12 Ways To Help Twin Parents In The First Year

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The other day I was watching my twin girls play together, and I found myself amazed that I actually made it this far. Emersyn and Mckinley are two years old now, and life is so much different than it was in the beginning.

NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING could have prepared me for that first year with twin babies.

Meeting my sweet girls was the most surreal experience in my life. I met Emersyn, and all the emotions that engulf you when you have a baby were in full swing. Tears, JOY, thankfulness, and worrying and making sure she was okay. And THEN, it was time to have Mckinley and my mind had to switch gears to think about HER!

And that was the beginning of the emotional overload that was the first year.

Two babies to strap in carseats and bring home, two babies to feed, two diapers to change, two babies to swaddle, two babies to rock. Two babies to get up with in the night, two babies to take to doctor appointments, and the list goes on and on. In fact, I became so used to thinking in twos that when I’d go shopping for baby shower gifts for my friends, I’d default to think to buy TWO!

The truth is, you start to develop tunnel vision, because every last ounce of energy is needed to keep babies fed, changed, and sleeping. I remember wondering if I’d ever feel like I was part of society again, because I felt like I was stuck in my own little world so much of the time.

And when I did get a chance to talk to friends and family, I felt so awkward because my world was so totally and completely different than theirs.

One thing I know for sure. The people in my life who sought me out to offer help are the only reason I’m sitting here writing to tell you about it.

If you have friend or family members who are in their first year with twins or are twin parents-to-be, REACH OUT. Even if they don’t ask, because they probably won’t, it’s not because they don’t need help, but it’s because they truly don’t have the capacity to do one more thing.

I polled a bunch of my twin mom friends, and we came up with a list of help we had or wished we would’ve had during those first 12 months.

12 Ways To Help Twin Parents In The First Year

1. Bring meals, meals, and more meals that can be dropped off and eaten at a time that’s convenient for the family. Food that doesn’t have to be eaten hot is especially appreciated! Ask about allergies or foods that should be avoided due to sensitivities through the breast milk. MealBaby.com is an awesome way to set this up!

2. Tag along for the first few times mom gets out of the house by herself with the babies until it starts to feel less overwhelming.

3. Ask to be notified whenever a well visit at the doctor’s office is scheduled for the twins so you can plan to go along and be an extra set of hands. Continuing that through the second year would be amazing, because 18 month toddlers in a tiny doctor’s office are WAY too much for one person to handle!

4. Help with washing pump parts, bottles, laundry, dishes and anything else mom feels like she should be doing. This will allow her to feel like she can truly sleep when the babies sleep!

5. Take care of one baby so the parents can have one on one bonding time with the other baby. Then switch. This can be such a gift as there isn’t often time to bond with each baby separately!

6. Gift them with a cleaning service for the first few months. Best baby gift EVER.

7. Encourage mom to SIT And HOLD one baby at a time while you’re there. Something she rarely gets to do when she’s alone!

8. Make mom get out of the house BY HERSELF (even though she won’t want to)!

9. Commit to helping “x” number of days per week and follow through with your offer! If you’re a mom or mother-in-law who doesn’t live close by, commit to visiting every month and staying for a few days or a week at a time if you can.

10. If you live close by, babysit and give the parents regular date nights! There’s a high divorce rate among twin parents. They need all the opportunities to keep “dating” through the chaos!

11. If there are older siblings, spend intention time with them. They’re likely taking a back seat to their new little sibs who require so much of mommy and daddy’s attention!

12. Plan hang-outs at THEIR house. It’s not easy to get two babies and their gear packed up. If social outings seem too overwhelming, they will likely stay home. BE INTENTIONAL, and keep checking in. They may not be able to give you as much time as they used to, but they still love you and want you in their lives!

Through it all, affirm them any chance you get. They need every ounce of encouragement on the wild ride they’re on. And when those twins turn one, CELEBRATE with them a job well done. Let’s face it, that first birthday party is more for the TWIN PARENTS than for their babies!

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XOXO,

Amber

Twin parents, what would you add to this list?

I share many more “real life” mom moments on Facebook and Instagram. I’d love for you to follow along on our crazy, not perfect, incredible journey. Follow me on Instagram: (@mommysmetime), Facebook (Mommy’s Me Time), and Periscope (@mommysmetime).

Photo Credit: Ashleigh Rachel Photography

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When Your Family’s Game Plan Is Changed Because Of A Special Needs Child

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Competitive.

