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Goal: Write the best book for expectant parents of twins

I can be a bit competitive, so when I released the 3rd edition of Holy Sh*t...I'm Having Twins! The Definitive Guide to Remaining Calm When You're Twice as Freaked Out be the best book on the market for parents expecting twins. 

But, whilst my competitive nature loves that #1 spot, I only want to be there if my product is TRULY the best in its category for my target reader.

So I was THRILLED when TheDadMom, who has 11-month-old identical twin girls, posted the following review:

Hello, my name is Amy and I’m The DadMom’s wife and mom to our little twincesses. <3  I was given the opportunity to read and review a book by Elizabeth Lyons, titled, Holy Sh*t… I’m Having Twins! The Definitive Guide to Remaining Calm When You’re Twice as Freaked Out.

Of course it’s difficult to find time to read amidst two babies, working full-time, and balancing everything else in life (don’t even get me started on sick kids!) But I have to say, once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down! I found myself laughing, crying, nodding my head, and sighing at all the things I could relate to.  Elizabeth has done an excellent job of relaying the reality of what twin life is really like, while giving down-to-earth, real-life solutions. There are a ton of neat tricks and tips for surviving the first year with multiples.

I have so many paragraphs highlighted and pages dog-eared, but one excerpt that I especially love is this:

“Every time I look at a picture from that time of our lives, I smile. The sleepless nights have long since faded away, and I know in my soul how deeply my kids are worth every single painful morning.” …”Go forth. Soak it all up. Take ten deep breaths between each chapter and before each day commences. Trust yourself. Expect the unexpected. Choose happiness. Because holy shi*t; you’re having twins. And I promise, you’ve got this.”

I wish I had known this book existed a year ago! But even now, with Gracie and Sophia almost 11 months old, I still read many things that I can use going forward.  She breaks down everything, from choosing the necessary baby gear, to advice to keep your marriage or partnership strong when life is insane.  It was also nice to have someone truly understand the struggle of raising multiples, and helped me to feel like I’m not alone in it.

If you’re reading this and you’re expecting twins (or God love you, triplets and beyond), YOU NEED THIS BOOK. If you’ve recently had multiples, and you’re still in the dark days when you don’t think you’ll ever sleep again, YOU NEED THIS BOOK. Seriously, keep it on your end table and read the chapters that apply to the stages your kids are going through at that time. I promise it will help to lift your spirits, give you some helpful advice and ideas, and will definitely give you something to laugh about as you change yet another diaper and feed another hungry baby.

I even encourage parents of singletons to read this book  Granted, not everything will apply, but let’s face it: Whether you have one kid or ten, parenting is one of the hardest jobs you will ever do. Why not get some helpful advice to make that first year a little less stressful? Many pages can relate to all parents, including dads too!

Elizabeth was so generous to not only give me the opportunity to enjoy her book, but she also gave The DadMom a couple extra copies to give away! Check out The DadMom on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter next week for info on how to enter to win!

***

I can't wait to partner with Jon and Amy on this giveaway. They are amazing people, and their blog, Facebook and especially Instagram feed is an absolute must-follow for expectant, new and seasoned parents of twins alike. 

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You're pregnant with twins!

I've been asked many times about the moment we learned we were expecting twins. I've told the story before. But I don't believe I've ever told it in a formal way (meaning, in writing). 

As I was putting together this blog for expectant and new parents of twins and higher-order multiples, it occurred to me that it would be really fun to hear everyone's stories of THAT MOMENT. As I've talked with more and more moms and dads of twins over the years, their stories have never failed to make me laugh, cry, exclaim, "WAIT...HE PASSED OUT?" or a combination of the above.

So let's do this.

I'll share my Holy Sh*t...I'm Having Twins story, and I invite you to share yours with the rest of the First Year With Twins community as well! Simply email me at elizabeth@elizabethlyons.com with your story, and I'll post it here in the blog for everyone to enjoy!

