I don’t remember much from our first few weeks home. Our parents took turns staying with us to help out, so we didn’t have to think about meals or laundry for a while. The boys were almost exclusively breastfed so most everything revolved around their feeding schedule (every two hours and it didn’t get much better at night). I do not regret breastfeeding them, but it was extremely difficult. It took about an hour to feed them both, so there was only an hour in between feedings. If J.R. was around he would help prop up both the boys on the boppy pillow so I could feed them at the same time. Tandem feedings were extremely uncomfortable and I quickly gave it up and did back-to-back feedings. That was great unless the second one wanted to eat (I had a baby attached to me and couldn’t help the other one).
Some people questioned why I continued to nurse them since it was so physically draining. I felt like it was best for my preemie babies, I had an abundance of milk and it was free. Yes, it would have been easier if someone else could have fed them in the middle of the night. I did use formula every now and then for that purpose (I am in no way against formula – they have been on formula since eight months and they are just fine!).
My physical recovery from the C-section took a while. I needed help getting up and down, taking showers, etc. J.R. was my nurse. My hormones were completely crazy – I would get extremely hot or cold and have shaking spells. I barely got any sleep, my body was working hard to make milk for my babies and I had intense, burning pain on the right side of my incision. J.R. was gentle and sweet and cared for me so well during that time. He also changed most of their diapers since getting up and down was difficult for me! I definitely win now though, I’m guessing I’ve changed close to 5,000 diapers at this point.
Everyone left around three weeks and J.R. was back to work so I had to figure out how to do things on my own. Things you wouldn’t think of – how to move from one room to another with two of them, how to get in and out of the car, how to get them to sleep at the same time, how to feed them without one screaming……this is when I started throwing out everything the books said! I read several books during my pregnancy. It wasn’t a waste of time, but I will say that no child comes with a manual and going with your mama instinct is a safe bet! I quickly discovered that many of the things I said I wouldn’t do were no longer a big deal and that my five-pound babies were not going to be sleeping through the night by twelve weeks (sorry, Babywise).
Here are some things the books suggested that I threw out:
- Tandem nurse twins so you spend less time feeding (great advice in theory but I wonder if the people who suggest this have ever tried it…..)
- Don’t use pacifiers before four weeks so your baby doesn’t experience nipple confusion (anything to soothe them)
- Don’t rock your baby to sleep so they will learn how to fall asleep on their own (have two babies with colic and see how that goes….more on that next time)
- Don’t let your baby fall asleep in a swing or bouncy seat (if I had four arms maybe but I only have two so the swing was like an extra set!)
- Keep your baby in your bedroom until 12 weeks old (I woke up from every peep so this did not work for us)
When you have a newborn you are in survival mode. When you have two you feel like you are barely hanging on to the life preserver. I did what worked for my family which often went against the recommendations. But hey – we survived! J.R. also started a new job when they were about three weeks old, so there was a lot of transition going on at once. By God’s grace we got through it. In the moments when I felt so inadequate and exhausted, God sustained me. When I was up for the fourth time at night and felt weary and alone, He was there. He showed me how much I need Him, and how much I need family and friends to help care for these boys (thanks to everyone who has supported us during our journey of parenthood – we appreciate you).