing people in my life.
I owe a huge thanks to my mom for listening to me sob all the way to work from the doctor’s office weekly at 8 am as I tried to repeat everything that they told me, good and bad. She was also my prayer warrior and so many other things during this time period. I am so blessed and so thankful for her.
I owe another huge thanks to my mother in law for always being a phone call away, another prayer warrior, and ready at the drop of a hat to be here whenever we needed her.
My coworkers at the time. From the secretary, counselor, and principals who had to help me get it together before walking into my classrooms, to my amazing fellow teachers. They covered my classes, put up with my hormones, let me cry on their shoulders, visited the hospital, and just helped me to stay positive on my roughest days. I am so thankful for each and every one of you.
My friends/sistas from otha mistas. They organized goody baskets to be delivered weekly with anything from chap stick and lotion to diaper bags, diapers, toys, devotionals, and things to make me smile. They are still a constant support group and I am so thankful for them.
My family as a whole. We have an amazing family, extended family, and in laws. Who checked on us regularly, prayed for us often, and were always supportive. We had family as far as 1,200 miles away that were prayers warriors throughout it all. We can’t thank you all enough.
My amazing husband. He truly was my rock, the stable, level headed, let’s take one day at a time person. He helped me keep my crazy emotions in check and was there every step of the way.