As do many expectant moms of twins, I knew that my chances becoming pregnant with more than one baby were increased. Getting pregnant with Grace (my oldest) wasn't the easiest feat, and we ended up using Clomid for a little assistance in the please-make-me-ovulate-I-beg-of-you department, and thanks to my medical degree from Google University, I knew exactly how likely it was that I would become pregnant with 2, 4, 8 or 26 babies at once.   

When Grace was a year old, we decided to continue growing our family. I had my mind set on having two kids, two years apart (sidenote: as of this writing, I have 5 kids, ranging in age from 17 to 8. I don't entirely know what happened but I often blame Jack and Henry for anything I can, including this).

My OB said that we could try to get pregnant without the Clomid, but that it would probably take a long time and, given my impatient nature, might not be the best option.

I love doctors who know and accept me. I left with a new Clomid prescription and a mission.

 

A few weeks later, my period was 6.2 hours late. I had practically furnished the second nursery, decided on a name and found an adorable PJ set to wear in the hospital post-delivery, and this was before all 4 pregnancy tests were positive---but barely.

I remember walking the fourth one across the street to my friend's house and asking (with a hint of desperation), "You see the vertical line there, right? Like, that's a positive result, right?"

To which she hesitantly replied, "Um, I think so." 

A couple of weeks later, on Christmas Eve, I miscarried. 

I didn't understand. I had a plan, remember: two kids, two years apart. And with each day that passed, that 2-year gap I planned to have between my kids grew. 

Back to Clomid I went. Month One was unsuccessful.

Month Two was, I swear, a science experiment at our house. I'm going to bet that a large majority of you are nodding right now. Basal thermometers and charts and pills and Google research and OH MY GOSH THE PAIN.

I called my OB's nurse one morning. "Um, I'm seriously in so much pain on my right side that I think I either have appendicitis or my ovary has dislodged itself from wherever it's supposed to be. Either way, I'm pretty sure it's a medical emergency and how much Ibuprofen can I safely take and not affect the 28 babies I'm sure I'm carrying already."

"I think you're just fine," she calmly replied. "You're probably just releasing a lot of eggs because of the Clomid."

"How many do you think? Like, 147? Because I'm not prepared to carry 147 babies; I'm not a tall person."

Fast forward two weeks; it was time to send over my temperature chart to my doc's office. 

The chart looked like a mountain range. Not even a little bit the way Google University says that one's temperature chart looks like when they've even ovulated, let alone conceived!

"I'm sorry," the nurse said when she called. "It doesn't look like it worked this month. But let's give it another month!"

You can imagine my shock when Day 28 came and went with no clear evidence that I was not pregnant.

To the drugstore I went.

Test One: very positive.

Test Five (different brand, just to be sure): very positive.

Test Eight (because maybe the first two tests were both defective): very very positive.

I was pregnant! I was thrilled! And I was 100% sure that there were two babies growing inside me.

I told David that I was sure I was pregnant with twins. He rolled his eyes. Then he panicked. Then he thought about teaching twins how to golf, and he got excited. 

Because I had taken Clomid, my OB's standard of care was to do a 6-week ultrasound. 

I walked into that exam room, climbed up on the table, and excitedly said to the ultrasound tech, "Let's see these babies!"

"Babies?" she asked, confused.

"Yep. There are two in there."

The way she looked at me probably would have thrown a woman not as convinced as I was that she was, indeed, pregnant with twins. 

The whoosh of the ultrasound filled the room. "Here's the baby!" she announced. "Oh, looks so good. Great heartbeat!"

"That's fantastic," I replied. "Where's the other one?"

This poor woman wore on her face a combination of confusion over my certainty, annoyance over my seeming suggestion that she wasn't doing her job correctly, and sadness over having to inform me that I was wrong and, perhaps, clinically insane. 

She unenthusiastically scanned some more, perhaps solely in an effort to prove to me that there was one and only one healthy baby swimming around in there. David stood in the doorway (it was an incredibly small room) with arms stretched above his head, hands resting on either side of the doorframe. 

