I recently saw a post online from a first-time mom expecting twins who simply asked "What do you wish you would have known?" The question really hit home for me, and is really the reason I started this blog. Here's my response:
There are so many things...I don't know where to start. Maybe that my back and hips would start aching at only 3 months and go downhill from there - until I discovered the joy of the chiropractor and massage. Maybe that my boobs would grow a cup size overnight when I was only 10 weeks pregnant while I was out of town and had no correctly-sized bras with. And that that would be the only place I would have permanent, noticeable stretch marks! And how about the new-found hormones that kept my DH and I busy at night (in a good way!)
Might have been good to know that I would really have to work hard to find physicians who knew how, and had experience delivering twins without doing a c-section regardless the presentation of baby B. Or that I would have to call around to find out if the hospital will let a doula in the delivery room because hospital educator and nurse and charge nurse told me 'no doulas, no way' while former patients with twins told me 'I had a doula and they didn't say no'. Or maybe that spell check doesn't recognize the word 'doula' - "what crunchy planet are you from anyway!?" I hated knowing that I would be restricted to laboring on my back on an operating table.
Or maybe I should have known that I would NOT need to go on bed rest and I would NOT have preemies and NOT need to spend time in the NICU and NOT have any big medical scares and actually be induced at 39 weeks, deliver vaginally and be able to breastfeed exclusively even for a year. (Praise God for all of that!)
Or maybe that it would be possible to reach almost 220 pounds and a 4 foot girth because I had more than 14 pounds of baby in me and that my belly would get really cold hanging out of my jacket in the -20 Minnesota February.Or how about that dandelion root extract is a miracle cure for PUPPS (itchy belly rash) which perhaps was the worst of my week 36-39 misery....that would have been great to know because no physician could offer me help with that one. (would have been nice if I learned THAT before I delivered)
Or maybe that I should politely ask friends and family to not visit in the hospital or at their pleasure for the first few weeks b/c we were so exhausted and when they babies actually both slept, inevitably, someone had come to visit and was too busy chatting at us to realize we needed privacy and rest. (have a few hour 'open house' so whoever wants to come can get it out of their system).And also that if you ask for help, family and friends will graciously pitch in and save your mental health...providing you keep them moving in the right direction.
Or maybe to know that when babies cry all the time, that it isn't always just 'they way babies are'. And that there is actually a reason for it, but whether or not you can discover that reason and treat it is your job to discover because your pediatrician may not have the same ambition you do (after all, he isn't the one up all night) and brush you off as a freak-out new mom. (reflux, food sensitivities, sensory processing disorder, figured those out when they were older). Or that when they do cry and nursing them is the only way to get them to sleep, that if you take safety measures and let them sleep in your bed you won't have child protective services show up at your door, and in fact that you might get more sleep if you do this than stay up trying to rock/bounce/sooth a baby all night who just wants to nurse. Or that some babies are soooo stubborn and persistent that they will not go to sleep, no matter how long you let them scream.
And finally, would have been nice to know that even di/di girl twins could be identical, even if they look a little different. And even better to know that identical (mono-zygotic) twins may not just be a 'fluke' of nature, but there is actually research being done to determine if some moms and dads produce mono-zygotic offspring reliably. And even more so to know that when it happens all over again and you have yet another set of twins, it will be ok, everything you learned the first time will help you with every baby you welcome to your home and by the grace of God you might just survive it and might actually just love it.