Preparing for twins

As I shared in my previous post, Brad and I were (mostly) shocked when we found out we were having twins during our 12 week ultrasound.  After the initial flood of emotions wore off, the practical questions starting coming to light.

What would we do with 3 kids under the age of 2?
Where (and HOW) would they all sleep?
How would we arrange their car seats?
What amount of clothing, diapers, burp cloths, and other necessities would we need?
Would I be able to breastfeed them both?

This is just a small small sampling of all the things we wondered about.  (and an even smaller sampling of what people have asked us about)  

Even with all of these lingering questions and unknowns, we had a lot to be grateful for.  I was grateful that Brad was soooooo over the moon excited to have these little ones.  Having his enthusiasm and support and encouragement made me feel like this WAS going to be wonderful (even if it felt overwhelming initially).  Brad was grateful that we invested in a van (which would now be filled to the brim) and that I was willing and ready to be at home on the front lines with these little ones.  Also, we discovered through more ultrasounds that both BOYS were growing at the same rate and were in about the lowest risk category for future growth problems (our fraternal twins = separate placentas and separate sacs).

Here are some of the things Brad and I have done (or will do) to prepare for the arrival of these guys:

1.  Understand the risks
One thing we learned very quickly (as we immediately had to switch from using a midwife to a traditional OB doctor), is that twins pregnancies are considered "high-risk".  Yes, many go off without a hitch, and just because you are having twins doesn't mean anything will be complicated, but the risks for complications are much greater.  I had Lewis 4 weeks early, so I was already going to be watched more closely for signs of pre-term labor (even if we would have had one baby).  Women carrying twins without a history of pre-term labor are still at great risk for having the them too soon, so my odds of complications were higher in this area.  Not only that, but there is a lot to be said for proper weight gain and nutrition, because while you don't need to gain 60 pounds, women carrying twins do need enough calories to beef up babies so they can grow grow grow before coming into the world.  In addition, we knew that while bed rest was not imminent, it was a possibility, and the reality was that no matter what at some point I would probably grow so large that I would be too tired to carry out many normal daily activities.

2.  Re-evaluate our plans
All of these things quickly made us re-evaluate our plans for the next year.  After my 28 week mark of pregnancy, our calendars are largely clear.  I prayerfully stepped back from any additional responsibilities outside of the home.  We agreed to not travel unless absolutely necessary in the later stages of my pregnancy, and even cancelled two family trips that we were scheduled to go on in the fall.  Thanksgiving and Christmas plans are completely on hold, and most Christmas shopping is going to be done online early this fall.  We are trying to keep living our lives, while still being aware that this seemingly uncomplicated pregnancy could shift directions very quickly.  Having a lower commitment load is lessening our stress levels and is allowing us to enjoy a season of rest before we are caring for two needy newborns.

3.  Lean on family and friends
Brad and I realized early on in this process (and are understanding it more daily) that we cannot do this alone.  God is with us and will be faithful to provide all that we need for these guys, materially, physically, and emotionally.  We are counting on him to give us grace when we are in desperate need of wisdom and direction.  We also know that he practically gives this grace through our Christian brothers and sisters who are here to love us and care for us.  It has been very humbling (for me) to acknowledge my need for HELP.  I'm not super woman, I don't have enough hands for 3 children, and life may be a sleepless balancing act for a while.  Thankfully, we have had an EXTREMELY generous outpouring of love from our church, friends, and family.  Everything from additional baby showers and unexpected gifts, to standing offers to watch Lewis whenever I need help (even if it's with the laundry).

4.  Get practical
The to-do list is long right now and Brad and I are coming up on a fierce deadline.  We weren't exactly chomping at the bit to get everything prepared for Lew's arrival because at 36 weeks we still thought...,"oh, everyone goes late with their first baby.  we have plenty of time."  WRONG.  When my water broke, I was sitting in an unfinished nursery with no crib, no bag packed, and no assembled car seat.  While everything worked out in the end (and it was a good lesson in trusting God even when I don't feel prepared) this is a "fool me once, don't fool me twice" type of experience.  We are not under the impression this time that we have endless weeks and months to prepare.  After 28 weeks, these boys could arrive any day, and our road in the NICU could be long depending on their size and condition.  Right now I am deep in the midst of assembling supplies, preparing freezer meals for the fall, and putting Lewis through any transitions I want him to get past before we have newborns (i.e. pulling the daytime paci).

There is so much more going on in my heart and mind, and it's difficult to share all of the ways Brad and I are preparing.  This news really changed our vision for our family and our future plans.  It's funny, because now I can't imagine if we WEREN'T having twins.  It seems like this is just US...our family...the way God intended it to be.

Thank you if you have been one of those beloved friends or family member who have prayed for us, loved us, encouraged us, and supported us during this time.  God is using you in our lives, and we are richly blessed because of it.
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