We have nine months to prepare for a new baby. We attend all our doctors appointments, have a baby shower, set up the nursery, and hope we have everything we need for the baby. But is anyone ever really prepared for their first child, let alone two babies at the same time? Four years ago I was expecting twins, and little did I know giving birth was just the beginning.
My fraternal twin girls were born at 36 weeks with no NICU time. The first two weeks with newborn twins is shocking. I did not have much experience with newborns, and now there were two. They had some feeding difficulties, and needed light blankets for jaundice once we went home. I remember watching the in-home nurse attach devices that wrapped around the twins and thinking how exhausted I was. I just cried.
They lost quite a bit of weight right after birth, and we spent the first few weeks trying to get them to regain weight. It was around the clock. They were using 20 bottles a day combined, and just to keep up with a wake and feed schedule was time consuming. For middle-of-the-night feedings it was not feasible to feed both babies at the same time. One twin would wake up first and feed, and afterwards the other one was ready to be fed, too. That usually lasted an hour, and by the time they were both back to sleep, it was almost time to start again with the three-hour schedule.
Around nine weeks, the twins started sleeping longer stretches at night. They were on a very strict schedule, which was imperative when trying to get them to sleep. I needed sleep at that point — I do not function well without it. Even a six-hour stretch seemed glorious.
There is a special pillow made for families with twins. It is a double lounger, and we started using it almost as soon as they arrived home. It was the perfect spot for them to lay and be fed at the same time during the day. It also helped them learn to sit independently because it would prop them up. This pillow helped because it was hard to hold both babies at the same time. I felt I couldn’t hold them as much in comparison to single babies. It was difficult with two because you are constantly switching between babies making sure they are both getting what they need.
My twins did tummy time everyday. When they were very little, they would lay next to each other. When they outgrew the pillow, they would be on their stomachs face-to-face using two play mats. Since the twins were firstborns, everything felt very regimented. I was afraid of messing up, and looking back I wish I would have enjoyed it more, tried to savior more moments when they were babies, and not be concerned that everything I did was going be a mess-up. I became so caught up making sure they were kept on their routine and schedule, and I wish I would have stressed less.
When they were little they did bath time separately. It was a process. One twin would take a bath while the other would be sat in the crib or a bouncer. Then once the first twin was fully bathed, dried, and dressed, the same thing would be repeated with the second one.
As they were able to sit up and crawl, their interactions become more frequent. Even sitting up together, they would sit in the play yard together. They learned very young how they could take toys from one another and would both try to pull up on the same play table. One of their favorite things to do was to crawl to one another. One girl would see the other across the room and immediately go to her.
It felt like once they were on the move time somehow sped up. Some days it felt if you blinked you were going to miss something new. The girls are now four years old, I love watching the bond my twins have. The relationship twins have seems to be different than what siblings have, and something I will never understand, but what a special bond to be apart of.