“We’re having twins! …Oh my gosh…we’re having twins…” *smile* If you have been told that you’re having twins then this may have been what went through your mind. *laugh* Elation and surprise! And then… reality!” How do people feed two at once? Will I ever sleep again? What do I need two of and what not?” In our family we have one set of identical twin girls – and it has been an absolute beautiful, awe-inspiring delight. Do not worry. *squeeze hugs*

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” – Isaiah 41:13

  • Maternity clothes tip
  • The possibly of bed rest
  • Delivery considerations
  • Items to have in advance
  • Scheduling ideas

Two buns in the oven! *cheer!*

Here are several things you can know in advance to help you with being prepared for your blessings. Some insights and a few tips.

Maternity clothes tip

During the last 2-3 months your 2-baby tummy might grow out of your maternity clothes. *gasp!* I know – but don’t worry. When I was 7-months pregnant I looked like my usual 9 months. The tricky part is that the rest of you probably still fits your maternity clothes. So you might need to either buy a few larger tops, and maybe the stretchy type won’t look too big in the shoulders and bust where you’re still your regular maternity clothes size. Or make a few sun dresses (unless it’s winter) that you can make to fit in the top, but blouse out larger for the 2 babies. You can do this without looking like a tent, believe it or not. This is a photo of me at only 7-months gestation; my usual 9-month size!

 

The possibly of bed rest

You also may be told by your doctor that you need some bed rest in the last several weeks, and if your doctor says to be on bed rest – you need to be on bed rest. *hugs* Sorry. To keep those babies cookin’ longer it’s very important, and your babies need every week they can get. I encourage you to prepare for this and make plans as an almost certainty. And if you don’t need it, great cancel the plans. *smile* You lose nothing.

Try not to be afraid to reach out to family and friends for help. One way that can feel less direct is to simply put the word out on Facebook to say that you’re needing help between certain hours. Then pray and wait for people to volunteer – I bet you’ll be surprised at the help you’ll receive! I certainly was!

If your other kids are in school then maybe this help is only necessary between the time your children arrive home from school until your husband gets home. If you are homeschooling then maybe it would be between the hours of 9:00 and 2:00, after you’ve gotten kids up, ready for the day, and maybe breakfast finished and a later nap time for real little ones. Then you’d only have a little bit of time between 2:00 or 3:00 an 6:00 when daddy gets home. Maybe older siblings could help younger ones for those last few hours, or perhaps you would still need help from either the same volunteer or perhaps a new shift volunteer for the afternoon.

You might want to prepare in advance some freezer foods for your meals during that bed rest time. And if you don’t use the meals for bed rest, you’ll certainly use them after babies arrive. You can also budget for and plan to buy more pre-prepared foods. Costco can be a great place for quality and cost, and there are a lot of really delicious choices there. I encourage you to treat yourself very gently. Don’t feel guilty about pre-prepared dinners. They’re a lot less expensive than buying take out. And can be a lot healthier.

To take some simple steps like these early on to be prepared will help still the fear factor and stress a great deal. Or panic at the concept if your doctor directs you to go on bed rest.

 

Delivery considerations

It is very common for twins to arrive as preemies. And I just encourage you to have some plans in mind of being near a hospital, and plans for how to make sure siblings are taken care of for a little while after delivery, and perhaps regularly while you drive back and forth for a couple of weeks or months to be with the twins at the hospital.

It is a good idea to put together a packing list way in advance. You may even want to pack a bag with your basics as early as 30 weeks. Twins can come very early and it’s easy to provide that peace of mind for yourself (and your peace of mind will greatly help your husband, by the way *chuckle*) by being ready. Probably most of what you would pack can be done in advance, and you’d throw in some items at the last minute like your hair dryer, deodorant, and make up. There doesn’t need to be any decision making or forgetting of items when you go into labor. Just grab your bag and say, “Let’s do this.” *smile*

If you are able to postpone delivery until 38 weeks then that is really amazing! It is common to induce twins at that time then because space is getting very, very tight for them. Our babies made it to 38 weeks, which also meant for a lot of good, healthy growth – but a lot of baby for mama! Our girls weighed 7.5 and 7.7 – making nearly 15 pounds of baby for this mama. Anyway, planning for induction can also be very helpful in being able to plan for your other children if you have them and get them settled in somewhere for a few days.

