Sitting in the lobby of the hospital in a wheelchair, arms full of baby, clutching a plastic bag filled with pacifiers that the nurse had just pressed into my hand, I waited for George to bring the car around. I stared at the two tiny, scrunchy red faces in front of me, wanting to shift them around a bit so I could see them better, but afraid to move at all (lest I drop either babies or pacifiers). A few people stopped and smiled, said, “awwww'” or asked questions (Twins? How much did they weigh? Boys or Girls? I’ve always wanted twins. Better you than me.) I thought about my friend Kara, whose twins were juniors in high school, and how she said she felt lucky to be leaving the hospital with two babies instead of the usual one per person that most mothers got.
I wasn’t feeling lucky yet.
In a blur of days and nights and midnight feedings and diaper changes, loads of laundry and lullabies later, the girls were several months old before I started to feel I knew them individually. I remember feeling sad about this, like it was taking a long time to bond with them. Having two new babies is very different than having one. A new addition to a family can feel stressful. Adding two infants at once feels completely overwhelming.
Scrolling through pictures on my phone from the time the girls were born until now is like a movie of someone else’s life, filled with moments of struggle and moments of triumph. I’ve been stretched in ways I couldn’t have imagined as a person and a mother. I have cried tears of frustration and desperation. I have learned so much about myself and about my children and about coping. Another twin mom I follow on twitter (Arwen Mosher) once tweeted, “When I had twins it was God saying, “No, you can’t do it without me.” And every day (hour minute) I have to trust that grace.”
I know exactly what she means.
This morning, as I write this post on their very first birthday, I realize that I’ve been kind of holding my breath for an entire year. From the moment we found out they were twins, things have been multiplied – the joys as well as the stresses and challenges. Everything about twins, to me, seems amplified. Parenting multiples is like parenting one child at a time, kind of…just a lot more intense.
When I go to get the girls out of their cribs this morning in just a few minutes, they will be one-year olds. The first year was hard…and we survived. Today, I feel like I can finally exhale.
And yes, I feel really, really blessed.
On to the next set of adventures.