Welcome to our guest mama’s section. Here we interview moms in our village to hear more about their journey.
Meet Megan, Mom of Twins
I’m a mom of two; yes they are twins, no they are not identical, one is a boy and one is a girl, yes my hands are full, and we don’t know if we are done yet. My husband says we got the two for one special with the twins. I can’t imagine tackling parenthood with anyone else but him. Before the twins I taught full time and once the kids are in school I’ll more then likely return to the classroom, but for now I’m enjoying being “just a mom”.
What is your biggest strength as a mom?
My biggest strength as a mom is my go with the flow attitude and flexibility. If it takes me twice as long to get laundry done because the kids want to play and help, and I’m okay with that. If we go for a hike and take a break every 5 yards to explore stuff and only end up “hiking” the length of a football field, it will just have to do.
What do you do when you are without your kids?
My escape on a kid free day is the barn with a girl friend or the archery range with my husband. A close second is grocery shopping kid free!
What was it like when you found out you were pregnant with twins?
In August we were planning a 10 day backpacking trip in Nevada, and I got car sick on two different car rides two days before we were supposed to leave. I had been off birth control for over a year- close to a year and a half so I knew that pregnancy was a possibility, but I had thought that before and the test had always come back negative. So in my head I said ” oh I’ll just take a pregnancy test, it will be negative and I won’t have to worry on our trip.” Sure enough there was 2 pink lines and a digital screen flashing pregnant 1+ weeks (I had to take two because I did believe the first one). I had know idea how to tell my husband, I walked into the kitchen twice with his back to me and I couldn’t get the words out. On the third trip into the kitchen I just grabbed his hand and pulled him into the bathroom to point at the test and managed to get “we have a situation” out. He basically just smiled and said “Well alright then”. He has always joked about us having twins because my grandmother had twins which increases the chances of myself having twins.
We had to wait until I was 11 weeks pregnant to see the doctor and my husband wasn’t able to go with because he had to work out of town. I had a feeling that it might be twins because I thought I was feeling movement at 5-6 weeks which they say is not usually for first pregnancies. Also the morning sickness was out of control and I just felt like everything was happening faster and on a bigger scale than you read about. The doctor could only find one heart beat, which sounded wonderful and healthy, but his ultrasound machine was down so he sent me to the hospital to have that done. I took my in-laws with me because they wanted to go and during the car ride I was convinced that there was only one and all the other stuff was just in my head. Well the minute the image came on the screen I knew, two babies, TWO BABIES. The in-laws cried and screamed a little and all I could do was stare at the screen and think how am I going to tell my husband when he calls to ask how the appointment went. When he did call he asked how it went and I told him really well, then he asked “so is there one in there” and I just said “no there’s two” and started laughing. He was blown away and super excited, we couldn’t wait until he got to come home.
What was the hardest part of the pregnancy?
I feel like I got incredibly lucky during my pregnancy and things went fairly smoothly. By far the hardest thing was being so sick for the first 22 weeks. I was sick all the time, morning, midday, night, mid of the night, you name the time I was sick. There were several stops on the side of the road made in a hurry or dinners put on hold for a minute. But other than that I enjoyed being pregnant and did all my normal stuff. I was on a horse 3 days before I gave birth and I was shooting in an archery tournament a week before.
Were you nervous about labor?
