The babies have now been home for 3 months, and my what a 3 months it has been.
The first few days…having them at home felt so nice and so overwhelming at the same time. And frankly, it was a little scary. Especially because both babies had bad reflux, so I was constantly watching them waiting for the next bad occurrence. But in general, caring for the both of them at the same time was an adjustment. In the NICU, I was only able to take care of them one at a time. I never even got a chance to hold them at the same time, save for one day a few days before they left. So it was a bit surreal to care for both of them simultaneously.
Shortly after they came home I also thought I would be able to keep them, if only for a few days, on the same schedule they were on in the hospital. I thought this because it became clear to me very quickly that the way to maintain sanity raising twins was to have them on the same eating/sleeping/etc. schedule. Now, this was after, upon immediately having them home, I tried to respond to them separately, for example feeding each one whenever they wanted to eat, irrespective of the other, and quickly found that I was getting absolutely no sleep and no non-feeding time. So I quickly tried to get them back on the same schedule, and one that was close to what they had in the hospital. The mistake here was that, while Feisty seemed alright with this, Mini Me had issues, but ones I couldn’t see immediately. It turned out that he was not as an efficient feeder as brother, so his weight (which had begun to fluctuate about 2 weeks before he left the NICU) continued to fluctuate and his weight gain was not good. Both had issues with weight gain initially upon arriving home, as going from almost all bottle feeds with 1-2 nursing sessions a day in the NICU, to all nursing at home was too much, energetically. So we switched to nursing half-time, bottle feeding with expressed breast milk the other half, and that seemed to do the trick. That, and having them eat more often.Eating more often really threw me for a loop, as it felt like I was doing nothing but feeding them. Which I was, given the two of them.
One of the things I’ve been sitting with is that this is hard, very hard sometimes, but I feel like I can’t admit that. I feel that because I chose to have a child on my own (and ended up with two) that I gave up the right to say it was hard. Logically, I know this is silly, but emotionally I can’t shake it. I find myself sugarcoating how things are really going sometimes when friends ask. My closest friends know how it really is, but that’s it.
Advice is a fickle thing. This is always true, especially when folks have kids. A lot of the advice I get from people doesn’t really work given that I have two babies and just one of me. For example, tons of people say “sleep when the babies sleep.” This would work fine if I had one baby – sleeping when they sleep would be easy. But with two, they don’t always sleep at the same time.
I appreciate the advice I get from folks, and I’ve been able to follow some of it, but twin advice for one adult is hard to come by. I wish I knew someone in a similar situation. (For what it’s worth I have been searching for blogs/articles by single people raising twins.)
All in all it’s a lot of adjustment, and, of course, a learning process.