We made it! We survived our first year raising twins. It’s hard to believe that a year ago we went from thinking I just had an “inability to void” to “we’re having babies” in only five minutes. No, doctor, I’m not constipated…I’m in labor and that’s a baby’s butt you feel! It was like an out of body experience as they prepped me for surgery…one thing’s for certain, this wasn’t how I was expecting to spend my Saturday night. I was shaking terribly and I don’t know if it was nerves, medication, or a combination of both, but one nurse had to physically restrain me so they could administer the spinal block. It was only then, when my lower body went numb, that I could start to wrap my mind about what was about to happen. I said my favorite Bible verse (Nahum 1:7) repeatedly in my head, “The LORD is good. A refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in HIM.” With any luck, the steroids I’d been injected with nearly three days earlier when my water broke had done their job and would allow my babies to breathe on their own. At only 32 weeks and 5 days gestation, we knew they were going to have to go straight to the NICU. We just prayed that they wouldn’t have any complications; that they would only have the “normal preemie” issues. Thankfully, they were both remarkably healthy and hearty for preemie twins. Grant Louis tipped the scales at 4 lbs 7 oz and was 18 ½ inches long. Today he’s 20 lbs and 29 inches long. Maria Isabel weighed in at 4 lbs 3 oz and was 17 inches long. Today she’s 18 lbs 14 oz and 28 ½ inches long. We’ve even graduated out of measuring them against their adjusted age as things start to even out about now. They are both around the 15-20th percentile, although Grant’s head is still at the 75th. Grant is crawling, pulling up on everything, and has 4 teeth. Maria can spin in circles and go in reverse, but hasn’t mastered forward motion yet. She’s sporting 6 teeth. Both have a wide range of vocalizations, but I think our favorite is Maria’s karate “HIYA!”
We’ve learned a lot over the last year and I know it’s only the beginning. Here are some of things we’ve taken away from our first year of parenthood:
• It is possible to live on one income. It takes some sacrifice, but it is worth it.
• When you are a tired, scared, and overwhelmed NICU parent, true friends stick by you, even if they can’t understand what you are going through.
• It’s very possible to successfully breastfeed twins. Eat lots, drink plenty of water, and trust your instincts. You won’t regret it!
• I can function on less than 8 hours of sleep.
• I like coffee.
• Jeremy and I can sleep in the same bed together. After years of working and sleeping on opposite shifts, I wasn’t sure if this was possible.
• Raisins come through the digestive system unscathed….almost as if you could wash it off and eat it again.
• The laws of physics do not apply to baby poop.
• The amount that goes into a baby does not correlate to the amount that comes out.
• As soon as you get used to one routine, they switch it up.
• Babies don’t need a lot of stuff. They just want to be with you. Blocks, books and balls are plenty of entertainment.
• Naps are essential for everyone’s sanity.
• The $12 we spent on Grant’s Wubbanub paci was the best $12 we spent all year. Securing said paci to his sleep sack blanket with a diaper pin…brilliant!
• It’s important to take time to take care of yourself and your relationship with your spouse. Jeremy says they will kill you if you let them!
• Each stage has its advantages and disadvantages.
• Plan ahead, but be flexible.
• Parent according to your instincts and don’t get bogged down in what some book says or what advice others give you. You know your baby best.
• Our lives will never be the same; but I wouldn’t trade it.
It truly is hard to believe that a year has already passed and we’re now embarking on our 2nd year as parents. By the grace of God we’ll make it to 2 and beyond!