After the first doctors appointment I actually changed doctors to the one my sister had had her last with. I absolutely loved my doctor. She was so encouraging of me for doing things that way I wanted unless there was a medical reason why we shouldn’t. We talked a lot about labor and how it would all work, it’s really similar to having one your just not done once the first baby is out. It’s the possible complications that are different from having a singleton. I think I was nervous for labor just because I had never done it before, and not because it was twins. I think my doctor played a huge role in how comfortable and confident I was about the labor process. At 34 weeks both babies were head down which meant we didn’t need to schedule a C-section and could plan on a natural labor unless a complication arose. Starting at 33 weeks I had to go into the hospital twice a week for non-stress test on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The week that the babies came my test on Tuesday was great, but by Friday I was showing signs of pre-eclampsia and the safest thing for babies and myself was to be induced. My mother was with me and stayed until mu husband could make it there from work. When you are induced they have to constantly monitor the babies and because there were two they can’t do it remotely. This meant that I could only be as far away from the machine as the cords would let me, which was about 5 feet. This made the laboring process a bit more complicated and when trying to use the birthing ball we would loose one of the heart beats so we would have to re-adjust. All those labor positions and techniques I learned about kinda went out the window due to the restrictions of being attached to the machine. Around the 25 hour mark my doctor came it to talk about breaking my water. I was dilated to 5cm and had been there for several hours without progressing, so she broke the water on baby A. Before my water was broke pain was about a 5, the first contraction after was OMG WTF did you just do to me. I was on the highest dose of Pitocin possible so I figured I needed to give it some time to be turned down before I could really decide if I wanted an epidural or not. I knew that it would take about an hour to get an epidural so after an hour and a half I told the nurse to start fluids for that because if it wasn’t more manageable in an hour I was going to want it. 27.5 hours into labor I got an epidural. Again I feel like I got lucky here; I could feel contractions and push my body up off the bed on my own. This helped when it came time to push because I had the feelings of wanting to push and could push with contractions without being told when and what to do. That being said after 31.5 hours of labor baby A, my daughter, was born at 8:37 and baby B, my son, at 8:44 after three contractions, two to re-dilate my cervix and one to push him out.
What was the 1st month like with them?
Whether you have one baby or two I think your world is rocked and turned upside down when you leave the hospital. My husband was able to be home with us for the first 3 weeks which was amazing for both of us. The babies came at 36.5 weeks so they were early but healthy. Part of being early is that they were sleepy eaters. This meant they would nurse for 5-10 minutes and then fall asleep. I tandem nursed (only way to do it with twins or you will nurse constantly and literally never get a break) and it took two of us to get the job done. They lost enough weight in that first week that we really needed to make sure they were getting enough calories so I would pump after every feeding and then during the next feeding my husband would help feed the expressed milk through a little tube while they nursed. We would also do a diaper change and burp session for each baby in the middle of feeding, this would wake them up and they were able to nurse longer and get the calories they needed. There was little to no sleeping that first week, again I think this is very typical of any first time parents. After that first week I started to do nights on my own. My husband works at a job that he needs to be awake and alert for because mistakes could cost him his life so we needed to figure out a schedule that allowed him to get the rest that he needed to function safely at work. I wanted to figure out nights when I had back up if I needed it not when he was back to work and I had to panic by myself. I feel like I hit my stride 4 days before he had to go back to work. I don’t think I would have been able to figure it out with out him if he had to go back to work sooner. I’m fairly independent in my regular life so needing help was a new experience for me and there was times that I fought it. That first month I had to redefine my expectations about sleeping at night, feedings, sleeping locations, household chores, etc. I had it in my head that we were going to “set” a schedule from day one (babies sleeping in their pack and play by the bed not in it, lights out and quiet by 830, feeding every 3 hours in the day and 4 at night) and the babies were just going to fall into place. Boy was I wrong and that first month was a lot of trial and error.
What has been the hardest part and the best?
The hardest part is that there are two of them, and the best part is there are two of them! There are times where you just can’t do everything all at once or fast enough, so someone is crying and super upset. I tell myself they are learning a life lesson in patience, taking turns, and delayed gratification so that I don’t feel so bad about it or feel like I’m not a good enough mother. I fancy myself supermom so when the reality of not being able to do everything smacks you in the face its hard to take sometimes. On the flip side of that is they are growing up together and experiencing things for the first time with a partner in crime. I remember the first time they found each other and started making faces and noises at each other around 3 months old. Its fascinating to watch them interact with each other from such a young age. Now that they are almost a year they will really play together, giggling, squealing, talking gibberish, and showing each other the “cool” thing they found. This play time gives me a chance to do something baby free for 20-30minutes, where if I only had one they might not self entertain for that amount of time.
Are they more different or alike?
Their temperaments are similar, pretty easy going and if something is wrong it’s usually fixable. Neither one is a colicky baby or super fussy. I do see differences in their personalities, my girl is a mover and a shaker. She is on the move constantly and wants to be a part of whatever I’m doing, This also means she can get frustrated quickly when she can’t keep up or physically do what she is watching happen. She is the one that walked first even though her brother crawled and stood by himself well ahead of her- once she started there was no stopping her. My boy is more of a studier and an observer. He likes to watch and is intrigued with things like books and playing peep-a-boo with a blanket. He likes to figure things out , which is why I think he crawled first and pulled himself up first.
