The Fruits of My Labor

DSCN0145Gone but not forgotten….maybe that should be the title of this post. It’s been 9 months since my last blog. (Is there such thing bloggers anonymous?) Well, a lot has happened in that time so now I’m not sure where to begin. Might be easier to start with the ending. Twin boys! My fertility efforts finally paid off and I was rewarded with two beautiful twin boys, Dylan and Cooper, at the end of March. Both born in good health, significant poundage for twins and requiring no time in the NICU. And now they are 7 weeks old. I thought time flew when I was single. Try being a single mom…time seems to fly at a double rate! Which seems funny, when all you do is feed and burp babies and change diapers. It’s 24/7 work I tell ya.

Pregnancy was relatively good to me. Generally only suffered minor ailments. No nausea, no vomiting. Little carpal tunnel. Lots of tiredness. I didn’t look pregnant until 6 months and most people couldn’t believe I was carrying twins, a.k.a. I didn’t look huge. (Yeah!) Gained 45 pounds, but have lost 35. Can’t complain. But would I do it again? Not so sure…maybe I would consider it if I didn’t have twins. I never wanted an only child, but with twins – problem solved! Got the two for one deal.

I delivered at 36 1/2 weeks, earlier than planned. Some high blood pressure encouraged my doctor to admit me to the hospital during one of my regular appointments with him. I was surprised, but shouldn’t have been. He had warned me for weeks. So as I walked to labor and delivery from my doctor’s office, I lamented that my hospital bag was not packed and I had not decided on baby names. Ah well, that’s what family is for. Mom packed my bag with some guided instructions and after my c-section delivery later that evening, as I lay in recovery, my family firmed up the baby names, deciding which 2 of the 3 were a most proper fit. My recovery took longer than expected due to a placenta that refused to detach from my uterine wall and significant blood loss. Four days in the hospital and a blood transfusion later, I returned home. Unfortunately, complications on my part continued and shortness of breath and huge swollen legs had me back in the hospital to test for blood clots. In the end, everything turned out fine.

My post partum world is a whirlwind of sleep deprivation, making and washing bottles, changing diapers, feeding and burping babies, soothing, swaddling, shushing, cradling, pacifying and crying. To be honest, the boys are really pretty good. Not big criers…but to have them both cry at once seems overwhelming and can bring me to tears. I knew the lack of sleep would always be the hardest part for me. I like my 8 hours. So to say that I feel like a zombie much of the time is an understatement. However, I’m learning that I can survive on 4 hours sleep. My body seems to have adjusted to moving into a deep sleep mode at the drop of the hat and yet one peep from the boys and I jump like lightning strikes. I also never knew about the muscles I have in the center and upper sections of my back, although they are making themselves painfully known now. Pain pain go away, come again another day. Oh yeah – another thing I’ve learned – you can turn anything into a lullabye…just lower your voice and adjust the tone. My sister says that I’m not getting out enough. Well, she’s probably right – in the past 7 weeks – other than runs to doctor offices, I’ve only taken the boys at twice on my own and only to a friend’s house and my sister’s house. I guess that means I’ve been cooped up. What can I say…baby steps! I still haven’t quite figured out how you go grocery shopping or any kind of shopping that requires a cart with two babies in their car seats. Open to suggestions here…

As usual, this experience opens up a whole new realm in social behavior: how people relate to you, how friends and family reach out to offer support, etc.  My interest in human social behavior continues and it’s been fascinating to see who turns up in times like this. First and foremost, family is a godsend. My Mom, Dad and sister have been right in on the action, completely hands on and reliable. I don’t know what I would do without them. I actually believed that I could do most of this twin ‘raising’ on my own…come to find out I was really delusional. Without my family, I’d be working of 2-3 hours of sleep a night and I’d probably be in the loony bin by now. I also have a few friends who have really stepped up – come over for feedings, called and kept in close contact. These are people I truly appreciate and adore for their support.

At that same time, a few close friends I’ve known for years have been decidedly absent or should I say, relatively ‘quiet’ and then out of the blue, perfect strangers have opened their arms with meals, words of advice and open doors. Some of my friends who live on a completely different continent with 7-10 hours time difference make more effort to stay in touch regularly via phone, email and Facetime then those who live within the US or state vicinity. I find it interesting that sometimes the people who you think will be a rock of support  turn out to be missing in action. I’m not sure what to make of it. I think much of it is just human behavior. We all get wrapped up in our own personal lives, our partners, our children or to those events closest to us. My expectations of friends have often been unrealistic or too high, so I have to take ownership of that as well. And quid pro quo…I may not have always been there for some of my friends either. I have to say going through the pregnancy-motherhood experience certainly gives you a new perspective. I never realized the value of simply bringing a meal or dropping by for a visit to help with feedings, calling and leaving messages or just hanging out and chatting so the new Mom can have some social exposure. Everyone says, “Oh, I didn’t want to bother you.”  Well, the first few days home are a bit of an adjustment but after that, I say bring it on! Even if the person isn’t asking for it, there’s a lot in the simple kindness of keeping in touch and reaching out in whatever way possible. It’s a shame if we’ve come to a place where people think they are more of a hinderance or bother in a time of need.

In any event, I’m thankful for all those who are making an effort, have shown me kindness and continue to share in my joy (and emotional and not so joyous) moments. Motherhood is certainly an adjustment and friends and family can only make it that much easier. I still have some days when I can’t believe these two wonderful little babiesare mine! The fruits of my labor finally paid off. Who would have thought?

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