“Most parents hear the news they’re having multiples and they’re generally shocked, slightly excited, but more so, terrified. It’s the full spectrum of emotions. I felt all the things after the ultrasound tech said 30 seconds into the scan, ‘So, I’ve got some news…There are two babies in there.’ It was just my daughter and I in the room. I only came in for a routine ultrasound to find out how many weeks we were. After my brain processed the words, I thought to myself, ‘My husband is going to flip!’ Then, all the ‘How in the world is this going to work?!’ thoughts began to flood my brain.
How will my body handle the demands of a twin pregnancy?
With patience, yoga, milkshakes, naps, all-the-protein, compression socks, more naps, meditation and loads of positive affirmations, we did it. It was the most physically demanding thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve danced on a steel stage, in heels, over 8 shows a week on Broadway and as a Rockette. My body has worked HARD as a professional dancer. But, twin pregnancy to 36 weeks? I shudder now thinking back at how demanding that was.
I had to focus on the positive, on what I could do that day. Sometimes it was walking, other days it was a few modified yoga poses. Almost every day, what I could do was rest. Oh, my word, I’ve never taken so many naps. But, it was the beginning of the realization that slowing down is a gift. I was forced to slow down, to be gentle with myself. I had no other choice. As much as I resisted it initially, I’ve come to learn that there is great wisdom in slowing down. Now I recognize how good it feels and I welcome this slower pace regularly.
How did my birth unfold?
Not as I’d planned, but in its own powerful way. My first two babies were born at home with an amazing team of midwives. It was an incredible experience. I’m not saying it was easy, but I felt so safe and supported by my team, comfortable in my own home and completely surrendered to the power of my body as I freakin’ birthed my baby while standing beside the bed. At that moment, I felt like a superhero/goddess/warrior all wrapped up in one exhausted mama, staring at my baby as they placed him on the bed in front of me. It was an epic moment that changed me forever.
I happened to birth my daughter in the same way, standing beside our bed at home. I cherish those memories and have since become an advocate for birth and a mother’s right to choose how and where she feels safely supported birthing her baby. Each birth is unique and unpredictable, but each mama deserves to have a voice in her experience. This trust in birth led me to inquire about home birth for my twins. Ultimately, they had different plans. Labor began at 36 weeks so my team and I decided it was best to head into the hospital.
Little did I know how different this birth would be. I had to use my voice to advocate for myself and my babies with confidence as I reminded the medical staff, ‘I trust my body. I trust my babies. We deserve the right to labor.’ I held my ground, signed forms, respectfully declined their fear-based recommendations. I simply wanted the opportunity to labor. Birth is so intuitive and I felt in my bones, I needed to try and labor on my own.
My twin birth was a story of strength that I didn’t know I had. It is shared, from my heart, here.
How will I breastfeed twins?
I was an experienced milk-making-mama, but twins?! This was new territory and I couldn’t really comprehend how major this commitment was about to get. Day one postpartum, I’m recovering from two types of birth. Baby A was born vaginally and Baby B was a cesarean birth. This required some dedicated recovery-time, so, for the first few weeks, I hardly left the bed. I sat, buried under babies, breastfeeding on demand, staring, staring, staring at the two of them in awe.
I watched the three of us work out this new system of communication. During pregnancy and birth, I surrendered to the wisdom of my body. This same intention was required of me during breastfeeding as my body innately worked (on overdrive) to make milk for these two growing boys. I trusted we’d figure out the system that worked for us. I ate nourishing food (always hungry, holy wow, ravenous!), made sure I drank lots of water, and continued to rest. I thought the twin pregnancy was hard, but this postpartum recovery and breastfeeding journey required even more patience. I gave myself no timeline. I had no expectations. I focused on and celebrated one feed at a time. (*I highly recommend reaching out for support from a lactation consultant if you are struggling with breastfeeding. They can help check your baby’s latch and offer different holds that may help.)
Sometimes breastfeeding twins felt heavenly. The bond growing between the three of us made my heart soar. I cannot tell you how intoxicating it is breathing in two fuzzy-headed newborns after a nursing session. Watching them discover each other and hold hands for the first time while nursing made each tearful moment of frustration worth it.
Other times, I felt depleted. I was giving so much of myself, but I was 1,000% committed. I would endure the long nights, rounds of mastitis, and sacrifice what I felt was required of me. Exhaustion doesn’t even describe how I felt in those early months.
The funny thing is, I’d do it all over again. Without a moment of hesitation. Because as our breastfeeding journey progressed, we found our groove, we made it work and it is something I’m beyond proud of. I breastfed my twins for 28 months and will forever be in awe of that season in our lives.
How will we prepare for doubling our kid-load?
We were upgrading from two to four kids. Big promotion! We’ve all heard ‘it takes a village,’ so bring ‘em on. We had grandparents, aunts & uncles, babysitters, postpartum doulas (they’re angels by the way!) all arranged to chip in when we needed it. At the start, a meal train was incredibly helpful. Post-surgery, I needed to remain in bed for as long as possible. This looked like lots of books read to my older kids as they snuggled next to the twins and me. When someone came over to visit or bring food, I always accepted their help if they offered to fold a basket of laundry, empty the always-full diaper pails or load/unload the dishwasher.
Accepting and receiving help is a sign of strength.
I got very used to loosening of my grip on any expectations of a tidy house. I was not about to impress anybody, nor did I care. My priority was my own mental, emotional, and physical health. That meant a lived-in home, saying ‘no thanks’ to social engagements and accepting I just wouldn’t be able to do as much…for now.
‘This is temporary.’ I repeated this often when the demands of the four children under 6 would feel like a wave swallowing me up. ‘I can do this.’ Simple but true. I needed to remind myself that with love and gentleness for myself and my kiddos, we’ll figure this out.
Everyone’s world was rocked by the arrival of the twins. It took some time (and a lot of tears) for us all to adjust to this life as a family of six. We hug, laugh, cry, hug, apologize, and hug some more as we share in this beautifully messy journey together.
People ask, ‘How do you do it with four kids?’ I shrug and respond, ‘Moms always figure it out.’ Even when we have no clue how, we make it work. We’ve got a drive within us that is unstoppable. Our lowest moments do not define us. The love that moves us forward does. One baby-step at a time, the painfully slow progress we make, when we whisper to ourselves with tears in our eyes, ‘I can do this.’ We just do.
Here’s to trusting in the unknown journey of motherhood as we work to understand all the ‘How’s?’ Arms and hearts wide open to receive. We’re in this together. We can do this.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Griffith. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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