first year blur

Twinfant Tuesday: Three Things That Helped in the First Year Blur

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first year blur

It’s the third week of our new HDYDI feature, Twinfant Tuesday, and I’m racking my brain trying to figure out what to write about. I’m supposed to give you some insight into how I made it through the first year with multiples…

The truth is, I don’t really know.

My two survivors are 19 1/2 months now (16 1/2 adjusted), and the first year was truly a blur. Between spending the first four months in the NICU and dealing with the loss of one of the triplets, I don’t think I really even recovered until after the first year was over. My first year didn’t even really begin when they were born, but rather, when they came home.

But there were some things that made a huge difference my first year.

Getting Organized

get organized

I’m not just talking color-coordinating things or having a system for washing bottles, I’m talking making sure you’re on top of all the to-do list items. That was one of the hardest things for my husband and me – making sure we didn’t miss any appointments, therapy sessions, follow-up visits, or other important events. We hung a dry-erase calendar in the kitchen and kept all of the appointments listed – in color code of course – to keep us and anyone looking after the babies in the loop. Yes, we also had important dates synced on our iPhone calendars, but this way, we could see it at a moment’s notice and everyone would know who was doing what.

We also set reminders and alarms on our phones for everything – when medicine was due, when it was time to get them up to feed (in case we fell asleep, which happened often), to remind us to change the laundry, etc. I even set an alarm to remind me to eat. It may seem insane, but these alarms helped keep me on track when I was sleep-deprived and still recovering from mommy-brain.

Finding Help

get help

I don’t think I ever would have made it through all the chaos without help. I was lucky enough to have family close by that pitched in when I needed them. My mom on the weekends, my mother-in-law several days a week, and the occasional babysitter just to help me deal with all the things I was overwhelmed with. It’s not a bad thing to need help. Whether you need someone to help with the babies, the house, or just to give you some much-needed time to yourself, getting a helping hand will make those first few months a little more bearable.

If you don’t have family nearby or can’t afford a sitter (we paid ours less than one we’d pay who would watch our babies if we were gone, because they were helping, not in charge), consider trading help with another mom friend. Giving each other a few hours off will at least provide you with a much needed break. And, if that’s not an option, at least set up a play date so you can have some adult conversation.

Having a Positive Attitude

surviving lockdown

Lockdown. The six month long side-effect of having preemies. From October 1 – March 31, we never left the house other than for our mandatory doctor’s appointments. It’s hard to keep a positive attitude when you’re forced to be hermits. We weren’t allowed to have visitors other than family (and they had to be up-to-date on their shots and free of illness), we couldn’t have kids over – so no play dates, and we had to make sure the house was sterile and that my husband changed clothes as soon as he came home. I think our hands got raw from all the washing. It also was a major downer that their first birthday fell during this time and we weren’t able to have the type of party we wanted to have.

Surviving it was a challenge, but there were things we were able to do to help. It was okay to go outside, we just couldn’t be around other people. So, I would often load them in their wagon and take a walk around the block. They loved it, I got exercise, and we all got fresh air. Another thing I did to keep sane was talking to at least one friend a day. Most of the time, it was someone who was going through the same thing as I was. If you’re in a situation like lockdown, know that there are a lot of moms out there who are in your shoes and understand. One of these moms in particular helped me understand that I shouldn’t think of it as the jail I saw it as. Instead, I should put a positive spin on it: I should appreciate the time I had to bond with the babies without the added outside distractions. Learn about them. Enjoy them. So that’s what I did, and it was an invaluable way to spend my first year as a mom.

What about you?

Have you tried these ways to get through? If so, did they help, or do you have another suggestion? Sometimes, it’s all about perspective…

AngelaAngela is a stay-at-home mom raising surviving triplets. She lost her first-born triplet, Carter, after 49 days, and her survivors, B & T, keep her pretty busy with their ongoing needs as a result of their prematurity. She manages to find time for her business and personal blog. Her goal in blogging is to share with others that it’s possible to survive after loss. She and her husband live in the Houston, TX suburb of Cypress. She also blogs at Thirty-One:10.

 

 

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angelabickford3

Angela is a stay-at-home mom raising surviving triplets. She lost her first-born triplet, Carter, after 49 days, and her survivors, B & T, keep her pretty busy with their ongoing needs as a result of their prematurity. She manages to find time for her business and personal blog (angelabickford.com). Her tagline ‘Mom of Triplets. Lost One. Survived & Sharing’ is her goal in blogging and she aims to share with others that it’s possible to survive after loss. She and her husband live in the Houston, TX suburb of Cypress. She also blogs at Thirty-One:10.

14 thoughts on “Twinfant Tuesday: Three Things That Helped in the First Year Blur”

  1. I feel like I developed some weird kind of post-partum anti-depression. I had SO. MUCH. ENERGY. Looking back, I must have been pretty loopy, but I felt like I was ready to go all the time. I just didn’t sit, except to breastfeed or pump, and I’d get 4.5 hours of sleep (1.5 hours at a time) on a good day. I look at what I was doing at work during that time, and I was crazy productive there too. I look back and wonder whether I was in some sort of manic state, perhaps even an oddly helpful form of PPD?

  2. Positive attitude is key – or just realizing that this is the new normal (but it won’t last forever). You’re in the weeds with infants (especially multiples) and it is physically demanding and draining (more from not knowing and being exhausted) but it’s all about keeping them physically safe. I would say cutting yourself a break about comparing tummy time, milestones, etc. is a big takeaway.

    1. Oh, yes, the milestones! Comparing your babies to others – and each other – is a big issue I think a lot of moms. New normal is something I’m still struggling with, unfortunately. I keep asking my hubby when we will stop ending up in the ER with Miss T or when we’ll stop having so much therapy. It’s a process for sure. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Absolutely the hardest year of my life. I was lucky and had healthy babies that went home two days after birth but I still got lost in the details of everyday life. Bills, groceries, personal and property upkeep all got lost in my sleep deprived haze. Looking back I could have been more organized and asked for more help. Plus, knowing that the second year is SO MUCH different would have kept me from feeling like it was always going to be that hard.

    1. I think that everyone experiences these feelings, whether they have ‘normal’ babies or babies with more issues like mine. Thanks for chiming in – it’s good for people to see that EVERY mom feels this way! :)

  4. Angie didn’t just have the dry-erase board. Clothes were color coded and matched into sets ahead of time, a diary of the minutest detail on their feeding, sleeping, and diaper changes. Oh, and lists, lists and more lists. That girl is the most organized person I know! That is my take-away and I use it now that I’m raising grandkids.

  5. It really is a very difficult time! I had just come off of four months of “Lock down” because of our(then) foster sons withdrawal from meth and extreme sensory issues…and then we started into “Year One”. Lordy! If it weren’t for these three things, right here…we would not have made it!

    I really had to work hard to remember it would not always be like this. I still have moments of wondering when we will be able to do “normal” again…I also wonder what difficult moments I have with my kids(in year TWO) are *truly* related to sensory/drug exposure…and what is just because there are TWO of them!LOL! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Man, I know about the sensory issues! What a neat thing you did though for those boys. I do agree though, it’s hard to know what’s normal, what’s sensory, and what’s twin related!

    1. It’s definitely hard to imagine, but the fact that you seem to at least try or are aware is a huge thing for the ones like me that go through it. I bet your friends feel the same. :)

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