A friend of a friend recently found out she is pregnant with twins, and I was asked for advice. I am far from an expert. I am just doing the best I can, and I don't know any better. But there are a few things I wish I had heard before giving birth, and there are a few things I did hear that any woman who is pregnant with twins should hear.
This just my two cents. Any and all mamas of multiples, please add to this rambly list any sage words of wisdom of your own.
Just breathe. It seems like a lot - it is. Get over it. Have your freak out and then don't focus too much on it because too much thinking is overwhelming.
Start making lists, and get everything you'd like to get done in the next five years done before 30 weeks. You will not have time for anything other than babies when they are here, and after 30 weeks you will be comically huge, making cleaning and driving and other daily tasks hard to do.
Just because you are pregnant with twins doesn't automatically mean you have a high risk pregnancy. Birth is messy, and twice the babies can mean twice the messiness, but also twice as many heartbeats and kicks and hiccups. Enjoy it- you will probably never be pregnant with twins ever again!
Eat. Eat eat eat while you can. Because once they come out you will need to eat even more to keep your milk supply up, but you won't have time to eat, so eat now. And drink. At least a gallon a day, MINIMUM! Stay active. Twice the babies to push out means you need to be twice as strong. You can do it!
They say the first one paves the way and the second one just falls out. In my case, pretty damn close to the truth.
Try as hard as you can to push for a vaginal birth. It is amazing to be able to know you have pushed two people out of you all by yourself.
Delegate in advance. You will need someone with you at ALL times 24/7 for at least the first month, optimally six weeks. This is not an exaggeration. Line up family and friends, set up a care calendar, and delegate someone other than you to manage it after the babies are here. Let them prepare meals, do laundry, clean up stuff. Whenever you can, delegate.
Do not be afraid to ask for help. If you don't tell people what you need, they can't offer assistance. People WANT to help you. Let them.
Have a lactation specialist lined up before you give birth to help you immediately. Breast feeding is hard work, more than doubly so with two. But it is also more than doubly rewarding. It is not impossible to exclusively breast feed twins, but you need to be dedicated. Surround yourself with people who support you. If you can get it down from the start it is waaaay easier and less time consuming than preparing bottles all the time. Tandem feeding seems impossible at first - it's not. It is possible and it is freaking amazing. We have two boobs for a reason.
Do what works for you. Take advice with a grain if salt, especially from singleton parents. All babies are different, and all combos of twins are different. What might work for my boys might not work for yours and that's ok. You'll figure it out. That's what moms do.
Invest in a hospital-grade electric breast pump. You will need it. The Medela Symphony is a pretty standard choice. You can rent them, too. And get a pumping bra. Being able to pump with your hands free is essential with two babies to take care of. It looks freaky, but trust me. You will use it every day.
My boys are only four months so I'm still in the thick of it, but I have been told the first year is hell, but then it's way easier with two because they always have someone to keep them company. I can already see this. Trying to soothe two crying babies is incredibly stressful, but hearing two babies giggle, seeing two babies look at each other and babble and hold hands is the most precious thing ever. Twins are a very very special thing. Not everyone gets to experience it. Embrace it.
Your babies will always have someone rooting for them. They will always have someone looking out for them. They have a best friend from birth, from before birth! They have something that not a lot of people have and you gave it to them. One of my best friends is a twin and she told me by giving them each other I am giving them the best gift a mother can give. Be proud.
The absolute best piece of advice I received, which I wish I had really followed: spend as much time with your partner now, while the babies are safe and sound and quietly snuggled up inside you. Once they're here you and your partner will both always have a baby in your arms. The first few months all communication will revolve around babies so talk about other things now. Go out to eat, make out, watch movies, take walks just the two of you holding hands instead of a stroller, say "I love you" and mean it, do absolutely nothing, go to the zoo, cuddle and HAVE SEX! As much sex as you possibly can. Seriously.
Don't always put them in matching outfits. Encourage them to be their own person. But sometimes do put them in matching outfits. They are twins - encourage them to enjoy it. Plus it is adorable.
Some days you will feel like you love one more than the other. You don't. But it's ok to feel that way.
Some days they will feel like they love you or your partner more than the other. They don't. But it's ok for them to feel that way.
The most comforting words came from two different people right after we found out (at 21 weeks!!!). One told me she believed we choose our biggest challenges in life before we are born and that I must be a very strong woman for having chosen twins. I'm not sure I believe I chose this per se, but I do believe life doesn't ever give us more than we can handle, even if it sometimes seems that way. We always manage to rise to the occasion.
The second person was from Ghana. He told me where he comes from they say God takes a long look at your heart before you become pregnant. He said I must have an incredibly good heart to be blessed with two babies at once. I'm not religious, but I'd like to hope he was right.
Your heart will grow two sizes too big every damn day. Sometimes it will feel like too much love, and you will cry. Sometimes they will cry and you won't be able to figure out what's wrong and your heart will fall crooked, and it will feel like too much hurt, and you will cry. Don't worry, you will wake up the next morning (ok, at 3am, and then again at 5 and finally 6:30) and it will be right again, swollen a little bigger with love and pulsing strong in your chest. It will feel like too much love again, and you will cry. It seems like a lot - it is. Just breathe.
Trust your body. Trust your babies. Have faith in the universe. You are the exact right parent for these two new little people, and you can do this. And you will.
Welcome to the club. ;)