I get so many questions about what life is like with twin babies plus diabetes. I certainly don’t think life is “typical” for me but, it is gradually settling down to something more recognizable. Henri and Aurora just turned a year old. As I look back I’m unbelievably relieved to have made it this far in one piece. If you think I’m being dramatic here is a monthly run down of the past year :)
I am due in a month and as big as a whale. In fact I no longer fit into any maternity clothes because my belly is too big. The rest of me is beginning to swell. I am not able to sleep more than 4-5 hours a night. My son has positioned himself for birth with his head very low in the birth canal. Every time I sit down I feel I’m squishing his head and worry about how he’ll turn out. I’m testing my blood sugar 12-18 times a day. June 15th I’m admitted into the hospital with preeclampsia. I want a natural childbirth with no pain meds so despite not dilating past 1 centimeter, I wait it out with birth inducing medicine. My husband endures the meanest woman ever for the next 20 hours. Late the next day I get an epidural (kind of like heaven at this point) and because my blood pressure is so high the Doc says, “please let me take your babies by c-section”. I finally say Ok, after all, I’m still not dilating past 1 centimeter. (What is wrong with me?) I’m fully awake while my babies are delivered and each one is in need of zero assistance despite being born a month early. I am so happy. Now I thought I was going to get to rest. Ha! I carried 30 pounds of water weight for 3 weeks. I could barely walk from being so swollen. I get tons of permanent spider veins on my legs from this. My c-section scar hurts so much because I don’t take pain medicine (since it passes into breastmilk). Post-partum depression comes a knockin’. Many tears are shed.
I’m sleeping about 2-3 hours every 24 hours. I’m still testing a lot. I’m so frustrated because I can’t get the babies to latch on. I am pumping every 3 hours and not making much milk. I pump in front of the computer and begin this website. Oh what we can accomplish in desperate times. I get a nipple infection and mastitis-both of which are very painful. Henri begins throwing up every hour or so and doesn’t stop for 9 months. He has reflux. Aurora gets thrush. She doesn’t get rid of it for 4 months (which reallyyy worries me). Family wants to visit but, some of them don’t realize I’m walking around all exposed and only able to shower every couple of days. When you are pumping for 30-45 minutes every 3 hours you practically just walk around naked. So excuuuse me for not wanting happy and clean visitors. I felt like I was gone.
I almost call 911 to request someone to pick me up due to exhaustion and for “seeing things”. Instead I call the doctor and am told to go to the ER for evaluation for those hallucinations. Then I think to myself, “who wouldn’t hallucinate in my position?!” I’m still not sleeping and its been weeks like this. My mother practically lives at my house and cooks meals, bathes the babies, cleans…and it is still hectic! Every time I look in the mirror I want to scream. The body I had before getting pregnant is probably gone forever and I can’t help but mourn it because damnit I worked really hard to lose weight and get in shape! And in 8 months It disappeared. My stretch marks are not the main problem, its the amount of lose skin that horrifies me (and anyone who sees it). When you quickly go from a 26 inch waist to growing out of maternity clothes…I guess skin can only stretch so much huh? I look at my husband’s tight stomach and think, “Why couldn’t he have carried one?”
I finally begin to sleep more. I now sleep 4-5 hours every 24 hour period. Sometimes there are sleepless nights but, not as often as before! I’m not as pale now. The green and sallow tint to my face is beginning to lift. I’m making more milk and happy about that. Yet, I’m still battling nipple and breast infections. Summer has just passed me by this year. I finally fall in love with my babies. It takes a while because severe exhaustion didn’t really give me a chance before. I still can’t get them to latch on so I continue to pump. This breaks my heart but, I decide to quit struggling and just focus on pumping as much as possible.
Skipping on to December. I only step out of the house one hour a week to the grocery store and that’s it. I am lonely and tired. Now I’ve developed carpel tunnel in both hands and I have injured tendons in each arm. I begin to live on Advil. I just quit pumping because I almost had a meltdown from the relentless and painful process that pumping was for me. I was proud to last 4 months doing it. I was terribly sad to be giving my babies full time formula. For the first time in so long I sleep 5-6 hours of interrupted sleep during the night. Ahhh feels so good. My husband gets laid off of work. Financially times are rough for a while. We just hold tight, stop spending, and spend quality time together. Christmas Day is spent taking my daughter to the emergency room for a shoulder that has popped out of place. My poor girl is forced still under bright lights for x-rays. I am emotionally drained. I was the one holding her when her shoulder pops so I think it is my fault. Those post partum hormones are still stabilizing, mind you.
Snow, snow, snow. My husband and I turn into a pretty good team. Each one of us has a baby and takes care of them. We switch babies every couple of hours and learn to accurately throw bottles as if they were footballs. My hand and arm injuries are bad. I wake up and literally cannot move a finger in either hand. I wake up during the night and morning and run to the faucet to put my hands under hot water to get them painfully moving again.
My husband goes back to work. I still have tons of help from my mom which turns out to be a lifesaver. She visits each day and helps me take care of the babies. Just as I get a hang of things something changes. I take Aurora to my allergist for testing. I see she has more of my genes, like dry skin and eczema. So I worry she has allergies as she also has diaper rashes and her brother does not. Turns out she is very allergic to peanut and egg. These two food allergies cause severe reactions in people-they could stop breathing. My husband and I have a mini breakdown and are too afraid to go anywhere with the babies for fear that our little girl with come into contact with one of these foods and be seriously NOT ok.
We learn to make egg and peanut free foods. We carry an antihistamine everywhere. We are very paranoid and don’t leave our children with anyone other than my mom. Even then, I am away from my kids for no more than a couple of hours at a time. I can’t bear the thought of something happening and not being there. We spend a lot of time at parks, the pool, taking the babies to the mall in their double stroller. People say, “Oh what beautiful and healthy babies!”, “How did you get your body back?” and “How did you ever afford a Maclaren double stroller?!” My husband and I laugh.
And we’re still laughing. We take turns working out while the other stays with the children. We definitely are not rich, we just prioritize. The babies get a nice sturdy stroller and we don’t own an IPOD or a Blue Ray Dvd player. We enjoy our children more now than ever because…well, because now we aren’t so exhausted! My diabetes is still a priority but, I can admit this past year wasn’t my best for blood sugars. It was my best for effort, however. Who knew having twins would give so much energy and passion and ideas to a newlywed couple who felt the hardest thing they had ever done before was plan a wedding. I think we could do anything now.
Henri and Aurora, you bring more joy and love into our lives than we could have ever imagined. This first year with you pretty much cemented our new family. We learned quickly that we can get through rough times together and come out doing A-ok! Your daddy and I owe you so much already. Beyond that you are the two funniest, sweetest, and gorgeous beings I’ve ever seen! And to top it all off-you’re mine! I feel like the luckiest mom in the world.
Alex, as soon as we married I got pregnant and things got crazy for us. You hung in there with me through it all and then became the kind of dad women dream of. The dad that does as much as the mom. The dad that lets his wife sleep while he gets up in the middle of the night to to feed a baby (or two). I’m glad I married my best friend because only a best friend would have gone through this difficult journey with me. Life is a lot more fun than a year ago and I have a feeling it will only get better :)
To diabetic women (and men) out there contemplating a family, you know it won’t be easy…but, what you may not know yet is that it will be magical and truly worth it. Do your best with every decision you have to make and every task you have to do and everything else will sort of just take care of itself.
If you’re pregnant with twins….God bless ya! Get lots of help lined up for when the babies are born. Seriously!