Reflections on Motherhood: My First 6 Months as a Twin Mom

I've been planning to write this post for a few weeks now, but there is just so much to say. I'm going to attempt to narrow it down to the important stuff, but if you have any questions, please let me know. You probably figured out by now that I'm an open book!

It's hard to believe the twins are six months old already. I feel like I've been in a bizarre time continuum every since the babies were born. When I was grinding through the newborn days I had many friends tell me, "The days are long, but the years are short." I'm only halfway through a year in this mommy club, but that certainly rings true for me.

Fresh out of the c-section, I was so out of it when they took this photo. It was the definition of an out of body experience because I still couldn't feel my body! And I couldn't believe those were OUR babies.
I already wrote about their first week of life, so I'll just pick up where I left off. When we came home from the hospital, I was running on an incredible adrenaline high. Part of it was the true joy of finally welcoming our miracle babies into the world. I think the other contributing factor was my time spent on bed rest. After 8 weeks of not being allowed to do much of anything other than lay down or sit at a steep recline, I was just so happy to be able to walk around freely again. I had been in so much physical discomfort at the end of my pregnancy, both from the load of carrying twins and the constant back pain from laying down all day, that the physical recovery from the c-section felt like a minor blip on my radar. I was able to ignore it pretty easily most of the time, although I remember trying to get up in the middle of the night to tend to the babies was painful for a week, at least. I didn't realize that you're not supposed to drive after a c-section (oops) so I drove myself all over the place and that felt great after being confined to the house or the hospital for so long. I had regained my independence! I didn't even mind that my new independence included two new passengers in the car at all times, both of whom really disliked stopping at traffic lights.

After the first couple of weeks, the honeymoon period was over and exhaustion set in. I would say weeks 3-8 were very, very hard. Evan was struggling with tummy problems, so he was fussy for a lot of his waking hours. And that boy has some serious lungs, let me tell you. It hurt my heart when he would wail. I had to take deep breaths and give myself pep talks, especially during the evening "witching hour." My mantra: "Babies will be babies. Babies cry. It will be OK."

My mom could see very early on that I was not sleeping enough to stay sane (one time I stayed up for 24 hours straight and I do not recommend it!) so she started coming over at nights so I could get 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. That was a godsend. I was never able to take any naps during the day, so that nighttime sleep would power me through 19 hours straight with newborn twins. That and my new Ninja coffee maker and a 4 p.m. can of Coke. Ha! Whatever you have to do, right?

So I'm wondering, did this happen to anyone else? For the first several weeks I kept having the same situation in the middle of the night. I'd wake up in a panic during my nightly stretch of sleep, thinking I had accidentally fallen asleep in bed with the babies. I would frantically feel around the covers looking for the babies, but of course I never found them because they were in another room with my mom. But man did it ruin my little sleep stretch every night. It always took me a few minutes to calm down and go back to sleep. UGH. 

One of the hardest parts was trying to keep up with feeding the babies. At first I was tandem breastfeeding, but when Scott went back to work it became so hard for me to do. I decided to pump and bottle feed instead. I was blessed with a good supply, but making enough milk for two growing babies was still a full time job. As soon as I could get them down to nap, I would sit down at the pump. I felt like that was all that I did. It was a beating, to be honest. I reminded myself often that the babies were benefiting from the nutrition of the breast milk. Not only that, but I was saving money on formula and helping myself lose weight. That helped, but it was still one of the hardest parts about the first five months, which is when I stopped breastfeeding and switched to formula.

I feel like the turning point for us happened at their 8 week doctor appointment. We put Evan on acid reflux medicine and switched his last bottle of the day to a sensitive formula. He started to be less fussy, and things started to slowly get easier. The babies also started sleeping longer stretches.

Let me back track a little bit. One of the things I did while I was pregnant was research sleep schedules for babies. Many twin moms told me that the schedule was so important because if you didn't get both babies sleeping and eating at the same time, you would never, ever get a break during the day. I ended up choosing the Moms on Call (MOC) book for scheduling and parenting tips, and it was (and still is) so helpful.

I started trying to get them on a napping and nighttime sleep schedule at 5 weeks. It was really hard work, but we used the MOC schedules to get them fairly sleep trained by three months. We slowly transitioned them from the Rock 'n Plays in the living room to their own cribs in the nursery. They slept 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. for five nights straight, and we were so surprised/relieved/happy. PHEW.

From three months on, it has been getting more and more fun. I'm overwhelmed with how much I love those two miracle babies. I think about them constantly. I went back to work full-time at 12 weeks, and I'm always texting my mom to see how they are doing during the day. She watches them half the time, and the rest of the time they are in a part-time daycare at a local church.

The first smiles? Amazing. The first laughs? The best. Of course we've had some harrowing moments in the last three months as well (teething!), but the babies are so sweet and fun. It's fascinating to watch their personalities emerge and see how fast they pick up new skills. It feels so slow and so fast at the same time. The hardest part about this season of life is the other season we are dealing with - football season! Scott is working 7 days a week (long days, too) so that's hard. In an ideal world, caring for twins is a 2-person job. But we've established systems that work for us and help us care for them by ourselves, so we're surviving.

Motherhood has changed me in some ways that completely caught me off guard. I'm so much more organized now, but that's out of necessity. There are so many things to juggle. I have systems for laundry and dishes and cleaning the play area, and I get upset when the dishwasher isn't loaded properly. You guys, that is so NOT me. But I have changed, and all of these systems are part of my survival as a twin mom. Suddenly the dishwasher setup is important. It's so weird.

I have a lot more anxiety than I ever did before. Actually, my motherhood anxiety gets better and better every day as I gain more confidence in my motherly instincts. But I was very anxious in the early months as I tried to get into a groove as a mom. I'm not used to the lack of control you have as the mom of a newborn (or two). I channeled my need for control and structure into mastering my homemaker skills, frenetically writing thank you notes and doing laundry and washing bottles and just trying to earn an A+ for my stay-at-home life. Again, that caught me very off guard.

I remember sitting on the floor at the end of the day, exhausted, holding a pacifier in each baby's mouth, thinking that motherhood was teaching me a lot about myself. Now I'm sitting here on my couch after wrestling a fussy, feverish baby to sleep, and I know the lessons are only just beginning.

Here's a list of my twin mom baby registry essentials. I hope it helps a fellow new mom!

Thanks again for reading this humble blog. I really enjoy having a place to dump my thoughts, and I hope you get something out of it. :)

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