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We now have Threenadoes- x2

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Man- if I had to pick one age I could bypass- it would be three.  I know, I know… it sounds horrible and heartless, but seriously, like overnight they have taken over my sweet (yet rambunctious two year olds) and replaced them with these beings that appear cute on the outside and full of sass and stubbornness on the inside (I blame Jeremy).  My babies are no longer babies!!

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No- they are no longer babies- we will probably always refer to Whitney as “Baby”, but the baby stage has packed up and left the Hillman household (or at this current point, my parent’s house because #moving).

As we approach the threenage years, I’m going to take a second and reminisce on moments… that I remember…

  • Finding out there were two:  Seriously- will never forget that moment.  In the Dr. office, not expecting great news.  I had had an ultrasound the week before (at 5 weeks) but Dr. didn’t say too much and said let’s repeat it in a week.  For someone that had been through multiple early miscarriages… I wasn’t expecting great news.  I had symptoms, but I also had symptoms with Jeremiah, the baby we lost in the second trimester due to a Partial Molar Pregnancy (ugh- needles in the skin just typing that phrase out).  So I sent Jeremy to his bowling meet, had my mom meet me at the Dr. to watch 7 mo old Knox in the waiting room so I could find out maybe good news/probably bad.  It was a new tech… had an internal ultrasound because it was so early… and before she flipped the switch on, she goes “Well, it still might be too early to see both their heartbeats”.  Me: “Oh, you must have the wrong chart, we’re just checking for a viable pregnancy.”  Her: “Lisa Hillman?  Yeah, they didn’t tell you last week there are twins?”  Me: “Uh… no… you’re kidding right?  Oh my gosh, I can’t breathe… can you go get my mom?  I definitely need my mom?  She’s sitting out there… go get her please?”  Her: “Uhhhh… I just can’t leave this inside you…” Me: “Oh, right”.  I don’t really remember the rest of the appointment besides the moment of my just handing my mom a picture of “the babies” and watching the realization of what was happening wash over her face.  Let’s just say she was a little more excited than I was.
  • Telling Jeremy: Have you all seen it?  It’s on YouTube… I’ve never seen my husband speechless before.  Watch it HERE.
  • Team Green: Being Team Green was SO hard… especially with twins…and especially with a High Risk Doctor that had a hard time keeping secrets.  But we made it and it was SO worth it.  We had an idea that Baby “B” might be a girl… the nurses referred to “her” as a Diva because B was always the most difficult to get the readings on and never cooperated.  Fast forward to the delivery and “A” came out with “It’s a girl!”… we start crying and then go… oh man, two girls!!  Imagine our surprise when two minutes later “B” comes out with “And it’s a boy!”  Uh, what?!?!  Welcome to the world, Griffin  (who still has Diva-tendencies)
  • The Delivery:  First “Gentle C-Section Delivery” at Copley.  So great.  We had a clear curtain so I was able to see them immediately.  They put Whitney on my chest right away and had Jeremy wear a button down so he had Griffin right away for some skin to skin time.  Well, both of them wouldn’t settle down and kept crying, so the nurse did a quick switch and sure enough- we had a daddy’s girl and a mama’s boy from the first minutes of life.  Totally different from the C-Section I had had with Aiden 13 years prior that I didn’t get to hold him for over an hour and barely saw him before they whisked him away for all the tests and bath.
  • The feedings:  Dang- that sucked.  Neither twin would latch.  We. tried. everything.  Lactation consultants, nipple guards, different positions… nothing worked.  Which left me to pump.  And pump.  And pump.  I missed out on a lot of life in the first few months.  We would feed them, burp them, change them, get them settled, then I would pump for about 20-30 minutes (for a good feeding) and I would have about 30 minutes before the process started all over again.  Fed is best and my life became insanely less stressful when we introduced formula.  And the babies were so much more happy and content as well.  I repeat.  FED IS BEST!  for everyone!! including my 3 other children and my husband.
  • The support:  The meals, the help, the holding of babies.  It was all so great.  It takes a village and our village sure picked us up and helped carry us when we were too tired.  Showers were so glorious and it was so nice to have someone come and just sit there so the shower could happen uninterrupted.
  • The first year: Nope.  Don’t remember it.  I don’t remember who rolled over first, who talked first, who crawled or walked first.  Nada.  I got nothing.  I remember moments of success… like figuring out how to carry both of them up and down the stairs at the same time, when they could feed themselves a bottle, when I got them both to relax at the same time… even if it was for only 30 seconds.  I SWORE I would not take any moment for granted with them.  Sleep deprivation beats memory.  Hands down.  I do remember buying a Franchise when they were 3 months old.  Who doesn’t start a franchise when their twins are three months old?
  • The gear:  So much gear for twins.  Not necessarily two of everything, but two of a lot.  So many bottles and bottle parts (Thanks, Dr. Brown), the pack and plays, the diapers… so many diapers.  We used to order our diapers from Amazon- and it would look like we had a body delivered to our house every month.
  • The real world was not twin friendly: I gave up going places eventually.  I remember pushing one cart and pulling the other cart through a store.  I remember getting so mad when people would take the “big cart” at Target for their one child.  I had to remind myself they have no idea.  I actually pulled into Target once and left because I couldn’t find a big cart.  I would take the double stroller places, but that didn’t fit anywhere (which double strollers are the same width as wheel-chairs, which made me super sad).  Grocery stores put milk at the back of the store.  No quick trips.  This now made Jeremy the sole-grocery shopper.  And trying to get twins through a parking lot is like herding drunk cats.
  • The Chaos:  It’s never calm.  What’s calm?  There’s no calm.  There is always something going on.  Someone crying.  Someone yelling.  People fighting.  Something lost.  We’re late.  We forget things.  We haven’t forgot kids yet, though.  Yet.
  • Their bond:  They maybe aren’t as close as some twins, but they sure have a bond that none of the other siblings share.  They have a special sense that they can tell what is going on with the other when we can’t.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not butterflies and rainbows… they fight… but they love each other fiercely and don’t like to be apart from each other at all.  They watch out for each other.  I would take them to the church nursery to interact with other kids, and they would just play by themselves.  Now, they will tell you they are each other’s best friends.  Melt my heart.
  • Boy vs. Girl/ Nurture vs. Nature:  So with boy/girl twins… there’s not a whole lot of time to promote “girl” toys or “boy” toys.  Since they started playing toys- they gravitate toward the same gender toys.  Our biggest thing has been Griffin (and Knox) wanting to paint their nails or wear dresses.  Who cares though, right?  Why can’t boys of pretty nails?  Or wear pretty dresses?  Why is it so much more appropriate for girls to wear “boy” clothes, but not the opposite?

