We’ll just try for ONE more kid….or so we thought.
My husband and I decided to try for one more child, to give my daughter, Stella, a sibling closer in age (we also share Carter, my step-son – now 12). I was still 34 and thought we could skip all the extra high-risk appointments that come up being over 35.
We quickly got pregnant (the natural way).
But some things were different. First of all, I got really BIG. Sure, everyone says you get bigger faster with the second pregnancy, but I was BIG. After a month I looked like 4 months had gone by. I didn’t have an appointment for an ultrasound until 8 weeks since my doctor felt comfortable with my previous healthy pregnancy.
Three days before my ultrasound, I started having dreams. Three nights in a row, I dreamed I was having twins. My best friend said, “You’re crazy, you’re just worrying.”
Well, I’m no ultrasound wizard, but as soon as the technician touched my belly with the machine, I could clearly see TWO. She said “Oh, you know you’re having twins right?” We DID NOT. LOL
I immediately started having a panic attack. Ok, moms – of course I’m happy to have healthy babies, but I could still remember how hard breastfeeding, schedules, sleep, teething and all the other milestones were for ONE. How would I even tackle all that with two at the same time?
My husband wouldn’t stop talking and asking questions. The technician had to remind him she was helping me sit up and get water while he was asking how many toes they all had.
We were shocked to say the least. And remember my goal to not have extra appointments, well, throw that out the window. Twin pregnancies come with lots of appointments and they are all longer to check each baby thoroughly.
I had a healthy twin pregnancy and carried identical twin boys to 37 weeks and 1 day. I had hoped for a natural pregnancy, but one was breech and the risk was too high.
“Last pic as a Family of 4”
Fast forward: The twins are 20 months old!!!
Here are the 5 Mind-Blowing things I WISH someone would have told me BEFORE I had the twins!
- The NICU is the best place to go. Before the twins were born, I would have told you I didn’t want to go to the NICU. Of course, you don’t want anything to be wrong with your babies. But let me tell you this little secret. The NICU is the absolute best place to LEARN. Our babies were 5 lbs 12 ounces and 6 lbs 4 ounces, but they LOOKED tiny. We were nervous to hold them. Jack and Ellis went straight to the NICU for various reasons. Jack wasn’t breathing when he was born and they wanted to monitor his oxygen. They both had low sugar. Ellis had jaundice and once in the NICU had a quick period where he stopped breathing. We were only in for 5 days and all the issues resolved themselves! Thank GOD! But if you do need to take a trip to the NICU, here are the amazing things you’ll get!
- One on one care – the twins had their own room and a dedicated nurse. They had all the equipment to monitor everything going on with them. While this may seem scary, we always knew their health status at any given moment and the nurses gave them extra love. Those nurses were the BEST. They were extremely knowledgable and KNEW what to do because they’ve seen every type of issue and baby.
- The will HELP you and TEACH you! After having a C-section I couldn’t leave my bed. My husband went to see the boys first and Facetimed me. Later that night, I was able to go over and hold them and feed them on my own (I pumped and sent it over milk as early as I could). The nurses help make you feel comfortable holding smaller babies. They help with breastfeeding (these saints helped me figure out how to breastfeed both babies at once). They taught me tricks, told me how much the babies needed to eat, and they helped feed them formula to supplement them and get their sugars up. THIS was a major help! I was sore and tired. I was able to do what I could, but knew they I had dedicated loving helpers to give me a chance to sleep. I mean, I was about to never sleep again! LOL We also got a ton of free formula, diapers and everything you could need from the NICU team before we left. SCORE!
2. THE RIGHT Schedule is EVERYTHING. DO NOT SKIP THIS. DO NOT WING IT. If you listen to ANY advice in this whole post, this is IT! This is the most mind-blowing advice. Here’s why. When you are tired, potentially frustrated and still sore from labor – you will not know how to make a schedule. You won’t be thinking clearly and you will have no idea what will work, how to stay consistent or what even matters. Tracking feedings, naps and playtime for twins will be daunting.
Schedule SMARTER, Not Harder!!!
When the twins were around 6 weeks old, they stopped their typical schedule of sleeping, eating and pooping and decided to “Wake up.” During the day, we’d be ok, but then they wouldn’t want to go down for the last nap. They didn’t want to go down for bedtime. By that point I was EXHAUSTED and the others kids were home. I wanted to spend some time with my daughter and husband, but they were crying and fussy for hours. It was almost 10PM before we could get them to sleep and we often resorted to holding them in our bed out of desperation. With my daughter, we made it work. It wasn’t ideal, but with one, you can push through. With twins, it was so much harder.
My friend had told me about a sleep consultant she used more than a year before this. I listened, but didn’t need that help. Well, I called her in the bathtub crying, saying “What’s the name of the lady you used.” I immediately sent her an email and the next day we talked.
Moms – DO not DO it on your own. My favorite tip, is to ask someone who already knows. Have an expert tell you WHAT TO DO. Why struggle? Why wait? Why risk your sanity and happiness?
We hired Dana Mihajlovic when the twins were 7 weeks old (the earliest you can start). Now, keep in mind, that my twins were not premature and they were at an appropriate weight to begin good sleep habits. Dana made sure of this. We also got permission from our doctor prior to starting them to sleep through the night based on her recommendation.
Here is why I will NEVER stop spreading the gospel about SleepWise and specifically, Dana.
I was TIRED! I was at home alone all day. I wanted time with my family. I wanted ANSWERS and RESULTS. I knew I couldn’t sustain this for weeks and months. I was not myself. I was sleep deprived and starting to feel sad.