And then it happened.

The ultrasound tech grabbed my right wrist with her right hand. Hard.

"Oh my God!" she said. "There is another one!"

"Told ya!" I replied.

And then my heart simply exploded. I knew, but of course I didn't know that I knew. 

David, who first thought I was crazy for having the thought at all, then thought the whole idea sounded fabulous, then was told there was only one baby and was now hearing that there were two, began to tear up in the doorway. 

And there they were. These two little boys who would, over the next 8 months, grow far too big for their mother's 5'3" frame, begin in-utero arguments they would continue for years after birth, and convince me that there's no such thing as too many Krispy Kreme donuts when you're expecting two. 

Oh---and given that they were born at 35 weeks, Grace had JUST turned two when they made their arrival. Funny how things work out, isn't it? 

Share your story! How did you learn you were expecting twins? How did you feel? What were the first words that came out of your mouth? What did you do immediately after finding out? 

Post a comment below or email your story to elizabeth@elizabethlyons.com. I'll be thrilled to share it with our community!

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You're Having Twins!The Bottom Line

Courage is not afraid to weep, and she is not afraid to pray, even when she is not sure who she is praying to.
—(Makataimeshekiakiak) Black Hawk

At some point during a long night with our newborn twin boys, Jack and Henry, I sat on the floor—in the same pajamas I had been wearing for four days—and thought to myself, “It would be really nice if twins came with an operations manual!”

While I was pregnant with the boys, I read some books that beautifully detailed the medical aspects of a twin pregnancy and others that laid out basic logistics for the all-important and hectic first year. Unfortunately, I could not find a book that addressed how to survive the first year with multiples in a girlfriend-to-girlfriend manner.

I wasn’t looking for someone to sugarcoat the experience. I was happy to read a book written by someone honest enough to proclaim, “Raising twins is hard!” Most of the books on the market communicate that very well. What frustrated me—after being reminded (again) that the experience would be hard—was waiting for the author to say, “But here’s how to make it easier (and laugh while you’re doing it).” I waited...and waited...and waited.

And then I waited some more.

I longed for a humorous book that told it like it is and also gave strategies for getting through the “how it is.” I hungered for an author daring enough to write, “It’s true that you’ll hear over and over again not to microwave formula, but it’s okay if you do—provided you follow some basic rules and do some safety checks.” However, after searching and searching, I realized that such a book did not exist. At that point I decided that I'd write it—just as soon as I came out from under the piles of diapers, bottles and laundry.

The first year with twins is crazy, humbling, amazing, frustrating, confusing and miraculous, and it goes by all too quickly. What initially does not seem survivable will make you laugh hysterically years later when you reminisce. I occasionally bump into a new mom of twins, and I can’t help but say, “Congratulations! You have such an amazing adventure ahead.” Some of these women smile and say, “Thanks!” Some look at me like I’m crazy (I’m sure their response is caused by pain medication, extreme exhaustion or extreme hunger—I can't imagine it's because they think I'm a complete wackadoo). Some say, with great trepidation, “Really? I sure hope so!”

Mothering a set of twins is an indescribable experience. It’s already miraculous to be a mom. To bring two children into the world simultaneously, raise them as their unique selves and watch them grow and develop into the people they are meant to be is simply astonishing. It’s a hard road, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy, right?

Expectant moms of twins are too often told (frequently by people with absolutely zero experience) how hard the journey is going to be. I think that’s terribly sad. Of course it will be hard—some days, getting to the dry cleaners before they close is hard! The difference is, this experience will be the most rewarding kind of hard you’ll ever face.

The secret to your success lies in your perspective and attitude. Of course, there will be days when you will think, “Screw attitude and perspective; this sucks!” But those days will be few and far between. You will get past them, I promise!

