To say the last four months have been a whirlwind would be a major understatement. Life as I knew it changed forever for me on October 11th, 2015, as that was the day my baby boys, James and Jack, took their first breaths, cried their first cries and were held by me and their daddy for the very first time.
I read my fair share of books and blogs on the topic of caring for infant twins, but nothing quite prepared me for what lied ahead. The vast array of emotions I’ve experienced (and continue to experience) are practically indescribable, but I’ll do my best. I’ll start with the most prominent one.
My heart swells a hundred times a day – I’m just bursting with love for these two baby boys! Everything is different to me now: the way I view the world, babies and children in general, my life’s purpose and what’s truly important. How do two tiny little humans do this to a person? To say I feel blessed is a great understatement
It’s official. I’ve become one of those parents who now busts out the baby photos to show others, whether they ask to see them or not! Every day I fight the urge to post on Facebook half of the 25 photos I’ve taken of one or both of the babies that day. It’s a daily struggle, I tell you! The joy of being a mama has hit me like a ton of bricks and I so look forward to creating endless fun memories over the years with Jack, James and the rest of our family.
The Crazy – Time to Get Real
As yin and yang would have it, I’d be lying if I were to say that these last four months have been all sunshine and roses. I can honestly say that caring for infant twins has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m physically and mentally worn out, I lose track of what day it is and (strong!) coffee and I are now BFF’s. But let me start from the beginning…
The first two weeks they slept constantly. I’ve heard this period is nicknamed “the honeymoon period,” due to the fact that most moms and dads start off thinking that caring for infants is a breeze, until suddenly by around 15 days of age something happens. Their little bellies start to have trouble digesting and the burps and the gas and their ability to get them out rule their worlds. From that point on for us, it was a rollercoaster-of-a-ride eight weeks, filled with lots of pacing of hallways while patting their backs, bouncing them in our arms and singing songs in their tiny ears… anything to soothe and make their pains go away. Feeding, burping, diaper changing, swaddling, rocking/pacing/singing, gently lying down to sleep and then repeat it all with his twin; this was life for us.
It was so much work and there was so much stress involved that Jeff and I found ourselves having a sip or two (or ten) of red wine each night to help us relax and unwind. Though we love ourselves some red wine, we had been only occasional wine drinkers up to then. But we actually soon realized the wine was doing more harm than good. Even a small amount was disrupting our sleep cycles, leaving us feeling more tired and groggy the following mornings. So we replaced the nightly wine with decaffeinated hot tea; a drink that still helps us chillax without the morning sluggishness.
By week 10, we were given a gift that made the crazy all seem less so: smiles! Jack was the first to do it, and then literally one day later, James decided to bare his little gums, too! It was like a little reward or way of saying “thank you” for putting so much sweat and tears in to taking such good care of them.
By week 14, they started coo and babble and giggle, too. Their little personalities that we observed from day one were now becoming more and more pronounced.
Jack is outgoing, independent and very social. He’d rather sit and interact with a person than play with toys.
James is a little more shy and sensitive. But then as soon as you put a toy in front of him, he lights up like a little firefly!
We predict the following scenarios when they’re older: If James takes a toy away from Jack, without hesitation, Jack will snatch it right back. But if Jack takes a toy from James, poor little James will just sit there and cry. We’ll see if this ends up being the case!
Although I feel like a barrel full of many emotions these days, there is one more I’ll share at this time.
It’s all making sense to me now. Those feelings that have been described to me by so many other moms and dads in the past finally hit home, and I now understand what it’s like to truly feel fear for the first time.
This isn’t a fear that comes from one moment in time, you know, the instances you can talk about while having dinner and drinks with friends. Like the locked knees and tingling toes I felt when preparing to jump off the Copper Canyon cliff into the water at Lake Havasu as a 16 year old… or the stiff spine and involuntary shrill I screamed the time I almost stepped on a big black rattle snake while hiking with Jeff in the hills near our house. No… nothing like that.
Instead, this is a fear that has now found a permanent home in my soul; granted there are times when the fear is stronger than others. The bottom line is, here are two little babies that completely 100% rely on me and the other caring adults in their lives for safety and survival. As a result, never have I ever prayed so hard… “Please God… please protect these sweet babies, these innocent lives that have just begun. Please help me to be the best mother I can be. Please keep them healthy and safe, today and everyday for the rest of their lives. Please allow them to live to be old men and experience life to the very fullest.”
But as Jeff has warned me due to his personal experiences in raising his three girls: Yes, the leash gets longer as they get older and become more independent, but that fear you feel as a parent for the safety of your children never completely goes away.
I suppose ultimately we have the feelings of both love and fear to thank for the survival of the human race. Most of us are here because someone felt these strong emotions that insured our care and wellbeing. So in realizing this, all I can do is be thankful and welcome these feelings of not only love but fear, too, with open arms, as they drive the mama bear in me to stay ferocious.
Stay tuned for more on this wonderful adventure of ours!