I am making a sweeping generalization here, but in many cases those going through assisted reproductive technologies (ART) like IVF secretly (and not so secretly) hope for the resulting pregnancy to be a twin pregnancy. Twins present an attractive result on many levels for the infertile, not least of which is the thought of never having to go through another IVF again, to achieve an instant family, two for the price of one, a special blessing etc etc.
When I was pregnant with the boys in 2003 I was glad to be pregnant with twins. I suspected it would be hard work, and it certainly made the pregnancy higher risk, but I was glad I was having more than one baby. The thought of never having to another IVF was extremely attractive, as I am sure you can well imagine. Plus there is no denying the special allure of twins, and the special status you get as a twin mom.
When I lost both boys I lost not only those little souls, but also the dream of having twins. And so secretly I hoped that my next pregnancy would be a twin one, even though I knew logically, medically, it was a bad idea. My Dr was very anti another twin pregnancy based on my previous history, but I was not prepared to transfer only one embryo. When I found out it was twins I was overjoyed. Here was another chance at the wonderful fantasy of twins.
And it is a wonderful fantasy. The image of two babies, two little peas in a pod. And I am sure that having twins will be doubly rewarding. Soon.
However, no one speaks about the not so nice side. I am not even going to talk about the increased risk of a twin pregnancy, the higher risk of prematurity etc. And perhaps it is too early for me to be writing about this. It is very early days for us. I know I am in the not so nice bit now, that the nicer bits will come.
But having two babies is damn hard. One baby is certainly no walk in the park, but two…. Well that’s a whole different ball game. (pls forgive excessive use of mixed metaphors). Although love is not finite and you can love as many babies as you have, you still only have two arms. It takes two arms to hold, feed, dress, bathe one baby. Which means that with twins or more, someone always has to wait his turn. It means that all that wonderful bonding stuff you read about in the baby books has to be shared. One on one time, holding your baby close while you feed them….. all has to be shared. And yes, sharing is a good life lesson, but come on, you are only little once. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your mommy’s arms all to yourself, just for once in your little life? There is enough time later in life for sharing, you are only a baby once.
It means that Kate has to cry while I burp Adam. It means that Adam has to cry while I dress Kate. It means that after walking around the house from 10pm to 3am, finally getting Kate to go to sleep, Adam wakes up and wants his turn. Then both of them wake up and want to be up in the arms.
I must confess to having singleton envy. This weekend I walked around and looked enviously at the singleton mothers. I thought to myself ‘when you eventually get your baby to sleep, that’s it. Your baby sleeps. You don’t have another one waiting to wake up and start the process all over again’.
I am sure the advantages will outweigh the drawbacks as they get older, but in the beginning, there is no doubt that two is not always better than one.
And yet. Would I change any of it? I don’t think so. If I wasn’t infertile, then yes definitely. One baby at a time is best. But being infertile and very very tired of the IVF crap, this is first prize for me, no matter how hard it is. And I am doubly blessed. It is just that it does come at a price, and I am afraid that price is one that is paid not only by the mother, but by the babies as well.
I don’t want to scare other twin moms to be, but I do wish someone had told me how hard it was going to be in the beginning. That reading books for singletons only helps up to a point. That the ‘multiple factor’ cannot be denied. And that in order to just make it through the day and night, all three (or more) of you will have to give up something.
Marko is going back to work tomorrow and I am absolutely dreading the night times. How am I going to cope feeding two babies? They both wake up starving at the same time. Adam is not easy to feed, he needs to be burped every few sips, Kate wants to drink her bottle all in one go. It makes feeding them at the same time almost impossible. My heart breaks at the thought of one of them having to scream in hunger waiting for his or her turn. This is when I have extreme singleton envy.
All I can say is hats off to the triplets and more moms. And to the twin moms without help. I honestly don’t know how you do it. You are a better person than I am, because I am finding it incredibly hard.
However, to show you that I do have the most gorgeous kids in the whole wide world, here is a pic of the two little terrors just before our first outing in the stroller. Aren't they so damn cute? (they are cuter during the day than at night tho).