This post is written by Christa, a working mom to twin toddlers, who battled infertility after a PCOS diagnosis. She is an avid infertility supporter, red-wine-for-sanity drinker, and Kansas City resident.
I distinctly remember reading the chapters in my baby books about parenting styles, and pondering which option would be the best for us as a family. As a corporate professional and first-time mom-to-be, it was only natural to take a business-like approach to come up with our formula. Assumption statements, deductive reasoning, and a few pivot tables later, we had arrived at what looked like a combination of several popular methods. The newly-customized McQueen Method was created, and I’d for sure be the CEO of Parenting. Upon reflection, I’m mostly jealous of remembering there was a time when uninterrupted reading was real.
I was diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 30, after coming off of years of birth control with hopes of conceiving. We walked through the motions of the various non-invasive infertility treatments to no avail, month after month. After many failed treatments and a devastating miscarriage, we forged through the IVF process and completed our transfer amidst a snowstorm in early 2014. Two embryos. Twins!
It took only a few days of maternity leave at home with my newborns to learn that any plans we had made pre-babies were completely out the window. This peaceful time with soft baby skin cuddles that I dreamt about turned into a real-life game of Survivor, and I was the first contestant in history that electively wanted to be voted off the island. If raising one baby seems impossible, then raising two is nothing short of a mental and physical miracle. I referenced those baby books on occasion to see if a manual for raising twins would magically appear but, alas, it did not. For all newborn moms and moms-to-be of multiples, here is a Rosetta Stone interpretation of the baby book sitting on your nightstand, waiting to be read, uninterrupted.
Crying It Out/CIO
Just crying, period. Lots and lots of crying. The “It Out” portion does not exist for us. As a new mom, you’ll come across and be asked your stance on CIO more than once, and my response is to just look confused. We can’t control the crying of one baby, upset that Mickey Mouse is over, while the other is trying to fly off the changing table. Mom may actually have to go CIO herself after a morning like that.
Pulling one baby from his crib into the guest bedroom with you at 4:00am while you cross all ten fingers and toes that he doesn’t wake up his twin with a whine-scream combination. It doesn’t matter if one baby sleeps like a champion; your day starts with the whistleblower.
Welp, you made an honest effort to follow the diagrams of the twin breastfeeding positions and both end up in advanced yoga-style poses. The good news? Exclusively pumping is still considered a form of breastfeeding!
This is not the Pampers commercial in which the baby is giggling while you change their diaper. Crying, kicking, spraying poop, and peeing on you on are all par for the course, 10x a day, x2. You have now doubled the probability of these things happening. In the newborn stage, you can feel free to assign the “Gold Star Baby Award of the Day” by who pooped on you less.
Get one, stick to it. There isn’t the luxury of baby-lead parenting with twins, and you may be judged for that—by singleton moms. Round-the-clock feeding and sleeping babies at different times means no break for you. Structure is your friend here!
Nap jail, and lots of it, unless you can establish that schedule. Transferring from car seat to bed while being so careful to not wake baby is a high stakes game with twins. Both have to make it to bed still sleeping to win that lottery. Just when you think you get a parenting break, your whistleblower is awake and crying.
Leaving the House
Swear words come to mind, but this does get easier when the new normal is running a marathon before making it to Target. You may get somewhere and realize you forgot you could not push two carts at the grocery store alone, so—mission aborted! The dual feedings, naps, and needs of multiples while out and about all day are difficult, so leaving the house with kids in tow may be more of a luxury for you.
If you thought your living room looked like Toys’R’Us threw up in it, your kitchen is about to be taken over by finger foods and sippy cups being thrown. If one refuses their food, the other twin may copy. That’s a fun stage!
As difficult as my days seem to be sometimes, we are forever grateful to be blessed with our IVF miracle twins. Our family is strong enough to survive infertility. Our family is strong enough to survive raising twins. Our family is strong.