When my friend from college told me she was expecting twins, I was so over the moon that I screamed in a restaurant and high fived everyone at the table!
If I’m being honest, part of my overjoyed reaction was selfish: Having multiples is a niche thing that can feel isolating in the absence of a community that gets it. So I was glad to have this close friend of 20 years—and her awesome husband—joining our team. But of course it was also out of just pure joy for them: They haven’t even met their babes yet, and their adventures as a family are all still ahead!
Last night, we hosted these friends at our house for a nursery walkthrough and a fun barbecue. Over dinner, we imparted some wisdom that we’ve gained over these past almost 10 months as new twin parents. Here’s what we told them:
Stay positive: Our friends think we’re doing such a great job with our twins, they say we’re their role models. And much as it feels flattering to scoop up that praise and affirmation, we’d be lying if we said it was easy. (And that lie would be a huge disservice—and potentially a very damaging one.) Let’s be honest: Having two babies at once is hard work. But we’ve tried to stick with a positive, upbeat mindset that this is all an adventure, and one we’re in together as a strong team. This attitude—and appreciation and respect for our partner—helps us get through even the craziest days.
Push through obstacles: When you have two newborns or infants, there are many, many reasons not to leave the house. It’s so much easier to remain shut-ins, which helps you avoid schlepping insane amounts of gear and getting into uncomfortable situations. But being imprisoned inside is my version of hell. I’ve been able to stay sane by redefining potential obstacles as worthy challenges and seeing what happens when I dive headlong into them. For instance, I really wanted to try a solo hike with 75 pounds of cargo including my twins and double stroller. I knew that was something that could fail spectacularly for all kinds of reasons—or make me feel accomplished and proud. And when I stood on top of that mountain with my babies in tow, I felt like a million bucks. But even when things don’t work out so well, I have to be the kind of mom who at least tried, and I suspect my friend will be the same way.
Splurge and save: On a more practical note, I told my friend there are some places she can save money and won’t even miss a pricier alternative. For me, that meant buying discount cribs instead of what I considered to be totally unnecessarily spendier versions, and buying in bulk at regular monthly subscription intervals from Amazon Mom. However, I consider a few splurge items highly worthy. (For instance my Baby Brezza Formula Pro: obsessed. Kicking self that I waited six months to justify this purchase!) I told my friend that her splurges and saves will be individual to her needs (and baby’s preferences) but for sure there’s room—and necessity—for both.
Stay organized: If you don’t keep your babies’ closet organized, I told her, you’ll find those shower gifts and babies’ clothes right after the appropriate stage of development has passed—and that’s a huge bummer. With two babies, one of each gender, there’s even more need than ususal to categorize everything carefully! I think of myself as Michelle Duggar on a mini level: With multiples, you have to run a household with military precision just to stay afloat!
Join a local club: It’s so great that we have each other, but I suggested to my expecting friend that she join the local parents of multiples club. Parenting multiples is a specialized job, and it helps to have as many insider resources—and emotional support—around as possible.
Never stop traveling: Although we haven’t flown with our babies yet, we will as soon as (we get up our nerve and) the right opportunity comes up. (See also: pushing through obstacles!) We want to be able to share those mind-expanding experiences with our kids, and we don’t buy into the idea that having a family means putting the passports in mothballs. It means getting inventive: Like, say, coming up with a multi-family trip somewhere in a rental house with baby-friendly resources! Our friends are already fabulous jet setters, in part thanks to a Hollywood career that takes them all around the world for shoots. So we told them—and at the same time reassured ourselves—that they can set a precedent for traveling with their babies if they want to… and maybe we can all even do it together!
Because, after all, our lives are just what we make them. And the goal is not just to survive the first year, but to really thrive—yes, even with infant twins!
I had a method for announcing my pregnancy after I found out I was having twins. First, I’d tell friends I was pregnant, and let that sink in. Then, I’d hit them with the second bit of news—that it was two! It was so fun to bask in all the fun screams and squeals, prologed by that one-two punch approach to the surprise twin pregnancy reveal.
Well, one couple recently took that game quite a bit further. Although they knew they were having twins, they didn’t tell anyone—until the babies actually came! (Can you imagine the discipline involved with keeping such a massive and emotional secret?)
