“Are they twins”, “Double trouble”, “Are they identical”, and my personal favorite “better you than me”. If you’ve guessed by now the answer is, yes I have twins. Women have been birthing twins since the beginning of time, yet every time I wander into Target the kids and I turn into superstars. We’ve heard every comment imaginable, but the above are the most common. What is it about twins that just makes people go nutty?
I’m here to share with you the journey we’ve been on over the past year with our twins Vivian and Kipling who just turned one. Life is a crazy adventure with these two, but we couldn’t picture it any other way.
Let me start off by saying life with twins is unexplainable;
The fact that my body created two lives at the same time. At one point I had three hearts inside me, (including my own) and that alone just blows my mind. Twin pregnancy comes with a lot more risks than singleton (what us Twin Mamas refer to Mamas who carry and birth one baby at a time).
Then after pregnancy comes the high risk of premature birth leading to Neonatal Intensive Care Unit stays.
My twins were born eight weeks early; my daughter spent five weeks in the NICU, and my son spent nine weeks in. Having babies (or a baby) in the NICU is nothing you can ever prepare yourself for. Leaving the hospital without my babies was without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through in my life. It was dreadful waking up each day at home to their empty nursery, and then spending all day at the hospital trying to hold your babies while they have all these wires attached to them, and alarms beeping. If it wasn’t for my husband and my own Mama I don’t think I would have ever made it through those long nine weeks. But after the NICU stay is over, you get to take your little bundles of joy home and then the fun really begins.
In the beginning I think the most important piece of advice we took from other twin parents was to get the kids on the same schedule.
That meant in the middle of the night if Viv woke up to eat, well then we were waking Kip up to eat too. My husband and I worked out a pretty good system where I would do the middle of the night shifts, and he would do the early morning shifts. But to this day the kids still eat at the same time. If you don’t keep twins on the same schedule you are going to kill yourself waking up every other hour.
Eventually we talked to our pediatrician about their night time feedings and she said it was safe to wean them off. So with her approval and support we sleep trained the kids. (They were around six months old). It was an agonizing three day weekend of using the “cry it out” method, but after the third night they slept the whole night. To this day we put them to bed at 7pm and they wake up at 7am. If they wake up in the night they are able to self soothe themselves back to sleep. If they wake up earlier than 7 they usually just play in their cribs and yell to each other across the room. I completely understand that the CIO method is not for everyone, but we felt like it was the best option for us, and it worked. Everyone in the house gets enough sleep, and it allows my husband and I to have some time to spend together every night after the kids go down.
Find your tribe;
I think another thing that has really helped our twins thrive is the fact that we have a small army of support around our little family. My parents and my husbands parents have been instrumental in helping with the twins; anything we need they are always right there to help. My brother lives with us and is always lending a helping hand. (And let me tell you when you have two infants in the house, an extra pair of adult hands goes a long way). Our friends have provided us with advice, love, and shoulders to lean on when things didn’t go as planned. Without all the support from everyone in our lives I don’t think we would of made it.
Everyday with these two is an adventure because they get to experience life together. They always have a best friend right beside them. When they were a couple weeks old their favorite thing in the world to do was stare at each other and hold hands. Now that they’re getting older they love playing together, and wrestling.
Sure loading two kids into a car by myself just to run to Target is tiring. Being questioned by strangers about personal details of your life, and annoying questions about twins gets old real quick. Packing for trips for two infants is also another pain in the butt. Then there are the times when they are both having meltdowns at the same time, and you have to choose who to comfort first. It’s also tough to try and not compare them developmentally; because although they are twins, they are still individuals. Having twins comes with unique challenges that families with one child, or children of different ages don’t face. But you know what? Having twins also comes with a unique set of rewards and gratification. We have double the kisses, and double the hugs. We have the joy of watching them interact and grow up right along side each other. We have the pleasure of experiencing every little milestone that children hit not once but twice. And most importantly we have learned to love more than we have ever thought was possible.
Life with twins is hard, its tough, it tests you, but it also makes you grow, builds you into a stronger person, and lets you open your heart to double the love.
You can follow Nicole and the lovable, stylish, and quickly growing Haviland twins on Instagram at @havilands_wifey.
We’re honored to have been able to share Nicole’s story and we’re excited for all of the newness that’s to come on Beauty in the East! Be on the lookout for a new look, new bloggers, and most importantly – fresh new content!
We love meeting powerful women and hearing the different journey that comes with everyone’s unique experience through life and motherhood. If you’d like to share your story – email Krystal and Leigha at LYLASvlog@gmail.com to be featured as a guest blogger.