Multiple Perspectives: Interview with a MoM-to-Be

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Categories Fraternal, Interview, PregnancyTags , , 9 Comments

I’m excited, of course, when friends tell me that they are expecting, but I’m quadruply so when they tell me they are expecting multiples. My co-worker and friend Rachel has met my twin daughters only three or four times, but she became an instant favourite with them because of her warmth and humour. You can imagine my excitement when she showed me an ultrasound image with two separate sacs on display. I talked to her about her impending mother-of-multiples status.

1. What was your reaction when you found out you were pregnant with two babies? [Your husband] Scott’s?

People ask me a lot if I was surprised by the fact that I was pregnant with twins. I’m fairly sure the subtext of that question is, “Were they spontaneous twins?”  Generally, I reply, “I think everybody is surprised by twins!”

In my case, my twins weren’t spontaneous; I’d undergone an ovulation induction cycle, and I knew that the risk of multiples was higher. However, I was also under close observation, and we never had any reason to believe more than one egg had been released.  My hormone levels rose higher than I was expecting them to, so I did wonder if something was up, but at around 5 weeks, 3 days, when I had my first ultrasound, the doctor only saw one gestational sac at first.  The second little peekaboo sac was definitely a surprise!

Scott wasn’t able to make it to that first ultrasound, so I called him at work afterward to let him know.  I told him, “Everything looks good… but we may need to think of some more names.”  He knew what I meant immediately.  He’s a low-key guy, but he was excited, and I’m sure a little bit nervous, when he found out.

2. How did your expectations of parenthood change when you discovered that you would be a mother of multiples.

I was always fairly sure that, despite not having a ton of experience with babies and small children, Scott and I could probably figure out how to raise a child on our own. Raising twins, I’ll admit, still sounds like a much more formidable task than raising one.  You can check with me again in a year to see if I’ve broken them yet.

On the other hand, especially since we struggled with conceiving, I had developed a lot of ideas and theories about how we were going to raise our hypothetical only child. In some ways, finding out that we were expecting twins was freeing. Even in my naivete, I know that there will be times when I can’t meet both babies’ needs at the moment those needs arise. I feel like I’ve been able to give up my expectation of being Super Mom before the kids have even arrived.

3. Can you tell me a little about your experience with doctors specializing in multiple pregnancies? How did you find them, and how do you think working with specialists has benefited you?

I bought Dr. Barbara Luke’sWhen You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads,” not long after seeing the babies’ heartbeats at 6 weeks gestation.  I found the information in the book helpful but general, and I wanted advice more closely tailored to me.  I spent a lot of time searching the Internet for resources on twins, especially locally.  While I didn’t find a whole lot locally (aside from the Moms of Multiples group), I did find the Texas Children’s Hospital Program for Multiples in Houston.  I was most interested in the nutritional assessment they offer, to see how it compared to the one in Luke’s book.  Generally, it was fairly similar, but with a stronger emphasis on lower-fat foods. They also follow similar 20 pounds by 20 weeks guidelines.

My twins are dichorionic and diamniotic, and I’ve really had a fairly uncomplicated pregnancy throughout, so I think the program was less helpful for me as it would have been for, say, parents of identical twins with a higher risk of TTTS. But I learned a lot about my babies and was very relieved to have a clean bill of health as we finished up the first trimester. It’s a great program, for those who are able to get to Houston, and it was completely covered by my insurance.

4. What personality traits do you predict for your babies, based on feeling them move?

Even before I could feel them move, I could see the differences in my babies on each ultrasound.  Starting at 8 or 9 weeks gestation, it became apparent that our little boy, Baby B, is quite a wiggler.  Our girl, Baby A, does her share of moving as well, but she’s never been nearly as active as her brother.  I anticipate we’re going to need to get Baby B involved in lots of physical activity to burn off all that extra energy.  On the other hand, our girl really likes to kick her mama in the bladder, so I’m predicting a typically complicated mother/daughter relationship with her!

5. What reactions do you get from people when they learn that you are expecting twins?

The most common reaction I get is, “Do you know what you’re having?” And when I tell them we’re expecting a boy and a girl, they almost always reply, “Oh, wow, that’s perfect! You can be done!”  As though we would have been required to keep trying for the opposite sex if we’d had two boys or two girls.  Or an only child, for that matter.  I’m learning a bit of zen, when it comes to responding to curious comments.  People generally mean well, and I don’t think they really think through their response. It’s as much small talk as anything.  (I’m sure I’ll be less patient when we can’t walk down an aisle at the grocery store without being interrupted, but people generally can’t tell I’m carrying twins, so I feel like I’m undercover for the time being.)