So when folks came to visit them in the hospital, or called in for a FaceTime introduction, they were expecting only to be surprised by the gender of the new baby. But it turned out they were surprised—shocked, actually—to see not one but two tiny pink bundles in the hospital room.
The couple, already parents to an older son, documented those loved ones’ reactions, and compiled them into one amazing six-minute surprise highlight reel you won’t want to miss. It ends with a sweet montage of still family photos (including of the baby girls in their “Best Kept Secret” onesies!) set to a tear-jerking score. Check it out here:
I like to think I have a lot in common with Kate Middleton (ahem). Her first son, Prince George, shares a July 22 birthday with my own twins. Beyond that, she also may have twins on the way!
No, it’s not something the palace has confirmed, of course. And yes, all sorts of false rumors have been swirling about Kate’s pregnancy—even long before she was actually pregnant (both times). But one bit of recent news from across the pond actually has us really wondering.
It turns out that bookmaker William Hill has refused to take any further bets on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge having twins after a throng of first-time betters opened new accounts and heaped cash on 20-to-1 odds for twins. The odds fell steeply to 9-to-1 before Hill called off bets.
“We have had a load of unexpected bets including a large number of new accounts,” Hill spokesman Rupert Adams told the U.K.’s Express. “With any other market, I would say that people know.”
Did you catch that? People might actually already know about a twin pregnancy. I am a gambling gal, and it’s getting to the point where I’d stake some chips on this one!
The Express also cites that the Duchess’s apparent hyperemesis gravidarum (acute morning sickness) is a condition experienced more frequently by women expecting twins. But of course let’s remember that she also had it in her first pregnancy—while carrying a singleton.
It was the 15th century the last time the mother of a future monarch delivered twins in Britain. So if Kate is actually expecting two babies, she may find it hard to relate to people in her sphere. But fear not, Duchess: As the new mother of twins myself, I have two months of experience and can provide you with tons of advice! Text me, sister.
The day I delivered my babies is both completely blurry and seared indelibly into memory.
After a long, surreal lead-up to my scheduled c-section, there was nothing left to do but deliver some twins. On July 22, at 38 weeks, we were actually sleeping when the alarm sounded at 4 a.m. For the last time, I peeled my enormously pregnant body from the bed and got in the shower, following with my full hair and makeup routine. My husband, David, couldn’t understand why I would bother, but of course I knew 1) there would be pictures! And 2) it might be a very long time before I managed such a feat again.
For the last time as a family of two, we left the house with our bags packed. It was a warm, beautiful early morning, and we snapped a picture of the moon over our house. Minutes later, we arrived at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where we had our pick of prime parking spaces at 5 a.m. — a dream for a Los Angeleno, and an auspicious beginning to a big day! I noticed a sign that advertised discounted parking at a weekly rate, and as I shuffled into the hospital, I asked the parking attendant how to get the weekly pass, which would save us $10 over the course of our four-day stay. David couldn’t believe I found the energy to focus on such a pursuit, but I reminded him that every dollar counts with two babies on the way! And I’m nothing if not a hustler for a great bargain.
We made our way inside to check in for labor and delivery, at the same desk we had seen on our maternity ward tour when the reality of this day seemed infinitely far off — as if it were actually on another planet instead of just weeks away. This time, it was we who were checking into the hospital to deliver babies, and it was still too enormous to process.
We met our wonderful nurse, Griselda, who would be with us for 14 hours that day. She got us all prepared, running my IV line and strapping on two fetal monitors, one in blue and one in pink. She’d be my guardian angel — among many — during our stay.
Eventually, it was off to the operating room, where TLC’s “No Scrubs” was playing; the anesthesiologist had apparently honored my preference for ’90s hip-hop when he selected the Pandora station. I remember registering the neat play on hospital scrubs as the terror set in. I was most worried about this part of the day: David would have to stay outside in the hall as the team administered my spinal. It was the only time we’d have to be separated. As I sat sideways on the operating table with my legs dangling and my back exposed, Griselda squeezed my hands as she leaned into me, forehead to forehead. I’ll always remember her caring support.
Soon, the anesthesia began to take effect, and I didn’t like the feeling one bit — the feeling that my body had vanished from the boobs down, and there was no guarantee I’d be able to feel it again. I panicked.
