Friday, September 18, 2009

Double thoughts

It's been four days since we found out that we were having twins. It feels like four years. Maybe even four decades.

It's amazing how news like this can change everything. When we first started trying to conceive, it changed the way I looked at the world. Even though I didn't have a child of my own, I became more aware of the parents around me - how they interacted with their kids, how they dealt with everyday problems, how lives change when a child is born.

And now my outlook has changed again. Twins are an unbelievable blessing, and we're astounded and amazed at our luck...but also terrified. Because everything has changed.

Things have changed financially - we had planned and prepared a comfortable post-baby budget for one child, and while twins won't put us out on the street, it will be a lot tighter. Buying baby furniture for one is expensive, but outfitting a nursery for two is very expensive...especially in Australia where everything costs more than it does in the States, and decent quality secondhand items are hard to find in my small town. A single stroller becomes a pricier double or tandem model. Diaper costs, whether you're planning to cloth diaper or use disposables, suddenly skyrocket. Daycare expenses become double what you expected them to be (I investigatee what a nanny would cost, but in my area it would be twice as much as daycare for both babies!).

Things have changed health-wise. After my miscarriage, I was looking forward to a nice, low risk pregnancy. But with twins, the risks rise both before and during birth. And with identical twins (which is what it looks like we're having), they're higher yet again. Speaking of birth, there are also much higher odds that I'll need a Cesarean section. It's not my preference, but I've come to accept that this may be necessary - it may not, but I need to be prepared that it will. Since the ultimate goal is two healthy babies, I won't mind giving up what I thought I wanted to make sure that our twins are delivered as safely as possible - but it's still an unexpected mental adjustment that has to be made.

Things have changed in terms of practicality. I never thought I'd have to research how to breastfeed two babies at the same time! What about comforting two crying babies? Bathing and dressing them? And what about their nursery? We're currently buying a house, and the sweet, cozy little room that we originally planned to use for a nursery is suddenly far too small - there's absolutely no way we can fit two cribs and the rest of the furniture that we'll need in there. So our former guest bedroom will become the nursery, and our guest bed will be downgraded from a queen to a single bed or a daybed in order to fit in the new, smaller space. Again, it's not anything that's insurmountable - but it's another change that has to be considered and made.

I'm not trying to be negative right now - I'm just trying to explain some of the thought processes you go through when you're suddenly surprised with this kind of news. I think a lot of people have the same response that I did before we discovered we were having twins (i.e., before I had to deal with this myself!), which is to just react, "Oh twins! Cool!" You don't realize all of the issues that the prospective parents instantly have to wrestle with - the fears, the practical issues, the change in finances.

When you're expecting twins, you're suddenly, inescapably aware that everything doubles. Double trouble. Double tantrums in the grocery store. Double dirty diapers. Double fears and worries.

But then you realize...everything doubles. Double blessings. Double hugs. Double joy. Double love. We are so very lucky.


  1. Aww, Bibliosaur, your last sentence brought tears to my eyes. I know this is a lot to handle, but I have a feeling you'll meet the challenge beautifully. GL with your double blessings!

  2. Oh Bibliosaur...I can only imagine how overwhelming it is. Have no WILL work out. As you know I am a twin and my mom had my brother and me when she was just 19. She was married, but they only had one income. It worked. Someone gifted her with a year's diaper service and we actually slept in one crib for the first few months (we actually preferred it). Another idea is to get Pack 'n' Plays rather than actual cribs. It turns out that many parents purchase both but end up using the Pack 'n' Play rather than the crib.

    Perhaps some of your family in the US can send you some gently used second-hand baby clothes in a care package? Basics like onsies, hats, booties, etc. That will at least help you from the start. FWIW, we only breastfed for 6 weeks because we were SO hungry and my mom didn't make enough milk for us so we were on formula. Not sure how many mother's of twins are actually breastfeeding longterm. I'd be curious is there are statistics. You could pump exclusively and have them bottle feed your breast milk. Or combo...pump and breast feed. I do know that there are mothers who exclusively pump and it works out well, so that may be a way to have the best of both circumstances...breastmilk and help with the feeding times.

    And maybe you can consider an au pair, which is essentially an exchange student that you host who also looks after your little ones. Not sure if your new place can accomodate another person though. But if so, it can be more affordable than a full-time nanny. Another option may be looking into hiring a college student studying early childhood education as a "mother's helper" for a few hours a week to lend a hand.

    Finally, I hope you can find a mother of mulitples group or something similar in your area, I am sure you'll be comforted by connecting with other women in your area faced with the same challenges and blessings. I don't know if you're familiar with the Foster Family blog, but she's a single mom with baby twin girls and she blogs about it daily. It may encourage you. Hang in there!

  3. My cousins had twins and I always thought it would make for such a crazy life, but they said it was no problem, especially since they didn't even know what life with a singleton was like. I also don't think they bought two cribs. Just one and they used a divider to seperate them when there was the concern for SIDS and once they grew past that stage they would cuddle together at night. You could look into doing that instead of buying the two cribs and save some money there.

    And I can't remember if you were planning to have a shower or not, but I really think you should. Your family and friends WANT to help you! Especially now that you are double blessed, even if they are thousands of miles away and can't be there physically. They will want to send you gifts and two babies equal twice the gifts! Hopefully you get some diapers thrown into the deal and are covered for at least a couple of months there.

    And I do believe everything else will fall into place. You instincts will kick in when it comes for caring for them, the money will be found to take care of them, and they will always have clean clothes! I do know lots of twins are able to be born vaginally, but if that's not the case the most important thing is to have healthy babies and a healthy Mommy.

  4. I just want to say congratulations! I know you will be a great mom and you will get the hang of it! my sister has twins (she´s 5 feet tall and very petite) and she breastfed her girls until they were 16 months, very much like the first picture. Her children shared a pack n play when they were downstairs, and a crib some of the time. Now they are six and still prefer to sleep in the same bed together.
    Find out if you have a Mother´s of Multiple´s type group where you live, or near there. They might really be able to help you.

  5. Congratulations on your twin pregnancy! A couple of friend's of ours had twins back in May. Their parents come over to help a lot. The girls are just adorable. I wish you all the best for a happy, healthy 9 months and beyond with your bundles of joy.