Yes, they’re twins. No, they’re not identical. Yes, they can be hard work. But not always.

An open letter to the lovely, inquisitive, people who stop me to talk about the Peas EVERYWHERE WE GO.  You are lovely for taking an interest and I do love that so many people want to chat but please stop for a minute and think before you inadvertently offend ANOTHER parent of multiples.

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Yes, they’re twins.

Please stop telling me they’re hard work.  Or that I have my hands full.  Or that they’re double trouble.  I don’t care if your postman, sister or boss has twins or even you have twins yourself.  If you have twins yourself it’s an even more stupid thing to say because you know how bloody annoying it is to hear.

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No, they’re not a boy and a girl, they’re dressed head to toe in pink and they’re in a pink buggy.  You do the maths.

Please stop saying it’s a shame we didn’t get one of each.  You’re talking about my daughters here.  Living, breathing, cheeky monsters who I wouldn’t change for the world.  It’s thoughtless and careless and causes more hurt than you realise.

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Yes, twins run in my family… not that it’s any of your business.

Please stop asking if they were natural.  They are natural, see above point regarding the living & breathing little monkeys sitting in front of you.  Who cares how they got here, they’re here and they’re brilliant.  If they’d been born a year apart you wouldn’t be asking that question…

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I manage to do it because I have to.  As much as I love the compliment, I’m not Supermum.  ALL mum’s are super.  And dad’s for that matter.

Twins are exhausting, elating, damn hard work and absolute joy all rolled into one.  The good times get you through the rough times, the same as they do for every family.  Each family has it different, each family has its challenges and the things they find easier than others.  And I’m not just talking about twin families, I’m talking about ALL families.

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Yes, sometimes I get overwhelmed by needing to be all things at all times and sometimes I get it a bit wrong.

Please don’t stare at me with your judging eyes as I try to appease a screaming toddler in my arms while trying to push the other in the buggy and get to the checkout only to realise I’ve forgotten my debit card once it’s all been rung up.

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Yes, sometimes the smallest act of kindness from a stranger can turn my day around.

Please do offer to give me a hand when you see me fighting to keep a door open while I wrestle my double buggy through.  Or distract them in the queue while I’m paying and they’re getting restless.  Or politely remove the item that they’re trying to steal from their sticky little fingers.  Or just smile and let me know that society hasn’t turned its back on me for daring to leave the house with toddlers.

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Yes, they fight, they’re toddlers and they abide by the toddler rules of possession.

Please do ask about how else they interact with one another.  It’s truly amazing and I’d happily chew your ear off for hours about it.  They hold hands in the buggy sometimes.  They blow raspberries at one another and dissolve into fits of giggles.

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No, they’re not similar.  True to their genetics, they’re no more similar than any other 2 siblings despite sharing a birthday.

Please ask about their different personalities.  They’re like chalk and cheese but just as cheeky as each other.  H loves animals and gives hugs with every ounce of her being.  C loves a selfie and squeals with excitement that will make your heart burst.  They both refuse to get out of the bath.  H walked at 11 months, C at 14.  C sat up at 7 months, H at 9.  They do things in their own sweet time.  Nature v nurture can bite me.

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Yes, I know.

Please do tell me that they’re brilliant / funny / gorgeous and that we’re incredibly lucky / fortunate / blessed.  They are, we are and I’ll never, ever tire of hearing it.

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No, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’ll admit I do have moments where I envy parents who only have 1 baby.  I’d be in more photographs with them, I’d be able to take more photographs OF them, I could have used the sling more, I could be out in the garden more, I’d be able to pop in for a pint of milk and it would take less than 30 minutes… but then I look at those little faces and immediately regret all of those thoughts because we’re just so amazingly lucky to have them in our lives.

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And to the person who told me it would be their worst nightmare to find out they were having twins… you’re missing out love.

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Fun in the Easter Sun

I’ve made a few tentative attempts to get out in the garden this year with H&C however now that they’re both mobile it’s proving a little more difficult than anticipated.  We have a rather… rustic (read: wild) garden so it’s not exactly baby friendly and has meant that most of my attempts have failed in their infancy and we’ve ended up back inside gazing at the sun through the patio doors.

Not anymore though!!

I took baby jail outdoors and the girls played happily for about half an hour while I hung up some washing but they soon got bored with being so confined and there just wasn’t enough room in there for me too so yet again we all ended up indoors.  I spent the rest of the afternoon cursing the lack of safe space in our garden and envying all those mummies with only one baby that they can safely romp about the garden with without having to plan a military operation first.

Our playpen is fab, it was a first birthday present to H&C from their great Nana and it’s saved my sanity on more than one occasion but out there in the garden it just felt so small!  I contacted Lindam to see if it was possible to buy extra panels and they told me it wasn’t, their playpens are not extendable.   Mega sad face.

