This picture of me is one month into twin newborn life,look carefully at my red, sunken eyes, I think they say it all. The smile says I know how lucky I am in spite of the challenges.
The first year with twins is very difficult, particularly the first six months. It is really hard to care for two infants at the same time (even harder for triplets and higher order multiples). I’m not speaking for all multiple parents, just for myself, but I can tell you that most of them will tell you the first year was a real challenge.
My life was a fog of nursing, burping, diapering, soothing, start again. I had so little sleep I can’t believe I survived it, I honestly felt like I would die of exhaustion.
I had the girls in bed with me because it was easy, I could scoop them up and feed them when they awoke. I did research on co-sleeping and felt happy with our choice, most of the time. Of course, there were times I wished I could just pop them in a crib and enjoy my evening but overall, I feel we made the right choice.
One major challenge for us was colic. Both girls developed it at around five or six weeks old. At approximately 6 pm every day they would start to cry, and they wouldn’t stop until midnight or one a.m. (OK, they would stop for short periods of time, but not for long). All I can say is that was HELL. I dreaded the evening so much I wished I had super powers and could turn back time or fast forward. Imagine not one, but two babies screaming their lungs out for six hours a day. It took both of us to deal with them, John had to be in by 6 pm or else I would go crazy. Those were the few times that John and I snapped at one another over silly, little things. We had so little patience left after dealing with the screaming that we couldn’t deal with anything else. We watched a lot of T.V., TVO & CBC only. George Stroumboulopoulos became a good friend during those times.
That was also when my step-daughter decided to live full time with her mother for the winter (the previous arrangement had been one week on, one off). I can’t say I blame her, it wasn’t a fun place to be.
I remember reading every sleep book I could get my hands on (yes I had time to read while I tandem nursed) and I trolled the multiples forums looking for advice. We had planning sessions to create “soothing” bedtime routines (Ha! hard to create a soothing environment with two crying
torture devices babies). We were desperate. We also tried all sorts of digestive remedies: Camomile tea, Gripe Water, leg pumping, etc. But nothing worked, it was just a matter of time.
I read somewhere that some colic is caused by an immature nervous system and over-stimulation and that really rang true for me. I did not overstimulate them (we had a very simple day and routine) but I don’t think they nervous systems could handle the world and they just had to release all that pent up frustration in the only way the knew how to.
If you’ve had a baby with colic you know how awful it is when nothing you do soothes or comforts her. It’s hard not to feel like a failure, even if you know that it’s not your fault. I can’t remember now how long the night crying went on for, just that it seemed like forever. I know it stopped before summer time.
Luckily, the were super cute (still are). Cuteness is nature’s way of protecting babies from overwhelmed and frustrated and exhausted new parents.
And now a brief photo montage (I love that word) of year one.