The team let David come in early, and they also ran Propofol into my IV for the anxiety. David used the tools in his tool box to calm me: He rattled off a list of words that corresponded to my favorite images and memories. “Our first dance… Bora Bora honeymoon… scuba diving Belize… the beach in Rio…” He named as many of my favorite things he could think of in the moment, before, owing to his own nerves, he just repeated the list.
I heard my obstetrician say, “We’re down to the uterus now,” but I was less concerned about the progress of the surgery and more eager to feel my body again. Soon, I heard the cry: My son was out in the world. David’s face was hovering just over mine, and though his mouth was covered with a green hospital mask, I could see that his eyes exploded with emotion. Our son.
Someone announced the weight: six pounds, six ounces. Then another cry and another weight: five pounds, 12 ounces. My daughter was on the outside too. Both were whisked to the other side of what felt like a very big room for their initial medical attention. I heard someone tell David, “…other than that, she’s great.” I called out to try to understand what that meant. It turned out my daughter’s body temperature was low, but she was quickly warmed up. And beyond that, they were perfect. I felt rhythmic tugging as the doc stitched me all up. And then someone (was it David?) brought the babies over to my chest so I could hold them for the first time, one nestled under each arm. We’re a family of four now — imagine that.
From the operating room, we moved to the post-op recovery room, where my parents came with pink and blue balloons and held the babes. We shared their names for the first time: Maya Zoe and Jordan Oscar. Jordan was platinum blonde like me at birth, and Maya had dark hair — something she got from her dad that I never expected. They were devastating in their sweetness, too precious for words. How improbable and magical that we actually made them and I carried them inside!
From there, we moved to what was supposed to be our room for the next four days. It turned out, we’d move again.
As the team of nurses was transferring me from the gurney to the hospital bed, I noticed a lot of blood. I said, “That’s normal, right…?” There was some focused silence and then a second nurse said to Griselda, “It’s just that I’ve never seen a clot that big.” Quickly, the babies vanished out of the room on their way to the nursery, and our tiny room filled with people. David said he counted nine in addition to us. One of the doctors was really young and I called him Doogie Howser. I was high on Propofol. And I was hemmorhaging: My uterus had been so distended from carrying 12 pounds and two ounces of baby to full term that, like an overstretched rubber band, it could not contract.
In another far-off era, or in another part of the world, that might have been the end of me. But with access to such quality health care and thanks to modern medicine, I didn’t worry about my mortality. I did however, feel anxious for the team to resolve the situation, and I thought the thermometer bouncing up and down in my mouth was a physical manifestation of my anxiety. In reality, I’d later learn, the shaking was just a standard side effect of narcotic drugs.
Griselda pressed repeatedly on my post-op stomach; it’s not the relaxing spa-like treatment I’d pictured when she’d said she was going to periodically “massage the uterus.” Doogie Howser administered a bunch of drugs including Pitocin. And within a few tense hours, my bleeding issue was resolved.
For the first night, we moved to an acute care wing of the hospital, instead of the standard labor and delivery ward, and the babies rejoined us, sleeping serenely most of that first day — hazy, as it was, for all of us. Apparently, my situation warranted some attention, with the head nurse coming to check on me as the first stop on her shift later that evening. I told her she was stunning and looked like Nia Long because I was still high on Morphine and Propofol, and was, apparently, without filters. (And because she was and did.)
Outside the window, I could see that night was finally falling on what was, without any question, the most intense and wondrous and magical day of my life: the day my twin miracles came into the world.
We’re thrilled to announce that on Tuesday, July 22, our Everything Pregnancy blogger, Alesandra Dubin, who has been sharing the journey of her pregnancy with us all, gave birth to her boy-girl twins. Welcome to the world, Jordan Oscar and Maya Zoe!
Of course, now that Alice is a new mom, navigating the awesome world of parenting not just one newborn baby but two, she’ll be taking a break from writing the blog for a little while. (We’re big fans of maternity leave around here, even if it means we’ll miss out on her humor and insights.) In the meantime, our In Name Only blogger, Lisa Milbrand, will be guest-posting each day.
Please join us in congratulating Alice (and offering helpful advice!), and check out the completely adorable first family photo here: