One of my close friends had twins last month. She had a lovely and uneventful pregnancy and her babies, a boy and a girl, were born healthy and required no NICU time. Now that the worry of a safe and healthy delivery is over I find myself thinking of her and the next challenges that she’s going to face. My mom and husband and I all exchange forced chuckles and slightly stricken looks when we talk about those early weeks and months with our twins because, wow, it was hard.
The hardest part for me was the feeding. I talk about this a lot because it was MY ENTIRE LIFE. Only one of my boys would latch so I was nursing one and pumping for the other and supplementing with formula when needed. That sounds reasonable, right? It seems like it should be totally doable. But the reality of it was completely overwhelming. Here’s a breakdown of a normal feeding schedule.
- Get Baby A to latch and nurse him for 5 minutes
- Burp him while rocking sleeping Baby B in the Rock n’ Play.
- Relatch Baby A and nurse for another 10 minutes.
- Burp again.
- Wait to see if Baby A is still hungry and supplement if needed.
- Change Baby A and put him in the swing.
- Change Baby B’s diaper and outfit because he pooped on himself while he was asleep. Clean out Rock n’ Play. Put Baby B in bouncy chair.
- Sit down to pump for Baby B. Get pump situated and start pumping. Remember that I forgot to pee.
- Pump for 10 minutes.
- Briefly stop pumping to pick up Baby B because he’s crying. Start pumping again but while holding Baby B.
- Stop pumping before I’m done because Baby A is crying and I have to pee. Put Baby B in the swing. Go pee while trying to comfort Baby A.
- Wash hands and rinse out pump parts while holding Baby A.
- Trade out babies in the Rock n’ Play. Put fresh pumped breast milk in bottle and start to feed Baby B while trying to comfort Baby A who is still crying. Why is he crying?
- Burp Baby B. Joyful moment when Baby A falls asleep.
- Finish feeding Baby B breast milk bottle while rocking Baby A in the Rock n’ Play with foot because if I stop he’ll wake up.
- Burp and change Baby B while still trying to rock Baby A.
- Baby B is rooting so supplement with bottle of formula.
- Burp Baby B.
- Put Baby B in swing where he falls asleep.
- Pick up Baby A who woke up when I stop rocking him. Rock him in the rocking chair until he falls asleep and unsuccessfully try to transfer him back to the Rock ‘n Play. Realize that he peed on me while in the rocking chair.
- Change Baby A and put him in the Rock n’ Play.
- Go and change clothes, or maybe not because Baby B is crying.
- Pick up Baby B who woke up when Baby A cried about being wet.
- Rock Baby B in the rocking chair until he falls asleep.
- Record the timing and amount of all feedings and all diaper changes for all babies while rocking Baby B.
- Go downstairs with sleeping Baby B and make more bottles of formula.
- Cry, because Baby A is scheduled to feed again in 5 minutes.
- Do this, ad nauseum, day and night, for months.
And now imagine trying to do that AT NIGHT IN THE DARK.
And do you see what’s not listed? Eating. And sleeping. And bathing. And visiting with people. And doing anything that doesn’t involve babies or boobies.
I was so lucky. I had a constant stream of people who came to help me – my mom, my sister, my MIL and SIL, all of my aunts, my BFF. Ro’s godparents came over and brought dinner every Wed. These lovely people are the only reason that I ate. Or slept. Or bathed. And I am so grateful.
So as I watch my dear friend starting down this road I laugh and sigh and pack my bags because this time, thankfully, I am the cavalry.