My sweet twins turned 5 this March! I can't really internalize that because in my mind they will always be newborns or at least toddlers. Being a mom of multiples is really a unique experience.
Anyone who has older children will tell you to savour the years because they go by fast. I have become that parent that says to folks that the days area indeed long and the years are truly short!
Allow me to share the back story on my twin motherhood journey. I remember writing goals down on when I would want to be done having kids. For some reason 35 was the number that I was thinking about. I had Mr. 7.5 when I was 33 so when he turned 2 I was pretty much ready. I was going through a really rough patch at work. I had been passed up for a couple of positions and I felt like I was checking out career-wise. I kept thinking: wouldn't it be nice to get pregnant and have a break and go off on a one-year mat leave and have the time to reflect and figure things out (thank God for Canada). I was ready for a new season. I recall that summer of 2015 - I was particularly testy that July. We had family visiting from out of town - the good old days when people visited from out of the country.
So here is the spooky thing. I remember one afternoon feeling a really strange twitch. If you've been following my blog, you will know that I journal often. So I wrote down that I feel a strange twist in by abdomen. Let's see what happens. Well I started getting queasy towards the end of the month. I jokingly asked the hubby to get me a pregnancy test.
He got ONE.
Backstory, in our first year of marriage we used to use $20 tests until we discovered dollar store tests that are just as effective and very easy on the wallet lol.
He went and got the cheapest test and I was doubtful that it was legit. I did the pee on the stick and the plus sign showed up almost immediately. I was both excited and nervous. I shared that with hubby and of course we were both really happy and excited. I made him get another test just to be sure - he got 3! ALL POSITIVE in seconds.
At this point I was nervous that I was far along and then worried that I was late starting on prenatal vitamins and all that. I booked an appointment for a gynaecologist at the same clinic that my son's pediatrician was at. They asked me when my last period was and because I genuinely wasn't sure - hello life with toddler, they scheduled us for a dating ultrasound scan. They don't usually do these early but given the ambiguity they decided to do it.
My hubby is a twin and he wanted twins from the get go. I would always intercept that and say: not for the first one - we need a practice baby. The second can be twins. Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.
We had a good laugh on the drive to the radiologist about it being twins and lightheartedly left it as is. Well we get there and the radiologist puts the cold jelly on my belly and then she looks at the screen and looks at us with a strange expression. So I am like uh...what is going on. She says do you see what I see. There were two sacs on the screen and I asked her and she confirmed. And I got laughing. We both laughed so hard because God has such a sense of humour. I said second pregnancy and He was like ok, second pregnancy it is. We were so overjoyed. She confirmed that I was 8 weeks and that the reason the test changed colours so quickly was because of twins.
We lived in a 2-bedroom apartment at the time and had our little sedan. We soon came down from the mountain top and started worrying about how life was about to change and all the things we would need:
Need two cribs
Need a new car
Need two car seats
Need a bigger place
Need two of everything
It was so overwhelming.
I also did what most people do when they find out they are pregnant: I started to google twin-pregnancies and realized that there were several risk factors associated with a twin pregnancy. That really discouraged me. I shared the news with a few close friends and family and got mixed reactions including being told that it was really dangerous and that I could die. Yeah thanks no filter relative. There was also a lot of projection of fears and concern for us. So very quickly I decided to limit the number of people who knew we were pregnant with twins. I got PRAYING. I would declare the Word of God all through the pregnancy and over the babies for a safe delivery. There are so many SCARY statistics when it comes to twins so I laid off social media AND stayed away from Dr. Google.
I wrote my thesis while pregnant because I already had a really strained relationship with my thesis and my supervisor and I KNEW that if the babies were born, my priorities and focus would shift and I would never finish. I had already taken a break from the PhD to work and I didn't see myself pushing through with 3 kids. This season was crazy because I was working full-time, toddling full time and hustling on the thesis in the evening.
The doc put me on bed rest at the 30 week mark. I had really bad pregnancy insomnia so I wrote and wrote and wrote while I was pregnant. The babies were due the third week of March but given that my first was a c-section and the risk associated with twins, my gyno decided to schedule the c-section on March 3 when I would be 37 weeks. Twins are considered term at 37 weeks and anything after 34 weeks is considered decent. So this was the number I needed to get to. February 24th, I submitted my thesis. I had been holding it together just to get to that point. I remember February 29th (2016 was a leap year) I was DONE. I was so tired I was so exhausted. Hubby and I went out to get a phone for me because my phone died a couple of days before. I couldn't even stand. My feet were so swollen. I was so swollen all over. My biggest prayer was that they would NOT be born on February 29th - I didnt want them to come during a leap year and celebrate their real birthdays once every 4 years.