I know this post doesn’t make it seem all great.  It is.  I swear.  I was never a person that wanted twins.  I was actually shocked when I found out there are people in the world that wish for spontaneous twins!  I wouldn’t change it for the world.  They were the perfect finale.  The perfect caboose to our train.  Quatro and Cinco.  I can’t imagine life any other way.  I enjoy the questions.  I enjoy watching their bond grow.  I enjoy the chaos.  I embrace the chaos (somedays).  I love that we have a huge triple stroller named “The Beast” and I love Black Betty.  I love that we have this large family and that I have 5 kids that are all so uniquely different.  But I don’t love 3’s.  3’s are rough.  I’m sure I will be celebrating in a year when we reach the 4’s.  Until then- que sera.

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The Twin Life Prepared… Pregnancy Edition

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It’s Mama-Bear here…

The amount of twin pregnancies I have heard about recently is amazing.  Seriously.  Watch out, world- the twins are coming!

I figure why not start my “be prepared” list?  Which is comical, because let’s be honest.  Nothing.  I repeat, NOTHING can prepare you.  Did I want twins?  Nope.  Did I get excited once I found out there were two?  Absolutely.  And I was a nerd.  Every forum, google page, in-person group, Facebook group I could join-I joined.  I needed to know it all.  Have control.  But maybe that’s why the twins are here in my life… to show me that I have no control.  Zilch. Zip. Nada.  Talk about a wake up call.