If there is one word that describes our family, it would be competitive. My years of motherhood have experienced more sweaty clothes, balls, sport shoes and practices. The talk around the table seems to always bring up sports. So…why wouldn’t deciding the size of your family have a little opposition?

We thought we had it all figured out in 1991. We were building a new home in the rural town we grew up in. My husband, Paul, was stepping away from an employer to pursue investments on his own. I was challenged in my job as a cost accountant, a job that I had worked myself into after 12 years. I felt good about this job because I had given up college so that we could get married shortly after high school. We were high school sweethearts, so it made sense that I would work full-time while he finished college and played college football. We had the perfect family – a 7year old son and a 5 year old daughter; but, we were planning for one more child.

I remember going to the doctor’s office for my 1st appointment at 8 weeks. He questioned my dates: “Are you sure of your dates, Sheila?” Not buying what I was telling him, he scheduled an ultrasound. This was going to be a new experience for me because I never had one with my other two kids. When the day came for the ultrasound, Paul came with me. I cannot remember the thoughts I had as I laid on that table. I recall the technician moving her probe around and flipping around the screen. “Congratulations – you are having twins!” I clearly remember what I said after that to Paul… “You always get your way.” Our opposition. I felt we should have three kids where Paul wanted to have four.

We can do this. We moved into our new home in December, but by the end of January it got rough. Preterm labor put me in the hospital for three days. They sent me home with a terbutaline pump and mandated bed rest. The scary thing was that I could not feel the labor, I was only feeling back pain.

OK…we can do this. Remember the early 90’s. No remote for TV. No cell phones. No computer. My days were long. In addition to working in investments, my husband is also a referee for Division 1 Men’s Basketball. So that meant he was traveling a lot during the winter months. My son and daughter slept by me on the main floor in sleeping bags the nights Paul was gone. Their bedrooms were on the 2nd floor, and I couldn’t do steps.

We made life work. Our goal was to get these babies to 36 weeks. Some meals were brought in, and it was all very humbling.

37 weeks came and we had our 8th ultrasound. It was April 19. After much viewing and measuring they felt we should deliver the babies. The discordancy between them was too great. Plans were put into place for a C-section until they found out my birthday was the next day. “Enjoy your day,” they said, “and we will deliver them on the 21st.”

On April 21 we became a family of six with a son. Mitchell weighed 5lbs 11oz and Madison 3lbs. 14oz. We were beyond blessed. They both were doing very well. An air ambulance did not have to be called to our small town hospital.

Exhaustion from lack of activity the past 10 weeks and a reaction to anesthesia made them put up a “No Visitors” sign on my door. We left with Mitchell on day 5 with Madison staying for 5 more days just so she could put on a little weight. We lived 5 blocks down the street from the hospital. I know I didn’t follow the rules completely when it came to driving after surgery. I needed to get to the hospital to feed her.

It was the start of just doing what you have to do.

My early days of life with the twins are pretty much a blur. I remember I had to wake Madison every two hours to encourage her to eat. I was trying to breast feed them both, but Madison also received formula with a bottle. We had decided that I would not be going back to work which was going to be so different for me. Paul was confident that he could make it work with his job. This was going to be a crazy stage of life for our family.

A Mother’s Instinct

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As a mom, there are moments in life when you just know something isn’t right. At about three months I was sensing it. Madison was colicky. She just was not happy at times. It was at one of these moments when I had both babies in front of me that I’d notice something wasn’t right. Mitchell would give me eye contact, and react to me. But with Madison, as hard as I tried it always seemed like she was looking beyond me. It wasn’t eye contact. I also felt like she looked a little gray. As a mom you question yourself. You wonder if you’re imagining it. I was exhausted. I really had no help besides my husband and older kids. They both appeared healthy, but this mom needed a doctor to tell her that.

Our local Family Practitioner who delivered them felt it would be a good idea for us to visit with a pediatrician in the next city. My mother’s instinct kicked in again. First impressions are huge to me. His old leather doctor bag did not sit well with me. I remember he didn’t say her name correctly — a totally different name.

Hello….This is MY daughter that you need to focus on now!

As a mom you have hopes and dreams for your children. Mine for Madison were just shattered. He said she would probably never walk. I watched a little girl who NEVER crawled or walked around furniture. But I saw a child who stood up in the middle of the room and taught herself balance. After balance came steps. She is our ballerina…walking on her toes much of the time.

