Read Part One Here: Life With Twins: The First Two Weeks – The Hospital Stay
After a five day hospital stay, once our precious girls Mia and Everly arrived via Cesarean section at 37 weeks 4 days, we had finally been given the green light to go home. Mike proudly carried our two tiny 6lb bundles out into the hot summer air away from our safe haven of doctors and nurses, who for the past five days had been helping us non-stop. We were on our own now… gulp!
We knew we had a bit of extra time before we were losing our babysitters who were looking after our two older kids, Holden and Beau, so Mike and I decided to drop into a baby boutique to pick up more swaddling blankets. Venturing out of my hospital cocoon felt so absurd. I felt hypersensitive to lights and the bustle of people around me. After walking around the store a bit I started to weaken and parked myself on a chair near the door with our girls while Mike finished paying. Reality was setting in that real life was about to begin and I was pretty nervous. Not nervous about caring for two babies at once. Nervous about creating a new family dynamic and making sure that I was giving everyone enough attention.
Once arriving home I was told that Beau was still napping, so after Holden quickly greeted his baby sisters I darted upstairs to the nursery with Mia and Everly to nurse them. After a serene feeding session I started to hear muffled whispers and the sound of a vacuum outside the nursery door. Once I ventured out of the room to see what was going on I knew immediately what happened by the overpowering stench. Baby powder. While we all thought Beau was napping, in reality she had been emptying an entire bottle of baby powder in her room. I am still shocked to this day that Mike was so patient about it.
We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying our newest members of the family while my mom, as well as Holden and Beau helped feed them. I was trying to accommodate our kids as much as possible but my energy was quickly fading.
I put our girls down for their first nap in their cribs with huge success. I realized then that sending our girls out to the nurses for help while in the hospital actually helped them get accustomed to sleeping independently which transferred over nicely when it was time to sleep in their nursery.
Side note: I had tried having Holden room share with us when he was born, which didn’t work out since I am such a light sleeper. We had our girls sleep in separate cribs in their nursery so that we could use Angelcare monitors with the breathing pads for peace of mind. If they shared a crib the monitors would not work. (This post is not sponsored by Angelcare, I just LOVE their monitors). See Nesting Story’s Twin Nursery Tour And Tandem Feeding Tutorial Video for more on our sleeping arrangements and how I would tandem feed them without help right from the start.
Once it was finally my turn to have a sleep I was so excited to pass out in my own bed without an enormous pregnant belly. I had been sleeping in a slightly reclined hospital bed since my c-section up to this point. I eased my bruised and battered body into my bed and was ready to go into a coma. As soon as I laid down it felt as if someone place a 50 lb weight on my chest. I couldn’t breathe. I sat up in a panic and thought to myself, “what the hell was that?” I tried repeatedly and every time I felt like I was suffocating. I started sobbing as Mike entered the room. I explained that I just wanted to sleep but couldn’t. I eventually found a way to sleep somewhat comfortably by grabbing Beau’s decorative pillow’s from her bed and slept upright for the following few days. This was something I had never experienced following my vaginal deliveries with my older two. I think it had been a combination of healing from surgery as well as my organs being misplaced after carrying our twins for almost nine months.
The next day I noticed my feet and ankles began to swell. This happened after Holden’s delivery (which was also during the summer heat), so I wasn’t surprised. But the amount of swelling was incredible, so much so that it was alarming my parents who kept taking my blood pressure, worrying that it might be the cause. Nope, blood pressure was fine. The uncomfortable ankle swelling went on for three weeks before it subsided. I had kept saying to Mike that if my ankle swelling went down I would feel so much better.
I wasn’t allowed to drive for two weeks after my c-section and thankfully Mike was home during that time. We ventured out all as one big family and enjoyed the long summer day. Holden was adjusting beautifully to his new sisters and after a few giggles when I would nurse Mia and Everly uncovered in front of him, he got over it pretty quickly. Beau was a mix between clinging to me and being very defiant. She had her moments of being an extremely helpful little mommy, but then she would start taking advantage of my guilt. I was trying to be so accommodating, worrying that she might feel completely shafted. After my mom witnessed what was going on, she gave me fantastic advice. “Joanna, she is a big girl. What this family needs right now is a mom that is taking care of herself and healing properly from a very major surgery. Your number one priority are those two tiny babies.” It was exactly what I needed to hear. From that point forward I put my foot down and Beau quickly realized the jig was up. To this day it is still a balance between extra love, attention and one on one time vs structure and discipline with Beau.
The first couple days at home came with it’s share of visitors. I was careful to schedule the visits for when it suited us and not over do it.
We had scheduled a newborn photography shoot for day three at home. This was a turning point for us. We had a babysitter for Holden and Beau while Mike and I hid out, lounging on couches while the photographers gingerly photographed our little dolls for four hours straight only stopping here and there so I could feed them. This gave Mike and I some time to get away from visitors and the activity of our home. We put our feet up, relaxed and regrouped.
In the days that followed we all found our groove. I actually enjoyed getting up with Mia and Everly to feed them during the night. When one would wake, I would also wake the sleeping baby and do one big feeding. I was actually getting a pretty decent amount of sleep and would soak in those intimate quiet moments when it was just the three of us. We mastered bathing two babies (think assembly line), and a routine was starting to take shape.
Holden and Beau were and still are fascinated and completely in love with “their” babies. They both started finding ways they could help safely. Beau would even mimic me breastfeeding with her dolls. There were days that I would get teary and think I wasn’t spending enough time with one child or another and always feeling spread so thin. But as time has passed I have learned that even a quick hug and kiss in passing when you don’t have time for more can make all the difference. I also try to be constantly in tune with who may be having a rough time and give them extra attention. It is a constant balancing act.
After the first two weeks I was feeling much better, but taking my wise nurse’s advice, I didn’t over do it at that point, including going on long walks. It took a couple months to really start feeling like myself again. Although I was relieved that I was on the other side and had completed my “marathon” of a pregnancy, there was a lot of healing that needed to happen.
By the end of the first two weeks, Mia and Everly were still those easy to please, happy babies that I had experienced in the hospital. But little did I know that something was brewing and our lives would soon be turned upside down.
Read Postpartum Depression, Fructose Intolerence And Why I Stopped Breastfeeding Our Twins to see what was waiting for us at the three week point.