Dana was my best friend for the next 5 weeks. Every other day we had a call. She created a customized sleep plan based on our goals and made sure we felt comfortable. She never forced anything on me. I didn’t want my babies to be deprived of food or other methods we had heard in books. Ever other day, we’d go over the schedule, their behaviors and any issues. I would cry. I would cry to her and tell her it wasn’t working. Every day she’d re-motivate me. She’d remind me what to do. She’d remind me she KNEW it would work. She’d remind me that they were capable to cry a little. She was my LIFE LINE. Every other day I’d be a badass scheduler and we’d start the same cycle over in a day. That woman was patient. But better yet, she was right. Everything she told me to do, I followed to a T. Eventually we got the twins to stop wanting most of their calories at night. We taught them how to NOT depend on a pacifier or swaddle at 10 weeks. We taught them to nap in their cribs, and still sleep in our room at night. We taught them a bedtime routine. At 12 weeks, they slept through the night!!!!! All by themselves. I felt great that I knew they had all the milk they needed to thrive. It felt great to stop swaddling, and not have to rush a pacifier in to help them cope. It was glorious!!! I was RESTED!
We didn’t stop there. The twins would need a tweak every few months. When they started daycare, when they needed solid foods, when they needed to stop having milk or sugars before nap time. Three naps, then two, then one. Every time we had a change Dana helped us tweak the schedule to ensure appropriate nap lengths that would lead us to an easy bedtime (we just put them down) and ultimately a full nights sleep.
Recently, Ellis (19 months) started waking up every other night. Finally after 6 weeks I called her and said WHAT GIVES! He was just getting over tired! We tweaked his bedtime to be 30 minutes earlier, and BOOM, slept all night!
Moms – STOP figuring it out! STOP! Let someone support you and tell you what to do. If you’ll pay to have someone fix your car, pay to have someone tell you how to create perfect schedules that help your children thrive. They will stop being fussy. They will eat. They will nap. You won’t struggle to get them to go to sleep.
If you need help, please call Dana. Tell her Jennifer Kremer recommended you (I’m pretty sure I’m her favorite twin mom, shhhh). I’ve recommended her dozens of times, even to strangers, and she NEVER fails. Click the Sleep Wise Box below to become #restedasamother!
3. Twins may be slower to reach milestones than single babies. Having a single pregnancy first, I though I new how fast babies grew, when they would reach milestones and I had planned certain life events around that schedule (in my head). The twins gained weight slower than my daughter. They were consistently in the 5-10% percentile for a long time. Of course, that freaked me out! They took way longer to hold their heads up, sit up, crawl and walk than my single. When the twins were about 15 months old, one of the doctors said, “Oh, twins normalize to singles around age 2.” OMG! Why didn’t someone tell me this fact long ago!!! Here I was worrying! It was a mind-blowing stress reliever to know that it’s common and as long as you stay with their normally scheduled doctor visits, you will catch anything that could be an issue, early enough.
4. You don’t need TWO of everything! I swear. LOL You obviously need two car seats and two cribs but honestly, that’s it! We also needed a double stroller, actually we needed a triple. We have now bought 5 strollers. Let me save you money and time and tell you, don’t bother with a triple stroller. We got the Joovy triple stroller and its good for when the babies are older, but there’s no shade for my bigger child and the seats don’t recline back or provide an easy way for them to nap. The shades also didn’t provide great coverage.
Here are my Mind Blowing Must Haves for Twin moms!
- Hatch Rest+ Baby Sound Machine, Night Light, Time-to-Rise Plus Audio Monitor, White Noise Soother, Toddler Sleep Trainer, Kids Alarm Clock, Nightlight
You need white noise. All sleep consultants recommend white noise with a steady tempo. Don’t hate yourself 4 years later listening to twinkle twinkle every night (my daughter still only wants that song). This amazing contraption has many sounds to pick from and you can change the lighting and sound from your phone so you never have to go in the their room. The multiple light colors are also helpful. You shouldn’t turn on a lights when you feed infants at night, it teaches them it’s time to wake up for the day! The blue light and various levels with perfect for seeing them while feeding. it’s worth every penny!
Here’s months worth of worry, resolved for you. I worried myself sick over what monitor to get. I thought the twins would be premature and I was worried about SIDS. I looked up dozens of high end monitors, with every feature to save their life. Then I realized they’d be in our room and would likely be waking every 1-2 hours. I got comfortable with NOT needing a high end monitor because they wouldn’t need it til at LEAST 12 weeks (longer if they are premature) when they were sleeping in their own room. So we bought this monitor and STILL love it. I want to be able to hear them cry instantly and I don’t love app based monitors. I was afraid I wouldn’t hear the notifications. This is super cheap (for a monitor), has a dual monitor and works like a CHAMP! Highly recommend.
This stroller was great for quickly popping in the car seats and for ease at doctor’s appointments. It was a little heavy, post C-Section, but totally great after. It had lots of shade with the visors and storage at the bottom. It is a reasonable price considering all double strollers.
Don’t bother registering for a baby humidifier. You’ll want a large one so you don’t have to refill at night. This one is great because its quiet and large. If your baby is sick, stuffy or if you need to turn the heat on in the house, this is GREAT for keeping those sinuses moist.
I swear by these! They are great for making bottles on the go, because the formula is already measured out. You can also keep track of feedings by the different colors. These are a lifesaver at daycare because it eliminates any feeding confusion and you can pre-measure and put in the order of their feedings. You can also screw the containers in different orders to keep track of the next feeding! These are a must have!