Hello! I’m linking up with Erika and Ashley for their monthly Tuesday Talk link up. For Tuesday Talk, the topic is whatever you’d like to chat about. So I thought I’d chat about a topic that I’m asked about often…what it’s like to have twins.
I’m often asked, “What’s it like to have twins?” My response is often, “Well, I don’t know any differently.” It’s not like I had one kid and then twins. We came out of the parenting gate having two at once! I can also definitely say that it’s a blur of blessings.
Do you know what the second most asked question I get about twins is? “Are they identical or fraternal?” This one always shocks me as boy/girl twins would most obviously be fraternal. I just allows reply politely with, “fraternal.”
A little back story…
Since I struggled to get pregnant, we learned very early on that we were having twins because I had multiple appointments with my fertility specialist. I had taken an at home test and it was negative. A couple of weeks later, I took one again, and it was positive. Blood work confirmed I was pregnant, and when the nurse called, she said, “Your numbers are very, very, very good.” I didn’t think much about it….I was just happy to be pregnant. She then scheduled my ultrasound.
We arrived at the doctor the next week only to realize my appointment was for the following week. I guess I was too excited to keep the dates straight! When the doctor entered the room, he said, “Let’s look for twins!” Travis and I both just thought “haha” but as soon as we looked at the screen, I could clearly see two sacs. Since I was only 6 weeks, only “baby A” had a heartbeat. The doctor told us not to worry, and we scheduled the next appointment. Of course, we left in shock, but we were so excited.
At least we had plenty of time to get used to the idea of twins!
We kept everything quiet for a few weeks until my next appointment when both “baby A” and “baby B” had heartbeats. I still saw my fertility doctor for a couple more appointments before he released me to my regular OBGYN.
I saw my OB and a high risk doctor for the rest of the pregnancy. I had an ultrasound at almost every appointment, so we got to see the twins often. At my 14 week appointment, we found out “baby A” was a boy and “baby B” was a girl!
Throughout the pregnancy, there were definitely some ups and downs…sometimes the high risk doctor provided too much info. We had a little scare with Hayden and then Hadley consistently measured smaller than Hayden, but not so much that I really needed bed rest. My water broke at exactly 36 weeks, and they were born on November 20, 2009. Hayden weighed 4 lb 7 oz and Hadley weighed 4 lbs. Hayden came home with us after four days in the hospital. Hadley was in the NICU for 13 days.
I feel like I could write a whole blog post just on leaving the hospital with one baby and having Hadley in the NICU, so I will save all that for a later date. Although I was sad to leave her, I knew she was in great hands, and leaving with just Hayden was also such an overwhelming feeling.
I’m a teacher, and all about the gradual release model of teaching 😉The hospital let me leave with one baby, and I brought home the other one about ten days later. We eased into parenting two kids at once!
Life when they were little:
One thing we didn’t prepare for was how small they’d be. I’ve known/have friends and family members who have twins, and just never thought at 36 weeks that mine would be so small. Of course, we had their room ready, clothes washed and put up, bottles ready to go, etc…but no preemie clothes. The hospital, as well as friends and family, helped us with that situation.
My type A/planner personality was a strength during this time. My kids were on a schedule starting the first day. Really, the hospital put them on a schedule, and I didn’t deviate from it by even five minutes. Time to eat, time to sleep, tummy time, etc. When you have two kids at once, you don’t really feel in control. A schedule helped make me feel in control. Also, the kids slept 8 hours at night by 12 weeks, so the schedule really worked out for us and for them.
When they were first home, they were so small, they both slept in our room in a pack-n-play until they slept through the night. Then, they shared a room. We had pretty big bedrooms in our previous home, so they each had a crib but shared a room. They even slept in the same crib until they were six months old. I guess I just hated the thought of separating them. They shared a room until they were 3 1/2 years old.
Maternity leave was hard. I planned on taking off 16 weeks or so, and around week 10, I called Travis on a Friday and said I wanted to go back to school on Monday. He talked me out of it just saying once I go back, I can’t get my sick/maternity leave back….and that it would be better when they slept through the night. I had called him that day at work because Hadley wouldn’t quit crying. He met me at the doctor. When the pediatrician asked what was going on, I simply said, “I need her to be like him.” Hayden was sleeping peacefully in his carrier while Hadley continued to cry. She had colic and acid reflux…thankfully, that passed after a couple of months.
Let’s just say while pushing that double stroller down the Kroger aisle, I received many, “bless your hearts,” from people 😉
Similar but different:
My kids have been different from day one. When the NICU nurse handed Hadley over to us, she said that girls tend to be more feisty and self-sufficient. Of course, she had to fend for herself a bit those first few weeks while Hayden was doted on. So, if you ever saw five-year-old Hadley tie Hayden’s cleats in the middle of a soccer field, then you know what I mean!😂
Hayden is quiet, introverted, and inquisitive. He can be a bit inflexible (wonder who he gets that from?) BUT he’s more resilient than he realizes. He’s had to overcome and continues to work on some struggles and obstacles which has shown him, that at his core, he’s tougher than he realizes.
Hayden, like me, eases into social settings and situations. He also takes some time to wake up in the morning and needs to wind down at night. Again, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Hadley has always been out-going, inclusive, intuitive, and fearless. She’s exactly the kind of daughter my personality needs. Because I am pretty quiet, she pulls the conversation out of me with her questions or just willingness to chat.
She hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until it’s time for bed. Then, she passes right out for the night until it’s time to start the next day.
Also, of note: Travis and I each have our own mini me. The first thing I noticed about Hayden when the nurse showed him to me was his nose. I said, “Travis! He has your nose.” (which is cute). When people tell me how much Hadley looks like me, I always say, “Well, unfortunately, she acts like me too!” 😂
A few FAVE pics…
through the years…
When they were little, they went to a sitter’s house. So, they were together all day, every day. Hadley would dominate over his personality, and it got to the point where Hayden would defer to her. I’d ask what they had for lunch, and he’d say, “Hadley, you tell mom!”
The year before kindergarten, we put them in preschool two days a week. We thought it would be a good time to see how they would do on their own in separate classes. They thrived. Hayden needed his own space…and so did she! Of course, on the first day of school, she walked in like she owned the place. He was certainly more timid. It all worked out though as they navigated that new world on their own.
All throughout elementary, they’ve been in different classes, per our request. They’ve ended up in the same math group with the same teacher a time or two, and that’s been fine for them.
I’ve learned that I need to let them be who they are, and I need to let them fail and learn.
I’ve had to shift my thinking…just because something comes easily to one, it may not come easily to the other.
And, of course, they hit some of those beginning milestones at different times, so I had to remind myself not to compare them. For example, Hadley talked before Hayden did, but he walked before she did.
They balance each other out perfectly.
It’s nice when it works out that they both excel at something. For example, Hadley was the top 25th runner in the 4th grade girls division for cross country. Hayden was 26th in the boys division at state! There were races where they both even finished in the same place! Also, both won awards for their science fair projects, so there was no rivalry there 😉
It’s convenient (for me) to see one school performance, or sign up to help with one time slot of field day to see their grade level.
In the beginning, I kept them on the same teams for baseball, basketball, and soccer. This was when they were 4-6 years old or so. Then, it was time for them branch out. She didn’t want to play soccer and tried dance. One year they both did Academic Team at school, and last year, only Hadley did it. She was so excited to stay after school for chorus last year, but he wanted no part in that!
Of course, it keeps my schedule easier when they are at the same place at the same time, but that’s not fair to them. So they’ve been able to make more choices as the years have gone on.
He loves to read, draw and play sports. She loves to bake, craft, and hang out with friends.
Also, at this age, they have the same friend group but Hadley mostly sticks to playing with her girlfriends and Hayden with his friends. BUT…will you see Hadley mixing it up with the boys even when she’s the only girl? YES!
Will you see Hayden hanging out with Hadley and her friends if he’s on his own? Heck to the NO! 😂
I don’t dwell on it but I’m cognizant of the fact that I only get one shot at most of these milestones. I always say I was blessed to have two at once, but that does mean only one first day of kindergarten, one fifth grade graduation for the both of them, (and on and on)…
Even though we struggled to get pregnant, I didn’t know at the time that I wouldn’t get to rock a baby again, so I probably took those little things for granted thinking I’d get to do that again. (Of course, I have friends with one child who are in the same situation with only experiencing milestones once…so I am very grateful to have the both of them getting to experience those things together.)
Whether they know it or not, they have a built in best friend. I joke that I “front loaded” some of my parenting responsibilities at the beginning. Once they were old enough to play together, I actually did get back some of that time for myself to tidy up the house or make a grocery list.
I feel like I just rambled in this post…and I didn’t expect the post to be so wordy! Sorry for that!
The bottom line about having twins is that it’s a blessing I didn’t know that I needed or that I deserved. After struggling to have one…we had two. I’m thankful for that each and every day.
As the parent of twins, I try to carve out time for each of them, I try not to compare them, and I certainly try to let them be their own person with their own interests.
Having twins for kids is certainly special, but like all parents, I’m amazed at how time is literally flying by. Whether you have one kid or four, I’m sure you blink and wonder how they are already starting school, or driving a car, or graduating! Being a parent is certainly a privilege and an honor!
Oh there always is one more question that I get asked…
“Do they fight?” …YES! 😉
Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too! Thanks so much for reading.