6. You are 33 weeks into your pregnancy right now. How do you feel, physically?

I’m definitely starting to feel tired and uncomfortable!  I anticipated that I would feel progressively worse as the pregnancy went on.  In actuality, it seems a little more cyclical than that. I hit a wall every couple of weeks, then I adapt and feel better for a while.  My quarter-mile walk to the office is definitely starting to feel like a long way, though!

7. What do you know now about multiple pregnancy, or pregnancy in general, that you wish you’d known earlier?

I spent the first two-thirds of my pregnancy mentally preparing myself for the possibility that I might be on bed rest or out of work for a long time.  I didn’t expect that I’d actually be pretty good at carrying twins, and still working at 33 weeks.  Knowing that would’ve saved me a lot of worrying early on!

8. You and Scott will both be returning to work after parental leave. What will your childcare arrangements be? How are you going about choosing?

This July, we spent our fifth wedding anniversary shopping for infant childcare, three months in advance of the anticipated arrival of our twins, and six months in advance of when we’d expect them to start daycare. It felt really unfair that we had to choose a childcare provider to care for our kids when we haven’t even had a chance to meet them or get to know them yet.  We visited four childcare providers and finally chose a Montessori school with an infant program in our neighborhood.   The rates were comparable to most of the other infant daycares in town, but we were impressed with the age-based Montessori classrooms, and we had a great rapport with the teacher in the infant room.  She lives in our neighborhood, as do many of the kids in the school, and she has twin grandsons.  We felt that our babies would be in good hands in her care.  Picking a place close to home means it’ll be equally convenient for Scott or me to drop them off and pick them up, and we hope we’ll be able to get to know other parents and kids in our area.

9. What have you already done to prepare for your twins’ arrival? What do you have left to do?

I feel as well prepared as a naive almost-mom can be. Our nursery is packed full of onesies, diapers, and random plastic baby accoutrements. We have places for the babies to sleep (though they may have to share for a little while). We’ve got a double stroller.  We’ve got infant car seats, and we’ve installed them into one of our two cars.  We’ve gone to all the classes we plan to go to in advance of their birth, and we’re trying to enjoy some nights out together before the nuclear bomb that is parenthood drops on us both.

I do still have a rigorous nap schedule to try to maintain for the next three to five weeks.  And a lot of work to wrap up.

10. What questions do you have for other parents of multiples?

I feel like I’ve heard the answers to most of my questions, and they all seem to vary from family to family. (How long did it take to feel like you had everything under control?  Were you able to breastfeed two babies at once?  How do you handle the financial burden of two infants at once, especially when you add in the huge expense of childcare?)

I’d rather hear words of reassurance.  Tell me when multiples get to be fun!

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Readers of HDYDI, Meet LauraC

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Categories Meet the MoM, ParentingTags 18 Comments

LauraC is the mother of Alex and Nate, 2.83 year old twins. She has been married for four years, together for nine to her best friend Jon. They live in Raleigh, NC. Laura tele-commutes from home as a software professional. When asked what profession other than her own she would like to attempt, she answered, “My degree is in environmental engineering and I was not happy in that profession. My software career is Plan B and I love it. It suits my personality, my skills, and my interests.” Her blog can be found at: http://JonAndLaura.blogspot.com

36 weeks pregnant with Nate and Alex.
36 weeks pregnant with Nate and Alex.

How did you get into blogging/why did you start a blog/etc…?

My college friend Libby had a pregnancy website I really enjoyed reading. I anxiously awaited each entry and watched in amazement as her belly grew. I started my blog the day I found out I was pregnant as a way to keep my friends and family updated.

Have your reasons for blogging changed?

Absolutely. When I first started writing, I thought I would post once a week and then occasionally upload pictures of the baby once it was born. As I wrote, I realized I had something to say every day about pregnancy. And after a couple of months, I really enjoyed having all those entries to read back on.

When we found out we were having twins, it became a very special place for me. This will be my only pregnancy and I wanted to capture as many moments of it as I could. My blog also became a peaceful place for me during a scary twin pregnancy. Over time, I’ve found blogs I love to read, met some really fascinating people, and forged strong friendships.

Fundamentally, my blog is always for me. But by doing this for myself, I have received so much back in return.

How long have you been blogging?

Can you keep a secret? I’m about to hit 1000 posts! I started blogging in October 2005 and I write Monday through Friday almost every week.

How did you learn about HDYDI? Do you have a favorite post?

I found Goddess’ blog through a Babycenter Multiples board and she asked me to be a part of HDYDI in the beginning. My favorite post I’ve written for HDYDI is my “failure” to breastfeed. (http://howdoyoudoit.wordpress.com/2008/04/08/when-breastfeeding-multiples-fails/)
I needed time to mourn before I was ready to write that post, and HDYDI was the right place to share it. I felt so supported and understood.

