3 under 3: Twice as nice

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3 under 3

Amy Condon is a mum to 3 kids, who are all under 3! Yes, you heard us right. Each week she tells us all about the ups and downs of bringing up 3 children so close in age. This week Amy talks about her experience of having twins, and the double trouble that comes with it...

'A friend of mine has just had twins. With a nearly 3-year-old son already, she's completed her set of 3 of a kind. Just like me. Only the other way round. The thought of her bringing her beautiful, bouncing boys home has brought memories of my first few days as a twin mum flooding back.

As I struggled to get out and about with my 2 while all my friends seemed to be calm and in control, I often used to dream about how easy it must be to just have 1. Only 1 coat to find, only 1 size of nappy to pack, only 1 screaming baby to deal with...

And when my little M came along, it honestly did feel so much simpler. Even with 2 boisterous toddlers around, I revelled in it. Feeding one was a breeze compared to the whirlwind of trying to keep hungry G attached to one breast, while fussy little T fiddled around on the other. And when M needed to nap, I only had to worry about getting her to drop off, rather than stressing out trying to cuddle T down while hoping G didn't get too noisy, then having to start the fight all over again. So I can't help but wonder what it's like the other way round, when you have a singleton first, then the double whammy of twins. Perhaps it's easier because at least you've done it all before. But it must be a shock to the system. Twins are pretty hardcore.

I was lucky enough to carry my girls to nearly full-term. They were born by emergency C-section at 38 weeks, having both decided to remain stubbornly breech, but refusing to wait the four extra days until the nice, calm operation that was all planned for the following week. A mad dash to the hospital revealed G's bottom was on its way out and we had to be rushed to theatre just in time for her to be whipped out weighing 6lb 1oz, followed by 5lb 4oz T, doing the splits. I reckon they always had a flair for the dramatic.

The first few hours in hospital with the girls and their dad were magical. T needed a bit of supplemental feeding to correct her low blood sugar but, other than that, they needed no extra help and I got them home the following day. All twin pregnancies are classified as ‘high risk', but I'd had absolutely no problems and now had 2 perfectly healthy baby girls. So perhaps having twins wasn't going to be that hard...

The wake-up call was instant. And literal. I got virtually no sleep. The girls needed to be fed every 2 or 3 hours, and whereas with M, I quickly learned the fabulous technique of bringing her into bed and letting her happily drink as we lay side by side, the twins' milk calls necessitated a mass migration to the sofa and a stack of pillows. My husband would help us set up but then I'd send him back to bed. And more often than not he'd find me there 3 hours later, a dribbling, milk-stained mess, and wake me up just in time to feed them again.

G, at least, tended to sleep pretty soundly between feeds. I say at least. I didn't even manage to appreciate that. T was awake so much more, so I ended up panicking that G would be left behind, that she'd sleep through all the stimulation I was trying to provide to set them up for nursery and school and university...

Then there was getting out and about. I barely even tried in the first few weeks, but then I started to go stir crazy. Each tiny trip out however, involved packing bottles, nappies, wipes and spare clothes for 2, as well as finding 2 snowsuits - and getting 2 babies into them - before manoeuvring a double buggy out of a block of flats and to the nearest park. All before anyone filled their nappy and I had to start all over again.

I always used to get asked how I did it, how I coped with 2. But it was all I knew. It's not all my friend knows. Her experience so far has been to 1 lovely little boy. I can't help but wonder how it feels for her now, with everything doubled. Double the feeds, double the wake-up calls, double the cries... and double the fun. Because if I'm honest, despite how hard it was, and despite how much I've enjoyed my singleton experience, I wish M could have been a twin. I look at G and T playing together now and simply don't understand how people cope with just one. Who do they play with? Who do they confide in, tell their secrets to?

So that's the best advice I can give my friend. Yes, the first few months will be difficult, exhausting, bone-crunchingly hard, in fact. But the payback is awesome. If you're lucky enough to have twins, just make sure that you somehow find the time to remember to enjoy them. Twins really are something special.'

Do you have twins, or are you expecting them? Tell us about your experiences in our comments section below or on Facebook.

Continued below...

Amy's other blog posts...


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