I appreciated how my doctor planned to delivery our babies in the operating room of the hospital just in case they needed to do a c-section then everyone would be ready. It’s typical for one baby to be head up, and one head down simply because that is how they fit best internally. My doctor actually planned to delivery “Baby A” who was head down, and then do a “Version” (an External Cephalic Version, or ECV) of “Baby B” mid-delivery to turn her around manually, externally by pressing on mom’s abdomen so that Baby could be born naturally without c-section. *whew* I had had 3 other versions just prior to delivering singletons and they all went great; truly amazing to me that doctors can do that.

Thankfully in our case our Baby B actually turned herself around to be head down during week 37! We considered this no less than miraculous. Then Baby A was born beautifully (with an epidural), but Baby B would not descend for delivery. Silly girl. My doctor said that they would try to “vacuum” her down, but if she wouldn’t come then they’d have to do a c-section. Thankfully she did come down with the vacuum and both girls were born naturally.

I did not realize how unusual natural delivery is for twins, however. We had doctors and hospital staff coming to visit our room, and one doctor in particular saying that he had been working at the hospital for 20 years and had never seen a full-term, natural delivery of twins! *laugh* I only mention this please not to discourage but so that you can be prepared and not surprised or worried if you need to delivery c-section. And can prepare ahead with help and hopefully meals.

When I chose my first OB years ago I intentionally chose a doctor who was specially trained to avoid c-section. And I had the conversation with my next OB that I always want to avoid c-section unless there is an emergency. I am confident that most doctors have your best in mind… however, they can also be way too quick in my opinion to jump to doing a c-section on moms. C-section is predictable for them, generally much faster, and they make a lot more money. Sorry but that’s my opinion. And I’ve been told many times that many doctors sometimes jump to this too fast. If you can avoid surgery that will make your recovery *so* much easier. It should just be talked about in advance, not only with your own doctor but with the back-up doctor as well. Everyone should understand that you do not want this if at all possible. And once you’ve had a c-section, it’s almost a guarantee you’ll need to have one the next time. I’m just saying, if it’s avoidable, avoid it; and don’t risk landing in one simply because you didn’t want to bring it up before hand.

You also may want to mentally prepare for the number of people that will likely be present when your babies are born. *laugh!* There will likely be two of everybody – two doctors, nurses for you, and nurses for each baby, and your husband. This makes for a full room of people which can feel very strange. But it is such a blessing really – focus on that – to have so much care for your precious little ones. And it can lift a great deal of fear.

Dealing with the fear of this delivery in general can really effect how these precious little muffins will enter into the world. When you have an idea of what to expect, and are prepared in advance, then you’re ready to go. I remember a nurse saying to me, and as simplistic as it sounds this was very reassuring, “You *will* be holding these babies in your arms very soon.” *whew*…Okay. *wink*

 

Items to have in advance

One of my favorite ideas that I did for our babies was to sew the girl’s names on to two cotton, newborn hats with thick embroidery thread. This was after they were born and both wrapped in identical hospital blankets we could easily tell them apart at a glance, without having to unwrap them to see their identification wrist or ankle bands. And they were kept in the same bassinet at the hospital, together just as they had been in utero, which meant they were not in separately labeled bassinets. Having the stitched names also made for some really cute photos we thought. *beam*

Another very neat design to be aware of are mini cribs! I had never seen these before our twins! Oh my goodness we were so grateful for these, especially living in a small house! Of all the things to need two of, normal-size cribs are very big items! But these little cribs had regular mattresses in them (better for the development of their backs than pack-n-play floors), and yet still fit nicely into a room.

