Rose Bianchini just had twins
Emmett Holden van Horne and Simon Clark van Horne have arrived!
Other parents warned us our lives will be forever altered, but I never understood what that meant till now. Everything is different; the world looks and feels different because now there are two small beings that depend on me for their food, love and survival. Wow! There isn’t really a way to fully prepare for that. I sort of had to just jump in feet first and I finally feel like maybe I am treading water and keeping afloat.
Let’s recap from the very beginning. The labour. They call it labour for a reason. I have heard some moms say that they blank out all the pain once the baby is born. I haven’t had that experience. Being a small woman and having twins… well that just shouldn’t really happen so my labour of course resulted in a great deal of agony — and my terrorizing of the entire labour unit. In the end a c-section was performed. The recovery was rough and I ended up back in the hospital a few times with an infection.
When Simon and Emmett were in the hospital room, shortly after their birth with my husband Jason and I, they cried constantly and wouldn’t settle without being held and would only sleep with us. We looked at each other with fear in our eyes and I said “How are we going to do this?” Not only would these needy creatures be coming home with us for a day or a week but they would be with us for the rest of their lives. I know this doesn’t sound very glowy but it is the truth. Sure we loved them right off the bat in a way that was immediate and fierce. But it felt like we really had no idea what we were doing. We wished we could have brought the nurses home with us to ask how to feed, bath them and keep them healthy.
So how did we survive the first few months with our premature twins? At first we fed them constantly to get their weight up, like every hour. We have wonderful family and friends that hold the babies and bring us food. I unfroze the meals I made beforehand. We barely sleep. We keep baby reference books on hand to try and figure out why the boys are crying when they are fed and dry. We accept our lives are now full of baby vomit, poo and pee and wear PJs most of the time.
Then there are the magic moments that get us through everything else. On New Year’s Eve when Emmett and Simon screamed and cried, we put them in slings and they suddenly become silent. We walked around our neighbourhood at 11pm and watched the drunk people. We dance with our babies and sing them our favorite songs until they fall asleep in our arms. They stare at us with their huge eyes and smile their sweet toothless grins. They make us laugh with their coos and ahhs and sigh contently in our ears. We learn as we go, try and stay calm and keep our sense of humour as much as possible.
Here is a little tidbit of info for those that wonder what it is like to be a parent of twins: They are really two little people.
That may sound simplistic and obvious but I think beforehand I thought they would be more like one entity that felt and acted the same. I know better now. Sure they are developing at a similar rate, but Emmett may be a fussy pants day while Simon is fussy the next day. And then there is the anxiety that comes from two babies crying at once but for different reasons. They are two little people with their own irritations, illnesses and moods. Who knew? Also as a multiple parent I feel a bit like a celebrity when I am out and about. We are stopped constantly by people asking “Are they twins?” We of course always answer yes. One woman in her car blocked traffic because she was so excited by our darling duo. Plus they really are super cute. But I am biased.
Connecting with other twin moms has been my salvation. The advice I am given again and again is do not succumb to the guilt and do what is needed to survive. There have been some uber-mom things I have had to let go of with two babies. No, I don’t give them just breast milk, there is some formula in their diet. No, they don’t wear cloth diapers. No, I can’t always pick them up right away when they are crying and I have another baby in my arms. This is the life with twins. But they are loved and thriving. I am trying not to sweat the small stuff. Most moms seem cursed with severe guilt, but if you’re smart you don’t let that guilt rule you, nor do you let anyone make you feel like you are not raising your kids to the best of your ability and you trust your instincts.
Now, back to the trenches of motherhood.
Rose Bianchini is a writer, artist, producer and generally creative person living in Toronto’s St. Clair West neighbourhood. You might even have enjoyed some of her work at a Bunch event. See some of her many projects at RoseBiachini.com
Photos via Rose Bianchini