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From Mum of One to the Expert of Twins!

Posted by
Yuliana Topazly
19.05.19
From Mum of One to the Expert of Twins!

From Mum of One to the Expert of Twins!


My family was in the middle of a move when I had the big ultrasound appointment at St. George's
Hospital. I left my husband and 2 year old son at home with the movers while I headed alone to my
appointment. In those initial weeks of my pregnancy, I felt a sense of heaviness that I had not felt
with my son, so I would joke with my husband that I think I'm having twins. So much so that I had
started to believe it. When the ultrasound technician pulled up the image on the screen, she pointed
to one tiny speck of white and announced, "There's one heartbeat." Despite my gratitude to see my
child growing healthily, I couldn't help but feel a fleeting moment of disappointment that I was not
having twins as I had hoped. However, I did not have time to think about that, because she then
pointed to something else flickering in the the corner and said, "and here's another!
Congratulations, you're having twins!" My joy knew no bounds! I had grown up in the shadow of
older twin siblings and had always wished to have a twin sister like they had each other. God heard
my unspoken prayers and granted me twin daughters instead. To receive such a blessing felt greater
than winning any lottery.
My initial excitement and joy did not leave any room for stress or anxiety. It was easy to dream of a
far-off future with twins. However, as the pregnancy progressed, and monthly appointments turned
into weekly appointments, and then those weekly appointments turned into bi-weekly, I did feel
concerned about the well-being of my twins. I was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes and had
to be careful with my diet while simultaneously trying to get the twins to gain weight. When my
obstetrician found me 1 cm dilated with 2 months left to go in the pregnancy, she recommended
bedrest, and that was when I felt the most stress -- not so much for my twin's sake, but for my
toddler who needed me to be up and active.
In addition to reading everything I could about twin pregnancies and raising twins, I sought advice
from moms who had delivered twins, foremost of whom was my own mother. I also started
searching for deals on carseats, researching the best double pushchairs, and stocking up on several
boxes of infant nappies. Online shopping became my best friend. But as the pregnancy progressed,
checking my blood sugar levels daily due to the gestational diabetes was difficult. My husband had
left his job and was applying to business schools, so having him at home was a godsend. He helped a
lot with looking after my son and taking him to parks and other activities.
Unless you have experienced the difficulties of having a newborn, it will be hard to imagine what
having two newborns will be like. Those early days have thankfully turned into a blur in my memory,
but I do recall a lot of tears and a lot of sleepless nights. The lack of sleep is what affected me the
most, compounded with the fact that my twins were barely gaining weight through nursing so they
needed to be supplemented with formula. Around the same time that I had delivered my twins,
there was a mother in the news who had delivered 8 babies. I found myself thankful that I was not
the “Octo-Mom,” and at least I had one arm for holding each one of my babies. Putting things into
perspective really helped me to get through those early months.
The best advice I read was to put both of the twins on the same schedule. At first, it is hard,
especially to wake a sleeping baby just because her twin is awake; however, with a little
perseverance, it translated into more sleep for me. I found a nursing pillow designed for twins, and
that also helped to get them on the same feeding routine, which amazingly also helped in the nappy-
changing routine. Basically, whatever I needed to do for one twin, I would repeat right away for the
other.
The best piece of advice I can give for new mums of twins is to appreciate the blessing of having
multiples. Some moments may be stressful, especially when both are crying, but it will all pass.

Savour each moment and each stage of their development. Don’t compare your twins to any other
twins or children; they are unique. Don’t be shy to accept offers of help. Also, hold your babies as
much as possible — they will grow up too fast.
I remember one visit to the GP when my twins were about a month old and needed to have their
weight checked because they were still just under the 3rd percentile. There was another family with
twin toddlers, and the dad told my husband and I to hang in there because it will get easier. He was
right. Right around 4 months, my twins discovered their thumbs and were able to fall asleep on their
own, and that too for a solid 12 hours. I knew the thumb sucking would be a bad habit to break long-
term, but the immediate payoff was huge so I allowed it. When their schedule became set, it also
became much easier to take them out, and I really started to enjoy them then.
My 2 year old son also needed to adjust to the changes in our family. Going from only child to eldest
of three is no easy transition. Being no more than a baby himself, it took him a while to understand
these were living human beings and not new playthings for him. Initially, it was hard for him to see
my attention constantly diverted from him, but as the twins grew, and he himself grew, he stepped
into his role of big brother energetically. I would try to involve him in assisting his sisters by fetching
things for them or caring for them. I can never forget when he would feed his sisters Cheerios for a
snack — one for each twin, then a handful for himself, and repeat. I watched as his play evolved
from playing nearby them to with them.
My twins were gifted sleepers, sleeping a solid 12 hours each night, as well as 2 naps in the daytime.
I would try to take care of my household duties while the girls were awake so that I could devote
their nap time to exclusive one-on-one time with my son. This was extremely beneficial in reassuring
him that I was still there for him, but it was also beneficial to me to reaffirm my bond with him. I also
found a part-time nursery for him to attend which kept him mentally engaged.
The nature of a mother is to make sacrifices. When my twins were awake, my attention went first to
them, and then to my son. When the girls took their morning and afternoon naps, my attention
went solely to my son. I didn’t even get a chance to think about myself until after they all were in
bed for the night. Fortunately for me, this was by 7 pm every evening. I was able to go out with my
husband and pursue my hobbies/interests without interruption.
The best part of this journey has been watching my girls grow from their 4 pound birth-weights to
healthy, thriving 4 year olds has been such a blessing. I feel so much pride when I take them out,
dressed identically from their hairstyle down to their very socks and shoes. Strangers will always
pause to question if they are twins, and when I say yes, they are left amazed, as though I have
conveyed an unspoken sense of the stress and tears that go into raising multiples. Whenever I see
them keeping each other company and speaking their secret language, I feel grateful that God gave
me beautiful twin daughters in lieu of the twin sister I never had.