Miles and miles were put on our vehicles traveling to Iowa City to work with a neurologist. Tests after tests were taken, and we tried nearly every possible drug and diet to tackle those seizures. It’s not good to have a child that walks and has seizures. The doctors say it is not possible, but my mother’s intuition says that her seizures have something to do with sun and bright lights. Anyone that knows her will attest to the fact that you will probably find her sitting in front of a sunny window seeking out the light.

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Somehow this life we thought we had planned out was torn apart and rewritten. My idea of four kids that included a set of twins was nothing like I imagined.

I cancelled out on the twins group that met nearby. I honestly didn’t feel like I had twins. One was learning new skills and the other learned very little. I felt lonely. I did not know anyone that had a child like mine in this small rural town. I didn’t have a world of technology at my fingertips. How could anyone understand?

I would take her to church and I would make it work by having her sit on my lap. The older ladies would pat me on the back for doing such a great job with her. We would go home and my days were draining.

My other three kids were busy with sports, piano, band, church, and friends. My husband was busy still traveling the country in the winter with his reffing. He was a huge help when he was home, but I was pretty much the caregiver. She was basically a young toddler in a growing body. She did not talk or communicate but I could tell her needs. She walked and dangerously climbed kitchen tables. Because of her seizures, you had to stay nearby or a step ahead. I think she knows us, but she does not express feelings so she will go to anyone that takes her hand. Danger means nothing to her. There were a lot of “why me’s” and “why her?” It was a life to this day that I do not wish on my kids as they’ve started to have their own families.

Nevertheless, we were thrown into this life by God, and we did the best that we could do.

I have had my fill of doctors over the years. She received occupational therapy and physical therapy. AEA came into our home and later she took the van to a school 25 miles away for Special Ed. It was my goal to get her into the same school as Mitchell, but that never happened. We were given help thru the state with some Respite dollars. Our local college, Northwestern College in Orange City, IA, was a great place to find this Respite help. It gave us a little stress free time to go to the kid’s activities. We were blessed with some great help and made lasting friendships.

As a mom I wanted the world for my kids. We encouraged them to be involved, and in a small town they could do everything! I also was proud of my husband. He worked hard and traveled much and he provided well for our family. He was involved with his children, and when it came to sports he was all over it. He never missed a game if he could help it. He was always up for practicing in the front yard after supper.

I think this is where I was too selfless. Many nights I was left watching Madison because it was easier than taking her along. My trick to get myself ready if no one was around to watch Madison was to put her in some bath water. She loved her bath. To this day she only needs three things to be happy: sun, water, and salty chips.

I still had this overwhelming feeling that no one really knew how hard this was.
Honestly, I cannot remember when I made the decision. Paul never pushed me into deciding, but he knew I had to be ready to put her into a care facility. When she was about 12 years old I had this day that I felt like I was having a panic attack. I was stressed, I was tired, everyone was doing their thing but I was home with this child that was bigger and stronger and so overwhelming at that moment. I knew that EVERYONE needed to be taken care of. My kids were not getting as much attention as they should have. The “Madison Reason” was used a lot. Our marriage was okay, but there were a lot of stressful times. It would have been easy for one of us to throw in the towel. Statistics with a special needs child will say this too. I needed to take better care of myself.

But more importantly, Madison needed better care. She needed to live in a place that was structured for people with needs. There was never going to be a good day to have her leave, but God was telling me she would be taken care of. I agreed to look at a facility 70 miles from our home.

The visits were finished and the paper work was signed. She was on their list. We had just made the toughest decision of our life. My heart knew this is what she needed, and all was good. There were no openings in this children’s facility with 32 beds, and openings do not happen often. I was relieved we would continue to be a complete family…..They called three weeks later, and we had three days to decide. Ugh. In my heart I knew we had to let her go to better care and for our family to rest. Faith, Hope and Charity became her new home at age 12. Her new home. But we were still a family.

We are still her advocate. She did attend high school during the days in her new community. I have a diploma to show for it, but she never did a test or a speech in her life. By age 21 we had to find an adult facility for her, which was probably close to the 2nd hardest day in my life. I felt like we were starting all over again. She now lives about 140 miles from us. It has been a hard transition for us, and we are fighting for what is best for her. Someone will always have to make this fight.