“But…” said a little voice in my head “the playpen is just a series of clipped together panels, surely if you could source another from somewhere you could join the two together?”.  And that’s what I did.  A very generous twin mummy who saw my begging post on the Edinburgh Twin Group for sale / wanted page on Facebook contacted me to say she would sell me hers.

The very next morning we hopped in the car and went to collect it and by that afternoon I was eagerly sat in the garden marveling at my own ingenuity desperate for H&C to wake up from their nap and give it a try.

Baby Jail v2.0 was born.  And we’re all very happy as a result… Roll on Summer!!

*disclaimer: Lindam have, in no way, endorsed / approved / encouraged the set-up that I have and I, in turn, accept sole responsibility for it.  Please don’t copy it. *worried face* no really, dont! *

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Walking! (Finally!!)

I know, I know.  I’ve bored you all rotten with this already but I’m SO PROUD!!!

C has always been this way, one day she can’t do something and the next she’s doing it like she’s done it all her life.  At 7 months she just sat.  At 10 months she crawled and now, at 14 months, she walked.

H will try and try and try something, practicing every available second until suddenly you realise she’s mastered it without you really noticing whereas C will observe and watch her sister make all the mistakes and learn the ropes and then one day, seemingly out of nowhere, she’s caught up.

Nature V nurture can kiss my ass.  Babies do what they do in their own time, there’s no rushing them… and why would you?

So you’re expecting twins… the “OMG there’s 2 of them in there” stage

It’s inevitable, I guess, that once you’ve had twins you become the go to person for all other people who know someone else who’s pregnant with twins.  It’s nice.  I like being that person, I wish I’d had that person when I was pregnant.  (I probably did have access to that person but me being me I never sought them out.  My fail.  What I did do though was hunt down and devour ALL THE TWIN BLOGS and that gave me the chance to read about lots of different experiences and points of view in my own time which probably suited me better.)

I’ve now written the “any tips or advice for twin pregnancy / birth” email about 3 times, it goes a little something like this;  

IMG_0657CONGRATULATIONS!!  Twins are just the best thing in the world ever; you’re going to love it.  You’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed by the news at the moment, that’s completely natural.  I remember it well, G and I went for lunch following our scan and alternated between giggling hysterically and staring into our plates for a good long while.  The hysterical giggling didn’t go away either, we regularly find ourselves laughing in disbelief at just how incredibly lucky we are and how mind-blowingly amazing the whole thing is.  Right now you have 20 fingers and 20 toes inside you.  You’re wonderful.

Twin pregnancies are hard on your body, expect to be tired ALL THE TIME.  Embrace it.  Allow yourself to be fussed over, take naps at every possible opportunity,put your feet up and enjoy it because once those beautiful babies arrive, in a haze of new beginnings and sleepless nights, you’re going to wish that you did.  I’m speaking from experience here.

If you’re working you can expect to start your maternity leave around about 28-30 weeks.  This is normal for multiple pregnancies.  Don’t naively believe you’re the exception to the rule.  If you are then more power to you!!  I thought I was the exception, that I wouldn’t need to stop working at 30 weeks but I did.  I really did.  I *may* have had a slight sobbing episode at our 28 week scan willing the doc to tell me to stop working.  He didn’t, it’s not his decision, I can see that now but at 28 weeks, in a haze of pure hormones, I needed someone else to make that decision for me.

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I loved my pregnant body, I absolutely adored that bump but towards the end of my pregnancy I was HUGE!!  From around about 5/6 months expect comments such as “not long to go now” and (when you explain that you have 2/3 months still to go) “WOW, you’re massive”.  I enjoyed messing with people, I didn’t take the comments to heart.  The looks of shock when you tell people you still have 2/3 months to go is hilarious.  When people ask if you know what you’re having and you tell them it’s twins, that look is a peach too.  Expect them to follow it up by telling you that their aunt / next door neighbour / mailman’s cousin’s daughter has twins too.

Invest in a good pair of shoes you can put on with minimal / no intervention from your hands as you’re unlikely to be able to access your feet.  There’s only so much puffy foot wrangling your partner will be able to do.

People tend to lose their boundaries when you’re pregnant; it’s a sad fact but people can be dicks.  Usually without meaning to be.  Expect to be asked if your conception was natural or IVF despite the fact that IVF multiples are now very rare in the UK due to the increased risks of a multiple pregnancy.  Try not to be offended, I quite believe it’s just mindless small talk.  Sometimes you don’t know how offensive something is until you’re on the other end of it.  I never really had many bump touching incidents, I think it really depends on who you are.  I didn’t mind too much if people asked.  In fact, I don’t think anyone didn’t ask before touching.  I think we’re now at a stage where such a big thing has been made about not touching a pregnant woman’s bump that people are now scared to ask at all which I think is a bit of a shame really.  Pregnancy is a magical thing and it’s nice to be able to share a piece of it.  That’s my opinion though, I’m aware it’s a wildly divisive topic which people rarely seem to sit on the fence about.  The dog seemed to enjoy a good snuggle with it anyway.