I meet mothers of twins left and right these days. I swear, they're everywhere. Even if you've never before seen a set of twins in your town, the moment you discover that you're expecting them they will suddenly seem to be all over the place. Many of the moms I meet have older twins (meaning, they're able to dress themselves, put their own dishes in the sink and find it fun to retrieve the mail for you each afternoon), and they comment that raising twins gets more fun every year. Only about one percent of all the women I’ve met say something stupid like, “Oh, it only gets harder as they get older.” I’ve never understood those women. Even if that were their perspective, what benefit does it provide either of us to communicate it? So if you run into that lovely lady, just smile and keep walking. Or, start bawling and wail, "I'm not going to make it!" and wait for someone nearby to come to your rescue.

One wise mom I met perfectly summed up the "how" of it when she said, “People without twins make such a big deal out of how you do it. You just do it! You have a sense of humor about it as often as possible. And you take it a day (sometimes an hour) at a time.”

Some people will comment that God never gives you more than you can handle, and you will respond, “Yes, but unfortunately, I think He’s confused me with someone else.” Then, the baby you’ve been praying would sleep for at least six minutes will sleep for an hour and you will get on your knees and be thankful and probably fall asleep there for an hour yourself!

A finely tuned sense of humor is critical. If you don’t have one, get one—fast. After all, few situations in life are true catastrophes, even though they may initially feel like they are. When you smile at or laugh at a situation, it passes almost instantly. When you cry or yell, it sticks around much longer. Yes, occasionally you’ll start laughing and then stop mid-way through and stoically profess, “Okay, but seriously, we have got to figure this out,” or not laugh at all and, instead, yell, “We need to fix this right now!” But if you try the former approach as often as possible, it will help tremendously. As writer Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning  up  to do afterward.”

David, father of twin sons Jonathon and Jake, remembers, “At one point, our boys were having a particularly bad night. My wife and I were in the middle of changing the fourth diaper in one hour, plus two sets of sheets—and it was 3:00 a.m. My wife said, ‘At least it cannot get any worse!’ We got back in bed, and our two-year-old daughter promptly walked into our room proclaiming she did not feel well. Within ten seconds, she vomited all over the four loads of freshly washed and folded laundry. All we could do was laugh. The alternative was simply too depressing!”

Start this moment to realign your expectations. I recently heard that it takes approximately 196 hours per week to raise triplets. What’s the problem with that? There are only 168 hours in a week! If you divide the 196 hours by three, and thereby presume that the tasks associated with each baby require approximately sixty-five hours, it could be reasonably estimated that raising twins takes approximately 130 hours per week. I’m certain that the third baby does not, in and of himself, take up the whole of those additional 66 hours. Therefore, I’ve concluded that raising twins takes somewhere between 130 and 196 hours per week. That’s a lot of hours. Clearly, a few lifestyle modifications are in order.

If you are a person who needs your house to be spotless day-in and day-out, invent a twelve-step program that breaks your need for a completely clean dwelling all the time (unless you have a full-time housekeeper). I remember an evening when David arrived home from work. I was sweating, unshowered, hungry and unable to find Jack’s pajamas that I had just set out. Poor guy mentioned something about a major sale on speakers he’d waited years to buy. My retort was simple and straightforward. Through clenched teeth, I said, “Money does not grow on trees and neither do housekeepers. Look at this place! Now give me some help!” I think I actually scared him because he didn’t waste any time. He went straight for the vacuum cleaner. Whether it was my appearance or my demeanor that frightened him into action, I’m not entirely sure.

Accept that you will not dine on a gourmet meal every night unless you can afford a personal chef. In fact, there are still many nights when I find a bowl of cereal absolutely delicious and, as I mention later, I continue to rely on the power of a good multi-vitamin.

