“I just really want this whole twin newborn experience to strengthen our marriage rather than pull us apart… because I really feel like it could do either,” I cried to my husband one night when I was around 33 weeks pregnant. At the time, my fears were revolving more around the impact this major change would have on my marriage and two older children rather than concerns about our health, their delivery, nursing, or the change in finances that comes with having twins. I knew my husband would be my best support if I could kindly and effectively communicate my needs, but I also knew that was much easier said than done in my typical short-fused postpartum state.
I continued, “I think we need to set some ground rules. We are both going to be tired and frustrated at times with two screaming babies in the middle of the night. I think we need to agree that we will not force conversations about major decisions or vent frustrations when one of us is too tired to think straight.”
He nodded, “I agree. We need to be able to table topics for a time when we are both in a decent mood and somewhat rested. We are going to need to take turns resting in the daytime. Sometimes I might need a nap, but I think mostly I’ll need to get out of the house. You know how I get when I’m cooped up and inside for too long. It will be good for me to spend some time with the big kids anyways. I’m worried about them feeling ignored by us. I’m sure you will need some one-on-one time with them too.”
The conversation continued over the coming weeks. We discussed how we could help each other during the night without resenting each other, how we could help our bigger kids through the adjustment, and how we could keep our marriage happy and alive. Little did we know how critical these conversations about responsibilities and teamwork would be. We were about to test the importance of the parent unity and communication that we studied in month 1 of KinderKronicle.
At 35 weeks, I received an urgent call from my doctor about the blood work I had done earlier that day. “I’ve talked to your high risk doctor and we both agree that today is a good day to have babies!” I stammered through my shock, “Today?!” It turned out my platelet levels were dropping rapidly and four hours from that moment I would have babies in my arms.
It was a flurry of activity as everyone went into urgent mode. Bags were packed for my big kids so they could spend the week at my parents’ house and I threw the final items from my packing list into my own bag before heading to the hospital.
The delivery went smoothly. Both babies were born relatively healthy and were able to spend some time with us before being taken to the NICU for observation and testing. My daughter would be returned to my room by the next morning and my son would spend three days in the NICU for blood sugar levels and jaundice. Happily, we were able to bring both babies home with us (although my son came home with a biliblanket for his jaundice, an oxygen monitor, and oxygen for sleeping and car rides).
The first few days were difficult but wonderful at the same time. We had a lot of visitors, a lot of help, and a lot of love. This major life adjustment seemed to be going exceptionally well… until it wasn’t. I ended up back in the ER with an infection, my daughter and husband caught the stomach flu, my son caught a cold, and we had faulty medical equipment sending off alarms every 3-4 minutes around the clock. We slept for a total of 43 minutes on one of our first nights home. In fact, in the first 19 days following the birth, we spent 15 of them at the hospital for one thing or another. Thankfully, we have a great support system that kept us fed and cared for (I have no idea how else we would have been able to feed everyone during this time). We were tired and
stressed but communicating well and sharing the load.