 

My kids have many trophies, ribbons, accomplishments, good report cards, and great friends…I could brag them up! Much of this is packed away in boxes. What my kids have that I am more proud of is their love and openness to the lost and those with needs. Madison will never have any idea of how much she has impacted people. She was put in our family for a bigger purpose in life. We are a better family, and much better people because of her.

Mitchell Football

Recently I decided it was a good time in my life to do something for myself. The journey with Younique felt right for me. A little makeup can make you feel special, and as moms we there are many days when feeling a little special makes a huge difference.

Younique is a company that is passionate about all of their natural products. I have listened to young stay-at-home moms that have helped provide for their family by selling their 3D Mascara! This company is so much more than mascara though. I like the idea that they have created a foundation for sexually abused women and children. The first retreat will be in a few months. It is one small way I can give back.

I am excited to share the mascara and lip glosses with you! I know all of your lives are busy, but it is important to take care of yourself. Even if it is just putting on a little mascara!

Be sure to look for my special on my Facebook page.

My life is full. Our children are grown and living out their dreams. We have four grandchildren who we can spoil. This past fall, I said to my husband that all I wanted for Christmas was for Madison to come home for a day and have a really nice family picture taken. Jenni O Photography did such a great job! Two aides from her facility drove her here, and I knew going in it was going to be stressful. The pictures were not going to be perfect, but I was OK with it. Life is not perfect. We need those bumps to make you learn and grow from it.

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I think back and ask myself if I would change anything. I would be lying to say no…I would change everything about Madison. I feel really bad for her. She has had a rough life. But she appears happy. Give her sun, water, salty chips and (great care)!

But honestly, even though the journey was hard, I would only change one thing. We are who we are because of Madison. We wouldn’t be where we are today if she was not born into our family on April 21st, 1992. You are asking me my one thing to change: I wish I could hear her talk. I yearn for the day I can hear her hopes and dreams. She will have a testimony to tell. That day WILL come sometime.

Happy 23rd Birthday, Mitchell and Madison!

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Each Day is a Gift….
find the beauty that each day has to offer.

Sheila Janssen – Orange City, IA

A HUGE thank you to Sheila for taking the time to share her heart with all of us. And another thanks for offering to give away some of her amazing products to TWO lucky Mommy’s Me Time readers! She will be giving away two bundles, each including the 3D mascara and a lip gloss. She sent me these products to review, and I have to tell you they are a game changer. The mascara is like wearing extensions, except it’s just regular mascara that is easily cleaned off. I’m so excited for you to try it!

The giveaway will be open through April 27th, and is open to US mailing addresses.

Enter using Rafflecopter below.

Younique by Sheila

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Twin Talk Blog

Since becoming a twin mom, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with many other twin moms, meeting many of them through Instagram! If you don’t already follow me on there, please do (@amberkuiper)! I’m much more consistent on there than my blog most weeks!

Anyway, I met Amber Massey when the girls were newborns, and her and I instantly connected. She’s a dietician and has a great blog where she shares all about her darling family as well as practical meals for the whole family, including toddler eats! Her twin girls, Parker and Jolie, are just a few months older than E & M, and I love watching all the great ideas she has for them, including every adorable outfit she has them in.

I’ve also gotten to know Meredith Haynes who has toddler boy/girl twins, Jude and Sloane! She has a personal blog too which is full of all their adorable family adventures in parenthood!

When Amber and Meredith announced that they were starting a blog called Twin Talk Blog a few months ago, I knew it was going to be good. They wanted to provide a platform for twin moms to share our experiences and share about how fun it can be instead of how scary and overwhelming it can seem.

How gorgeous are these mommas?! (Meredith on left, Amber on right)Amber and Mer

If you are a twin-mom-to-be or a newish twin mom, please do yourself a favor and start following their blog! It is FULL of great resources from other moms who are going through the trenches with you.

Today I’m over there sharing about my experience with exclusively pumping for my twins. It seems that quite a few twin moms tend to take this route, so I’m sharing why it worked for our family along with tips that helped me make it manageable.

Check it out here: Exclusively Pumping For Twins

Like Twin Talk Blog On Facebook: Click here

Twin Talk Blog on Instagram: @twintalkblog

XOXO,

Amber

 

 

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10 Reasons Why Being A Twin Mom Is Awesome

IMG_1286Happy Monday! I’m over on Twin Cities Moms Blog today sharing about how I never wanted to be a twin mom, but now I think it’s one of the best things that could happen to a person! You can check it out here:

10 Reasons Why Being A Twin Mom Is Awesome

Have a great day!