Accept that your holiday cards may not go out until March—or learn to love the idea of simply Facebooking your holiday wishes to everyone! (Facebooking is an official verb at this point, isn't it?) As David frequently commented, “There aren’t enough hours in the day or adults in this house!” If you allow it, you will have seven-mile-long to-do lists—and that’s okay, provided you train yourself to prioritize three or four to-dos in a week instead of in a day, as might have been your practice in the past. Accept that, in most cases, having uncompleted to-dos at the end of the day is not the end of the world. Most parents of twins marvel at how flexible they become. As innately organized and efficient human beings, they never would have imagined they’d choose to spend an evening watching a movie before they cleaned the dirty dishes. Or that, pulling out of their driveway to go meet Santa Claus, they’d switch gears—literally—because one of the babies’ diapers exploded all over her brand new Christmas outfit (the white one). For most parents, this shift in mentality is as much of a blessing as the arrival of their children. They have a newfound awareness of the truly important things in life versus the merely peripheral details.

If you weren’t organized before, I guarantee you will be soon. If you were organized before, you’re going to “kick it up a notch,” as renowned chef Emeril Lagasse would say.

I was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital in pre-term labor when I was 32 weeks pregnant, and I came home for only 24 hours before I went into unstoppable labor and delivered Jack and Henry at 35 weeks and two days. The boys were in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for sixteen days before we were able to bring them home. What the boys’ little vacation in the NICU gave us was the extremely welcomed opportunity to get things as ready as time permitted. But to be perfectly honest, the best way to organize is simply to live it and see what works for you. It won’t be more than fifteen hours before you’ll have some high-priority challenges that need solutions. Fast. And you’ll come up with them just as quickly as does every other mother of multiples.

Remember, you would not have been blessed with multiples if someone didn’t have complete and utter confidence that you were up to the challenge.

Have empowering mantras at-the-ready. One of my favorites is "Breathe. Smile. Love."

Breathing always helps. One, you need oxygen to live through the challenging moment. Two, deep breathing lowers your blood pressure and helps you calm down. One breathing exercise I recently learned is, take a deep breath, and on the exhale quietly say, “Ahhhh.” Say it almost as a whisper. For some reason, this exercise provides a subtle release of frustration, which is helpful during moments of extreme stress.

A smile—even if forced—dulls the most agitated psyche. It sounds insane, but in your most harried moment—whether dealing with crying babies or a stranger who captures that parking spot you’ve waited on for five minutes—a simple smile relaxes you.

As for the Love portion of the mantra, true peace comes down to our ability to love in all circumstances. I will admit that I simply cannot love the idiots who steal my parking spaces, but I can accept that it's important to love myself in those moments. It's helpful to choose an approach that prevents me from losing precious moments being angry with someone who is not directing an ounce of positive energy in my direction.

I had the good fortune of meeting seven amazing women through a Marvelous Multiples® birthing class at our local hospital a few months before our babies were born. We hit it off as though we’d known each other in a prior life. Together, we went through pregnancy, bed rest, hospitalization and, finally, parenting. The hospital staff still marvels at our group, often referring to it as the Multiples Sorority because we bonded so quickly.

There was a point when four or five members of our group were in the hospital on large amounts of drugs to stop pre-term labor (I still have a visceral reaction to the term "Mag," short for Magnesium Sulfate). After sending our husbands to the snack room to make us yet another Sprite and cranberry juice concoction, we wondered where these fine men were when they didn’t return after twenty or thirty minutes. Turned out, they were talking football or basketball or dilation in the hall together. They got along as well as we did. That support was possibly provided for each of us early on because a higher power didn’t think any of us would make it without the others. Have faith that the universe will provide what (or whom) you need to make it through this journey.

Barb was one of the first friends I made through the class. I received a voice mail from her the day after our third class.

“Hi, Liz? This is Barb. From the multiples class,” she began. “I know you don’t know me very well, but I’m getting conflicting information from my OB group—our OB group, I think we go to the same one—on the whole bed rest concept. I thought I’d see what messages you’re getting. If you have a moment, would you call me back?”

I returned her call straight away. The next hour was right out of a sitcom.