That night I remember telling hubby I am just so DONE. The next morning we woke up to me having contractions. I hadn't fully internalized that it was my hubby's birthday. We dropped off toddler to daycare, dragged our feet to get to the hospital. Second time around you're so relaxed. We drove to the hospital. When we got there they checked us in and wanted to hurry me to the operating room because they needed to do the c-section before the labour had advanced. I was thinking of who I could call to get me a card for hubby for his birthday. They got me into the OR and I zoned out. When I woke up, I was a twin mom with two perfect beautiful babies born at 12.18pm and 12.19pm each weighing 5lbs which is a great weight for twins. It was only then that I realized that my twin hubby shared a birthday with his twins!
So what have I learned on this journey of twin motherhood?
1. Be your greatest cheerleader
Especially if you're a words of affirmation kinda person. I learned this pretty early on because folks were projecting their fears and ignorance on us all the time - strangers, people we know, family. Talking about how hard it must be, how they could never wish for twins. Then there's the statistics from the internet - twin to twin syndrome, all the risk factors associated with a twin pregnancy it is really doom and gloom. I learned to pump me up, to cheer myself on. To be excited for me. And this came in handy because I often needed and still do need to do that in this journey. Once all the excitement, pomp and stomp is done, once everyone is done being happy for you, and living in wonder over the fact that the twins ALL the twins share a birthday: it's going to be just you and your family. You're going to handle those late nights alone. You're going to deal with the financial requirements by yourself. So be your GREATEST cheerleader. Be excited about your own life. See the great in your journey.
2. Everybody doesn't have to know your business
This one was tough to keep under wraps. I see you all glowing and looking so beautiful while pregnant on IG posting pregnancy shoots and everything - you all look amazing! I on the other hand have this thing about pregnancy that keeps me from being as ostentatious about it. Knowing how precarious the twin pregnancy was, I kept it 100% off social media. I did use creative hashtags because I was writing my thesis at the time and so I gave subtle and not so subtle hints. BUT I pulled a Chadwick Boseman and just kept it to those who saw me physically on a regular basis and or close friends/family far away. It was really prayerful a this time and there was something sacred about not really being out there and showy about it at least for me. Not everyone has to know your business. Some things are meant to be kept private, not secret but private.
3. Help comes from where you least expect it
One thing that surprised me quite a bit about being a twin mom especially in the early days is that the folks I thought would be there with me in the trenches were in their own world and some of the people I least expected ended up being such pillars of support. Some new friendships developed from people's openness and willingness to be there. Accept any and all kinds of help especially from the least expected places. Give someone a chance to bless you with their service or their time if they are offering it.
4. Not everyone will be happy for you
Deal with it. There are many reasons why people will not be happy for you in certain seasons. They could be projecting their own insecurities; they could be in a season of dryness where they are hoping to have the very thing you have. They could be spiteful. They just may not care about what is going on in your life - not everyone is jealous, people are actually leading their own lives. Regardless of the reason, know that not everyone will be happy for you and that is ok. Your goal as an adult is not for everyone to like you or your life choices, it is for you to own and enjoy your choices.
5. It gets better
I spent the better part of my twin mom journey #OVERWHELMED and #GUILTY. Both babies crying at the same time and you don't know who to take first. Feeling guilty about turning the big brother's life upside down: he had two parents both dedicated to him and overnight, both parents turned their attention to two babies. Daycare drop-offs solo where you have to leave big brother in car with one twin while I quickly drop off the other twin, lock the car. Get twin one inside the daycare and then go back to the car and get big brother and other twin. Just feeling like you can't meet everyone's needs. If you're in the trenches, I want you to know that IT. GETS. BETTER. The toddler phase was probably the hardest but after that, they get more and more independent. Although the battles still exist: I don't want to go to bed or they don't want to get ready, you'll get to a season where you no longer feel so overwhelmed and you begin to actually ENJOY the journey.
Being a twin mom has taught me that I can stretch beyond what I thought possible. It has also taught me that I am human and I need help and I CANNOT do everything even if I want to. Which has both been humbling and confidence boosting.
I am so grateful that God blessed me with these two precious babies. I continue to pray for grace to do right by them and my family.