I once knew a lady who had a set of twins and then a couple of years down the track, had a set of triplets. At the time, all I saw and thought was how amazingly lucky she was to have 5 beautiful children!! This was before I had my own children and therefore I truly didn’t understand what this meant in terms of hard work, sleepless nights etc. Fast forward a few years and I would have a better understanding than I could have ever imagined.
To say my first pregnancy was a walk in the park, would be false. My husband Lance and I were told at our 20-week scan that Twin 2, our little girl Indie, was severely growth restricted. I would require regular monitoring and ultrasound scans. At 28 weeks, I was put on bedrest in the hope that I would make it to 30 weeks at least. I made it to 30 weeks and each day after that was a bonus, as Indie’s blood flow started to show increased resistance through the umbilical cord. At 34 weeks and 3 days, the obstetrician decided enough was enough and scheduled a caesarean section. It was a very traumatic time and I’m sure a lot of you can relate. Max and Indie were whipped out and transferred to the SCBU with Lance in tow. I however, was left lying on the operating table in shock, hoping that my pigeon pair were ok. Lance and I had both been prepped for what might eventuate but you truly don’t understand until you are in the moment. Max and Indie spent the next 4 weeks in both the ICU and SCBU units of the hospital, learning to feed and gaining much needed weight. Finally, we could bring them home and begin our lives as a family of 4.
When Max and Indie were 2 years old, we moved from Brisbane, Australia to Tauranga, New Zealand. It was about this time that Lance and I started to entertain the idea of having another child. Prior to this, there is absolutely no way we would have considered it. We were soooooooooo tired!!!!
It wasn’t until I was 8 weeks pregnant and driving to the Radiology clinic for our first scan, that I decided to google “chances of having a second set of twins after having fraternal twins.” Great timing. Google came back with a chance of 1 in 12. At the time, I remember thinking that sounded quite high, but brushed it off, “as if that would happen to us.” Sure enough, it did happen to us!!!! As soon as the sonographer began the scan I could see two little sacs with two tiny embryos. I will never forget the look on Lance’s face when the Sonographer turned to me and said, “well aren’t you a clever girl.” Poor Lance took the rest of the day off work and went for a 50-km bike ride to process this new development (well actually, make that 2 new developments), only to return later that day to assure me that everything would be fine and that we had better start looking for a new car!!! Most people that we told including our families, thought we were joking. “How is that possible,” they would say. Even now, when people ask about our children, they are left gobsmacked when we mention our 2 sets of twins. To us, it’s just normal. We know no different and to be honest, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
My 2nd pregnancy went a lot smoother than the first. Our beautiful little girls Sophie and Isabelle were born at 36 weeks and 4 days. They roomed in with me from the start and we were home within the week.
The second time around was a lot easier than the first. I think the second time around you don’t have the uncertainty and know what to expect to some degree. Obviously, we had more children but we were lucky as Max and Indie were so helpful and we included them (as much as possible) in bathing, dressing and keeping the babies entertained. For a while, we had 4 children under the age of 4 and I won’t lie, it was a relentless, tiring time in our lives. The first year of all my children’s lives is a complete blur but I can honestly say that we are finally starting to come out the other side and feel so, so blessed that we were given the gift of two sets of twins. Our days are long and our nights can seem even longer (well not as long as those nights with newborn twins……….insert shiver here), but the years are short and fly by. My biggest advice would be to do what works for your family and your family only. We have had the odd person/family member criticise some of our parenting choices but it’s no one else’s business except ours. Ask and accept as much help as you can (I have only learnt to ask for help now and my oldest ones are almost 6). Try to attend something as simple as playgroup. Honestly, I used to dread the thought of it (particularly in the early days because I was just so tired) but boy can it be a lifesaver. Being able to communicate with people who are in the exact situation as you are. I always used to walk away thinking how wonderful it was that I made the effort and how nice it was to catch up with other people who also may be struggling to see the light. Finally, don’t feel bad if your house is always a mess. And for that matter, don’t feel bad if you are the opposite and you like to have a tidy house. Whatever works for you and keeps you sane I say.
I often think back to the lady that had the twins and then the triplets and although I can now relate, to some degree of what she went through, my feelings of her being extremely lucky have never changed.