“I know I’m two weeks further along than you are, but are they saying you’re going to be put on bed rest?” she asked.

“No. No one has said anything to me about bed rest,” I replied. “What is the rationale for putting you on bed rest?”

“Yeah, there doesn’t seem to be one,” she replied, clearly miffed. “That’s the real problem. Oh, and every time I waddle into their office and see a different doctor, I get different direction on whether I’m going to be put on bed rest, not to mention what bed rest really means. Do you think I should just lie down for the rest of this pregnancy? Because I don’t like to lie down. I’d rather go running.”

The running comment threw me. I don’t run unless one of my kids is headed into oncoming traffic. And, given that I had a very active soon-to-be two-year-old, the idea of being forced to lie down sounded great. Barb wasn’t nearly as excited about the prospect.

We discussed her possibly impending lifestyle change and its potential ramifications (no running, nothing good on TV between 1:00 and 4:00—Netflix and Hulu didn't yet exist; no, I don't know how we did it either—limited food-delivery options, etc.) in more depth than any two people should discuss anything so seemingly insignificant, especially given that we weren’t sure it was even going to happen. We researched independently, reconvened via phone to share the findings of our research and pretty much became each other’s ongoing secondary medical consultant.

From that phone conversation on, ever so slowly, our lives began imitating each other’s. Barb did get put on bed rest—finally all doctors in the practice agreed that it was non- negotiable; the next day I was put on bed rest. I sort of enjoyed it (my mother, who was thrust into the roles of full-time grandmother as well as mom and stand-in nurse to the couch-bound beached whale, probably didn’t enjoy it quite as much).

Barb’s major complaint was, “I drink so much water I have to pee every fifteen minutes, but I’m only supposed to get up once every hour or two. Which is worse, getting up every twenty minutes to pee or having my extra-full bladder either explode or cause even more contractions?” We spent two hours discussing that challenge because, honestly, what else were we going to do?

When I went into the hospital at 32 weeks in pre-term labor, I called Barb while the Magnesium Sulfate coursed through my system. I wanted to let her know that, should this happen to her, it wasn’t that bad. But, that phone call was placed only two boluses of Magnesium Sulfate into the evening.  (A bolus is a large dose of medication given to jump start the desired effect; in this case, the doctors were trying to relax my uterus so that my contractions would stop. After the bolus is completed and your body is responding properly, the medication is infused much more slowly, thank God.) My body wasn’t real interested in responding to the first two boluses and, therefore, over the next thirty minutes or so, I required two more. After the final one, my opinion on the experience being “not that bad” had done a one-eighty, and I was nearly comatose. This was unfortunate because, two days later, Barb was right across the hall with her own Magnesium Sulfate drip—expecting it not to be horrible, per my earlier reassurance, but learning the hard way that I’d spoken too soon.

Four days later, Barb’s contractions became too frequent and she had to have more Magnesium Sulfate. Three hours later, so did I. By this point in our pregnancies, Barb and I had revisited our college days and once again become addicted to Days of Our Lives (we had to find something to watch between 1:00 and 4:00). The magnesium had rendered us nearly blind, and we were devastated when we couldn’t visually keep up with the story line. So we listened and chatted via phone during commercial breaks about how we thought the scenes might be playing out for those watching with the full spectrum of their senses intact.

To put it mildly, by the time Barb and I delivered our babies, I knew more about Barb than I did about people I’ve known for twenty years. We were notorious among the nursing staff for engaging in “unnecessary and unproductive” phone calls with one another at least once per day.

“Did you see the doctor yet? What did they tell you today?” she’d ask.

“You mean they came to see you?” I responded incredulously. “No one even came to see me today.” We had become quite dependent on our doctors’ visits as a not-to-be- missed event—an opportunity to get an update on when the babies were going to come out, when we were going to go home or both. It was preposterous.

