A lot of people have twins–they’re more common now than ever before, and it seems like everywhere you turn, you see double strollers and matching sets of little heads bobbing along.
Me? I have twins. I only have twins.
I have two sets of twins. That I have children, at all, is a small miracle, really. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS, for short) at the age of 15, and from the beginning, I was gently warned that I might have difficulty getting pregnant. When Justin and I got married, eleven years ago, we talked about how children could be an uphill battle, and adoption might be in our future. Instead, I got pregnant the month we started trying.
We found out I was having twins at my 9 week checkup. I was astounded, deeply grateful, and incredibly overwhelmed.
I searched the internet for every twins resource I could find–I wanted to know what we needed to buy, to learn, to do to prepare to have TWO babies in our house. I learned that I (supposedly) needed two of EVERYTHING, needed to put on at least seventy pounds (!) to keep my babies healthy, needed to prep for a NICU stay and buy supplemental insurance to pay for it, needed to join a MOM (Mothers of Multiples) group for support, and basically needed to freak out, because my life was going to CHANGE.
I read all there was to read, educated myself, and then I decided against all of that. I stocked up on baby clothes and bottles, bought two of a couple things, and waited on everything else. I gained 40 pounds, and my doctor said I was doing great. And after reading all that stuff on the internet, those MOM groups just seemed like a place for everyone to work each other up into a tizzy over one thing or another. I decided I had my husband and my mom, and that was enough support for me.
Truth? I did spend a month on bed rest, because my blood pressure got too high. Bed rest stinks. The rest of the pregnancy was pretty easy.
But I did look like this. 😉
My life did change when the babies got here. But it wasn’t any crazier than I would have expected things to be with one baby. I tell people that it’s good I had twins first, and didn’t have just one baby to compare it to. But honestly, I’ve taken care of just one baby before. The truth is: twins are not double the work. I’d estimate they’re about 1.5 times the usual. You’re already feeding one baby–you just do a little more work to feed the second one at the same time. You’re already changing a diaper, so you change the other. If you’re smart, and keep them on a schedule, they do everything at the same time. The schedule can be hard sometimes. The rest is cake.
We waited more than six years before we got pregnant again. The second time around, I had a little more idea what I was in for. I already had all the stuff I needed. Oh, yes–I saved ALL THAT STUFF. I had this bizarre, irrational notion in the back of my mind that the minute I got rid of all my duplicate items, that would ensure I’d get pregnant with twins again. Murphy’s Law, right? So, in some twisted notion of logic, my hanging on to them was a form of insurance against it. I even had the boys DNA tested, to see whether they were identical or fraternal (identical twins being a fluke, and not increasing my chance of having another set). Identical! I was safe! …right? No?
This time, pregnancy was not so easy. I was 32 instead of 25. I felt it. I gained 60 pounds instead of 40. Not so smart. I didn’t have to do bed rest, though I might have, if I’d gotten that far–instead, I went into early labor.
R was in acute fetal distress, and he and A were born via emergency C-section at 32 weeks. They spent 6 weeks in the NICU.
Truth: That 6 weeks was the most difficult time of my entire life. I still can’t talk about it without getting weepy. I tear up whenever someone I know has a premature baby. The nurses and doctors there were amazing, but that place was my hell.
And now, three years later, yes. I’m THAT mom. I have two sets of twins. People double-take us everywhere we go. I get weird, inappropriate questions from complete strangers. Between my children and the lookie-loos, it takes me hours to get through a simple grocery trip. I used to be really irritated by it, but I’ve decided that maybe I’ll just be an ambassador for Twin-dom. 🙂 So, hey, world! Here I am, in all my non-glory! I am a MOTHER OF TWINS!
And while we’re at it, here’s an answer to most of the questions I get every day! (I’ll skip the creepy ones. I addressed some of those in a previous post, anyway.)
- How do you do it? I just do! No one asked me? And…um…I drink a lot of Diet Pepsi and take long baths with a good book at night. Most days, I don’t put on a bra or change out of my yoga pants and I make NO APOLOGIES for that. Oh, and I have an awesome husband and partner who picks up all the slack the second he comes home.
- How do you have time to do anything? Oh, um, hey, little-known secret about twins: they entertain each other! It’s the best thing EVER. The babies have been upstairs playing in the bonus room with train tracks for the last 90 minutes while I’ve been writing this and messing around on Pinterest and peeking in on them. When they’re not fighting (and they do. A lot.) they are awesome buddies. Oh, and they also still nap. 🙂 My older boys are in school most of the day, but when they come home, they all like to play together. My boys are the best big brothers on the planet.
- How did you end up with twins twice? (This is usually a veiled, polite attempt to ask if we used fertility meds. Haha.) Yeah, we don’t know. Twins don’t run in our family. And, hey, to clear up a little misconception, only fraternal twins run in families at all, and only in the maternal line. Fraternal twins are produced when two eggs are released. The dad has no effect on that. Doesn’t matter if your husband has a zillion twins in his family, or even is one himself–it will have no effect on your kids. Also, they do not skip generations. It’s weird if that’s coincidentally happened in your family, but your aunts being twins does not mean you will have twins OMGOSHSTOPIT. Anyway, apparently, the odds of having an identical set and then a fraternal set are 1 in 70,000. So…yeah. We’re just weird like that?
- Are they totally different? Of course they are. They’re four different people. Just because the boys look the same doesn’t mean they are the same. It also doesn’t mean they’re polar opposites.
- Don’t you ever wish you’d had just one at a time? Well…the truth is, sometimes I do wish I could have split these exact children up, and had them one at a time, if only so I could have enjoyed each of them separately. Sometimes I feel like they’ve been cheated of a little bit of their time with their parents. They have to share everything–birthdays, first days, school productions, anything special. We have to work harder than usual to make sure they get one-on-one time with us so that they know we really see them as individuals and not as a unit. Sometimes, that’s hard. But at the same time, I think being a twin has changed each of them, and made them a bit of who they are. My boys have a special bond that I think is greater even than I share with my brother, to whom I’m extremely close. I wouldn’t ask them to change that for anything.
- Would you do anything differently? Not a thing. I’m glad we have them all. Even though it was hard to do babies again after seven years, and even though they are three now, and running me ragged, I am so thrilled to have every one of their amazing personalities in our home. They make me crazy, and they fill me with joy. I never thought I would have four kids. We joke all the time that God had four in store for me, and He knew this was the only way to get them all down to me, because I never would have done it on my own. 🙂 I’m so glad He did–I almost lost one of them in getting him here, and I marvel constantly at the idea of it.
Truth: I can’t imagine my life without a single one of them.