XOXO,

Amber

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We Survived Our First Year As Twin Parents

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A couple weekends ago we celebrated Emersyn and Mckinley’s first birthday! We threw a little party and invited a few close friends and family. We celebrated them and the miracle it is that they’ve grown into these beautiful healthy little girls from the weak and fragile 4.5 and 4.12 pound premies they were when we met them.IMG_0973

As much as we were celebrating their lives, we were also rejoicing that we survived the first year as parents of twins. If I’m completely honest, the past year was the most challenging season we’ve ever been through. There were so many days and weeks when we were completely drained, both emotionally and physically. There were months when I felt depressed, overwhelmed, and incapable of having what it took to get through the day. IMG_0984There were times when I felt isolated and alone, like no one in my circle of friends could relate to what I was going through, and I didn’t want to take the time to explain because I never wanted it to come across as complaining about my sweethearts.

Our marriage was pushed to the back burner for a while simply because there wasn’t an ounce of time at the end of the day when we were awake enough to connect. We were running on empty in every area of our lives. On top of that, Jake accepted a new position that required him to be away at training for three months, leaving me to hold down the fort at home.

I could go on and try to explain all that we’ve been through, but unless you’ve raised twins yourself, an explanation can only go so far. The point is, in all honesty the past year was a dark one in many ways. It was a dark one, but a redemptive one. We persevered through sleepless nights, having three kids in diapers, depression, settling into a new city, finding a new church, a job transition, raising three kids under two, isolated weeks and months, and the emotional drainage of making sure I bonded with each baby and got to know them individually instead of as a set.

{Emersyn}

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Our twin girls have changed our lives forever, in the best possible way.

Being twin parents isn’t for the faint of heart, and we’ve learned how necessary it is to depend on God’s grace to get through each day. We put in a lot of work, and we’ve built a strong foundation. We made it through the first year which makes us feel like we can conquer the world (including another baby!)

I wouldn’t trade this year for anything. I’d do it all again if it means I get to call these sweethearts my daughters. God is so faithful, and when we feel like we can’t handle what He puts before us, he hands out an extra measure of grace.

We’re all faced with challenges. Yours may not being raising twins, but it’s something else that is just as important. Whatever lies before you, and however dark of a place you’re in, be convinced and sure of this: “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ.” -Philippians 1:6

Be encouraged, dear sisters, that you are equipped for whatever is in your path. He chose you for such a time as this!

XOXO,

Amber

P.S. I’d like to give a HUGE shout out to my parents, who supported us in so many ways this year. My mom decided to leave her full time job as a Hospice Care Coordinator and started working on a casual basis instead so she could help me. She drove the four hours and came to visit whenever she caught wind that I was overwhelmed, while my dad stayed home and managed things on the farm on his own. She’d spend weeks at a time with us cleaning, doing laundry, babysitting, waking up for the middle of the night shift, listening, and gave me time to recover and take care of myself. Thank you Mom & Dad for sacrificing so much of your year! We love you and couldn’t have done it without you! IMG_1052

 

 

 

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Twin Sister Love

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I can’t fully explain the joy that’s been rushing through my heart lately as I’ve been watching Emersyn and Mckinley. But I’ll try…IMG_0329They are constantly interacting with each other! Every day I observe precious moments between the two of them as they share toys, steal toys, wrestle and roll over one another to get to a highly desirable toy, ect. The other night I was in the kitchen making dinner and they were playing on the floor in the living room. I heard giggling and rushed over to see what was going on. They were sitting across from each other, taking turns leaning in. When Emersyn would lean in, Mckinley would giggle so hard. Then Emersyn would sit back, Mckinley would take a turn leaning in toward her sister, and Emersyn would let out a cute little giggle. This went on for about five minutes straight. Oh my word, my heart.

The best part is I know this is only the beginning. There’s a whole lifetime of fun to be had with one another. I know we’ll also have our share of arguments and drama to work through, but gosh right now I am praising God for the relationship He’s forming between the two of them. IMG_0369IMG_0372IMG_0382IMG_0378

What sweet moments have you witnessed lately between your kids? I would LOVE to hear your adorable stories!

