Finding out you’re having twins can be quite intimidating, and it’s perfectly acceptable to be nervous. There are quite a few things that I didn’t realize before giving birth to my twins, and a couple of these were huge concerns for me during my pregnancy. But, guess what? We made it! If any of these are concerns for you or if you have had any of these on your radar, rest assured, everything will work out, and you’ll be o.k., too! Here is the list of things I didn’t know before having twins:
1. It could happen to me
I never had twins on my radar. I remember finding out at our first ultrasound. The technician said, “There’s one baby and there’s the other.” We had no idea what she meant, and she clarified, “dos bebes.” I was in utter disbelief. It’s not like I’m a twin, or my mother is a twin, or even my grandmother. I’m not over 35 years old. And, getting pregnant was a surprise itself. *Warning TMI* I had infrequent and irregular periods. A year and two different OB/GYN’s later, I found out I hadn’t been ovulating, my hormones were a mess, and I was told I may not be able to conceive without intervention. Then, I ended up hyperovulating, and conceived the twins.
2. That everything would be OK
At first, I was absolutely terrified when we found out we were having twins. I was scared of the birthing process. I was scared of what twin pregnancy would do to my body. I was scared of what having twins would do to my relationship. Later, I did everything I could to protect it and make it to term (and, made it to two days before I was scheduled to be induced!!).
I’ve had days where I cried and repeated, “I don’t think I can do this”, like a mantra. I’ve had days where I went the whole day without using the bathroom or eating. I’ve had lots of sleepless nights. We’ve had some arguements. Having twins requires a lot of teamwork, and it is extremely difficult when you’re sleep deprived. I’ll admit, it can put your relationship and sanity to the test. But, not every day is like that, and it gets better. They start sleeping more at night. They won’t need constant feedings. You’ll also become more effecient (e.g. eating while breastfeeding or putting a fussy baby in a carrier and doing household chores). It may not seem like it when you’re up in the middle of the night, for the second night in a row, with a crying baby (or two), but it gets better.
And just remember: “Nothing said at 2 a.m. should be held against you.”
3. I could feel each twin move in my belly
Believe it or not, they had two different “personalities”, and their movements were felt in specific areas of my body. Grayson was the closest to the exit route, and that’s where I’d feel his hiccups, whereas Bailee’s hiccups were in my right side. Bailee was always more active, loved to move, and would nail me in the ribs, to the point where I felt like my ribs were going to break. Grayson was calm, and would hang out until I laid on his side, then he’d wiggle. When you feel them move for months, you learn who is who.
4. They may not look anything alike
I thought of twins as looking so similar, even their parents could get them confused. I never thought twins could look so different, even if they were fraternal. But, here we are: Grayson is his fathers mini-me, having blonde hair and light skin, like when his father was a baby. Bailee is my mini-me, dark complexion, and darker hair.
5. I could get through hours on my own
The first day I was going to be home alone with them, I panicked. What if they both started crying? What if they won’t stop? I’ve had those days, and a few of those days I had to call for help. But, that’s like any family- you have difficult days. Otherwise, I have days where I can take a nap or clean the house. I even go on walks and to the grocery store on a regular basis. I don’t need someone to shadow my every movement. Although, I will say, it can get exhausting doing everything. I’d definitely suggest welcoming help, but it’s possible to get through the days on your own!
6. There are actually so many twins
32 out of every 1000 people to be exact. Maybe it’s because I’m oblivious, or maybe it’s because I didn’t have a reason to look for twins. I always thought it was a rarity. But, now that I have them, it seems like everyone I know is a twin or has twins.
7. Sleep schedules
Whoever said not to wake a sleeping baby, must not have had multiples. Just because twins occupied the same space, doesn’t mean they have the same sleep schedule [outside the womb]. You have to fix them into a schedule. If one baby wakes up, you wake the other. It’s the only way to maintain sanity (You’ll be up every hour to change and feed, if you don’t).
8. There are different types of twins (mono/mono, mono/di, di/di)
I thought there was just identical and fraternal, and that was that. Come to find out, there’s more to it. Mono/mono twins share the same placenta and the same amniotic sac. Mono/di twins share the same placenta, but have different amniotic sacs. These are both forms of identical twins. Di/di twins have two separate placentas and two different amniotic sacs, and are fraternal twins.
9. Tandem breastfeeding is a thing
In other words, feeding both babies, at the same time. You lay one on each side. I had never seen it before getting pregnant. It can be difficult to juggle, especially as the babies get older and more wiggly. However, it saves you from having to alternate babies, which means you won’t have to spend all day nursing.
10. I actually have a lot of patience
Four hours of sleep in 24 hours? No problem. Simultaneous crying? No problem. Not eating until 7 o’clock at night? Didn’t even realize I was hungry.
Maybe it’s that I’m in a constant daze, but few things phase me now. I can manage the day, without completely losing it.