Twin Mom Mari
An easygoing madre raising her twin girls to be bilingual
Twins: Identical. Two girls, Sienna and Chloe
Twins’ weight when born: Sienna: 5 pounds, 1 ounce; Chloe: 3 pounds, 10 ounces
Age while pregnant with twins: 36
Current occupation: Graphic Designer
Do you have other children? No
Pregnancy and Delivery
How far along were you when you delivered (i.e., how many weeks)?
35 weeks and 4 days.
Were you on bed rest? If so, when did you go on bed rest and for how long?
I wasn’t on bed rest, but the last two weeks of my pregnancy I worked from home and rested a lot. The doctor said that it was best to not get too tired and that being at the office and commuting were factors that contributed to tiredness.
Did you deliver naturally or via Cesarean?
Cesarean. At one of my regular checkups, the doctors noticed that Chloe hadn’t grown at all since the week before, so they sent me directly to the hospital to monitor the babies and have a C-section as soon as possible. (I would advise someone who is pregnant with twins to demand frequent checkups/ultrasounds, at least once a week.) I never felt a contraction or any pain related to a natural delivery.
Recovery and Hospital Stay
How long did it take you to recover physically?
It took about two weeks until my feet weren’t swollen anymore and I could move a little faster. I stayed in the hospital for three nights. The first two days were rough. It hurt to get up from the bed, but the nurses made me. I hadn’t thought much before then about what a C-section involved—I had just had my muscle cut in half!
Did the babies have to stay in the hospital for an extended time?
Sienna stayed 10 days, and Chloe stayed 14. They were fine, they just needed to gain some weight before they could come home. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be to leave them there. I felt like they received better care at the hospital, where their heart rates, breathing, and temperatures could be monitored 24/7. The nurses in the NICU were just amazing.
Did you breast-feed? If so, for how long?
I breast-fed for four months. I never had enough supply to just breast-feed, though, so I supplemented with formula.
Did you pump and then feed from the bottle?
Most of the time, yes. Because the babies were so little, I felt better knowing exactly how much they were eating. The last couple of months they got frustrated with breast-feeding—it was too slow and too much work to get the milk flowing. They liked the bottle better because it provided instant gratification.
Any breast-feeding recommendations?
The more you do it, the more milk you have. Also, find a good pillow. I didn’t buy one of the special ones, but I’ve heard they are pretty good. I just used a bed pillow. I only breast-fed them together a couple of times. Usually, I would breast-feed one while the other had a bottle. I can’t deny that it’s a hard thing to do, and it will consume most of your day, but it pays off. Just knowing that your babies are feeding directly from you is an unbelievable feeling.
Did you plan anything unique in the twins’ nursery?
I painted it in pink, white, and brown stripes. The two best things we had in the nursery were a gliding chair, which we still use now that the girls are 3 years old, and a changing table where we could fit two babies at once.
How long did your twins sleep in the same crib?
They slept for four months in a pack and play in our room. Then we moved them to their room and put them in the same crib for one month. After that, we put them in different cribs.
When did your babies start sleeping through the night?
I am pretty sure it was at 3 months.
How did you schedule your babies for sleeping and feeding?
We kept them on the same schedule and fed them every three hours. That way they were sleeping and eating at the same time, which gave me time to take a shower or eat. Forget about taking a nap, though! I don’t recommend feeding on demand. I have a friend who did that with her twins, and she went nuts! Get the babies used to having a schedule so you can keep your sanity.
We fed them together and still do. We would position them so their heads were lifted on a pillow, and one person could hold a bottle in each baby's mouth.
I was able to get about seven hours of sleep (though not continuous) pretty much every day during the first few months. I would feed the babies at 9:00 p.m., then go to bed. My husband would feed them at 11:00 p.m. or midnight while I was sleeping. I would wake up at 3:00 a.m. to feed them again. Then they would sleep until about 6:00 or 7:00 a.m.
With time, they started to skip the 3:00 a.m. feeding, which was the worst one. They started waking up at 4:00, then 5:00, then 6:00, then 7:00 a.m.! Sometimes even 8:00 a.m.! Woo hoo!
Do you have a stroller recommendation?
I love my Maclaren double stroller. We also use individual umbrella strollers. The umbrella strollers were very handy when the babies were little and only one was fussy because we could take them for short walks inside the house or outside. Now we use them in crowded areas where a double stroller is too big.
You, You, You
What did you do to take care of yourself in those early tough days and nights?
I would take a shower, dress decently, and put on makeup even if I wasn’t going out, just to feel better. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep at night was important so I could function during the day.
Did you go back to work? If so, when?
I went back to work after four months. My company gave me the option to work from home once a week, which was and still is great.
If so, who watched the babies?
My parents took care of them until they were 9 months old. Then we got an au pair who stayed with us for almost two years. She was great with the girls, and it worked out well for us to have them at home.
Words of Wisdom
Any other general advice or tips?
Get all the help that is offered to you, or ask for help cooking, tidying up, etc. You will be overwhelmed with all the attention and care that the babies need; doing housework and such will be tough to fit into your days.
Want more Mari? Follow her many musings on the left above, and check back often as the list will grow!