So let’s talk pregnancy.  What can you expect?

THE UNEXPECTED- You can plan it all.  Go for it.  Just know it won’t go the way you planned.  The whole control thing?  Not going to happen.  These two little beans will completely control your life… not only for the pregnancy… but beyond as well!  No two pregnancies are the same; every multiple mom will tell you that.  Don’t worry about the stories you hear.

THERE ARE TWO-  So if you’re like me, twins were never a thought.  They were never a possibility in my mind.  Imagine my surprise at my second ultrasound when I was told “Well, it still might be too early to see both of their heart beats”.  Ummm… what?!  I was preparing for #4 and quickly learned… in a matter of seconds… that I had to be prepared for #4 and #5.  Acceptance is the first major hurdle.  It will definitely seem surreal some days, even if you were trying for two (or more)…

THE DOCTORS- Most likely you will not only continue to see your OB, but you may possibly start seeing a MFM, as well (Maternal Fetal Medicine, or high risk doctor!).  If you do- be prepared for the ultrasounds.  Super fun to see the babies all the time but super stressful with every measurement and hoping that all is ok.  The most amazing moment was when we saw them trying to hold hands through the membrane that separated them!

THE BATTLES- as in the sibling battles that start in utero!  Seriously- they go to town on each other.  One usually ends up pushing the other one into the corner somewhere (because there’s not a lot of places to push them).  Mine went at it so much, Grif Grif actually came out with blue lips!  The nurses first thought he wasn’t getting oxygen but we figured out the blue mark perfectly matched his sister’s heel! Tiny but Mighty.

THE EVER-GROWING BELLY!- I think that the belly starts showing before you even know you are pregnant… or before you even know there are twins!  BAM! There it is!  No hiding it.  And it is breathtaking at the end to realize that there are two babies actually in your stomach growing.  And then you start to panic and wonder how your skin will ever go back after stretching so much!  There were time I actually thought my stomach could not stretch anymore.  But it could.  And it did.  And its still recovering.

THE ACHES AND PAINS- I don’t know if it was because I was older or because of the twins.  But it was not like the other pregnancies.  The heartburn started earlier, the breathlessness (because really, where do your lungs go?).  The hips, the back, you name it.  Its not pleasant.  Then there’s the contractions that start early.  Just your body’s way of preparing, they said!

THE HICCUPS:  Well- maybe not every twin pregnancy- but mine had hiccups every night at the same time- and never with each other!  Man- it was surreal feeling it.  Both on their own rhythm but both at the same time.

THE QUESTIONS:  Do twins run in your family?  Did you do IVF?  Are you serious?  How  many kids do you have?  There’s really no preparing for them and no avoiding them (unless you don’t tell people you are expecting two!) There are some pretty creative responses out there, but I always loved the conversation starter.  People are obsessed with multiples.  Be ready, because it won’t change.

THE WORRY:  Seriously- the worry was intense.  I wish I could have blocked Dr. Google from my phone.  Every little thing sent me into a panic.  The nurses knew me by name.  My doctor was used to my calls.  Instead of one to worry about (which is a ton of worry), now there were two.  We had trips to the hospital- one that resulted in me staying for a few days longer than planned.  Some twin pregnancies are there awhile or even most of the pregnancy.  It may seem difficult at the time, but it’s worth it in the end.  And they are used to the calls and the questions.  It will be ok.

 

I will leave you with a to-do list (from some tried and true multiple moms)

  • Join a Multiples Club!  Google Search can be your friend here!
  • Take naps- its ok.  (aka- take care of yourself)
  • Be humble and accept help
  • Pack your bag and be prepared for their arrival by 24-26 weeks
  • Educate yourself- find a doctor with experience and find a level 4 NICU
  • Go do all the things- it may not be as easy once they make their entrance!
  • If you will be going back to work- start looking for childcare early.  Placing two is not the same as 1
  • Enjoy the ride!  Life is about to be VERY different!

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