We chose to have the twins share a crib for the first few months because that is what twins are used to – being so close together that they can touch, feel the other’s presence, and hear their sounds. *beam* But once they were able to roll over and be mobile we had them in separate but adjacent cribs most of the time. This way they could be close together whenever they wanted to, but also choose to be separate when they wanted to sleep with out the other waking them up. *chuckle*

One more brilliant design to have before babies are born is a Snap-N-Go stroller, as long as the babies still fit in their infant car seats. These strollers are so compact when collapsed, and so much lighter to handle than a typical stroller. A traditional double stroller is nice later when the twins will be traveling outside of infant car seats, but for the first year or so these are awesome. I encourage you to look for a used one, as they are usually lightly used and in excellent condition since typically pre-used for only a year or so.

If you are bottle feeding your babies then be prepared with lots of bottles, so that you can wash all of them and their parts once-a-day if possible. For us this meant 8-10 bottles per baby per day. And a dishwasher basket for the parts. It is truly a luxury to invest in 16-20 bottles and to not have to wash bottles through out the day but to rest when you can. We prioritized it and I was so grateful.

Dr. Brown’s were our all-time favorite bottles ever with our babies. (I had lots of complications with nursing our babies and so we used bottles with the youngest 6 and never regretted it. *smile*) Dr. Brown’s bottles enable baby to drink without swallowing air! *cheer!* Which means less if any gassy tummies, and hardly if any spitting up much less projectile vomiting. And this testimony is prevalent with all moms I knew who used them. And there is a special dishwasher basket available to wash the more unusual bottle parts. Priceless. And don’t waste your money with the little bottles. Get 8 ounce ones because you can fill them only 2-4 ounces at the beginning but still use them later when baby needs 8-9 ounces. They come in BPA-free plastic and glass, we prefer the plastic ones.

 

Scheduling ideas

We highly recommend Gary and Ann Marie Ezzo’s Growing Families International, “Prep for Parenting” schedule training materials to everyone – but especially for twins. *chuckle* It will teach you not only how to schedule your babies in a way that is very healthy and very, very gentle, but also why it’s valuable. Babies can be sleeping through the night for 9-11 hours by 12-weeks-old. No joke. We’ve experienced it 9 times within our own family. Both mom and babies, as well as the whole family can be very healthy and happy with a plan.

There is controversy over this material, however I will tell you from what I’ve read and heard that those people who have had a bad experiences with GFI it’s always because they were either too legalistic, or did not use good parental wisdom for their baby(ies) in particular. We believe that God gives every parent divine knowledge and wisdom for the babies He gives to them. The Ezzo’s constantly say to not be legalistic – but if we put material into the hands of human beings there will be mistakes if we’re not careful and receiving good counsel. (Of course this is also the case without using the Ezzo’s materials, so please don’t mistakenly believe it’s avoidable by choosing nothing.)

If you choose to invest be sure to have the 6 or so classes gone through before babies arrive. *smile* Nothing helps us feel better prepared and at peace before babies than putting away fears. Then you can feed with confidence and with a plan from day one.

Not everyone loves to use scheduling with babies which is completely fine and up to each family of course. *smile* However, I cannot tell you the number of times I have been contacted by people with babies between 8 months and 3 years of age who did not choose to schedule and later are absolutely exhausted, and their families and marriages are suffering, who ask again, “Okay…what was that scheduling thing…?” Doesn’t happen to everyone – but it happens a lot. Just sayin’. *hugs*

If you would like to see some samples of scheduling twin babies you can see my post, Scheduling Just a Few Kids. The last schedule I share on that post includes our babies numbers 8 & 9. *smile*

 

For more ideas of how to begin well with twins at home I encourage you to see my next post soon, Beginning with Twins. *smile* In the mean time I hope this post helps you feel encouraged, more informed, and able to prepare with maternity clothes, consider the possibility of bed rest, a little about the babies delivery, the family’s meals, and a couple of nice items to have on hand before babies arrive.

Super excited for you!!! Be sure to send us pictures!

Erika Shupe