My favorite posts written by another HDYDI writer are Goddess’ Ask the Moms series. She does such a great job giving advice in a positive way. She’s the twin mom friend you need to know when you have a question.

Jon, Laura and boys
Jon, Laura and boys

Do you remember your first words when you discovered you had more than one ‘in there’?

This story requires some background information. In 2005, I lost my hearing in my right ear and in July 2005 I had surgery to repair it. I had extreme dizziness and nausea after the structural changes to my inner ear. A month before my surgery, I ran a 10 mile race. After my surgery, it took a week to build up to walking one city block.

As soon as my ENT cleared me for travel, we moved to Raleigh and started trying for kids, not expecting it to happen because I had been previously been diagnosed as infertile. To our surprise, I got pregnant the first weekend. Two weeks later, I was puking every day from horrible morning sickness. I was going to a birthing center so they recommended various natural remedies, none of which worked. It took me about two hours in the morning to move from my bed to the couch before I could think about even one sip of water. Then I would puke and pee my pants at the same time. And then cry and do laundry. In hindsight, I wish I had asked for Zofran because I was so miserable.

Jon and I always wanted two kids, and I would have terrible crying jags where I would tell Jon I didn’t think I was strong enough to do this a second time. Between the ear surgery and morning sickness, it had been six months of nausea.

Because I was going the ultra-hippy route, I didn’t have my first ultrasound until 18 weeks. As soon as they put the wand to my belly, you could clearly see two sacs, two butts, and two penises. The first thought in my head was, “I am one tough cookie to make it through TWIN morning sickness!!!” and I said out loud, “I never have to do this again!” Not my proudest moment.

Jon was literally in such shock that he just sat there with his mouth open, staring at the screen. The entire situation was so shocking that we couldn’t do anything but laugh. We went out to lunch and talked for two hours before we felt together enough to call our family and friends. And then we broke the news this way: “We found out we’re having a boy ……. (huge pause while the person cheers or congratulates)….. and ANOTHER boy! TWIN BOYS!” After our shock, it was so fun to shock all the people we loved.

laurawithhalloweenboys

If you could go back to the newborn days, would you do anything differently?

If you asked me this question when my boys turned a year old, I would have had a laundry list of items. But now my answer is I would not change a thing. I think all those experiences shaped me into the mom I am now, and I finally feel like I am hitting my mothering stride.

The smartest thing we did was have family and friends stay with us for almost two months after the boys were born. I have a history of depression and I believe that help is the reason I did not end up with post-partum depression. I was able to mentally care for myself during a very stressful time, and I constantly had mothers around me to help care for me as well as the babies.

What is one thing you do really well as a mother of twins?

I think I do a really great job living in the moment. My blog and having twins help me in this. My blog helps because it’s a morning meditation on what happened the day before. Having twins helps because I only get one shot at each age, so I better enjoy it. I am always trying to make each day the best it can be.

What is one thing you think you are horrible at?

I am really terrible, and I mean truly horrible, at dealing with loud chaos. I can deal with chaos and I can deal with loudness, but the two together drive me directly to the edge of insanity. And yes, I have almost 3 year old twin boys! I’ve learned as they get older, the chaos just gets more insane and the loudness gets so much louder.

I want the boys to grow up feeling comfortable expressing themselves and learning about their world but sometimes I feel like I am going to lose it with the insanity. Jon lets me hide out in our guest room until I feel emotionally calm. When he’s gone, I turn on the TV for the boys when I’m going to lose it.

I guess you say I’m learning when to put myself in time out!

Did you have a favorite product that you can’t rave about enough?

A white noise CD called For Crying Out Loud. Also the BOB Revolution Duallie. Pricey but so worth it. Jon and I will be doing a 5K race next month with the boys in it.

laurarunning

If you had an entire day to yourself (money and obligations aside, and no access to kids or the internet): What would you ideally spend that day doing?

Jon and I would magically wake up in the private villa in St Lucia where we honeymooned. We would have a leisurely breakfast overlooking the ocean. We would have massages on the deck. We would lay in the sun, go swimming, read books, drink fruity drinks, and then have someone cook us lobsters for dinner. There would certainly need to be something huge and chocolate for dessert. We would stay up very late talking and listening to music. Then at the end of the day, we would magically be transported back to our house so we could peek in on the boys sleeping.

What do you think you would actually end up doing?
Tackling the items on the never-ending chore list that are easier to get done when the kids are not around.

What is the first thing you do after saying goodnight to the kids and closing the bedroom door?

Turn on the monitor and listen carefully. Last week Nate said to Alex, “If you poop on your pillow, you won’t be able to sleep because you will have poop in your hair.” When I went back in their room, I was not surprised to find Alex naked.

Thanks for joining us Laura!
Remember readers, you are free to suggest other commentors/bloggers for the next interview series!

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