XOXO,

Amber

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Twin Mom Reflections: It Gets Better

frame-it-for-sure-popI’ve been a twin mom now for nine and a half months. Truth be told, during those first weeks and months I wasn’t confident I’d make it this far. As much as I had tried to mentally prepare for it, the reality of simultaneously bringing two little humans into the world who were completely dependent on me for EVERYTHING shook me up and brought me to my knees.

My mind always seemed to be in one of two places. One minute I felt like the luckiest person in the world to have two healthy babies, and the next I felt like it was all some cruel joke because I didn’t know if I had what it would take. It didn’t help that my postpartum hormones were all over the place. My dear husband never knew when he’d come home and find me in tears over who knows what.

Twins were new to my family. No one had them and no one had experience with them. Many of my friends didn’t have kids yet, so they didn’t even know or appreciate how much work it takes to make it through the newborn days with one baby, let alone two. For these reasons, I didn’t feel understood, and didn’t feel comfortable sharing how I was really doing for fear of coming across as complaining. I knew I was blessed, but I also knew being a twin mom was hard.

Honestly, I didn’t enjoy the newborn stage. They were good babies, only crying when they were hungry or tired, but the emotional drain of not having the physical capacity to cuddle them both at the same time, or having to choose who to pick up first when they were both screaming was completely exhausting. Instead of experiencing those blissful moments in the rocking chair that I dreamed of, I was simply in survival mode, stressing over things like tandem breast feeding and wondering how long I should pump afterward as I established my supply. That coupled with the constant state of sleep deprivation from dozing in two hour stretches had a way of messing with my mind.

I could go on about the struggles in those early days, but I’ll stop and leave it at this: Making it through the newborn stage with twins may have been the hardest thing I ever did, but it was worth every ounce of effort. I know this because I’m now on the other side. Emersyn and Mckinley are nine and a half months old, and for the first time I can honestly say I LOVE BEING A TWIN MOM. They are sitting, rolling all over the floor, giggling, quick to smile, entertaining themselves, and sleeping in twelve hour stretches at night. I know these are things all babies do, but they get to do it together. Watching my baby girls interact and babble back and forth to one another is indescribable. Actually, it’s miraculous. 

God’s sovereign plan continues to amaze me. He hand-picked me to have twins. He knew it would take twice the work and that my sanity would be tested, but He also knew I’d get to reap twice the reward. As they grow I know this will probably always be the case. Each season will have new challenges, but by God’s grace I’ll persevere and be their biggest cheerleader, as they learn about the purposes He has for them, both together and apart. The first few months with twins is pure chaos, but I’m convinced every month thereafter gets sweeter.

Another sweet thing is how I was able to get these pictures taken of the girls recently. I truly believe God worked out this timing of all this. Ashleigh emailed me just before Christmas to let me know she had her studio set up and offered to take 9 month photos of the girls. I’m beyond grateful that I’ll always have these gorgeous portraits to remind me of this sweet season with them.

Photos courtesy of Ashleigh Rachel Photography:

{Emersyn Jaye}smilespretty-in-pinkcute-baby-9-month-sessione or m that is the question

{Mckinley Jo}little-doe-eyeslittle-peanutlittle-onelittle-cutie-pieadorable-twin-babies

{Together}twins-girls-cute-photostwinsso-cutepolka-dotties-cuties-patootiesgigglersretro-little-mamascuriouse-mbaby-girls-daddys-spirit-mamas-lookslittle-boppers

To anyone who might be reading this currently muddling through the newborn stage, YOU CAN DO IT! Whether you have a singleton or twins, you too were hand-picked to be their mommy and our Heavenly Father will sustain you even through the craziest moments!

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9

XOXO,

Amber

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Encouragement & Advice For Twin Moms-To-Be

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A couple weeks ago I was asked by a friend if I would share some twin mom advice with another friend of hers who is expecting twins. I was happy to help, but it took me a bit to think back to what I would have wanted to hear while my belly was still huge with two babies growing inside. The first days and weeks after bringing our twin girls home were full of every kind of emotion. We were over the moon happy to have finally met our sweethearts, but we were also pretty overwhelmed, plus I was crying at the drop of a hat thanks to my hormones being all over the place. Having experienced being a mom of a singleton prior to having the girls, I am qualified to say having two is a whole different kind of ball game. Although I think a lot of the advice below would be totally applicable to new singleton mommies too!

