Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Decade with Twins

Our twin boys recently turned 10! It's so hard to believe how quickly those years have flown by. I had so many apprehensions before they were born- two babies to nurse, burp, diaper and put to sleep. Two babies cutting teeth and fighting colds simultaneously. Two babies to potty-train and teach how to read. But looking back, it was often easier- they learned a lot from each other, and still do.

I was 19 weeks pregnant when I found out I was having twins. And it was kind of by accident. I had been complaining to my midwives all along that I felt so much bigger than with my first four and I was also extremely sick, while with the others I had never experienced sickness. This particular midwife had a set of twins herself and so she nonchalantly suggested that we do a quick ultrasound. She wasn't super familiar with the machine, but thought she could figure out if there was more than one baby in there. And wouldn't you know, she quickly found 2 little bodies in there! Shock- that happens to other people, but certainly not me!

We had to wait an agonizing 8 days before we found out that we were carrying 2 little boys. Of course, we were thrilled, especially Cort, who really wanted some boys in the house. The second half of my pregnancy was much different. I guess that sometimes ignorance is bliss, for now all of the worrying and interventions began. I was now all of the sudden "high risk" as the statistics are high for not being able to carry twins full-term. I had to have monthly ultra sounds, and bi-weekly ones after week 30. I was placed on limited activity since too much activity seemed to bring on contractions. For a while the doctor watched baby B (Edmond) for a heart defect which led to much prayer. God was good in allowing the hole in his heart to close up before birth.

a few days before the twins arrived...

At 38 weeks I was still pregnant. I know that was a good thing, but being pregnant with twins was the hardest thing I have gone through physically. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat due to severe heartburn, I felt like I couldn't breathe as those little boys pressed up against my diaphragm... At 38 weeks I was having some contractions and beginning to dilate. Because we lived an hour away from civilization (in a small town in Montana), the midwife decided to induce me. It was 4 pm and I agreed to the lowest dose of pitocin and my contractions quickly became regular. I was used to natural labor as I had all of my previous babies in a hospital or birth center with a midwife. I was expecting this to be the same. But I was wrong! Lots of monitors- one for each baby and one for contractions. {I never could figure out why we need a computer to tell us when we are going to have a contraction! Um, I will promise to let you know!} I hated that I couldn't move around or take a shower. I knew that all of that confinement was not helping my labor move along. But shortly before midnight I was ready to bring these little guys into the world. To the OR we went (another surprise!), just in-case I needed a C-section. Here I met my back-up doctor for my midwife who was all too eager to section me. My recollection of this woman was her screaming on the phone for an anesthesiologist to come to the room asap to get my babies out. She did not want a natural birth whatsoever. I am so thankful for my amazing husband, who put into practice all of the husband coached childbirth classes I had taught (I was a Bradley Instructor). He continued to help me sit up, despite the oxygen mask and all of the monitors and coached me to relax and breathe easy, even with all of the chaos in the room all around us. (Did I mention that there were at least 20 people in the room by now? Each baby had his own pulmonary specialist, pediatrician, nurse etc. as well as all of the people ready to do surgery if needed). It was all very disconcerting! But looking back, God was so good in allowing our little boys to be born naturally and without any intervention or drugs beside pitocin to jump-start my labor. And that anesthesiologist never did show up! God is so good!

I was ecstatic to be on the other end of pregnancy. Everyone in the hospital seemed overwhelmed for me to have 2 babies to care for and nurse, but I was in heaven! They were healthy and nursed well and I felt great! We quickly fell into a routine. I nursed the babies together for the first 4 months. I used a special twin nursing pillow and nursed them in the football hold. After that they were too heavy to nurse together, so whichever twin was crying would get milk first. During the day, I would have one of the older kids hold the other twin until it was his time to nurse. At night, the other twin was often still asleep. I would wake him up and feed him as well so that I wouldn't be nursing all night. This worked really well and I was able to nurse them for 18 months.

just a few days old, snuggled together in the bouncy seat... 

We have loved having twins. Our boys are identical and they have been inseparable since birth. Even as newborns they somehow scooted next to each other and were happiest being very close together. Now a decade later they still do everything together! I can probably count on one hand the times they have been apart, and it was never voluntary. They share everything. One will never, ever, ever take anything to eat or drink without the other. They take turns sleeping on the top bunk. They still like to wear the same clothes. They have the same cowlick. They wear out their jeans in the same location.They rarely disagree or argue, which is truly amazing because they are literally always together. They finish each other's sentences. They get stuck on the exact same math problems. They stand up for each other and cover each other's back. They will randomly ask me the same question without the other one knowing.They have the same interests and are always eager to learn something new. They are also convinced they will get married on the same day (twin girls, maybe?)...

We are so thankful that God blessed us with these sweet boys. They have big hearts for the Lord and for other people. They find excitement and joy in the ordinary facets of life. I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for them in the future. Who knows what the next decade will bring?

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