At one point, I had an obstetrician tell me on a Monday that I was dilated to four centimeters. On Tuesday, a different obstetrician from the same practice informed me that I was dilated to only one centimeter. I realize that a measurement of dilation is somewhat subjective, and that doctors with big hands might declare you one centimeter dilated while one with teeny fingers might declare you two centimeters dilated. But there was positively no way, in my opinion, that this kind of differential was normal.

I dialed Room 512 to give Barb my morning report. Her response: “Yeah, you know, there are a lot of things I’d research or otherwise do to help you receive clarity on an issue,” she said supportively. “But this is one I ain’t touching—and I mean that in every way. But hey, it’s only twenty or so hours until whoever’s on call tomorrow might come see you. Then you can get a tie-breaker assessment!”

When I actually delivered my babies, I told the nursing staff they might as well set up the second delivery room while they were at it because I expected Barb to show up any minute.

One particularly challenging morning when our babies were three or four weeks old, I received a “just checking in” call from Barb. We could barely hear each other, as all heck was breaking loose in the background of my happy home. Jack and Henry were screaming, and I had no idea what was wrong; I had been feeding them around the clock.

“They are probably suffering from nothing more than extreme exhaustion,” I thought, but while I tried to convince them that falling asleep would be easier if they’d just stop screaming, they weren’t listening.

I sat on our loveseat; Jack balanced on one knee and Henry on the other. I was trying to bottle-feed them simultaneously while waiting for one of them to do a back flip off of my knee or sit straight up and ask—in clear English—how on earth I, their mother, could not figure out how to make them happy!

“I’ll tell you what,” Barb said. “My mother-in-law is here. Why don’t I come over and give you a hand.”

“What?” I answered incredulously. “No. You have two babies of your own over there. I’ll be fine—I think.”

Too tired to argue, she replied, “Well, call me back if you pass the point of no return. I’ll come right over.”

I thanked her, hung up and returned to my attempt to comfort the babies.

Fifteen minutes later, I heard a tap on the front door. “Oh, this ought to be good,” I thought. “I cannot get up, I have not showered in days and there is intense screaming going on in here.” Then I saw Barb looking in through the front door sidelights. I could not believe it. I managed to get up and open the door, and she said simply, “I knew you wouldn’t call.”

She entered the foyer, looked around and asked, “What exactly is the problem here?” Of course, the moment Barb walked in the door, both boys stopped crying. The only thing that saved me from being seen as a drama queen in need of major attention was the fact that she’d already heard the decibel level of their screaming. Barb stayed for about thirty minutes (the boys made nary a peep during her stay), walked out the front door and the screaming began again. Still clueless, I prepared two more bottles, thanked the gods of true friendship, said a silent prayer to the gods of calm and quiet and plugged the bottles into their wide-open mouths.

In the early weeks, David’s and my families helped a lot, but they all lived hundreds of miles away and couldn’t take up permanent residence with us. I’ve purchased books about getting through challenging times, only to find out on page 12 that the survivor had two nannies, a plethora of family members living nearby and a bottomless bank account. None of those luxuries applied to us.

Our neighbors kindly brought dinner four nights in a row, and I truly believe the only thing that kept several of my out-of-state friends from coming to help was their responsibility to their own children. We were on our own. It didn’t make sense to waste time thinking or talking about how easy it might be if we had parents living a block away, or a live-in nanny or a plan to clone ourselves. Our reality was our reality, and we had to find a way to make it work within the boundaries that applied to us.

Enter this adventure with your eyes wide open. Remember, you will have good days and not-so-good days. Respect and reflect often upon your blessings. Many mothers of multiples were not completely shocked to see more than one heartbeat on ultrasound (my friend, Mollie, who conceived fraternal twins while on birth control, being an exception).

Mollie and I met in the Marvelous Multiples class; for whatever reason, we didn’t get the opportunity to chat much during or after class. My friendship with Mollie began on Day 15 of my three-week-long hospital stay for pre-term labor.