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Speaking of bumps, I spent hours, literally HOURS, watching mine move around.  Trying to guess who’s little foot or hand that was poking out, whether that big lump there is a head or a bum and giggling at the teeny hiccups.  I have countless videos and I love them all!

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A very sleepy looking me. My last photo while pregnant. H & C were born mere hours after this was taken.

You’ll give birth early, that’s just a fact.  Full term for twins is considered to be 37/38 weeks (it varies from hospital to hospital).  I was lucky enough to have an incredibly straightforward pregnancy and delivered as planned (by scheduled c-section thanks to H being breech) at 37 weeks on the dot.  I remember going in for the scan on the Monday to confirm that H was still breech ready to inform the consultant in no uncertain terms that regardless of the outcome of the scan I was giving birth that week.  I was massive and tired and uncomfortable and well and truly ready to meet my babies (who, at this stage, I was convinced were a boy and a girl… oops!  When they told us we had 2 girls we looked at each other in stunned disbelief.  The surgeon actually stopped what he was doing and laughed at G who just said ‘Monsters!’, he couldn’t believe someone would call their 2 minute old daughter a monster!).

Because there is a higher chance of delivering prematurely, make sure you have your bag packed well in advance, even just to take the weight off your mind and tick another thing off the list.  It has the bonus of being a fairly easy thing to tick off the list and involves not much in the way of physical effort thankfully!  My top 5 items to have packed are; lucozade, huge button down jammies, feeding vests (if you plan to breastfeed), BIG MASSIVE GRANNY PANTS (seriously, they can’t be too big!) and slippers.  Don’t take a long dressing gown, in my opinion it just gets in the way.  Plus hospitals are hotter than hell.  You’ll notice that my recommendations are mostly in the form of comfy clothes.  This is no coincidence.  Don’t pack your straighteners, you won’t even glance in their direction.

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60 vests may have been overkill but when they’re this teeny who cares?!

Do investigate and find out if there is a multiples club near to you, we’re members of ours and although I’ve not made it along to any of the BBT (Babies, Bumps and Toddlers) meetings I make use of their wealth of knowledge and for sale page on a daily basis.  Our club run a course of antenatal classes designed specifically with multiples in mind,  they cost us £35 but were worth every penny.  They’re run by mum’s of multiples so contained so much valuable information and, unlike the normal antenatal classes where a lot of the sessions will likely be followed by the midwife running it turning to you and saying “of course, things will be a little different for you”, it’s all relevant to you.  All of it.  From how likely you are to deliver by c-section right through the logistics of feeding 2 babies at once and all the way to just how many vests you really will need (*cough* we had 60 *cough*).

The advice I will leave you with cannot be understated and is relevant regardless of how many sets of toes you’re growing;  fill up your freezer with frozen meals that can be microwaved or shoved in the oven once your babies arrive.  I don’t think G and I would have eaten a hot meal left to our own devices had we not done that.  I say hot meal because I personally would have quite happily eaten a scabby horse following the birth.  Do not underestimate how hungry breastfeeding will make you.  But that’s another story…

A new beginning…

I’ve started and restarted this blog so many times I’ve lost count.  My usual failing?  That all important first post.  After much deliberation I’ve concluded that I’m placing too much importance on it, on the introduction, on the design and that I should just get it over with.

So here it is.  The first post of what I hope will be many.

The start of this blog was inspired by our move into our dream home as a means of loosely recording The Rest of Our Lives.  We’ve been here 10 months now and this is my first post.  Good going don’t you think?

The week before we moved we found out I was pregnant so the aim of the blog stopped being about us moving into our home and more about pregnancy and birth.  Still I wrote nothing, not even when I was on maternity leave with nothing else to do but sit on the sofa all day.  I did manage a bit of writing about my first trimester for the wonderful Any Other Woman, and I did keep a diary throughout my pregnancy so it may well be something I return to but for now I decided to stop looking back and look forward instead.

In February 2013 I met the 2 most important people in my life (besides G and the dog!), my wonderful daughters H & C (AKA The Peas).  I was bowled over by the immediate love I felt for them, even before I saw them as I was lying on the operating table and they had just been unceremoniously yanked out of my body I knew that this was it.  This was what I was born to do; to be a mummy; to protect, nourish and inspire these two amazing little beings (and any others that should follow them).

Life is good.  This is the new beginning, this is the inspiration that I needed and, now that I feel relatively human again, here I am – finally getting my finger out and writing because suddenly it’s not about me any more.