With that said though, as I think about other women who are about to embark on their journey of being a twin mom, I want to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT and YOU WILL LOVE IT. You’ll be working harder than you ever have in your life, and there will be days when you’ll wonder how you’ll find another ounce of energy to feed them for the eighth time that day, but soon enough you’ll settle into your new normal and you will be so smitten with those two beautiful babes. And you won’t be able to imagine life without them. Being a twin mom is full of all sorts of crazy, but when you embrace it for all it is, on the easier days and the hard days, you’ll find yourself on your knees in gratitude, thanking the Lord that He would trust you to raise two of his treasured kids as once.

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{5 days before the Emersyn & Mckinley were born!}

Before I got back to my friend with the twin mom advice that came to mind, I consulted with my dear fellow twin mom friends who are in my mommies of multiples support group. We came up with a list of advice that we would have liked as we started our journeys, and we sincerely hope and pray that it will be a blessing to any of you women out there who are about to enter the twin mom club:

Advice For Twin Moms-To-Be

“Don’t feel bad accepting help from whomever offers! If someone offers to mow your lawn or do your dishes LET THEM!”

“Take one day at a time!”

“Two words. Boppy. Pillows.”

“Laugh. A lot. Laugh when you screw up. Laugh when they wake up and you are so tired you want to cry. Laugh at the stupid advice you get from singleton moms. And use this as a real bonding experience between you and your husband. I have never felt closer and more of a team with my husband as I have since the twins were born. You both realize you have no freaking clue what to do so you just team up and try to take on the challenge!”

“You’ll want to fight against the “sleep when they sleep,” but no really: sleep when they sleep.” (If you don’t have other kids to take care of!)

“Accept help so you can sleep!!! With “enough sleep” you can more easily take other advice: A few deep breaths can work wonders…so can keeping a good sense of humor!!! It’s ok to cry…totally ok, but try to also keep the gravity of it all in balance with the levity of your new life, and laugh instead, when you can.”

“Also, though it’s easy to do, try to avoid comparing them and their progress and don’t freak if one twin reaches one milestone before the other…they will both have their own strengths and weaknesses, which is a great thing!!! They are two uniquely different, wonderfully perfect creations from God!”

“Lower your standards a bit. New moms of singletons will get caught up in doing everything PERFECTLY and friends who have one baby might make you feel like you’re not doing everything perfectly, but YOU ARE! Cut yourself some slack. It’s okay if they cry. It’s okay to put them in a safe place and walk out of the room for 2 minutes to give yourself a break.”

“Remember to take care of yourself! It’s easy to get caught up in taking care of the babies, because being a mother is demanding. But speaking from experience, when you put yourself last too often, it affects your health and it’s important that the mommas stay healthy! Take naps, make sure you eat, and accept help whenever it’s offered so you can do those things! And buy dry shampoo…because you’ll never shower again.”

“Get on a schedule! People might give you crap about it, but I couldn’t have functioned without a schedule. It helps them as well!”

“Each month DOES get easier.”

“Don’t feel like you have to have it all together. Take it day-by-day, hour-by-hour. The moment I just rolled with the punches was when I started to really enjoy being a mom to twins. Bottom line…You will have hard days, and you will have good days. How you respond is either going to make it easier or harder.”

“I would say take it moment by moment. You really don’t know all that you can do until you have to do it. You’ll be amazed with your capacity to care for and nurture TWO babies. It’s okay for you to cry too. Cry when it’s hard and cry when it’s beautiful. try to enjoy every moment. Even when they were both screaming, I was alone, hadn’t showered in days, I would try to be thankful for their healthy lungs, that they were here with me, ect. it really helped and still helps me get through the tough days. Your attitude changes everything & remaining thankful has helped me soooo much. Don’t forget to show your hubby love and try to sleep when you can.”

“Breast feeding twins is going to be challenging! But it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing! It is okay to exclusively pump or find a combination of pumping and nursing…you can set it up in a way that works for you and your family!”

“Prepare to be extremely unprepared.”

“Schedule is everything for us! And when you get overwhelmed just take a deep breath. Let them cry for a couple minutes as long as everything is ok!”