What does a typical day look like? What makes you feel like the day was a success?
Babies are usually up between 530-630, if I’m lucky I can talk them into that extra hour. We get up and have “first breakfast”, as we are like hobbits these days and have “second breakfast” as well. They are really into feeding themselves so its usually naked breakfast so I don’t have to worry about changing clothes. Then its fresh diapers and clothes and play time. If they are happy playing and exploring without me I try to pick up or clean the kitchen, it doesn’t always happen. “Second breakfast” is around 930 and then if the weather is good we go outside to take care of the dogs. Babies either play in the stroller or grass while I throw the ball for the dogs. They nap twice a day, first nap is anywhere between 1045-1130 and they get a bottle at that time. They are not great sleepers so they will nap anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Lunch and errands happen after the first nap, if I need to go out I try to do it right after they have had a good meal and are happy to hang out. When I do go out I bring bottles, food, diapers, and toys where ever I go just in case. Second nap is anytime between 330-430 but I make sure they are awake by 530, because bedtime is at 730. When we play inside its blocks, books, foam letters and numbers, climbing, Tupperware, etc. I attempt to get chores or workouts done when they are napping or I nap myself. Dinner is at 630, depending on what they eat for dinner and what we have done that day we either shower- pjs-book then bed, or wrestling-pjs-book then bed. They get a bottle right before they go to sleep, they are up at least once or twice a night for snuggles and a snack. They are getting better at going back to sleep faster but sometimes they will be up for over an hour. I consider a day a success if myself, babies, and the dogs are fed, exercised, clean, and alive by the end of the day. I feel bad if my husband comes home from work and has to clean or fend for himself for dinner, however that is the season of life we are in and I have to be okay with it sometimes.
How/what do you do to take care of yourself?
Horses have always been my thing and I have been fortunate enough to be able to enjoy them during my pregnancy and starting 4 weeks after the babies where born. Every Monday I get to go to my friends barn and ride horses with her. If the husband is at work we just take the babies with us and take turns watching babies and riding. Having this one day to do something that allows me to feel like I’m not just a mom and I haven’t lost everything that I used to do before babies is refreshing for me. My husband and I love to shoot archery together so even if we have to take babies with us we make it happen. We have also been able to get away for a day here and there to shoot a tournament baby free which has been so much fun. The other thing that we do for each other is offer the other baby free time when we are both home. So if I can see that he is stressed and needs time to relax and unwind, I’ll take babies with me to run errands so he has the house to himself, or tell him to go play with his bows while I watch babies inside. He will do the same for me by watching babies while I grocery shop or take a shower.
What was your profession before the babes and do you hope to go back to work?
I have a BA in Mathematics and a Masters in Secondary Education with my secondary teaching credential. I have worked in the retail and education environment before the babies were born. As the babies get more independent I am hoping to get back to teaching by subbing a few times a month or when the husband has a break in work. Once the babies are in kindergarten or first grade I plan on actively looking for a full-time teaching position. One of the benefits of being a teacher is that I will have the same schedule as my kids so that I can still be there when they are out of school.
What’s it like when your husband works away from home?
When he is out of town working I try to take it day by day. I try to focus on the babies and if they are happy and healthy I let other stuff slide. There are many times where there is a pile of laundry in the babies room and mine, this pile is clean but I haven’t found the time to be able to put things away. Or toys and books stay out overnight, but when he is home we pick up and straighten thing up before we go to bed. Because it is literally all me when he is gone I tend to visit my parents at least once during a week period. It just nice to see them and have a period of time where I can take my eyes off babies and not worry about them getting into trouble. My parents always offer me a chance to nap which more often then not I take them up on it. The biggest struggle is being sleep deprived when he is gone. Normally I handle the night stuff and then he will get up with babies while I get a couple hours uninterrupted in the mornings on his days off. Not getting uninterrupted sleep is by far the hardest part of him being gone. The second part is having him miss stuff with the babies. We Skype every night when he is away so he gets to see them and they make faces at each other on the screen but they don’t do their new tricks on command so if I didn’t catch it on video he doesn’t get to see it. That is hard on him because when he is home he is so involved that he really feels like he’s missing out when he doesn’t get to play with them every night.
Thank you Megan for sharing your world with twins!