After two weeks of being confined to bed, I was permitted a short wheelchair ride around the Labor and Delivery Unit. Our friends, Paul and Holly, had two-week-old triplets, and they asked us to visit them in the NICU. On the way, the nurse paused in each of my incarcerated “sorority” sisters’ doorways. Mollie’s room was the last stop.

I looked in and saw Mollie sitting up in bed, staring out into space. Her husband, Gary, was sitting in a chair nearby, fixated on a televised football game. Mollie didn’t realize I was there, and I cautiously said, “Um, hi there!” I wasn’t sure at what stage in the labor-stopping process she was, and I knew that if she was at the point I was a..

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When breastfeeding twins, don't start without these breastfeeding suppliesBeyond support, support, and support, there are a few products that will help ensure your success as a breastfeeding mom of twins. Listed below are some all-time favorites.SOOTHIES GEL PADS

This product is a godsend for breastfeeding moms. During the first few weeks breastfeeding, most moms want to pull their nipples right off. What can we say; breastfeeding can initially be uncomfortable! But throw out your bags of frozen peas ladies, Soothies Gel Pads are petit, discreet, and feel ohhhh so good.

LILY PADZ

When you’ve had it with your nursing bra (read: now), Lily Padz come to the rescue. When I was told that I could sleep braless with the assistance of Lily Padz, I didn’t think there was any way that was possible. I was wrong. This product prevents leaking without causing irritation. And they make you feel like less of a cow, which is always nice.

A SUPPORTIVE NURSING BRA

Because different women prefer different bras, we’re always hard-pressed to identify a specific nursing bra to recommend. We can, however, provide some criteria to keep in mind when shopping. First, even though you’ll use nursing bras for only a short time (comparatively), don’t skimp price-wise. A cheap bra is a cheap bra, and you’ll feel that reality in a short timeframe. You’ll possibly be wearing this item of clothing around-the-clock, and it’s important that it fit properly and comfortably as well as not wear out after three trips through the washing machine.

Purchase two bras initially, and see how they work for a week or two before purchasing more. You often don’t know just how big your breasts will become until your milk comes in, so it’s easy to buy the wrong size if you purchase it before the babies are born. Wait and see how you like the style and size before you fill your underwear drawer full of bras that won’t work (and that can’t be returned once worn!).

Speaking of which, if you do buy a supply of bras to try out, leave the tags on until you know whether or not they will work. If you buy four of one style, and you try one only to discover it’s a bad fit (literally), you will be able to return the other three unworn or exchange them for a different size or fit.

A NURSING PILLOW FOR TWINS

The ultimate goal when nursing multiples is to nurse them both at the same time! With standard nursing pillows, that isn’t always possible. There simply isn’t enough...well...pillow! With the My Brest Friend or Twin Z Pillow, nursing twins simultaneously (and then getting on with your day) is easier than ever.

LANOLIN CREAM

When your nipples have absolutely had it, Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve is the way to go. Put a little on each nipple after each feeding, let your breasts hang out to dry (literally) and you’ll begin to feel some relief. Couple the lanolin with the Soothies Gel Pads and you’ll be close to heaven. Lanolin works wonders on cracked or otherwise damaged nipples as well, which may unfortunately occur before you realize there’s an issue! Luckily, there’s a product that can rescue you and yours.

SUPPORT FROM THE EXPERTS

When you’ve got a question that no book or friend can seemingly answer, or when you simply need a little human encouragement to get you through a particularly stressful day of nursing, what you need is a great support group. La Leche League International is about as expert as it gets when it comes to breastfeeding. Their website is a wealth of information (in multiple languages, to boot!) and also provides information on local support groups.

Be sure to check with the hospital where you delivered your babies or with your pediatrician. Many pediatric groups have lactation consultants on staff, and many hospitals do as well. They are always perfectly happy to assist you as you continue on your breastfeeding journey!

Finally, seek out another mom of multiples who successfully breastfed her twins. The best support and suggestions often come from those who’ve been in the trenches!

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