“On my last day at the hospital my doctor said (in front of my family which was great), “it’s time to call in your troops.” I am so blessed to have people who wanted to help me. I found it so helpful to have people here to hold a baby, change a diaper, make the meals, pick up things at the store, help with my older child, etc, etc, etc. With my first child I wanted to do everything myself and do it perfectly. With my girls I learned to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to give people specific request … it would be great if you could wash those bottles … do you mind taking this basket of laundry home … will you hold this baby while I give this one a bath … will you pick up some lunch on your way over … and so on. I think people want to help but don’t always know what to do. I also think it’s important to realize that other people can love and care for your babies too. They want to. Let them! It doesn’t mean that you aren’t a great mom. In fact it means that you are letting more love into your babies’ lives.”

“Know that your heart is bigger and more capable of crazy amounts of love than you ever knew!!!”

Twin moms who are reading this, what advice do you have to add? I would love to keep this list growing. If you would, please add a comment and share some encouragement with women who are about to join us in this awesome adventure! 

Twin Moms-To-Be or New Twin Moms: If you are looking to join an online support group and connect with a bunch of other twin moms, please email me at ambermkuiper@gmail.com. We would love to have you join us! The majority of us have babies born in 2013, so many of the issues covered revolve around baby things, but all twin moms are welcome!

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Sister Friends

EandMCouchSnuggles

I love watching the way these two love each other. They’re happiest when they are as close as can be, always holding hands and cuddling, and if I set them down apart from each other it’s only a matter of minutes before they’ve rolled and wiggled so they can be touching again. It’s pretty fun that they’re built in best friends. EandMCouchSmiles

As they get older I know it won’t always be bliss and that they’ll have their share of squabbles, but I’m hopeful to think the special connection which began when they were in the womb will only strengthen as they go through the ups and downs of life. I’m so thankful that they’ll have each other and my prayer is that the Lord will bless their friendship and use it for His glory.

Dear Lord, thank you for the relationship between Emersyn and Mckinley. You have special plans for them, both individually and together, and I am so excited to see all of it unfold as they get older. Please help me to encourage the relationship between them and to guide them in a way so they want to support each other as they grow.

Love,

Amber

*This post is part of a 31 Day Challenge to write about Seeing God in Ordinary Moments. Visit my landing page here for links to all the posts.

 

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Life of a Twin Mom

photo-156Yesterday I finally took Emersyn and Mckinley for their six month well visit (they’re now seven and a half months). What I thought would be a quick in and out appointment ended up being an hour and a half. The doctor checked them over and was happy with their growth – they’re still little peanuts and weigh just over 13 pounds, which puts them in the 5th percentile. Everything was going smoothly until she tried to check their ears. They both had lots of wax and needed to get it cleaned out, which they did NOT like. Emersyn ended up having to get hers flushed out with water, which basically meant everyone in the room got a shower as she squirmed trying to escape. There may never have been so much screaming coming from that tiny room. When the doc could finally see their ear drums, it turned out that both of them had an ear infection in their right ear. My poor baby girls…and all that trauma happened before the shots, which made my little sirens sound off all over again. After that they were inconsolable so I decided to just put them in their car seats, walked out the door, and hoped for the best. By the time we got to the car they had finally settled down and fell asleep on the way home. And I finally had a few minutes to breathe before we walked in the door and the crying commenced again.

The life of a twin mom is always full of exciting adventures. I’ve had to learn to roll with the punches because I truly can never prepare myself for what might happen in a given day. I find myself in situations I never would have even thought about when I just had Baylen. Being a twin mom is crazy and chaotic and exhausting, but at the same time my heart has never been more full. When we found out we were pregnant for the second time I wondered how I would be able to love another child as much as I love Baylen. And then when we found out we were having twins I was even more worried about it. But God continues to amaze me with how my love for these little sweethearts keeps multiplying. Even on the days when I’m counting down the hours until bedtime and want to pull my hair out, it doesn’t take long to forget all about it and I can’t wait for them to wake up in the morning so I can see their beautiful faces again.

Being a twin mom is a challenge I probably wouldn’t have chosen on my own, but I’m so glad God chose me.  Now I truly can’t imagine life without them. They have my heart, and through every crazy endeavor, I find more reasons why I love being their mommy.

Dear Lord, thank you for crazy days like yesterday. Thank you for helping me to embrace the crazy, and for giving me grace to enjoy the journey. I love being a twin mom, and I’m honored that I get to raise these two lovely ladies. You have been so generous to me, Lord! 

Love,

Amber

*This post is part of a 31 Day Challenge to write about Seeing God in Ordinary Moments. Visit my landing page here for links to all the posts.

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